TRI to keep it WILD - Raising funds for Nature Conservancy of Canada

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Solar Schoolhouse Summer Institute for Educators

I spent this past week in Petaluma at a teaching solar workshop. We made lots of cool gadgets, including a "solar lunchbox" which can charge an iPod or other electronics with just two little solar panels. It works great! There was lots of soldering and stripping of insulation off of wires, and I learned a lot.

The workshop was put on by Solar Schoolhouse. I've gotten a lot of materials from them before and they are really helpful and enthusiastic about solar education.

We even took a field trip to the Straus Dairy in Marshall, beside Tomales Bay. Now THOSE are happy California cows. The dairy is organic and environmentally friendly and has a methane digester which they use to capture the methane from the cow manure and generate electricity. Pretty cool.

This is where they trap the methane under a tarp-thing after separating the solids from the liquids in the manure.

We sometimes buy their milk and cream which are sold in the old fashioned reusable glass containers, and their yogurt is sooooo good!

The babies were the cutest. There was one that was only 2 days old (not this one).

I took the scenic route home down route 1 along the coast so I could stop at Cowgirl Creamery in Point Reyes Station to get lunch and some yummy cheese: organic and made with Straus milk. Yee ha!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Spicer Meadow Reservoir Part III

We headed back to our favorite canoe spot for the long weekend this weekend. After stopping for breakfast in Copperopolis (ok, I just wanted to type "Copperopolis:" so fun to say!), we arrived to discover that the reservoir was a lot more crowded than other times we'd been there so we had to scout out a new campsite. Apparently some nudists beat us to our usual spot. Despite a bit of wind, the weekend turned out great. The water was close to the high-water mark; right up to the top of the dam, so we had more lake to explore!

Indian paintbrush and some other pink wildflower were everywhere. Mmmm, reminds me of Dunkin' Donuts.

Only had to refill our water bag once over the weekend. It's pretty handy for canoeing.

Our site featured a nice perch for pre-breakfast lake viewing.

Icy snowmelt fills the streams that feed the reservoir. We cooled our feet here on our hike.

Look how square this granite boulder is!

There was a TON of driftwood and bark in the water this time. This tree was just below our campsite.

Of course we stopped in Angels Camp on the way home for lunch and ice cream. It was wicked hot there as usual. Last time we stopped there it was 110F! This time it was only 97F. We paused to remember Dan'l Webster - the clebrated jumping frog of Calaveras County. Here's the word on Calaveras County from Wikipedia:

"Calaveras County is a county located in the Gold Country of the U.S. state of California. Calaveras is named for the Spanish word meaning skulls, reportedly for the bones of fighters left behind after an Indian war that were discovered by Captain Gabriel Moraga. As of the 2000 census, it had a population of 40,554. The county seat is San Andreas. Angels Camp is its only incorporated city.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, a preserve of Giant Sequoia trees, is located in the county several miles east of the town of Arnold on state highway 4. The uncommon gold telluride mineral calaverite is named for the county.

Mark Twain set his story, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County", in the county. Each year, the county hosts its County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee, featuring a frog jumping contest, to celebrate the association with Twain's story. The celebrated California Red-legged Frog, feared absent from the county by 1969, was rediscovered in 2003."