Jack-O’-Lanterns

Nights of the Jack (10/26/18) Kathy Jonokuchi

Nights of the Jack (10/26/18) Kathy Jonokuchi

Nights of the Jack (10/26/18) Kathy Jonokuchi

Jack-O’-Lanterns used to be simple: triangle eyes, a crooked smile and candle inside.

No more.

Halloween has become a major holiday, not just a silly night of revelry. And, Jack-O’-Lanterns are a big deal.

Southern California color spotter Kathy Jonokuchi alerted us to what’s happening at King Gillette Ranch In Calabasas.

She was there to see Nights of the Jacka festival that celebrates the Jack-O’-Lantern.

It features thousands of hand-carved, illuminated pumpkins carved as dinosaurs, sharks, celebrities and things that go bump in the night.

Look carefully. What you see are Jack-O’-Lanterns carved from pumpkins, but in all sorts of fantastic forms … another form of fall color seen only at California’s Nights of the Jack.

Designer Jack-O’-Lanterns (10/27/18) John Poimiroo

For those lacking time or the talent to carve a creative Jack-O’-Lantern, Target sells plastic re-useable pumpkins pre-carved and painted in many shades of designer colors … more fall color.

Of course, you can always carve a pumpkin, light a candle inside it and enjoy the orange glow of a traditional Jack-O’-Lantern, crooked smile and all. Or, just marvel at the orange glow of a rising October moon, as Kathy did. 

Designer Jack-O’-Lanterns (10/27/18) John Poimiroo

Nights of the Jack (10/26/18) Kathy Jonokuchi

Designer Jack-O’-Lanterns (10/27/18) John Poimiroo

Nights of the Jack (10/26/18) Kathy Jonokuchi

October moon (10/26/18) Kathy Jonokuchi

 

 

,

Mammoth Autumn Events Planned

Aspen, Rock Creek Canyon (9/13/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

The Town of Mammoth Lakes’ plans for fall festivals is absolutely Woolly! Here’s what’s ahead:

For more about what’s happening in Mammoth Lakes, download a Mammoth Lakes Visitor Guide or view the online Eastern Sierra Fall Color Guide

, ,

Eastern Sierra Photo Jamboree This Weekend

An Eastern Sierra Photography Jamboree will provide photographers opportunities for recognition, exposure and cash prizes this weekend in the Bridgeport Valley.

The photo exhibit/contest is open to all amateur and professional photographers with $200, $100 and $50 prizes presented for the top three framed entries in these categories: Bodie, Ranching and Western Life, Wildlife, Hunting & Fishing, and Nature & Landscape photography. A $15 entry fee applies.

The Photo Jamboree is the first of a half-dozen fun events happening this autumn in Mono County, including:

, , ,

Parade of Roses and Autumn

Tournament of Roses, Pasadena (1/1/18) Frank McDonough

Tournament of Roses, Pasadena (1/1/18) Frank McDonough

Each New Year’s Day, the world marvels at the amazing floral floats made for the Tournament of Roses in Pasadena.

What often isn’t seen in the worldwide coverage of the parade is the lingering fall color to be seen along the streets of Pasadena.

Los Angeles County color spotter Frank McDonough captured some of it and shares it with us.

Pasadena – Peak to Past Peak – You Almost Missed It.

, ,

Fall Color Run

Gilman St., Berkeley (11/18/17) Sandy Steinman

Marathoners passed Peak fall color on their route along historic Telegraph Ave., through North Berkeley and the vibrant Fourth Street district, down Gilman Street, along the waterfront and back to downtown Berkeley this past weekend, while competing in the Berkeley Half Marathon.

Berkeley – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

, ,

Fall Farmer’s Markets

Farmer’s Market, Nevada City (11/11/17) Robert Kermen

Farmer’s Market, Nevada City (11/11/17) Robert Kermen

Farmer’s Market, Nevada City (11/11/17) Robert Kermen

California loves its farmer’s markets.

There are literally hundreds of them in the state, and they are found in just about any city of significant population.

Los Angeles has 30 farmer’s markets… some periodic, some permanent.

Although farmer’s markets can be enjoyed year-round here, they’re best in autumn.

Farmer’s Market, Nevada City (11/11/17) Robert Kermen

Farmer’s Market, Nevada City (11/11/17) Robert Kermen

There’s just nothing quite as satisfying as exploring a farmer’s market’s booths and wares on a crisp autumn day. You walk the market in a cozy sweater and spend time leisurely chatting with the farmers, artists, authors and vendors.

Buying at a farmer’s market isn’t just about what you buy, it’s about the relationship you make with the person selling it.

Today, I bought three books, as birthday gifts, directly from the author, a writing instructor at the University of the Pacific.

I didn’t need a book review to know they might be something worth treasuring. His enthusiasm communicated that. You don’t get that on Amazon.com. Spending time at a farmer’s market gives you that and more.

Robert Kermen spent Veterans Day in Nevada City at its farmer’s market. The fall color in town was so-so, but the color to be seen at its farmer’s market was off the charts.

CLICK HERE for where to find farmer’s markets in California.

 

, , ,

Rainbow Season

Rainbow and Sandhill Cranes, Lodi (11/4/17) Crys Black

California is entering its rainbow season. It runs from autumn through springtime.

When storms are clearing, the best time to see rainbows is when the sun is behind you and you are looking toward rain or mist.

Color spotter Crys Black captured just such a moment at the Sandhill Crane festival (Woodbridge Ecological Reserve, west of Lodi) as sunset approached.

A storm had just departed and illuminated by sunset light in the moist sky were rainbows and Sandhill Cranes. The latter were returning to the reserve to spend the night safe from predators.

Rainbow season provides all sorts of moments in which to be inspired by nature’s beauty.

,

Mushroom Madness in Mendocino

Fly Amanita (poisonous) mushroom, Mendocino Mushroom, Wine and Beer Festival, Nov 3 – 12

Chanterelle growing on a Mendocino forest floor

Mushrooms, 3,000 varieties of them, will be hunted, discussed, tasted and feted at Mendocino County’s 19th Annual Mushroom Wine and Beer Festival, Nov. 3 – 12. It is the world’s largest mushroom festival.

What makes Mendocino County such a great mushroom foraging area? “It’s the trees,” says Eric Schramm who will be leading a hike from Jughandle Creek Farm on Nov. 12, one of many walks, talks, cooking classes, concerts, rides and hunts focused on learning more about Mendocino mushrooms.

Mendocino’s forests are populated with many evergreen and deciduous trees whose fallen leaves and needles cultivate a broad variety of spores.

For the fall color spotter, Mendocino County’s forest are speckled with autumn color from: (orange) black oak, (yellow) bigleaf maple, (orange-yellow) valley oak, (yellow) white alder, (red-purple) creek dogwood, (gold-orange) various willows, (yellow) California buckeye, (burgundy) choke cherry, (yellow) Oregon ash, (chartreuse) vine maple, (gold) black cottonwood, (red) Klamath plum and all those mushrooms.

Schramm notes that the detritus deposited on the forest floor by certain trees, combined  with Mendocino’s moist coastal climate, nourishes the abundant growth of fungi. It is tree species that leads foragers to prized mushrooms. Chanterelle grow beneath Douglas fir, black trumpet below tan oak and porcini underneath shore pine.

“The annual haul is nothing short of historic,” writes Visit Mendocino, and the response is that mushrooms make just about every great Mendocino menu. Mendocino’s wine makers and brewers find inventive ways to pair their makings with nature’s bounty in endlessly tantalizing ways, making Mendocino the go-to destination for mushroom lovers.

3,000 mushroom varieties grow in Mendocino County. 500 are edible.

Mushrooms are not just good to eat (that is, the 500 edible varieties growing in Mendocino County), but they’re also wonderful to photograph, as seen in the slider across the top of our site.

Schramm says not only is it just plain fun to go mushroom hunting, but festival goers learn a lot about the medicinal, spiritual, culinary, scientific and emotional benefits of mushrooms, stating, “Mushrooms are the wave of the future. We’re just starting to understand their many uses as tools in bioremediation to naturally clean the Earth.”

So, here’s a rundown of some of the fungi fest’s favorites. CLICK HERE for links to them:

  • Daily – Mushroom Hunt Ride, Ricochet Ridge Ranch, Ft. Bragg.
  • Daily – Live Mushroom Exhibit, Ford House Museum, Mendocino.
  • Nov. 3 – Wild Mushroom and Winemaker Dinner, MacCallum House Inn and Graziano.
  • Nov. 3 – 5 – Mushroom Exploration Tours, Stanford Inn, Mendocino.
  • Nov. 4 – Mushroom Foraging at UC Hopland Research and Extension Center.
  • Nov. 4 – Guitarist Alex de Grassi, UC Hopland Research and Extension Center.
  • Nov. 3 – Coro Winemaker Dinner at the Golden Pig.
  • Nov. 4 – Afternoon Tea at Glendeven Inn with mushroom tea sandwiches.
  • Nov. 4 – Mad Fritz Brewing Co. at the Bewildered Pig.
  • Nov. 5 – Bars, Bordellos and Mushrooms, Kelley House, Mendocino.
  • Nov. 5 – Mycellium in Art & History, Mendocino Art Center.
  • Nov. 5 – Ravens Restaurant medicinal mushroom breakfast.
  • Nov. 5 – Pennyroyal Farm mushroom brunch.
  • Nov. 5 – Foray with Mario Abreu (for beginning foragers), Ft. Bragg.
  • Nov. 7 – Blue Collar Winemaker Dinner at Cucina Verona.
  • Nov. 8 – Barra of Mendocino Winemaker Dinner at Crush.
  • Nov. 8 – Wild Fish Winemaker Dinner.
  • Nov. 10 – Little River Inn Mushroom and Belgian Beer Dinner.
  • Nov. 11 – Mushrooms at the Mendocino Coast Bontanical Gardens, Ft. Bragg.
  • Nov. 11 – Mushroom Foray and Cooking Class at Jade Court, Ft. Bragg.
  • Nov. 11 – Maple Creek Winery/Artevino Mushroom Hike & Forage.
  • Nov. 11 – Saracina Mushroom Foraging and Gourmet Luncheon.
  • Nov. 11 – Jaxon Keys Winemaker Dinner.
  • Nov. 11 – Yamakiri Winery and Ravens Restaurant Mushroom and Winemaker Dinner.
  • Nov. 11 – Campovida Winemaker Dinner.
  • Nov. 12 – Fungi Finale – A Walk on the Wild Side with Eric Schramm, Caspar.
  • Ongoing Excursions/Tours as Posted – Skunk Train, Point Arena Lighthouse, B. Bryan Preserve (endangered African hoof stock).

During November, 25 hotel properties in Mendocino County are offering special packages. Follow the above link to them.

 

,

Shasta Cascade A Harvest of Events

Mt. Shasta, Upper Sacramento River (10/21/16) Philip Reedy

Patchy color is appearing early across the Shasta Cascade, providing opportunities to harvest an autumn drive with a car show, road race, trout derby and all sorts of festivals (music, food, and fun). Here are some of the events that will be happening up north on this coming and the following weekend.

Oct. 6

– Olive Festival, Corning Car Show

 

Oct. 7  

– Bizz Johnson Marathon  ( Susanville)

– Harvest Moon Liberty Fest ( Anderson River Park )

– Johnny Appleseed Days . ( Paradise )

– Manton Apple Festival ( Manton )

– Salmon Festival (Weaverville)

 

Oct. 14 

– Apple Harvest Festival . ( Mc Cloud) .

– Shasta Lake Trout Derby

,

Aspen Festival Returns to Alpine County

Hope Valley (10/8/16) Andrew Zheng

With only 1,138 residents, Alpine County is California’s smallest county, but what it lacks in population, it makes up in Quaking Aspen.

Aspen forests populate seven viewing areas in Alpine County: the Hope Valley, Woodfords Canyon, Monitor Pass, East Fork Carson River, Ebbett’s Pass, Hermit Valley and Bear Valley/Lake Alpine.

Though Alpine County is just south of my base in El Dorado County, I’ve never scouted Ebbett’s Pass, Hermit Valley or Bear Valley/Lake Alpine. That’s an omission I hope to correct, and just might do so during the Alpine Aspen Festival, Oct. 7 – 8.

The festival occurs in the Hope Valley, which is a favorite destination for fall color spotters due to its proximity to Sacramento, Stockton, Modesto and the SF Bay Area.

Planned are interpretive hikes, photography and en plein air painting, a ranch tour, music and – of course – food (Dutch oven cooking and a feed benefitting East Fork Fire).

There are a bunch of first reports on the line. Let’s see who gets to them, first.