Happy Birthday, Nevada! 31 October 1864

Probably won’t be near a computer tomorrow so just wanted to wish everyone a happy Nevada Day! For those of us that have the day off, enjoy! Looks like it’ll be perfect weather (hee!)…I mean come on folks! How many of us have been here long enough that it just wouldn’t be Nevada Day without some rain or snow??!!! I know you old 4-H’ers are out there that spent many hiney freezing hours on a float down in Carson City during the Nevada Day Parade…with either rain, snow or sleet. 🙂

Now we celebrate Nevada Day on the last Friday of the month. Still seething on that one..to me that’s like changing the 4th of July! I voted against the 3-day weekend, Nevada Day should be on the 31st no matter what.

Just some tidbits for all of you outside of Nevada.

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Nevada was brought in as the 36th state in the Union on 31 October 1864 by President Abraham Lincoln…President Lincoln needed some votes for his reelection and the Nevada Territory had union leanings.

Nicknames: Sagebrush State (boy-howdy can I attest to this one…sniffle, sniffle), Silver State, Battle-Born State

Nevada is Spanish for “snow-capped”

State Artifact is the Tule Duck which is almost 2,000 years old and discovered in the 1920’s at Lovelock Cave.

State Fossil is the Ichthyosaur ~ and we grew them big here in Nevada! LOL! Our Ichy’s are the Shonisaurus and grew to be 55 feet long. You can visit them at Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park which is just east of Gabbs and South of Ione. I worked there 3 summers as a park aide while going to school at UNR (Mackay School of Mines). If you haven’t been there…GO! Great place, lots of fun. It’s a good spot to set up base camp and hop around the area…Grantsville, Ione, Austin, Reese River Valley.

State Bird ~ Mountain Bluebird (though I think it should be the Pinyon or Scrub Jay myself)…pretty little bird that I don’t see much of.

State Animal ~ the Desert Bighorn Sheep…another critter that I haven’t seen much of.

State Fish ~ Lahontan Cutthroat Trout. Now this critter I have seen! We were staying at Old Pioneer Garden B&B in Unionville and explored/fished the canyons around the area. Hiking up Rocky Canyon my husband caught a native Cutthroat in the small creek…she was a wee beautiful fishie! Used a barbless hook and she was set free.

State Reptile ~ Desert Tortoise. A critter I do see a lot of as my sister owns one…it has been in her husband’s family for a very, very long time now. Shelton gets to visit a lot of school children every year. He’s all snuggly in his winter box now.

State Flower ~ Sagebrush. It’s everywhere…can’t miss it…one of the best smells on earth is sagebrush after it rains.

State Tree ~ Single-Leaf Pinon (pinus monophylla). A beautiful bushy pine that produces great nuts and makes for a very pretty Christmas tree. But a note…if you cut one down with the BLM permit, just make sure you have a drop-cloth underneath the tree and don’t use your best ornaments. 🙂 This tree makes for a very pretty primitive Christmas tree. White lights and nature ornaments ~ popcorn, dried apple slices, dried orange slices, pinyon pine cones (gather the pine cones and then place on a foil-line cooke sheet, place in oven on a low setting. The sap from the cones will heat up and then shellac the pinecone when cooled! VERY PRETTY!).

Also is the Bristlecone Pine ~ the oldest living thing on earth. I’ve seen the ones at Great Basin National Park on the hike up Wheeler Peak.

State Precious Gemstone is the Virgin Valley Black Fire Opal which is found in very northern Washoe County. During the summer take a trip on up and root around the Royal Peacock Mine or the Rainbow Ridge Opal Mine…those are the two I remember of.

HAHAHAHA! We have a State Tartan! Too funny.

State Metal is Silver and our Colors are Silver and Blue (GO PACK!)

New Recipes for Dinner ~ Pork Chops with Orange Rice

I was looking at some of the the Simple Woman Day Journals yesterday when I saw Nancy at Home Made Blessings mention pork chops with orange rice for dinner. I’ve never heard of orange rice before and I had pork chops defrosting in the frig, so I googled orange rice. Well, her recipe ended up different than the one I found. Will have to try hers too (you can find Nancy’s on the 25 August 08 Day Journal).

I modified a recipe I found ~

I sauteed two stocks of celery (with leaves) and 1/3 of a red onion (thats all I had, probably would have used a yellow onion if I had one) in 1 TBSP of butter. Added about a TBSP of fresh thyme out of my garden, the zest of one large orange, 1-1/2 cups of water, 1 cup of orange juice. Bring to boil, add 1 cup of brown rice (you can use white…but I like brown). I browned the two pork chops (just two of us) with salt & pepper and then added them to the pot and cooked until the rice was ready ~ that was about 40 minutes. The rice was GREAT! Very tasty…really good on a summer’s evening.

Made a salad up with just romaine lettuce and a cucumber from the garden…I had bought Newman's Own Light Lime Vinaigrette a while back…my husband had some but I never tried it until last night. HOLY COW! That’s really good stuff! They always say 2 TBSP is a serving…never could figure out why…that’s a lot of dressing. I only use enough to give it flavor, which is less than 1 TBSP. If you’ve never tried it, please do! It’s excellent! LOVE the Lime zestiness of it! Making my mouth water just writing about it.

Capture Desert’s Spring Colors Workshop ~ Mark Vollmer

Last night was our class lecture and the highlights were:

* Class overview & introductions
* Opening multi-media slide show

* Slide show lecture: how natural light and compositional elements such as lines, patterns and colors come together to make pleasing spring photographs.
* Depth of field discussion
* Slide show lecture: how to use knowledge of lighting and composistional techniques to bring your emotions onto your image

Improving Your Photos:

1. Seeing Like Your Camera ~ Film nor a memory card can see details in light and dark at the same time with the same clarity of our eyes. Exposing for shadows tend to wash out bright areas just as exposing for sunlight will darken shadows. To compensate for this problem, expose the key part of the frame…since the main subject is normally at least 60% of the frame, expose for that most important highlight.

2. Realizing Your Vision ~ Mark states that the Goal of Photography is translating what moves us about a scene into a photograph. “A successful image resembles the feeling we had at the time. If someone views our photo and reacts with the same emotions that we had when we saw the scene, then the photo works”. Achieving this goal involves two processes:

A. Focusing our senses before focusing the camera. Smell, touch, taste, hearing ~ these four senses combine with sight to heighten our awareness with our surroundings and our creativity as photograhers.

B. With knowledge of lighting, design elements, intuitive use of the Guideline of Thirds, and awareness of how the camera will render the scene, we can successfully transfer our emotions into the image. Practice, Practice, Practice!

The class lecture brought a lot of new ideas along with jarring out what I already knew, but seemed to have filed away as I use digital now. It certainly has me thinking I should go buy an old 35mm camera, I don’t think I would even know where to look for the one I had over 15 years ago!

I have a Canon PowerShot S2 IS digital camera now. It’s a great little camera that I can shoot limited manual if I wanted to. It has all speeds, but the apetures only go from 2.7 – 8.0 ~ I wish it would go to at least 16.0. I can also buy different camera lenses, the lense now is a Canon Zoom Lense 12X 6.0-72.0mm. Maybe one that shoots to 200mm would be nice.


Washoe Valley, south end of lake looking north. 7/2006.

Tomorrow we are going to Washoe Valley for our field shoot. Looks like we’ll be going to the south end of the lake to the birding area where the boardwalk trail is. Then off to Deadman Creek Trail and hike up to the gazebo. I’m hoping that the Bald Eagles will be out for the photo shoot!

I’ll post pictures over the weekend!

Link to more trails out in Washoe Valley.

Ending with two quotes Mark had on his handouts ~

“To become a better nature photographer, one must first become a better naturalist.” – John Hendrickson

“The true voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust