A few years ago Vince and I purchased five acres of beautiful property, and subdivided it into four parcels. Three have sold. Two have beautiful homes, and my favorite remains. We thought it had sold to one of my former fourth grade students, but financing fell through. I was so sad – instant grandchildren came with that sale. But maybe there is someone else just as lovely that wants to build a home there.
Two days ago the weather was so perfect, I had to do a photo shoot there. It’s on a cul-de-sac and has a pad already cleared for building. This is the house across the private road.
It was about 4:00 pm. The full moon peeped out of the clouds in broad daylight. I see a rabbit. What do you see?
The lot has five or six oak trees that are probably between 50 and 100 years old. They are indigenous to this area, but are not protected like the Visalia Oak. The cute little house across the street is ours. It is small, but very I think very adorable. He’s getting ready to redo our master bathroom. His son is coming to help him today, and I’m going out of town. (Whew!)
The trees have many birds, mostly owls, woodpeckers and vultures. They are camera-shy. I waste so much time trying to capture them with my camera.
I almost missed this one, and it’s not clear. I’m probably spinning as I follow it. I shot using my telephoto lens, which gets really close, but it sticks out so far, I can’t hold it steady. You are looking at the underbelly of a woodpecker. They love telephone poles. Every pole stores thousands of acorns. They like to put them in our gutters as well, up under the edge of the roof.
This is probably a vulture in the top center of the maze of limbs.
He doesn’t want to even land.
To the east beyond the foothills, you see the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range on a clear day.
There is a vacant lot right across the street next to our house. Vince has always wanted to plant a vineyard, but there are many regulations, and neither of us knows what we are doing, so it sits fallow.
You can see that the trees will bloom any day now.
The young couple that planned to buy the property asked about snakes. Mama Kitty ate one the other day. I think it was a garter snake. She made the funniest screaming noise while she was playing with it. After munching it down, she later gave it back, but was no worse for the wear.
We have seen about 2 tiny rattle snakes in the 15 years we have lived there, so they are there. We had Kalev rattle snake trained, so she is alert. The cats just eat them. They also catch gophers. The squirrels are too much for them, so we have help catching them and the raccoons. Scardy Kitty got stuck in the trap one morning. He was quite irritated as he waited patiently for me to figure out how to open it.
Country life doesn’t appeal to everyone, but city slickers, Vince and Marsha wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.
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.
If you enjoyed these take a gander at how other bloggers interpreted the challenge of dialogue.
We got up Sunday morning to absolutely sparkly blue skies, and cool temperatures. It was a perfect day for a trip to the mountains. I wanted to see snow up close and personal. In the summer here the weather changes very little, but in the winter it can change from minute to minute. Before it changed too much V, Kalev and I hopped into the car and headed for the hills. My goal was to get to Sequoia National Park, and play in the snow.
The trip up to the park was distracting. “Pull over right here, V. I want to snap a picture of rock outcroppings.”
“Stop, stop, stop. right here V. There’s a great picture of a horse for Auty.”
“Look at that view, V. Don’t you think I should take that? SToooooop!!!”
“Thanks V. I’m ready now.” Both V and Kalev were VERY patient
Kaweah Lake near Three Rivers, CA
I do want to stop at Kaweah Lake and take a few pictures. OK?
Now that’s what I’m talking about. I can’t believe that I thought this was ugly when I first moved here. Right now it is at its lowest levels. You can see the high-level water mark on the side of the hill. When the rains come, and the snows melt, the lake behind Terminus Dam builds up. If the Corps of Engineers doesn’t keep it empty now, it could conceivably break the dam built in 1955. Before that time our valley was subject to extreme droughts most years, then huge floods every 7-10 years that bathed all the valley towns in several feet of fast-flowing, tree and rock-laden river waters.
We pulled into the Tulare County Boat Safety Patrol Lake Kaweah Office parking lot, saw a friend of V’s, and took some pictures. The flag was flying at half-mast in honor of victims of the Newtown, Connecticut shooting.
Then we headed up the road in search of snow. Almost immediately we came to Horse Creek Bridge. When I was teaching, just before summer vacation one year, a young woman came to speak to our 4th graders about swimming safety.
Like many other youngsters, when summer came, she went with her friends and took turns jumping off Horse Creek Bridge into the water below. Of course, there’s a lot more water in the summer.
Nonetheless, the rocks are still there, buried, and impossible to judge. She hit her head and broke her neck.
The jump paralyzed her for life at age 19.
We drove up to Slick Rock, a popular place to swim in the summer.
Kalev was thankful for a chance to explore.
Mom and Dad weren’t paying much attention to her. Good thing she had on her leash!
V came unglued. I struggled with my bandaged thumb to pull out burs for about the next 15 minutes. Finally we were down to the last three, but they weren’t budging. Then one more to go. It was almost in her mouth, and needed to be cut out. About that time, the park ranger drove up. I got out of the car and asked if he had any scissors. He did! We cut the last bur out, bit by bit. Kalev was such a good girl. She did jerk her head a bit, but never a yelp or a snap. In the end, it took both V and me to hold her head still while Ranger Bill snipped out the bur. Here’s a FAQ for you about burs. “The bur of burdock was the inspiration for Velcro.” Wikipedia
Kalev was very grateful to Ranger Bill.
Our next stop was Horse Creek Campground.
You can see how exposed the tree roots are because of the higher level of the water in the spring and early summer. That means the campground is under water, and we wouldn’t be driving on this road.
Across the road, I spotted Pac-Man hanging out at Horse Creek Campground.
Can you tell how old this tree is? Me either, the rings are too small for me to count, but it’s dead now. After one last shot for Toemail, we were ready to leave. The blue skies suddenly turned gray, we were tired, and we never drove high enough to reach snow. We decided to go back home and wait for the snow to come down to us. It was a relatively quick trip, and we thought of many other reasons to come back. It was a great date. People come from all over the world to visit the Sequoia National Park, home of the biggest trees in the world. We didn’t make it up that far today.
So if you come visit us, we’ll make the entire trip to the Sequoias without all the distractions because you will have seen them already. Or maybe you’d like the distractions, too.