Hawaiian State Birds struts their stuff!
Cluck Chuck, cluck!
in the park and
On the beach.
So sad, Chad!
For more chickens
cluck click here.
Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge is always great. This one is right up my alley, so to speak.
A factoid: Do you see how they have paved a road across the lawn? Cows and Native American foot traffic created Highway 99 North and South .
Everyone should have a friendly bull or two in their front yard. One of the little guys got out one day, and wandered over to our yard. We had just finished sodding the yard, and it was still mushy. Hubby complained about his footprints in which we could have buried our cats without leaving a mound. By the way, these ARE the happy cows – no bulls – you read about from California .
The cows live here. I say there’s some sex discrimination going on in this business. Cows do all the work, and have less luxurious living quarters. All the bulls have to do is play rodeo games, eat and chew the cud all day.
Visit Cee Here.
Rule of thirds challenges me unless I have a 9 grid overlaying the photo or viewfinder. Since I’ve never seen a viewfinder like that, I confess that these shots became rule of thirds after the camera lens had long since left the scene.
These shots look a little cloudy because dense fog covered the Woodlake Valley floor the day I took them. I should have had my portrait done out-of-doors that day. This woodpecker may have had trouble finding his worm. I prefer that he pecks at the ground instead of burying his acorns in my roof or pecking my siding.
Out to help me keep my yard bird-free, Cross-Eyed Kitty looks like a fierce hunter. In reality, this beautiful old feral cat heard me, and came running so I could take him over to my house to eat from Mama and Scardy’s bowl.
We know he’s at least fourteen years old, but he may be a lot older. He looks great, but pick him up, and he’s all hair and bones. He has the most beautiful blue eyes.
Cross-Eyed Kitty never acted feral. As soon as he comes near, he rolls over for a rub. I did not edit this photo as CEK took up exactly two-thirds of the picture if you don’t count his tail, which blends into the ground anyway.
Back home again after rescuing CEK from a hard hunting trip, I walked around the yard admiring the new blooms on the peach trees. Woodlake Valley boasts hundreds, no thousands, of peach trees which grow in large orchards with military-perfect straight lines. Pink and white blossoms make this valley fit for a spring festival. My husband’s sinuses do not agree.
For more Rule of Thirds pictures click the WP icon.
When Tule Fog hits the Woodlake Valley, the best thing to do is stay home until visibility is better. By ten o’clock this morning the fog had dissipated some, and I wanted to do something fun. I grabbed my camera and walked around the yard with no intentions, but to have fun in the fog.
I found this black bird on the spoon handle waiting for the four-and nineteen others to join him to bake in the pie. Little does he know what awaits him. We learned this song in nursery school, and sang it to the next generation. Do you remember it? I found two tunes. Which did you learn?
Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye.
Four and twenty blackbirds,
Baked in a pie.
- When the pie was opened,
- The birds began to sing;
- Wasn’t that a dainty dish,
- To set before the king?
- The king was in his counting house,
- Counting out his money;
- The queen was in the parlour,
- Eating bread and honey.
- The maid was in the garden,
- Hanging out the clothes,
- When down came a blackbird
- And pecked off her nose.
- They sent for the king’s doctor,
- who sewed it on again;
- He sewed it on so neatly,
- the seam was never seen.
We didn’t travel far to experience the fastest breaking the trainer had ever seen. The rattlesnake trainer travels all over California, and maybe the country, breaking dogs from sniffing, hunting, attacking or otherwise annoying rattlesnakes.
Kalev is not particularly aggressive towards rattlesnakes, but because of her size, we didn’t want to take any chances. It was time to break her of any latent tendencies towards rattlesnake hunting.
The process was simple, and took about 5 minutes once her number was called. The trainer cuddled her for a second to gain her trust as he slipped a shocking collar around her neck. She fell for him.
That was three years ago. Today, she will still hardly walks on grass – even ours. She balances on the rock wall rather than touch the manicured lawn until she gets to just the right place, then she tiptoes over to take care of business, jumping back to the safe rocks when she finishes.
I think she’s broken.
To see more ideas about broken click here.
Talkative Marsha struggling with dialogue? In this case what I think the creator of this challenge wanted us to catch is a bit of fashion designing with our pictures rather than strict dialogue – odd things that sort of go together because of color or texture similarities or differences. They just work. I like fashion and decorating, so I wanted to pursue that angle.
First, I started with dialogue in a more literal sense. Puppy Girl dialogued very clearly with Vince. He worked on the computer, when clearly he could have chosen to pet her tummy. So she grabs his hand and pulls.
It’s endearing, but altogether annoying to him when he has an offer to submit. Generally she wins.
Next I considered animals dialoguing with each other, and establishing their pecking order. The queen here stands alone not deigning to even look at her lowly subject. No worries, the subject, like the jester, simply enjoys the ride, laughs at the queen behind her back, and moves on, untroubled by the queen’s weighty problems.
When I took this next picture, I looked at the sculpture, then Mike walked up. Back and forth I looked at one then the other until dizziness made me shout, “Stop Mike! Is that statue YOU? Let me photograph the two of you together.” Mike obliged. I think it was the cheeks that spoke, but maybe it was the mustache. What do you think?
Then I thought about art work I had seen in which many pictures placed together made a collage that spoke as one picture. When I see them, I think, that would be easy. How can you call that art? But since I can’t draw very well, my pictures kept their mouths closed, uncommunicatively. Then I remembered the grapes leaves I photographed last fall. As I moused through them, they started speaking. All at the same time, “Pick me, pick me. I want to go in the picture.” So I created a collage.
Finally I remembered the Woodlake Botanical Gardens. I missed the show this year, but last year I happened to walk around Bravo Lake on the day that all the roses decided to bloom their brightest blooms. One of them said, “I am the beautiful one, take my picture.” So I did. Another group of roses playing and giggling together attracted me. The last rose said nothing. She turned her face to the sun and spoke to God asking nothing more than to be a blessing to others. I thought she was the prettiest of all.
These birds lined up on the log and posed for this picture so beautifully. Were they preening for the morning, admiring their own reflection? As I watched them, others pulled out their own cell phones and admired them as they reflected into the water along Bob Jones Trail on the way to Avila Beach.
If I were a painter, I would paint this picture. Have a beautiful day. :)
People love animals. Popular picture book writers use this adoration. Children and adults alike identify with real and stuffed animals. One of my writing groups asked the question, “If you were an animal, what kind would you be? Why?”
I love dogs, cats, and guinea pigs because they have been my favorite pets.
This prompt reminded me of teaching strategy called Four Corners we practiced in a teacher training seminar. Each corner had a white piece of poster paper with the name of the animal written at the top. Participants went to the corner that represented the animal with which they most closely identified: gorilla/monkey, lion, snake or rabbit.
I chose rabbit because none of the others appealed to me. As we defended our choices with other participants who had chosen the same animal, I developed an affinity with the rabbit.
First we listed characteristics of the animal we chose, real, stuffed and pictures. Here are my random thoughts today.
In the next part of this exercise we determined which of the other three animals would be OUR most fearsome enemy and why. Our group determined that lions were probably most dangerous to the rabbits since they are avid carnivores.
Finally we decided which animal would make the best ally. I can’t remember which we chose, but personally I would prefer an alliance with a monkey or gorilla and not a snake. Snakes can travel on and under the ground as well as hang from trees. If I am enjoying my underground home, I don’t want a snake slithering in on me in the middle of my private family moments. I’m not sure that I would trust a large hungry snake not to mistake me for a mouse, and try to eat me for dinner.
I hate to admit it, but I am prejudiced against reptiles because they don’t have fur. Mammals are more my type. I identify better with critters with feet, since mine are so lucky.
A monkey, however, is crafty and smart, like me, but has the agility of swinging from trees. The monkey could help me watch out for dangers from above, while I protect him or her from things on the ground.
As a girl with a harelip, I couldn’t help but choose the rabbit group. As a child, I never felt ugly because of my mouth unless some rude stranger pointed it out. I had far more serious physical failings that caused me great pain as a young teen. I wore a triple A padded bra. :) I didn’t need my harelip to feel insecure.
So if you too have had physical failings, I’ll leave you with a famous quote from the Velveteen Rabbit, that I find heartening.
“Once you are real, you can’t be ugly except to people who don’t understand.”
Which animal would you be, or would you choose a different one altogether?
I’ve been working on this story for years. Since I started the Australian Writer’s Centre class on picture books, I’ve rewritten it 5 times and gone from 1700 words to 686. This is my 5th draft. See what you think.
Three guinea pigs, Piggles, Tedlet and Buster, loved their human, Sandi. Every day she fed them carrot curls and lettuce on a paper plate in the back lawn. They chortled and squeaked gleefully when they heard her walk outside.
One day when she brought treats, a puppy, named Bud, lumbered out of the house. After Sandi went inside, Bud raced around the corner of the house, ate their treats and went in the house. The guineas ate grass near the bushes.
They hid under the bushes and squealed their high-pitched guinea pig squeal. The grass around the bushes was getting brown. Sandi heard them and came out to check. Their food had disappeared.
“You’re hungry, poor babies. I’ll bring you more food.”
Sandi set a fresh plate of lettuce and carrot curls near the bushes. Buster, Piggles and Tedlet began pulling the plate into the bushes. Bud sneaked around the corner and grabbed the plate.
Three guinea pigs tugged against Bud. The plate ripped. Lettuce flew one way and the carrot curls flew another. Bud ate the carrot curls. Piggles ate one lettuce leaf. Tedlet ate one lettuce leaf. Buster ate three lettuce leaves. Bud ate the rest of the lettuce after he finished the carrot curls, and went in the house.
The guineas ate the grass a little farther from the bushes. They hid under the bushes and squealed their high-pitched guinea pig squeal. Sandi heard them and came out to check. The food had disappeared. The grass farther from the bushes looked like Sandi had mowed it extra short.
“You’re hungry, poor babies. I’ll bring you more food.”
Sandi set a fresh plate of lettuce and carrot curls near the bushes. Bud appeared around the corner.
“Brrrr,” rumbled Piggles.
“Drrrrr,” rumbled Tedlet.
“CH CH CH CH,” chattered Buster rubbing his teeth together side to side.
Bud ignored them and ate their treats. He rolled over and over in the grass, and fell asleep.
The guineas waddled over Bud. They nibbled grass by his feet. Bud didn’t wake. They nibbled grass by his stomach. Bud didn’t wake. They nibbled grass by his nose. Bud snorted, and rolled over. The guineas hurried back to their bushes and hid. Bud slept a long time, and awoke hot. He wanted some water.
He tried to find his bowl. It wasn’t on the porch, or the grass, or under the lawn chair.
Bud was thirsty after his nap.
“Rarrf,” said Bud at the door.
Sandi opened the door.
Your tongue is hanging out, Bud. Where’s your water bowl?”
“Rarrf,” said Bud.
Sandi looked on the patio. The bowl was gone.
She looked in the grass. She found an outline of Bud.
“This is odd. How did this outline of you get on the grass, Bud?”
“Grrrr,” said Bud. He walked over to the bushes.
Sandi walked to the bushes, too. Bud stuck his nose under the bushes.
“Brrrr,” rumbled Piggles.
“Drrrrr,” rumbled Tedlet.
“CH CH CH CH,” chattered Buster rubbing his teeth together side to side, and bit Bud on the nose.
“Raaaaaaaaarf! Raaaaaaaarf!” cried Bud.
Sandi laughed, gathering Bud’s upside down bowl from under the bushes.
“Buster, did you take Bud’s bowl? Piggles, did you guineas eat the grass around Bud?
“Brrrr,” rumbled Piggles.
“Drrrrr,” rumbled Tedlet.
“CH CH CH CH,” chattered Buster rubbing his teeth together side to side.
“I think I see the problem,” said Sandi.
Sandi fixed more lettuce and carrot curls and put them in Bud’s water bowl. She set the bowl in the grass near the bushes. Bud came out to eat the lettuce, but Sandi sat down on the big lawn chair.
Sandi turned Bud’s bowl upside down. Lettuce and carrots dropped on the paper plate. She filled Bud’s bowl with fresh water.
Bud drank the water, and then licked Sandi’s hand. The guineas purred as they ate their treats.
“Apologize to the guineas, Bud.”
Bud licked each guinea pig on the head, and lay down beside them to watch them eat. The three guineas kept eating. They didn’t hide in the bushes.
We live in a natural aviary. I learned Wednesday night that Bravo Lake, which I have featured several times on this blog, is one of the best places in CA to bird watch. One morning last May I went out in our front yard and found a blue jay egg in the planter area lying on the bark. Blue jays lay blue eggs – of course!
The last time I found eggs in a hazardous place for them, I called the Wild Life Protective Services, and found out that birds have no sense of smell in their beaks, so don’t know that you have handled their eggs. So I didn’t feel badly about experimenting with this one. As I turned it, I noticed that it already had a chip off its shoulder.
It rolled around for a while as I watched hands-free. After that, I put it back in the bark where I found it because I had to leave. By then it had another chip out and several cracks.
It was gone when I came back. Maybe it hatched. We have a lot of birds at our house.
For more interesting objects click here.
What wildlife do you enjoy right in your front yard? Yes, even insects count if they bother or interest you enough to notice them!
Other Bravo Lake posts.
Manny here, again. Mom’s still busy.
Mom asked me to write a book report for you today on the book Off the Leash: The Secret Life of Dogs by Rupert Fawcett. First of all I have to say thanks to Ute because she sent us this book for Christmas. I have never seen Mom and Dad laugh so hard in my life. Here is why they were laughing. It’s a comic book. Yeah, my parents read comic books.
My favorite page is p. 26. This page is so Kalev. I watch her do this every day. She lies on the couch on her blue blanket where she is supposed to be. Then she nuzzles her nose under whatever Mom or Dad is holding. The next thing you know she is sitting on their lap.
My friends and I loved this book because it was so funny, and it was about dogs. I love dogs, even Kalev. She thought Roo was a toy when we were sitting on the floor. Mom had to take Roo away from her and put all of us up here on the mantle. This is where we live. When Mom took Roo away, Kalev actually came after me, and messed up my Hawaiian necklace. I was scared for just a minute, but Kalev knows better than to mess with me. I won’t tell you what I did.
Anyway, this is an awesome book. It makes a great gift for a friend like Mom and Dad and me, and it would probably make a great gift for your friends who like dogs. Click here to see other books by Rupert Fawcett.
Please respond to my survey below.
One more thing I have to ask you. I’ve been thinking about doing a blog just like Justin Beaver does. You are all grown ups, and Mom is a grown up (most of the time). Would you read my blog? Would you follow it? I’ll put another survey up.
Here is the link to my new blog. Invite your kids to read and comment on it, too! :)
Many things come in twos. I find it hard to be original here. I’m using two hands to type these words, two ears to hear the dishwasher churn away, and two legs waiting to carry me on a walk with Sally at 3:00. So I looked in my photo collection to find pictures of two. You guessed it – there wasn’t much to choose from. Here are a few.
This pair of opposites posed at a craft fair in Palm Springs with their owners.
For these two windows life is a bed of roses looking out at the picturesque town of Solvang.
These two fellows fought for prime real estate on Santa Monica Pier.
Seattle, Washington’s Pike Place Market merchants added brightness to the gray November weather at last year’s NCSS Conference.
For more ideas see Cee.
In the heart of South Bend, Indiana lies the famed University of Notre Dame, home of the fighting Irish.
Two days ago on the tour my brother and I stood wordlessly in the Grotto.
We stood respectfully off the grass in the God Quad.
Unlike the disrespectful chipmunk.
We silently admired the largest collection of French stained glass anywhere in the world, including France.
It was a relatively quiet tour of respect and admiration.
Randy sat wordlessly tired out after three hours of touring – some before the tour began.
I ended up being late for Wednesday, but if you’d enjoy other Wordless Wednesday posts click here.
Chapter Five Has The Transmission Come Yet?
Vince remained in his Twilight Zone of Optimism for several more days after the truck’s transmission lost everything but first gear and reverse. The sun shone into their little palace on wheels early on Sunday morning. Vince was ready with activities before Marsha awoke. He scoped out Crescent City the night before when he went there to get the rental car. Only sixteen miles north of Klamath, it bustled with history, restaurants, and best of all, internet and cellular service. He knew Marsha would appreciate that.
The smell of fresh coffee and rays of sunlight drove Marsha from her warm bed. “Let’s go to Crescent City today,” Vince announced still in his cheery mode. There are lots of things to do, and I want to take you to breakfast.”
“That sounds good. Do you want to go check on your truck?”
Vince was the kind of guy that checked and double-checked everything. He checked the bank account balance several times a day to make sure it hadn’t been hacked. He asked Marsha about every check. Then he checked the credit card account, and asked Marsha about each charge. Every day he checked the pool, swept it, skimmed it, put chemicals in it. Before every swim, or just when he happened to go out and see a flower bud floating across the surface, he cleaned it again. Marsha knew he would want to go up to Crescent City to see if his truck was still sitting safely in the lot at the GMC dealer. He did.
“There’s a famous lighthouse here,” he told her after they finished a delicious breakfast. “How is it that she doesn’t weigh 600 pounds?” Vince thought to himself as he watched her clean her plate making sure to wipe away every trace of cream cheese frosting drizzled on the blueberry pancakes. “Good thing. A woman can never be too skinny or too rich. She’s pretty well maintained for 61,” he continued musing.
“You look so pretty,” he voiced his thoughts a little more flatteringly. “My beautiful wife. I love you sweetie.”
“I love you too,” she answered as she always did. They had their rituals. Just like when Vince’s son called and they were ready to hang up, Vince never hung up without saying, “Here’s a hug,” and making a little hug sound over the phone.
Battery Park was huge, but not nearly as interesting as the jetty, pier and the lighthouse. Both camera bugs took pictures of the lighthouse on top of the hill. To reach it people crossed over the rocks, a stepping bridge across the mouth of a stream flowing into the ocean.
“Do you want to go across?” she asked, not feeling overly adventurous.
“No, you need high boots unless you are prepared to get wet. Do you want to get wet?”
Marsha knew he had her there. It wasn’t that she minded getting wet. In fact, she loved it. But what other activities did Vince have planned? This was a rare occasion, and she didn’t want to ruin it by getting wet and wanting to go change.
Remembering one time she had gone kayaking in Monterey Bay with friends from work, Marsha hesitated. Even though they wore wetsuits, she experienced soaking wet shoes. Not realizing that the boat would let in water, she wore her only pair of shoes into the boat. Bare feet, being more comfortable than sloshy shoes, Marsha removed her shoes after she gracefully landed the boat and literally rolled over in the surf a few times getting out of it. The group wanted to go eat after their strenuous excursion. She had put her wet shoes in the car, but the eatery clearly stated, “No shoes, no shirt, no service.” Her boss shielded her as she scooted through the door shoeless. That memory cautioned her.
“No, thanks,” she answered after giving the idea some thought. Although the hill and house called her, she resisted. Let’s walk out on the jetty.”
“It says it’s dangerous at all times. Do you want PG to be swept away by an ocean wave?”
Visions of whether she would let go of the leash and lose PG or be swept out to sea with her aquaphobic doggie kept her moving away from the jetty towards the safer boardwalk. A young couple with their two dogs joined them on the boardwalk. One dog was a huge pit bull, the other a terrier, smaller than PG’s slight 9 pounds, pranced side-by-side looking like Mutt and Jeff.
Fisher people with their empty poles dotted the boardwalk. A couple from Medford, Oregon escaped the 100 degree heat to catch crabs in the bay. Several huge crustaceans lounged unsuspectingly in their blue plastic bucket.
Soon it was time to leave. There was lots to do, and they still wanted to see the Trees of Mystery. They wound their way through the Redwood Highway back towards Klamath towards the mysterious trees where yet another adventure awaited them.
Work would start on the truck tomorrow. Or would it? Stay tuned.
Does your dog or pet have any phobias? How about you?
We spent only a week in Kauai, HI, but I have way more than a week’s worth of posts – even though they are not written yet. I’ll post this one, the I’ll take a break from HI so I don’t bore you too much. This was our first visit to the local beach. We didn’t have a sandy beach outside our resort, and the one within walking distance wasn’t guarded. So each day we drove five minutes to Poipu Beach where there was a life guard, picnic tables, and a guarded section of the beach that was like a wading pool. This was Day #1 Before we could even hop in the ocean, the lifeguard tower blasted out a warning. “Get out of the water. A monk seal is approaching. Get out of the water!”
Rumor is that she’s dangerous. I think she’s just hormonal. Anyway she cleared the protected beach at Poipu, Kauai, HI. She approached lazily, and no one moved very quickly to get out of the water in response to the lifeguard’s microphone’s voice warning swimmers of her approach. There are only 1,500 left and they live here in Kauai, so they get their way.
My pictures of her turned out blurry. Soon she sped up and swam to the protected shallow waters where kids played protected from the surf by a ledge of unapproachable lava rocks. She lounged on her back soaking up some rays, then dipped under to get cool while the multitudes warmed their heels in the sand.
Day #2 I should have known to take my camera today when we went out for a cup of coffee. I mean we were only going to grab a cup and bring it back to our Diamond Resort home away from home. Right? Of course, WRONG!
After we grabbed our coffee, the car turned towards the beach at Poipu Point again, and there she was. Charming the tourists she flapped her way over to give them a little kiss and a playful tap with her flippers. The life guards ran frantically out of their tower like ants swarming a piece of peanut brittle on the cement. They shooed back the squatting onlookers trying to get a good picture and a chance to rub her tummy. They spent a bit of time penning her in because she moved, then flopped, moved, flopped. They gave her a large playpen with multiple warning stakes with “keep out” ropes marking a perimeter all around her.
Day #3 The next day she was sunning herself when we got to the beach. After enjoying a brief float, I joined the large group of onlookers, and clicked pictures at every angle.
Our Monk Sea Lion is pregnant.
Day #4 By our last visit to Poipu Beach Monk Seals were old news, so I didn’t take any more pictures. She was just sleeping. She did move her flippers much like fingers, and sort of scratch herself. She was laying on her back this time, so I don’t thing that her tracking device bothered her too much.
I hope you enjoyed this brief vacation to Hawaii. I know we did. But it is good to be home, too. Our puppy girl, Kalev, was very glad that finally got back. She was jealous that Manny got to go and she didn’t. I hope you are enjoying a wonderful weekend. :)
Today I am my own guest bloggers. I got the idea from Cathy, better known as ShareChair, who reposted some of her earliest posts. I posted this one year ago, one of my first posts. Since very few people have ever seen it I thought it was appropriate to republish it to show you another variety of bird we have in Tulare County.
We can’t believe that they are not extinct, but the sites I found on Google insist that they are common.
This mama or dad, they look alike, has been sitting in 100 degree heat all day to cool these four future killdeer. Her choice of nesting site is the reason we question the statistics on their abundance. Those rocks are our driveway.
She/he did the Killdeer feigning dance for me until the cat came over to investigate. I carted the cat safely away, and snapped these pictures one-handed as I left the poor stressed mother/father to get back to work sitting on the now-shaded eggs.
Sorry to say these pretty eggs didn’t make it either, in spite of their mother’s constantly chasing off predators. Most likely our cats were the culprits as they had their eyes all over those eggs. Vince and I felt very sad when the nest was empty.
And speaking of eggs did you all get a chance to name the new flamingo chick? You have until June 3.