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Archive for the ‘Life in the Foothills’ Category


Good morning from Life in the Foothills! I will be posting as I can as we have been evacuated from our home due to the King Fire burning here in the Sierra Foothills.

Fire!

Fire!

The fire is almost 90,000 acres and is 17% contained as of this writing. The fire was intentionally set and they have arrested a man in connection with this fire. The rumor mill is giving us some very creative stories about why this person started this fire.

We were given a short window of time to go back to our house to gather what we could. The amount of time: 10 minutes. We were escorted in by the Sheriff. We, our 3 cats and the pooch are all OK.

We are hoping that we will be able to return home soon.

Be well and take care! Please be fire safe too!

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Today I thought that I would share with you some of the places that you can come and visit for yourselves up here in the Sierra Foothills Gold Country! There are many places and it is Highway 49 that will bring you to most of these places.

Let’s start with my town of Placerville. Known as “Hangtown” for the number of hangings that occurred here during the gold rush days, it was a hub of activity back in the 1800’s. It still is today!

Looking back down Main Street

Looking back down Main Street

I fell in love with the charming town of Murphys, which is just south of us. There are caverns that one can visit, and the main street there has a number of shops that just draw you in! Here is an old time photo of the old hotel which still stands today!

Murphys Hotel back in the day

Murphys Hotel back in the day

Angels Camp is another place to visit! It is a center point for visiting Big Trees State Park, and a number of other towns in the area! This is where Mark Twain’s story “The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” is set, and there are plaques all along the sidewalks of winning frogs in this contest, beginning with Mark Twain’s frog featured in his story!

Angels Camp, CA

Angels Camp, CA

One of the big trees in Big Trees State Park

One of the big trees in Big Trees State Park

Jackson is another spot to stop at! This is the location of the huge Kennedy Mine which is the deepest gold mine in North America!

Town of Jackson

Town of Jackson

Does this make you want to come and visit? It is well worth stopping at any of these places!

Have a wonderful day! Thank you for dropping by today, and be well! ^..^

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This morning I was very lucky to catch new queen ants taking flight! It is called the nuptial flight. The virgin queens meet up with males, mate and then start their own colony somewhere else! As this happens quickly I was lucky to catch these photos!

The queen ants and the males are kept separate in the colony until the time is right weather-wise for them to take off. Once the female is in flight she gives off pheromones that attract the male. Their mating is violent at best, and once he has fertilized the female he dies. She drops her wings and begins a new colony. Here are photos I was able to capture in the flight I saw this morning!

If you click on any of the photos you will notice how colorful the wings are, and you will see better detail!

This mass caught my eye.

Winged ants

Winged ants

More and more emerged!

Emerging from the nest

Emerging from the nest

Look for the arrows in this next photo. They point out the ants just lifting off. They have two wings on each side!

Taking off

Taking off

This next photo shows 12 ants in flight. Can you spot them all? Click on the photo to enlarge and you will see them really well!

Aloft

Aloft

Here is one final shot of more that just emerged from the ground.

More

More

Needless to say, the birds were really happy! When I advanced on the area where these little gals were coming up, birds flew off. Our flycatcher birds were all around me!

Have a terrific Tuesday, and thank you for stopping by! Be well! ^..^

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Yes, I have a tasty garden! At least the deer seem to think so! :) Because the deer like my garden so much, most of what I have planted are deer proof or deer resistant plants. There is a difference between the two. The deer proof plants they just will not touch, like my rosemary. The deer resistant plants are plants that the deer will not normally eat, but they will eat if they are hungry enough. I caught a few photos of one such deer who actually nibbled on the rosemary only to spit it out! So for today, I share with you photos of this lovely doe! The captions speak for themselves! Enjoy!

Coming to visit

Coming to visit

A shake of her head

A shake of her head

Licking her chops

Licking her chops

She's a beauty!

She’s a beauty!

Turning to go

Turning to go

See you later!

See you later!

So? What do you think? Isn’t she a beauty?

Have one heck of an amazing week and an excellent Monday! Thank you for dropping by! Be well! ^..^

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One of the most commonly seen critters here in the Sierra Foothills, and elsewhere, are squirrels. This year the squirrels are really packing it in! Could they be telling us that we are in for a rough winter? They have been very busy harvesting pine cones, and not only the brown ones, but the green ones as well! I captured one of these visitors in a series of photos. What caught my attention was him chirping and the continual tapping he was doing on the side of the tree! Let’s go check him out!

He hung in this spot for quite a bit, chirping often and doing that tapping thing. The turkeys were nearby. Maybe he was announcing his presence to them…

Coming to visit

Coming to visit

Something catches his eye at the base of the tree…he moves closer to it!

Spying a pine cone

Spying a pine cone

Here he is checking out the pine cone for its nuts.

Looking for the nut

Looking for the nut

He is hearing the camera shutter clicking, and looks up at me!

Are you looking at me?

Are you looking at me?

Then he begins to eat. Notice all the pine cone debris around him.

Chowing on a pine cone

Chowing on a pine cone

Having had his fill, he heads back up the tree…

Silhouette

Silhouette

I hope that you enjoyed this series of photos! Thank you for taking some time today to stop by for a visit! Be well! ^..^

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Due to the drought, we have not seen as many praying mantis here as we have in the past. While taking a break outside yesterday from sitting inside and housebound, I spied a praying mantis on the flag pole, shakily making its way towards the house. This one was brown! Normally when we see these they are green. So, I was excited to see a large brown one. When I took these photos, and I had a bit of a hard time due to shaking arms due to chemo, I noticed details that one does not see on the green ones. So let’s go check this little foothills insect out, shall we?

Here is the first shot of this amazing little guy that I captured. Notice the segmentation on his rump, and the red coloring on the front leg.

First shot of the mantis

First shot of the mantis

There is dark brown banding on the back and the upper right leg. I have not seen this before on a mantis!

Dark brown patches

Dark brown patches

He has been watching me and actually turns around to really look at me!

He looks back at me!

He looks back at me!

As he moves out his pace is shaky at best. They do this so that they look like their surroundings moving in the breeze. Thing is he is moving along a solid piece of wood!

Moving away

Moving away

One final shot…

Heading for parts unknown

Heading for parts unknown

What a thrill to find this little guy, who was not so little! He measured about 3″ long! The brown coloration is camouflage as he was near wood rather than plants where he would be the color green!

Have a terrific Saturday, and thank you for dropping by today! Be well! ^..^

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Here in the Sierra Foothills we have one heck of an ugly bird that is actually one of the most beneficial creatures up here! It is the “Turkey Vulture.” We call it the “Turkey Buzzard.” What makes this ugly bird beneficial? Well, this bird cleans up after an accidental road kill, or the remains of what one of our various carnivores leaves behind. So what makes this bird ugly?

It is the red head. The head is small compared to the size of its body! Most times we see this bird flying around looking for its next meal, and I was able to catch some photos of one as a group of them flew over us. Check him out! You might want to click on the photo to see its red head!

The Turkey Buzzard

The Turkey Buzzard

These birds are fairly large with a wing span of between 63 – 72 inches across.

Huge wing span!

Huge wing span!

The large wings enable this bird to fly smoothly as it floats along the thermals. The feet have blunt claws, and they are fairly weak. Its talons are not designed for grasping. Click on this photo so that you can see its feet tucked back against its body!

Can you see its feet?

Can you see its feet?

The turkey buzzards are migratory birds. They appear here mid-spring and stay with us until the cold temperatures move in during the fall season. Then they head south for the latter part of fall and throughout the winter. Here is one last shot as this bird realized we were not easy pickings!

Heading out

Heading out

I hope that you enjoyed the photos of this foothills critter!

I am heading out shortly for an early chemo treatment. Hopefully tomorrow, this being the second day of treatment, will be the last I will need!

Thank you for dropping in and be well! ^..^

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