Sunday, March 31, 2013

Life is blooming ..

It is the season, and it is in full bloom and that applies to the riding season as well. It has been blossoming for a few weeks now, not entirely uncharacteristic for the bipolar winters that we have been having in California, for the past couple of years or so. Not that I do not ride in the winters. I ride year around, a luxury we get to enjoy and pay through our noses for to do so. My winter riding started slow and late this year, only two rides in February, and then this one to witness the flourishing of Spring in the foothills. I have to get out there more often, even if I don't write about it later. Something has to change, and some things have changed..

"Is that your Steel Horse I see, across the road there?" said the one with chestnut hair, with a long face. 

"It's Aluminum mostly, and plastic."  I replied.

"My owner has one of those contraptions." came the reply. "He is quite obsessed with it, seldom rides me anymore.."

"Funny, you should say that." I said. "You should talk to Big Blue across the road there, she says the same thing, the latter part. I tell her give it time, the year is young, things will change!"

"You have some carrots for me?" I was asked. 

"Sorry mate, maybe next time!" I replied. 

"I will get back to my grazing then, these green pastures are succulent, and my buddies here are good company, shouldn't really be complaining, life is good! Have a nice day!"


I walked back to the motorcycle and pointed it towards the ever more so burgeoning wine country in the Sierra foothills, more and more wineries and vineyards spring up every year, slowly uprooting the sprawling meadows in these rolling hills, to quench our deep rooted thirst for alcohol. Guilty as charged. I love wine too! :^)

Even so, I hope you get to enjoy these pastures for quite a while to come my chestnut hued friend, I thought to myself as I sped down the road. 

It was the day before Easter Sunday. A long weekend for some, I wanted to make a careful yet quick foray in and out of the thick of the wine country. I was expecting to see the faces of many  a lush and a souse, but probably not more than any other weekend.  

Are they asleep? At least they weren't asleep at the wheel. Young (for this and other links that appear on the blog. Right click on it and select open in new page or open in new tab) and old, but still a wee bit creepy..

Some might have just closed their eyes for a moment to enjoy the effervescent fragrance of Spring..

It seems, I was a bit too late for the early wildflowers, and a bit too early for the late bloomers. It had been a mostly dry winter. Rainy days have been few and far between, although we had a reverberating thunder and lightening show last night. Maybe in a couple weeks there will be new blooms again? 

Nevertheless, in the absence of wildflowers, I was still going to appease myself with what I call the petflowers (cultivated). 

I hope I am not boring you too much with my "art project/experiment" style of pictures. It was the frame of mind I was in this day. The camera lacks a fish eye lens, so I used this instead..

How nice would it be, if you could just bottle up the sunshine? Cork the warmth, the brightness, the glow, and the spirit, the fervor and the enthusiasm it inspires. To be able to just pull the cork later on those damp, overcast days - to enjoy a serving of brilliance, and the feeling you get with the sun on your face.. 

As I mentioned before, the wineries and vineyards in Amador county are doing quite well. They are flourishing, expanding, and prospering, it is starting to show and it makes me happy for them!

Although, the heady blend has gotten to some of the BrayZin Hussys heads. It's their way of being drunk with success! Kudos are in order - popping a wheelie with a tractor, when I haven't even popped one with my motorcycle yet..:^)

That's more like it kids. Don't drink and drive - ever! Leave it parked safely instead!

If you like wine, and happen to be in the area, by all means go see the lovely people at the many  Amador wineries. Most of these places are unpretentious, casual, down to earth, friendly and the wine is very very good. Although, being on a motorcycle, I didn't partake in any "tasting" on this day.

A flower farm nestled in between the vineyards was my next stop. Maybe my timing was off, or maybe I was expecting entire hillsides full of rows upon rows of blooming flowers - just like those flower farms near San Diego, but I was a bit disappointed. I think it was just my timing, it is a nice place, with a good nursery and great picnic areas and worth another visit later in the Spring to see what might be blooming. 

The Daffodils, however, were out in full force! As the sign says, it is good to Stop to smell the err.. Daffodils! What do you mean that is not what the sign is there for?

The locals reading this probably know by now where I was heading to next, along the way is the little town of Fiddletown. The Devil don't play Fiddle here. He went down to Georgia. That and the Church going cowboys keep him out!

If you had guessed I was headed to Daffodil Hill. You were absolutely correct!

This is a working ranch, which has been in the same family since the 1880's. Some of the buildings and structures dating from the 1880's are still standing and in use. The ranch transforms itself into an attraction that people travel hundreds of miles to see, starting from around Mid March to the first few weeks of April. Admission is free and so is parking. This is a family owned and funded operation, so donations towards the next year's Daffodil bulbs are always appreciated, so if you visit and feel inclined to donate. Please do -  I did!

The place is replete with old farming and mining equipment and implements and also keeps several animals on the farm, including peacocks, chickens, miniature donkeys and a horse. I first visited the place three years ago, almost to the exact date. It was a lot more crowded that day three years ago than it was this day. Those pictures from three years ago, when I had just begun to blend photography with motorcycle riding are Here.

There must have been a market even in the 1800's for day-long saddles. No doubt the demand was there, but technology wouldn't catch up for another hundred years or so.

This shack in the three following pictures is the McLaughlin family's summer cabin on the ranch. Probably the most photographed structure on Daffodil Hill. 

I have been working hard to solidify and make feasible plans to visit another summer (and winter) cabin this year. That one belongs to a couple of dear friends, I hope I get to visit them again this year. Here is to hoping I do! :^)

Wonder how many and which birds spent their summers in this cabin below? :^)

I loved these flowers below. To me they signified a life bursting with abundance and richness of activity, vigor and vitality. Beautiful!

One the way home from Daffodil Hill. I found a couple of "beauties" from back home (the continent or should I say the sub-continent I lived in for the first half of my life) frolicking in the pool. 

"The water is nice, why don't you join us?" they called out. 

"Ummm... thanks but no thanks!"

Then I met these fellows from yet another continent. 

"Howdy?" I said. "How do people tell you two apart?"

"That's easy!" came the reply. "He is black with white stripes and I am white with black stripes!"

I had a thoroughly enjoyable day, out in the sunshine with mother nature, appreciating all the beauty she lavishes us with. Although, I hadn't left her beauty behind me in the countryside, her beauty was also in bloom all around my abode. :)

Thank you very much for reading! :^)


  1. Ahhh... The road.

    Nice couple of shots of (among my favorite things) those old trucks.

    Great pics of Daffodil Hill as well. I always think of going there about a week too late.

    Finally, RIP Pat Derby - her animal rescue work should live forever in her stead.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Very nice, Sam. I love Daffodil Hill. We have a Daffodil Drive here in these parts, but nothin' like that!

  3. Thanks! Daffodil hill was fun. I don't know why I waited 3 years to go back, but that day just happened to be a perfect day to go. :)


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