We were in too much of a hurry on the drive up for me to take pictures, but I have to at least mention that my eyes were sated with lupines, great spreading fields and banks and roadsides full of them, on and on for two hours. The farmland, once we got toward the center of the state, was impressive with plantations of tiny tomato plants, onions in rows, and clouds of wild yellow mustard filling the ditches and anywhere the fields hadn't been plowed.
A smudge on my camera lens turned into a glaring spot on most of the photos I took (and yes, it was the real reason, I know now, for the mysterious brightness of that calendula I posted a while back), but we will just have to overlook this imperfection when it shows up, as in this shot showing how my socks happened to match the tiny violets that have sprung up all over N.G.'s back yard.
Four cats still co-exist in the household, where they line up for meals twice a day. The big eyes belong to Little Cat.
A highlight of the weekend was seeing some waterfalls that flow year-round. Near the parking area from which one sets off for the falls, we had to wait for a train to pass over the crossing, before we could get to the other side and leave our car.
Everyone thought that someone else had put the diaper bag and the baby backpack in the car, but no one had. We did without, and took turns carrying Baby C.
We had to walk close beside the railroad track for a mile to get to the scenic spot. As soon as we began hobbling over the rocky slope next to the rails, the train that had just passed reversed direction and slowly came back alongside us hikers. If I had any hobo blood in me, I'd have wanted to pull myself right up and go somewhere, anywhere, just for the romance of it.
The train was remarkably quiet, rocking gently on its tracks. Our boots made more noise crunching on the largest gravel I've ever seen. After five minutes or so of this unreal intimacy with the looming cars, they had rolled away behind us, and we could see the Sacramento River, down the mountain where the train had blocked our view.
We looked back to see this image of the locomotive backing away behind us.
The falls come right out of the hillside, not from a specific creek or spring, and fall into the river, which bends into a curve at that spot, so that it's not possible to catch the whole span of water falling. It's even hard when you stand in the middle of the river downstream, as we learned from one who has done it. So my photo shows about 1/4 of the total waterfall.
N. G. notices birds. She pointed this one out to me after she'd been watching him for a while. She'd also seen his kind before at this falls, and was pretty sure she'd seen it go under the water. When we got home she looked him up in the Peterson Guide and found out he is an American Dipper or Water Ouzel. And they do walk on the bottom of streams! My picture didn't come out as clear, so I give credit to my daughter for this one.
Hmm...well, my picture is so different, I think I'll post it as well. Click on it to enlarge it or you might miss my guy in all the glitter of the water spray.
The contented Grandma and Grandpa are walking back along the tracks in the westering sun.
I learned the name of a brilliant bush that startled me several times on my journey earlier this spring driving this route, it was so dramatic popping out of the grey-green hillsides. N.G. told me it is Redbud.
Frequent sightings of Redbud cheered our way home again yesterday, and we weren't too hurried to stop and capture it in one dimension.
It was a very full weekend. I haven't told half of what I saw and heard--but writing this fraction in a blog I hope will help at least some of it stick with me a while.