Saturday, August 31, 2013

Summer's Last Hurrah

First, let me update you on the owl.   I watched him for a while and realized he probably wasn't leaving on his own.   Clearly something was wrong.   As he sat there on the fence, a couple of crows and a gang of Magpies started abusing him.   After a short while, one of the big crows knocked him off the fence onto the ground.   So I called the Pacific Wildlife Rescue group.    Let me tell you, these guys are awesome!   A volunteer called me back within 5 minutes and we talked through the situation.   I went down to the paddock and was able to toss a dog blanket/rug over the owl.   Then I dragged a big rubber feed tub down there, carefully picked up the owl using the rug wrapped around it, placed it in the tub and covered it.   Not the best plan for keeping the owl cool and well ventilated, but I was slightly intimidated and didn't want it to escape.   The organization sent a transport volunteer who came and picked up the owl, while I was gone riding my horse (yes, I have priorities!), and took it back to the center.   The volunteer called me with a case number and to let me know the owl had arrived safely, although probably dehydrated since I had covered it so well in this heat.   Oops.   Anyway, he reminded me again that they prefer if the public can bring animals to them, although he understood I wasn't able to do that.   And he told me about their volunteer orientation coming up in October, should I want to get involved.   I called late afternoon with the case number to check on the owl.   Yet another volunteer called me back later to say they had no information from the center and would call me Saturday.   Seriously....awesome group of individuals.   I am beyond impressed.

Summer is making a stand and doesn't plan to leave for a couple more weeks.   It's okay because the mornings are cool enough to be outside.   And if I need to get away, there is always the coast.   One of my favorite little spots is a cove that I've photographed a few times.   It's not dramatic or awesome or any of those over-the-top places where people gather.   But if you spend a while, you can find beauty in the simplicity.   My header shot was also taken here.

Have a great weekend and be safe if you're out on the roads.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Random 5

1.   After taking Suzanne to our beautiful coast and finding heavy fog, I drove back yesterday on my way home from SLO.   Well, it's not a direct route back home, but it seemed like the best route if I wanted to take more photos.   And I found the most glorious day in Morro Bay.   Of course!   This is a photo I took with my phone so I could post it directly to Facebook.   I don't know when I've ever seen the water so clear.

2.   Look hoooooo's back this morning and isn't leaving our fence.   I wish he'd go home, wherever that may be.   I don't know if he's old and sick or just sitting there digesting another skunk, but he's completely unconcerned about me, the dog, the donkeys, or the daylight.   

3.   I am obsessed with looking ahead in the weather forecast to see when Autumn is coming for real.   We have a couple more weeks of 90-100 degrees, although the mornings are pretty nice.   October's just around the corner and we'll see 70's again.

4.   When I was young, we would go to our Hometown Cafe and have nickel cherry Coke and barbecue potato chips.   Yesterday, while driving back from Morro Bay, I stopped at the avocado farm to buy a few avocados.   They had barbecue chips which were made with Avocado Oil.   I bought some.   I have no idea when I last purchased any kind of chips.   It ended up being my lunch in the truck on the way home.   I also had an apple, if that makes it any healthier.

5.   Seriously, I want that owl to leave because the chickens are not leaving their yard until he does.

Have a nice Friday and wonderful Labor Day weekend!

Sharing with

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cambria With a Friend

I have followed Suzanne at for quite a while.   Her photography is inspiring to me because much of it captures the beauty of the California Coast.   And she continues to push herself, pursuing her passion, against the odds of physical challenges after a car accident.   Besides that?   She's a very nice person who is incredibly easy to get to know.    I know this because yesterday we met up in Cambria to walk and shoot photos....and talk.   There just wasn't enough time or sunshine.   Since I'd just been there a couple weeks ago in the fog, I didn't take many photos.   But I know Suzanne did and they will be amazing.   We did enjoy these two and now I want to drive to the elephant seal beach a little north and closer to San Simeon.   And I want a 400mm lens.   Ha!   No, that won't happen so hopefully they will be a little closer to capture more of their detail.    

Have a great Thursday!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Curlew

It's always fun to watch these active shorebirds.   Yesterday, while we were walking at Morro Bay, part of the beach area was closed to dogs and there were quite a few seagulls resting in the sand.   Behind them, barely visible, were the Curlews.   I wasn't sure why the beach was closed off but I thought it had to do with nesting, and I believe that's the case.

Morro Bay is a bird sanctuary and I read that it's one of the ten best places in the US to birdwatch.   They have a bird festival in the Winter for all bird watchers to enjoy.

I'm so glad they are keeping these Curlews protected because they are delightful to watch.   After all, what's a beach without the shorebirds?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Catching Up

First, let me say a big Thank You to Hilary for the beautiful towel that I won from her recent giveaway.   Here is the link to show you my choices.    I decided on the pastels and it is such a pretty combination of colors that I love.   I would take my own photo but it's 6:30am and I am not up for staging a nice photo after only half a cup of coffee.   The only problem with this towel is that I will never want to use it because it's not only pretty, it's incredibly soft.   Maybe I'll sleep with it?   Maybe I'll hang it and just look at it for the rest of its life.   Are you like that?   When you get something that is too special for its intended purpose, you don't want to use it?   I suppose I could just buy some more from Hilary but then I'd probably not use those either!

There hasn't been anything too noteworthy going on here.   I stay busy with the horses in some way, almost every day.   Henry and Cooper have a new home now, together, living a good life and doing some trail riding.   And so I have Beau and Fancy, and that's just right.   I ride Beau 3-4 times a week and the other day I rode my retired Fancy.   She was nervous about it so it will take a few more times to get her relaxed again.   She is a 19-year-old liver chestnut Morgan mare, and I just love her.   


This is a recent photo of my trainer riding Beau.   He is so much fun and I aspire to ride him better and better until I want to post a video of myself on here.   Beau is a 10-year-old Morgan who knows Pleasure Driving, Hunter Pleasure, and now Dressage.   He's very talented and has a typical fun Morgan personality.

The dogs, chickens and donkeys are all fine.   I continue to try managing the donkeys' weight and it is not easy.  

I picked the last of our Asian Pears.   They're very tasty and I look forward to bigger fruit next year as our tree grows up a little.    I considered planting a small Winter garden but I don't think I want to take on that project right now.   We are going to need a wind break of some type if we're going to have more success with gardening.  

Now it's time to go release the chickens for their day.   It's foggy here this morning which makes it hard to get moving.   Even our Peet's French Roast doesn't always help on mornings like this.

Have a nice Monday.   

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

You Asked Nicely

A couple of you wanted to see a video clip of the sounds at the coast.   I have quite a few that I've taken at Morro Bay so I uploaded one just for you, because you asked so nicely.   The first part of this is taken on the south side of the Rock, the last part taken on the north side.   It's often difficult to capture the sounds of the waves because I get a lot of wind noise when using my iPhone for videos at the coast.   Hopefully this gives you an idea of how peaceful it is and why I love going there.

I hope you have a nice Wednesday.   When I walked outside at 6AM, it smelled exactly like rain, but there was not a cloud in the sky and there had been no rain at all.   I love that smell.   If only we'd had some rain, it would have been awesome.   

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tuesday Muse

It's probably more than obvious that I like taking photos with lots of color.   I also enjoy the chance to take photos with more subtle colors that are easily found on an overcast day at the coast.   It challenges me because it can be hard to capture what I'm seeing and feeling.   There is a mist in the air on those days, the smell of the ocean, the sounds of the waves and seagulls, and the feeling of walking on the sand while looking for simple treasures.   

I am still going through my Cambria photos from Sunday to work with the Lightroom settings and see what I can create from the monochrome shots.   This one has a little more color and shows the beauty of the area.   It's not very far up the road from Morro Bay but it's very different with rock formations out in the water.   I wish I could share all the sounds and smells, but this will have to do for my muse of the day.    And you get extra points if you can spot the kayaker.

Sharing with Nancy

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Under My Umbrella

Cambria is a very special place.   You can either walk along the beach or up on the wood plank walkway overlooking the beach.   In a couple of spots, the trees have been trimmed away to form a canopy over the walkway.   The trees are naturally leaning and misshapen due to the wind blowing off the ocean.   It adds to the charm of the area.

Original Photo, sooc

Edited in Lightroom

Another Lightroom Edit 
It was completely overcast when we were there this morning.   That always means that the ocean and the sky blend into one solid wall of gray.   I've been playing around with them, trying to create something that shows how beautiful it is on days like this.   Many times the photos look so pretty on my big 27" Mac screen, then not as special when I get them loaded into Blogger.    Ah well, at least I'm not shooting film where I can't change them a thousand different ways at the click of my mouse.    Lots more to work on!   It's a fun way to end a very nice day.

Original Photo, sooc

Lightroom Edit

Calamari aka Squid

Do you like calamari?   I do.   So I was glad to read a recent report on our local KSBY that said the business is booming right now.!prettyPhoto/0/

We went to San Luis Obispo (SLO) yesterday and decided to have lunch at our favorite trattoria.   Although we found their menu had changed a little, we were able to order some of the things we've enjoyed the most.   

Speaking of calamari....

Ahhhh yes, the fresh Italian bread.   We were disappointed that they are now serving focaccia with lunch, and it wasn't the thick they kindly brought us a basket of bread.

Erik jokingly asked if I wanted to take a photo of his meal, knowing that I would not.   The main ingredient begins with a V and ends with an L.   Criminal.   I couldn't even look.

Have a great Sunday.   Based on this morning's sunrise, don't be surprised if I have sky photos to share tomorrow.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Beating the Heat

Oh Duke!   This is how we are feeling this week, can we join you?

Lay down, take a load off.  

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tuesday Muse

I looked back in my files to see what August of the past few years looked like to me.   It was pretty much the same as this year, brown and not so pretty.   Three years ago we remodeled the house and our hens hatched out new baby chicks.   That was eventful.   Two years ago we had this most amazing sky which holds a spot in my files as one of the best ever.  This was a sunset that was spread across the sky and went on for a long time.   Rather than take time to select my favorite out of so many, I chose one rather quickly as my Tuesday Muse.   The sky, in all its glory, is often my muse.

I hope you find some beauty in your August day.

Sharing with Nancy and others at

Saturday, August 10, 2013

A Day Late

I missed Random 5 yesterday so I will be random today with a few thoughts.

This guy was noticed for having the longest beak on the beach.   Crazy, huh?

My friend/horse trainer has a new barn cat named Tucker.   He is really cute and has the coolest eyes.   They look like the marbles called Cat Eye.   I could take tons of photos of this little guy if he would sit still long enough.

A Facebook friend of mine had a sudden death in her family this week.   It was her husband's brother's wife (common law or legal, I'm not sure).   They went to North Carolina for services and to help the brother whose name is Chuck.   Apparently the house was not in Chuck's name, there was no will, and legally Chuck has no claim on the house.   It's a very very sad situation.   And so, friends, I just want to encourage everyone to write a will.   Put your legal affairs in writing.   Just do it because you never know.   Seriously, do it now.

I think our neighbor's Black Angus are pretty and it's nice to have a few of them just over the fence.   Despite their pretty features, it's so hard to take photos of them because they are always covered in flies and other stuff that draws the flies.   It would take a lot of cloning to clean them up.

I have worn out my Boggs in less than a year.   This photo is when they were new.   I now have a large tear/hole in each boot.   I wear them year round, almost every time I go outside to take care of animals or walk on the property.   My last pair of muck-type boots lasted a lot longer than these.   Pretty is as pretty does, I guess.   Boggs are great boots, I'm just not sure they stand up to my 365-day use.   

So that was pretty random, I guess.   I hope you all have a nice weekend!!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Peace, Interrupted

Someone in our neighborhood is shooting off a gun EVERY SINGLE DAY.   They start up late afternoon and it goes on for at least an hour, sometimes more.   We live in the county and they are free to shoot on their property.   Is it target practice or are they shooting ground squirrels every day?   I don't know.   What I do know, is that my dogs are having an awful time with it.   Especially Zoey.   She has never done well around loud noises, especially guns.   She gets nervous, hides in the house, pants, won't eat her dinner, and would crawl up into my lap if I'd let her.   I sit outside with them, pet them, stay calm, reassure them that it's okay, but none of that really matters.   Last evening the shooting stopped and they both finally relaxed enough to fall asleep while I sat outside with them.   Fifteen minutes later....Bang Bang!!   Back into the house they went.   Ugh.

So what else is going on?   My tomato plants didn't do very well this year.   It was the first year I've planted tomatoes and we had them in pots in a full sun location.   I got a couple dozen which were all from one plant.   The other plant flowered a lot but never produced fruit.   *shrugs*    Anyway, the tomatoes were absolutely delicious and I wish I could have them all year long.   Seriously, so delicious.    Next year we will change things a little because I think our hot wind may have taken a toll on the plants.   

Do you plant a Fall/Winter garden?   I know, if you live in a cold climate you aren't able to do that.   We can plant some things here in California but I'm not sure it's anything I will enjoy that much.   Still, I do enjoy growing some food and I see why people get hooked on eating what they've grown.   The only thing we have left are the Asian Pears.   They are beginning to ripen and I'm eating one every day.   The tree is still very young so the fruit is small, but pretty tasty.   

It's still cooler with morning fog.   The days have been so enjoyable that it makes me feel like I should be outside all the time.   The dogs would like that.  If only I could stop the neighbor, whoever they are, from shooting the gun.   Zach says, "Mama, please make it stop."

The dog days of Summer?   I don't know about that.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Change in the Air

We are having surprisingly and relatively cool temperatures that make me think of Autumn.   *sigh*   Yes, I love Autumn and always have,  always will.   Do you know what else reminds me that Autumn is not far away?   Changing colors.   No, not on the trees.   It's in the evening when the light is low and I take a few photos outside.   Here, you can see what I mean.   The donkeys will show you.

Longer shadows as demonstrated by Harry

Beautiful golden tones mixed in with the brown as shown here by Harry

The softening of the harsh Summer light with hints of Autumn tones, thanks again to Harry.   You can also see the soft evening breezes represented by his ears.   Or maybe that's something he hears in the distance?   Either way....

Not to be left out, Gunny gives a glimpse of the red tones that will follow in the not too distant future.

We know that it's August and that high temperatures may still show up.   But isn't it nice to see that first glimpse that tells us a gorgeous Autumn will be here once again?   A big thanks to my very willing models.

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Weekend

Erik's daughter is visiting this weekend so we are just enjoying spending time with her.   We are having very very nice weather with relatively cool temperatures, making for lots of time sitting outside under the trees while we chat and sip wine.   I went out early this morning to feed the donkeys and went back inside to get my camera so I could capture the gentle fog on the hills.   

I hope you're having a nice weekend too, wherever you are.

Happy Sunday!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

More Morro Bay

I cannot imagine going to Morro Bay and not finding something to photograph.   Even though I have so many photos in my files, and some of them seem a little redundant, I still take my camera with me to this small area in hopes of seeing something a little different.

When you drive to to the town of Morro Bay, there is a strand that takes you out to the beach and the walk along The Rock.   To the right is the parking area where surfers and beach goers park.   We usually start there and walk along until we decide to turn around and walk back.   This is a view of the parking area.   Even on a busy day, people are pretty well organized in this area.   I've never been blocked in and it's quite civilized for an uncontrolled parking area.   There is also a decent restroom that's kept pretty clean.   California does a good job with its public restrooms in park areas and I appreciate that.   

To the left in this photo is the famous Rock.   It's too close to get a photo at this point because it's HUGE.   But walking down the beach and turning around....well, you can see that it's just spectacular.   A cloudy day makes the detail stand out much more than you can see in the bright sun.

This is a surfers beach.   They sometimes hold competitions here, but most days you can see people out on their boards.   It's a good learning/practicing beach because the waves aren't so big that they would be my opinion anyway.   When the waves are big, they crash up against this side of the rock and make for great photo ops.   I'm sure I've shown you many of those.

A closer view of The Rock.   It's always lined with birds and you can hear thousands of seagulls when you get close.   There are two peregrine falcon nests, one on the north side and one on the south.   

Walking from the parking lot toward the other side, you come to the little cove in the harbor where the sea otters live.   There are still a few mamas and babies wrapped up in the kelp, although not as many as I showed you a couple months ago.   The south side has a drive which leads out to the jetty.   There is a small beach on this side which is not always exposed due to high and low tides.   Looking back from the south side into town, this is the harbor and a view of the town.

And on this side there are prickly pear cactus growing into the rock.   They are in full bloom right now. I tried to get a few photos to show you these pretty flowers, but the rocks are covered in seagull droppings which ruins the shots.   Lots of cropping required.   I may try again this weekend.

Thanks for all your comments about the purple sand dollar.   Yes, that is the real color.   Here's another one I thought was worth a photo.   I've also included a little video I found online that shows a sand dollar moving along in time lapse.   Pretty cool.  

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...