Thursday, December 31, 2015

Our Look Back At 2015

January sunrise in Capitola

February Kite at the marsh

March Skypools in Capitola

April Cliffs in Capitola

May Pelicans in Capitola

June Butterfly at the marsh

July Virga and cloud shadows in Arcata

August Full moon rise Arcata

September sunrise in Capitola

October shorebirds at the marsh

November King Tide waves

December Surf Scoter at the marsh
Happy New Year, friends.
Thank you so much for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Monday, December 28, 2015

A Day Without Rain

We had a day without rain! It was so sparkly bright everywhere. We didn't have to turn the lights on in the house all day, even after the sun had set. This is our first winter in the new house, and on Saturday we could see how much light still comes in through the west-facing windows at twilight. We've gotten almost twice the amount of average rainfall for the month of December here, more than 14 inches of rain. It's been great for replenishing our drought-devastated forests, rivers, creeks, and reservoirs, but for a sunlight atmospheric optic lover like me, it's been bleak bleak bleak.

But then the sun came out on Saturday. There were a few scattered clouds here and there, enough to make things very interesting. I was on the phone with my mom for our daily 4:00 pm chat, when I looked up and saw this. I kept holding the phone and talking and clicked away with one hand.

Oh yes, I had definitely missed seeing these beautiful iridescent colors. They were so lovely after so much gray darkness for so long. I have no idea why the blue sky looks so "not blue" in the first three photos, but that's what the camera "saw." The blue in the last photo is much more what the sky looked like. Ah well, I think you can get the splendidness of the moment anyway.

Then, of course, night did fall. We didn't get to see the full moon on Christmas, but on the day after we saw this.

The moon rose in a sea of incoming clouds, creating halos of rings in red, blues, and greens. The night air was cold, almost freezing, but I stood out there anyway, delighted by the light.

It was a perfect day without rain.

Monday, December 21, 2015


It has been more than three weeks since I had that mishap with a very sharp knife and completely sliced off the finger pad of my left middle finger. In that time I have learned how to do quite a bit of left-handed stuff without using that poor injured finger. The index finger and ring finger have pitched in and are handling new tasks fairly well, although it took me three tries just now to type the word "new" because I kept getting "nrw." Ah patience, another nrw task for me, hah!
A Blue Heron high in the stormy sky
I have photographed the healing process every four days just to keep visual documentation of how these things unfold. It's been wild. It reminds me of the way a small pond freezes. First at the shallow edges small ice crystals appear and then freeze. The frozen edges move slowly in toward the deeper center. My newly formed flesh is quite like that. The wound is still open in the center, but the edges are solid and firm. I'm not going to post the pics because I don't want to freak people out, but if you're at all interested please let me know. I'd be happy to send you the images. They're cool in a medical documentation way. My twin brother won't look at them at all, but his wife sent me photos of when her finger met up with a hand blender while she was mashing potatoes. It's a whole new world of wild images for me!

Bufflehead in sunlight
In the meantime we've had only two days of sunshine since November 30th. We are breaking rainfall records and more is on the way. The hardest part of such dismal weather is not being able to get out there and take a good long look around. We have been taking our local neighborhood walks whenever there is a bit of a reliable dry spell. We did make it to the marsh last Tuesday and got to see this beautiful little Bufflehead in all his purple and green markings. Click on the pic to see those colors. He's a beauty.
Coast range and a bit of snow
We also had to run some errands in the "big" city just south of us. We drive across the bridge over Humboldt Bay to get there. We were surprised to see bits of snow in the coastal mountain range. Next storm headed for us on Monday has snow levels down to 2000 feet. It should be pretty beautiful out there, so we may have to head out to take a look. We're hoping for a clear Christmas to watch the full moon rise. Maybe I'll get a nice photo opportunity from Santa!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

In Between Storms

December is turning out to be one heckuva rainy month. According to a few online weather sites, the average rainfall for this part of Humboldt County is about 8 inches for the month. We've already reached that and aren't even quite halfway to December 31. Here's a screen grab of the weather calendar for December, so far.
The rest of the month doesn't look much different. Plenty of rain in our future, except for Tuesday. So, you know we're planning a walk at the marsh. We haven't been there in weeks, and there have been King Tides and lots of coastal flooding. There will be so much to see!

We did have to run a few errands after the record-breaking weekend rains, so had an interesting view of how wet it has been.

In the meantime, I run outside at any hint of light.

It's been dramatic every time I've run out there.

And, I've been so happy to take a peek at such ephemeral splendors.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Day Of The Vultures

If you follow the weather at all you know that the Pacific Northwest and northern California have been getting a crazy amount of rain. For more than a week now the skies have been gray and our rain gauge keeps filling. We run out in the morning to see how much has come down. It's been substantial and good, and we definitely need it, but it sure does get old pretty fast. So when the skies clear if only for a half hour or so, we run out to take a walk and look around. We do have rain gear, but it's just not that inviting to head out into the windy wet mess of a day. We tend to wait for the sun.

On Wednesday we had the brief respite we had been waiting for. I noticed the clearing when I looked out the window to see the silhouette of a very large bird on a wire behind our neighbor's house. It was a very big bird. I was intrigued. It looked like a Turkey Vulture, but they don't typically come and hang out on the wires in our neighborhood. So, I zoomed in to make sure it was a vulture. Yup!
The blue skies beckoned, so we headed out and noticed that the vulture had been  joined by several others. They were gathered on the poles, and of course we wondered why.
So, we walked on the street behind our house and looked around to see if there was any carrion anywhere that would have attracted them. Nope. We didn't see or smell a thing. There were five vultures and several ravens out there, all carrion eaters. Definitely made us wonder what they were sniffing that we couldn't at all.
Or maybe they had just gathered to dry their wings in the brief period of no rain. A little online research told us that this wing-spreading behavior is called the Horaltic Pose. They do it to also raise their body temperature. We certainly understood that in this cool, rainy weather. So, we bid them a good day and headed out for our walk. 

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Looking Across The Street At Cows

You may have to click to actually see them!

Monday, December 07, 2015

Under Gray Skies

Wrapped and ready for getting wet
It is going to take some time to get used to this finger injury. I really hurt myself last week, and now I have to think about that finger every time I go to move my hand. It's rather surprising to learn how much strength the middle finger exerts in everyday activities, and how often the right and left hand work in concert to carry out tasks. Oh, you want to wash your face, your hands, that plate? Really? Good luck with that. Oh, you want to brush your hair and pull it back with a clip? Really? You want to zip your jacket or tie your sneakers? How funny. This is going to go on for quite some time (probably MONTHS!), and it's challenging, depressing, and annoying. But that's life right now, and I'm learning how to accommodate it.

I still try to find some beauty even in these darkening winter skies. It's easy to look up and dismiss these clouds as just another gloomy, rainy day.

But knowing that these are a lovely asperitas formation helps to brighten the rather dim moment. It's actually nice to know that I'll run outside to take a look, even with my poor bad finger.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015