Monday, February 18, 2019

Making The Best Of it

It's been a very cold rainy wet February. We've had over 9 inches (23 cm) of rain so far this month. Hard to get out there and do the things we love to do, especially when the winds have been blustery as well. So when the sun comes out and the wind slows down a bit, we head out quickly for a good look around.

One of the surprises this month was the first snow here on the coast in more than 30 years. It was so unusual it made news all around the state. Yes, the north coast got an inch of snow! This is what the front yard looked like February 10th. It was a cold 27 degrees, and the streets were slushy and slick. We took a careful walk and saw lots of snowmen all over town.
A few rainy days later we had to drive into Eureka. Lucky for us it coincided with a very brief respite of blue skies and a view of what was heading our way. We were zooming over the bridge, so I grabbed a shot from the window of the car. Yes, those dark clouds are what we've been seeing for days and days.

Finally on Saturday there were longer periods of blue skies between the downpours.
We put on our rain gear and headed out. It was grand to see such blue skies.
This particular cloud was definitely moving in our direction. We walked quickly, but not fast enough. We were pretty soaked by this one as it moved over us. We had a good laugh about it. Second time that day we had been caught in a downpour.

We know when it's raining and the sun starts shining to run outside to look for the rainbow. We were definitely not disappointed.
I always love when we get to see where that pot of gold should be!

We did finally get a chance to take a longer walk out at the marsh on Sunday. The reflections were lovely.

If the weather predictions are correct we may have a day or two more of sunshine to play in. It's a great way to avoid the news. We are living in crazy times. Climate change and politics. Seriously crazy times.

Monday, February 11, 2019

himself, then and now

approx 35 yrs old
i lived in fortuna then. about 25 miles south of arcata, where i now reside. long hair was fun. david crosby wrote a song about it. almost cut my hair. i was a backwoods hippie back then. my resume was mainly about computer work. not much of that going on in humboldt county. i tried cutting firewood. really hard work for not much money. i went in with a friend buying an old barn to salvage for timbers and the ever so chichi aged barn siding. that worked out ok. then there was tree planting. hard work but fun to be outdoors. then i started doing residential remodelling, sometimes beginning with just a floor and one wall in a house partly begun. i learned pretty much the entire range of skills, beginning with plans and permits, necessary to build a house. as i recall i did scale back the hair and beard somewhat sometime in that era.

definitely 76 yrs old
some forty years later i now live in arcata, a retired geezer. i did get back to computer work. spreadsheets and database creation. and i did have fun working on a small construction crew.
i retired from programming and carpentry. tho i have done some major alterations on the houses robin and i have owned. more shingle project pics my hair is long now because i have never really liked getting a haircut. i am deficient in chatting skills. my hair has been much shorter in the intervening years but it grows very fast and quickly gets beyond the sort of length i like. then i put off a haircut til it annoys me too much. now i wear it tied back and don't care about it at all.

my current look while awake. i don't wear my glasses much in the house.

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Our Litte Polar Vortex

Our temps fell below freezing on Monday night. Snow was forecast, but it didn't happen. We woke Tuesday morning to clear skies and a temperature of 27 F (-2.7 C). So, we went for a chilly morning walk and were delighted with the frosty art on some neighborhood car windshields.

The streets were icy too. That was a slick and slippery surprise as we made our way around the neighborhood.

Monday, February 04, 2019

Rainbow Without The Rain

We had a few days of beautiful warm sunny weather. While the rest of California was being deluged by big storms we were spared. It was grand. On Saturday we went out for a long neighborhood walk and saw a rainbow. A rainbow on a dry sunny day? I couldn't get a photo of it, and by the time we got to where there was a good view, it was gone. Later in the afternoon, I looked out the window and saw one again. I ran outside into the warm sunlit street without a hint of rain anywhere and photographed this rainbow.
You can see that the street is dry. The sun is behind me in a blue sky. And there is a rainbow. I am assuming that there is rain in those clouds that is simply not making it to the ground, but it's making a rainbow anyway. We loved it!

It's so much fun to be surprised like this.

Monday, January 28, 2019

A Butterfly in Winter

On one of our walks the other day we saw so many things out enjoying the sunshine with us. It had warmed up enough for a little snake to be stretched out across the gravel trail at the marsh. It slithered away before we had a chance to take a photo. Then a ruby-crowned kinglet flitted about from tree to tree with wonderful exuberance. So many people were out walking as well. Everyone we crossed paths with smiled and said hello in that warm and cheerful way. Ah the very air was an invitation to the delights of the moment. Then we saw it... a butterfly. A butterfly in winter? No way. How is that even possible? But there it was floating in the air before us, and then landing on the trail. When I took a good long look at it and photographed it a few times, I thought I recognized what it was... a Mourning Cloak. I had seen one once before more than  a decade ago in Port Townsend, WA.

So, when we got home I googled around and verified it was indeed a Mourning Cloak. What is a butterfly doing out in winter? How is this possible? So I found some wonderful information about this species.
"The Mourning Cloak overwinters as an adult, which requires quite a bit of specialized biology. Hibernating adults can survive through the winter by use of “antifreeze” chemicals (glycerols) in their blood. They locate sheltered tree crevices where they will spend the winter.
On sunny days, even while there’s snow on the ground, some adults will emerge to feed on tree sap, especially oaks, and then return to their sheltered winter hiding place."
These butterflies even over-winter in as cold a place as Manitoba. Such strong and hearty little beauties they are.

There is something about seeing a butterfly in winter that is so full of the promise of spring. The little hidden lives and seeds out there, waiting for the right moment to emerge.  We were so happy to see it, we said hello and thanked it for showing up. Then we walked on.