Posts Tagged With: learning



From Highway 49, Glory Hole Recreation District at New Mellones, a free hike was advertised for New Years Day, rain or shine. You can see people warmly dressed as we strangers met at the entrance station and introduced ourselves.


Dogs are allowed on the trails. We met two bikers and we saw evidence of horses using the trails. Walkers are asked to give way to horses, but we didn’t meet any.


Ranger Josh, guided the group and pointed out the growth patterns of this type of forest and explained in some detail the various flora and fauna.img_0455-copy

At the beginning of the Angels Creek Trail, the forest has a mixture of digger pines, black oak, live oak and thick underbrush.  Ranger Josh admitted the underbrush is a fire hazard with chemise and buck brush.


I was impressed by the girth of this giant manzanita specimen and the lichens and bright, green moss growing on it. Ranger Josh noted that the east side of the hills get most of the water. He told us that manzanita burns very hot and can burn up your stove, actually melt it if you use enough of it.


Angels Creek is low, in tune with the current drought situation. The trail is a 2.5 mile hike.


I looked at just about every mushroom, hoping to find a “buckskin”. (Not it’s scientific name.) The old Italians knew their mushrooms and would pick up large delicious mushrooms under manzanita habitat. I didn’t find a one. Deer feed on these, as do various insects.


I didn’t get many pictures of the hikers. Strung out in a line, it is hard to capture everyone. The trail is narrow in most places. Looking back and forth I believe we had about 30 people on the hike. The Calaveras side of the Recreation Area has seven trails of different lengths and are rated easy, moderate, challenging and so on. This trail is moderate.


When guided, Ranger Josh makes many stops and he even played a couple games with us. He formed us into a walking caterpillar, eyes closed, to just walk and tune your ears, nose and senses to the trail. If you are a lone hiker, you get the sense of quiet that being in a natural forest gives you.


The sun didn’t come out during our 3 hour hike. This tree, etched against the overcast made a nice contrast, with the west side of the hill in the distance showing meadows; more barren than the brushy east hillside.


At the end of the trail was a pretty view of the lake with an island showing that isn’t visible when the water level is normal. Drought conditions persist here in California though the recent rains are encouraging. The Calaveras side has seven trails and the  Tuolumne County, Tuttletown Recreation area also has seven trails.  Senior Citizens, with their pass can enter the hiking trails free at anytime of year. For most, there is a day use charge.

This was my first excursion with a new social singles group  and I got to meet the seven people at the end of the hike. Cindy is the key organizer and can be reached at this phone number if you are interested in joining. I didn’t ask permission to print her phone number, (no addresses are given), but her number was published in the newspaper ad for this hike, so here goes. 209-559-8517. The only qualification, you must be 50 or older. We picked up two new members at this event.


Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments


DSC06918 (Copy)

The world is full of junk keepers, yours truly,-guilty! For weeks I’ve been hunting a storage container. To pay to store things, at least for any long term, is just not cost affective. Smarter to buy a container and store items until you decide what to do with them, right? Storage containers have become very popular and they can be pricey. I went back and forth with several outfits, one guy tried to sell me a container full of rust. An Oakland outfit had beautiful containers, well maintained, but by the time we added in a regular door, a window for some light, paint, vent etc. it became too expensive. During the sales speech he made it clear that if it is 100* outside, it will be 120* inside. Do I really want to fry anything worth storing? i realized, a shipping container is NOT the answer for me.

My neighbors have a marvelous building made of styrofoam.  This is the door to their wine cellar. Made of styrofoam blocks. You can see the door is about 12 inches thick.

DSC06922 (Copy)

This is their garage. The same thick walls. The garage is under the house. Styrofoam? Holding up a house you might ask? Well, the blocks are hollow. They have re-enforcing rod in them. They are erected as a kit and go together like legos.  Then the four walls are poured full of concrete in one day. Six inches of concrete, six inches of styrofoam. Instant insulation. It maintains an even temperature summer and winter. One small portable electric heater, heats the entire house on extra chilly days.

DSC06923 (Copy)

This is a doorway to the house. They mounted an air conditioning unit that they rarely use, because they didn’t know how cool the house would stay. It is a true,  “green” house. The studs are steel.

DSC06924 (Copy)

The indoor walls are made of foam panels that can be sheet rocked or paneled just like conventional walls.

DSC06925 (Copy)

The outside can be wood or plastic, siding. This house has an off-center roof, to hold enough solar panels to power their original stick house and this new one. The house has a conventional wood truss roof, with shingles.  The kit for the house was $7200 seventeen years ago. The wood floor to mount it on, the roof, the concrete pour, electrical and plumbing, extra. Still, an economical way to build. This couple, he, a chef, her an airline agent, had no building experience. They put kit walls up themselves, in two days. A friend helped by making sure the metal rail that holds the steel studs, was perfectly straight.

Now I have to start all over again, to find a supplier for a cool green storage building. The downside is, I was hoping to have storage before my family reunion over July 4th weekend. Since I’ve  been on the road with Jim, my place gets pretty neglected. A lot of work ahead during this extended home-stay.

I love building. And I love learning something new. Now, I’m excited.






Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment


DSC05370 (Copy)

Busing overland to Marmaris on the Aegean Sea, we see apartment buildings with solar water. It amazes me how smart and progressive people are.

DSC05373 (Copy)

The terrain is mountainous in part, and beautiful. At one point I saw rock walls similar to those we see in the Motherlode. It reminded me of Calaveras County.

DSC05276 (Copy)

On our way to board our gulet, an old type sailing/motorized vessel, we stop at a Carpetium. Supported by the government to keep ancient hand crafts like this alive, we learn how the famous Turkish Rugs are hand made from silk and wool, a process perfected in Biblical times and handed down from generation to generation.DSC05301 (Copy)

Our first stop is the cocoon vat, where live cocoons are floated. If the worm dies the silk cocoon turns grey and unusable. They are floated in this vat and the worker takes a rough brush and grabs at them.DSC05303 (Copy)

She lifts up her brush with cocoons attached. You can see the many fibers in the teacher’s hand.

DSC05308 (Copy)

She then takes the fibers and puts them on a hook to the left of the vat.

DSC05311 (Copy)

The hooks are attached to a machine that winds the silken threads into a batt. DSC05310 (Copy)

The batts are then ready to be dyed. The teacher challenged us to try and break a strand of silk with our hands. It looks fragile but no one could break it.DSC05279 (Copy)

This woman draws and colors in the designs. Most are traditional, some commissioned, some just new innovations to try for something different.DSC05316 (Copy)

Natural dyes are used for the silk and wool.The back as beautiful as front

Hand made rugs are almost as beautiful on the back as they are the front.

DSC05315 (Copy)

Silk weaving can be so precise, a talented worker can make a picture like this beautiful wall hanging featuring Ephesus as it once looked.

DSC05332 (Copy)

Pure wool rugs are much coarser and the patterns are not as precise and fine. They still have a wonderful feel, richness and quality to them.

DSC05281 (Copy)

We watched the weavers work from a small design. It is a matter of counting threads. It takes great dedication to your craft to stick with one rug for over a year or more. This is pure silk in a very fine design.DSC05290 (Copy)

All of us were invited to try weaving. The worker slips her fingers under two strands of the warp, she separates them, inserts a strand of silk or wool, makes a simple loop and knot and drags it down to the bottom of the carpet. Here Joyce B. gives it a try.

DSC05296 (Copy)

You can see a nearly complete row of dyed fibers across the width of this carpet. This weaver does one color at a time. She will come back and fill in the white.

DSC05297 (Copy)

After completing several rows, the worker cuts the excess threads off with a wide, flat bladed scissors.

DSC_0145 (Copy)

I’ve made both hooked and braided rugs and I stand in awe of this craft. These women work unbelievably fast; it was hard to see what lightening fast fingers were doing.

DSC05351 (Copy)

In the show room, the crew rolled out 50 to 60 carpets for us to examine. He describes the types. You notice they lift heavy carpets with a double fold at the corners, so not to damage the carpet.DSC05353 (Copy)

The teacher explains the nap of the carpet.DSC05358 (Copy)

One of the workers gives a little show before we get to think about whether we want to buy something or not.

DSC05343 (Copy)

To demonstrate how old some of the carpet patterns are, he showed us a portrait from the London National Gallery of England with a carpet pattern called USHAK draped over the table when a peace agreement was signed between England and Spain. I liked that pattern and color which is more red than in the photo of a photo.

DSC05356 (Copy)

Owen liked this Tree of Life pattern.

DSC_0184 (Copy)

I ended up with two, the pattern I liked is visible on the left. One similar, to the right which I bought instead, along with the Tree of life. Ouch, I said after dickering the price down. I won’t tell you how much I paid. Expensive, but they last for a hundred years, with care. I hope my kids take good care of them. And, the rug makers tell you, walk on them. Don’t hang them on your wall. They react well to use.

DSC05368 (Copy)

They fed us an interesting picnic lunch in their yard.

DSC05367 (Copy)

Everything was tasty. Owen, of course, ordered the chicken shish.

We move on to the Gulet after lunch.

To see an album of pictures, click the link below:


Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment


DSC03600 (Copy)

From the window of my car, I took this photo of the mist clinging to the pines on my way to Rogue River, Oregon on Tuesday. My son and I went to arrange for prep work on re-building my place that had to be demolished last year. Photos from the windows aren’t great but it was a beautiful drive all through the mountains.

DSC03603 (Copy)

At a rest stop I got a shot of this common little bird. Pretty boring stuff, of course, but my camera always wants to capture everything I see, so I can see it again. And, there is a point this.

DSC03605 (Copy)

At the property, Neighbor Phil was passing by with five of his dogs in his all terrain vehicle. He joined a gaggle of us talking on the driveway. Deanna Granacki, Stephanie Khrone, Bill Regal, and over a period of two hours, Pat Murphy, and Tim Hart, two contractors we had appointments with. It was really fun to talk to my old neighbors I hadn’t seen in a long time.

DSC03607 (Copy)

Phil drove me up to his house to say hello to Ginnie, and check out all the work they’ve done on their property since Phil retired.

DSC03608 (Copy)

And, it was all downhill from there. At this point, I didn’t know it.

DSC03609 (Copy)

This is supposed to be a photo of Doug and Deanna. But, no, it is “downhill”. I later determined, when I went into the house at Ginnie’s, their new shepherd puppy, (not one of the five on the ATV) jumped on me and I must have hit something on my camera buttons that put my camera on a 10 second timer.

DSC03610 (Copy)

From that point on, none of my pictures turned out. Bummer. I went to take a picture of some gorgeous yellow crocuses. Then moved to a lesser grouping of purple crocuses. Since I stayed on a subject for 10 seconds. I got the shot purple crocuses.

DSC03615 (Copy)

The same for this photo out the window on the way home. Not the photo I was trying for, but I had my camera focused to take another, and this is what I got. I will say the drive up and back in the overcast was beautiful, the misty cloud formations and verdant hills, patterned fields.  I tried to get a picture of the lowest I’ve ever seen Lake Shasta. Nada! Well, the lesson here, is bring your book, read directions. It was in the car I realized my photos hadn’t turned out but I couldn’t remember how to get it off timer.  I hate it when I do stuff like that. But, the trip was very productive.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments


DSC08158 (Copy)

The Lyme Academy of Art is in the village of Lyme which is typical of what I’ve been seeing here. Neat white houses, white fences, beautiful trees. A lovely, peaceful village. Typically,  if you are visiting the coast, you’ll see coastal paintings, boats, seascapes etc. In New England, I expected some neat white houses. An academy has a different perspective. But, I’m ahead of myself. The first gallery is the faculty gallery in which I found the painting above.

DSC08160 (Copy)

The only painting of flowers we saw was also faculty.

DSC08161 (Copy)


DSC08169 (Copy)

It didn’t take long to realize that the human figure is emphasized as a starting point in the academy and that is how it should be.

DSC08173 (Copy)

DSC08174 (Copy)

These two lesson drawings by a student show the intensity of studying every muscle, limb, joint, and gestures and how they interact under clothing.

DSC08205 (Copy)

The students draw from live models. Two student’s paintings of a woman sitting in a chair.

DSC08206 (Copy)

How different they are.

DSC08200 (Copy)

The students are encouraged to each do a self-portrait. This woman discovered her mother in her self-portrait.

DSC08196 (Copy)

.DSC08182 (Copy)

This self-portrait was pastel and under glass so the picture has some interfering glare.

DSC08180 (Copy)

Also under glass. They are all so different and quite fascinating to me.

DSC08179 (Copy)

One thing that bothered me about the exhibit was the number of macabre paintings like this:  bloody dead bodies, hazmat figures, holocaustic.

DSC08202 (Copy)


DSC08208 (Copy)

Faceless. I find them unpleasant and wonder?  Art reflects society, and these are our young people. Is this a reflection of what they subconsciously think about as a future?

DSC08149 (Copy)

This curious painting has so much going on. A woman swimming while pulling a boat with an unfriendly looking chap in the boat. A kid sticking his tongue out at an older woman walking with a cane. The girl behind her maybe assisting the boy with the blanket as though they are ready to toss it over the woman. It makes the viewer question the subject with an angelic figure on an island in the background. It fascinated me as well as puzzled me.

DSC08168 (Copy)

Even this bucolic campsite scene has a woman looking kind of brazen and out-of-place, smoking her cigarette in the woods.

DSC08154 (Copy)

There are a lot of tasteful nudes in the exhibit.

DSC08192 (Copy)

I particularly liked this one.

DSC08147 (Copy)

There were few happy paintings, but this garrulous, fantasy crowd was appealing. We are probably looking at  a future children’s book illustrator. Some of the paintings begged the questiion. How are they planning to make a living with their art?

DSC08210 (Copy)

Compared to 2010, when I visited the academy, I guess I would have to say I was disappointed with the new crop of student’s work. I would loved to have had such an opportunity this academy offers. It is a four-year degree program and costs $22,000 to attend for one year.


Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments


DSC04115 (Copy)

Two days ago, we visited Vermillion Ville and watched part of a three hour Cajun Jam. The way it works is the old masters have a musical jam session with young people wanting to learn. The woman in turquoise is leading this particular song. She has a band of her own. And the students are watching her every move very carefully.

DSC04121 (Copy)

And then the student gets to show what he or she can do. There is a lot of praise for these young kids who come to learn and hope to hold their own with the masters who learned at their daddies knees in a similar fashion. Realize, there is no sheet music to follow.  The girl on the left plays guitar and accordion and sings. She has a lovely voice.


This young man, I believe his name is Jacob, was pointed out as the best young fiddle player of the novices. He has attended jam sessions for quite some time, apparently. The established musicians come to help students EVERY Saturday. Some kids travel long distances to attend these sessions because they are invaluable for young musicians to save this Cajun tradition.

21 year old

This young man, 21 years old, waited his turn to sit in.

21 year old who does very well.

When he got his chance, he sang and played very well. It amazes me that there are five accordions, four guitars and nine fiddlers all playing the same song at the same time with no leader or sheet music.

listening intently

When August Broussard plays and sings, he has a strong voice, and the students listen and try to follow and sometimes watch carefully every move he makes.

The youngest fiddler get's his solo chance.

When this young fiddle player played his solo, he appointed himself very well. It’s tough to play the fiddle and then sing with it too.

The attention makes him nervous and he covers his face with his hat.

Then, red-faced and embarrassed, he pulled his hat over his head. The audience is there for him and they appreciate how hard it is to be on the “hot seat”. And he will someday be a great musician.

Dean Chase also solo's. He chooses an Appalachian tune the others don't know.

And this second youngest jammer, I believe his name was Dean Chase. He chose an Appalachian song that no one was familiar with. He played several phrases before they “caught it” and played with him. His ear and face were bright red, but he held his place with the jammers. It is hard to do. Commendable.DSC04116 (Copy)

I loved the jam and wish I lived close enough to watch it often.  I caught some video and you can listen to it at the links below:

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blog at