Ahh, the hills of the Central Valley

I think our governments will remain virtuous for many centuries; as long as they are chiefly agricultural. ~ Thomas Jefferson

It’s winter here, which means that the rains will change these hills from blond to green soon. But they’re pretty just the way they are.

Tree holes

“It is a good thing to follow the First Law of Holes: if you are in one, stop digging” ~ Denis Healey

If you look closely, you can see the guy with the post hole digger.

Ready field

“Only he can understand what a farm is, what a country is, who shall have sacrificed part of himself to his farm or country, fought to save it, struggled to make it beautiful. Only then will the love of farm or country fill his heart.” ~  Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900-1944)

I thought the colors of the brush, set against the dark dirt, were a nice photo. I’m not sure what will be planted here, but since this is one of the fields I pass every day, I’ll be sure to catch it when they plant. Below is a closeup ground view.

Steer chillin

The beef industry has contributed to more American deaths than all the wars of this century, all natural disasters, and all automobile accidents combined. ~ Neal Barnard

Just another part of my scenic commute. And despite the quote above, I do love beef.

Clouds along the highway

Clouds symbolize the veils that shroud God. ~ Honore De Balzac

I wish I had the photoshop skills (and the software!) to clear up the brightness differences from stitching this panorama together – the blues don’t change like that in real life. But the clouds were really fun this day.

Trapp Family Lodge

You brought music back into the house. I had forgotten. ~ Captain Von Trapp, The Sound of Music

More overcast but pretty scenery from Vermont at the Von Trapp Family Lodge (you know, Sound of Music).

Finally, a crop in the empty field


“Start where you are. Distant fields always look greener, but opportunity lies right where you are. Take advantage of every opportunity of service.” ~ Robert Collier quotes

Field You may remember the empty field I took a pic of previously during the winter. Well, now it seems it's got beans planted in it.

Taking the long way can be relaxing


“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.” ~Nelson Mandela

The other day, the highway I usually take to work was backed up due to an accident, so I took the road through the hills (Corral Hollow Road) to go around the traffic. I found this and many other beautiful vistas along the way.


Scorched earth


Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. ~ George Washington 

Here’s another shot of the burned hill near my home.


Fire burned this patch of mountain


Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean. ~ Maya Angelou 

I took this shot in the afternoon, so it’s kinda hard to see that this hill is blackened from fire.  We get grass fires every year, which makes for interesting scenery – you can sort of see the ‘blond’ hills in the background, untouched by the fire, and the truck on the highway on the right to give you some scale. Other versions below.



Fields of dandelions and purple flowers


“The miracles of nature do not seem miracles because they are so common. If no one had ever seen a flower, even a dandelion would be the most startling event in the world.” ~ Unknown

I wish I could bring up the purple flowers in this – in person, it looked real nice.  Check out the last photo below.


Field under a hot afternoon sun


“You have to walk carefully in the beginning of love; the running across fields into your lover’s arms can only come later when you’re sure they won’t laugh if you trip.” ~ Jonathan Carroll

Panoramas are fun.  This field is along Hwy 5 just south of Tracy, CA.  I just like the feel of the open country.  And this spot is where I photographed the thistles gone to seed.  Here’s some additional versions, including the original (first one below).



Stacks of hay


I’m a farm boy. If we need five people to haul in hay, we don’t take one and just work them to death. ~ Lincoln Davis, US Congressman (D)

Remember those pictures of hay bales in the field? Well, as quickly as the hay was baled, it was gathered and stacked.  Here’s some variations.  


Beams of light


“Words which do not give the light of Christ increase the darkness.” ~ Mother Teresa 

More clouds and land.  I have photographed this location before, it’s on my ride home along Hwy 5 between Tracy and Patterson. Here’s a few slightly enhanced versions also, as well as the last which is bigger.