Monday, January 30, 2012

Sunday Walk

Yesterday we drove to San Miguel which is about 15 miles north of us.   The Mission San Miguel is one of our treasures and has been undergoing restoration for a long time since some significant damage in an earthquake.   At last, the blue tarps are gone and much of the construction fencing has been removed.   I was snap happy even though some areas are difficult to photograph with the light and shadows.   I will share a few photos with you so you can see the simple charm and beauty.   The new header photo is outside the mission.

Standing in the courtyard which is the cemetery, the light is particularly challenging, but I LOVE these bells.

We were there just as people were going inside for the next Mass.   

The courtyard.   There is a fountain but there were too many people around to get a clear shot.

Part of the wall at the far end.  

More bells in a beautiful tower.

It has taken a lot of money to do the restoration work.   The Hearst family lives in our area and fortunately have been generous with donations to keep the work going.   If you visit California, try to spend time at one or more of our missions.   They really are an historical treasure.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Fresh Figs

We have a farmers market in our area that sets up in the different towns/cities on different days of the week.   We don't go often, but there is always something worth our time.   I'm sure you all know that we grow lots and lots of produce and nuts in California.   This farm in the Central Valley has fruit orchards and after the season, they dry some of their fruit.   So I bought some figs.   Oh boy, are these good!   And ladies, they are very good for you.   If you get a chance, get yourself some figs.   I hope you find them to be a taste treat.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Sunny Saturday

I hope you also have some sunshine for your Saturday.   If not, you can share some of mine.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Maybe More is More?

Another beautiful sky last night.   One of the reasons we need more weather this time of year is to satisfy my need for sunset photos:-)   I don't know how many hundreds I have in my files, but with sunsets there is always one more...and one more.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bursting Into Song

Here's our farm's version anyway.

And here's everyone getting ready for bedtime on the roost.

I thought I would share a little bit of the charm of keeping chickens.   Enjoy your day:-)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Less Can Be More

Sometimes I just stand in awe of the brilliant red and orange sunsets that we see here on the Central Coast.   Other times, the subtle colors before the brilliance is more appealing for a photo.   I was in the "less is more" mood last evening.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Other Goings On

Okay, we all know what happened with the football game so we don't need to revisit the details here:-(

I don't shop very often, as compared to years past when I had a good job and lived not too far from a Nordstrom.   Ahhhh, I remember the smells and the piano playing.   *sigh*    But this is not a fashion blog so only occasionally do I show you something new.   I have needed a warmer coat and purse (or handbag if you prefer).   Well, not so much needed a purse as wanted a purse.   I have others but they are getting past their prime, languishing in my closet.   

So here we have my new coat and purse, modeled by a dining room chair.

I don't know that it's warm enough to visit any of you friendly bloggers in the Midwest or Eastern climes, but it's good for California.    

All my previous whining about lack of rain came to an end over the weekend as we happily received somewhere between 2 and 3 inches Friday-Saturday.   We had a break yesterday and then it poured again.   This one was another gully washer so it will be interesting to see the totals.   By the end of the week it's supposed to be 70 degrees again, which means the grasses will start to grow and we will soon have green hillsides again.   Sing Hallelujah!   Or at least smile and clap for us.

Everything was washed and cleaned by Mother Nature.

Erik planted a few more trees for us.   Last year he put in about a dozen new bare roots and they are all doing well.   It would be so great to have some fruit this year but they are still pretty small.   I live by "an apple a day" and my favorites are Fuji.   So we put in two Fuji trees.   Yay!   I can't wait for my own apples someday.   And because we have a lilac bush that delights me, we planted another one.   The first one was planted by the previous owner and I'm not sure how old it is.   It's good to have new stock sometimes.

Of course the chicken inspectors helped, as always.   They had to measure the depth of the hole, check the quality of the soil, and make sure there were no unwanted bugs around the new trees.

And finally, a rainbow smiled on us this afternoon, just before the last of the rain came down.   

It's all good at the end of the day.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

It's All About Him Today

See this handsome man of mine?   His name is Erik.   He was born and raised in San Francisco and has been a Niners fan all his life.   He remembers every game of the glory days with Joe Montana, all the wins of the Steve Young, and all the disappointments of the past few years.   This is his day because the Forty Niners are playing the New York Giants for a spot in the Super Bowl.   We don't like the Giants even if they are NOT playing the Niners (Sorry, Daryl).   It's a big day in our house.    GO NINERS!

A few photos from a game we attended 3 years ago.   

Saturday, January 21, 2012


It rained and the wind blew last night.   And so it is a restful morning, clean and fresh outside.   The chickens are having a great time, the donkeys are not.   Donkeys don't like to get wet and they have no dry spot for their dirt baths and lingering naps.   It's a tradeoff if they want the grass to grow.   The rains will bring all the brown back to green.    And we look forward to that.   Enjoy your Saturday:-)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Come On Already!

It's going to rain, no it's not.    It will rain Sunday.   No, it's going to start Thursday night.   Ok, probably Friday night and then unsettled through Monday.   Well, possibly a few showers but clear on Sunday.   It's makin' me crazy!   

I'm heading to the chiropractor again this afternoon.   My doctor uses a gentle manipulation type of chiropractic and it works very well for me.   I have a pinch in my neck/shoulder again and it's getting to the point where I can't ignore it.    

I haven't taken any photos all week.   I must admit, if you didn't already know, I am a fair weather gal.   Someone used to tell me that I have a narrow comfort zone.   And that's true, I guess.   But who doesn't want to be comfortable?   So there's nothing wrong with that.   I turn the heat on in the house when I'm cold and I turn the A/C on in the house when I'm hot.   Comfort in my home is a big deal.

There's not much else to say about the week.   The donkeys are still begging for food several times a day. The chickens are still begging for treats every time I walk outside.   Zoey is still barking at the white cat.   Zach is still whining for whatever reason.   And I am still hoping to find a horse to ride, in addition to new homes for my two.   

And now it's time to head out the door for my appointment.   I wish I had a photo to share with you.   Maybe tomorrow.

Do you like my new blog background?   It's one of my sissy's designs and I think it's cute.   You all know her so if you want one, go pick it out!     Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Winter Chill, California Style

It's all relative, isn't it?   I put on a warmer coat and gloves today when I went to Trader Joe's.   I bought a new box of tea and ate minestrone soup for lunch.   Besides that errand, I won't go anywhere the rest of the day.   Of course the animals will be calling me so doing my small chores goes without saying.    I've had the heat turned on most of the morning,  I have one more blanket on the bed, and I need to wash sweatshirts and pants because I've been wearing them around the house a lot.   And of course, I am getting a lot of use out of my Christmas Uggs.   For those of you in northern and eastern climates, I don't know how you get through the Winters.   I grew up in Iowa so I know cold.   This may not seem cold to many of you, but it is to me.                                          
 Oh dear, I need a hot cup of tea, a blanket and my iPad.   And then... *yawn* ....maybe a little nap.   I wonder if "Say Yes to the Dress" is on today.   

P.S.  Actually it's in the low 40's but it was MUCH colder this morning.   Too much drama, you think?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Float Your Boat

If you had a little boat, what color would you choose?   I would likely choose this.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Passiflora Coral Sea

I love these flowers.   I don't know if they would freeze here on our very cold Winter nights, like tonight, but I think they would be so pretty on a trellis.   I would love to think I could walk outside and enjoy their beauty.   And I could.   Except for the deer.   And the bees.   And the freeze.   

Maybe I will just enjoy the photos for now and talk to the ladies at the nursery to see what they think about it.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Good Day Sunshine

Bright sunny flowers.   I would send some to each and every one of you if I could.   If you need a little sunshine today, you can enjoy this one.   Or go get some flowers for yourself and brighten up your Saturday.

Friday, January 13, 2012

I Call Him Cooper

I rode a horse yesterday and today.   It was fun and I've been smiling about it.   I haven't had any serious inquiries about Angel, although I have one interested party for Beau.   So we'll see if they follow through and come try him.    In the meantime, my friend Kathy and I have been considering ways to get some riding in on some other horses.   She has a line on one that she may take care of for another friend.   And yesterday I came across one that I think is a treasure.   I call him Cooper.   So I am trying him out for a month while he's at the stable where he's being worked.   It's a fun place with a big property to ride in addition to a huge arena with lots of trail obstacles.   

Cooper belongs to a lady who lost her husband to illness in 2010.    She doesn't ride and was left with 6 of his horses.   And so they need new homes.   Soon.   We'll see how it all plays out.

I was sorting through my files of photos late this afternoon so I can delete any that I absolutely don't want.   It's a good thing to do once in a while and helps me discover a few that I like to keep for no particular reason, other than they make me smile.

If I don't talk to you over the weekend, enjoy yours:-)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Fish Tacos

I had such a good day today.   The weather was nice, I rode a very nice horse with my friend, and enjoyed some outside time here with the critters.  When I was finished, I hadn't had lunch and it was about 2:30.   So I went to a great little seafood place next to Trader Joe's.   I couldn't decide so I bought enough food for today and tomorrow.   And I am the only one in this house that likes fish!   

Fish tacos, anyone?

No?    Ok, I'll just eat by myself.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My Cove

I want to claim a cove as my own.   I realize I can't legally do that, but I just love this particular spot.   I may meander a little in this post but that's how I spent the drive yesterday....just meandering towards my cove.   I started by driving to Morro Bay and decided against stopping by The Rock for the same views.   Instead I headed south toward Los Osos.    Between the two places is a large estuary which of course is very well protected.   Driving along Highway 1, you can see the estuary but there is not a single place to pull out and take photos.   If you Google the Morro Bay Estuary, you can probably find professional photos of the area.

Since I couldn't stop by the estuary,  I drove on to Los Osos and stopped at Baywood Park.   There is a small cove, a coffee shop with melt-in-your-mouth croissants.   Big warm croissants.   Oh my, it was so good.   I went heavy on the carbs yesterday, yes I did.    So where was I?   Oh yes, there is a coffee shop and a small inn facing the water.   The inn has a lovely garden which is another reason I want this cove to be mine.   But I want someone else to take care of the garden so it stays as lovely as it is right now.   The cove is protected so the water just gently laps against the shore.   And it is crystal clear.    Ahhhhhh.   You can get a cup of coffee (and maybe a croissant) and just sit with the quiet.    

And take a few photos, or perhaps 200 photos.

This is my dream cove.

I may have to share it with a few hundred feathered friends, but that's okay.   Can you see them?

It's least in my photos.   

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Yes, I got out and took photos today and I will share them.   But I just loved this one.   Isn't he cute?

Drive By or Stop?

We all have routes we travel, sometimes daily or maybe less frequently.   I take the road to my trainer's barn all the time.   And I look at things as I pass by, although it's less than a 10 minute drive door-to-door.   We live in one of the big wine regions of California and as such, there are many vineyards and wineries scattered around.   They each have their own mark on the landscape and it's fun to visit them on occasion.   

This winery is obviously very Old West and rustic in its style.   They even have a small train that runs through an adjacent property.   I stopped to take this photo yesterday, feeling inspired by Daryl at and her love of water towers.   We don't have a lot of water towers around here, rather water tanks on the rural properties.   Many of the old water towers are for show, as this one at Pomar Junction.   I processed it in color and B/W.   I can't decide which I like better.   This is for you, Daryl.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Back to Cowgirl Boots

I have 3 horses.   I used to have 16 horses, so 3 feels pretty good right now.   Two of my horses are for sale because they don't fit my changing plans.   Angel is my "just turned four" filly who is beautiful but not right for me as a riding horse.   Beau is my beautiful and talented show horse.   I have learned some about riding dressage and he has been such a great partner for me these past 2 years.   I love him.   But I do not want to go forward with dressage riding and he should go back into the show ring with a new person who is more dedicated to riding.   

Angel Strutting Her Stuff

I also have Fancy, my very special mare.   I used to ride her but she has taken a back seat as she's getting older and also has a riding time if, "I'm done, your quarter ran out."   I want another horse like Fancy.   I want to put my riding breeches and half chaps away.   I want to ride in my jeans and cowgirl boots again.   

Some of you know horses like I do.   As soon as we were about ready to take a video of Beau to include with the online ads, he clunked his foot with his other shoe and has some soreness.   Nothing major, just requiring some ice and stall rest.   So a little delay.   Also, in order to have him performing at the top of his game, my trainer is working him while I am not riding him.   

All of this means that I don't have a horse to ride right now.   And I need something to ride.   So my friend and I are going to seek out some options this week.   A lady outside Paso Robles has a huge arena filled with trail obstacles...little bridges, poles, gates, etc.   People use this to learn trail for fun and/or competitive trail showing.   We are going out there to meet with her and see if she has any lesson horses we could ride. We may also go look at a couple quarter horses for sale, just to see if we might like them once we both sell our show horses.   I have been a dedicated Morgan Horse person and just don't know if I can ride something else.   So it's an exploratory mission:-)

I need to ride.   My energy depends on it.   My emotional well being depends on it.   

In the meantime, I have more time for Photography.   And cleaning the house.....and Photography.   And not cleaning the house:-)

Another shot from Morro Bay.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Yes, it was Perfect

Unbelievably perfect day in Morro Bay.   The sky was blue, the surf was high, the Peregrine Falcons were flying around defending their nest, and we left just as more traffic was coming in.   

This guy was there without his camera, just enjoying the day.   And I was thrilled to see him after not being able to capture the one closer to home.

I took 250 photos and was "messing around" with my settings while shooting in RAW for the first time.   I must go back more often.   It's only 20 miles door-to-door.   It makes me feel so alive to walk around with my camera on such a perfect day.

Heading Out

We're going to the coast today.   Have a nice Saturday.   Whatever you have planned, get outside for some fresh air, at least for a little while.

I'm working on White Balance and shooting RAW this week.   Let's see how it goes.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

In The Hood

We have so many creatures around here, it's fun to drive into town and see the variety.   I was going into town recently when I spotted this group standing just inside a drive.   So I pulled over, just enough to get off the road, roll down the window and take a shot with my point and shoot.   I got two photos when suddenly a propane truck came barreling in behind me to go up that drive.   The deer scattered and I pulled out quickly to let him pass.   Slow down, people!    We have deer around here all the time, but not usually standing around in a clear spot during the daytime.

A couple weeks before, we were driving back home and I was pretty sure I saw a heron by the side of the road.   We are not on the coast, rather inland with no lakes or big rivers nearby.   So I thought, "Huh?"   On this day when I saw the deer, I saw the heron again as I drove further toward town.   Errrrrrr (that's the sound of me pulling over)

I was quite far away, standing behind my truck, being super stealthy.   But he/she knew I was there.   Every time I moved a little closer, he moved too.   Then he went into his own super stealth mode.   What the heck?   This is ranchland.

I found it pretty amusing.   A lady across the road came out to get her mail so I asked her about the heron.   She had no idea, but said they'd been hanging around and were known to eat the fish out of the stock tanks.    Are they lost?   I don't know.

I was sitting at my computer mid-morning today and heard the dogs barking.   Nothing new there, but I looked out to see what was going on.   There was a heron sitting down on one of our fences with the donkeys grazing nearby.   Trying again to be stealthy, I got my camera, then slowly slid the door open a little.   Zoey acknowledged me (no stealth with her) and the heron took off before I could get a shot.   

I'm on heron lookout now.   Very strange happenings in the hood.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

To Mouse or Not to Mouse?

My trainer has 4 cats.   I don't have cats because I am allergic to them, but I enjoy watching them and think they are so very pretty.   I love their different and funny personalities.   I had cats when I was younger and thoroughly enjoyed them.

My name is Gizmo and I am a mouser extraordinaire.   Do NOT come near me if I have a mouse because I will growl at you and warn you away.   I mean it!   I will let the dogs hunt with me if we need to capture a mouse from behind something.   But of course it's my catch.

See how tall and sleek I am?   Just like a panther.

My name is Jingles and I live in the hay barn.   Because it's so comfortable in there and I have plenty of cat food, I don't often come out.   But when I want some attention and sunshine, I can be so very charming.   And I am so pretty because I spend a lot of time washing myself.   Gizmo and Simon bother me a lot and don't seem to understand that I don't feel like playing their stupid games.   I am about 12 years old and I am way beyond that.   Also, I see no need to waste my energy catching a mouse when there is always a very full bowl of cat food sitting nearby on a bale of hay.   

Oh my gosh, the sun feels so good!

Denise thought I blended in so nicely with the ground and could NOT stop taking photos of me.   I understand completely.

What Have They Done?

Blogger made some changes this week.   I didn't dig in enough to understand them because most, I'm sure, don't apply to my needs...