Plants, Stone, California Landscapes


2011 Miscellany

Monardella macrantha in mid-May

Happy New Year everyone. As part of year end housekeeping I was going through all the photos I took this year, including a whole lot that never made it up onto this blog. Looking back at them all, a few things are noticeable. The first is that I took a lot of photos of gardens in the spring and not very many afterwards. I did a pretty good job of recording our landscape work but after about mid-summer, our own garden went into construction mode and everything tended to look messy. Right now it feels like most of our plants have been stepped on or transplanted or had a 2×4 dropped on them. The photo below is from a few weeks ago. The shed now has a roof, but we’re still shopping around for the door and the relative chaos around it is still representative. In a couple of weeks things should start to get put back together.

To be completed soon


I went all year without mention of our red-eared slider, Blondie, who lives in an aquarium tank with about twenty fish. We don’t often take him out into the garden, but he’s actually had a big impact, generating some of the best fertilizer our plants have ever received. Every week Anita takes a bucket of tank water and gives it to our container plants. I don’t have any before-and-after photos of the plants that get the water but it has made them exuberantly green and happy.

Allium unifolium at Salt Point

I took a number of weekend and day trips to the north bay throughout the year. Salt Point was new to me and as a result probably my favorite, but even Ring Mountain (the site of Turtle Rock and Split Rock) just across the bay in Marin was great. I never get tired of these spots in the Bay Area where there’s a big rock or two, some grasslands, and views of the bay or the ocean.

Split Rock at Ring Mountain in Marin

Corte Madera seen from Ring Mountain

Turtle Rock overlooking Sausalito

Rendezvous Caye

We managed one trip out of the country, to Belize. We hopped around to a few little islands and then went to the Mayan ruins at Altun Ha. I want to go back.

Tobacco Caye

The Mist Trail below Vernal Fall

I made six long-weekend trips to Yosemite in the spring and summer. I didn’t think I took photos, but I guess some things lured my camera out, including the Mist Trail while the waterfalls were surging. Even with all the crowds, I would put it up against any hiking trail in the world. Vernal Fall had some double rainbows at one point, but I was too wise to even try to capture the full intensity of that.

Nevada Fall

Rock Ducks at Mirror Lake

One thing I photographed in Yosemite was the collection of rock ducks at Mirror Lake. Some people like it, some don’t. The site used to have a hotel there a hundred years ago, Mirror Lake is partially dammed, and Yosemite Valley is too overrun with people and cars for me to be overly concerned about leave no trace, but I also didn’t find the rock stacking particularly appealing either. I’m more appreciative of the stone steps leading up to the collection and the retaining wall at the edge of the lake.

The steps leading up to the Ducks

Mirror Lake Edging

Half Dome

And of course Half Dome, seen from the foot of the stairs, is on a whole other level.

Joshua Tree

A week in Joshua Tree ended our recreation for the year. Since then we’ve stayed closer to home, focusing on the garden shed and the holidays and getting ready for next year. I had a lot of good things to look back on last year and I hope everyone else feels the same about their year.

Happy New Year

8 Responses to “2011 Miscellany”

  1. January 1st, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Gayle Madwin says:

    Six trips to Yosemite in a single year?!? I don’t know how you ever found time to go to all those other places when you were going to and from Yosemite that many times. But you did get some great photos out of it.

  2. January 1st, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    ryan says:

    Yeah, it definitely took some effort to make it there so many times. It’s about a three hour drive. I would work and then drive up during the night, spend a few days and drive home again during the night. It sometimes felt less than relaxing, but still totally worth the effort.

  3. January 1st, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Town Mouse says:

    Great collection of photos! Here’s to more adventures in 2012 – my Yosemite trip last year didn’t happen, I’m hoping this year it will work out…Though for now, all I really want is some rain!

  4. January 1st, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    ryan says:

    Rain? What’s that?

    Here’s to Yosemite trips for both of us.

  5. January 1st, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    Country Mouse says:

    I love rocky outcroppings; I love Vernal Falls; I love stone steps and walls; I love this post! You sure do get around a lot! And that photo of Half Dome – wow!

  6. January 5th, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    ryan says:

    Yep. It was a good year for rock appreciation.

  7. January 7th, 2012 at 11:08 am

    chuck b. says:

    A lovely year. It seems absurd to me that I haven’t been to Yosemite since I was a kid, over 30 years ago. But every time I think about going, the first thing that comes to mind is “crowds” and I move on to thinking about something else.

  8. January 7th, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    ryan says:

    The crowds are definitely significant, but there are ways to work around them. I take a bicycle with me, which does a lot to change the experience and make it like I’m cruising around the most beautiful village in the world instead of an overrun wilderness area which is how I used to think of it.

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