Monday, October 18, 2021

Our African Violet

 I water the house plants every Sunday morning. It's a once-a-week ritual. When I watered our African Violet I thought about how old it is. It was a gift to us when we bought our first house in 1995. This is a 26 year old plant. Who knows? It actually could be older. We've had it for 26 years. I love it and it seems happy. Here are a few pics of it over the years.

This is what it looked like in 2008. It was 13 years old and not particularly flowery. We had just spent four years in Port Townsend, Washington on the Olympic Peninsula so perhaps it was just responding to the endless gloomy weather there. 
This was taken in 2013. It was much happier in Grass Valley. If it could talk it would have shouted out gratitude to the sunny days there. Eighteen years with the bums.

This was taken two days ago. It's still pretty happy. Not so sure about the weather. It may have heard us talking about the La Nina winter heading our way, with the first real week of rain in the forecast. Twenty-six years with those bums seems to be working out pretty well. 

Have you ever had a plant for this long? 

Monday, October 11, 2021

Blue Skies and Family Time

 We're finally getting out for our early morning walks. It had been quite a while and mostly that was because of the persistent morning fog. But lately the skies have been clear and pretty. We even went out on our little deck in the pre-dawn darkness and stared at the clear skies. If not for small city lights, we probably could have seen the Milky Way. 

On Friday, just as the sun was coming up over the mountains we had a lovely view of the radiation fog in the cow pasture. 

Later in the day we had a visit from the grandkids. They were cute as always. 

Ian picked nasturtium flowers and placed them artistically on the very old barrel cactus (the one my father dug out of the desert in the late 1980s). Silas looked at me and wondered what I was taking pictures of.  He was probably thinking, "Why does she always have that camera?" or maybe it was, "Take my picture, Robin." So, I did.

Sunday morning the sky had a lovely cloud formation (I hope you'll click on the photo). It was fun to run outside just before 7:00 am with the temps a very chilly 41 degrees (5 degrees C) and shout out hellos to the beauty of sky once again. 

That's what we've been up to. Life felt almost normal... almost.

Wednesday, October 06, 2021

Like A Bird On A Wire...

  ... there it was. Our first sighting of a Say's Phoebe. In fact, we had never even heard of it before.

I photographed it and sent the pic to my brother and sister-in-law to see if they knew what it was. They knew right away. The Say's Phoebe is only in our area during their migrations, whereas they spend non-breeding time where my brother and SIL live. We always love seeing a new bird. 

We also love seeing a beautiful familiar bird like this lovely little American Goldfinch sitting on a blackberry vine.

And a crow (or is it a raven?) getting ready to take off from a pole. 

It's always a delight for us when our paths cross with our feathered friends, especially a new one for us. 

Monday, October 04, 2021

Is That A Real Heron?

 We went out for our big neighborhood walk the other day and saw what appeared to be a Great Blue Heron on a garage roof. 

But it wasn't just any garage roof. It was the garage on the property where there had been a fake pig on their front steps. Remember the fake pig, our sweet little Oinky who is no longer there?

Here's Oinky, in case you have forgotten. So I had to take a closer look at the Heron to see if it was real of if they had found another great little piece of art to fool and enchant the neighbors.

I zoomed in to take a closer look. No movement. Just a very still little statue of a bird. Mmm? Interesting little beauty. 

Then it did something the little fake pig Oinky never did. The heron moved while we were looking at it. It turned around as if to say, "Are you crazy? Of course I'm real."

And then it took off to make its point as clear as possible. 

We shouted out, 'Thank you for the laugh, beautiful Heron. And if you, see Oinky, please tell her we said hello!"


Friday, October 01, 2021

Friday Music: Enough Is Enough

We are posting this song in memory of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker and the 23 other species that were declared extinct this week. Enough is enough.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

End of September Photos

 It's been a while since I've posted end of the month pics, so I thought I'd share a few here and wave goodbye to September. It's been a beautiful month.

A Great and Snowy Egret sharing a moment together

It was the bluest of blue skies and ocean day

The Pelicans surprised us by flying so close

The mouth of the Mad River

And then more Pelicans

We're always so glad when we get to the ocean to hear those waves. The best way to end the month. 

Monday, September 27, 2021

Autumn Has Arrived

 The weather has been lovely for the past few days, and we've been taking full advantage of all that warm sunlight. Lots of long neighborhood walks and the sweet hints of autumn.

The tippy top view of the tree right down the street from our house. Many of its leaves are already on the neighbor's lawn, on the sidewalk, in the street. Flashes of red and orange everywhere.

The sunflowers are almost ready for harvest and so is the corn behind them. 

A contrail shadow heading toward the mountains in a blue sky over a field already harvested for its tall grasses by the hungry dairy cows. They have moved on into the next field. You can see them if you click on the photo. 

We're expecting a bit of rain on Monday, but then a week more of sunshine. We're ready!

Friday, September 24, 2021

A Funny Revelation

You know how obsessed I am about how many blog posts we've been posting this year. Not many and certainly nothing like last year. I had been wondering about that. I noticed that we had 126 posts in 2020. How is that possible? We were just as locked down and bored as we are now. But somehow we managed to come up with 70 more posts (from our most recent number here) then. What was our creative spark? Well, I had a funny revelation... we cheated. Seriously,  the Dharma Bums cheated their way through 2020 by posting 46 posts that linked to music. Oh yes, those Friday Music posts. Who knew they would be rich for my obsessive post counting? Not me. So of course it made me wonder if I had a song in mind to post here. Maybe I could start Friday Music again. Nope. Even my play list has left me without an inspiration. 

So instead of music, how about something to laugh about. I posted this photo on Facebook the other day. It was a pretty funny moment. I had looked out the window and noticed this...

... a praying mantis on our clothes line. It made me laugh. I said out loud, "You can't fool me, mantis, I know you're not a clothespin. Nice try though!" 

Or I could show you the beautiful full moon rise from Monday night as it come up over the mountains and trees.

I love watching the moonrise. It's always so beautiful. 

I sent the moon photo to my twin brother. We had a conversation about the planets we saw on this night. Those twinkly little planets. We laughed about how earth must look the same from Mars, from all the other planets. Just a little twinkle of light in a dark sky. Then of course we talked about our solar system, the Milky Way, the universe... and suddenly we grasped the delightful insignificance of earth. Oh yes, it was a funny revelation. 

Monday, September 20, 2021

Two Views From The Marsh

We did get out for a walk at the marsh the other day. These two views capture the beauty of the moment for us.

I hope you will click on them to see the full beauty of the moment. Top photo a lovely Great Egret and bottom photo I think are Godwits and their interesting, other-worldly, multi-dimensional reflections. 

I'm still working towards the goal of more than 67 posts this year. So here is Post #56. Wheeee! 

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Views From Home

 Just a few scenes from home over the past few days.

The yellow rose bush has been stunning this year. I've been photographing it like crazy.  So, I thought it might be time to share a pic here.

Our first homegrown tomato of the season. When Roger sliced it, it looked like a heart to us. Then, I took another look and thought it also looked a bit like a red tomato barn owl. 

One morning the view looking east a little past sunrise. A bit of rays in the low fog in the trees.

Tuesday morning's smoky view at sunrise. We're always glad when there's no fog or clouds, even if it's an orange sky of haziness. 

I'm grateful for these views from home for post #55. Yes!

Monday, September 13, 2021

Finally We Could See The Sky

Readers of this blog know how much I love the sky. The ephemeral beauty of the changing light, clouds, ice crystals, colors and shapes of clouds... all of it. I love the sky. So after spending nearly three months under fog, clouds, and smoke, it lifted my heart sky high to see blue sky again. And not only that... a heart shaped cloud, and not one but two rainbows at sunset. I had forgotten how much I love to run outside with the camera. 

Do you see the heart-shaped cloud in the above photo? I didn't see it when I was photographing the sky, but when I downloaded the pic, I could see it. 

Then we had a tiny bit of a drizzle a little while before sunset last Wednesday evening. I peaked out the window facing east and saw a hint of a lovely rainbow. So of course I grabbed the camera, ran outside and photographed it. 

The next evening after an even tinier amount of a drizzle, I noticed our west facing yard lit up in a red hue. I ran out to the east facing front and saw this red bow in the red sunset sky. Roger and I loved this moment. It was such a beautiful sky that others around town photographed it as well and one photo made the front page of the local online newspaper. 

In these times it's just great to have beauty lift our hearts as high as the sky.



Wednesday, September 08, 2021

Six Degrees of Separation

We've often heard that expression, how we're all just six degrees of separation from each other, or something like that. I've been thinking about that lately in terms of the Covid pandemic. People have posted questions on Facebook and other places asking if we know of anyone who was diagnosed with the virus. A few weeks ago I actually commented somewhere that I didn't know anyone. Then I told my brother that, and he said, "Did you forget that our cousin's two sons were both infected? That their children were infected? That our very elderly aunt and uncle were infected?" Oh wow, yes I did in fact forget. This old brain ain't what it used to be. Then I remembered that my nephew's step-daughter had it and was hospitalized for a while. It was difficult. Yes, we know people who have been infected. But the other day the news of an infection took a very dire turn. My niece got married in March. Of course no one could really go to a wedding because of the virus, but her soon-to-be husband's grandmother set up a small wedding for them in her very lovely Southern California backyard. In another time, we might have driven down for such an event, but certainly not during covid. My niece is now pregnant. Her husband's grandmother was so excited about becoming a great-grandma for the first time. She was utterly elated. Oma (as they called her) was fully vaccinated and felt safe in these past few weeks. She and her husband socialized a bit, went out to dinner, etc Then they both got sick and were diagnosed with Covid. But then, she got much sicker, ended up in the hospital, then on oxygen, then on more oxygen, then only one day in ICU on a ventilator. And then she died. Today (Wednesday) is her funeral. So, now we know people who have been infected. People who have survived. People who did not survive. 

I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb

Sometimes I lay awake for hours at night and worry about this pandemic. On Labor Day we went and visited with Roger's daughter and the grandkids for the first time in more than a month. We gathered outside, maintained our distance. But then one of the grandkids was very excited about all the pears they had recently gathered and so brought us delicious pieces of pears to munch on while we talked. She touched the pear! I touched the pear! I  put it in my mouth and ate it. She had just gone back to school and started 4th grade last week. Yes, everyone is masked, but still how safe are the kids? So now I will worry for 14 days to see if I show any signs or symptoms. Seems like everyday I start a new 14-day countdown. This is a crazy way to live.  

How about you? Know anyone whose had Covid? Or died of it? Are you worried?

Monday, September 06, 2021

Now The Onions

  We harvested the onions on August 7th.

And then set them to cure in a cool dark place. We didn't notice the size of a few of them until the other day. What a surprise. 

Some of them got very, very big. I wonder how many meals we'll get out of that big one. What do you think?

Thank you, onions, for being post #52.

Friday, September 03, 2021

A Little Goal

 In our first year of blogging in 2005 we had 360 blog posts. We had just retired and moved from Santa Cruz, CA to Port Townsend, WA to start our new life. There was so much to see and do there. We were young. There were eagles! I bought my first camera with a zoom lens. I learned the names of birds. We walked the minus tides. We planted a huge garden on our land. We blogged daily.

By 2006 there were fewer blog posts. Each year there were fewer and fewer, and then we hit rock bottom. In 2012 we had only 67 posts. How could we have so little to say and so few photos to post? I have no idea. That was almost a decade ago. My brain hardly goes back that far anymore. 

So here is the goal. I want to post more than 67 this year. That means I have to do at least 18 posts between now and December 31st. Want to know what else that means... there are going to be some wacky boring contentless posts here. Wait... what... that's not new. LOL! We've been heading down that path for a while. 

So here is one more wacky boring contentless post. 

Yes, friends, that's some very big zucchini that overgrew in our garden. We pay attention but they hide and grow and grow and grow. 

Thank you, zucchini, for being post number 51!

Monday, August 30, 2021

Clear, Hazy, and Crazy

We actually had a clear-sky day here last week. So we went for a nice long walk. It's the walk we most often take these days. 

It's starting to feel and look like fall here.  No leaves changing colors yet, but the flowers are looking like they're at the end of their blooming time, and the fields are ready for a nice rain. We so loved being out in the sunshine and seeing the blue blue sky.
Then the hazy skies of summer returned. We are still surrounded by fires. None are close enough to truly make us nervous, but the smoke finds its way here. Before we head out for a walk we always check with the air quality report for our neck of the woods. On this day, in this moment, this was designated Moderate Air. Not good, but Not Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups. Well okay, that's why we felt safe and ventured out to get a bit of exercise. We didn't cross paths with another human on this walk. That was a nice surprise. 

Later in the day I looked out the window and saw this in our garden.

It made me laugh, so I just had to photograph it and share it here. It's a crazy alien kale eating a kale leaf. It's trying to take over and rule the kale universe. We're going to let it. It's time for crazy alien kale to finally win. 


Thursday, August 26, 2021

Throwback Thursday

I was looking through a box of very old papers and stuff. I found my (and my twin brother's) high school diplomas, and my college diploma as well. It has tons of my old university paperwork and exams. In the thick of all that stuff I came across a small tattered and frayed Identification Card. I don't remember ever seeing before. This is the front piece of it.

It says: United States of America/ War Department/ Medical Department/Red Cross/Identification Card

It has my father's name and date of birth. It also has his fingerprints. There was a photo attached at one time, but that's long gone.

This back piece says: Loss of this card will be reported through channels to the Force Commander without delay. Issued in accordance with Article 21, Geneva Treaty, July 27, 1929. Signed by the Major General, the Admiral General of the Army. May 20, 1942.

How did we never see this before? I know I've never held this in my hands. I know that my father never showed this to us. We knew my father had been a combat medic, but never knew that it came with an ID issued by the War Department. So what a stunning surprise it was to find this in a box of my old college papers and diplomas.

And speaking of diplomas, when I opened up one of the diplomas I found this newspaper ad in it. 
Now there's a Throwback Thursday pic for you. It's an ad from the Santa Cruz newspaper The Good Times from the late 1970s. Pretty interesting because that handsome man in the ad is my twin brother! I scanned the ad and sent it to him. He couldn't believe it either. How did we not know this had been saved for so long? 

Sometimes you never know what you're going to find in an old box. Surprise surprise!

Monday, August 23, 2021

A Walk At The Marsh

  We thought we should head out to the marsh even though the skies were still hazy from the fires. We could see it as it shrouded the Coast Range in gray.

We checked the air quality levels and it said it was okay to be out there breathing, so breathe we did while we walked enjoying even the haziness of it all. (It's surprising how much the above photo looks like a black and white to me, and yet it's not.)

We were so happy to see these Brown Pelicans. It had been quite a while since they were here. We were worried about their status. Years ago they were on the Endangered Species list here, which was rescinded when their numbers improved. Then, they disappeared again. But here they are! Back and beautiful as ever. you can see a bit of the haze around them out there. I'm sure they're wondering what humans have done now. It's always something.

We also saw several American Avocets at the marsh as well. They are such beautiful birds that we only see during their migrations. This is what the Cornell Lab of Ornithology says about them:
The American Avocet takes elegance to a new level. This long-legged wader glides through shallow waters swishing its slender, upturned bill from side to side to catch aquatic invertebrates. It dons a sophisticated look for summer with a black-and-white body and a rusty head and neck. During the winter the head and neck turn a grayish white, but the bird loses none of its elegance as it forages along coastal waters or rests while standing on one leg. 

We're always glad when we get to take a nice long marsh walk. I should have photographed the ridiculous anti-vaccine graffiti that we saw out there. It really surprised us. I had always assumed that people who walked at the marsh were smart, well-read, sophisticated, educated, thoughtful people like Roger and me (LOL!), but I was enlightened by their ignorance.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Boredom Strikes Deep...

 ...into your heart it will creep. 

The Delta Variant is going wild here in Humboldt County. Here's a screen shot of a graph of the latest rise in numbers. 

That's CRAZY. Why are things so bad here? I have no idea. So we're just hanging out at home only venturing out to shop for food (will we run out soon? will there be another run on toilet paper? will our local bakery still have enough flour to make our favorite bread?), and to go on our local neighborhood walks. 

So for quite a while we've seen what we thought was a dog sitting on the front steps of a house we pass by out in cow country. It moved every now and then, sometimes sitting by the big mobile home trailer parked on the drive way, but mostly sitting on the front steps. It was always in the same position, so we realized it's a fake dog. The other day I thought I should photograph it because that's what boredom calls for, so I did.

What is that? It's not a fake dog. It's a fake pig. Isn't it? Why would anyone have this on the front steps entry way? Oink oink. 

And then if rising covid numbers and fake pigs are not enough, here's a view of what else is keeping us indoors these days. 

We are surrounded by fires. It's been windy here, which just adds to the flames. The air quality has been creeping up into the Moderately Bad category. We wait and watch the sun rise red in the hazy sky. 

Other than that, we do have a recall election here in California because some people have decided they don't like the elected governor. I think it started because they didn't like that he closed down the state early on in the pandemic. Ah well, boredom strikes deep. You never know what people will do with all this time on their hands. Oink oink.