December 21, 2012
Despite the rumors the world as we know it is not predicted to end today, on December 21st. Popol Vuh, in the Mayan Sacred Book, did not say the world will end, it simply meant the Fourth World started a new cycle on Aug. 11th, 3114 BC. and it ended on December 21st, 2012. The year of the Fourth Calendar was predicted to end in catastrophe, before another, fifth world cycle began.
Well, maybe not a cataclysmic ending with crashing mountains and earth rending volcanoes and great rents in terra firma in one day. But right now, our world as we know it, is definitely ending and catastrophe is…well…relentless and correct. Man-made climate change moved our world beyond the point of return. Peak oil, now peak water. Climate driven mega storms, rising oceans, acidic oceans, collapsing coral and fish populations and collapsing animal and plant populations. Another dust bowl predicted for the mid-west because the natural water isn’t there and what is there is contaminated. We are melting glaciers, cutting down rainforests, covering up coastal wetlands, interfering with bird and animal migrations. The ozone hole has widened and we now understand why.
Should we ignore these obscure predictions from obscure, centuries old cultures and get on with our lives. What do they know? Did we ignore Jesus to love our fellow-man? Maybe Popol Vuh was really warning us not to ignore our scientists who are struggling to find solutions in the face of a self-destructive society that refuses to make changes to save the planet for all of us. There is still time for one more merry Christmas, anyway. And, a few more cards.
The beauty of nature.
The innocence of children.
The delight of make-believe.
December 11, 2012
Julia Shelby, a San Francisco transplant, started Mountain Melody Womens Chorus in 2005. A bright star in our mountain communities is this all volunteer group of about 18 women, singers all, with two piano players and a flutist. Shelby chooses innovative music, with intricate, lively and echoing harmonies. What a treat.
Also a treat, is Casa Terra Cotta, this beautiful mountaintop estate, loaned to the Calaveras Arts Council for the event. I was grateful for the sun, but the time of day was brutal for photos.
I ran smack dab into my neighbor Judith, and friends I hadn’t seen in a couple of years, David and JoEllen Gano. A stranger grabbed my camera and offered to take a picture.
What makes the estate so enchanting, is the marvelous windows surrounding you from every direction, providing the best views from the mountain top, at the same time making picture-taking difficult.
I concentrated on faces and the wonderful music. Dobru’ Noc, a Slovakian Folk Song
This Little Light Of Mine.
The Seal Lullaby
Nothin’ Gonna Stumble My Feet.
After the concert, we enjoyed desserts and wine punch and mingled with guests and members of the chorus. Michael VonErich sung the solo Mary Did You Know? Her deep resonant voice, and the words brought me to tears. I had to meet her, only to discover she is moving away from Mountain Ranch. She told me she grew up singing as a child with Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene, the guys who wrote the words and music to the song. What a talent she is. And what a loss to our community.
Maddie and I walked the grounds and enjoyed the views.
Some people stayed close to the outdoor fireplace.
We all got to sing for Marta Johnson’s birthday, another old friend I hadn’t seen in years.
On the drive home, Maddie and I oohed and ahhed at another birthday, these little newborn lambs on wobbly legs. We both wondered why are these young lambs born in the cold month of December? We hope it isn’t from climate change, but in my yard I’ve seen a late fawn all through November. A strange year in so many ways.
December 4, 2012
The giant squid is the largest creature without a backbone. It weighs up to 2.5 tons and grows up to 55 feet long. Each eye is a foot or more in diameter. For eons the shark has been considered the oceans top predator until the Seattle Aquarium found sharks disappearing. One night they caught on camera, a common giant octopus, that had been moved into a larger tank with sharks and other big fish, gobble up a shark. Hmm!
The divers that have photographed octopus and giant squids now know what danger they have been in. Besides their unique ability to camouflage themselves and disappear before your eyes besides, a giant octopus or squid has the strength to easily gobble up a human.
check out the link below:
We think we know what the top land predator is. But do we? That’s something to think about.
December 2, 2012
Mary remains at home in California tending to medical and personal business issues. Yesterday she finally made her airline reservations to join me at Harlingen, Texas on January 3, 2013.
The motorhome is parked at Thousand Trails about 40 miles west of San Antonio.
Let’s take a break from the deer photos. One has to be really lucky and fast to catch a photo of these perpetual motion machines…
As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view…
Enjoying beautiful animals in nature is another joy of the full-time RVing lifestyle!
The red dot on the below map shows my approximate location in the State of Texas. You may double left-click the map to make it larger…
Enjoying 65-75 degree temperatures most of the year is a primary joy in the RVing lifestyle!
If you have not checked out my Ramblin Man’s Photos Blog, you can do so by clicking this link…
All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2012
For more information about my three books, click this link:
June 1, 2012
I took many beautiful pictures on the way into the canyon. It seems to take longer to do anything these days. I find I need a nap in the afternoon, so most of them are raw and un-cropped. We are healing and feeling better each day. But Megan’s note about how rumors fly in a community prompted me to also give this information. The nut that dropped from the tie rod bolt was found on the road above the accident and turned into the Sheriff’s Department.
Jim considered driving into the canyon for this tour with his four-wheel drive Bronco. Very soon, looking at the deep sands to navigate, he was glad we decided to take the tour.
Majestic solitary pinnacles sit on the canyon floor.
Our guide showed us fascinating petroglyphs drawn by the ancient Anasazi.
These photos can be double clicked to get a better look at them.
Explanations not needed. As Sara Dailey from the Chinle Clinic told me, “Walk in beauty.”
On the road, there were places where the canyon walls are over your head.
I enjoyed sitting behind the driver and looking through his window as we bounced along.
He stopped for the horses to cross in front of us.
This rock edifice reminded me of a man leaning up against a rock.
Where I sat, I could peer over the edge of the truck and see the wheels churning through a muddy low spot.
Majestic. I was stunned to learn that some locals have never been in the canyon.
Sometimes the rocks are caramel color.
The awesome big picture.
Our guide explained the color variations come from the various minerals that are in the rock.
Coming from a more populated state, it is delicious to watch these horses running free and wild.
Though I took several pictures of the Mummy Cave, this is the last photo I took. The tour stops here for a lunch break before starting our return trip. (This album does not have the accident photos.) To see the rest of my pictures in a full screen slide show, click on the link below:
July 2, 2011
In recent days I’ve shown you a lot of photos from specific areas of my current camping spot at Thousand Trails RV Resort in La Connor, Washington. There are 81 parks in the system which they call preserves because they are working to preserve nature.
Here are some more general views of this beautiful park…
Finally, a memorial to my friend Glenn Burzenski…the manager of this park from August 1978 to June 2004. He passed away at the age of 57 from liver and kidney cancer. He was a real likeable guy.
The last year (2002) that I worked at this park in membership sales, Glenn was threatening to retire. He and I actually went out looking at RV’s for him to consider purchasing. He kept on saying….”I need to save just a little bit more money, maybe in another year.” When I visited in 2003 as a member…same story. When I returned in 2005, I found that he had passed away.
As I travel, I tell anyone who will listen…”Retire as early as you can…A bad day of RVing beats a good day of work!”
Tomorrow…The Big Picture…
All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2011
For more information about my three books, click this link:
June 7, 2011
Today is moving day. Our time at Birch Bay has been uneventful, restful and a time to catch up on small projects. We walked the park, enjoyed the mature trees, and pure black squirrels. This is the only place I’ve seen black squirrels in the many places we’ve traveled.
I looked them up in wikipedia and found they have an interesting background that you can read about at this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_squirrel
A woods loving plant prolific here. I’m bothered by how few plants for which I can remember names. There was a time when I made it a point to know the names of everything that grew within my site. I was heavily into gardening in another life.
For what reason the park managers cut this mature fir is anybody’s guess. It shows no signs of rot or damage. Fir trees predominate and they are beautiful at this time of year with light green tips on darker old growth.
The next three days we’ll be boondocking and I’ll miss this pretty park and a friendly bird that walks on our roof every morning.
But most of all I’ll miss my daily swim. The pool is wonderful therapy for my injured shoulder. But, the magic of RVing is looking to what’s next? What will I see? Who will I meet?
June 5, 2011
Several months ago, I picked up the book Blue Highways, by William Least Heat-Moon. He calls himself a half-breed. Part Indian, his father called himself Heat Moon, and his oldest son Little Heat Moon, thus, born last, William became Least Heat Moon. Least Heat Moon set out in a home-made camper van and traveled on “small roads”, across the U.S. from Missouri headed east to the coast then back through the Carolinas, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Utah, Nevada; north to Oregon; east across the top part of the U.S., through the Great Lakes, up to Maine and then back to Missouri. An epic journey of trails and travails in fascinating prose. What made it special to me is the many places he passed through that I have passed through these last three years, with Jim, at the helm of a motor home. Least Heat Moon reminded me of other RVers, (particularly our friend Randy Vining,) who take the path less traveled, and adopt philosophies of a simplified life. Emerson, Thoreau, poets, Walt Whitman, and other historic figures like Muir, who relate to nature and the simpler things in life. People shed their possessions and find harmony, peace and joy. On the road, we meet people who profess to want that, few find it. Be inspired by this book. Here is a link to Least Heat Moon:
Jim ordered 68 books from the Book Barn in Connecticut, at $1.00 each. He finds an author he likes, and they ship him the used books. He is set to put in another order, and I’ve ordered two more “journey” books by Least Heat Moon and a Walk In The Woods by Bill Dryson. What a treat, what a deal.
Yesterday was a quiet day of letter writing, swimming and reading. The weather remained cool, but dry with a weak sun. Enough sun for Jim to get out and put new battery cables on the Bronco while I swam. At the pool, I met three kids from Tennessee with their grandfather. None of them knew how to swim. I had fun with the youngest, seven-year old, teaching him the basic rules of learning to blow bubbles, getting used to having his face in the water, and holding onto the edge and kicking. All benefit of watching my own grandkids take swimming lessons a few summers back. The boy was pleased with himself. I was taught the old, regrettable way, as a kid, when my dad pushed me off a stump and said, “swim.”
May 10, 2011
Where we are parked is near the north end of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. Its interesting topography, with sand and wind formed plants. Low bushes looked carved; tough grasses sway with the wind and hold the soil. Swampy salt marshes mingle with dunes. Much of the area is over burdened with the invasive Scotch Broom again. Here it is absolutely monstrous in spots, showing the effect it has on crowding native plants. It doesn’t detract from its beauty, though.
We hiked up to the top of one dune. It’s still cold enough to discourage swimmers.
We drove to the South Jetty area and hiked out to watch a guy wind surfing.
By the time we got close enough to take a picture, he was out of the water with his loyal dog nearby.
Various views reminded me of picture post cards.
Then we went to town for an early dinner at the Waterfront Depot and the “promised” good food. Not disappointed. The crab encrusted halibut in a cream sauce with a caesar salad was every bit has wonderful as promised. The sauce wasn’t overly rich and dependent on gobs of butter. It had a slight tang and sweetness that was new to me. For appetizers Jim and I shared steamer clams and mussels in a garlic butter broth with bits of fresh tomato and parsley. Again, the butter was reserved rather than overpowering. They have an extensive wine list, and good beers as well. Desert lovers praised deserts here and our waiter tempted us with a thin slice of a Mexican chocolate cake, but we managed to resist.
The menu changes depending on what fish is in season, but I saw an order of ossa busso come out of the kitchen and regretted that we would not be spending another night here. The entire menu, by the way, is on the chalk board. You can click on it to enlarge it.
From our window seat in the restaurant, we could see these kids playing in the sand and water. The cold never daunts kids. They just go for it. In a sense, that is what I’m doing with my life right now. Seeking nature, and changing places. I’m glad I’m not sitting in front of a television in my warm comfortable house cursing the news.
I took 35 pictures that can be seen at:https://picasaweb.google.com/106530979158681190260/201159DunesWaterfrontDepot#
March 12, 2011
What must it be like to be a tree? Strong, varied, amazing contributors, under appreciated, ill used, veritable mini-houses for a variety of lives. A fire whisked through this area, but these small desert trees still stand in defiance. They beat the flames; maybe even struggling to grow back from the roots.
It is the time of year when the trees “bones” are showing. The softening affect of the leaves can’t hide the scars this tree bears from multiple wounds and prunings during its life.
Another appears to cry for its missing branches as it takes on the look of a face.
Misuse by humans leaves this tree disfigured as its flesh encompasses the barbed wire attached there to give strength to a fence. The horses use it as a place to scratch their sides as well as their accepted boundary.
How long before this tree breaks the bonds that strangle it for a temporary show at Christmas, except, they have become permanent bonds.
The bones of this tree have been twisted and torqued into odd shapes and abnormal bends when younger. It still manages to hold its own and provide a wide sweeping, umbrella canopy over its owner’s driveway and parked car.
This one the victim of a vehicle. The wound will eventually grow smooth edges and heal. Its upper trunk holds a different type of scar.
This oak harbors a read headed woodpecker family that I’ve seen several times while out walking.
Its become so strong, it could support a much larger canopy.
This old oak has lost so many branches, it has knobs, on knobs, but still manages to stand strong and healthy, a supplier of shade, a home to birds, and other creatures.
Then spring and summer began leafing them out, cover the bones and you forget what they looked like in their winter guise. I’ve always had a special affection for trees. I’ve even been called a tree hugger.
And, its true.