Lava River Cave

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Buster decided to sit this one out. He’s 13, and we weren’t sure he wanted to go digging around in a cave.Lava Rock CaveDoesn’t look like much from here, but come closer …Lava Rock CaveIt goes almost straight down, into the cave.Lava Rock CaveA few intrepid pups (and their companion) hiked the cave. Note the booties, which protect their paws from sharp rocks.Lava River CaveA view down the cave. We knew to bring extra layers, since it can be cold here (32-40 degrees F). In July, isn’t that the point of this hike?Lava River CaveLava cave floor. Lava River CaveMy husband Bryon helped me over the rough spots. In spite of my excellent trail shoes I twisted my ankle a few times. (Luckily nothing serious.)Lava River CaveAt the split. “Stay to the right,” we were told. “It’ll be easier.”Lava River Cave“Easier” is relative. Alex is 6’3″. (Even I had to crab-walk this.)Lava River CaveA view of the ceiling.Lava River CaveA second view of the ceiling. The cave changes to reflect humidity and other ambient conditions.Lava River CaveA Rorschach test. (Not really–a view of the walls.)Lava River CaveThe sign says, “DUCK”. In case you needed the reminder.Lava River CaveGrafitti at the turnaround point of the hike. This is supposed to be the warmest point of the hike. I couldn’t tell, since I had already taken off and tied my sweat jacket around my waist.Lava River CaveI wasn’t sure about the significance of the boat, either.Lava River CaveMold growing from litter left by prior hikers.

Veit Springs Trail

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Although Buster was probably sore from the previous day’s hike, he needed no coaxing to join us for our next outing.Veit Springs TrailThe trail is also known as the Lamar Haines Loop, named after a local leader in the conservation movement.Veit Springs LoopMushrooms make themselves at home here. I don’t know whether or not these are poisonous.Veit Springs TrailFerns and aspens along the way. Veit Springs TrailRemains of an old cabin.Veit Springs TrailSpring house near the old cabin.Veit Springs TrailNote the petroglyphs on the top of the wall where the stones meet overhead.Veit Springs TrailBuster, ready to go.Veit Springs TrailTree bark.Veit Springs TrailOne of the locals.Veit Springs TrailVintage graffiti.

Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch …

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My current job has me living away from home during the week. On Friday, I plug in my iPhone, hit my Pandora app, and drive two hours through rush hour traffic to start the weekend. I now have a place closer to work, so our time has gone into getting it fixed up.

Sunflower seedlings are now taller than I am.

Sunflower seedlings are now taller than I am.

The bees have made themselves at home here.

The bees have made themselves at home here.

I wonder what the sunflower seeds will taste like.

I wonder what the sunflower seeds will taste like.

We have a persistent problem with flies because it is so dry. They go wherever there is any source of water.

We have a persistent problem with flies because it is so dry. They go wherever there is any source of water.

The potatoes are particularly determined, sprouting where Bryon planted lettuce.

The potatoes are particularly determined, sprouting where Bryon planted lettuce.

From here, it doesn't look quite so unruly, does it?

From here, it doesn’t look quite so unruly, does it?

The cabbages, planted from seeds, have grown into small bushes.
The cabbages, planted from seeds, have grown into small bushes.

The wily fennel is starting to bloom. (I never knew that fennel did this.)

The wily fennel is starting to bloom. (I never knew that fennel did this.)

Asian pears. I think these need another month or so.

Asian pears. I think these need another month or so.

The carrots have been doing well in the garden this summer. Bryon has already been harvesting and preserving batches of them.

The carrots have been doing well in the garden this summer. Bryon has already been harvesting and preserving batches of them.

The artichokes, unfortunately, haven't fared as well. These will need to be trimmed so new ones can grow.

The artichokes, unfortunately, haven’t fared as well. These will need to be trimmed so new ones can grow (we hope).

The grapes, as always, provide plenty of temptation and support for birds and bees. We have quail nesting near the grape vines. I'm surprised they only recently figured out what the finches have known for years.
The grapes, as always, provide plenty of temptation and support for birds and bees. We have quail nesting near the grape vines. I’m surprised they only recently figured out what the finches have known for years.

Bryon with one of the cabbages that went into coleslaw. These are sweeter than the ones that come from the store.

Bryon with one of the cabbages that went into coleslaw. These are sweeter than the ones that come from the store.

The blackberries are ripening on the vine, and some of them are already delicious. The quail nesting in the bush know this, too.

The blackberries are ripening on the vine, and some of them are already delicious. The quail nesting in the bush know this, too.

Red onions. When they grow up they will grace salads, soups, risotto. If any tears are shed while they are chopped, they will be tears of anticipation. A delicious meal will be coming.
Red onions. When they grow up they will grace salads, soups, risotto. If any tears are shed while they are chopped, they will be tears of anticipation. A delicious meal will be coming.

Fingerling potatoes, growing in ginger-shaped nodules. Not sure why, though.

Fingerling potatoes, growing in ginger-shaped nodules. Not sure why, though.

Scarlet runner beans. Mature beans are on the left;  early sprouts are on the right.

Scarlet runner beans. Mature beans are on the left; early sprouts are on the right.

A cherry! I had never seen cherries on our tree before because the birds had always eaten them first. This one was delicious.
A cherry! I had never seen cherries on our tree before because the birds had always eaten them first. This one was delicious.

The nectarines from this tree are always a treat. The birds know this too. All too well.

The nectarines from this tree are always a treat. The birds know this too. All too well.