Monday, May 03, 2010

2010 Spring Trip Valley Center California Blog 2

We left Bakersfield, CA after seeing Peter for his birthday and drove through the Tehachapi pass and stopped for a shot of a part of the huge wind farm.
The Tehachapi Wind Farm, with around 5,000 wind turbines, is the second largest collection of wind generators in the world (the largest is at the Altamont pass, near Livermore and the San Francisco Bay area), but is now the largest wind power array in the world in output. The turbines are operated by a dozen private companies, and collectively produce about 800 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, enough to meet the residential needs of 350,000 people every year. With over 15,000 turbines in the state (7,000 at Altamont and 3,000 at San Gorgonio Pass, near Palm Springs), wind power in California makes up about 1% of California's electricity.

The next stop was the ranch of Jill and George in Valley Center, CA

The grounds of the small ranch are extremely well maintained.

And well kept is the herd of one better known as Willie the Watusi.

Willie as gentle as he is big.

Everything at Takach Ranch is special and sentimental like this decorative cross given to Jill by her son Jesse.

I walked around taking pictures of the plants, some were interesting ...

... some we a small dazzling red...

... and others were larger.

George took a rid on Jesse's quad (by the way it's for sale) ...

... as Jill took a walk outside.

Jill doesn't just take care of Willie but also a giant staghorn fern she has had for ages. It makes for an interesting photo subject.

So much of growing and maintaining one of these beauties is having the right place and some TLC.

I liked the way these two potted plants looked together.

Jill and I went Rattlesnake hunting on the hill behind her house and found a few things to shoot like this wild flower...

... and this not so wild apple tree.

Unable to find any rattlers we took off in Jill's "Mule" for a ride further up the hill across from Jill's ranch stopping to take pictures.

This cactus was starting to bloom...

... and even the new leaves looked like blossoms on this bush

Then there was some yard art ...

... some interesting stuff...

... actually junk dumped in a vacant field.

There were also dome interesting wildflowers in the field...

... they were small ...

... but beautiful.

Back to some landscaping at the homes the flowers were very nice

I liked the color on these...

... and I love iris blooms especially the ones we are missing at home that I'm sure are just starting to bloom.

We have a standard purple wisteria that will be coming out when we get home so seeing this great looking white variety was pretty special.

I believe this is a variety of ice plant...

... as is this glowing and gorgeous yellow bloom.

California pepper trees are just wonderful this time of year.

"This tree was originally brought to Mexico by the spaniards from South America several hundreds years ago. Now it grows everywhere in the wild and is known by the name of "pirul". It is usually a wild tree and not grown in gardens for any reason. It has become a very important part of Mexican traditional medicine, as its branches are used to "sweep" a person¨s body and thus "casting away all bad luck" and "evil eye". That is called "una barrida con pirul". It is common practice in many rural communities in Mexico today. Just thought you might find it interesting." ~ Comment on the Internet not verified

I just love taking pictures an having people comment on the plants I am no botanist

I did know what these were but I forgot.

Then we found a true botanical gardener named Sharon who had an amazing collection of Cacti.

Some were blooming ...

...and as beautiful as any flowers you will ever see,

Then others were getting ready to bloom and unbelievably tall...

... while other s came in odd shapes...

... and others were short and perfect but sharp spheres.

The tops of some looked like gargoyles...

and some looked like tall trees...

...with big thorns.

Sharon said she called this one a "brain" cactus and it is easy to see why.

My favorites were is yellow variety that looked like it was growing hair and ...

...this prickly pear cactus with a slight lavender tint.

Finally on the way back I had Jill back up to get a shot of this bottle brush as bright red as I'ver ever seen one.

No Scrabble tonight

Quote of the Day ~
"Desert golf is not easy. People lose a lot of golf balls. Of course, they're not inclined to go and look around for it in the desert. I don't recommend that for anyone. Cactus aren't very friendly." ~ Robert Taylor

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