Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Vernal Pools

I got up this morning with the expectation that we were going on a long walk through the Howard Ranch Trail at Rancho Seco. The trail is part of the Cosumnes River Preserve where Bruce is a volunteer naturalist. He had heard about the beautiful display of flowers at the vernal pools. It sounded nice, but I had a fairly low expectation of being dazzled. It was a sunny day with a nice breeze so I said I might be able to walk the 7-mile trail.

From Vernal Pool

We walked around the lake and saw some wild flowers along the side of the path and then walked and walked through the fields.

From Vernal Pool

When we came to the end of the trail, we wondered where the vernal pools were. On the way back we saw an outline of Mariposa Lillies around a patch of green grass. We could see where the thin lines of flowers followed the path of the water.

From Vernal Pool

I could see there could be a real draw here for people who wanted to see tiny wild flowers growing in interesting patterns across the field. But I was more interested in the cows crossing the path and seemed to be on a mission to follow their leader. At one point we were surrounded by cows on the ridge coming towards us and cows down below. When they stop and stare and then head toward you, it can be a little intimidating, especially since we were far from our home in the middle of theirs.

From Vernal Pool

Bruce was a little disappointed because he had an expectation that after we drove all the way up to Rancho Seco, paid $10 to park, and walked 8 miles that we would have seen more. I guess if we had looked at the picture on the billboard (or the website) before we went for the walk, we would have known what to expect.

Expectations have a great influence on our satisfaction with any situation. If you like to visit Vernal Pools as the other visitors we met did, it would be a great experience. If you are expecting a brilliant display, this is not the place to go. On the way back up the trail Bruce took a photograph of a butterfly that we happened to meet. It was a nice surprise to see the butterfly pose for us.

Vernal Pool

After the long walk I was really hungry which made the free birthday hamburger and sundae at Red Robin extra delicious.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Having a garden

I love gardening, or I should say I love having a garden. We went to the nursery yesterday. I picked out tomato plants, lots of peppers--jalapeno, peperoncini, orange, and yellow as well as lettuce and strawberries. I like to think about the delicious salsa, salads, and colorful dishes we'll have this summer. While I am looking up ways of cooking the vegetables, Bruce is out planting. He likes to sit out in the sun and dig in the soil while I sit in my office writing. We are quite a team.

We both enjoy watering a little too much. This year we will cut back on the water which should produce a more abundant crop. We (we as in Bruce) transplanted the Lemon Balm plant that took over the garden last year. I knew the plant could be prolific, but when I planted it in the square foot garden last year I was amazed at how it overshadowed the vegetables and herbs. It grew through winter frost and rain, and still I had to cut it way back. I enjoyed lemon balm, mint, honey green tea all year.

I love having a garden, smelling the pungent herbs, picking the fresh tomatoes and peppers each morning, and adding color to my day. What do you like in your garden?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

He has risen!

What does Easter mean to you? Bunnies and eggs, Easter egg hunts, children's smiles, chocolates, communion, and sunrise worship service. What do these have in common?

Spring is the time to celebrate life, birth and renewal. For many Christians Easter is the time to celebrate the re-birth of Christ and all who chose to follow in His footsteps. This morning as I was greeting people coming into the worship service, I heard the greeting Happy Easter as a celebration of the life and resurrection of Jesus. It is a wonderful way to celebrate Easter, but the greeting was a bit shallow for me. "He has risen!" seems a much richer greeting so I will share it with all of my friends.

I had fun sending stickers and coloring pages to my grandchildren in Albuquerque as well as seeing the look of new adventures on a 1-year old's face as he peeked inside a plastic egg to find treats of Cheerios and crackers. Today is the celebration of all that is new, fresh, and innocent as I remember the reason I serve my family and community--because Jesus was the greatest example of sacrificial love.

Have a wonderful day!