Birds & Flowers... A Garden Escape!

Since we needed to gather something from our daughter-in-law's folks' home, we arrived with muffins. Julie and Mike provided coffee and the most spectacular Nature Extravaganza. Wow.

We delighted in all the comings and goings in their park-like yard. I was mesmerized.

Hummingbirds, of all varieties, filled the air with color and excitement.

What a performance!

These people are professional plant propagators. I have never quite seen greener thumbs!

I love being with people who know plants. Do you have any idea what this is?  Asclepias species produce their seeds in pods termed follicles. The seeds, which are arranged in overlapping rows, bear a cluster of white, silky, filament-like hairs known as the coma. The follicles ripen and split open, and the seeds, each carried by its coma, are blown by the wind.
How gorgeous is this Milkweed? I love it, not only for its beauty but also because it is so important to Monarchs. During COVID, we learned, this wonderful plant was a huge seller. I guess people wanted a pollinator garden to have flying treasures hanging out in their yard. Fun!

I want to live in this nursery. There is something magical about all those 'babies'.

“Gardening is the greatest tonic and therapy a human being can have.
Even if you have only a tiny piece of earth,
you can create something beautiful,
which we all have a great need for.
If we begin by respecting plants,
it’s inevitable we’ll respect people.”
— Audrey Hepburn

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Urban Plates: New Fave...

Near Steve's Mom is a restaurant we have neglected. How did we miss this eatery whose mottos is "Good Is Served℠"?

"Urban Plates makes wholesome, clean, craveable food accessible to all. Nutrition is the backbone of your immune system and that system needs to be strong. Now more than ever, how you fuel your body matters. We have: Spacious patios open for dine-in. Also offer takeout, curbside, and delivery. Have clean, wholesome food for an honest price."
Craveable is right!
$10 Beets + Avocado Plant Based Bowl

$11 Braised Beef & Mushroom Braise

Even the hallway to the bathrooms was entertaining! What fun. I love eating out and this was the perfect way to celebrate Immunized Completely Day.

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Diverse Scenes...

Currently we're in the throes of moving Steve's mom to a different apartment so our focus has been redirected. I did want to share some images that were worth capturing, for various reasons. Life will get blog-worthy again soon. For now, we are happy to be doing what it is we are doing.

The coolest find in Mom's clean out was a box of Hollywood Sani-White. This very vintage product was used by nurses to shine their white shoes, and by parents to clean their babies' shoes, as it was advertised as non-toxic and safe so that babies could chew on them.
You know it's true because it was advertised in Life Magazine's Aug 12, 1966 issue.
The scariest thing we saw was this traffic accident, on our way home from Carlsbad, with two entwined cars fully engulfed in flames. We were passing by before any emergency crew had arrived. So tragic.
The quietness of my morning was interrupted by this hot air balloon. It is a sight I always love to see.
The best scene of the day was having a butterfly rest on my finger. Oh man, the simple pleasures. Winnie The Pooh was right when he said, “Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in our heart.”

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I'm 'Famous' Once Again...

In 2018, two of my Tahoe blog images found their way into advertisements for upcoming events. Unbeknownst to me, the same thing happened in SoCal, as Brady just shared with me today.

In 2013, Steve's folks were living in Murrieta and we felt the need to learn more about it and its historical downtown. According to the blog, in which my image is posted, visiting Ray's CafĂ© is a must. I have to ask, "How did Brady find this three years after janebombshell posted it?" Wild.
This was the 'borrowed' photo that started it all. In 2014, Jenny, Bob, Steve and I attended the incredibly entertaining Ididarun. How fun it was to see them using our images from four years prior.

This announcement was posted on Facebook. We attended this event three years prior to the River Ranch's use of my image. It was a blast so I was happy to help promote it. They are small towns in which we live (north and south) and I've love it all. 

"The nice thing about living in a small town
is that when you don't know what you're doing,
someone else does."
-Immanuel Kant

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Some Things Are So True...

 I just had to share (though I have never not loved letters)...

"Writing to someone, taking the time to craft each letter,
to buy a stamp, to select an envelope, to travel to the post office—
none of this goes unnoticed.
A letter, before the content is even read, has already said,
'I care about you. You’re someone special.'
And that is a message that all enjoy."
—Wesley Baines

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Scenes of Heading Home...

We had a timing issue arise so our trip had to take a turn towards home (Yosemite will have to wait). I just had to share our view. Spectacular.

“The moon is a loyal companion. It never leaves.
It’s always there, watching, steadfast,
knowing us in our light and dark moments,
changing forever just as we do.
Every day it’s a different version of itself.
Sometimes weak and wan,
sometimes strong and full of light.
The moon understands what it means to be human.
Uncertain. Alone. Cratered by imperfections.”
– Tahereh Mafi

“The moon will guide you through the night with her brightness,
but she will always dwell in the darkness, in order to be seen.”
– Shannon L. Alder

“I’d rather live in a world
where I get to love the moon
than in one where I don’t,
even if the moon won’t return the feeling.”
– Alex London

"The sky, a perfect empty canvas,
offers clouds nonetheless.
They shift and drift and beg interpretation…
such is the nature of art."
-Jeb Dickerson

“What we find in a soul mate
is not something wild to tame,
but something wild to run with.”
– Robert Brault

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Grant Grove: Our Last Sequoias

Our final stop on our Big Tree Trail was the General Grant Grove, a section of the greater Kings Canyon National Park, established by the US Congress in 1890. 

The star here is the General Grant Tree, which is 267 feet tall and the third largest known tree in the world. Estimated to be over 1,500 years old, it has been known as the United States' National Christmas Tree, since 1925.
President Eisenhower declared the General Grant Tree to be a National Shrine in 1956. It was dedicated "in memory of the men an women of the Armed Forces who have served and fought and died to keep this Nation free..." It is the only example of a living shrine in the United States. During the dedication ceremony, Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz mentioned its "equal stature with that other great shrine in Arlington Cemetery -- the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier."
Probably our most unique find was the Fallen Monarch.
This fire hollowed fallen sequoia was used for temporary housing by the Gamlin brothers, early settlers whose homestead cabin stands near by (more about that to come below). 
Later, the U. S. Cavalry used it as a stable while patrolling the parks (1890-1914). Wild.
It is hard to see but there is a huge stump behind this sign. The Centennial Tree was cut, sectioned, and reassembled at the 1876 World's Fair in Philadelphia, where it became known as a California Hoax, by dubious easterners, not believing a tree could be so huge. Sad.
These two images illustrate, for me, the need for National Parks.

This is the cabin the Israel and Thomas Gamlin built in 1872, while living in the Fallen Monarch.
With a timber claim of 160 acres, they quartered here until 1878, while grazing cattle in the mountains. After the National Park was established, in 1890, the cabin was used as a storehouse by the patrolling U.S. Calvary until 1913. Later it became the home of the first park ranger stationed here.

While exploring, the weather went from rainy to snowy. It was time to head home.
The road we drove in, a few days prior, was now inaccessible due to snow. Wow, timing really is everything! It was the ideal way to end our Sequoia Sojourn.
"A grove of giant redwoods or sequoias should be kept 
just as we keep a great and beautiful cathedral."
-Theodore Roosevelt

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