A Rhododendron in bloom drops tiny petals
from its wilting Azaleas onto a raised gravestone.
- Ferndale Cemetery
    If there's ever a time to share my love of graveyards, it's October! I'll admit that I can't drive by a beautiful cemetery without stopping to walk around. I love to read the headstones, from the years the deceased had on planet Earth to what inscriptions they chose to lay on top of them forever set in stone. But perhaps my favorite thing to read is the names of the people who have come and gone before me. I'm a writer so I covet interesting-sounding names and I love to follow the trends of the centuries. I also love to photograph the objects people lay on their loved ones. I've seen everything from jewelery to plastic gnomes and each object moves me in a new way, igniting inspiration within me to write about mortality and human connections.
A stunning single-handed violinist wrapped in a rubber-band with a sugar pouch
- An unnamed grave site in Petrolia

The only display to represent this life
was an American flag and a bottle of booze.
- Petrolia

A wilted yellow rose next to a winter squash
- Masonic Cemetery in Rohnerville
Statues that have been weathered by the elements adorn graves,
bringing personality to the deceased.
- Petrolia

    As I was taking a stroll through Sequoia Park this evening I had no idea that I was going to blog about it. The experience filled me such a sense of wonder that I felt the need to share it. Photography allows for me to communicate my sense of awe for the universe. While some choose to pray inside the walls of a church, I walk through the woods as if it's a cathedral and I listen to the whispering trees for guidance and they give me a sense of peace.
The setting sun makes the canopy look aflame.
Mushroom season is back
I've never seen a banana slug with a green middle before. It began to scrunch up as soon as I settled beside it to take a picture.
Two trees stand conjoined, enveloped in crepuscular rays above a lonely stump.
The burls seem to come alive sometimes and I can make out the faces of these ancient trees.
Headwaters State Park
    One of the benefits about living in a place that is always being showered with rain is the awesome fungi. During the rainy season the ground is littered with shrooms of all shapes and colors that can grow up to a foot high. Last year little orange mushrooms even grew on the floorboard of my '81 Honda. I left them until they began to rot because I was so impressed with their magical appearance. Also, they say not to break one in half or the fairies will curse you!
Ladybird Johnson Grove
The Armory
(All photos by Eric Estling) They are taking pressed wine and putting it into a holding tank which will eventually be put into barrels.
       Early this morning Eric woke up to have a very unique experience. Last night the man who owns Old Growth Cellars, Jim Pastori, offered him a temporary position pressing grapes at his family business (ie: his driveway). Eric was thrilled since he's already a wine aficionado, but the grapes he was pressing just happened to be his favorite type of wine: Petite Syrah. What he discovered is that pressing grapes is not the glamorous work he had envisioned. He walked away covered in wine that splattered on his clothes and hands, staining them dark purple. For his efforts he was rewarded a few bottles to take home of the most superb wine, which tastes even better since he pressed it himself.
This is a big strainer that the grapes are placed in to let the juice run out the side and catch the solid grapes.
This is a barrel that they finished that day. The wine will age in the oak and this allows for the sediment in the wine to settle to the bottom, leaving the ready-to-drink wine at the top.
Full barrels
Two tubs are filled with grapes from the growers in Clarksburg, California. At this stage they have been fermented and are ready to be pressed into wine.
The wine comes out murky here because it's completely raw, straight from the grape without any aging. The workers placed plastic cups under the cascade to taste the fruit of their labor and also to judge the amount of tannins, so as to determine how hard to press the grapes.
Here is the type of wine that Eric pressed that day!
The unlabeled bottle is a blend of Zin and Petite.
This is one of those rare bridges that transports you into another realm, the land of the giants, where one expects to find elven creatures running amok and fairies dancing in the rays of light.
This is a traditional-style family house in the Sumeg village at Patrick's Point State Park. The surviving members of the Yurok tribe built it in the traditional way to keep their history alive. They continue to perform sacred ceremonies there.
A beautiful example of taking something ugly, an abandoned refrigerator and freezer set, and making it humorous. Instead of passerbys forever grimacing at the sight, they may smile or if they’re like me, laugh hysterically.
This is a typical wall of Humboldt fog coming in from the coast.
Peacocks roam free at this pumpkin patch, filled with acres of pumpkins for the taking and a sunflower maze.
    Less then ten minutes from our house is a quaint apple orchard run by an eccentric and lovable Mrs. Arrington. She makes everything home-made from apple cider to fudge, but it's her lively spirit and the stories she weaves that makes this place truly unforgettable.
Random paintings adorn the side of her kitchen, but this bear in particular is based on a real-life character that lurks in the nearby wood and makes daily visits to the orchard, causing Mrs. Arrington much hassle. 

    In order to show sympathy for the protesters on Wall Street, HSU organized a rally. Humboldt State University was the 1st in the nation to establish an occupation on campus and since then, dozens of universities have followed their lead.
    Here, a teacher joins the drum circle with a sign that reads "No student suspensions in the name of corporate interests" because CSU administrators are threatening to suspend students and eject protesters for participating in the Occupy Movement.
Percussion majors from the HSU music department form a second drum circle in the Quad
There was a tent of hula-hoops for the taking and half a dozen jugglers performing for the crowd
    A play with giant puppets and people on stilts acting as forest spirits began The Spectacle at Blue Lake this evening. Every child watching had a lantern at the end of their fishing pole and they whispered to each other in astonishment. "The owl is going to eat the lizard!" one screamed as the twilight dimmed. When the men on stilts made the sound of the wind, the audience dispersed to let them pass and they lead the procession of lanterns to the Mad River bridge.

    Standing on top of the bridge was the perfect view of the fire-lit story that played out its drama behind a sheer canvas. A third giant puppet overlooked the procession as flame-twirlers performed alongside the Mad River. What was surprising is that they were children! The youngest girl of them all was the most talented. She did a solo act with a flaming hula-hoop, which she worked up and down her entire body even while she stood on her head! When she finished, all the flame-twirlers came out for their finale, at which point a dozen lanterns were lit and tossed toward the night sky, one at a time.

My friend, Bridget, and I
stood on Mad River bridge and watched the lanterns drift skyward until they became tiny dots and eventually disappeared.

Trillium Falls - Redwood National Park
    Trillium Falls is aptly named because of the stunning Western Trillium that blooms in early spring along the trail that leads up to the waterfall. The trail is a 3 mile loop through a hillside redwood forest.
Mill Creek Falls- Turner Road in McKinleyville
    Today I finally visited Mill Creek Falls which is one of the hidden gems in McKinleyville. As you're heading down Central Avenue, make a left onto Turner Road and it will be on your left, completely invisible until you turn around. I wonder if that's why it's called Turner road! Probably not, but it helps me remember which road to turn onto. Anyways, there is one small pull-out for parking and it's a steep climb to the base of the falls over slippery mounds of clay and moss-strewn rocks.
Mill Creek Falls
Photo taken by Eric Estling- top of Mill Creek Falls

There is a lovely path through the brambles to the rushing creek at the top of Mill Creek Falls. The path diverges and one leads to the ledge, the other leads to deeper areas of the creek.

Eric and Dusty at the CR course, specifically, The Bowl Hole
    Disc Golf, also referred to as Frisbee Golf (and I've even heard the term "Frolf"), is rapidly evolving to become the most-played sport in Humboldt, especially among the students. There are courses at both campuses (HSU and CR), as well as Manila, Mad River, and Cooper’s Gulch. Most T’s are given names and a popular one around here is “The Bowl Hole” which can be found at any given course, usually engraved or painted somewhere nearby.
A solitary daffodil was tucked into the basket, a random act of kindness from a stranger that made us all smile
The final bridge at the Manila Disc Golf course
And the Winners are...

*Favorite Tee*
One of my favorite tees is throwing off the redwood tree stump at HSU's course.

*Worst hole to loose a disc*
The ultimate place to loose a disc is throwing over the lake at Redwood Curtain's back nine. The least of your worries is the murky lake, but rather the hornets that swarm nearby and chase those who dare enter their vicinity.

*Favorite Disc*
The Innova disc called Tee-Rex is mine.

*The Most Fun Course*
I really like Cooper's Gulch because it's close-by, easy to learn, and although there are a lot of obstacles, it's not easy to loose your disc. Manila course is a close second because of its natural beauty, but loosing discs there is pretty much a given.