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Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I didn’t get out too much this past week-end unfortunately,  my original plan to shoot the night sky Saturday fell apart. So I had a Plan B, but that fell apart too. (sigh) Plan A got cancelled due to all the smoke in the air from the Detwiler Fire burning near and around Mariposa, and Yosemite NP.  As I write this 76,000 acres have burned.  Evacuation orders have been lifted in some areas, but Firefighters are saying it may take up to two more weeks for the fire to be fully extinguished.  It’s so sad!

Plan B was scuttled when a friend had to change plans, and I didn’t want to be alone so I stayed home and painted a bit.

Before all that happened my Archive Drive crashed Thursday and Saturday afternoon we were still recovering images and documents from our back-up drive, and cloud service. I can’t tell you how scary that is to think thousands of images made over the course of many years may be lost!  I’ve got them all back, but my external drive is full no doubt due to the huge 36mp files of the D810 so, we bought a new external drive which should be here this week. Then I’ll have my stuff backed up two places, have room to grow, and feel much, much better!

Saturday evening I pulled out an old book I have by Ferdinand Petrie, called Drawing Landscapes in Pencil and stayed up late to practice some drawing then I added some watercolor to it.  Wanna see? If you follow me on Instagram you’ve already seen this. 🙂

I had some new watercolor paper to try too. It’s by Legion papers called Stonehenge Aqua. I like it. There’s not much blooming or bleeding, and the colors look wonderful on it to me.  It’s got some tooth, but not as much as Arches cold press paper. I prefer the smoother hot press papers, so this paper just might be the perfect balance for me.

Ranch Watercolor

Sunday He-Man and I rose early to get on the trail early; we were extending our route and wanted to beat the heat. It was going to be in 90’s again Sunday. We were on the trail just before 7am.  There were quite a few cars already parked near the trail-head when we arrived.  A lot of others had the same idea to beat the heat and get an early start.  We parked at the bottom of the mountain, and planned to  hike up into Fremont Older an Open Space Preserve.

There are a few options to get up there; the most popular routes are:  take the road all the way up to stage 3 of the Parker Ranch Trail system and hike the rest the way up via the trail, or do what we did and walk along the road to Stage 1 of the trail, then you come out on the road again for a bit then catch Stage 2 which is the toughest bit with some switchbacks at an 8% grade.  I was huffin’ and puffin’ going up those. At the top of those you meet Stage 3 of the trail.  There are two sets of switchbacks on this part of the trail, but they aren’t nearly as steep as Stage 2’s.

When we crossed into Fremont Older Open Space Preserve we hiked up to the top of the Toyon Trail then turned around to head back. We altered our route on the way back by bypassing the Stage 2 part and chose a different section of the trail that meanders through an Oak grove, and you climb another steep hill to meet the road. We walked down the road to Stage 1 of the trail and  caught the road back to the car. Phew! Hope that makes sense! Here’s a screen shot of my route from my Garmin Edge 500.

Morning Hike Route Saratoga

He-Man’s not as fast as he was going downhill since his Patella Tendon ruptured nearly 3 yrs ago so, if my time looks slow…it is. When I’m heading down at my normal pace I get way ahead of him so, I turn around a go back until I see him. I get some extra steps that way too. 🙂

There was a lot of fog and, we’re getting some smoke from the fire up here. Here’s one image from the trail. I took this with my iPhone. I went gear light today.

View North from the trail

The faint peak in the fog and smoke on the right might be Mt. Diablo at  (3,889 feet (1,185 m)) high.  The highest hilltop on the left is Hunter’s Point in Fremont Older Open Space Preserve.

We hiked 4.34 miles,  gained 827 ft in elevation, and were back in the car headed home by 8:55am! Not too bad.

We spent the afternoon looking at Loveseats, and bought two. Our current two are really beat up and have needed replacing for over a year, but with a 4 yr old at home we put it off for as long as we could stand it.  Now we’re excited for the new ones to arrive!

That was my week-end. I hope you all had a lovely week-end and got to have a bit of fun, and relax so you’re ready for the week ahead.  I hope it’s a great week for us all!

iPhone 7 Plus| PS CC 2017

more to come…

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50 Comments

  1. How beautiful!

  2. I liked your painting a lot, Deborah! You aren’t copying or using someone’s idea of nature. I love the tones of green and the sweet home. One lovely addition which really raises the quality level and warms my heart were the fence details.
    I am glad you chose dark brown loveseats. I purchased a sofa and chaise lounge in a gray tweed, but I do cover it in the summer (now) with a cotton sheet. I carefully grab both corners on each end and take it outside to shake out kids (and their Nana’s) cracker and cookie crumbs.
    🍪🍪 Smiles!

  3. Wow! Busy weekend! So glad you got all your digital files back! And what a lovely painting :-). I love the colours and composition – so peaceful. The white areas on the houses have a nice lively effect and draw the eyes in.

    • Thank you so much Myriam! My new external drive is supposed to be here today. I can’t wait so I can start backing up my files here at home too.

      I’m glad you like the painting!

  4. Sounds like a busy day. I love the watercolor!

  5. What a weekend! I’m sorry to hear you had to deal with crashed drives – it’s every photographer’s nightmare 😦 I have become very paranoid and try to save in many places. Ironically I think I spend more time storing/arranging/periodically checking data files than taking photos these days.

    Your painting is lovely and wish you a good week ahead 🙂

    Best wishes,
    Takami

    • Storage, and back-up copies are a Photographer’s bane in life I think. I can’t wait for the new external drive to arrive. I won’t be doing much with images until it does since I am unable to back up to an external drive right now.

      I think we got the cloud back-up plan running again. I’ll know for sure tomorrow morning.

      I wish you a lovely week too Takami!

  6. Busy woman. I took a couple of watercolor classes, and I was terrible. So, I can look at your art work and appreciate your skills. 🙂 I can’t imagine dealing with those vast fires on a regular basis. There is so much destruction, and here we are in 2017 and we’re really fighting those fires like we have for years involving a lot of boots on the ground. Best to all of those firefighters. 🙂

    • I know! It seems to me when I was a girl there was a lot more clear cutting, and we were allowed to pick up fallen logs to burn in our campfires. There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of clear cutting and we’re not allowed to use the wood/logs on the ground for tinder and fires so there’s a lot of fuel fueling those fires. 😦

      I thank you so much for the compliment on my painting, but I really struggle! I have gotten better with age, but I’ve got a long, long way to go yet. You should see some of my earliest work…like a babies work, and stick figures! I’m serious!!

  7. That was an eventful weekend 🙂 Four miles and over 800 feet before 9am, probably something I’d only do on vacation. Well, it is flat here, heh.
    The painting is as lovely as the wildfires are scary!
    I’m glad you got some new photo storage, and I’m a bit jealous you’re getting new loveseats, because OH, we should get new as well. We’re running into the issue of lower backs on many of the sofa styles and then beyond that, color compatibility with what’s in the room. We haven’t seen eye to eye much, but then, that’s how it goes until we find the right one. So pleased you’ve ticked a chore off your list. Ah, enjoy four times over for all of us!

    • Thank you so much Joey!

      We didn’t see eye to eye on the color. I wanted camel or cognac again, but the loveseat we did like was too short in length really, so we went with a dark brown but the length and height are the same as what we have already.

      Home Elegance is the brand we bought. They seemed to have a good assortment of high backs, but mostly dark brown and few in cognac. The trend seems to be dark right now, and the recliners which we wanted are mostly powerized. We didn’t want that.

      Costco was selling a couple of loveseats we looked at. One was a highback, also dark brown, but powerized. We didn’t want that. They had another one low back in a gorgeous shade of cognac with rivets, but lowback, and powerized recliner.
      So we kept shopping. I suppose with an active 4 yr old in the house dark brown will hide the dirt better. 🙂

      • I’ve got a sorta gray sofa and loveseat now, medium to dark finishes on the wood, and my walls are Sea Salt, so I definitely don’t want anything brown, or warm, really. I like cognac…
        He loves a high back and is unyielding on that. I’ll check out the brand you mentioned.

        We had old brown sofas before these, very dark and tapestry looking — when our kids were wee, and they were awesome when it came to hiding utter filth! lol We miss them, because these haven’t held up as well at all. Just in support, the fabric is fine now, but the others were obviously better made.

        • Home Elegance did have a gorgeous gray set. I oogled, but it wouldn’t match my red, and camel color scheme in the family room/kitchen.
          We like highback too. It’s really nice to have something to lay your head back on when reclining. 🙂

          Your color scheme sounds elegant and gorgeous.

          • Pfft, thank you, but it’s just homey and light 🙂
            I’m not fussy about the high back, maybe because I’m short… He was the same about dining chairs.
            We’ll keep lookin.

  8. Sounds like a great weekend no matter the falling plans. I had the crash back up once. I now have a one Terribyte drive for back up

    • Sounds like a good plan!
      The drive that crashed was 2TB, and my external drive is 3TB, so I bought a larger external drive so I have more room to grow. The new camera’s files are HUGE, and camera file sizes seem to getting larger with each new model.

      This is my worried face: Oddly enough the thing that isn’t suppose to happen has happened! Our cloud based back up plan hasn’t been talking to our computer to back it up since the Archive drive crashed! He-Man is working with the company now to get them talking again. I hope all my image data is still there! Needless to say I’m working really hard not to panic and be bitchy!

  9. Like Dan, I felt a little twinge at the comment about painting instead. Your creativity seems to be multi-layered!

    But I really blinked at the 4-year-old at home. Say what? Have I been missing something all along? What 4-year-old?

    • I wish I could draw better and didn’t need as much help from books, but it is what it is. Thank you so much!

      I think I have mentioned before that Baby Girl and #1 Grandson live with He-Man and I, But then again maybe not since I don’t talk about that part of my life too much. I take care of him while Baby Girl is at work. She works full-time. We don’t know how long that will be that we have them with us, but I’m enjoying it while it lasts. 🙂

      • Trying to keep up with a 4-year-old all day will certainly keep your life interesting 🙂

        As a sidebar story, when one of my nieces was about 2 or 3 years old, she spent several months living with my parents. As she grew older, she had a special relationship with my mom that none of the other grandchildren ever shared. Even after my niece grew up, married and moved far away, she stayed in regular touch with her grandmother and visited every summer until my mom passed away a few years ago.
        You might not realize it now, but you could be developing a very special lifelong relationship with this little man that won’t be equaled ❤

        • He keeps me hopping and I hope a bit younger. 🙂

          My children have scratch that had a fantastic relationship with He-Man’s parents when they were alive. They were the best Grandparents. I never had any growing up.

          Both my children called their Paternal Grandparents weekly right up to the end. We miss them terribly. I do hope to have a lifetime relationship and connection with #1 Grandson, and any others that we may get 🙂

          • At the rate things are going, I doubt I will have any so enjoy!! 🙂

            • We are trying to. We have doubts that Big Baby Boy and his fiance will ever have any of their own, and Baby Girl…well I have mixed feelings about her having anymore. Mostly due to her Kidney issue, but we’ll see. 🙂

            • In the meantime, you have one little guy who’s lucky to have you as a grandmother ❤

            • 🙂

  10. You were busy!

  11. Wow – what a weekend story. “I couldn’t find beautiful things to photograph so I painted some” – I’m a little envious of your talent. I like a hike that ends before 9:00 am. Sorry to hear about the fires. I know it seems synonymous with summer in CA, but it really is sad. Good luck on finishing the photo-recovery-back-up exercise. That is scary.

    • Well, I do need the practice if I’m going to improve my drawing and painting skills, and if I can’t be out shooting, or working on images because He-Man said I couldn’t be on the computer for awhile I had time to paint. 🙂

      My favorite time to hike is in the early morning hours. It’s quiet, the animals are just waking up and looking for food, there are bunnies, deer, and birds, sometimes a coyote too, and sunrise.

      The cloud based back-up system we have stopped working about the time of the drive crash, but we just found that out today when the program sent a pop up notice telling me it hadn’t done a back up in 3 days and couldn’t connect to our system!
      He-Man thinks he got that sorted after talking to the company. We’ll know if we’re back on track tomorrow morning. In meantime I’m not really working on images. 😦

      • I do like being out early. Maddie and I have been walking between 6:30 and 7:00. This weekend, it was already getting hot by the time we were on our way home. But we did get to see some of her little friends and a stray cat that got her attention.

        • 🙂 It will be hard to get going when it’s dark and cold outside early in the morning so, let’s enjoy it to the hilt now aye!

          Of course for Maddie it’s a completely different story. Mt. Maddie returns, and she loves the snow! 🙂

  12. It’s hard to tell from the news stories I see, since they over exaggerate things, but this seems like a particularly bad fire year for you out there. I’m so sad about that and hope you’re safe where you are. Congratulations on your landscape! Well done, my friend 🙂

    • Thank you so much Melissa! That means a lot coming from you!

      There’s been a lot of acreage lost, and some homes too. We’re fine up here, but we’re getting the smoke now. There’s a lot of wind bringing the smoke our way, and I’m sure making the fire worse for the firefighters!

  13. Utah has dealt with at least one major fire this summer as well… sad and scary! Your watercolor is lovely. New furniture is always fun! We recently bought a new coffee table set for our living room. You had a busy weekend! We’ve spent ours in Salt Lake City for our annual July 24th pioneer weekend. We’re wrapping that up this morning with the big parade. Have a fantastic week!

    • I hope the parade was fun! Getting new furniture is fun I think more so b/c we don’t do very often right.

      Thank you so much for the comment on my watercolor! I appreciate it so much.

      I hope you have a lovely week too!

  14. What started out on a rough path this weekend seemed to end with beautiful destinations. A lovely painting a nice hike and new loves seats. Score! 👍😉

    • Thank you so much Jodi! Yes, I’m really excited to have the new loveseats. Really ours are pretty bad, and now that I’ve new ones on the way they look worse! 🙂

      • lol! and just wait …. that will likely lead to new… tables – paint – carpet – lol!

        • Oh, it sort of has…we ordered new shutters for the sliding glass door, and blinds for several windows too. Funny how somethings open up a can of worms doesn’t it? 🙂


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