Monday, April 27, 2015

The Woodland Fairy Queen's Bifurcated Dress Form - Even Titania...

While hiking Windy Hill this past weekend, I was amazed to see that the Woodland Fairy Queen had gone off leaving her bifurcated dress form behind.

It seems, even Titania wears trousers these days.

(co-published in Postcard From California, and  Me Encanta Coser/Encanted By Sewing)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Once Upon a Time In California (Time Travel)

Rosalinda, la voz melodiosa, ella canta las viejas canciones. Y sólo puedo oírola.
Debo volver a los días perdidos, los viejos tempos en California.

Rosalinda, she of the melodious voice, sings the old songs. And only I can hear her.
I must go back to lost days, the old days in California.

Un día, cuando aprenda a escuchar con sólo mi corazón, su melodía una vez más me llevarás a mi amor.
One day, when I learn to listen with only my heart, her tune will once more carry me home to my love.

Time travellers need helpful tour books. UCSC professor, famed journalist, and  California State Librarian,  Kevin Starr, has a true sense of California. He's more than a superb historian, he's a born story teller. Starr weaves together a tale that includes not only the appeal of the state - it's agricultural promise, natural beauties, ethnic diversity, and economic potential - but also it's historical exploitation.

 If you read only one history of the state, make it Starr's California: A History (Modern Library Chronicles) 

                 ~ ~ ~
 Other volumes on my California Favorites Book Shelf

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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Old CA In Style - Flowers and Views at Windy Hill

Poppies and Yarrow in Bloom at Windy Hill
We've been hiking Windy Hill weekly, to help my husband get his legs ready for summer field work. 

That's just an excuse of course. 

Sure, the 7 mile loop from Portola Valley up to the top and back down is a great way to get in some hill climbing, but with wildflower season in full force here on the Peninsula, you're not hearing any complaints from local hikers, taking in the flores and colores. The vistas are fantastic as well. All along the way you're treated to sudden peaks at the top of the rounded hills, and excellent views of the San Franciso Bay below.

Less mobile folks can drive along Skyline Boulevard, and gain easy access to picnic tables at the top turn-around point. From there you can get some lovely vistas of the Pacific Ocean on one side of the road, and the Bay from the edge of the picnic area. You can also amble along a shortish side trail to the top of one of the rounded domes - perfect for flying a kite.  

And yes, you can take the pooch. Dogs are allowed on several Windy Hill trails. (If you start off in Portola Valley, check the dog signs carefully as there are multiple trail heads, some of which do not allow dogs).

BTW, Windy Hill is within athletic bike riding distance of Stanford University and Silicon Valley, though it's not a mountain bike area.

On my Flower-Lovin' Hiker's Bookshelf

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Hiking Windy Hill:Glorious Royal Purple Lupine

Windy Hill Arroyo Lupine
I identify with the Lupine Lady, Miss Rumphius, when it comes to lupines. I'd like to carpet the world with their glorious purples and blues. In addition to the Arroyo Lupine I saw hiking Windy Hill yesterday, I'm partial to the big silver-foliaged bush lupines, and miniature bi-color lupines with their little white throats.

If you not acquainted with  Miss Rumphius, I recommend her highly. Like many nature lovers, she wanted to preserve the wildflowers that once thrived before people crowded in. She did it by distributing seed. I haven't had a ton of luck when it comes to getting lupines established in my yard, even though it's supposed to be conducive to my heavy clay soil. I've also read that it's a natural when it comes to discouraging foraging deer. My neighborhood is too surburban for that to be a problem, but I live pretty close to people who do have issues with losing their yard crops to our local mule deer.

Before the Spaniards arrived in California, local folks ate lupine seed, though you needed to know what you were doing to remove the toxins. It makes sense that they are edible, once properly processed, since they are legumes - just like peanuts and other beans.

I'm not interested in snacking on them, just enjoying their brilliant royal purple robes every spring. The draw of Lupines in flower, is one of the things that keep me hiking California.

Also On my Flower-Lovin' Hiker's Bookshelf