If I haven’t already bragged about all of the cool stuff where I live enough, here’s another one for you. There is an amazing alfalfa farm down the road where there are tons of mule deer almost every day. Apparently, the farmer isn’t really into worrying about how much alfalfa he gets because the deer are busy eating it. I think they run a bed and breakfast on the farm so I’m sure sitting on the porch and watching a couple hundred (yes, hundred) deer wander by every day doesn’t hurt business.
This is what my husband sees every day on his way to work. I head the other direction but it is only about three miles from our house so I can take the long way every once in a while to enjoy the view, too. I’m feeling pretty lucky about that.
I guess I need to remember that the next time I’m all grumpy about the world. I have it pretty good.
I finally shot a bald eagle! OK, wait. To clarify, I have been trying to get a photograph of an american bald eagle for years. And, technically, I have about a dozen or so crappy, out of focus and from too far away to count as a real picture shots of bald eagles. Even when I went to Alaska, I did not get a decent picture of this beloved bird.
Where did I shoot this one? Nevada. Ya, go figure. Apparently, we have quite a few, though. They like the kokanee salmon that spawn from Lake Tahoe through Thomas Creek. They like to feast in the fields in the spring after the cows and sheep give birth. They even like muddy, almost dry Washoe Lake State Park. Have I ever seen a bald eagle during any of the photo trips that I have done over the past ten years? Nope. I saw one once while playing golf. No camera, of course.
Today was my lucky day. And, by luck, I mean I have been stalking this huge bald bird for weeks and missing it. My husband, who doesn’t really take a lot of photos, sees the bird every day. He calls me from the truck on his way to work to tell me all about it. So, after many misses, I decided to leave for work a few minutes early and go the long way around the lake to get to my office. Nope, not Lake Tahoe but Washoe Lake, Nevada.
The weather has shifted and it was pretty cold this morning. The fog curled around the south end of the lake, even though the water in the lake is very low. It’s nearly dry, actually. The lighting was horrible and the fog kept coming in and covering me in grey. But, he was there. My bald eagle.
And, I got him.
I had to drive around and sneak up on him, trampling through the dirt and sagebrush in my work khakis. But, I got him. Oh, ya. I was totally late for work, too.
Just south of Reno, there is a county park with some fantastic history. Bower’s Mansion hails from the heyday of mining on the Comstock and the riches of the wild west. The property has changed ownership several times and still struggles to survive but it remains, as beautiful as ever.
Throughout the month of June, the park as put on a Friday night “Programs on the Porch” series and I have gone with my family. Everyone is invited to bring a lawn chair and picnic dinner to enjoy free shows with everything from cowboy poetry to tales of the Donner Party.
This park is one of those magic places that reminds everyone of their childhood, no matter where you grew up or what parks you visited. There is a public swimming pool here fed from a natural hot spring. The grounds are beautiful, the trees majestic. If you have ever lived within a 100 miles of the park, you probably have more than one memory of a family picnic or school field trip to visit. There is even an old cemetery up the hill that you can hike to and the tour of the mansion by park rangers have inspired many campfire tales.
Here are a few of my Instagram photos from my family’s evenings at the park:
The cowboy in this photo is Richard Elloyan. Fantastic performer — we bought a couple of CDs that night.
I love the fountain in front of the mansion. The view over to the rest of the valley never disappoints.
I took quite a few photos inside the mansion but this one is my favorite. Legend is that the mistress of the mansion was a fortune teller … I wonder what her crystal ball shows for us in this shot?
I have a thing for old chandeliers and light fixtures. The light on this one was just right to get all of the red. That’s not a filter. The ceiling reflected red. Cool–creepy.
This is the first view from my new commute to work. I am now living in the valley instead of driving down from the mountain. And, this is just the same view from a different angle. Pretty awesome, eh? Pretty lucky to see this from my living room, too, huh? Ya, go ahead, be jealous.
I’m also using this opportunity to play with a new app on my phone. It’s called Pixl-O-Matic and it’s about the same thing as Instagram but it has tons more filters and you don’t have to share them in an Instagram feed if you don’t want to do it. Pixlr also has a couple of other photo editors available but this seems to be the easy, more playful model. Pixlr did not pay me to say that. The app is free and I like it.
Back to my commute view, I now drive through Washoe Valley by Little Washoe Lake. The lake itself is a part of a state park and wildlife preserve so there are tons of birds. The wind kicks up around here on a pretty regular basis so there are lots of opportunities for windsurfing but the lake isn’t really deep enough for big boats or anything like that. I do, however, plan to do some kayaking out there when the weather warms up a bit.
Once you are out of Washoe Valley and headed back toward Reno, you drive through Pleasant Valley. This was recently the main thoroughfare from Reno to Carson City. I am happy to report that there is a new freeway and this road has much less traffic. It’s almost like an old country road, including pastures with horses. I am going to have to get more comfortable with using cruise control, though. The speed limit is only 50 mph through here. Yikes.
My old drive was down from those mountains in the background. The sunrises from this angle are going to be awesome.
And, of course, my drive to work still includes this stop. Why can’t I break you, Starbuck’s, WHY?
The weather pretended to be spring-like here for a few days and I am getting a touch of the fever for warmer days.
There is a ranch in Washoe Valley between Reno and Carson City, Nevada, that has little lambs and their mommies in the fields every spring. These photos are from last spring, but I am already looking forward to seeing them again this year.
There is only about twenty minutes of driving between Reno and Carson City, the state’s capitol, but there is also the most beautiful little valley. Today’s post is dedicated to its year-round splendor.