Monday, August 29, 2011

WAHA Ice Cream Social

Matt and I spent a lovely Sunday afternoon getting to know the folks in our community. The West Adams Heritage Association (WAHA) hosted their annual ice cream social at the Britt Mansion. We toured the lovely estate, now home to LA84, were delighted by live vaudeville entertainment, ate all kinds of sweets and met some wonderful new people. Oh, and did I mention we ate sweets... lots of sweets! 

Here we are, Matt is bringing in the lemon ricotta cake we made...

Beautiful Georgian Britt Mansion built in 1910

inside the mansion

Some of the sweets... my cake was a hit!

Vaudeville singers performed all of Grammy's favorites!

this guy. precious.

Sipping sangria by the raffle prizes

Many people wore fabulous period dress!

I loved this pomegranate tree-

So full of pomegranates!

Matt's walks the walk- the cake walk, that is. He looks like he had fun, but he didn't walk away with any baked goodness-- the winner was an adorable 3 year old named Alexander!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Sleeping Pandas

For some strange reason I've had pandas on the brain lately, and while pandas are just ridiculously cute in just about everything they do, they especially captivate me when they are taking a snooze...

How happy do these guys look? 

Dreamy stone cottage

I'd daydream below the willow tree, and warm up inside with a cup of tea!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Rock Art & Strongholds & Caves, Oh my!

Some pictures of our adventures at Lava Bed National Monument

descending into Golden Dome...

looks pleasant...

but as we move farther away from the mouth of the cave, it gets so dark...

and only with the flashes of my camera am I able to see the different colored lava flow that created this cave so long ago.

the red spots are rich with iron

the blue, with titanium

cave dark is darker than dark

and we have to keep crouching lower and lower to pass through

but we get to the place that this cave is named for, the Golden Dome

the whole place really sparkles with specks of gold 

difficult to capture on my camera

you'll have to imagine it- it was so beautiful!

and there we are, a couple of happy cave explorers

having no idea how to get back out

but we do

and we ascend from the deep triumphantly!

The National Parks are amazing. I don't know if we as Americans appreciate them enough, in fact, I'm pretty sure we don't. We've set aside some of the most special spaces in our nation to enjoy and preserve- it's a wonderful idea. I am only now starting to realize how great they are. I love the motto that I spotted outside of the visitor's center at the Lave Beds National Monument-

after our adventure in the cave, we decided to hang out above ground for a while, and met this guy...

we hiked around Captain Jack's Stronghold. 

we felt the sadness of the battle that took place there between the Modoc Indians and the US Army.

we saw what little remains as a reminder...

and I was fascinated by how nature and time keeps moving and growing 

the view from the top of the hill

before we headed down...

the Modoc built some structures during their 6 month stand against the army, but they also used the naturally cavernous land to their benefit. I tried to imagine what it must have been like...

at the end of the trail, this guy watches us leave.

Next, we head to the other side of the park to visit the ancient petroglyphs-

Visit here for more information about the petroglyphs

The images on the rocks were impressive, but I was more fixated on the flurries of busy birds that swooped in and out of their nests in the rock's wall! I think they were magpies, but I could be wrong. I met a woman at the petroglyphs that said she saw two peregrine falcons at the same rock earlier and she pointed out their nests... 

and after a day of caves, hikes and rock art, and bird watching, it was time for supper.

we feasted at the only restaurant in town, Captain Jack's Stronghold. Very sweet staff, kinda sadly ironic decor.

The next morning we were ready to explore another cave. This one was deeper in the park and we didn't see another soul on our drive or walk to get to it. 

but we face the mouth of the cave.

my Ma confronts the gaping maw of... SKULL CAVE

Unlike Golden Dome, this cave starts level with the ground and you can walk right in.

this time, I go first.

We walk in single file and the cave slopes downward, and gets darker. When only a shred of the outdoor sunshine is visible thought the cave's opening, I stop us for a snapshot. We look a little goofy, but we feel like real explorers!

and then the climb really turns south...
 With the pinpoints of light from our torches to guide us, we descend four flights of stairs into total darkness. 

and then we reach the bottom. 

the beautiful ice floor of Skull Cave, cold, beautiful and ancient.


We thank the cave for letting us visit. and then we start our climb up. 

At one point we turn off our lights and stand still, just feeling the cave around us. Letting the darkness penetrate our eyes. It was oddly exhilarating!

and then we see the light at the end of the tunnel.

bright blue sky awaits us.

and we turned back and waved goodbye to Skull Cave with the beautiful ice floor.

back outside- with the sunshine and flowers!