Perfect Weather!

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Posted by Annie in Twain Harte News on June 21, 2011

Pinecrest Dam

Image by dougsmi via Flickr

I have to tell you, it is the most beautiful day outside today. The sun is shining, it’s 90°, the birds are singing and we have a slight breeze. I couldn’t have ordered up a more perfect day. Yes, it’s just a tad warm for my taste but everyone else will love, love, love it.

This would be a perfect day to spend out fishing at Beardsley or up at Pinecrest. Speaking of Pinecrest, when is the last time you watched a movie out in the open air? Believe it or not, Pinecrest is celebrating it’s 76th Season of Movies Under the Stars. Though the summer days are warm, the evening temperatures can turn chilly. Be sure to pack a sweater or light jacket just in case the kids start feeling a little cold in the evening air. Please keep this in mind when making your plans to attend  “Movies Under the Stars”.

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Taking in the mountain air

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Posted by Annie in Family Fun, Outdoors on July 26, 2010

The boys and I took a drive up to Kennedy Meadows yesterday. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen the forest quite so green. It was a lovely day, the temperature at Kennedy Meadows was a comfortable 79°, with intermittent sun and clouds.

I must admit that I had my doubts about even making it that far up the hill. The clouds that hovered overhead looked angry and threatened to send showers at any moment but the hard rains never came. A light sprinkle was all, then the sun came out to warm our faces once again. It was almost magical.

The traffic in Twain Harte is an entirely different matter. It’s almost as if we picked up and moved back to Modesto, okay, so I exaggerate just a little but let me tell you, the traffic is nasty. It is almost as if these bay area folks pack up their vehicles to make the drive up to the mountain and forget their brains at home. Can’t find a place to park, no problem. We’ll just park on the side of the road. Never mind that most streets have no “side of the road,” so these crazy folk, just park in the street anyway. I guess they figure no one will notice.

Don’t you just love getting behind that weekend warrior, who has decided to take the travel trailer out of mothballs. This is the guy who drives in the fast lane, down the mountain and refuses to let anyone go around him or better yet, just takes his half out of the middle of the road.

Their offspring of course follows close behind, riding their skateboards down the center of Fuller Road, around blind curves, with no regard to the deer and motorists who must also share the road.  I’ve seen several near-misses that made my heart skip a beat or two.

It broke my heart to see the tiny baby fawn laying dead in the middle of Twain Harte Drive. I wonder if the driver who hit the baby even bothered to check to see, if it was still alive? It was so tiny, probably only days old.

The boys were delighted to find a tiny little tree frog in the river, at Columns of the Giants, near Dardanelle. The tiny frog seemed to enjoy being held by my nephew. It was almost as if he was refusing to leave when he was set free. It’s been ages since I had seen any butterflies but we saw several up the mountain yesterday.

It was nice to see hikers in the woods and those who tent camp and take time to really enjoy their surroundings. The longer I live here, the more I hate to see the majestic mountains tamed by civilization. I have a great respect for the animals that make the Stanislaus National Forest their home. I watched in amazement as a group of fire ants scurried about their business, oblivious to the fact that I was so big and powerful that I could take several out with one firmly planted foot. I left them to their business all too aware that at least some of them would make a terrific meal for some hungry animal soon enough.

It was a lovely day and we learned a lot from the mountains and the rivers. We can’t wait to do it again.  October can’t get here soon enough. Give me a quiet fall day anytime.

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Discovering Nature at Home

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Posted by Annie in Family Fun, Outdoors on September 5, 2009

The Squirrel Spill

The Squirrel Spill

Living just a short distance from the post office, you would think there wouldn’t be much wildlife scurrying about in town.

I have to chuckle just thinking about it, because I’ve actually sat and watched the deer meander down the middle of Twain Harte Road, and mull around the Twain Harte Christmas Tree, across from 7-11.

We used to joke they were trying to decide who’s turn it was, to go into 7-11 to buy beer.

It was rather entertaining watching three jumbo raccoons, in full coat, playing tag, in the street directly in front of The Harte Collection Gift Shop, located on Twain Harte Drive.  It was hard to imagine these three raccoons scampering down the road, acting just like kids.

I’ve passed many an afternoon enjoying the show put on by the squirrels and birds as they interact. For several days we had a real comedy routine to observe when one resident Stellar Jay decided his irritating neighbor — the squirrel — didn’t need a drink of water. Each time the squirrel would bob to get a drink, the bird would dive into his rearend, knocking him off of, or into, the water. It was all very comical.

I’m certain the squirrel would not agree.

Stellar Jay

Stellar Jay

There is a certain red tail fox who likes to make his way through our yard each evening around dusk. He’s a highsteppin’ critter, who doesn’t stop to smell the roses, he just trots on through like he’s on a mission.

When the trash goes out, we check the lid, not once but twice and often three times. Those raccoons are scavengers and will eat anything left accessible. If we aren’t fretting about the raccoons, we can always concentrate on the bears.

Fortunately, the bears seem to have better places to be, than our house most of the year. We’ve only had trouble out of them during the Winter months. I ended up replacing one multipurpose bird feeder and two hummingbird feeders this Spring. I almost forgot about all the cans (with locking lids) that we ended up purchasing this year.

Did you know raccoons love bird food? Well, they love just about anything really.

We’ve picked up several bird books in an effort to learn more about each one. It seems each year we are discovered by more varieties of birds. I’ve seen more varieties this year, than ever before.

It’s Labor Day weekend, the town has swollen to more than twice it’s normal size. Houses are full, friends and family are gathering to celebrate.  Don’t forget to take a little time out for yourself and enjoy the wildlife. If you are still, you will discover they aren’t as far away as you might expect.

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