Sunday, October 19, 2008

Another Fall Update

We saw the first tarantula of the season Sunday. 'Tis the season for spider luv! The male tarantulas go out searching for that special gal. We haven't seen so many this year as in previous years. Here's a clicky thing that describes lots more about spiders in California.

Dino has been spending the last couple of weekends cutting and splitting wood and arduously preparing our wood shed. Praying Horse is ever so grateful for this preparation and looks forward to hours spent in front of a toasty fire.

A lovely fall morning in the foothills.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fall Harvest Season

I haven't kept up to date very well, so this will be a bit long but hopefully I'm forgiven. Fall weather is starting to nip at us a bit, requiring an extra blanket and spurring Dino to start cutting more firewood. He's informed me that we have two year's supply put up already, so the fallen oak he worked on this last weekend puts us pretty well "ahead" of the game. My cold little tootsies thank you Dino, in advance, for some toasty warm fires!

On our walk yesterday, we headed toward the river but were distracted by these wild grapes Dino spied twined high in an oak tree. Looks like harvest time - but only for those that can fly or climb up! There were birds all in among the fruit, plucking and eating - mostly western bluebirds but we also saw a ruby-crowned kinglet in there. Dino saw a red-headed woodpecker that I missed while I was busy trying to get a good shot of the grapes. I was flat on my back with the camera on the tripod shooting straight up - fun! I was surprised when I started looking at the pictures on the computer when we got back that in amongst the grapes were also some lovely ripe acorns! Smorgasbord - something for everyone!

We are also seeing some of our old winter friends of the avian kind: we've had confirmed sightings of a good number of spotted towhees as well as yellow rumped warblers, golden crowned and white crowned sparrows. No juncos yet.

When we got to the ranch Friday night, Dino saw a male house finch huddled up in front of the garage door - good thing he saw it because he was getting ready to open it up and the poor thing would have been swept away. Anyway, he called me out to see and we decided to pick it up and put it on a better perch. When Dino went to pick it up the bird fluttered up, and landed on my arm! So I stood there stock still and just watched it for a bit (how neat!) and then started to walk over to the porch swing to see if the bird would get on top of that. But he got a little burst of energy and flew/fluttered to another part of the porch. We just left him like that, hoping that he would find a better place to rest for the night, also hoping that he wasn't badly ill, but figuring there must have been something wrong with him. No carcass in the morning.

Oct 4 Woke to the sound of rain. And it was raining Friday night coming into the ranch, the smell of the rain on the tar weed was great! It was like a totally different place. Nice, what a welcome relief.

Sep 29 We went for a nice long hike to an old garnet mine, although we took a side trip around Saddle Mountain. Let me say that Mountain is a very overblown name for the hill we went over - and we took the lowest route through the Saddle. We found the cutoff for the mine after only one wrong turn. Anyway, the mine entrance is a hole in the ground that's now filled with water and of course fenced off with barbed wire. We did root around a little bit in the tailings hoping for a sparkle of gem, but it's been well picked over.

We had our picnic lunch just below the mine near a deep pool of the river, we saw a turtle floating which of course hid itself as soon as I headed for the camera. Some day, my turtly friends! After we ate, we walked downstream for 100 yards or so through the dry riverbed - the river at this time of year is mostly underground with a few deep pools. Wow, the rocks through this part were fascinating and beautiful. We also saw some rocks that had what looked like tiny barnacles, and also some miniscule fresh water snail shells. The shell in this photo is perhaps 3 - 4 millimeters long.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Where Old Hats Go To Retire

The Dinosaur's old Stetson finally gave out, after 30+ years of faithful service shading and sheltering. Having developed an affection for the old topper, Dino wanted to appropriately and reverently memorialize it. Hence, a new work of art chez nous:

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