Posts Tagged With: beauty


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The Peace Arch is a meaning filled place, the gardens expansive and of great beauty. Both the Canadian and U.S. side have a flag in flowers. The maple leaf flag is very showy.

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The gardens are spectacular and expansive.  Our little cameras, without the height to get the beauty and drama cannot do them justice.

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Jim is hiding on the bridge. You have to enlarge the photo to see him.


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Giant rhubarb, a plant new to me. So tropical looking and not edible. One stalk could make ten pies.

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You have to be good to get a piece of your sculpture in the garden. Entrants came from all over the world, and locally,too, of course.  Oakland California, Washington, Hong Kong to name a few.

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reminded me of M.C. Escher

Looking like origami birds, the artist put them together in a similar way as an M.C. Escher drawing.

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It was hard to pick a favorite, but this overhead arch entrance to a garden was high on my list.

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I really loved this form, but you couldn’t take a picture without getting reflections. Jim enjoyed trying to get certain reflections from it.

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I love benches and this one, though partly made from plants, fascinates me. It is a permanent part of the garden and was here when we visited in 2009,

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Washington has rainforest type moisture and grows what I might consider indoor plants- outside. None of these can take a hard freeze.

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I haven’t seen a fuchsia in thirty years.  In my neck of the woods you won’t even see them in the nurseries.  The parks complex covers about 40 acres. It was really fun for me to spend a couple of hours enjoying a grand garden.

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The late rains have brought out the wildflowers and we thought it would be a shame to miss them with the lens. So out, we went. I admire every year this knobby hilltop when it get’s taken over by swaths of white and yellow in its green meadows.

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We crossed the bridge to Tuolumne County and noticed the swaths of purple taking over the barren banks of the reservoir.

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The purple is most likely a combo of lupines and purple vetch, above. The lupines are big and showy this year.DSC04301 (Copy)

And they seem to like the same soil as these small yellow California poppies.

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It seems so sweet of them to cover ugly spots and beautify the scraggliest places along the road. Wouldn’t we feel cheated without them in the spring?

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A close up of the poppy blanket.

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Here and there is this orange flower.

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Some pretty blue bells.

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And a buttery yellow flower that grows bushlike.

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Two types of insignificant, tiny, white flowers cover the forest floor.

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Unless you look closely, you don’t notice the difference.

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What they lack in size they make up for in numbers. These tiny beauties and cover acres of ground on a hillside, and make themselves tall in the shade of trees.

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Looking back at the river from our hillside perch, we saw about five red tail hawks combing the area for food.

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Graceful wings, just there to offer more beauty to our day.

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Man made signs, have  beauty too.  We returned to Calaveras County, a day well spent. Tomorrow, I’ll try and figure out how to provide a  slide show of all the pictures. It will probably be my last blog before leaving for Turkey. I heard from our guide today and his information has rearranged my packing and what I will bring.





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I have some old books and the book seller came by yesterday. He left with about 10 books and gave me $10.  More contemporary stuff. My old stuff, well, none of it is first edition, or signed or in great shape, or by famous authors. There are millions of books out there I’ve learned.  With the internet you can get some I have for a penny each. I was feeling a bit disappointed yesterday after this nice, honest gentleman left, but my old stuff is precious to me and I can only give it away to someone who would really appreciate it. And, a buck here and a buck there  does not express appreciation to me.  This old poultry book has gold gilt on the cover and page edges. Inside are beautiful artist plates of beautiful chickens.  The book is in very worn shape. Valueless.

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This lovely book of poetry/philosophy fits into that same category.  I went out on the internet and looked for things to do with old books, thinking I’d find some fun, preservational way to use them.  I found ideas like tear out the pages and make a bird house, or make paper roses from the pages, sprayed to shine. Or cut out a portion of an illustration and make jewelry. Fun ideas, but they don’t preserve a book. I began to think that some of the covers I have would make great floor tiles or insulation glued to my storage shed walls. But, what about these old beauties?

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Well, this morning I went to on-line booksellers and looked at books. ABE.books has videos on books with gilt, embroidered covers, and other beauties that people covet. I decided that those I love should be treasured and displayed. It gave me heart. And, I found another site with ideas on using old books. I long ago learned to make wallpaper out of magazines. I’m not ready to part with these or some of the more contemporary books I have that can serve another use.  I guess the answer to my question is appreciate them.



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Four intrepid adventurers arrived at the base of the 2nd steepest tram ride in the world. We watched as this gondola full of passengers returned. You can’t see the destination at the top from here.

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As we rise above the valley and pass the 2nd tower you can see by the cables how straight up you go, with 80 people sharing a gondola. The gondola has a revolving floor, one of three such trams in the world. These are the largest cars of the three systems and since the floor is moving you have a view of what is behind you, in front of you and to the sides.DSC03232 (Copy)

The sun hit a pinnacle called the lily on the right. Straight up and down.

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Because you revolve, your view is a constant play of shadow and sunlight. Burnished tips of this evergreen growing out of solid rock as they do, attract the eye. Try and plant one in rock and you fail.

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The mountain plants and minerals continually change. The gondola looks in shadow as though a man is standing on top of it and riding it down.DSC03237 (Copy)

Minerals in the rock produce surprising patches of color. As the floor rotates you get a few chances to take pictures through two open windows. But most of the pictures have to be taken through glass, and always while moving.

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Plants get quite stunted as you near the summit of 8,516 feet above the valley floor.

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There was a small patch of ice in the shade at the summit. The park shows a film of the recreational opportunities of this unusual place, a cool place for folks to retreat during hot summers, 54,000 acres of mountain forest, walking trails, tobogganing and winter play in the snow in some year. What’s not to like?

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Spectacular views. A restaurant, gift shop and small museum. DSC03265 (Copy)

Bruce is handicapped and this is a comfortable place for people in wheel chairs or unable to walk stairs. Elevators and ramps bring you everywhere. We were warned that the temperature is 30 degrees cooler than the valley. Pat and I wore extra clothing, but Bruce and Jim decided they were tough and didn’t need anything but their shorts and T-shirts.

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Mineral coloration, the yellow and two bright orange streaks fascinate me.

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On the return trip I heard someone behind me say to her partner: “I thought you were afraid of heights?.” He answered: “No, I ‘m afraid of falling. I feel safe in the gondola.” If you visit Palm Springs, this is a lovely way to stay cool and spend an afternoon.

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We had dinner at Elmers, a restaurant I remembered from somewhere in our travels. We weren’t disappointed. Excellent food, average prices. That was also borne out by the surprising pictures on the wall.

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I guess you could say good enough for presidents…DSC03340 (Copy)

…and kings.

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…and the rich and famous. There were many pictures of the glitterati here.

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We played a dice game in the dark wearing headlamps. Remember the old Coleman lanterns? The headlamps are very comfortable and cast plenty of light, though I took this shot with a flash. The game they brought is called Farkle, or Zilch. I’ve heard it by other names as well.

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Jim drove us to a canyon overlook with miles and miles of desert at a place he holds dear. He spent time here with the WINS, a singles group that would gather the wagons, so to speak, and light a huge bonfire and enjoy the beautiful skies, the peace the quiet and serenity that you find in special places.

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He and others from the group would 4-wheel among the hillocks on the shallow canyon floor and to me it is just a desecration of nature. I don’t appreciate the tracks or dust of such a sport, so while he looked fondly, I walked the canyon rim looking for pretty rocks and taking pictures.

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What is nice about places like this, right off the California highway S 22, is there are multiple spots anyone can pull over to enjoy the views. Each canyon will be different. The Salton Sea is visible in the background, but barely since it was slightly hazy on this day.

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The light doesn’t do its magic as the sun moves across the crags and fissures as it does in the Grand Canyon, but these small, canyons have an appeal of their own. It surprised me that we didn’t see a lizard, a bird or anything alive. I’m sure they exist, but not to any excess.

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Had we had time, I think hiking the canyons would be interesting. The pictures are better in a full screen slide-show. I took 39 of them, if you’d like to see them.

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I like that our lifestyle allows us to seek out places like this and enjoy  dinner with a view. As night clamped down, the haze prevented any stars from showing. I got up twice during the night to see if it cleared, but only a sliver of a moon peeked through a gray haze.

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Before light the next morning, some bright stars were out along with a heavy wind. I set my camera for night scene, but it just isn’t good enough to capture a star.

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At one time, the poinsettias only connection with Christmas was their appealing bright red color. They were rare, especially in Northern climes. Now, poinsettias are as common as the Christmas tree. They have been hybridized to be perfectly formed and multicolored. Their color lingers and cheers me all through the gray days of winter.


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This is a quilt block.

As a theme, I think the artists and photographers did them justice.


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