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Author Topic: 2016 - Robert's adventures in the Northern Sierra Nevada - California  (Read 95947 times)

Robert

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The Scenic Route Home

Monday, 18 January 2016

Weather: Cloudy
Temperature, High: 58 F (14 C), Low: 45 F (7 C).

I still have some things to get done before I can get out again. This day I decided to make the best of a trip into town and take the scenic route home. Brought the camera along too.  ;D



Now the drought damage among the trees is becoming very apparent. Ponderosa Pine, Pinus ponderosa, is the most susceptible species to drought conditions. During all the other droughts I have lived through, they have always ranked highest on the casualty list. The die-off this year is the worst I have ever seen. Another conifer distressed by the drought but not in such numbers was Douglas Fir, Pseudotsuga meniezii.



Another area of Ponderosa Pine die-off.

I noticed no die-off of our Gray Pine, Pinus sabiniana - certainly a very tough tree in extreme conditions.



This scene show the die-off of White Leaf Manzanita, Arctostaphylos viscida, on this ridge-line. I generally consider this species just as enduring as California Gray Pine. This day I observed a considerable amount of drought induced damage on this species.



Much more pleasant were the masses of Foothill Poppy seedlings, Eschscholzia caespitosa. I hope that I can arrive back when they bloom!
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: 2016 - Robert's adventures in the Northern Sierra Nevada - California
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2016, 04:53:58 AM »


The recent rainfall and mild temperatures have turned everything green, including the moss on the rocks.



The Polypodium ferns have zoomed into growth.



Polypodium calirhiza is out in all of its shady hide-outs now.



Sedum spathulifolium will dry-up into nothing during the summer. Now they are plump and growing well on the shady mossy rocks that they enjoy inhabiting. They will brighten the mossy rocks when they bloom with their yellow flowers in the spring.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: 2016 - Robert's adventures in the Northern Sierra Nevada - California
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2016, 05:04:23 AM »


A beautiful silhouette of our Blue Oak, Quercus douglasii.



The recent rains have brought Rock Creek to flood stage. This is not a big deal - Rock Creek should flood often every year. Nobody lives by the creek either.  :)  I have not seen Rock Creek with this much water in over 4 years.



Near Rock Creek masses of Ladybird Beetles are amassing on their annual migration.



This time of year one can find millions of them concentrated in a very limited space. Maybe this is how the survive the winter? In the spring they will all fly off scattering everywhere.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

fermi de Sousa

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Re: 2016 - Robert's adventures in the Northern Sierra Nevada - California
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2016, 05:13:43 AM »
Hi Robert,
Nice to see that creek in flood :)
We're longing for our "creek" (the Campaspe River) to look like that again,
cheers
fermi
Mr Fermi de Sousa, Redesdale,
Victoria, Australia

Robert

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Re: 2016 - Robert's adventures in the Northern Sierra Nevada - California
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2016, 05:14:47 AM »


Storm clouds exiting to the east of the Sierra Crest.



The rainfall has brought cascades of water everywhere as the run-off flows down the canyon face to the South Fork of the American River below. These seasonal creeks create many beautiful waterfalls in this area.



The raging South Fork of the American River as it races towards Folsom Reservoir. The Reservoir (the water source for millions and irrigation for many farms) is filling quickly, however it still has a long way to go before it is even close to being full.



Storm clouds arriving from the west. More wet weather is to arrive soon.  :)

Also, it is now time to get back to the farm.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2016, 05:19:39 AM by Robert »
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: 2016 - Robert's adventures in the Northern Sierra Nevada - California
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2016, 05:31:04 AM »
Hi Robert,
Nice to see that creek in flood :)
We're longing for our "creek" (the Campaspe River) to look like that again,
cheers
fermi

Fermi,

You bet we are pleased!  :)

How long has it been since there has been a good flow in the Campaspe River?

Drought in Southern Australia seems almost perpetual!?

El Nino is said to bring drought conditions to Australia. I certainly hope that this can be avoided this time around.

We are still hoping for much more rainfall. We are only average to-date right now. From the TV news reporters I can tell that they have forgotten what it is like during an average winter here in this part of California. But then there are so many new folks around here, maybe they did not even live here four-five years ago!  ???   ::)
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Hoy

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Re: 2016 - Robert's adventures in the Northern Sierra Nevada - California
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2016, 11:17:58 AM »
Robert,

Nice to see all the water and the spring-like conditions!  Seems you will get more rain the next couple of days also. But I am sorry to see the dead tress and shrubs. This will certainly make room for new plants to sprout from seed?
Trond Hoy, gardening on the rainy west coast of Norway.

Robert

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Re: 2016 - Robert's adventures in the Northern Sierra Nevada - California
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2016, 07:19:57 PM »
Robert,

Nice to see all the water and the spring-like conditions!  Seems you will get more rain the next couple of days also. But I am sorry to see the dead tress and shrubs. This will certainly make room for new plants to sprout from seed?

Trond,

The weather has turned very spring like and "warm". Another storm is to arrive tonight and last thru Saturday - then dry and warm for awhile. Typical weather, however I would like to see more rain.

Yes, it is very sad to see the die-off of the trees and shrubs. It will be interesting to see what replaces them. Near the farm there is a town called Coloma where gold was discovered in January of 1848. The gold was discovered in a mill run, the mill being a saw mill. John Sutter built the lumber mill for his settlement at what today is Sacramento. Today there are very few Yellow Pines, Pinus ponderosa, near Coloma. I am sure this is the species they were to mill into lumber. The only other species worth anything as lumber would be Oak and plenty of them grow (grew) in the Sacramento area. Why not mill the lumber (Oak) near the fort in Sacramento? I think that many more Yellow Pine grew near Coloma in 1848.

The same story holds for the hamlet of Shingle Springs down the mountain from the farm. There are very few Ponderosa Pine at this elevation today. In the mid-1800's Ponderosa Pine was milled into shingles at this site.

The climate has changed since then - so today it will be interesting to see what species regrow where the Yellow Pine grew.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: 2016 - Robert's adventures in the Northern Sierra Nevada - California
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2016, 04:40:20 AM »
A few more photographs from a recent "ride" in the countryside.



A very hydric cliff face (dripping water all year) near the South Fork of the American River. Alnus rhombifolia is the dominant tree, with a shrubby under-story of Philadelphus lewisii and Umbellularia californica. Cystopteris fragilis, Polypodium calirhiza, and Aralia californica are a few of the plants clinging to the rock face.



Polystichum californicum is another species found growing here.



On the north facing slope of the canyon there are many rocky ledges. During the summer this is a very xeric environment. Heuchera micrantha, Polypodium calirhiza, Pentagramma triangularis, and Lonicera interrrupta are a few of the species frequently found in this environment.



Occasionally Polystichum imbricans ssp. imbricans can be found in such sites.



Another photograph of Polystichum imbricans ssp. imbricans.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: 2016 - Robert's adventures in the Northern Sierra Nevada - California
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2016, 04:57:51 AM »
It has turned very mild, 64 F (17.5 C) today 21 January. The snowline was at 5,000 feet (1.524 meters).



A few days ago it was raining here, however there is still some snow remaining.



The Crystal Range with a good blanket of snow, maybe 3-4 meters by now.



Storm clouds from the next storm arriving. The first wave is to be quite warm again with high snow levels. Even at this elevation (5,000 feet) there is much to investigate this time of year. There is much genetic variation just in the Arctostaphylos species. Soon I will have time to investigate all of this thoroughly.  :)



The next frontal band will bring snow down to 4,000 feet (1,219 meters).

Time to retreat to the lower elevations. Even with mild weather the roads were still icy in shady locations. With lower snow levels there will be 1-2 feet of snow on this road by Saturday.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2016, 05:02:14 AM by Robert »
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Gabriela

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Re: 2016 - Robert's adventures in the Northern Sierra Nevada - California
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2016, 05:42:26 PM »
Good to see all the wet cliffs, cascades and snow backdrops!
The mossy ledges with ferns, and other species, are great; I can imagine how everything will change come summer time though. I am totally unfamiliar with Pentagramma triangularis  ???
Gabriela
Ontario, zone 5
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Tim Ingram

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Re: 2016 - Robert's adventures in the Northern Sierra Nevada - California
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2016, 06:41:19 PM »
The polystichum species are delightful ferns Robert. This is a genus we grow quite a number of and they are generally very tolerant of our dry summer climate, but these smaller rock ferns are even more interesting. Really makes me want to develop trough plantings with rock crevices in shadier spots and to grow more ferns from spores again.
Dr. Timothy John Ingram. Nurseryman & gardener with strong interest in plants of Mediterranean-type climates and dryland alpines. Garden in Kent, UK. www.coptonash.plus.com

Robert

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Re: 2016 - Robert's adventures in the Northern Sierra Nevada - California
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2016, 04:30:12 AM »
Good to see all the wet cliffs, cascades and snow backdrops!
The mossy ledges with ferns, and other species, are great; I can imagine how everything will change come summer time though. I am totally unfamiliar with Pentagramma triangularis  ???

Gabriela,

The rocky ledge will progress through a succession of native flowering species. It is truly a floral glory we have here in California.

Gold Back Fern, Pentagramma triangularis, is a very commonly seen species in this part of California, however I very much appreciate that you brought this to my attention. Sometimes I think that I will be just repeating myself if I photograph and comment on a common species year after year. What is common here my be unknown elsewhere. We also always have new members to the forum. To do a good job, even I should learn to examine the common species carefully and comment on my observations in this forum. I will include some photographs of Pentagramma triangularis in the near future. It is their season.

In addition, what is common or well known elsewhere might be completely unknown to me. I am always learning on this forum - something from everyone. Sometimes one detail is shared that helps me with the cultivation of a beloved species.

This is all very  8)  Thank you for your comments.  :)
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: 2016 - Robert's adventures in the Northern Sierra Nevada - California
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2016, 04:52:30 AM »
The polystichum species are delightful ferns Robert. This is a genus we grow quite a number of and they are generally very tolerant of our dry summer climate, but these smaller rock ferns are even more interesting. Really makes me want to develop trough plantings with rock crevices in shadier spots and to grow more ferns from spores again.

Tim,

I have been gathering samples of some of our native Polystichum species for a client here in the U.S.A. This has been a very rewarding project that I have enjoyed greatly. Observing the subtleties of the subspecies and the habitat preferences of the various taxa has been very enlightening.

We have some beautiful native rock ferns here in California. They can be very rewarding to grow. Some are xeric, others mesic, and there are those that prefer a hydric environment. Some are shade loving, others are 100% xeric even in full sun. I have observed their behavior under various cultural situations in the garden as well as in the wild. It is always very fascinating.

Some species are very appropriate for a tough planting or the rock garden.

I will keep posting photographs and comments on all of our fern species, as well as everything else I come across.

From your comments and those of Gabriela, I can see that I can make a ride with my 90 year old mother much more productive.

Thank you.  :)
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Hoy

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Re: 2016 - Robert's adventures in the Northern Sierra Nevada - California
« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2016, 08:25:49 AM »
Both the cliff faces and ferns have my vote also ;D

When I am out I always study the cliffs and rocky outcroppings especially on rich ground. Mostly the bedrock around is acidic and poor so when I am on richer ground I am very eager.

Two examples:

Cystopteris fragilis is common also on poor substrate and Polystichum lonchitis and Asplenium viride are rarer and always on rich substrate.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2016, 08:33:26 AM by Hoy »
Trond Hoy, gardening on the rainy west coast of Norway.

 


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