Posts Tagged With: nature

MISTY MORNINGS AND A MUSTANG.

A wild mustang occupies the other side of the fence from my front yard in Oregon, where my son built me a house.

I was lucky to find Susan Scott to work with me, painting and cleaning out my storage building. She also hand-picked designated  weeds for me, since I don’t spray anything poisonous on my property. She was helping me get a picture of this wild horse, who won’t hold still for a picture.

She dropped the carrot, but I caught the tattoo on the horse’s neck from the BLM round-up and sale. She is temporarily pastured here to munch down the weeds and she is doing a good job. Why I didn’t take time to shoot the work we did? My brain doesn’t always function on all four cylinders.

Saturday morning turned out to be cool and I started for home late, after 8 a.m. and dawdled, enjoying the beautiful mists that drape the mountain sides surrounding Evans Valley.

My neighbors get mists like these since they live on the river side of the road.

Beauty that burns off within a couple of hours.

About the time I snapped this photo, the weather report warned of snow over the pass and I had to quit dawdling and press the metal.

Then I had to stop again for this photo. I’ve never seen Mt. Shasta surrounded by a ring of clouds.

Glimpses of Shasta poke through periodically as you drive. The best view is from Weed Airport, on the opposite side of the freeway.

The mist lifted as I got within range. Even from the wrong side of the freeway, with the light shining on my camera’s viewing screen, I took the picture out the window-blind. She is a stunning piece of nature and I have better pictures of her than this. I have to return in a couple, maybe three weeks, to finish the storage building. I need the sheet rock taped and textured and painted before the electric fixtures are installed. I finished the inside because it was so hot in the afternoons and freezing in the mornings. It stored things, but no one could work inside of it. When finished, my building will have a place to rinse brushes and plug-in and use power tools.

The Evans Valley is turning into a very popular place for permanent residences and I keep meeting new neighbors every trip I take. Like Susan.  I also brought home with me a new boyfriend. More, tomorrow.

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I SAW A SHINING STAR

DSC08170 (Copy)It is never the order of things that Stuart and Dolores (Quyle) Mast, or any parent should outlive their child.

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Sorrow and loss pinched hundreds of faces at the hilltop service at Quyle’s ranch, the property where Robbie Mast grew up, but there was something else there.

DSC08162 (Copy)The unquenchable spirit of Robbie himself, who left an indelible print on the wide world around him in his short 25 years.

DSC08165 (Copy)Principal of Avery Middle School, Michael Chimente, reminded us of his leadership role, as honor student, class president as a sixth grader and a young high school student who applied to be Principal at Bret Harte High School.

DSC08168 (Copy)The gang of six friends he grew up with helped us relish the humor, the mischief, the love of nature, beauty and friendship he brought into focus for them. Robbie liked to ride a bike, but he wanted to build bikes and ride around the world. It took him twenty-two months from New Zealand, Thailand, Singapore, Istanbul, Bulgaria, Italy, France and England. As the son of  wine makers, he worked in vineyards wherever he went; volunteered at a self-sustaining farm and spiritual center. He touched people;  made friends; took lessons home with him.

DSC08166 (Copy)Ryan Anderson and Bryan Hitchcock, two older friends, remarked how Robbie came to them and said he’d signed himself out of Gym in High School. He preferred hiking and biking and camping and nature. They convinced Bret Harte that he had engaged in private Boxing lessons in place of Gym and he was allowed to graduate with his class. Robbie hungered to invent, to explore, to challenge himself, to enjoy life with humor. He was an artist,  an actor, a story-teller. Wise beyond his years, he made every second of his life meaningful.  DSC08164 (Copy)Each speaker revealed another dimension to Robbie’s  life.  In his own words, from eighth grade, “Life is a journey…judge not…help those less fortunate…stop and smell the roses…never be content…question and wonder…people are good…love is the strongest force in the universe…life goes fast…live like every day was your last…

If you see a shining  star never let it fade away.

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WEATHER EXTREMES.

We’ve had much rain and the green is refreshing and beautiful to behold. Wildflowers waiting to pop into bloom when I took this picture. They are now everywhere. I’m impaired and hampered but I can’t resist carrying a camera and grabbing beauty when I see it.

DSC08031 (Copy)The size and perfection of some blooms in my own yard are stellar.

DSC08052 (Copy)Iris have such variable colors.

DSC08060 (Copy)It is unusual to have stems three feet long and yard grass as high as my hips.

DSC08056 (Copy)I can’t remember when I’ve seen a more perfect rose. A prize winner if shown.

DSC08061 (Copy)All that beauty comes with a price.

DSC08064 (Copy)Rain and hail sluicing in torrents. Puddles for days.

DSC08046 (Copy)A fallen giant, unable to hold on in heavily saturated ground.

DSC08039 (Copy)We can’t control the weather, so there is nothing to do but enjoy the beauty, though with a niggling worry of what is to come. Climate change specialists are telling us we’ll pay for it this summer with brutal heat and little relief. My well is dry. The annoying mucus eating gnats I normally don’t encounter until the 3000 foot elevation are pestering me as I walk. We’ve had 81 degree days then cold 28 degree weather back to back in the same week. But, again, we choose to enjoy what we can when we can.

DSC08034 (Copy)Bridal wreath spirea.

DSC05110 (Copy)About two weeks ago, the grass was still low enough to see the chickens. Now they can hide completely in it and seem to love it. Unfortunately, one chicken died two weeks ago and we are down to one brown, Della and one white, Blanche.

DSC08066 (Copy)And yesterday, a cache of turkey eggs hidden so deeply in the overgrowth, my gardener didn’t see the setting mother until she exploded out of the nest and into his face. Sadly, she didn’t return, but it is nice to know the wildlife will survive and adapt. My gardener took the eggs home to put in his incubator.

DSC08049 (Copy)I rode by this plant, and now I’m walking the road with Jim each day as I heal, and this plant and others in my yard are done blooming. Not a blossom anywhere. What brings tomorrow?

 

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CHARITY NAVIGATOR

At Christmastime, I get five times as much mail asking for donations then at any other time of year. I’m sure my name gets sold because I’ve received mail from charities I’ve never heard of. For instance, I got one from Mercy Corps. It has no attributes from Charity Navigator for being a cost-effective charity. And, if you read closely, it relates that any “leftover” funds will be used for other areas of their choice. Hmmm! Not what I call a good charity. They are endorsed by the Better Business Bureau, an organization that has turned out to be useless in my opinion.

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I care deeply about saving the natural world for my grandkids.  With that in mind, I like to choose charities that actually give donors feedback about what they’ve accomplished with our money. The Center For Biological Diversity lists as part of its accomplishments Victory-California Bans Bobcat Trapping.  

Trappers hang out around some of our parks where hunting and trapping are not allowed. The Center For Biological Diversity,  pressured California to make the fines huge for trapping and selling pelts.  It is working.

They are working on saving the  Jaguar, the third largest cat in the world after the Bengal Tiger and The African Lion.  There is one living jaguar in the wild in the United States in the Santa Rita Mountains.  He is now over 20 years old, has no mate nor offspring. But, the center has saved habitat for the big cats and will bring them back to their natural territory from cross border animals from Mexico.

The Center has engaged China to help save elephants by educating the rising middle class about stemming the ivory trade. Elephants are being poached in numbers around the world estimated at 95 per day; that is 95 too many.

The center won habitat protections for the rare Monk Seal. And, they have pressured for protections of the first wolf pack in California that migrated  into the state. They won that protection and have outfitted them with radio collars to see what kind of territory they cover and what they eat.

There is more victories and I hope to do a series on charities for this blog, that you may notice I am back on permanently instead of being transferred to Blogspot where it is difficult to leave me a message. Thank you Jim.

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PROGRESS AND TIME OUT.

juggling like a proLast weekend was a nice time out with family. Virginia, Cedric and the boys came on Saturday. We were able to view pictures of their Australian adventure on computer and the extension trip they took to Thailand, Cambodia and Viet Nam. They took a cooking class in Thailand and a biking tour in Viet Nam. Great memories and getting acquainted with different cultures? What an education. Here Theo practices his juggling. He is good at it.

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We took a walk around the neighborhood. It was chilly but nice to get outside. The boys are  13 and 15 now, but still willing to keep company with we adults.

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Daffodils are blooming everywhere in my yard.

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One neighbor has a tulip tree.

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I had never heard of them until I moved to California. Spectacular.

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I have a stunted one in my yard that didn’t take well to being transplanted from my former yard. It might get two blossoms, sometimes none. This is what they are supposed to look like.

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After my mailbox project, I was charmed by this little postal box birdhouse. People can be so clever. Kind of reminds me, sadly, of the carrier pigeons. To think they were of such valuable service to us in WWI and no one thought to protect them.

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Our neighborhood has many redtailed hawks. Majestic and beautiful.

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Beautiful plumage and adept hunters. A very young hawk makes passes over my chickens as though sizing them up for a future meal. I don’t cut their wings so they have some natural protection.

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Ken and Laurie joined us on Sunday and we all went to brunch. Not Bix and Coco, though. None of the pictures I took of the adults turned out. Its okay. I’ve got a lot of pictures of them anyway.

Yesterday was a grand marker day. I’ve gotten my heating and air conditioning heat pump contracted. The new mini-split heat pumps operate efficiently without ducting. Doug moved in a dumpster and did a major clean-up around the place getting ready for inside installations. Cabinets are chosen and drawn. The cabinet installer will measure the house on Friday. Today, I’ll shop for flooring, to get an idea of types and costs. The electrician will come in and do his wiring after the heat pump tubing and wiring is finished. Everything should move along quickly, now for the house. Then Doug will start on a garage/storage building. There is still much to do which keeps me absent these pages. But, taking time out was a welcome refreshment.

 

 

 

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TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS CARDS.

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Christmas cards trend toward themes. Popular at one time are replicas of old-fashioned cards. So familiar are Currier and Ives, small snowy towns, people sledding through the snow. This one is a famous painting and charming. (Not Currier and Ives.)

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This is also a painting. The clothing shows the affluence these children enjoyed, reflecting their times.

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A famous Madonna painting. There are so many beautiful paintings of the Madonna in museums all over the world and many of them are replicated on Christmas Cards.

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What would Christmas be without an angel?

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Or thoughts of peace and good will?

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Also from a painting, these happy children playing in the snow.

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A more contemporary vision of children playing in the snow.

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Something warm and fuzzy.

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This is my favorite. It much reflects the era of my childhood. The kids of all ages, a couple of them playing on the floor, the boy reading in his socks with his feet up on a book, apples on the tree, showing your treasures to grandpa. The homey pictures on the bureau. The girls are wearing those awful long stockings I hated so much growing up in a winter clime.

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A touch of humor. Birds, animals and nature play heavily on Christmas cards.

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This one is such a sweet tickle. It also shows another tradition; we decorate and light up trees in our yards.

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Famous artists lend their skills to a Christmas card.

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A Christmas tree can be almost anything.

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I read in Smithsonian where it took a long time for Christmas trees to catch on. Now, a Christmas never goes by without a card with a Christmas tree of some kind on it.

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I liked this lovely message. Some are old worn out clichés.

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Christmas caroling is something not many people do anymore, but Christmas has its own special music, evolving year by year. But the old songs never go away.

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A popular song clings to us for years and here we see a popular song in this card, “…the partridge in a pear tree.”

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A Christmas card can be whatever you make it. And here I have to salute a local artist, Bambi Papais. She and her sister Judie are both terrific artists admired and locally renowned. So with that in mind, I hope you’ve enjoyed my rummage through my box of Christmas cards from 1992.

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Happy holidays.

Mary

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