Summer & Fall - posted in November 2020

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The following is an assortment of images taken between July & December. 

Summer 2020 was hot, as usual, with plenty of 100+ deg. F days, in July & August, with 90 degree days continuing well into the fall. 

July 

note - you can enlarge any part of a picture by left-clicking in and then out again. 

bluebird box & big Oak, along the creek Jack Hill Park &  the rusticated bridge afternoon light Sunflower, or Helianthus
  Goldy Honey Bear, grown from seed in a large pot creek & trestle      

August 

During August & September we had a few stretches of 4 or 5 days where we experienced terrible air quality. These were due to regional fires, the closest one being at Vacaville, not far away, 'as the crow flies'. 

On the worst days, smoke filled the valley & extended into the Sierra Nevada as far as Lake Tahoe Basin and Carson Pass. On the worst days, PM 2.5 was in the unhealthy 100 - 200+ ppm range. 

In September I was keeping an eye on local Sierra Nevada PM 2.5 conditions, mainly on a monitor at Kirkwood, because of a possible camping trip in mid-October with John & Kim.  In the end, by October the air quality at Blue Lakes returned to normal, and El Dorado National Forest rangers said we could camp there, but use of a propane stove, or lantern, and campfires were all prohibited.  Up at 9,000 ft. it gets to freezing temps at night, and there's no way to go w/o a fire & hot food.  (See photos of our last camping trip at Blue Lakes in 2018.)  

In summary, my summer & fall consisted of being indoors more than I wanted, but I tracked the local AQMD site for PM2.5 readings & took advantage each time the data dropped under 100 ppm to get in a walk or bike ride.  

Elk Grove creek bike trail only had four honey bear flowers the worst day in August    

September

fast camera speed slow speed watering trees &  and perennials pineapple sage & early girl tomato
  Cranesbill geranium fairy lily only blooms in September cosmo  
friendly goat at the back fence the worst day in September back east type of weeping willow    
  Camden Lakes & bike trail      

Near the end of September, blue skies returned and it was greatly appreciated.    

October

worm on geranium stem local trail along the UPRR tracks Camden Lakes again pineapple sage in a planter box

November

In November the weather finally flipped to us having cool days & cold nights, and, all of the regional wildfires were out.  

Rock Purslane again (see Spring photos)   out front Maple spring bloom in the fall
  Narcissus, probably  

mid-November

25 year old Pacific Sunset Maple   native Black Walnut on Laguna Creek Cattle Egret
  California native fuchsia, or  Zauschneria watering the yard >>> 1/250 sec. shot  
1/10 sec. Birch tree Strawberry tree flowers

 

  Strawberry Tree, see note 1 like lanterns    
special effects dept.  

cotoneaster lacteus berries, note 2    

note 1 - Strawberry Tree, Arbutus unedo, is native to southern Europe & Ireland.  This tough-as-nails tree does very well in California, and grows as high as 35 feet.  This tree is so vigorous that I have to cut it back a lot, each year, to keep it moderately sized.  It puts on a great show of flower clusters in late November & early December.   

note 2 - Cotoneaster Lacteus trees thrive in the much cooler Bay Area climate, esp. as hikers have noticed on hikes in the Berkley Hills. Yet, it also seems to thrive in substantial valley heat, if it gets regular watering.  This tree can get to be tall and lanky, but is also valuable trained as a low-growing tree.

December

Most of the photos here were taken on the same day, near the solstice.  

close to home Cormorants in an old tree, above the creek the right channel is clear the left channel isn't, see note
  young Cormorants are grey & older ones are black let's hope this Oak isn't next looking east towards UPRR trestle
  the walking trail winter coloration  
      naturalized pistache tree  
spring grass poking through the berries last pineapple sage flowers of the year bluish succulent & a bird nest    

 note - the left creek channel is where two grand old Oaks fell into the creek, one each during the past two summers. 

Goodbye to 2020 - One of the oddest years of my life, but my wife and I are natural recluses and don't rebel at being isolated, plus we did see some friends,  or had a meal somewhere, and a small group of hikers got in a few hikes, too. 

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