Archive for September, 2008

Mt. Shasta Sunrise

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

On my drive to the San Francisco Bay Area last week, I saw a beautiful sunrise as I passed Mount Shasta. I had a series of 6 photos which I edited into a panorama, but it turned out a bit on the small side. Still, perhaps you can get an idea of how lovely it was.

Here’s one of the shots. Often, when passing Mt. Shasta, there is a disc-like cloud over the summit – just as you see here.

Family Stuff Calls…

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

I mentioned in a previous blog post that my Auntie Peggy passed away earlier this month. I’ll soon be heading to the Bay Area to attend a memorial service.

I’ve been preparing a tribute album with photos, and in the process found some very sweet photos of Peggy as a child. This was taken in the early 30s in Kansas, as the Great Depression was setting in hard, when so many left the Midwest for better fortunes in California.

I’ll be away for some days, so I will resume posting blogs after October 1.

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy the season’s changing faces; and even more: that you can still enjoy and cherish your loved ones.


Saturday, September 20th, 2008

This morning, as I was opening up to let in the morning light, I noticed this little fellow climbing down the fence. He was with another racoon, presumably his mother. He was very playful with her, and kept batting her playfully like a cat.

The mother did not reciprocate. She was bent on getting to her den or daytime residence and one of her front paws was injured somehow, so she wasn’t able to put any weight on it. She was all business and no play.

The mother kept on going, with the fullgrown baby following.

And then both traipsed out of sight…

Saturday Morning Rehearsal at the Britt

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

The Britt Music Festival is over now, but I did finish my painting inspired by a couple of visits to the orchestra’s rehearsals during the season.

I spent many happy hours listening, as I sat on the lawn of the Britt grounds, soaking in the beautiful, rich sounds of the instruments, admiring the wonderful focus and cohesion of the musicians.

Odds and Ends

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

On my walks and various travels, I tend to notice odd things or interesting patterns — things that intrigue me, make me appreciate nature, or tickle my funny bone. These are a few images I recently came across.

I thought this was a very sweet combination. It is new life in the form of a grass stalk poking up among all that feeds it: fox hair, acorn, pine cone, and oak leaves.

Someone wanted to leave his or her mark on the world (or at least on a tree). I wonder if “F” stands for the carver or the loved one to be remembered? And I wonder if the madrone tree felt pain as this perfect initial was carved into its living tissue? One thing for sure, the madrone tree may have the last word. It’s starting to heal over the carving.

Then there are sometimes very odd things one comes across.

When I was walking through a mall in Annecy, France this spring, there seemed to be some sort of “spring fashion” display.

I loved the colors, but what about this fashion? So far, I have not seen anyone wear such an outfit! (Thank goodness…)

Turkeys, Deer, and Eyes

Sunday, September 14th, 2008

I took a walk early this morning, just as the sun started climbing – it was going to be quite warm today. Lo and behold! A large flock of wild turkeys on someone’s lawn.

Glad to see that so many young ones made it through the year.

Now, just so long as they stay away from civilization in late November, they’ve got it made…

You may be interested in seeing how the fawns are doing. This is the fem
ale of the twins, and you can see that she’s fast losing her spots from when she was born in June. Her winter coat is beginning to show as the darker, more gray areas. In the winter, the blacktail deer coat is a predominant gray color; whereas, in the spring when they lose the winter coat, it becomes a more reddish color.

As soon as I can, I’ll show a photo of the male fawn – he’s actually already sporting tiny antler buds! Amazing.

And finally, here’s a detail of the project I’m painting now. Can you guess what animal it belongs to? If you guess right, you get a free card of your choice.

Have a good week ahead!

Garage Sale!

Saturday, September 13th, 2008

Our valley has a weekend devoted to city-wide garage sales each mid-September, and our town goes all- out. Thousands of people come through searching for the treasures they know they will find. Here we find two intrepid early-birds, heading out with empty carts and wallets full of cash…

The morning is still cool, but it’s going to be a near-90 F day. But nothing stops the hordes.

And hordes it becomes…

I make it a point never to go out with cash if I have to walk through the neighborhood during this event. For one thing, I almost never need anything I find interesting. The couple of times I’ve bought something, I regret doing so as I never used what I buy. Secondly, I can’t afford to buy more stuff.

Today, on my way to the post office for my mail, I brought only a camera for fun.

I thought this woman was very intriguing. She was wearing an old-fashioned duster with long sleeves underneath that covered her hands. She walked purposefully and with total confidence. I wonder if she found anything? Perhaps she was looking for a Model T to see if the duster works?

These shoppers are unbelievably dedicated and deadly serious about covering territory. I was amazed to see one couple communicating with someone else by walkie-talkie; and others were barking into cell phones with instructions and questions about possible deals. It was like watching stockbrokers on Wall Street!

But no matter what, we do get hungry and thirsty. This Polish sausage stand was set up outside the local post office and, even at 9 am, was seeing customers who were eagerly chomping on their sausages (I have to admit they smelled wonderful…).

Well, as they say, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”


Friday, September 12th, 2008

I was doing errands this afternoon, and as I rounded the corner of a building, I came across this fellow with a beautiful African Grey perched on his shoulder. I had no camera with me, but I recalled the man’s kind, smiling face and the Grey’s calm demeanor, so I did a quick sketch from what I remember.

I learned that the Grey’s name is Buzz, and he’s about 3 years old. Buzz is a very sociable fellow and he willingly came to my hand. The man with him is not his owner but he’s been taking care of Buzz for the last 9 months while Buzz’s owner is away. He takes Buzz on a walk each day. Buzz cannot fly as he has a damaged wing, which never fledged properly.

But here he is, seemingly hale and hearty. His caretaker has known Buzz for a couple of years, so I guess the job of caretaking Buzz came naturally.

I more or less grilled Buzz’s caretaker about his food intake and other circumstances, as his beak does need trimming. But caretaking for someone who has no money means no vet trips. And I could tell that Buzz’s caretaker is giving Buzz a lot of love, and that makes up for many things.

Best of luck to Buzz, his caretaker, and his owner!


Thursday, September 11th, 2008

All my birds like to take baths, but in very particular ways and when they want them. The cockatiels love to be sprayed with warm mist from a spray bottle. But usually not more than once a week – occasionally more, but that’s not often. Even when I offer water to them on a daily basis, they will ignore it, avoid it if they don’t want to bathe.

Here is Charlie, spreading his wings, to receive the next volley of spray.

Here you can even see some of the water droplets, as he shakes off the excess moisture.

And, finally, when the bath is over, Charlie looks like he’s tired and cold and ready for a nap (even when the temperature is in the 80s!).

Then Chipper and Charlie will preen for some time to get excess water out and get the feathers back in their proper places.

As for my birds of African descent, they prefer tubs of water – they intensely dislike being sprayed, as if it were a personal affront to their dignity.

I have a large soap dish I fill with filtered cold water for Pippin the lovebird (filtered, because she drinks a lot of it). She will stand on the edge and bob her head into the water. She rarely gets sopping wet, as she dislikes her feet getting wet (!), but she manages to stay clean.

And Sam….well, he learned to bathe in his water dish before I got him, and that’s how it’s gonna be forever and ever, Amen. No matter how many times I’ve tried to get nice large dishes, entice him with special bathing tubs – nope, nothing will do except his stainless steel water dish. He gets wet by dipping first one foot in, then the other, and then his chest and head. He gets fairly clean this way – all except his back, which often remains dusty-smelling, but perfection is not what counts here.

It’s fascinating to see the so uniquely individual preferences of these birds!


Monday, September 8th, 2008

It’s acorn time and the jays are busy hoarding them for the colder days ahead.

I found this tiny beauty on one of my walks recently. It was so smooth and shiny, it felt like ebony and was a joy to keep in my pocket. I would remove it now and then to feel its silky smoothness.

I had placed it on my computer table near one of Sam’s small play stations. It caught his eye, and he jumped down to investigate. Fortunately I caught him before he tried it – it would have been a bitter experience.

And this little worm-eaten acorn must have fallen into this knot in the wood of my back porch deck. I thought it was quite artistic!

I do love acorns – they come in all sizes and shapes; colors ranging from cool light greens before they ripen to shades of light tan, to darkest brown.

They are like the jewels of the fall season.