Birds & Wildflowers...

With everything inside closed, there is always something amazing to do outside in Lake Tahoe. Today we found ourselves on the Lam Watah Historic Trail for a stroll through Rabe Meadows.


The trail passes through an area of meadows once slated for casino development but saved by the Nature Conservancy, which donated the tract to the U.S. Forest Service. Its name is derived from a Washoe Indian phrase meaning permanent mortar by the stream. The area was used as a campsite for more than 1,000 years. Interpretive signs alongside the trail provide insights into the natural and human history of the area. This flat, meandering trail is one of our favorites.
There was a mud gathering frenzy that was so interesting to watch. How very cool.

For only being the last day in May, the wildflowers were performing spectacularly!




Snow Plants were bursts of red everywhere we looked.




I think Mountain Bluebirds are my favorite shade of blue. Gorgeous!

We don't remember ever seeing Quail here. I love these guys.


If I had to have a favorite woodpecker, it would be the Flicker!
 "Beautiful and graceful, varied and enchanting, small but approachable,
butterflies lead you to the sunny side of life.
And everyone deserves a little sunshine."
-Jeffrey Glassberg
I have a strong feeling that this summer's blog posts will be more nature based than ever before. It is what we've been craving anyway. We are truly in the perfect spot for us. I'm happy to share it with you!

"Just living is not enough…
one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower."
-Hans Christian Andersen

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Forgotten Bookmark: Handwriting Analysis c. 1978

Tucked into a donated book, found by Karen, was this Personality Chart based on Analysis of Handwriting conducted by Abraham R. Kaminsky.

Also known as Graphology, this is the analysis of the physical characteristics and patterns of handwriting claiming to be able to identify the writer, indicating the psychological state at the time of writing, or evaluating personality characteristics. It is generally considered a pseudoscience, though Mr. Kaminsky considers himself a consultant of "individual problems, industrial relations and questioned documents".
I tried to find the Bev Lehman whose results I have. Looking at her high/very high characteristics (sense of freedom from rejections, creative imagination, enthusiasm, capacity for sympathy, etc) she sounds like my kind of gal.
I had a difficult time learning much about this graphologist. However, I found this review of his book rather informative, "Very very interesting book! A. R. Kaminsky was not only a graphologist but also a physiognomist, an artist and had many more talents which he gained through a lot of self education in various fields. Combining his talents he figured out a way to draw faces from handwriting. This book is no "How-To-Guide" but still provides some very interesting insights into his methods and entertaining anecdotes, indicating that there is much more potential in graphology than one might think. I wished there were more books available from this gifted man! If anyone knows where I can get something else from Kaminsky, please let me know!"
Another interesting tidbit I learn about Mr. Kaminsky was that he wrote songs (under the pseudonym of A.R. Kamm). Several were included on Ms. Lehman's analysis, and also registered in various copyright books. I also found out that in 1968 he trademarked the saying HOW 'BOUT THAT! Weird, right?
And where did Abraham work his handwriting analysis magic? This particular chart states it was done at Del Webb's Mountain Shadows Resort Scottsdale, Arizona. Period players like Liz Taylor, John Wayne and the Rat Pack teed off on its verdant fairways, luxuriated by its glistening lagoon-style pool, and soaked up swank desert aura when the 68-acre property first opened in 1959. Sammy Davis Jr., Lainie Kazan, Bob Hope, Burt Reynolds, and other cool kids, rocked the lounge into the wee hours until the party ended in 2004. It just couldn't keep up with all the new kids on the block. It has since been demolished and rebuilt but I like envisioning Mr. Kaminsky, hobnobbing with the likes of Frank Sinatra telling them, based on the autograph he was certain to request, how their ratings for criteria like finger dexterity, emotional expressiveness and sense of details rank on his Personality Chart. Fun find!

I 🧡 forgotten bookmarks. Once found, one never knows what one will learn from them. I will never look at a donated book without searching for its hidden treasures.

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More Lake Tahoe Meandering...

Rain is expected over the next few days so we headed out for a Lake Tahoe meander.

With California and other states easing shelter-in-place restrictions, visitors are already beginning to flock to the shores of Lake Tahoe. We noticed signs reminding us of various ways to stay safe.

There is something very nostalgic about this clothesline at A.H. Goodrich's cabin. We learned about this school teacher who came to the Lake in 1876 (and later became Placer County’s third superintendent of schools) and this original cabin while on a Lake Tahoe Historical Society walking tour, years ago.
The destination was "The Marsh" to ogle birds and to get lakeside.




 “Call it walking meditation or a neighborhood stroll;
by whatever name suits you, rediscover the art of meandering.”
― Gina Greenlee
This Eggs & Bacon plate was at our favorite breakfast spot. The one meal out that I'm eager to embrace is a greasy spoon entree. YUM.

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The California Home for the Care & Training of Feeble Minded Children

Roads less traveled often provide unique history lessons. When we discovered this compound, we knew we had to explore.

This institution has had four names, with its last being the Sonoma Developmental Center (SDC). Prior to its closure in 2018, it was the oldest facility in California established specifically for serving the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities.

The Home was charged with caring for children between the ages of five and eighteen who were "incapable of receiving instructions in the common schools." Soon after its official creation in 1884, the facilities proved to be inadequate. In 1889, the William McPherson Hill farm, some 1,660 acres and near the town of Glen Ellen, was purchased for $50,000 as a site for a new home. The location was selected for its rural character, available water supply, and abundance of prime agricultural land.
SDC is, by bits and pieces, turning into a ghost town. Twelve of the 145 buildings, many predating World War II, stand empty in varying stages of deterioration. Vans, used to transport residents, grow webs on their tires. What an amazing place to explore.
The Main Building is a three-story over basement, steel-reinforced brick masonry and terracotta building located on the beautifully landscaped grounds (spotting it is what drew us here). The layout for the school was based on the Kirkbride model that was dominant at major eastern institutions, with a central administration building flanked by back wings.
Designed by architects George Sellon and Edward C. Hemmings in late Victorian/Gothic style, the Main Building is both a State and National Historical Landmark and is the only remaining Kirkbride asylum built in California during the late nineteenth century.

It is also the centerpiece of the complex which consists of wooded hills, with lakes and creeks running through. It is one of the most beautiful settings for an institution in the state. The Center was, for many years, the largest employer in Sonoma County and the communities of Glen Ellen and Eldridge cherish the grounds and this unique building.


When Roosevelt created his New Deal, politically conservative Sonoma County resisted the funding. By 1935 however, it welcomed FDR's alphabet soup. Materials came from the PWA (Public Works Administration). Wages were paid by the WPA (Works Projects Administration) and the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) worked on construction, drainage and irrigation systems. This building was one of those projects (1939).

The height of population occurred in 1967 with 3,700 residents. Wow.
Over the decades, theories on how these special needs children were to be treated evolved. Included in that evolution was patient housing. Client Residential Wards, designed in the Cottage Plan, developed. Originally housed in the north and south wings of the Main Building, certain client populations, such as individuals with epilepsy, began to be moved into supplementary detached buildings in the 1890s. Walnut is the second oldest surviving residential ward that served as housing for girls and women.


After 1907, the state Division of Architecture designed new ward buildings, drawing from Cottage Plan ideals of domestic architecture with hipped or gable roofs and influenced by fashionable Tudor, Spanish Revival, and French Eclectic styles.
Strolling the vast park-like property was an architectural lesson, in and of itself.
Our explore wasn't all history. We enjoyed the nature aspect of this campus, as we meandered.


When we were departing SDC, we crossed over the more current version of this bridge. Like all things there, it had a name adorning it, Marion Rose White. My curiosity was piqued. Turns out, Marion was a California woman who as a normal, albeit klutzy and strong willed 9-year-old, was committed to Sonoma State Hospital and spent much of her life confined there. Through my research, I found a film based on her life. And though her ordeal lasted 30 years, it had been condensed, by the magic of television, to span only four. But it's an ordeal all the same. Marian Rose White, is a well-executed (for 1982) movie that is at least as harrowing as it is inspiring.

Its star is Nancy Cartwright (who, for decades, has been the voice of Bart Simpson). Miss Cartwright begins the story as 14-year-old Marian, of whom her short-tempered mother declares, ''It's not normal for a girl to have so many accidents.'' Marian has poor vision and a terrible tendency to bump into things, qualities that her father fondly excuses. But when he dies, Marian becomes her mother's charge, and her mother can't handle her. The rest is disturbing history and really worth a watch. At the end however, we learn that Marion returned to SDC in 1979 to be a mentor to children with cerebral palsy, showing that silver linings can be found almost anywhere. What a very interesting detour on the road less traveled.

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