Posts Tagged ‘stanford’

Jasper Ridge, Stanford university

April 27, 2014

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Stanford University has its own open space area, Jasper Ridge. They conduct all manner of research and experiments here, from geology to weather to botany to … well, you name it. It’s not open to the public, but you can get docent tours. Today’s was organized by our open space preserve volunteer coordinator as a bit of a reward.


Not visible in the photo is an old compound where Stanford used to keep a colony of gorillas, including Koko. Unfortunately, ground squirrels could get into the compound, the gorillas ate them, and acquired either parasites or diseases, I’m not quite sure. So they had to close it down.

We had two docents, who themselves were very knowledgeable, but the usual suspects in the open space volunteer group were even more so in some areas, so the docents themselves learned a few things.



There were two tours. I was on the early one; here’s the later group waiting for us to get back to the gate at the end.


It isn’t a big wildflower season, but having said that, even a minimal season is pretty special. Nothing big or dramatic, but if you take time to look carefully, very impressive.





Notice the two insects lunching here.



This one is called elves’ clover because the little markings can be imagined to be a face.


We didn’t see that much animal life. Birds, of course, a lizard, and butterflies, most of whom didn’t stop for photos.


This is one of half a dozen wood-rat nests I counted. The rats are packrats, too. The docent said, especially in the day of pull-off tabs from soda cans, you could open one of these and find a nice collection of tabs.
















Serpentine rock comes to the surface here and there. It is far poorer in nutrients, and has a quite different ecology. Here we see a fairly abrupt boundary, the serpentine underlay to the right.




Pretty classy, if I do say so myself.

Palo Alto

May 6, 2013

Saturday, 4 May 2013


After breakfast, Jacky and Friedrich and Petra and I wandered, first over to the Gamble garden, briefly to Stanford, then to downtown, where Palo Alto was hosting the 91st annual May fete children’s parade.


We found a good spot to watch, and enjoyed seeing thousands of people having a great time. Kids being kids. Grown-ups being kids, too, including ourselves.



Well, maybe not everyone had his best day ever. But he didn’t cry until after he had been picked up and loved a little.





It’s good that it is completely impossible to embarrass a dog.


Also impossible to embarrass some people. Do you suppose she has any idea of the rear view we get?


The electric car club drove by. I especially liked the second one back, made from a pair of picnic coolers. If these guys turn into professional engineers, they will understand cost tradeoffs!


The parade ended at a nearby park, so we wandered over. They had maybe fifty classic cars on display.


The oil can, evidence that one should always keep the essentials close to hand.


A TR-3. The only classic sports car I ever owned was a TR-3. Mine was dark blue. Terrific car. When it was running. It was an education. The early-years Toyota Celica and Honda Prelude that I owned many years later were a million times more practical, but not quite as classic.





I believe the fine detail at the right front hub is the speedometer-odometer mechanism.

The women went on home, but Friedrich and I wandered back over to Stanford. The succulent garden featured far fewer flowers than we were expecting — what? How come cactus care whether it was a dry winter or not?


We went to Stanford bookstore to see if they had audio CDs. No. But there was a group of singers just across the fountain, and they were excellent. We sat on the bookstore terrace and enjoyed them until they finished their gig.


It was graduation day, too, and we saw a few caps and gowns. Not a lot, because it was just time for the ceremonies to begin.

On the way home, we saw a great blue heron standing stately in the open eucalyptus forest. Great to see all creatures great and small having a terrific day!

Fall creek redwoods

February 7, 2010

It rained pretty enthusiastically overnight, and they predicted a rainy day, but the radar weather map looked to me like the beginnings of a nice day. So after breakfast, Anna and Jacky and I drove over the mountain – through fairly heavy rain at times – to Felton and the parking area for the Fall creek area of Henry Cowell redwoods state park.

It was misty and perhaps raining just a bit when we set off. We expect the trees to drip on us anyway, but the water standing on the trail was more of a nuisance than the drips. Jacky suggested we climb away from the creek, a good idea.

Eventually the sky turned mostly blue, and it was a wonderful day. A memorable sight, once the sun came out: raindrops falling through the sunlight, highlighted against the dark backdrop of the redwoods. Truly beautiful.

The day’s other exception came when I pulled up a large chunk of bark from a fallen tree and discovered a mouse. First time I have ever seen one in the woods. Well, we knew they had to live somewhere.

As always, the most interesting photos are of the tiny things.

Fall creek redwoods

It was mid-afternoon when we drove on to Santa Cruz, where we spent a few minutes at the mission. We had a choice then, either to wander the streets of Santa Cruz or to go back over the hill and visit Stanford. We decided on Stanford.

Good choice. We strolled around the campus, but most of our time and attention was on the Rodin sculptures, both indoors and out.

Rodins at Stanford

Dinner at Lavanda in Palo Alto, where the day’s specials included sturgeon. Unfortunately, it was raw (tough) on the inside, but Lavanda did it right: admit you messed up and fix it. Good for them.