Please Don't Go Fall

This morning I woke up to ice on my window for the first time this fall…winter is on the way. I’m not sure if I’m ready for it, I really want to hang on to fall. I love everything about it, it's my favorite time of year (specifically the first two weeks of October in Northern California, perhaps I should do a write up on that another time). In brief, I love the weather, the food and the gorgeous leaves in orange, red and yellow hues.

This fall I moved into a new place and started a routine, heading into my backyard first thing in the morning with a cup of coffee and a camera. The goal is to enjoy nature and some silence before the hustle bustle of the day begins. I discovered very quickly that when you calm down, relax and pay attention, there is a lot happening.

I hung a hummingbird feeder and within 45 minutes the birds started to swoop in for food…amazing. Next the resident squirrel scurried across my back fence in a frenzy collecting acorns, back and forth. I now know that he comes during specific times of the day like clockwork. I was able to snap this photo and capture this simple fall moment. I love it. Cheers to holding on to fall.


Hummingbirds, How Did I Miss You?

I never noticed birds before, they were always something that boring people noticed. Or so I thought...I was wrong. On my journey to simplify and slow down one of the first steps was to sit quiet, notice and enjoy the simple things in life. The easiest way for me to sit quiet and do nothing was in nature. Yes I said do nothing. It's so peaceful and you will start to notice amazing things all around you. This is when I began to notice hummingbirds. The distinct buzz of their wings flapping and clicking noises to communicate, it was fascinating. An entire world started to unfold before me and I was intrigued enough to pull out my camera (after I did nothing of course) and get a better appreciation for these birds.  

If you are interested in attracting hummingbirds to your yard I recommend getting a feeder. I have an inexpensive, simple plastic feeder, they love it. You can even make hummingbird food at home, it's cost effective and better for the birds.

Homemade Hummingbird Food
4 cups of water
1 cup of sugar

Put the sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil on medium heat. Boil for two minutes and remove from heat, set aside to cool. When mixture is cool, add it to your hummingbird feeder. Put remaining food in a covered container and store in the refrigerator. I like to use glass jars or bottles I've saved and cleaned.  

  • Do not add food coloring to the mix, some say it's harmful to the birds.  
  • Be sure to check the feeder and change the mixture often (every 2-5 days depending on outside temperature) to avoid harmful bacteria growing in the feeder.


Bumpass Hell

Bumpass Hell Trail, Lassen Volcanic National Park, California
We got a National Park Pass last year for our Southwest road trip and decided to get the most out of it and visit a number of National Parks in California. At $80 the pass is a deal if you plan on visiting several National Parks in one year.  Lassen Volcanic National Park had been on my list for some time.  Last year I did the driving tour of the park but this year I really wanted to come back to hike Bumpass Hell, the area with the largest number of hydrothermal features in the park. 

Hydrothermal Features
The hike is a moderate hike mainly because it’s situated at 8000 ft.  The beginning of the trail was easy, although I will say I was not prepared for how rough the small descent into the most active hydrothermal area would be.  The descent is not very long (about 100 feet) but because of the large amount of snowfall in the spring, there was still a significant amount of snow/ice on the trail.  Now, I’ll admit I’m not an avid hiker…I enjoy it but I am definitely an easy – moderate hiker, so take that into consideration.  The descent was very slow and daunting for me.  With my standard hiking shoes on each step was a slippery slope where I had to work to maintain balance and not fall 100 feet down the icy hill.  I admittedly was afraid although there were families around me with toddlers handling the trail just fine (crazy right?).  Depending on your hiking experience level be prepared with the proper shoes to hike in snow and ice if needed. 

Once I made it, it was worth it.  There are trails built to keep you on the path, the hydrothermal features can cause severe burns.  With the picturesque snow covered hills in the background, the white, blue and orange colors, and puffs of steam flowing into the sky, it felt like a different planet.  It was pretty amazing.  

Lassen Volcanic National Park has many other trails to consider depending on how skilled you are at hiking.  The park is gorgeous and well worth the trip.  It promises a fascinating volcanic history, pristine lakes, snow capped mountains and steaming hydrothermal features.  Bottom line, Bumpass Hell is a fascinating site to see.  Do it. 

Mt. Lassen National Park
*Details accessed from www.NPS.gov


Definition of Serendipity

A talent for making fortunate discoveries while searching for other things. — serendipitous, adj.
See also: Chance
-Ologies & -Isms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

I feel a little bit of serendipity in my life every day, I guess I wasn't paying attention before.


Day 1

I know, Day 1, very original for my first post. But truly this is Day 1 and I've waited a long time to start this blog up, for various reasons. So there is no need to come up with a fancy name, at this point I just need to post something and get it started. After all the first step to doing anything is showing up, in terms of writing a blog it's posting, so here it goes...