Thursday, April 30, 2009

Random Musings of a Ramblin' Fool XVII

Wow, It Has Been Awhile...

I just checked and my previous Random Musings was back in mid-February...sorry about that!

Starting with the last weekend of February I've done a show each weekend through last weekend.

There were two exceptions and both those weekends I did a rockhounding field trip to Ant Hill either on a Saturday or a Sunday in lieu of a show but I still traveled to Bakersfield nonetheless.

That works out to seven shows in nine weekends plus two field trips...whew!

Here's what the schedule looks like:

February 28-March 1 ~ Northridge Show
March 7-March 8 ~ Arcadia Show
March 14-March 15 ~ Spreckles Show
March 21 ~ CFMS Field Trip to Ant Hill
March 28-March 29 ~ Roseville Show
April 3-April 5 ~ Bakersfield Show
April 11 ~ Private Field Trip to Ant Hill
April 18-April 19 ~ Lancaster Show
April 25-April 26 ~ Santa Cruz Show

This weekend I was going to do the Snyder PowWow which would have made it eight shows in ten weekends but that will not happen now which brings us to the next item...

2009 Snyder PowWow (And Why I Won't Be There)

I was planning on doing the Snyder PowWow near Valley Springs in Calaveras County this weekend but a couple of nights ago intuitively determined I should not do it this year.

The reasons are manifold and I shall share them with you.

First off, don't know why but I just knew it in my gut; call it intuition, call it discernment, call it whatever you like. All I know is I had a growing sense of a lack of peace about doing it and once I determined/discerned not to do it I had great peace and even joy (imagine that!).

Secondly, I am getting rather noticeably fatigued from week to week with this schedule the past couple of months. In addition to what I previously mentioned about this grueling schedule, I have traveled to pick my girlfriend up and drive her down to Atascadero (earlier this month right before my second field trip to Ant Hill) and then had to drive her home early last week the day after the Lancaster Show.

Thirdly, I am getting behind on my eBay business (K&K Earthwerks Store) and need to get caught up on that as that keeps me going between shows and of late that has suffered as my focus has been quite justifiably on said shows.

Fourthly, this blog has suffered from neglect as my girlfriend continues to suffer from her prolonged illness which saps her of strength and motivation and I am either gone or busy or too tired to work on it and provide worthwhile content.

Fifthly, I am being offered some odd-job work over the next week or so which will pay well while allowing me to stay home so why not?

Sixthly, I have never done this event and it is by its very nature not an easy show to do given the primitive conditions in which it is conducted. My business partner Mike Lyons (who has done this show before) was going to get us into it and make all the arrangements and kinda walk me through it the first year I did it. Unfortunately, he had to bow out due to a recent injury incurred while jade hunting up on the Big Sur Coast.

Seventh, and last but not least (and maybe second most important following listening to that little voice inside which maybe even was alluding to this item), the weather appears to be on track to royally screw up the Snyder PowWow and maybe even turn the venue into a muddy morass and keep customers inside.
This is due to a very warm and wet late-season storm with a sub-tropical element poised to smack the Northern San Joaquin Valley starting tomorrow (Friday) where the event is held. Then a second storm is supposed to hit right afterwords on Sunday. Thank God I won't be there.

Show Additions For K&K Earthwerks

In recent weeks we've added three news shows to our schedule.

Next year in lieu of the Roseville show the last weekend of March we will be in the Lemoore Show which was extremely successful this year in its maiden voyage.

We will be in the Techachipi Show held during their huge Mountain Festival Saturday and Sunday, August 15-16, 2009. This year it will be held at the Catholic Church downtown instead of out on the periphery of town as in the past.

We will also be in the Ferndale Show held September 11-13, 2009, at the Humboldt County Fairgrounds in Ferndale, CA. We really like three day shows, especially if we are traveling that far.

Picture of the Day

As some of you have noticed I started contributing to our Picture of the Day feature earlier this month although I have slacked off in recent weeks for which I apologize. Tonight I shall queue some of them in for the coming days. Typically, we will only post this feature if we are not posting any other content on a given day although we may make exceptions to that on occasion.

Schwein Flu

Being the intuitive person I am I felt from fairly early on that this was a tempest in a teapot and was not the Big One they have been fearing and will undoubtedly hit Mankind again like it did in 1918 with the Spanish Flu.

Of course, this is not to say this current outbreak of H1-N1 Swine Flu won't mutate further into something else over the course of the year and become the Big One later this year.

However, what I have been feeling (and observing from afar) is now being validated for the first time today in an Los Angeles Times article HERE.

Okay now, everybody; take a deep breath and B..R..E..A..T..H..!!!

Drought & Fire Season

The latest news on California drought came out today in this article HERE.
In it, we learn that much of the good that the late February/early March rains did was undid by the heat waves and winds of April leaving our all-important snowpack at 66% of normal and it left us in deeper doodoo than we were year ago at this time.

Not unexpectedly, the fire season is firing up with a 200 acre fire down in the Winchester area of Riverside Co. earlier this week and other fires up in NorCal earlier this month at high elevations caused by lightening which is way too early in the year to be happening.
I've even seen a number of blackened areas along US101 between Paso Robles and Salinas of late which is kind of early to be happening it seems.

Already fire season is adversely impacting the Southwest area and even further east as Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and even Florida, South Carolina, and New Jersey have had serious wildfire problems this month.

California looks to have another bad fire season in 2009 with plenty of rain just in time and just enough to get the flash fuels growing luxuriantly but not long enough, late enough, and heavy enough to put off the onset of fire season, but in fact it will start early this year.

We advise folks to be prepared this year and use due diligence when working with fire or while doing things that could start a fire or while located in high fire hazard areas.

We also invite you all to join California Disasters Group on Yahoo for the latest information as well as for history and preparedness information even when things are relatively quiet like now.

Late Breaking News...

Word just came in from Lew Helfrich of the San Joaquin Valley Lapidary Society in a post on LA-Rocks Group on Yahoo that somebody got hurt by a falling boulder in a dig at Hangglider Hill adjacent to the east of Ant Hill in the Bakersfield area.
This is where we were hunting for shark teeth earlier this month and late last month.
Late word is that this person was pulled from beneath the boulder by people at the scene by the time the Kern Co. F.D. showed up and this person had incurred a broken leg and some broken ribs.

I am extremely concerned this incident will lead to Ant Hill being closed to the public to limit exposure to litigation to the developer/owners of the site. Time will tell...


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Friis Trail Hike - Black Mountain

This morning I hiked with my buddy Mike in the shadow of Black Mountain in the Santa Lucia District of the Los Padres National Forest near Pozo, California, in San Luis Obispo County. We carpooled in Mike's automobile and we took my little doggy Tequila along with us for protection from ground squirrels and small lizards. We drove out to Friis Camp and parked just beyond and around the corner from the actual campground. From there we hiked the entirety of Friis Trail from the lower end near Friis Campground to the upper end which terminates at the road that runs up to the top of Black Mountain (Forest Route 29S10) otherwise known as Black Mountain Road. The air was cold and windy and the sky mostly overcast for most of the hike up and only started to clear near the end of our ascent.We enjoyed a snack at the top and I started taking photos as the sun had come out and made doing so finally worthwhile.
I continued to take photos throughout the descent back down the hill.I'm embarrased to admit I don't know the names of most of the wildflower varieties in these photos which shall remain uncaptioned as a result. I hope you enjoy them in spite of that. Update: Be sure to check out my subsequent visit here nearly three years later in this posting.

Black Mountain repeater site as seen from Black Mountain Road.

Closer view of repeater site replete with lone pine tree.

Black Mt. Rd. with Friis Trail seen angling up to it from the distant left.

This area continues to show evidence of the 1996 Hwy. 58 Fire.

My hiking buddy Mike and my little dog Tequila.

There were numerous beautiful wildflowers along Black Mountain Road atop the saddle at the upper end of Friis Trail.

Upper Friis Trailhead

Shot-up Friis Trail sign.

Tequila tootling along.

Eastern rampart of Black Mountain.

White rock outcroppings on the east side of Black Mountain.

Huge white boulder that fell down from higher up Black Mountain.

More scars of the Hwy. 58 Fire which burned though here in August, 1996.

This Oak has nearly more trunk than leaves.

I wonder what lives up the center of this old oak?

Black Mountain

Evidence of the Hwy. 58 Fire is everywhere, but so is regrowth.

Yuccas do grow in this area.

Look at all the rock that got turned up when this tree fell over.

Lower Friis Trailhead

Dirt bike ding-dongs lift their bikes over this feature (scarred with rubber treadmarks) designed to keep them off Friis Trail which in turn is next to the sign telling them to stay off the trail.

Gun-toting neandertals have been "plinking" this water tank for some time.

It was nice to get back up to this hiking location for the first time this year with the previous time I visited this area being last year sometime.

It was a bummer to see what the shooting crowd has been doing in this area of late as well as the same thing regarding the motor bike crowd.

I sure wish it was legal to poach such people because I would if I could.

What these people have been doing is inconscionable and an insult to the rest of us who co-own these public lands.

I'm all for having the right to go out and shoot one's guns, but dadgummit, only shoot at stuff to which it is appropriate to shoot and clean up your shell casings when you're done.

As for the motor bikes which to begin with I utterly hate, you folks who drive them, STAY OFF trails to which you are not welcome to ride and enjoy all the trails out in this area to which you may ride. This is basic courtesy to your fellow citizens.

By the way, Friis Trail is about two miles long and the drive into to Friis Camp along Friis Camp Road from its intersection with Black Mountain Road is one and half miles along

Thursday, April 23, 2009

More Pictures Of Our Latest Ant Hill Adventure

Having attended the CFMS field trip to Ant Hill last month which I blogged about) I returned a month later with my then girlfriend for a return engagement with Shep Koss as our guide along with a couple of his friends.

I am now sharing with you all my four pictures of that day...I would have taken more but I was too darned busy finding sharks teeth.

Pictured below are my little Chihuahua-Terrier (Terror is more accurate) Tequila and rowdy rockhounding raconteur Shep Koss (definitely a Terror) along with two of his friends, Al and Mary Bennett, who were first-time visitors there.
Tequila concerned about my falling behind the rest of the group.
Tequila moments later concerned she is falling behind the rest of the group.
Shep Koss and Al Bennett down in the hole while Mary checks her screenings.
Do any of you notice how much browner the grass is than just a few weeks prior in my blog of the CFMS field trip to this locale?
It was strange to see all that brown grass while there were puddles around diggings as well as muddy dirt everywhere.
It was also pretty shocking how fast some of those puddles went down and the dirt dried out over the course of just the afternoon we were there.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Picture of the Day - Delta Windmills

Mercedes-Benz symbol orchard in the Sacramento Delta area. Image captured yesterday en route home from Willits, CA. Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Picture of the Day - Sunset Over Mt. Diablo

Sunset earlier this evening as seen from Interstate-5 in the Tracy area.

Sunset silhouetting Mount Diablo. Photos by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

Friday, April 10, 2009

Picture of the Day - South Atascadero Skyscape

Storm cells firing up this afternoon in Eastern San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties as seen from south Atascadero near my home.
Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Picture of the Day - Gaviota Coast Tilt

Uplifted marine strata showing faulting and erosion at Gaviota State Beach, Santa Barbara Co, CA.
This area is rich in marine fossils and is a world class petrified whale bone collecting locale.
Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Picture of the Day - Indians Cliffs

Ventana Wilderness Area near Indians in the Los Padres Nat'l Forest, Monterey Co., CA
Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Picture of the Day - Aurora Sunset Over Atascadero

Sunset over Atascadero, CA
(Photo not altered in any way.)
Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes
(all rights reserved)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Picture of the Day - Wallace Creek

Looking northwest at Wallace Creek on the Carrizo Plain in Eastern San Luis Obispo County, CA. This creek runs left to right across the surface trace of the San Andreas Fault Zone. It once ran in a straight line but now has a 400 foot dogleg in it where the fault trends across it. This feature has been caused by numerous large earthquakes over many centuries. Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes  (all rights reserved)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Picture of the Day - Winter at Bodega Head

Stormy sea and sky at Bodega Head, Sonoma County coastline, CA
Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

Friday, April 3, 2009

Picture of the Day - Old Faithful Geyser

Old Faithful Geyser in Calistoga, Napa Co., CA, between eruptions on a brooding stormy day.
Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).