Trees behind a fence

Go on a virtual nature tour

Last week I gave you a collection of virtual art. This week, with John Muir’s birthday on April 21st and Earth Day April 22nd, it is natural to talk about nature in the Bay Area.

Screenshot of the Oakland Zoo grizzly bear cam.

If you are looking for animals the Oakland Zoo has some webcams for bears and elephants. On my latest visit I did not see any animals, but this might be a virtual hunt (https://www.oaklandzoo.org/webcams)? 

Screenshot of jellyfish at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

I was luckier at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the otters were frolicking around (https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams/sea-otter-cam), the jelly cam mesmerized me with some minimalistic sounds and the slow movement of the jellyfish (https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams/jelly-cam). 

If your love for animals is on a smaller scale, you can watch a few YouTube videos of insects by the Essig Museum of Entomology (https://essig.berkeley.edu/bugged/). 

To explore interesting articles by Bay Area Nature magazine (https://baynature.org/category/explore/) is always a great pastime.

How about a virtual garden tour? Bringing back the Natives Garden Tour (https://www.bringingbackthenatives.net/2020-virtual-tour) will zoom you to native gardens in the Bay Area the next  three Sundays from 10 am – 3 pm, registration is required, donations are appreciated.

A virtual park experience is promised by the East Bay Regional Park District (https://www.ebparks.org/activities/digital_learning/default.htm). Park Naturalists tell you everything from how to dissect a flower to why you should count worms in your soil.

Participate in the City Nature Challenge, April 24th – 27th, 2020! You’ll have to download the free iNaturalist app and upload your findings (https://citynaturechallenge.org/).

Or how about playing a nature bingo? (https://drive.google.com/file/d/121rcsGxlSuXQ7ekmkKzEO-h9H-4xqova/view)

On May 6th you can join the live streamed walk of the Los Gator Creek, RSVP required (https://www.savedbynature.org/event-info/creek-tales-nature-walk). Saved By Nature is an amazing organization whose goal is to bring nature to the people that can’t physically go and see it themselves. In the old times this meant persons by illnesses bound to their beds. 

Screenshot of the parktracks website.

For a calming 12 minute listening experience I recommend ParkTracks, a compilation of nature sounds (https://findyourpark.com/about/news/parktracks).

There are many resources out for you to explore. Let’s all enjoy nature close to home right now, so we can flatten the curve. 

Happy Earth Day!

Judy Chicago interviewed in 2018 at the Stanford University.

Go on a virtual tour

Week five for shelter-in-place for the Bay Area has me going a bit stir crazy and longing for some art. I do get my daily art fix from Google’s arts & culture app. I really like the art projector where you can really zoom in on a masterpiece, for example, Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring.

If you’d like to explore the local art scene without using up gas in your car (yeah we are really doing something for the climate now) here are some links to virtual tours.

Rosie Lee Thompkins crazy quilt at the BAMPFA, Berkeley.

Larry Rinder, BAMPFA Director and Chief Curator, walks us through Rosie Lee Tompkins: A Retrospective. Rosie Lee Tompkins was a quilter in a wider sense, and I am really thankful for Mr. Rinder’s explanations of her works. My favorite quilt was the crazy quilt, a style where different shapes are combined. (1 h 12 min, https://bampfa.org/rosie-lee-tompkins-slideshow#rlt-video) I recommend clicking on the link and watching it in full screen on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=232&v=T8NL3KAA8wQ&feature=emb_title).

The Hearst Museum of Anthropology has a few links to keep you busy, from online exhibits, over recorded lectures, to the sound and light archive. (https://hearstmuseum.berkeley.edu/hearst-from-home/).

The Oakland Museum of California (https://museumca.org/omca-at-home) and the Cantor Arts Center (https://museum.stanford.edu/museums-home) have an ‘explore from home’ section.

Time-laps installation of Sonya Rapport biorhythm at the San Jose Museum of Art.

If you want a look behind the scenes of an art museum you should click on the link for the San Jose Museum of Art (https://sjmusart.org/we-are-listening).

MACLA is bringing you Stories from La Sala (https://maclaarte.org/stories-from-la-sala/) your daily dose of contemporary LatineX art.

The NUMU invites you to take a virtual spin through their exhibitions (https://www.numulosgatos.org/virtual).

And the Palo Alto Art Center teaches virtual art classes (https://www.cityofpaloalto.org/gov/depts/csd/artcenter/news/displaynews.asp?NewsID=4878).

While virtual tours cannot replace seeing artwork in person, kind of like looking at a cookbook doesn’t satisfy the need to eat, it helps in times when we are all housebound to get our minds off things.

I hope everyone is safe and healthy!

Map of the Stanford Dish loop.

Run around the Dish

It is vital these days to exercise.  A lot of public parks and open space preserves have been closed off, due to the excessive use and therefore people not being able to keep the 6ft required distance. 

We were lucky two weeks ago when my son and I decided to hike the Stanford Dish it was still open. As of April 3rd, they closed access to the Dish. 

The Stanford Dish

I have to confess I put the Stanford Dish hike in my 50 things to do in Stanford without ever being on the path. I am glad I did this hike before it got closed off. The path is concrete, which allows for wheelchairs and strollers, but keep in mind the alleviation changes dramatically – my health app said I climbed 22 floors that day!

Old radio telescope, Stanford Dish hike.

I always wanted to do this 3.8 mile loop passing the old radio telescope visible from 280. I was surprised that there are actually two radio telescopes! We parked at the Stanford parking lot, which is free. Be sure not to park in the residential area, because they will ticket.

The Dish is (usually) open from sunrise to sunset. No dogs, accept service dogs, or bicycles are allowed.

Stanford Dish

Have you hiked the Dish loop before?

Do you know of any hikes that are still open?

Front of the egg vending machine at the Glaum Egg Ranch in Aptos, advising you that you will need 4 crisp dollar bills.

Vend your eggs

Easter will be April 12th, this year. There is a confusing tradition that links bunnies to eggs, which  I don’t understand or even feel qualified to explain. But for now let’s just focus on eggs. 

The Barn, egg vendor and eggs sold here sign of the Glaum Egg Ranch in Aptos, CA.

Before the shelter-in-place order I went to Aptos to see the egg vending machine at the Glaum Egg Ranch. I believe it is still open, but in these days and times anything can change. Are we even allowed to drive that far? I think not. 

Please take this as a virtual tour and when you have the chance of freely moving around again consider this as a fun activity for young kids. It is not the vending of the eggs that I refer to here, it is the show that is offered after you vend. You can see this demonstrated in this YouTube video (be my first subscriber to my new channel!):

Succulents in egg shells at the Barn, Glaum Egg Ranch, Aptos.

To see the show you need four crisp dollar bills and you will be rewarded with 18 eggs and a show. The barn store will be happy to provide you with wrinkle free money. By the way the barn store is open Mon – Fri 8am – 4pm and Sat 8am – 2-pm. There you can get a lot of products around eggs. One was succulents in little egg shells, such a cute idea! They also have interesting gift ideas mostly food related.

Chicken dressed up in their Easter outfits - part of the show at the Glaum Egg Ranch, Aptos.

I wish you all a Happy Spring!

Have you ever vended your eggs?

chalk art drawing of Vincent Van Gogh starry night, Mountain View

Stroll on a chalk art walk

It’s been over a week now for shelter-in-place, and I hope everyone is still healthy and safe!

Since it is still OK to go on a walk – one of my neighbors had a great idea: a chalk art walk.

Walkway to a house, full of chalk drawings, Mountain View.

Last Friday almost 60 households participated in beautifying their drive or walkways with artful chalk drawings. 

All in this together - chalk drawing, Mountain View.

A lot of flowers and we-are-all-in-this-together messages.

A walk-by meditation chalk drawing, Mountain View

My favorite was an instruction to a walk-by meditation to stand, observe and breath.

It was really great how the neighborhood came together. There are some true artists out there!

We had a lot of media coverage for this (see the resources link below).

How are you coping with the shelter-in-place? 

Please leave a comment for creative ideas for the whole neighborhood below.

Resources:

https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2020/03/22/us/california-sidewalk-drawings-coronavirus-trnd/index.html?f

https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/22/us/coronavirus-first-week-social-distancing-wrap-up-trnd/index.html?

https://mv-voice.com/news/2020/03/23/young-chalk-artists-brighten-the-mood-in-cuesta-park


50 things to do in Cupertino

Explore 50 things to do in Cupertino

Since Tuesday we are officially ordered to ‘shelter in place’. So I like to take this time to introduce you to my series: ‘50 things to do’. I try to find 50 things to do in a city nearby. It is an interesting challenge and I enjoy discovering every aspect of a city.

Bowling balls at Homestead Bowl, Cupertino.

In my latest ‘50 things to do’ I discovered Cupertino. Most of you might know Cupertino as Apple’s headquarters, but this is not all this city has to offer. I was really surprised to see how many interesting options for sports they have. From disc golf to archery, hiking in the hills, and yoga in the park. This city also has two bowling alleys and an ice rink!

aquarium at the Cupertino library

There are some cool outings for kids, too, like the 16 feet wide aquarium in the library or the Deer Hollow Farm at Rancho San Antonio. If you like to explore local history you’ll be able to enjoy a few fascinating finds.

If you have any suggestions of places that I might have missed I’d love to hear from you!

Are you ready to explore Cupertino (virtually)?

Bottles of sparkling cider, Watsonville.

Stock up on some cider

In our house we agree that Martinelli’s makes the best apple juice outside of Germany and the local farmers market. For special occasions we always have Martinelli’s sparkling cider as the non-alcoholic choice.  

When I learned that Martinelli’s has a tasting room in Watsonville I had to go! 

They are open Monday – Friday 9 am – 5 pm, and Saturdays 10 am – 2 pm.

Old labels from Martinelli's, Watsonville.

There is some information about the history of Martinelli’s and you should look around the pictures and bottles before you sit down for the tasting. This makes for excellent conversation, because you can quiz your attendant about all things related to cider and apple juice. The pours are free and you get deals on the cases.

Shopping cart filled with cider, Watsonville.

We ended up with a few cases of our favorites. Did you know they have a blood orange cider? Well, it is only available in Watsonville! 

As a special treat for women’s history month you can read up on Martinelli’s women: https://www.martinellis.com/company/the-women-of-martinellis/

Have you ever taste-tested cider before?



Windows on the Past, a display of wild flowers at the Museum of San Ramon Valley, Danville.

Get informed about wildflowers and climate change

Entrance of the Museum of the San Ramon Valley, Danville.

There is a rotating exhibit in Danville’s Museum of the San Ramon Valley on wildflowers and climate change, named Beauty and the Beast. This display of photographs will run until the end of March, 2020. A docent at the museum told me that the wildflower bloom occurs earlier each year and that this messes with the rest of the ecosystem.

Picture of the 100 year bloom at Joshua Tree National Park.

“Erratic weather cycles cause more severe and longer droughts, followed by more frequent wet years and flooding. Native plants and life that depend upon them, are being crowded out by invasive species that benefit from this greater rainfall. Our beautiful wildflowers are losing ground.” (Quote from one of the panels in the exhibit.)

Dried wildflowers at the Museum of the San Ramon Valley, Danville.

In my experience most wildflowers are really small and to see a large image of them is quite a treat! In fact they also show you the process of the photographers, Rob Badger and Nita Winter.  The images span from the superbloom of the California deserts to the alpine ‘rock gardens’ of the Sierra Nevada. 

To get up close with some wildflowers you can use a microscope and zoom in on some dried species.

To combat climate change you are encouraged to become a citizen scientist.

Part of a Mastodon jaw at the Museum of the San Ramon Valley, Danville.

For history buffs this museum, a former train station, feed store, and a home for an eccentric artist,  is also full of local artifacts. One of the most precious artifacts is a part of a Mastodon jaw. 

Bob, a mannequin, in the caboose playing cards.

The restroom outside in the caboose is also a lot of fun with a train driving soundtrack!

Admission to the museum is $5, it is open Tuesday to Friday 1 pm – 4 pm, Saturdays 10 am – 1 pm and Sundays 12 pm – 3 pm.

Did you know about the relationship of wildflowers and climate change?



Women Pathmakers at the Euphrat Museum of Art, Cupertino

Celebrate women pathmakers

The current winter exhibit of the Euphrat Museum of Art at the DeAnza College in Cupertino is about Women Pathmakers.

Ada Lovelace and the letter about her at the Euphrat Museum of Art, Cupertino.
Irene Curie and other women scientist at the Euphrat Museum of Art, Cupertino.

I started with the portraits on my left, notable women in science, each of them included a letter that was in an envelope underneath the painting. I read, for example, about the first programmer Ada Lovelace, or Irene Curie, who discovered artificial radiation. Some of these women were cheated out of their Nobel Prize, but they were happy to do what they did best, science!

Movie poster about Qiu Jin, Autumn Gem, at the Euphrat Museum of Art, Cupertino.

I also learned about Qiu Jin, in a shortened version of the movie: Autumn Gem. The radical women’s activist who attempted an armed uprising against the Qing Dynastie is now a celebrated national heroine. The complete movie about her life: Autumn Gem will be shown March 4th at 3 pm, with director Rae Chang.

View of part of the exhibit pieces at the Euphrat Museum of Art, Cupertino.

Women Pathmakers not only memorializes the women of the past, this exhibit shines in its diversity of art forms, like sculptures, quilts, posters, wood, and also the diversity of the artists themself.

The exhibit is part of the Silicon Valley Reads 2020 “Woman making it happen”. It runs till March 12th, 2020. The Euphrat is open on Monday – Thursday 10 am – 3 pm during exhibits. Admission is free. 

How do you celebrate women pathmakers? 


Taste of the award-winning goat cheese at Hartley Farm, Pescadero.

Taste some goat cheese

Goat shop sign at Hartley Farm in Pescadero.

At Hartley Farm in Pescadero there is not only a shop for goat cheese and their accompaniments, like habanero jelly, you can also look at the goats that give their milk for this deliciousness. This award-winning cheese converted my husband, who’s goal for 2018 was not to eat any goat cheese, to agree to buy a tub to take home with us. 

We came here to see some farm life, inspired by the movie documentary: Our biggest little farm.

Mother goat with her three recently born baby goats.

Currently there are 106 baby goats. I’m not sure if the count is correct, because we saw three baby goats in the pen with the pregnant goats, and the mom licking them clean. So, I guess we missed the birth by mere minutes.

Two week old baby goats at Hartley Farms, Pescadero.

It was a delight to see the two week old goats play in their playpen. Not all 106 of them, just about ten in each of the two pens. 

You can also peek into the milking station and the place where they make the yummy goat cheese. 

Are you a goat cheese lover?