Archive for April 2010

Iris Interlude — and Panorama Vista   Leave a comment

I walked out the door and discovered that the butterfly iris are blooming.

Now those are well named.  They are like bright butterflies on their long stems.  Their pot, however, was not very photogenic, so I used the clone brush to block it out.  You can tell if you look closely, but it was kind of a learning experience.  The closeup, though, needed no work.

I didn’t realize I’d immortalized an ant, though.

I discovered a really nice gardening site; Dave’s Garden at http://davesgarden.com/ .  There I learned that the Batik iris, like the one I featured when it bloomed, is the second most popular iris, and the most photographed iris — at least on their site. 

I can see why.  No two are alike; this one is almost spotted rather than streaked.  One pictured at Dave’s was completely white on top, with streaked falls.  They are tough (have to be, to survive my pots) as well as beautiful.

It was an interesting morning.  I got a call from Rich O’Neill, of the Kern Parkway, letting me know that there was going to be a photo op at Panorama Vista, and did I want to help represent the equestrian community?  Sure I would.  So a bunch of us got the opportunity to be snapped by the very talented Casey Christie of the Californian.  The article will be in the Bakersfield Life magazine that comes with the paper, sometime soon.  It’s nice to see Panorama Vista, and the work of Rich, Andy, Sasha, and all the others, getting some attention — and maybe a few more volunteers.

By the way, there is another work day on Saturday.  They can (hint, hint) use all the help they can get!

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Posted April 30, 2010 by stablewoman in Flowers, Nature, People

Cottonwood Casualty   Leave a comment

It had been a blustery night, with intervals of rain.  The storm had largely passed over, though, when the phone rang  just before seven.  It was Andrew.  One of the big cottonwoods in front of his mobile home had just gone down.

That must have . . . startled . . . him considerably.

There wasn’t much to be done at that point, so we had breakfast and then I went down, camera in hand, to record the event.

It was impressive.

The trees in the background show that the wind was still blowing pretty hard at that point.  Luckily, it had been from the north; otherwise, there might have been a lot more damage.

It just barely missed the tractor parked there.

Looking at the root ball, it seemed it couldn’t have had much of a tap root.  David and Andrew had been noticing that it seemed to have heavier branching one one side, and discussing whether to cut a few branches, a couple of days ago.

I guess they should have.

Posted April 29, 2010 by stablewoman in Around the Ranch

The Trials of Photography   1 comment

Isn’t this pretty?

You might think at first glance that it’s an iris or even an orchid, but it’s a cactus.  A Bakersfield cactus, to be exact.

Marion came in from a ride and said the cactus (in a Never To Be Named location) were blooming, so I hiked over there to get a picture.  They were nearly done.  I got this from the base of the dry slope that is their home, with the help of the telephoto.

That didn’t seem satisfactory, so I started to scramble up the slope, braving the foxtails.  It’s very dry and hard, so I slipped and wound up lying on my side; not a bad position from which to get this picture.

I used the telephoto to get the closeup at the top.  Then I started trying to get up; and found that scrabbling madly with my feet only resulted in sliding down the hill on my backside hip, collecting foxtails on the way.  When I arrived at the bottom, it took quite a bit of wallowing around to get on my feet.  My socks and pants were full of dirt — and foxtails.

When I downloaded the pictures, after changing my clothes, I discovered that I had accidentally taken a fourth shot as I scooted down the hill.  It’s almost — but not quite — identical to the first one.

I’m going to be a while picking foxtails out of my clothes before they can go in the washer.  You have to, though, or they’ll wind up sharing themselves with all of the rest of the wash.

Oh, well; it was worth it.  But I wish I had a picture of myself, with my legs waving in the air like an overturned turtle, trying to get up.

Or maybe I don’t.

Posted April 28, 2010 by stablewoman in Wildflowers

Ground Squirrel   2 comments

Lurking by the window and trying for an oriole (still), I got this fellow instead.

We are well supplied with ground squirrels around here.  They are under the tackrooms and trailers, and everywhere else that provides a spot where dogs find it difficult to dig them out.  Not many, however, have enough nerve to come up on the porch and steal birdseed.  This little guy, however, is the reason I have had to store my bags of seed inside.

Ground squirrels don’t seem to have the same cute factor as their tree-dwelling cousins.  I guess this is because their burrows are, frankly, a pain.  People tend to think of them as extra-large gophers.  Still, they are bright-eyed, cheeky little devils, and I kind of like them.

This one appears to be behind a bank of pink flowers, but it’s actually a small pot of Mexican evening primrose that I bought the other day. 

There are a lot of these around Bakersfield.  They are pretty, easy to grow, love the heat — and reseed freely.  Right now they’re scattered all through the lawns up on the Panorama bike path.  I don’t know why they call them evening primroses; they bloom all day.  Come to think of it, I bet they’re not true primroses, either.  They should think of a better name for them; maybe “pink sundancers”?

Posted April 27, 2010 by stablewoman in Flowers, Nature

Storm Damage   Leave a comment

Here are a couple of the pictures Emily sent me from their neighborhood in Webster Groves, Missouri, near St. Louis.  Weather seems so much more extreme in the Midwest.

Here is a tree that fell in a neighbor’s yard.  Notice the neighborhood school in the background.  Emily said that it just lost a sign.

And here is a nearby house where a tree fell.  I see they are already starting the cleanup.

It looks like a really cute little house, too.  I hope they manage to save it. 

There must be a lot of work for tree services in Missouri, especially after a storm like this.  We lost a tree during that last windstorm ourselves, but it wasn’t near any buildings.  And when Andrew moved in, we had them take down one cottonwood that was leaning a bit too far towards the mobile home.  We don’t like to do that, but it was going to fall eventually anyway.

And it’s supposed to be windy — again — here, too, tomorrow and the next day.  Let’s hope it’s not as windy, and no duststorm!

Posted April 26, 2010 by stablewoman in Weather

More Wildflowers   Leave a comment

Marion and Rogelio went to L. A. yesterday (When I was a little girl, I thought there were two places; Los Angeles and somewhere called Ellay) and brought back pictures of wildflowers near Gorman.  This is my favorite.

The wildflower season is nice and long this year, what with all of the extra rain.  There hasn’t been a show like this for years. 

I got an e-mail from my niece Emily, back in St. Louis.  They had quite a storm there, probably the same one that devastated Mississippi.  She sent pictures of the damage in their neighborhood; I’ll feature them tomorrow.

California isn’t such a bad place to live, weatherwise!

Posted April 25, 2010 by stablewoman in Wildflowers

Planting Along the Kern River   2 comments

I spent about an hour and a half this morning helping to plant trees on the Panorama Vista Preserve.  It’s part of an attempt to restore this area along the Kern River to its pre- Isabella Dam state.  They were talking three thousand trees; and this is just part of the entire plan.

The area had been supplied with drip lines for the baby trees, and planting holes had been drilled earlier with an auger.  All that was left was setting them out and planting.  There were quite a few volunteers, but more would have been helpful.  This is not a high-profile project.

This gentleman is setting out young sandbar willows at the end of the drip line.  Volunteers (including me) ferried them to their designated holes.

After the young trees were set out, other volunteers planted them.

There was a surprising variety of species.  Let’s see; sandbar willow, arroyo willow, red willow, black willow, sycamore, cottonwood, elderberry, California wild rose, blackberry, box elder, bladderpod, coyote bush, arrow weed, and more.  This was a rich environment in its time.

Because of the drip lines, the trees and bushes had to be planted in rows.  But by carefully planning how they were placed along each line, they will appear to be grouped naturally as they grow.  That’s why each plant had to go to its labelled hole.  All the volunteers had to do was to go down each line, looking for “sandbar willow” or its number, and leave their plants.  Then others could actually put them in.  Here are some sandbar willows ready to go in.

And some cottonwoods.

A trailer full of blackberries.  You really need gloves for them!

And the finished product; a little arroyo willow nestled into its home.

It was a beautiful day for it, and not as hot as it’s supposed to get Sunday and Monday.  I was only good for about an hour and a half, but Andrew and Courtney were coming in as I was leaving, so I was replaced. 

I’ll be back next time.  And I’ll see if I can’t scare up a few more helpers.

Posted April 24, 2010 by stablewoman in Kern River, Nature