Wednesday, February 26, 2014

another place and time

friday, soon as work was done, the truck already packed and waiting, we left for california's central valley,
and the carrizo plain. maybe that sounds familiar? visiting the carrizo plain national monument is a favorite here, i've written about this place many times. do you remember the kit foxes we saw last month?! we thought we would try and find them again...

arriving after dark, to an empty campground, we fell asleep under a cloudless star filled sky. 

next day brought sunshine and many things to see... raptors of all kinds, red tailed, ferruginous and prairie hawks, kestrels...

western bluebirds

color amid the endless brown, california is suffering it's worst drought in hundreds of years

a western fence lizard enjoying the warmth of the sun

we are at a native american heritage site, these are chumash indian bedrock mortars (grinding holes)

more grinding holes

we found wild melons, dried in the sun

painted rock is in the distance, to enter the area a permit must be obtained. after paying a small fee online, an email is sent containing the code for a locked gate. it's a short hike, approximately a half mile to reach the site

inside the rock, it's so quiet and still, the only movement an occasional raven soaring above and the whoosh whoosh whoosh of it's wings

my totem, the white owl, was not home today. i found these feathers that were left behind. wishing i could keep them, but only photos are allowed, nothing may be removed from this sacred site

we looked at the ancient rock art, we sat in contemplation, then eventually noticed there were people arriving on the trail, we should leave, let others experience the serene spiritual essence of painted rock too

on to the visitors center where we checked in with our friend, jackie. she tells us of the most recent happenings in carrizo, we add our sightings to the wildlife board (so far no foxes, but we have seen: pronghorn antelope, western bluebirds and a ferruginous hawk, prairie hawk). something else catches my interest, there is a notice, a guided hike was being offered to the ranch i wrote about here. and there was a new to us book, which included information on the ranch, a book about the carrizo's history, the people who immigrated  and settled here. the author would be part of the tour too. we learned our friend jackie had contributed to the book, and we listened in fascination as she shared some of her memories of living on the plains. including learning why the historic name of carrizo was originally carrisa.

we bought the book, 'another place & time' and booked the tour, which is in april, and headed out again. on the perimeter of the national monument, it's possible to buy property. curiosity then led to this...

the very tiny white speck in the center of the photo is the cabin (and land) we are dreaming of...

nearby is a small store and motel, neither are ever open when we pass by, but we always have to look. let's go see! we said. this time the store was open, but unfortunately not for long, it's closing for good soon. the shelves were nearly bare, but i didn't really notice anyway. what i saw were several large framed pieces hanging on the wall. dozens of carefully arranged native american indian artifacts. OH!

an elderly gentleman rancher came inside to offer assistance, 'store is closing, i'll make you a good deal'.  can you tell me about these?! i pointed to the frames on the wall. our new friend was pleased to share his collection and his memories with us. we spent over an hour learning about how r had been searching for arrowheads, knifes and tangs on the plains for almost sixty years. he said this was a very small part of his collection. i asked if it would be okay if i photographed them (with my phone), when he said, here! and he took one of the frames off the wall. gently peeling off three of the pieces, two tangs and one arrowhead, he placed them in my hand. he wanted me to have them. 

we thanked r and shook his hand (we took photos together, such a sweet man!) and then r asked for our phone number. he invited us to his ranch in the valley, where he said he had a collection of artifacts numbering in the 100's maybe thousands. he wanted to give me more. we have plans to return soon

a horned lark

we couldn't stop thinking of how different this trip had been. we'd come for solitude and wildlife, and were deeply moved by our encounters with people, jackie, and r, our camp neighbors who we really enjoyed meeting and talking with, the cabin dream...

now we are standing in the middle of a lake. a lake completely dry. all that is left is salt, in various forms, dusty, powdery, and really really crunchy

there is chuck, taking photos, getting the good light, enjoying the view

we were no longer alone in the campground, but we were alone with our thoughts of a good great day

up early with the sun, peaceful, quiet

wide open views and hot coffee made by chuck   :) :) :)

time to head home...

bye foxes, we'll be back...

these dusty dirt roads

 remind of travel through namibia

hee hee, bye san joaquin antelope ground squirrel

one last look...

and since this trip had been a lot of firsts, a stop at 'the place' in ventucopa, was in order too, we always pass it and this time we stopped. elk burgers!

i hope you enjoyed this visit to california's plains,  thank you so much for coming along!
xxx lori

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

follow your arrow

i finished my 'follow your arrow' mystery knit along shawl with ysolda! it's a bit wild, the colors!  but kind of part of the mystery and experimenting, this was SO MUCH FUN! a very first mystery kal for me. suddenly mondays became something extra to look forward to, each clue was released this day, there were five in all. i so enjoyed reading through the threads in the raverly group set up just for this. every week would start the same, jump out of bed, check for the new clue, go to work (thinking about which clue to choose, there were two options within each) and hurry home to begin knitting. i'm going to miss it!  

joining with ~ yarn along

lately a lot of fun (and not so much) has been happening. i went wine tasting with good friends again, up to the santa ynez valley, santa barbara's wine country. we met the sweetest puppy at one of the winery's, saw LOTS of ducks in a nearby pond, and found handmade cork ponies.  visited a new to us fantastic restaurant, and i found pom pom yarn! somehow the pom pom's knit right into the fabric, we'll see... the pom pom party continues here. hee hee. the not so fun thing that happened was i've not been feeling well. better now, thankfully. flowers are blooming and birds are singing, clogs are getting broken in :)  it is feeling very much like spring.

* more africa here!

xxxxxxxxxxx lori