Friday, June 30, 2017

Hope Valley

Not far from Tahoe, but it felt so far away... isolated and without either development or many people.  It is a dead end road and we drove to the end to see as much as possible.  Gorgeous, but lots of bugs and the river that runs through it was too full and fast for fun play.  Beautiful, but a bit disappointing if you are a pre-teen who is interested in more than gorgeous solitude.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

CA History: Tallac Historic Site

A little Tahoe history, starting with the Washoe, the local Native Americans.  I particularly liked the gardens and the many butterflies we saw.  It's nice to be in a place that is dog friendly, too....

Grinding rock
Traditional Washoe structure

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Emerald Bay Camping

Utterly perfect and super fun!  Stunningly gorgeous, perfect weather, great company, and lots of great silliness together.  We even  saw (but didn't get photos of) a majestic Golden Eagle flying back and forth from the general vicinity of our site across Emerald Bay.  Fantastic!

First fire she started all on her own, start to finish.  It was perfect!

View of Lake Tahoe from our campsite
Fun in the water, which was actually a comfortable tempterature

Looking down on Emerald Bay.  Our site is at a distance to the right.

Absolutely the best fun, on the water on gorgeous mornings with these two.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Religious Educators Workshop

In the meantime, I had my own class to attend - a two day workshop, actually, designed for high school religious education instructors.  I want to make next year's class for K and the other parish middle-schoolers more relevant and dynamic and was there gathering ideas.  How wonderful to be with such incredible, experienced, dedicated educators, all of whom had emphasized most of their teaching on social justice issues.  It was exciting and inspiring!

Math, Probability, and Game Class

Our thanks to a friend for arranging this!  G got lessons from a gifted math teacher and had enormous fun to boot.  At the end, she came home with her own game, including a board that they devised together, cards to draw, and rules.  Awesome experience.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Praying Mantis Obsession

Me, yes, I am obsessed.  This guy is fascinating and today I finally saw it eat one of the aphids we deliver fresh every day.  In the first photo below it is munching on one like it is an ear of corn.  I'm not satisfied with the photos though, so I'm going to keep trying.  It gets visibly bigger every day!  When I reached in to see if it would climb on my finger, instead it leaned back, reached up, and punched at me, reminding me somehow of the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz.  "Put 'em up, put 'em up!"  In the last photo below, it was climbing up toward me and looks almost curious.  Maybe?

Who wants to be an entomologist?

Sunday, June 25, 2017

CA History: Las Pasados at the Presidio

This is a celebration/commemoration of the settlement of the village of Yerba Buena in 1776, which occurred just a few weeks before the Declaration of Independence was signed.  A Spanish expedition that consisted primarily of Juan Bautista de Anza and  30+ families walked for five months from what is now central Mexico in order to create this settlement.  Quite a story!  The Presidio settlement was located between two creeks and just inland from a long-established Ohlone settlement right on the bay (inland a bit now from the current coastline).

Juana Briones is one of the more fascinating figures from that era.  She sounds like a smart and tough woman who lived in what is now San Francisco through the Ohlone, Spanish, Mexican, and then US occupations of the area, which became San Francisco and its peninsula.  She would have seen all kinds of international vying for influence from the Ohlone, Spanish, British, Russians, and US.

We had actually been to this event before, but decided to go again because G doesn't remember it well. Indeed, I think that with an actor there impersonating Juana Briones this time, more performances, and more natural history included, it has even improved!  It is an educational festival full of information and activities about local California history, even pre-history (Colma).  We saw Costanoan dancers (part of the Ohlone), some living history with actors playing Juana Briones and Father Junipero Serra, dancing by Ballet Folklorico, and an active archeological dig with recent and unexpected discoveries (i.e. an unexplained adobe wall).  In addition, G made an adobe brick, both girls decorated Spanish tiles, we saw a demonstration of tortilla making, G ground corn in the traditional style, G made a book in Spanish about Juana Briones, K took a test matching local plants to their seeds, we smelled Yerba Buena, and more.  Definitely a worthwhile stop.

Grinding corn for tortillas (And now this  photo of her doing this six years ago, below:)

Same activity, six years ago.

"Juana Briones' on the right

Ballet Folklorico dancers

Making adobe
 The archeological dig is pretty interesting, started three years ago under a lawn where they found the original buildings, many of which had collapsed in the 1906 earthquake.  They even found an adobe wall, built outside of the framework of where they thought that the building was, so the discoveries are ongoing (and it is unusual to find adobe that survives, since usually it washes away).  We learned how the original buildings were built on Serpentine rock so that the moisture could flow underneath and then adobe that was about a yard thick was stacked on top. We saw where the original creeks had been, and the original Ohlone village.  Lots of new information to add to our continuous studies of Ca history.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Fang Returns

Actually, Fang seems to have friends - we have a nest of garter snakes that we find occasionally and they are pretty darn comfortable just wandering across the yard.  One day recently, G almost stepped right on one of them!  They are all 'Fang' or 'Fang Jr,' which isn't exactly scientific, but whatever.  They have beautiful colors and it is nice to see wildlife so close to home (plus the black phoebes over the front door, now with a second nest of chicks!)

Friday, June 23, 2017

Backpacking at Pt. Reyes Day 2

Showing that I am a true country music geek, when I see this my heart starts to sing, "And the view I love the most... is from my front porch looking in!"

Morning visitors, walking right by our site.  These are mule deer, but we had seen elk in the distance the day before!

This one was on our tent.  Tiny! 


Super love!

Our footprints are the only ones in the sand

Sand art (thanks, God!)

Awesome people, these two!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Backpacking at Point Reyes Day 1

An escape from the heat, fortuitously scheduled.  A relatively short drive and yet... it feels like the end of the world, with few people, lots of animal life, and such natural beauty.

Looking closely at her expression, it is clear that maybe that kid on the left isn't loving that I dragged her on another backpacking trip....
 ... but then it was so peaceful and gorgeous!  We all need that.  And then when we arrived at the campsite, some previous, wonderful, camper had hung a rope around an awesomely huge tree and the fun really began...

Our tent.  Nice weather until the sun went down, then fog and wind, which was actually a welcome relief from the heat of the week!