The Knitting Nurse

Rambles and Travels

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Eureka, CA. Murals!

Poke around Eureka, CA and you’ll find murals.  This surprised me.  Last time I was there I stuck to the water. Mostly.

The best lime-corncookie I’ve ever had comes from this bagel shop called Los Bagels.  I now have the recipe. I dreamed of reuniting with that cookie a second time so I planned my return route to ensure I stop on the way back north.

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Crescent City, CA – Battery Point Lighthouse

There’s something about the California Coast. The 199 down from Oregon deposits you in Crescent City, CA.  A Breakwater hems in one side of Crescent Beach. After perusing the working harbor (full of fishing boats) and a couple guest tall ships in the marina,  I made way to Battery Point to visit the sweet little Battery Point Lighthouse.

It was windy. The waves were active and impressive, swamping over the massive jetty which you see in the video below though in person it was much more impressive.

The tide was low, however, and the narrow isthmus one walks across to the lighthouse was free and clear.


I’ve visited this pretty little lighthouse before.  I missed the last tour of the day. The woman exiting the building shared her excitement at the frantic waves. Apparently, it’s been a quiet winter without much big- wave-watching.

This was one of the first lighthouses on the California coast. In 1855 Congress appropriated $15,000 for its construction.   The fourth-order Fresnel Lens was replaced by an automated, modern light in 1953.  Despite most of the town being destroyed, the lighthouse survived the massive tsunami from the 1964 AK earthquake.  Eventually, a flashing light at the end of a breakwater replaced the lighthouse’s beam. In 1982 the lighthouse was switched back on,  managed as a “private aid” to navigation. This means, I believe, that it a group of volunteers and people that stay for periods of time maintain the light as it is on navigational charts and must be reliably lit.

Interesting bits and pieces:

Someday I’d like to be a volunteer lighthouse keeper.

Tours are available to the public, tide-permitting, daily from April to September.  The last time I was there I had a wonderful docent who lived and breathed the history of the area and the lighthouse.  They will take visitors up into the tower.  I highly recommend this spot.  SaveSave

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Road trip! Hello again, redwoods. I’ve missed you.

I’m on a sort of sabbatical. I’m wrapping up a month-long school term break and some time away from work to untwist my brain and get my shoulders off my earlobes.

On the way to meet a friend in the Mendocino, CA area I stopped and spent time amongst giants in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.

It’s been a long time since I’ve visited these noble trees in the far north of CA.  I read that the park’s 10,000+ acres contain 7% of the worlds old-growth redwoods.  The park is managed by the National Park Service and California State Parks and is one of four that comprise Redwoods National and State Parks.  This park contains the Smith River, the last “major” undammed river in CA.  One of the groves includes the world’s largest (not tallest) coast redwood, which measures 20 feet (6.1 m) in diameter and 340 feet (100 m) tall.  Wow! 

See how these below are in a ring formation? They likely grew up around a felled tree.

Moss and lichen drape most everything in this ancient forest. 100+ inches of rain annually ensure a temperate, drippy climate. This feels like the forests back home on the Olympic Peninsula.

Wood sorrel-these lovely ground carpeting flowers will have pale lavender flowers. When hit with direct sun, the flower and leaves roll inward and point away from the sun. How I’d love to see that adaptation in action.

Here’s an example of a classic nurse log. The young tree took root on a fallen tree where germination has a higher chance of success.  The log nurtures its growth. In time, the log will decay away and the tree will form buttresses over where the log was.

Positively primeval looking ferns. They are ancient plants.

The thick bark of the redwood protects it from fire damage. Many have fire scars.

It was rejuvenating to inhale the cool, foggy air and tune into the birdsong.


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Fall Farmers Market Color to Warm Your Day

Last November I escaped the ‘Polar Vortex’ by visiting family in FL.  There’s a cold snap chilling family and friends all over.  Here, the sun shines brightly despite the cold.  I’m thankful for that and enjoying it during walks.

This is knitwear season, folks.  I love it!  Snuggling under quilts while knitting at night is so pleasant.  My two wool, thickly cabled Fishermans Sweaters are on duty as well as all those hats, shawls and mitts the summer tucked away.  I’ve been working on top-secret Christmas knitting and behind on uploading pics of not-so-top-secret items. More on that later.

Today, I’ll paint the last room in the house, my bath.  The to do list is long, including sorting out the mountains of boxes in the garage and a trip to the Habitat For Humanity thrift shop to donate (and sleuth for a few things I’m looking for.)

The carrot on the stick:  I can start unpacking books, my shell and rock collection, hang photos and artwork, all those fun things that make a home feel like a home.

Hang on…neighbor walking past with his dog Oscar. Have to step onto the porch and say hello.  They are a delightful family.

I just love my neighborhood!

I thought I’d share some colorful pics from last weekend’s farmers market to help brighten things up:


Stay warm!


How do you cook cabbage?  I’m looking for ideas.

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I can’t get enough of sautéed greens.

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Stay warm!

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Rachel Comes to Cali. – Mendocino Coast

My youngest sister Rachel visited me, here in CA, in February.  We hadn’t time together, just us two, in years. Rachel was 6+ months preggers.  She’s the lovely little Lillian’s mom.

Rachel prepared a delicious Valentines dinner.  We did some local sightseeing and took a little road trip up the Mendocino Coast.

The Mendo Coast’s a favorite destination of mine.  Depending on the time of the year/location one chooses there are empty, rugged beaches and miles of trails to be enjoyed.

Especially green and lush in the (rainy) winter, I look forward to fog-shrouded days such as we had on Glass Beach.

Rachel had this destination picked out.  In Fort Bragg, a former garbage dump occupied primo real estate on city-edge bluff top above the ocean.  Closed in 1967, it now belongs to the State Parks.



A favorite tourist destination, pretty beaches offer unique beach-combing.

Glass. Loads of glass. Decades of waves act as a tumbler, leaving rounded bits of glass strewn about.

Please Note:  Collecting of glass on this beach is prohibited. Please leave for others to enjoy. 



Rachel and I stayed at the Jug handle Creek Farm and Nature Center.  An old farmhouse, they have rooms (private and dorm) to let for reasonable rates.  I think it was $40 each per night?  Quirky and old, a well-stocked kitchen allows preparation of meals. the living room has a wood stove we enjoyed for hours that night, I with knitting in my lap and Rachel with embroidery.

Such a pretty home:




A photo of a photo of the home as a working farm:



The rooms are simple and pleasantly plain with antique furnishings. No central heat, the stove heats the house.  Snug under layers of quilts, I (a chilly sleeper) was warm as could be.



Out back a greenhouse and lovely yard held clues to gardens galore.





Native plants filled the greenhouse:



I enjoyed Rachel and I’s quality time.  Glad to have it. Once Lillian (baby whats’it at that time) arrived I knew her life would get very busy.  Was glad to share this little slice of heaven with her.



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McClures Beach Goodness

Accessible from the parking lot for the Tomales Point Hike I shared with you, McClures beach is small but packs a punch.  Point Reyes National Seashore has over 80 miles of shoreline.

This one’s pretty easy to get to being a short down-hill walk (about half a mile each way, I believe.)

Being the day after a three-day stretch of work I was exhausted, needing decompression.


A field of mustard along Pierce Point Rd on the drive out.  A thin ribbon of road, it’s the best kind.


Sticky Monkey Flower on the trail down.  Butterflies dig it and the Miwok Native Americans used it as an antiseptic agent.


I parked my butt here on a blanket, removed my shoes, letting my senses reboot.




Turkey Vultures were flying in a figure eight type pattern directly overhead.  Made me a little uneasy I’ll admit.  Then I noted them landing beside the rock pile against the sandy cliff in the background.  Wings outspread and hopping about they must have been picking apart some sort of carcass.

Knowing they weren’t scouting out my beached figure I closed my eyes and napped. It was glorious.  Then I woke, ate lunch, read, knit, and repeated.

A bathing beauty. I enjoy watching vultures fly.


Remember my mentioning in THIS POST the Point Reyes Penn. being formed of granitic rocks capped in sedimentary rocks?  Here’s a great example of that.  As a cute aside, a little girl ran up, scampered to the top of this pile of granite and peered down at my sitting form below.  “This is dollar bill mountain,” She exclaimed. According to her folks she once found a dollar bill atop here and was searching for another.


Dusk nearing.  The other end of the beach has rocks one can pass over at low tides but they look really dangerous to me.



I haven’t figured out how to take decent dusk photos.



Headed back up in the dark. On the way home was treated to a full moon rising. Stopped at Nicasio Lake to watch its yellow path stretch across the black surface.


What a day.





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My New Favorite Hike – Tomales Point

I’ve found my new favorite  local hike.

Tomales Point.  Dramatic and grand it’s also a geologic marvel.

An aerial photo would help explain the geology of the point.  I found the website of a photographer named Robert Campbell.  Yow!  Stunning.  Visit this link and find the 4th photo from the bottom titled “Point Reyes Station and Tomales Bay.”

Consider Tomales Bay a finger on the pulse of the notorious San Andreas Fault, poking the little town of Point Reyes Station.  Said bay and Olema Valley running south are called a Rift Zone.  The great earthquake of 1906, which demolished most of San Franciso, wrecked havoc on the little farming communities in this area.

This geology info I’ve gleaned from a meaty but useful field-trip booklet by the USGS.

The Point Reyes Peninsula calls the Pacific Plate home.  It took an 80-100 million year long ride up the coast from Southern CA.  Marin County sits on the North American Plate.  Most of the rocks on the east side of the Tomales Bay are sedimentary in nature (mostly sandstone) with some pillow basalt from underwater volcano action mixed in.  The peninsula’s make-up is much like what’s found on the Big Sur coast down south,  more ancient granitic rocks frosted in sedimentary covers.  Makes sense.

This map shows how the peninsula connects to the mainland:

On to Tomales Point.

Back to Robert Campbell’s website.  Find the last photo on the page, titled “Tomales Point.”  Imagine walking out to the tip.

That’s this hike.

One drives all the way out Pierce Pt. Rd. to its end.  There sits the old Pierce Pt. Ranch. Once the most successful and largest dairy farm in the area, it ceased operations in 1973.  The site includes the home built in 1869, a large barn, a school and numerous outbuildings.

This photo I took on a later, fog-free trip from the road above it.  I like that you can see how the ranch sits in relation to the bay (on the right), the Pacific on the left and the point.

The ranch house:

Left the buildings and headed out the trail.  Walking through this felt like I was floating along.  It’s open and treeless up there.  Maybe this is why early sailors feared sailing off the earth?

Looking back at McClures Beach  (that’s a future post):

Looking ahead at the ragged coastline. Cue the sun:

Cue parting clouds with angelic voices singing down:  I got a view of what was to come.

There’s a gap mid frame above.  My pics of this area did not come out. It’s called (?Windy Gap?).  Pierce Point Ranch once had a second farm here.  Must’ve been a harsh place to live and work.  Long gone, now it’s spring is a favorite spot for Tule Elk.  Nearly hunted to oblivion they were reintroduced and now thrive.  Here are some I passed by:

Many stop above the old farm site making it a 4 mile round trip.  I went to the end.  It’s a bit of a sandy slog past the gap but well worth it.

At the end I planted my butt down and listened. Waves, birds, and the offshore buoy’s steady bell were a perfect foil for a sort of meditation.

Once I had my fill, I retraced my steps back.

9.5 miles out and back.  A handful of rolling hills keep the mostly flat hike honest. It is wide-open.  Be ready for weather changes and bring warm clothing if you go.

Back at the ranch (har har) a raven (my favorite bird) was tapping at and making noises at a window. Was it trying to enter?  Did it think it’s reflection another bird?  Amusing.

Should make a beautiful spring flower hike I suspect.