Thursday, April 21, 2011

Earth Day Sacramento 2011

Photo by Vera Kratochivil

Friday is officially Earth Day though the whole week, from the 16th – 23rd, is centered on Earth awareness. And really, every day is Earth Day. I mean, how could it not be? There are a lot of activities going on all over the Sacramento area, the largest probably being the event on Saturday at Southside Park located on 6th Street between X and W Streets from 12:30 PM – 5 PM. With it also being Easter weekend, there’s sure to be ample opportunities for things to do. I’ve listed several links below with details of different events happening all over town. But i really don’t want to talk about the events – though i’m posting this on the Slice of Sacramento, a blog supposedly dedicated to “what’s happening.” What i really want to talk about is what we need to do to make a positive change for we little human beings who live on this beautiful planet. Give up plastic for a week. (This is a futile, but an eye-opening experience.) Recycle not just paper, bottles, and cans but clothes, tires, and other household goods. Check out solar or wind power. Buy organic. Buy local. Use one eco-friendly household cleaning product instead of the plethora you currently have under the kitchen sink. Conserve water. Don’t have so many babies! (Seriously!) If we use that wonderful thing we call a brain, we can come up with all sorts of creative ways to help clean-up and make the World a better place to live.

The photos are of wind turbines from all over the world. There are pros and cons to wind turbines. But there is no con as far as i’m concerned with their overall beauty. There’s something very serene and calming about looking at a horizon filled with the graceful silhouettes of wind turbines. And sitting on the edge of the fields and listening to the whoosh-whoosh of the blades is a magical sound.

Enjoy the Earth. Enjoy Her beauty. Be thankful for what we have. Work hard and with pride to keep this a place we can live in for generations to come.


Events from the Sacramento Press  -

From Sacramento News and Review -

Picnic for the Planet by Nature Conservancy -

Photo from

Photo by Chuck Coker

More info about wind energy (and some impressive photos) -

Friday, April 15, 2011

Doggies, Orchids, Maidu, and Kites! What a Spring!

The nicer the weather, the more the events. Which is a good thing if you’re looking for something to do this weekend. And there is no shortage of fun stuff – take a look –
(Please note – exact dates, time, event locations, directions, and other details are located on each link.)

A Doggie Easter - April 16th & 17th (different events)

Ah this just has fun written all over it! Doggie Easter egg hunts – yah for the doggies! Now, i am a cat person. I’ve had cats all my life.  People tease me that i will become a weird cat lady when i get old. I can neither confirm nor deny that accusation but i will confirm that public, social events with dogs can be doggone fun. Nobody has a better time than a dog surrounded by other dogs surrounded by proud owners who smother the dogs with treats and affection. Add to this, the happy enthusiasm that only a dog can give when set on a task – like hunting Easter eggs – and you’ve got one ecstatic puppy!

Easter Egg Hunt & Bonnet Contest for Dogs- A benefit for A Chance For Bliss, Citrus Heights – Saturday, April 16th
Spring Hill Easter Egg Hunt for Dogs – Sunday, April 17th

 Orchid Show - April 16th & 17th
So maybe dogs aren’t your thing. What about flowers? Spring is definitely the time for showing off the magnificence of Nature. And one of Nature’s finest examples of flowers is the elegant orchid. Despite the fact that the only orchid most people know are the ones that show up at the grocer’s or florist every spring, there are over 22,000 known orchid species and they are the second largest family of flowering plants. The Sacramento Orchid Society is holding a show over Saturday and Sunday at the Scottish Rite Temple across from Sac State University.

Maidu - April 17th
One of the Native American tribes who lived in the Sacramento region is the Maidu. They have a fascinating culture and we are very fortunate to have them here to celebrating spring in traditional style. The Maidu Museum in Roseville is holding a Yomen – a Maidu celebration of the leafing out of trees and flowers – spring! It’s an all-day event with crafts, demos, traditional Maidu dancing, games, storytelling, and much more so please come out and enjoy the museum and support the Maidu people!

 Make A Kite! - April 16th
This Saturday is the last day to get the chance to make a kite for a good cause. The Fountains in Roseville are sponsoring kite making with the proceeds going to the Make A Wish Foundation. Once you make your kite, it will be displayed until the following Saturday, April 23rd, when the Fountains will hold a kite flying contest. And who doesn’t love the simplicity of flying a kite? OK – well – it was never simple for me as i seem to have the unique ability of tangling a line just by looking at it! Anyway – come out and make the best, most awesome kite every made! Fun for the whole family!

Photograph by Rona Proudfoot - ronnie44052 on Flickr

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Yomen - A Leafing Out!

I volunteer as a docent at the Maidu Museum and Historic Site in Roseville. It’s an awesome experience working at the museum and i wouldn’t trade it for the world. I get to learn cool stuff about nature, how the Maidu lived and how they celebrate their culture today, then i get to pass that knowledge on to enthusiastic 3rd and 4th graders. I’m never quite sure who’s more excited – me – or them.

A Maidu Festival
This Sunday, April 17th, we will be celebrating Yomen – a Maidu festival celebrating the leafing out of the trees and flowers – spring. I’m super excited and can hardly wait for the event. It’s going to be fantastic! We’ll get a chance to watch traditional Maidu dancers – something you don’t see very often. There will be trail tours going on all day, demos of traditional crafts, a special section for hands-on activities for the kids, music, vendors selling beautifully made hand-crafted items, Native storytelling and poetry, and (one of my favs) Indian tacos. And if you haven’t been to the museum lately – well definitely come check it out. We have a new, and very beautiful, museum – just one year old!

To top it off, this is a free event! There will be no entrance fee to enter the museum or the event. Nice. That said, i strongly suggest to bring some cash – you don’t want to miss out on Indian tacos and there will certainly be crafts there you won’t find anywhere else. Perfect opportunity to pick up gifts for someone special. The festival will be going on all day, from 10 am. till 3 pm. Come early for good parking. For more details and directions to the park, click here.

Address: 1970 Johnson Ranch Drive, Roseville  95661
Phone: 916-774-5934

Monday, April 11, 2011

It's Film Festival Time!

I’m a little late on this and many of you may already know – but there is a plethora of films and theatre being shown in our lovely town of Sacramento. Going on right now is the Sacramento Film Festival with films, workshops, parties, awards and just a great overall smorgasbord of celluloid-speak and delicacies for film aficionados. Many of the events are taking place at the Artisan, 1901 Del Paso Blvd – between Arden and El Camino just west of I-80 – but check the local schedule of events to get current information on locations and times.

For the young ones who have their hearts in theatre, check out Sutter Street Theatre in Folsom. They have two plays showing right now, 13 – the Musical and The Noodle Doodle Box. They also run workshops for all ages. Final showings of Cinderella by Buck Busfield will finish up its run this week at B Street Theatre with a last show on Sunday, April 17th.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Team In Training - Team Ostroff

I am always moved by people who walk the talk. Those who get off their duff and DO – to support what they believe in. And so it is with Pat Ostroff. Pat and i are both volunteers at the Maidu Museum in Roseville. That said, we don’t see each other that often and honestly, i don’t really know her. But today i heard her speak as she passed out a handful of purple cards and i immediately heard in her voice the sound of courage and determination that only a person who is fighting for something they love could make. You see, Pat is training for a marathon. And she’s running that marathon to raise money for her mother-in-law who has lymphoma – a cancer that starts in the lymphatic system and often spreads to other parts of the body. Pat has lost 5 people in the last four years to cancer. The look in her eyes is that of a battle worn captain. A captain who has walked the trenches of the hospital halls supporting those in pain. I understand. Some of you may know that my own father has had lung cancer; he’s never smoked a day in his life. One day maybe i can talk about it. But not now.

Right now i want to help Pat and her family by raising awareness and raising funds. Every little bit helps. Please take a moment and look at what this family is doing to help their own and to help others. If you can give – bless you and thank you! – and please pass this on. If you cannot give – bless you and thank you for reading this! – and please pass this on.

In Peace and Love…

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society - Team In Training

Friday, April 1, 2011

Magpies, Poppies, and Butterflies

Isn’t California beautiful? Just take a good look around. What don’t we have? And what a great spring this is starting out to be! Flowers everywhere, trees are super-saturated green. Just lovely. What a fantastic season! But over the past few years, a subtle list of oddities has accumulated in the dark recesses of my brain – something is missing amidst this garden utopia we call California. Something missing like – magpies.

Back when i lived in a house and not an apartment, i used to be visited by a flock of the gregarious, chatty birds every morning. I loved their black and white suits and bright yellow-orange beaks, and their social antics made me laugh. When i moved to an apartment several years ago, i saw less of them. They’re not too keen on crowded buildings and prefer spacious yards and open grass fields to hunt for insects. They nest high-up in large oaks in open savannah – definitely not the apartment dweller type. So even though i had moved, i still saw them around neighbors’ houses and all across the countryside. But over the last five or six years, i’ve hardly seen a magpie – anywhere. It’s been a long time since i’ve heard their distinctive and expressive vocabulary of whistles, grackling, and chirping – and it makes me sad. What happened? Where did they go?

The Yellow-billed magpie is special; they are endemic to California. And not even all of California. Their range is limited to the central valley and coastal ranges of the state. To find out where my little tuxedo friends had gone, i spoke to a ranger at Effie Yeaw about their disappearance. She told me the magpies were hard hit by the West Nile virus which started sometime around 2004. They’re not wiped out, but have been seriously reduced in numbers – enough that Audubon has placed them on a “WatchList.” I also discovered through several on-line bird watching sites that the Yellow-billed magpie, previous to the West Nile virus, was already on a decline due to loss of habitat and pesticides. After hearing all this, i was quite depressed. I really do love the birds. But one day, i was driving in West Sac close to the river and had just turned down a small street when there they were. Four little magpies, skipping and hopping along the side of the road. I pulled over and watched them for a long time. They reminded me of best friends, playing good-naturedly and teasing one another. I have since seen the occasional magpie and i always whisper a prayer that they will hang tough and continue their antics for a very long time.

Here is another site by UC Davis on the Yellow-billed magpie and the West Nile Virus:

Carpet California in Golden Poppies

Another thing i’ve noticed – where the heck is the State flower – the ever-cheerful poppy? While there are some well-known parks that advertise their abundance, why don’t we see them all over the state? I would think they’d be everywhere. One place you can see them is anywhere D.O.T. has been – they’re like the Johnny Appleseed of poppies. I called D.O.T. and spoke with several, very pleasant, and informed gentlemen in the landscape and maintenance divisions. D.O.T., as well as Cal Trans, seeds and plants poppies in areas of new construction, which account for all the poppies along freeways. But why nowhere else? That took a little more digging. It seems that poppies prefer disturbed land over established and they love poor, sandy, dry soils and lots of sunshine. Ah! So you’re not going to see them around the heavily treed and lush lawn suburbs of Sacramento. Too much water, too much mulch, and too much shade. So why don’t they cover the countryside then? No one had a ready answer for me on that – the only thing this countryside doesn’t have on the wanted list for poppies is “disturbed soil.” If someone knows the answer to this, please let me know!  I'm stumped! 

April 6th each year is California Poppy Day!  Celebrate the poppy!

Here’s a link to CA State Parks, Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve

Top 10 places in CA to see poppies:

Amazing Butterfly

The absence of the third of my trio is more well-known but i still listed it because, well, i know with the right education and planning, we could bring them back – the monarch butterfly. A lot has been said about the loss of one of the most beautiful, and at one time, most plentiful of butterflies. Like the magpie, pesticides, habitat loss, and the destruction of their food supply, the milkweed, is the culprit for the increasingly smaller numbers that visit our lands. And though the coast is famous for the nesting grounds of these amazing butterflies, they migrate yearly across the valley in search of milkweeds. Plant more milkweed!

If i had a house with property, i would have huge valley oaks with lots of savannah grasses for the magpies, i would plant hundreds of golden poppies, and have loads of milkweeds in my garden in hopes the beautiful monarch would appear. Then i would sit at my window, sipping tea, and enjoy the beauty of California.

Happy Spring Everyone!