Wildflowers

It seems like every day there is a new wildflower popping up around here. There are so many that some areas look like they were planted on purpose because they are THICK with a variety of flowers! God is a great gardener. 😉

I don’t have time to work on a Charlotte Mason style / artist / sketchbook / nature journal right now, so I catalogue what I find via pictures and pop them into a Microsoft Word document with info.  Hopefully someday I’ll have more time to whip out the watercolors and make a physical journal. At least for now I’m learning the names of everything as well as the common uses, or if something’s edible, etc. I really enjoy taking at least a little time to observe and learn about nature! It really recharges my “batteries,” especially when I’ve been working on the computer for hours everyday (making an awesome grammar curriculum / workbook for you all)! P.S. Don’t judge the grammar in my post, lol…This is the casual Jenn, not the working Jenn. 😉

We don’t have the $$ to buy one of those fancy closeup lenses for my Nikon, but my husband managed to score a little screw-on lens (that goes over another lens) that seems to do a pretty good job. I took it out for the first time the other day and it beat trying to take pictures with my tablet. Here are a few pictures I took of things that are on my property for my “plant catalogue / guide.”

We have two types of wild roses (Nootka and Woodsii). They are everywhere! There are a few huge thickets with lovely blossoms, as well as tons of bushes in random places. I can’t believe how fast they grow. We’ve had bushes pop up on bare ground that are nearly 2 feet tall already. I love both colors:

We have yarrow growing everywhere. It has pretty, feathery leaves and clusters of white flowers:

This is cinquefoil (Potentilla). I love the lemony-yellow petals.

Lupine is everywhere right now. We have a small bit on our property, with new plants popping up all the time. They grow in clusters and sometimes you see fields full!

I was so thrilled to find thimble berries growing in a section of our property! They make these huge white flowers and giant leaves that look like huge maple leaves. I can’t wait to eat the delicious berries later in the season!

I think this is orange hawkweed. It really stands out!

These Mariposa lilies are all over. They are so delicate looking and totally at home in the forest:

We have a small bit of hairy vetch. It’s everywhere else in abundance. I love seeing huge clusters of it along the roads. Vetch is in the pea family and is a nitrogen fixer. It’s good for the soil!

I believe this is narrow-leaf collomia from the phlox family:

We have wild honeysuckle!!! This is stuff people PAY for to put in their yards and it grows wild in mine, lol.

We also have rosy pussytoes (or cat’s paw). I think it’s such a unique and lovely flower that looks like a little bouquet:

This is a blue damselfly. They are pretty common and flit around here and there, along with dragonflies and an abundance of butterflies. They add a little extra splash of mobile color. 😉

I love having so many wildflowers and pretty things growing on our property! I love that the rain waters them and they look beautiful without a lick of work. 😉 I can’t wait to see what emerges next week and the week after that! It’s like a non-stop show around here!

Summer fires

It’s been very hot and dry where we live – which means there have been quite a few grass fires. We recently saw one and my husband (who is a photojournalist) got some great pictures:

grass fire

When you look at this one close-up, it looks like a watercolor painting because of the waves of heat distorting everything:

grass fire

fire

fire

fire

Yosemite

We took the kids to Yosemite recently. Here are a few pictures from our visit.

The Merced River tumbling over rocks: (I was so pleased when my husband taught me how to use shutter speed to achieve that silky slow-mo water look!!):

Yosemite

Emily’s boots in the icy snow:

boots

The lower half of Yosemite Falls:

Yosemite falls

A view of the top portion of Yosemite Falls:

Yosemite Falls

A cliff near Yosemite Falls shrouded in mist:

Yosemite

Fire Photography

My husband does some stringer work (as a photojournalist) for both of our local papers. I just wanted to share a picture he took that I thought was awesome.

Fire

And here’s another:

Fire

Our Trip to Solvang

We recently took a trip to Solvang, a little town in Southern California. It’s a cute little “tourist trap” kind of place that looks like a busy little village in Denmark. Emily said it looks like it’s a town out of fairytale! I always enjoy seeing little bits of our country (and the world) via other’s blogs, so I’m sharing some pictures of our visit below.

Solvang bakery

One of the reasons we wanted to go to Solvang was to get a cherry boat from Olsen’s bakery. We drove like 5 hours to find out they were sold out! LOL! However, I thoroughly enjoyed the delicious goodie pictured below instead. It was some sort of rich concoction of whipped cream, flaky pastry, chocolate and nuts. Mmmmm…

Solvang bakery pastry

Solvang

Solvang windmill

Solvang restaurant

Solvang

Slovang antique shop

This picture reminded me of the book: The Wheel on the School

Solvang storks

Solvang shop

Slovang store

Looking through a window at rows of goodies:

Solvang goodies

Solvang

I really enjoyed all of the detail on the buildings. Look at the wooden shingles on this roof:

Solvang roof

Beautiful brickwork:

Solvang bricks

Solvang tower bells

Solvang statue

There were beautiful flowers everywhere…

flower

Solvang bench

Solvang Restaurant

Solvang

Flower

Just because….

flower

I like playing with my new camera!