Monday, November 30, 2009

Who's in my Garden--My World

I'm not an experience birder so when I do a bird post I have a guide by my side and the Cornell birding site on my browser. I am also not a programmer so I have had to totally redo this post to have it make sense.

This bird is easy to identify. The Western Bluebirds love to anoint my patio umbrella.

The Anna's Hummingbird has a bright pink head and throat.
Who is this cute guy? There are several red finches.
The brown cap and cheek indicates a House Finch.
This feeder has both cracked sunflower seed and niger. The little Lesser Goldfinch is attracted by the niger.

Who's this little guy, I don't recall seeing him before. Maybe I wasn't paying attention.
He's a Yellow-rumped Warbler.
The big guy here is easy to identify, a California Quail. I think the little one is a lark sparrow.
See more worlds at My World Tuesday hosted for us by Klaus, Sandy, Wren, Fishing Guy, Louise and Sylvia.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Hiding in the Shadows

On one of our walks Hubby and I stood on a little bridge, looking to see if there were any birds in the creek below.
Turning around my eye barely caught sight of this hawk, perched in the shadows in the nearby willow. After downloading I tried to identifuy him. None of the hawks seemed right, none had banding like this on its breast, he was looking at me so I must have been viewing his front. Wrong, I finally realized I wasn't seeing his breast, it is his wing we see in this shot. He's looking over his red tinged shoulder.
He's a red shouldered hawk, brightened up here for better viewing. It was a neat experience to see him so close, about 15 feet away, in the wild.

Find more shadows at Hey Harriet.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Woodbridge Reserve--Sky Watch

As the sun set on the reserve it got too dark for birding or photography except, of course, for one last sky shot.

See more beautiful skies here. Skywatch Friday is brought to us each week by Klaus, Sandy, Wren, Fishing Guy, Louise and Sylvia. Many thanks to you all.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Woodbridge Reserve--Watery Wednesday

The reserve is a wetland and it is full of bird life. Visitors are kept well away so you'll want a spotting scope or good binoculars for the best viewing.

I didn't realize that I was looking at swans until I downloaded the photos. I look forward to returning and next time I won't leave the binoculars in the car!

Woodbridge Ecological Reserve is one of several owned by California Fish and Game. If you enjoy viewing wildlife I would encourage you to visit one if ever you are in the central valley.

To see more watery sites, click here.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sandhill Cranes--My World

Two things California's central valley has in abundance; historic gold rush sites and birds. I told Hubby I wanted to go to Stockton, 60 miles to the south. He was perplexed, he never thought of Stockton as a vacation spot. It is if your a sandhill crane or if you want to see them in the winter.

Woodbridge Ecological Reserve is a few miles north of Stockton. The cranes fly in to the reserve each evening in great numbers. During the day they can be seen foraging in the surrounding rice fields. Bird watchers are asked not to approach the birds. Without a super telephoto at this distance the shots are not as sharp as I might like.
The birds call to there friends flying by "come join us"

"Don't mind if we do"

" Shall we dance? "

You can find more worlds here at That's my World, hosted each week by Klaus, Sandy, Wren, Fishing Guy, Louise and Sylvia.

Thank you all

I am overwhelmed with recognition. Storyteller at Sacred Ruminations and Lindy at Photoblog by Lindy MacDuff have each found me deserving of the best blogger award. My thanks to both of you!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Falling Shadows

Fallen leaves

Spent grass and twigs, blown by the wind

Cast their shadows as Apollo's chariot hastens to the west.

To see more shadows, visit Hey Harriet.

Update Nov 11 Post

If you wonder about the driver in my post Stop! The local paper said he was transported for medical obeservation and then booked for a DUI.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Red Tail Rising--Sky Watch

I am always watching the sky and the trees when we walk. It's a wonder I don't trip and fall.
We spotted this hawk, a Red Tail I think and although he moved around, hunting and feeding I was able to get some pretty good shots.
He flew from his perch in a tree before I could get my camera up. He didn't go far though and perched on a fence.
He took off, went to ground and I think found a tidbit that he took to this tree.

Then he was off again.

See more skies here.
Sky Watch Friday is hosted by Klaus, Sandy, Wren, Fishing Guy, Louise and Sylvia. A round of applause to you all for giving us this wonderful meme.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Heron Takes Flight

We spotted this heron on one of our recent walks.
He didn't like us watching him and took off across the pond
I like the look of the water in these and of course, I like the heron.
Its feathers are so beautiful.
He seemed happier across the pond.
You can find more watery sites here.
Watery Wednesday is hosted by 2sweetnsaxy.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Garden Update--My World

I showed you this last spring, the beginning of my project to remove the lawn.

Drought seems to be a permanent feature of California weather and I wanted to reduce our use of water.
After I removed the sod I dug down 12-18 inches and removed the larger rocks. My garden consists of river cobble cemented together with clay. I then dug in compost and turned over the sod in some places and piled the rest of it high to make a berm at the back of what had been the lawn. I couldn't afford to lose the sod, the only decent soil in the yard.

You might ask why I have river rock when I live on a hill. The sign at the right explains how this came to be. In brief, at one time this was a valley which filled with volcanic ash. Since the ash was so hard it did not erode easily, thus the valley became a hill and the former hill became a valley.

The rock I removed I used to make raised beds and dry streams.
I covered the old sod with layers of newspaper and cardboard. Then I got 8 yards of bark mulch and put it down thick.

I made three raised beds for vegetables. I'll wait to plant the rest of the garden and allow the sod to decompose. I'll use drip irrigation as we have in other areas of the garden.

See more worlds here.

My World Tuesday is brought to us by Klaus, Sandy, Wren, Fishing Guy, Louise and Sylvia.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Garden Shadows

The clematis and fairy rose against this south facing wall get a second life now that the sun is low. They suffer in the summer heat but bloom again now, casting their shadows against the wall.

The red maple in the back yard is one of the last in the neighborhood to turn.
The salvia needs to be cut back and maybe replaced. It did not do well this summer. It makes an interesting shadow though.

See more shadows at Hey Harriet, hosted by Tracy.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


What part of stop didn't he understand?
From our family room we get a good view of this intersection. Sometimes we find it quite entertaining. Cars come down the hill stop and linger a long time, apparently confused as too which way to go. Others make a U-turn and go back the way they came, often to return yet again. Others slow but do not obey the stop sign.
After stopping, cars must go right or left, straight is not an option.
Sunday night one driver decided it was.

Halfway through the intersection he decided to apply the brakes (perhaps he thought "stop" was merely a suggestion). He went though the sign and down the embankment. We could here him racing the engine, apparently trying to back up. No way, all he could do was ruin the engine as he had torn the oil pan. The police came after receiving numerous 911 calls. The driver had exited the vehicle and climbed further down the ravine, not up to the road or the houses as a person seeking assistance would do.

It has us all wondering, was he under the influence? Was he fleeing the scene of a crime? Perhaps it will say in the police blotter section of the local paper.

The seniors living along the open space appreciated the diversion. It was a major topic of conversation at a neighborhood party a few days later.
No skywatch from me this week as our skies have been dreary and uninteresting.

About Me--Kreativ blogger award

LV at "Thoughts from Meme's Corner" has given me this award. To accept I am asked to tell 7 things about myself that fellow bloggers may not know. This requires considerable thought as I have already hinted at most things I am prepared to share.
1. I was born and raised in the Los Angeles area. When I was 32 my husband transferred to Bishop, California, a small town in the Eastern Sierra where we lived for 15 years. When he retired we moved back to our house in the San Fernando Valley where we stayed for another 12 years and finally moved to Lincoln 5 years ago.
2. I attended a community college for 2 years and UCLA for one year then dropped out. I had planned to return to college but never did.
3. I married my dad's best friend (He was a lot younger than my dad and 10 years older than me.) It worked out, were still married, 44 years and two sons later.
4. I never really had a career, I worked as a bank teller, an office manager in a real estate office,
and had a daycare business. My longest employment was 8 years of seasonal work at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area. I worked in the kitchen where it was always nice and warm. Hubby liked it, he could ski free and so could our sons. This led to my most interesting job, a relief cook high in the White Mountains at a research facility two summers.
5. I've always battled my weight. The only time I was thin was when I was running 3-6 miles a day and biking 12-25 miles, often on the same days. That was in my 30's.
6. That cabin I blog about, we built it. Contractors did the foundation, the roof and rough plumbing but we did the framing, drywall and finish with the help of friends and family.
7. The most rewarding thing I have ever done was helping with Michael his first three years. I would watch his therapists and then continue working with him at home. Repetition and patterning is how he learned to sit, crawl and walk. It takes a whole family, not just the therapists to teach a severely challenged child. I didn't know I could do it, I never dreamed it would be so satisfying. If I'd know forty years ago what I know now I would have been a therapist.

8. And one more, I can't spell and I am careless about posting a comment without checking it for errors, but you already knew that.
Now comes the hard part, passing it on. I have been reluctant to do that since I don't want anyone to feel obligated to do something that makes them uncomfortable. I realize, though, that we all have free will. If you don't want to share facts about yourself, don't. If you're not comfortable passing it on, don't. These awards are a way of expressing our appreciation of each others work and should never become a burden.

So here are Blogs I enjoy and whose writers I would like to know better.

1. Geogypsy who shows us the Southwest in depth.

2. Perbs who gives us an in depth look at her little corner of the Northwest.

3. Linda who takes us to beautiful gardens.

4. Ebie who shows me the area where I was raised through her eyes.

5. Carolyn who goes many of the same places I do and shows them to me through her eyes.

6.Ralph who shows me the world from a different point of view.

7.Squirrel who I have just discovered and I already know has a lot to teach me.

The guidelines for accepting this award are:

1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
4. List 7 things about yourself that people may not know.
5. If you wish, pass this award to other Kreative Bloggers.
6. Post links to those you select.
7. Leave them a comment to let them know of the award.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dancing Fountain--Watery Wednesday

I've showed you several views of this mall at The Fountains, but the reason I brought my camera was to capture this fountain.
The water flows in time to music.
Sometimes it is a steady stream.
Sometime in quick bursts.

To see more watery sites, click here.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Bishop Pass Trail--My World

This is the last of my summer Sierra hikes to share with you. We hiked the Bishop Pass trail in September while camping on Bishop Creek
It was our favorite trail when we lived in the area and the trail head is a popular site for this group of local plein air painters.
The trail begins at South Lake and soon enters the John Muir Wilderness.

One of the great things about hiking in the eastern Sierra is the wilderness.

A string of wilderness areas stretches up the Sierra crest for 150 miles, crossed only by the Tioga Road in Yosemite. You can hike for over two hundred miles on the John Muir Trail and not cross a road.
From 9800' the trail climbs steadily up to Bishop pass at 12,000'. We would often, in our younger days, hike up to the pass but today we only planned to go as far as Long Lake.
Just before Long Lake the trail forks. You can make a loop to Bull Lake and Chocolate lake, rejoining the main trail at the far end of Long.
I asked a hiker who was on his way down what he thought of Long Lake. "Like walking through a calendar" he said. I wondered what he would have thought had he seen it in July with thunder clouds building and wildflowers everywhere
It was pretty, though.
Hubby stopped at Long Lake but I went a little further, up to Spearhead Lake. The flowers were gone but the willows were turning yellow and gave some color to the scene.
The rocks and Chocolate peak had plenty of color as well.
A good day hike, over six miles round trip and 1,000' gain. Maybe next year I'll go all the way to the pass and step into Sequoia.

To see more parts of this wonderful world, click here.