Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mellow Yellow, Carrizo Plain

woodland wildflowers

They call me mellow yellow. I lucked out, my back straightened up quicker than I expected so we took a day trip to the Carrizo Plain, enjoying a multitude of yellow wildflowers, brilliant sunny weather, and a peaceful feeling from the landscape.

rusty relic

native grassland

The Carrizo Plain is about 50 miles long and 15 miles wide and is surrounded by mountains on all sides. It has the distinction of being the largest native grassland left in California. It is located West of Bakersfield, is at the 2200 foot elevation, and is traversed by the San Andreas Fault, fissures of which can be plainly seen on the eastern side of the valley.

wagon wheel

old tractor

Unfortunately Painted Rock was closed so we did not get to see this unique artifact created by the Chumash Native Americans around 2000 BCE.

farm implement

An amazing site is the 3000 acre Soda Lake. The Carrizo Plain has alkaline soil and an average 8 inch annual rainfall which all drains towards the center causing much of the lake to be covered in a thick salt crust.

Soda lake

The flowers are goldfield and tidy tips, native California wildflowers, which were in full bloom covering vast portions of the valley and the surrounding hillsides.


  1. OMG, those flowers! Sure looks a lot warmer than here!
    Glad you felt a little better!!!!

  2. photography is one of your many gifts. I especially liked the pics with the wheels-- the round things in them. Glad to hear your back is better!

  3. AMAZING photographs, Linda! The contrast between the landscapes and rusted farm relics is great.

  4. Hi Gary, thanks, that Carrizo Plain is a really special place, so isolated and pristine without much human influence. it has been really warm here, but cool breezes too. Really enjoying it before the onslaught of summer heat.

    Hi Amy, thanks, the rusted relics are Gary's photography, we have both taken photos in the outback and ghost towns of America for years and have quite a repertoire of photos, but this trip I drove because it's more comfortable for me and he got out and took most of the photos.

    Hi Cynthia, thanks, there are several photos which Gary took which are inspirations to me. The Soda Lake is so Zen.

  5. Hi there mellow yellow. I'm so glad to hear the back is better! What a great road trip you had. Beautiful photos. I really am drawn to the tractor. Maybe it's the straight-on shot. Interesting!

  6. Glad that you are so much better. Those are lovely photos and a real treat for the lucky people that see your blog. Thank you for sharing them with us. P.

    P.S. You mentioned in a fairly recent comment seeing New Zealand Apricots for sale in a grocery near you. It is quite likely that they would have come from Central Otago, which is inland a couple of hour's drive from where we live (we're on the coast). Very hot and dry there in summer, and mighty cold in the winter, but grows fruit really well with not too many pests and diseases.

  7. Hi Patricia, thanks about the photos. Years ago I talked Gary into letting me enter one of his photos in a juried show in Carmichael, CA for the first time, along with one of mine, he got a first place and I got honorable mention, seems like that happens all of the time now; last year he got a second place and I got honorable mention. Gary and I have taken photos at the same locations for years; his eye always sees something completely different than mine. He keeps saying he isn't artistic, but I know he is.

    Hi Peter, thanks about the photos. As I understand, your country is quite wonderful with all of the seasons and geography all in one small country. We looked into immigrating there about 10 years ago, but never persued it. We are again thinking of it.

  8. Hi Lynda, sometimes we get all 4 seasons here, towards the South of the South Island of NZ, in one day, which is one thing I really like about the place! I have sent you an Email. Best Wishes, P.

  9. Hi Peter, I sent you an email. thx.

  10. First off, your leaves are wonderful!! Glad your back hung in there, whew. I've noticed how I have to be really careful loading and unloading the kiln so my back doesn't decide to sideline me!

    The yellow and warmth was a fun sight to see, as we just returned home to at least another foot of snow -yikes!

  11. Thanks so much about the leaves Cindy. I am so glad you finally made it back home. I hope to one day have one of the those taller front loading kilns to make it easier to load.


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