Black and White Sunday: The Friendly Beach

The friendly beach

My brother and I took a side trip to Michigan to see the Warren Dunes where we vacationed once as kids.  I wasn’t inspired to return.  I’m sure it must have better days.  This was a bad beach day.  Click on widget to participate in Paula’s challenge.

mergeyes_widget

Sunday Post: Nature

Is nature natural or just outside?  Are objects of nature found inside a building still considered nature?  Jake always makes me think!

sunday-post-logo-2

The nature we have here in the California Central Valley is anything but natural in most places.

TC Winter covered peach tree r

The 600-mile long California Central Valley has been plowed and remodeled to grow every crop imaginable.

SFW TC Spring 2013078rOne of many valley crops, peach trees, deposed native oaks found in the Kaweah River Delta over one hundred fifty years ago.  For more agricultural facts click here.

TC Winter oak tree r

Between the Kaweah River Delta and Sierra Nevada mountains, alfalfa replaced nature’s native grasses.

alfalfa field r

Cows in the foothills still eat grass until it dries, but the variety differs from what grew here in the 1850s when Thomas Henry Davis brought some of the first cows from Mexico to Antelope Valley, near current-day Woodlake, CA.

SFW TC Spring cows 4

Evergreen orange trees first populated the Woodlake area in 1878, watered in part by the Watchumna Ditch, built in 1872.  Canals and ditches still carry life-giving water to arid fields.

Friant Kern Canal r

Last year the trees received enough water to stay healthy. This year farmers uprooted thousands of dead orange trees.

oranges Apr2013r

Since this area thrives because of irrigation, when water reserves and underground water tables drop, farmers rely on water transported from Northern California.  The Kaweah River constrained by the Terminus Dam receded this year to expose a bridge built in 1938, foundations of homes, and wells.

TC Drive to Kaweah Lake049r

Man-made changes have obviously mixed with nature to create California’s Central Valley “nature.”  President Obama arrives tomorrow in Fresno to assess the drought’s damage to the Central Valley’s agricultural nature.

For more facts about Tulare County click here.

For more interpretations on Nature, click here.

unnamed

Introducing the Three Guinea Pigs

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.

BJ and Piggles

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.

“Let’s look.”

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.

“No Bud.”

Bud whined.

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.

header flower & piggles

Weekly Photo Challenge: Juxtaposition

Juxtapositions, what a great word for a challenge.  Even greater to find pictures that fit the bill.  I went back to a trip to Solvang, CA.  Going through the outdoor corridors provided juxtaposition enough if you look at the Danish building across the street from the shaded corridor.  I added to the effect using Photoshop to place the entire corridor from where I was standing looking both directions.

Juxtaposition1

I love framing shots.  A good frame makes everything look more interesting to me.  Using a close up camera lens was my favorite shot, but the wide-angle revealed more juxtaposition of old and new.

Juxtaposition2

While we were there, I came across a beautiful quilt shop.  the quilts hung side by side, but one quilt was a particularly good example of juxtaposition of images.

juxtaposition3

Solvang, CA is a beautiful area to visit in the spring, fall and winter.  By summer the temperatures soar into the 100s, and I can barely walk around.  According to my real estate sales person husband, Vince, there are currently ninety-six homes available in Solvang.  Many of these are trailers starting at $59,000.  Oh no, he found a house he liked for only $299,000.  Fortunately for our pocketbook, neither of us bought the objects of our affections.   What do you like to shop for, but rarely purchase?

Juxtaposition4

This last picture I chose for the wires.  The windmill created energy long ago, yet we still have to have wires to deliver it.  The sun is the juxtaposition in the second picture.  I just happened to notice that wires ran through this tree as well, so I tried lining up the wires for a different effect.  Ok, forget the lining up!  It’s the idea that counts.

I hope you like my juxtapositions.  Click here for more examples.

By the way – WATCH OUT for careless quilters!  This weekend we stayed in a hotel full of quilters.  About ten of them ambled across the street after the light going against them turned green.  I stopped to let them all cross, but the car coming over the hill behind me did not know why I stopped.  By the time he did, he had just enough time to jackknife his car and screech to a stop before hitting my car.  I feel grateful to be alive today, and even more grateful that I didn’t end up killing any careless quilters.

 

 

 

How to Recognize a Great Museum

When I was a kid, it seemed like museums stored old stuff that only grandparents recognized.  Now museums come in all shapes and sizes in every community.  Representing agricultural Tulare County a gigantic steel barn in Mooney Park houses everything from large equipment to a farm worker’s cabin from Linnell Camp.  Of all the museums I’ve dragged Vince to see, Bishop Museum was his favorite – ever.

It doesn't look like much from the street, but I'm from Indianapolis.  I was sold.
It doesn’t look like much from the street, but I’m from Indianapolis. I was sold.

What made Vince choose Bishop Museum as the best of the world?

Bishop Museum 118

The layout of the grounds and the architectural structures took our breath away.  It didn’t hurt that they were in Oahu.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Lots of exhibits alone don’t make the museum enjoyable, but a museum needs many exhibits, and some changes so that local folks don’t get bored.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The exhibits grabbed you and pulled you in.  The more you looked, and read, the harder it got to move on.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Variety of exhibits gives each person in the family something to remember.  I apologize for the blurriness of some of the photos, but I still wanted to share them.   Believe it or not my astigmatism has been mostly corrected.  🙂

Imagine wearing a cape of feathers.
Imagine wearing a cape of feathers.

You knew you couldn’t see it all in one visit, and maybe ever.

Only one of the buildings held more than we could see in one day.
Only one of the buildings held more than we could see in one day.

At the end of the visit, you needed a nap to rest your eyes and brain.

Bishop Museum 199

The Bishop Museum had so many more excellent qualities, you would need a break after reading this if I listed them.  What is your favorite museum ever, and why?