Saturday, March 31, 2012

wild refuge

'located in california's most secluded region, the carrizo plain national monument has remained relatively untouched by human development for well over three centuries. featuring over 250,000 acres of protected terrain, providing an array of rare plants and animals with miles of natural habitat and unspoiled environmental splendor.'

this refuge lies only ninety miles away from us, yet when we cross over into the carrizo there is a feeling of traveling hundreds of years back in time. the immaculate landscape comprised of (sometimes) blossoming flowers and awe-inspiring views, the migratory birds, and the wildlife, these are the things that draw us back again and again. this california 'serengeti' is the perfect place to 'hear the quiet'

please join us as we experience...

 lark sparrows

eschscholzia californica ~ the lovely california poppy

pronghorn antelope! one day in the far, far distance we spotted them. a herd of eight was moving from the south to the north across the plains. oh how we wanted to drive closer to see them, but just like in the serengeti, you must stay on the road (even if it is a narrow dirt one). so we turned around and headed north too, maybe a mile ahead of the antelopes, until we found a road that led out into what we hoped would be closer to their path in passing...

and so we waited. and on the horizon we saw them approach. moving, it seemed, right towards us.
yes! they were! they walked and ran in the exact direction of our truck, where we sat motionless except for the click of a camera.

they ran right to us before bolting off. i've never seen a herd before, and so close! and gorgeous, such beautiful eyes

the next day we found three tule elk. a newborn calf was just outside this photo

breakfast on the plains and time for a little knitting. i am working on my elizabeth zimmerman pi shawl. i have just found out i'm about to run out of wool, with only eight more inches of sideways knitted on border left. poo

unfinished and unblocked and oh so many stitches that i love. i think, when it's done, i'll call it my plains shawl

from the borage family, the forked fiddleneck

selby camp

lesser goldfinch, we counted fifteen on this little tree, at one time! one youngster fell, to the ground, in a pile of disheveled feathers

we picked it up. chuck held him, while i ran for the camera and a bit of peanut butter. i offered it to this young bird and he took one peck of the treat and then flew away!

this photo is from the year 2010, an epic year for california wildflowers in the carrizo

i am standing in the same spot now. the beauty of a good wildflower season is it's unpredictability and so it's all the more special when it does occur

a curious western kingbird

in place of wildflowers we found tumbleweed bouquets. lovely, but sometimes needing relocating out of the road

knitting alert (hee hee): chucks hat can be found on purl soho and ravelry here.

then one night, out on a crescent moon walk, this western toad hopped in front of us.

i wanted to hold him too

chuck caught him as he leaped! back to the meadow little one.

party of house finch, your table is ready

your big table.

hee hee

an undetermined bird of prey on a large tumble weed

one tidy tip and an experiment with photo editing.

san joaquin antelope squirrel pretending to be invisible  :)

long-billed curlew a long way from home

us, giving thanks. thanking you too for coming along.

xo lori


what we saw:
diablo loco
tiny amount goldfields, tidy tips, poppies, phacelia
coyote melon
forked fiddleneck
silver bush lupine
desert cottontail
black-tailed jackrabbit
san joaquin antelope squirrel
california ground squirrel
(we heard) coyotes
tule elk
pronghorn antelope
turkey vulture
red-tailed hawk
california quail
long-billed curlew
mourning dove
burrowing owl!
say's phoebe
western kingbird
horned lark
common raven
mountain bluebird
loggerhead shrike
lark sparrow
western meadowlark
brewer's blackbird
western toad


  1. Just.. wow. I am blown away. I've always wanted to travel further west. To think of all that beauty out there. Wow.

  2. Absolutely amazingly stunning! Wow, what a fab experience. I love californian poppies and always buy seeds if I see them xxx

  3. Lori [and Chuck], thank you so much for taking us along, the only thing missing was getting to feel the cool air!
    How beautiful and amazing the photos are, I especially loved seeing the wee bird you found and fed.
    You showed a picture from last year and now this year, do you make this trip annually? Did Owen go along too?
    I hope you are having great weekend, although I am sorry to hear about the yarn shortage. Is is something I may have in my stash I could send you? Let me know.

    1. your so sweet tracey, thank you! i've already placed my order for the last hank i'll need of beaverslide, i had a feeling i would be short.

      you remembered! we do go here a few times every year. owen doesn't go, for a few reasons, his safety, for photos...

  4. Exquisite.
    I have no words...
    -no wait...the photography is over the moon!!! SO beautifully done - thank you for sharing with us such a wild and wonderful place. (We have similar antilope roaming in Montana).
    Perfect name for the shawl- love loveit!
    Have a great weekend

  5. Oh, Lori, I love all your photos so much!
    The San Joaquin squirrel is something, I would run to hold him ;o)
    And the last photo... so romantic and so perfect!Thank you for sharing this lovely trip to wild California!!

  6. Lori,
    WOW, Double WOW. Stunning and wonderful. Was Owen with you? Thank you for this, very uplifting and peaceful. xoxo

    1. owen didn't come this time annie! thank you for the kind words. :)

  7. I am bursting with pride for California and for you recording one of the best parts of it. And I have a crush on that toad. What a handsome fella.
    But Lori those antelope. I have never seen one ever. What a sighting!
    I feel so uplifted and want to thank you and Chuck for sharing~

    1. julie the pronghorn were a HUGE thrill. i've only ever seen one, a half a mile away. these were running towards us! incredible. they are such a beautiful animal. thank you from chuck and i.

  8. I second everyone's response because I could not stop saying wow at each and every image. I am in awe and in love with your captures. Thank you for sharing these with us, they are just amazing.
    Now the Shawl...beyond words! Love!

  9. what a wonderful trip i just went on. thank you dear soul. a great way to begin this sunday in austrlia .x xxx xx

  10. Awesone, beautiful, amazing...thanks for sharing-sorry for the missing yarn...don't you have anything more portable than a Pi Shawl(joking)to knit on?

    1. your right :) luckily it was very cold, so it kept me covered and warm!

  11. You take the most beautiful pictures Lori. I've never seen yellow poppies before, they look fantastic against the blue sky. You have the most incredible way of taking wildlife photos; all the animals/birds/frogs seem totally at ease with your presence! I think my favorite is the one of your amazing shawl on the fence, it has a timeless quality about it. Glad you had such a lovely time.

  12. It looks absolutely amazing. Thank you for sharing your wonderful wildlife adventure - and knitting too!

  13. Wow Lori, your photos are amazing. Thank you so much for sharing them. Love the photos of the birds on the fence - the colours behind are just incredible. And the photo of your shawl on the fence is just gorgeous - I want to wrap myself up in it, and I've never worn a shawl in my life! (Making one now...)
    Jane x

  14. Yes, thank you so much for taking me along! I saw and heard it all - the quiet, AND the birds singing, and the wind pushing the tumbleweed (I LOVE tumbleweed!), and I saw the deer eyes, and the yellow poppies, and the toad, and the mountains, all of it, and you with your braids (cute!) and that lovely shawl. Aaaah, I am still breathing deeply! Thank you so much!

  15. Lori, that´s so beautiful. Amazing your photos. Thank you for sharing and your knitting looks lovely, too. Now, I´ll go and have a closer look at these nature shots (- I think I´ll pin some...).


  16. Wow, wow, wow. Those photos are beautiful. How incredible the contrast between that field of flowers and the parched earth. Thanks for sharing. xx

  17. My goodness, what beauty! And your shawl -- swoooooon. It's gorgeous.

  18. what a trip Lori, such amazing things you encountered and captured with your magic wand (your camera of course)! as much as I loved coming along here, I couldn't help feeling like I was intruding on a your romantic getaway lol!! The plains shawl is amazing, hope you find the extra wool you need...

  19. what incredible beauty....and the fact that you were able to capture it and share is just more amazing! many thanks. was it really possible that all that goodness was yours and yours alone this week? didn't look like there was another (human) soul in a gazillion miles--how romantic!

    (Pi shawl, aka plains shawl--is gorgeous!--although certainly NOT plain!)

    1. there was one other couple we saw, twice in passing. we really were alone the entire time. when the weather warms up and the years the flowers are in bloom, the campsites will fill up. but it is easily possible to get lost (and alone) out there!

  20. Lori I am speechless once again. Your camping trip looked like an amazing time. Your photography took my breath away. Absolutely beautiful.

  21. Lori, this definitely made me homesick. So many of the same critters in the Antelope Valley (well, before they overdeveloped it!). I love that big sky. Isn't it the best? I miss that, and I miss the tumbleweeds! We used to make snowmen out of them and put them in our yards. :)) A lovely vacation, thank you for taking me along! xox

  22. These are just gorgeous photos Lori - wowee amazing. Antelope! in CA - I'm stunned.

    and yes...plains shawl - its just perfect

  23. Wow, Lori, just amazing! I can hear the quiet! I love the piece and beauty on your fantastic photos! Most beautiful colours! Your knitting is really wonderful and your photos with the birds on the fence gives me idea for a quilt - which I guess I won't have time to make!
    Thank you for taking us for this unique trip! x Teje

  24. What a wonderful place, Lori! I do love those lines of finch sitting at their "big table"! And, am delighted to hear you're heading to this part of the world again. I don't suppose you'll get as far south as my neighbourhood? xx

    1. just to joburg for a layover nicky, then up to namibia. someday we'll be back to cape town!

  25. How peaceful and restorative. Beautiful pictures. Will have to make a trip there sometime.

  26. the background of the house finch party looks like you drew it with pastels. incredible!

    so much for my comment # 1.

    i have many more.

    because anyone including me could wax and coo about this 'wild life' all week and all month.

    most sincerely :^)

  27. i like seeing chuck throw the tumbleweed...

  28. and you look pretty darn cute....

  29. Dear Lori...What beauty, what solitude, what lovely together-time. This is our favourite kind of date, it really reminds me of those sweet times we shared pre-children. Though, I have to say the family camping trips are some of my favourites! There are so many photos I love, as always, but the dinner party was funny. And you on the tailgate ~ delightful:) What a nice little taste before your African adventure!
    xo Jules
    P.S. Oh, those California poppies ~ exquisite!

  30. Oh boy this is so lovely Lori. I really, really want to go there WONDERFUL photos, thank yo for sharing this excellent adventure and PRONGHORNS!!!

    xo Ro

  31. Gorgeous photography!! I love the photo of the bird in hand-too sweet! I hope you can get more wool and soon! Did you like the pi shawl? That is one I haven't knit....yet. I read in the comments that Owen was not in attendance. Did you get extra licks and wiggles from him when you came back home??? I bet you did!!!! Thanks for sharing your adventures.

    1. karen, even though i vow to keep my phone off while we're out there (most of the time there isn't any service anyway) when it became apparent i would run out, i placed an order right away! (you can probably guess i had something else in my basket to keep busy with) :)
      i love the pi shawl, will post about it soon :)

  32. Hear the that.

    You have skills with that camera, I could learn a thing or two (Ok, a whole lot) from you! Gorgeous photos, I was especially taken with the 2010 poppy photo. Thanks for sharing!

  33. what a fabulous trip - thanks for sharing it with us - love the "hearing the quiet"

  34. Oh wow Lori, you spoil us!!! So many wonderful photographs of such a beautiful place, I don't know where to begin ... just wow! And that shawl is fabulous, I do hope you can solve your yarn shortage problem x

  35. I love when you hit the road Lori - there are always so many stunning images to enjoy. The last one with you and Chuck giving thanks is very moving. xxoo

  36. Beautiful country.....beautiful photo's....... It's 6.30am and I'm about to start my day...... thanks Lori you've just made it a beautiful beginning!!

  37. The antelope crossed in single file?

    I just love that!

    I hope blogger doesn't think I'm spamming your blog,

    Every once in a while I get carried away and your visit to the plains has just whisked me up an away

    Guess who hee hee

  38. Antelope! Antelope?! Seriously, antelope! I had no idea there were wild antelope in CA! And my goodness, it's amazing to think that there are all these dormant poppy seeds just waiting to bloom. And the birds! Oh, the birds. Hehehehehe. You are tremendously lucky to be able to time travel with your love. Thank you for bringing a little bit of the plains back for us.

    Your shawl! It looks gorgeous!

  39. Thank you for sharing these beautiful images with us. I was enchanted, and now add this part of the world on my wish list of places to see and be in.

  40. Thankyou for sharing - lovely photos

  41. What an awesome trip. Wish I'd known about that area when I lived in California.
    Looks amazing.

  42. I love all the photos especially the third one down from the top...the yellow beauties screaming out in happiness....thank you sweet Lori for taking us along.xoxo Cat

  43. So Lori dear, where do I begin? The toad on your hands, the birds, the pronghorns? This was all a HUGE feast for my eyes and soul. True soul food. I love every photo you took. Is it possible that you're getting better and better? Move over Chuck!

    Lori, when you come north, or I return to Carp, I will bring you a big, fat handful of scented pelargonium cuttings to grow. Ok?



  44. Amazing! i'm from California and didn't know about this area. I just looked it up, and it's only a few hours from my house! Beautiful pictures.

  45. Your skill with photography never ceases to amaze or inspire me. What a gorgeous post with some beautiful shots and memories for the two of you! I loved the little bird "dinner table" sequence and your shots of the herd were incredible. I'm so glad you had such a good time out there and that you're willing to share your photos with us so we can live vicariously through you and your adventures!

  46. Oh give me a home
    Where the buffalo roam
    And the deer and the Cantaloupe play.....


  47. Truly breathtaking. I think I need to add that to our list of places to see in California. Thank you so much for sharing it with me. And that shawl is so beautiful. I see you used Beaverslide. I do love that yarn. Perhaps I should add that shawl to my never ending list. Your work always inspires me.

  48. what a gorgeous place. i love those wide open spaces, and can feel the air there (i think) imagining it like Namibia; that antelope squirrel looks like a ground squirrel; love the colours of your shawl, and the contrast from wild flower season; oh and everything here x

  49. What a wonderful place and a wonderful post, Lori! I so enjoyed your pictures and words, the flora and fauna are amazing. I enjoyed each picture, it was all so fascinating, and I love the amusing bits you include like all those birds in a huge long row! Loved the picture of you with your wonderful shawl, and you and your husband too. (I showed this post to my husband as I knew he would find it even more interesting than the National Geographic he reads avidly!) Thank you for showing us such a beautiful place.
    Have a happy week.
    Helen x

  50. And seldom is heard
    A discouraging word
    Except the needles are moving
    All day

    Heehee again

  51. This is suchan amazing place, and beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing Lori, I loved all this!

  52. Lori,
    Your landscape images are great and I can understand the joy you must have felt with the antelopes approaching your way!!!and I simply LOVE your shawl!!!!So long...


  53. Oh my goodness, so beautiful, both in its wildflower state and in its stark one, too. Thank you for bringing us along. And your shawl is so very lovely--can't wait to see it post-blocking! :)

  54. Just beautiful. Both the place and the photos. It's amazing that such wildness still exists in this country- it's so different from everything we see on a normal day.

  55. What gorgeous photography - of course the views lend themselves to such wonderful subject matter! Sounds like a very nice time for you and your hubby.

  56. oh Lori! Once AGAIN~ Sergio & I so enjoyed your photo journey you & Chuck have shared with us. Love to you
    & also to your lovely furry & feahtered & (uhm exactly what do frogs have skin?) critter models! xoxoxo

  57. Such a breathtaking trip! Just amazing.

  58. Hi Lori...I had to come back and revist.
    I just love the wide open spaces- you are such a talented photog!

  59. ♥ What a beautiful photo of your shawl on the fence... And Chuck holding the goldfinch, I'm so glad to hear it flew off. Seeing the pronghorn reminds me of our trip out to Yellowstone almost 3 years ago where we saw quite a few of them, for our first time. Oh, I love to camp. That's what we usually do in the summers for vacation.

  60. Wow what a great trip with all the wildlife! And I have those Ugg boots! You're the only other person I've ever seen them on...I love mine...

  61. Hi Lori!
    I saw youŗe selling some pictures on Etsy. I would like to buy e - version of those beautiful pictures from this post (with birds nr.25, 26, 27). I so much like this pictures! If you are agree, I would print them big, frame and attach on the wall in my room


xoxo lori