Thursday, 11 October 2012


Well, folks, I think we're getting close to the end of the line in more than one sense.

The PG and I fly home tomorrow morning at some hideous hour so future blog posts – if there are any more – will be back to the usual rants about the exasperations of British gardening, the countryside and whatever else seems of import.

I say 'if there are any more' because readership has slumped alarmingly, since we left the UK.  A total of 43 of you have checked out the last post.  That's a ten-fold drop on earlier, UK-based posts and is the first one that has failed to invite a single comment.  So we'll see how things go, over the next few weeks.  Perhaps I should do more reading, less writing and give everyone a break.

Meadows bordering the Merced River at Yosemite, in the Sierra Nevada.  The colours and background, apart from the mountain, looked exactly as they do in the film Bambi. The trees are mostly ponderosa pine, incense cedar and live (evergreen) oak.  (Click on pics to enlarge.)

Meanwhile, I promised to mention our last big event which was to hike for three days in the Yosemite National Park.  

The forest in Tuolumne County - part of the Yosemite National Park. The big sequoias grow in this area

The Sierra Nevada is a spectacularly beautiful mountain range and the Yosemite National Park has some of the stateliest peaks, grandest rock formations and the most interesting wildlife.  We admired the big sequoias, though the trees are not as massive as I expected, and are certainly not looking in the best of health.  But the forest in which they grow is magnificent.  Sugar pines and Douglas firs grow huge, here and wherever there's a glade or a low-lying spot, lupins, rudbeckias, irises, Veratrum, Smilacina and lots of other familiar American herbaceous species flourish.

The view from near Columbia Rock, below Yosemite Falls.  The sheer rock faces, lining the valleys give the scenery more grandeur than the Alps, in places. 

We stayed at Yosemite Lodge, conveniently close to the fabled Yosemite Falls which, inconveniently, dried up shortly before our arrival.  The whole earth, round here is dry and thirsty.  We climbed the steep ascent to Columbia Rock, close to the top of the dry falls, exhausted but triumphant, at the top.  We trailed to Mirror Lake which has dried up to a sandy beach and doesn't reflect at all, let alone act like a Mirror.

And we wandered along part of the Merced River, passing through meadows which are exactly like the animated drawings in the Walt Disney film Bambi.  We even spotted a doe and her two part-grown fawns, grazing an hour or so before sunset.

A mule deer, near Yosemite Village.  These animals are used to people but further away from human settlements, they're far more wary

Star wildlife species, for us, were the ravens, mule deer, California ground squirrels, acorn wood peckers, a canyon wren and a ravishingly beautiful butterfly like a European white admiral, but with extra colours, called a California Sister.  I think we've also seen the closely related Arizona Sister, too.  You can find these insects here .

Since traipsing about in Yosemite, we've been in San Francisco, eating, going to the California Academy of Sciences, and eating, going shopping for Ghirardelli's chocolate for favoured relatives, and eating, visiting the de Young Art Galleries, and eating, exploring the magnificent Golden Gate Park, and eating, travelling out to the Sonoma and Napa valleys to sample the wines, and eating.  My belts have bust and I think I need to go shopping for a bra.

While the sun sets, at Yosemite, the taller peaks light up like the rising moon, even though darkness has fallen below them.  The effect is eerie but movingly beautiful.

I'm listening to Tony Bennett singing I Left my Heart in San Francisco.  Cheezy, I know, but it sort of fits.

Can't think of a film this week - too depressed about terrible bloggins stats.

This time next month, Silvertreedaze will have had a re-vamp.  It will either live or die.  Meanwhile, I'm off to enjoy my last decent dry martini and to tuck into a farewell San Francisco dinner.

If you've read this far, I love you!  Tell your friends that this blog is quite fun, at times.  Oh, go on! Be a sport!  You know you want to, really!


  1. Please don't cancel! I've been reading and, as usual, not commenting. I've particularly liked hearing about what you don't like about this country. I don't like it much myself, considering the way our Presidential election process is going.

    That "rising moon" mountain photo is astonishing.

  2. Nigel - keep going. Your fans demand it.

  3. Don't stop!! I've been reading the american posts even more enthusiastically than usual (having done a vaguely similar trip when I was a student many years ago). But I hardly ever actually click thru to the blog, just reading in Google Reader - you probably have many more readers who you don't know about who just read in that way.

    And just to prove that I have been reading, I was happy to hear you too are a fan of The Conversation, one of my all time favourite films!

  4. Don't you dare stop blogging!! My reader numbers are down too and it is disheartening - I think there are so many blogs to read now that people don't pop in as regularly and the wretched WV makes commenting more of a performance. I tend to leave it longer between posts and visitor numbers are spread over a longer period of time.
    I've been inspired by your American adventure although I have also missed the rants!

  5. I still love your erudite blog posts, but yes, perhaps the blog concept is peaking -140 characters wins over 600 words. Not a cause for sorrow especially, I see it as the power of the Haiku over the epic tale.

    But also, given that I'm in desperate need of a holiday which won't happen until late November, I am finding it near impossible to read and enjoy the jolly and sunny adventures of others....

  6. Don't stop...your posts are always interesting and your wit reliably entertaining. Think this might be the first time I have commented so there are lots out there who don't, I imagine.

    Now what size bra were you considering? ;-)

  7. Don't stop Nigel I really enjoy your blog. I have never commented before but read regularly. I particularly enjoy your gardening comments. :)

  8. Just to echo Arabella's comment re WV - it took 3 attempts for me to post my last comment, because the WV was so difficult to read!

  9. Never get hung up on stats and comment numbers - that way lies madness.

    Blog because you enjoy it - if you don't then stop. However, I'd really miss you if you did (no pressure!)

    Arabella's right - the (relatively) new Blogger WV puts a lot of people off commenting. You might not be aware of it because you don't see it on your own blog. It's awful :/

    As well as there being many more blogs around these days, there's so many different ways to 'consume' them and comment on them. I'm always amazed when someone comments on one of my posts in twitter or via an email subscription - it's almost always someone I never knew reads my blog. And of course that conversation never hits the blog post itself.

  10. please dont stop, yours is my favourite blog, and I never comment on any blogs, but read them avidly

  11. I haven't been checking as much recently as you have been on holiday but that doesn't stop me reading back blogs. As long as you enjoy it and have something to say, keep on blogging sez oi.

  12. Yes, please don't stop blogging, yours is one of my favourite ones, I prefer blogs where the blogger actually has opinions, and being prone to ranting myself, I enjoy reading a good rant.

    About the no. of comments: I quite like commenting, but also much prefer doing so on blogs where the blog owner responds to comments, in some form or other. I doesn't have to be a personal answer to each comment, but a couple of sentences where they pick up on things people have written in comments or however they choose to do it. Just my two cents.

  13. Why is it that whenever a blog really gets good, the blogger comes to the conclusion a) that it's too much like hard work, and b) that they gain insufficient appreciation for it, and so c) let blog slide, which d) means declining stats, which e) leads to blogger putting a stop to a truly wonderful thing. Eh?

  14. Please don't stop. Your blog is erudite and entertaining, and the PG's compositions are a joy to behold.

  15. Wow! These people really like your blog. Don't forget me, I'm with them too. Nice one there!

    cheaper electricity melbourne

  16. What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee,
    The image can be seen at who can supply you with a canvas print of it.