Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tuesday Muse

The beach was littered with sand dollars on Sunday.   Most of them were still in perfect condition, not yet broken by people walking past as they looked for treasures to take home.   This one came home with me,  but is now black instead of purple.   And to be honest, it's not very pretty dressed in black so I may bleach it.   The photo is fun because you can make so many adjustments to the photo and change the look entirely.   Our beach sand has lots of sparkle and color when you look at it up close in a photo.   It's not the stark white sand, or the very soft filtered sand that you see on some beaches.   It has more texture as you can see here.   It makes for more contrast in the photo that I've also enjoyed playing with.   I imagine I will find several editing iterations to please my eye.   And so, this is my photo of choice for Tuesday Muse at Nancy's blog.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Favorite

We went to Morro Bay this morning and walked on the beach for about an hour.   I have other photos to share, but I really like this one.   It was cloudy at the coast but the colors were beautiful to my eye.   It wasn't overcast where everything looks the same color, but very crisp in a different sort of way.    Walking on the beach is just the best way to center your mind and body.    I realize not everyone has access to a beach, but finding a special place to walk is good for the soul.   

Chicken Sunday

Early morning,  sometimes you will find me following the chickens around with my camera.   Isn't that something you do too?   No?   Well, it's such a nice time of the day and it's always fun for me to try to capture my chickens' pretty colors or expressions.   They are getting older with some of them being 4 years old now.  One of the originals left us this morning.   She had a great life here.   RIP chicken.   I enjoy them a lot and wonder how long they'll all be with us.   

Delicious watermelon juice

Toby is looking older....I want to pull that loose feather!

Chicken Little and her Shadow
Enjoying some fresh water
Have a great Sunday.   We are driving to the coast for a walk on the beach.   It's a little cooler here this weekend....will I need a jacket?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Skywatch Friday

I'm not sure I've ever shared with this group, but I have so many sunset photos that it seems like a place where they could fit.   If you simply can't look at another of my sunset photos, I understand.   Really, I do.  With skies like this, it takes me a long time to choose my favorites and then decide what, if any, editing I want to add.   The next time the sky is cloudy, you can be sure I will be taking more.   Enjoy your Friday and the weekend, wherever you are.

Here is the link to http://skyley.blogspot.com

Our sky from July 22nd.  

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Those Eyes, A Big Surprise

I posted these photos on Facebook today.   They're not pretty but kind of sent me into awe for a short while.   I've lived here over 10 years and have never seen an owl that I recall.   I've heard them at times, at night, but never saw one until today.   And it was around Noon.   I looked out to check on the chickens because it was getting pretty hot, then noticed a different colored large bird grab something near the donkeys' far fence.   Hmmmm, I wondered, what is that?   The best way to see anything at a distance is to grab my camera with the 300mm zoom.   I walked outside and slowly toward the fence to open the gate.   It looked like an owl so I kept creeping forward a few feet at a time, taking photos of course!!   The owl started to get concerned so he grabbed his prey and tried to fly away with it.   He didn't get far so I guess it was too heavy to carry.   I finally got close enough to get these photos and just then a couple of vultures flew over.   The owl dropped his prey and few into the oak tree.   I didn't see him again.   I wasn't sure what he had so I went out later to check.   I didn't have to get too close because I could smell it.   A skunk.   I have smelled one the past few nights so maybe that's the one.   Anyway, I'm sure the owl or the vultures will come back at an opportune time and clean it up.   Harry and Gunny were out all day.   I'm not sure what they are going to say about a stinky dead skunk in their far paddock.   I'm just glad it's not in an area where the dogs can get it when they're out running around.

This owl seems to have something wrong with one of his eyes and I think it makes him look creepy.   That, and the blood on his face.  Big disgrace.   Wavin' your banner all over the place.    Of course I have to throw in a little Queen here because it makes sense....those of you on Facebook, I have found a video to accompany this story.   You're Welcome.

Cropped down so you can see his eye.   Do you think he's blind in that eye?   Maybe that's why he's out in the daytime.   I don't know owls but I am pretty sure they are supposed to be out at night.

What a big surprise....and those eyes!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tuesday Muse

Last night we had another amazing sky and of course I have many many sunset photos.   As I was walking around outside with my camera, I realized that the light was perfect for any photo.   What else could I find?   I only have a few flowers but they looked very special in the evening light.   The breeze was keeping them on the move very slightly but I was able to capture a few photos for a splash of yellow in my files.

Yellow is such a bright and happy color.   Enjoy your Tuesday.

Sharing with Nancy

Monday, July 22, 2013

Sunrise, Sunset


And this morning it's sprinkling lightly.   Our Summer weather has changed over the past 10-20 years, due in part to the thousands of acres of grapes that have been planted and are being irrigated.   Although everyone is happy that the economy benefits from our wine industry in this county, there is great controversy over their water usage.   We have more humidity that we used to have.   It's nothing compared to the Midwest and East Coast, but having one industry contribute to weather changes in a region is striking.   The issue is beginning to boil and hopefully there will be some solutions to the water issue before the cork blows and there is war.
Wells are running dry at an alarming rate and the cost of drilling down to 600 feet is too high for many people to afford.   Who has an extra $25 to 30 thousand dollars lying around?   It's worrisome.   More than worrisome.   Water wars, my friends....they are coming.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Cuter Than Cute!

I wasn't able to find a way to embed this so I included the link.   It is SO CUTE, I just had to show you.   Go look now and then smile.


Grandpa John

A very large group of relatives on my dad's side are departing for Germany where they are meeting up to have a reunion with my dad's side of the family.   My grandpa was born in Germany in 1880 and came to the States when he was 25 years old, I believe.   He was the eldest and the only one to leave until some time later, the youngest also moved to Iowa.   His name was Mark.

Grandpa's family lived in northern Germany around a town called Norden.   His brothers and sisters stayed in the area to raise their families.   I visited there in 1989 and met so many of them, I barely remember the names.   And having a lot of Germany blood flowing through me, I have to say I find the language baffling and difficult to figure out.   In this part of Germany, called Ostfriesland, there is a Dutch influence which makes the dialect much easier to figure out....at least relatively speaking.

My grandpa was 75 years old when I was born and was always an old grandpa in my eyes.   He used a cane, then a walker, and spent many hours sitting in his chair in the corner of the living room where he could watch out the window.   He spoke in a loud voice, possibly because he had lost some hearing while in the Germany army when a cannon went off near him.   At least that's the reason I recall being told.   He would speak German to my dad and his siblings when he wanted to have a more serious conversation with them.   I didn't understand and never learned the language.   Our schools taught Spanish.

Grandpa used to sit at the table and eat hard boiled eggs, sliced open and topped with butter, salt and pepper.   He smoked a cigar and had a spittoon next to his chair.   We thought that was pretty gross, as I recall.   My grandma waited on him and always seemed happy.   She was his second wife and quite a bit younger.   His first wife had died, although I'm not sure when.    My two uncles were quite a bit older than my dad and my aunt.   In fact, the oldest (Uncle Rudy) married my grandma's sister.   We always thought it was funny that our great aunt was also our aunt.   My grandpa's sister-in-law was also his daughter-in-law.   My dad's aunt was also his sister-in-law.   You could go on and on.

I spent time yesterday going through some old photo albums of mine.   I got my first camera, a Kodak Instamatic 105, when I was 10 years old.   Being now a little old, like 47 years old, the color prints are a bit faded.   Being stuck in a photo album didn't help them, but that's what we did.   Anyway, I found this photo which is one of my favorites.   I used to come home to Iowa for visits after I moved to California in 1974.   This photo was during a visit to my grandpa who lived in a nursing home during the last 10 years of his life.   It makes me feel good to look at his face and remember his voice.   I love that we're holding each other's hand.   My sister commented that she likes how he's smiling at me.   It's a photo that captured a connection between us.   I love it.   You were a treasure, Grandpa John.   

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tuesday Muse

Should you tell a friend if she has something stuck in her teeth?   Or her beak?    Yes, I believe you should, if you really want to be a good friend.   

Sharing with Nancy's Tuesday Muse

Monday, July 15, 2013

Wood or Silverware?

Erik and I have been together for 5 years this month.   And so we can choose from the traditional gift of wood or the modern gift of silverware.   Since we aren't traditional, in that we aren't legally married, I suppose we should forego the wood.   But silverware?   I'm not thinking that's such a great idea since we already have enough in the drawer for the two of us.   We planted a couple more new trees recently so that's probably good enough to cover the wood.   We'll go with that.

A lot has changed in 5 years.   Erik sold his place up north and moved down here to our little ranch.   Although I already had the dogs, they really needed a papa, so that's a good thing.   We added Harry and Gunny and several chickens.  Two years ago we brought Toby home and he's been a very good addition.   Roosters bring good luck, you know.   

We now have some fruit trees and other trees that are growing nicely.   In another 5 years they should all be pretty awesome.   We remodeled the living room, the master bath, the laundry room, and had several other projects done.   Always more to do.... like a new kitchen?   Someday soon.

We love spending time with Erik's girls when we're able.   Melinda loves a great guy and so we  have Pete as part of the family.  They moved from San Francisco to New York where she was offered a full ride to a graduate program at NYU.   They love New York and we are so happy for them, although it's quite far away.   Carli graduated from Portland Art Institute with a degree in Apparel Design,  moved to California, and has her dream job at BCBG.   Who could ask for more when it comes to happy and healthy kids?   

I am not sharing photos today.   I just wanted to take the day to acknowledge my life with a wonderful man.   We'll probably share a special bottle of wine next weekend....cork is made from wood, right?   Here's to many many more, Honey of mine.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Random 5 Friday

1.   I grew tired of yogurt and peaches so I have switched to cottage cheese and mango.   It's a surprisingly good combination.

2.    I picked the first tomato from our plant and ate it yesterday.   My very first home grown tomato.   I have vowed to plant more food next year because knowing this is pure clean food with no chemicals is exciting.

3.   Thanks for all the "fingers crossed" for rain in our area.   But again, we don't normally get Summer rain.   If it happened, it would be very unusual.   And thanks for the nice comments about our Clarabelle a week or so ago.   She is doing a lot better, but I think she may have suffered an injury that is just slowing her down.   She's still a little sassy so that's good.

4.   My donkeys are still too fat.   Dang, it's hard to manage their weight.   Surprising what they find to eat out on the dry dusty property.

5.    You could probably guess by now that I love dramatic skies.   I even love beautiful bright blue skies against a simple background.   I just love taking photos of the sky and I cannot imagine how many thousands there are in my files.   So what's one more?

Have a great Friday and weekend!

Sharing with Nancy

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Sky Makes My Day

I ride my horse, Beau, about 3 to 4 times a week unless it's really hot or I have other things I need/want to do.   He is incredibly well trained and has learned several disciplines in his short 10 years.   He initially showed in Morgan Pleasure Driving and then English Pleasure.   His last few years showing at Morgan A shows was in Hunter Pleasure and he collected quite a few ribbons.   Since I made him mine almost 4 years ago, I have had him trained in Dressage and I have been learning that myself.   Let me tell you, it's not easy.   It may look easy but it's not.   And I'm not talking about the upper levels that you see on the Olympics.   I'm talking about the very basics.   It's much more technical than sitting on the back of a horse and going down the trail.   I love doing that too, but this is something that challenges me and so I persevere.   Yesterday was one of those days where my brain wouldn't connect with all my body parts.  As with any sport, there are good days and days that you end up feeling rather frustrated.   But even those days are well worth it.   Because I love my horse and it just fills my soul.   

After riding yesterday, I took a much needed shower and since I woke up at 4:30, I also took a much needed nap.   I went to town and ran a few errands.   And then the clouds rolled in.   The entire sky was filled with gray clouds and there was some talk of a 20% chance of rain.   WHAT????   How awesome would that be!    A few raindrops hit my head and teased us all, but the sky ended up being the big show once again.   And take a look at this!

I am so excited at the very thought of rain, I can't even find the words.   Sorry for those of you who are flooding and sick of the rain, but a drought isn't much fun either.

And so getting back to the sky, it was gorgeous yet again.   And yet again, I took a couple hundred photos to satisfy my need for camera time.    Not to bore you with a gazillion more sunset photos, I will show you a few that I've already edited a little.   Well, actually the last one wasn't edited at all except for a little sharpening.   Those are the real colors.   I know, huh?   Mother Nature can be awesome when she wants to be.

Bring it on, Mother Nature.   We're more than ready!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Summer Browns

Not a lot of words, just shades of brown.    Now that the 4th of July tourists are gone home, we're going to the coast today for some shades of blue.   

View of the neighbor's frequent visitor

Ranch Boots

Harry's Cross

Harry's Ears

Chicken (what else is there to say?)

Sweet, Handsome and Protective
Enjoy your Monday and I hope you have a good week!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Take It Easy, Monkey

Shannon Kennedy who writes Green Monkey Tales is beginning treatment for a very aggressive rectal cancer.   About 18 months ago, Shannon was diagnosed with breast cancer and spent last year going through a double mastectomy and reconstruction.   Because of that, she didn't have a colonoscopy that is recommended at her age.   Who would've thought she had a tumor growing that threatens her life again?   Yes, life can seem so unfair.   She is a strong monkey and we all hope to lift her up and give her strength during this aggressive treatment.  

She asked for some songs from her readers to add to her play list while she's enduring a three-hour invasive radiation treatment.   I sent her this one and I am posting it here for her.   I am sending all my healing thoughts and love to this brave lady.

Thursday, July 4, 2013


This is my own version of fireworks in the sky.   I know I've posted this in the past, but it seems appropriate.   Happy 4th of July!!!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


This is the place at Pismo Beach where you can cruise down the beach.   I just thought I'd bring you along for a little ways in case you never have a chance to do this yourself.   Hopefully you won't get motion sickness.    It's Hump Day!   Want to see the camel again?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tuesday Muse

After it hit 105 yesterday, it sudden cooled down.   It wasn't in the forecast, but a big breeze kicked in and was accompanied by cloud cover.   I went outside around 4:00 and it was already down to about 87 degrees.   WOW!   I turned off the sprinklers for the chickens to save on water and electricity (the well pump), fed the donkeys, and just hung around outside for a while.   It was delightful.   I spent some time outside with the dogs which thrilled them to no end.   It's supposed to hit 109 again today, but at least I had a respite that I badly needed.

The sky turned an eerie shade of yellow later in the evening.   The birds were all out, singing their little hearts out at the break in the oppressive heat.   The California Towhees were scratching around the ground as they always do.   And this favorite started singing.   Oh how I love the Mockingbirds.   I think he/she looked at me and was asking for requests.    I had none, just whatever the singer chose on this lovely evening in July.

This photo was calling for a texture.    This one is called Bent Edges and I am sorry to say, I think it's from Nancy but I'm not 100% sure.   It seemed perfect for this silhouette of a bird in our pomegranate tree.

Monday, July 1, 2013

And So It Goes

We are still in the midst of this horrible heat wave with temperatures breaking records on a daily basis.   Today is supposed to be 111 again and although they said it would start to cool on Wednesday, they are now saying it will be Thursday before temperatures break below 100.   But we are as well set as we can possibly be.   It was terrific to have Erik home over the weekend to help with the outside work and other errands.   A trip to Trader Joe's with a few groceries kept us at home the rest of the weekend.   

There was lots of this.   I think this one was "Eat Pray Love" which I was enjoying even though I'd seen it before.   "Family Man" is delightful on a Sunday afternoon when it's too hot for anything else.   Notice the comforter is thrown to the side because there is no need for it.   The blanket is now covered with another sheet for those endless hours of watching TV.   I considered going to see "The Heat" but that would have involved getting dressed and actually driving somewhere.   Another day....

I found this little dude when I was pounding nails into the chicken coop for one of my "cool the chickens" projects.   This is chicken wire, so you can imagine how small he is.   I almost didn't recognize him as a praying mantis because he's about one inch long, if that.   I hope he sticks around until he's grown.   Very cool little creatures.

And that's about it.   I have to leave the house today because I need to buy a few more groceries and some dog food.   And more watermelon.   It's very sweet and juicy and perfect for these hot summer days.   

On a very serious note, please send prayers and good healing thoughts to the families of the firefighters in Arizona who lost their lives over the weekend.   Firefighters are heroes and this is a tragic loss for the families and community.    

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...