Sunday, December 29, 2013

Numbers 102 and 103

After a Christmas road trip to the Bay Area to attend various family festivities, at which yours truly consumed far too many rich foods and/or sweet goodies, we've returned to what passed for normal here.  The building project is starting back up after a short hiatus to allow Dino to get a few items accomplished - the roofers finally started getting the actual roof on this week.

Saturday, I hitched a ride with Dino to the red gate.  He had a meeting to attend in Madera, so he headed left up the hill, while I headed right toward the river.  I was torn between enjoying the lovely day and fretting about the drought. 

It was a great day for birding.  Number 102:  Hooded Merganser:  I saw two males and a female.  Number 103:  American Wigeon - not sure how many, at least four. 

I got photos of the Wigeons but again these images were good enough to confirm the ID but sort of embarrassing otherwise.  This Hooded Merganser shot isn't the greatest either, but at least it gives you the idea.

I had some fun taking pictures of this female Yellow-rumped Warbler, a species I am quite fond of and who has been given the nickname Butterbutts. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

In Which We Recall Our Heroine's Last Post

I'm sure I've discussed Acton Grade in the past. The cute little snow I mentioned last time translated to snow and ice all the way up the grade - and it stuck for days. Tuesday morning (the week before Christmas) was a more eventful drive to work than usual; in fact it took me nearly 5 hours to get there.  I was making my way up the grade, repeating my crappy-road mantra "slow and steady", when I turned a corner and there in front of me was someone else's pickup truck, stopped and blocking the road.  The mantra changed to something more like "are you kidding me?".  I lucked out in that only a few feet ahead of me was a great spot to pull over so my truck wouldn't have to stop in the middle of the road.  I rather thought that being out of the way would be useful later on when whoever was going to have to unjam this mess showed up.  And in case you are wondering nothing was going to tempt me to attempt to back down the hill.

By some miracle of modern technology, I was able to get a cell signal and called the sheriff.  A few minutes after my call, one of the men working on our house remodel started down the hill but he was still on good pavement and was able to back up and out of the way.  I told him to go back up to the top of the grade to prevent anyone else from starting down.

I'll spare you a lot of the other details, but in time a sheriff's deputy showed up at the top.  And finally, a county road crew showed up at the bottom.  Some time after that, a big tow truck arrived, also at the bottom of the hill.  All of the rescuers put their heads together and the plan turned into:  chains from the tow truck were walked up the hill, attached to the stuck truck and to the sheriff's vehicle (big 4 wheel drive thing), and the truck was hauled out.

I spent my time waiting by watching birds, enjoying the view, and generally practicing my patience skills.  Occasionally, someone would ask to use my cell phone.  I had dressed appropriately in lots of warm layers, had my hat, gloves and uggs on, plus had a stash of snacks in my truck so I knew I was fine.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

101 and a Snowfall

Friday night/Saturday morning brought us a couple inches of snow.  According to Dino's fancy weather station, that translated to a half inch of rain.  OK, better than nothing, plus all the white stuff was pretty.

When I took the above picture of the tree and the snow with the woodshed and the Ford in the background, I did not know that the Ford had narrowly escaped being crushed by a falling oak limb. That Ford is our ranch truck..., it's not legal for the road, but since it never leaves the ranch that's not a problem. This looks like a big mess, but the limb came down just in front of the truck. To get the limb off, Dino put forks on the front tractor blade, stuck the forks under the limb and lifted. 

I had all sorts of fun taking pictures near the bird feeders of our usual visitors, this one is of a treetop full of House Finches.  I think it looks a bit seasonal, like a Christmas wreath.
Number 101 - Golden-crowned Kinglet.  Regrettably, the picture I took was good enough to confirm the ID, but not good enough to share.  These little birds have almost certainly been around as they are not rare by any means, but we just hadn't seen one yet.  What a great year for birds!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

November. Plus We Got Our Century

Bird news:  we've finally reached the 100 species identified mark.  Friday's walk took me to the area of the river just above the bridge.  As I was walking downstream, I noticed a big white bird.  Egret, I thought, until it started walking.  It was a Snow Goose!  Not the usual critter for around here, and I was able to spend some minutes watching it until it flew downriver.  I ran into some neighbors later as I was walking home - they told me that the bird has been hanging around for a week or so.

I'm on the tail end of taking a week off work - actually I'll have been off a total of 11 days since I was able to capitalize on the long Thanksgiving weekend.  I don't want to sound ungrateful for my good job, but when I checked my most recent lotto ticket and found that I'd lost again, I entertained yet another a micro-second of disappointment.

Dino has been nursing a sore leg.  On one of his walks last week, he stepped over a log and got whapped hard by an unseen branch that landed on the juncture between the bottom of the calf and the top of the Achilles tendon.  He said initially he wondered if it was a snake strike, even though those critters are well underground by now, it all happened so fast. 

In spite of that, he's been busy with getting the rough electric done.  I've done my part there by doing lots of "shopping" on lighting web sites.  Let's say that there are lights and lamps for every taste - thousands upon thousands of combinations. 

We've also worked on getting the work area around the house tidied up to as great an extent as possible.  The other day, Dino put the fork blades on the tractor and moved several piles of stuff away from the front area and re-organized it all near the new carport.  I had lots of fun working the big magnet finding all the nails scattered about - they make a nice "clunk" when they attach to the tool.

Of course, I've squeezed in several excellent walks.  My favorite shot of the past couple weeks is of this big cedar. It lives near the river and is a magnificent big tree.  I've been contemplating the best method of photographing and tried a wide angle shot from directly below.  It smelled lovely there.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Latest Book - Volume 6

Also available as an E-book formatted for iPad or iPhone - here.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Hot Diggity, Number 99

On my walk Saturday - where I got totally taken up by the wonderful fall weather while exploring the river - I spotted our 99th bird species.  I didn't know at the time it was 99, that had to wait till I looked at the photos when I got home.

This Savannah Sparrow was with a mixed flock of other sparrows and juncos with a few bluebirds in the mix.

In further good news, Dino reported over a half inch of rainfall by noon(ish) today.  Excellent.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

In Appreciation of the Pomegranate Tree

Aside from the fact that they create a very delicious fruit, pomegranate trees are altogether a beautiful tree.  In spring, their leaves are a satisfyingly fresh green, the blossoms are a lively red/pink/fuschia and in fall:

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

More Birds! Are You Surprised?

Two are old friends coming back for the winter, the other I think is year-round and I just got lucky with my shot.

Western Bluebird:

Northern Flicker - I think these are such beautiful birds:

Bushtit - these guys are tiny and fast as they move among the branches, this was the lucky shot:


Monday, September 30, 2013

Numbers 97 and 98. House Update

Quite a few folks chimed in on the flycatcher - verdict:   Willow Flycatcher.  Neat!

Then, last week, number 98!  Another flycatcher - Greater Pewee.  There were two of them, although I wasn't able to capture a good shot of both together.  My initial thought when I saw the first of the pair was that it was a Phainopepla, but it became quickly obvious that was not the case, although the size was right.  They put on a good flycatcher show, swooping out for insects, then back to the perch until the next bug caught their attention.

The house project is coming along - in fact, we've got some walls up now.

Tuesday, all of the house building material showed up as promised - our uphill neighbors helped out hugely by stationing themselves at the top and bottom of the big grade and making sure the trailers going in and out didn't cause problems for the other drivers on the road.  They were still finishing up when I got home from work.  But two days later, the framing was up for the shop building and also partially for the rest of the addition. That was exciting to see when I came home.

Wednesday Bill came into town and we used up my lunch hour at the door place looking at doors and door hardware.  We picked out a super nice front door with two sidelights and an art glass window in the door itself. 

Saturday, we made a trek to Fresno to look at possibilities for kitchen countertops, lighting, tile and hardwood flooring.  I unerringly picked out the most expensive granite countertop as the one I liked the best and had to ask the saleswoman to point me toward the more middle range choices.  There IS a budget involved here.

The front of the house as of Sunday afternoon:

The interior of the new shop building - look at the view out the side window - love it.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Taking a Different Perspective

I've walked by this corral on a neighbor's place many a time.  Had never looked at it this particular way before.  I love it when that happens.

Yesterday, Dino gave himself at least a partial day off to go birding with one of his Audubon friends, this particular expedition being designated as a "Raptor Run" day, aka an Audubon Society citizen science project.

When he got home, he did head right back outside to continue working on the water lines, which are definitely getting there.  Some days seem to bring a few more obstacles than one would think absolutely necessary.

Saturday's walk had me in arachnid and insect mode.  The first fly is Minettia flaveola, a common fly in California.  The second fly is a bee mimic, I have not been able to figure out species yet - we'll see how much peering at flies in insect field guides I can take.


Finally, I spent quite some time sticking my macro lens in the direction of a Green Lynx spider who was guarding her egg sac.  These spiders seem to believe that tarweed stalks make good egg sac substrates, as there were four or five of them scattered in one relatively small area in our Upper Rodeo Meadow area near the road.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

95 and 96. The verdict on 97 is still out

Great walk today!  Bird #95:
Vesper Sparrow

Bird #96:
Green Heron (juvenile)

Can't count this next one yet, probably a Willow Flycatcher, but we're still waiting for a couple more of our birder friends to pipe up on the ID.

And finally, lest the mammals feel left out, some of those blankety blank wild pigs.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Big Fun. Except For Those Who Had to Work

The house project is really underway now - six cement trucks rumbled down the grade yesterday to pour the foundation for the addition.  Once they got started with it, there was no such thing as stopping - a veritable whirlwind of activity it was. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Digging and Construction Oh My

We've been planning for what seems like forever about getting an addition built to the ranch house - and now after a year of working with the builder and the contractor and a couple of different banks, it's starting.  Dirt is being moved around for the pad where the foundation will be poured.  We heard this morning that the outer wall of the living room will be coming out Friday!  We'll be getting a temporary wall there while the rest gets built, but yipes sure wish we'd known so we could have moved furniture around over the weekend instead of after I get home from work.  Never mind, we'll get it done somehow in spite of my currently gimpy hand.

Dino has a to-do list about a mile long.

Of course I could not resist prowling around the heavy equipment that came in last week.  The Case compactor had an interesting aspect.

I took one of my usual long walks yesterday, ending up by a little pool on the river.  I was intending just to cross at the narrow end by picking my way through and across the rocks to reach the other side, but I perched on a rock midway to take pictures of a butterfly.  After a few minutes, I realized that about a half dozen bullfrogs had gotten over their initial fright at my approach and had risen to the surface to bask. These frogs are invasive - they eat the native minnows and the baby pond turtles and are generally frowned upon, although it can be said in their favor that the blue herons find them quite tasty.  (Note: perching on a rock in the middle of the river while keeping the gear from falling in - extra credit.)

The butterfly in question - a Woodland Skipper, I believe.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What Did You Notice Today?

I'm in the middle of reading a book called "The Tangled Bank" by Robert Michael Pyle - all essays originally published in Orion Magazine.  The essay "Roll Call" caught my attention this morning, with this quote: "In the country, many people (though fewer every year) still take their livelihood directly from other forms of life.  Townspeople are less likely to connect with nature on a regular basis.  Some, such as bird and butterfly watchers, wildflower and mushroom fanciers, organize their free time around nonhuman encounters.  But such folk are uncommon overall, and considered strange by many of their neighbors:  eccentric, obsessed, if harmless.  The majority, in fact, shows little awareness of other life forms beyond cats, dogs, lawns and fellow humans."

I decided it would be interesting to follow his suggestion to make note of all the species I could today, to the best of my ability.  Of course, I was at work for 8 of the day's hours, and unless there's a spider hiding somewhere, I'm unaware of many additional life forms in my office (aside from my house plant and lunch species, as noted below).  I didn't go out of my way to find any of these, I only noticed what I saw on my usual rounds.

Birds: House Finch, Common Raven, Mourning Dove, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Western Kingbird, California Quail, Acorn Woodpecker, Western Scrub-jay, Brewer's Blackbird, Anna's Hummingbird, Roadrunner.  This is actually a bit of a light bird day for me, for some reason, although the roadrunner was a good sighting.

Mammals:  Ground Squirrel, Gray Squirrel, Homo sapiens ssp. sweetii (my husband), Homo sapiens ssp. moronius (the icky person in the jacked up F350 who tailgated me on the way to work until I found a safe place to pull over), Homo sapiens (all the other generic folks in town and non-icky drivers), dog, horse.

Reptiles: Fence Lizard

Insects:  a light insect day also.  Only a couple of ants in the house - evidently they are giving us a respite at the moment.  These were ants of medium length, stocky body, dark brown and a strong formic acid smell.

Cultivated Trees/Plants:  fig, apple, Italian stone pine, the old olive and walnut trees on the neighbor's place, rose, a large number of plants and trees in town that I can't name, the house plant in my office Zamioculcas (Zanzibar plant), oleander, juniper, rosemary, quince, pomegranate, iris, mugo pine

Trees/Shrubs/Wildflowers/Grasses:  Interior Live Oak, Blue Oak, California Buckeye, Mountain Mahogany, Manzanita, Lichen, Moss, Wild Oats, a large number of other grasses and forbs not known to me, Tarweed, Bull Thistle, Turkey Mullein, Wooly Mullein, Datura, Purple Milkweed, Pearly Everlasting, Blue Elderberry, Yerba Santa, Poison Oak, California Broom, Manzanita, Deer Brush, Cedar.  I have no doubt there are many other species I could have added to this list if only I'd known what I was seeing.

Species or products thereof that I've eaten today:  peanut, chia, coconut, sunflower, mango, cow milk (yogurt), bacteria (yogurt), grape, cinnamon, vanilla, chicken eggs, carrot, tomato, tomatillo, onion, coffee, almond, cocoa, wheat, black beans, lettuce, bell pepper, cucumber, celery, asparagus, red cabbage, apricots and whatever spices were in the jarred salsa.

Other:  sheep (the lanolin in my hand cream), whatever the old carbon life forms that ended up producing the gas in my truck, the bacteria or virus that made my hairdresser feel too unwell to get to my haircut appointment today, various natural fabrics in my clothes and household, and whatever wood the fence posts and utility poles are made of.

A picture of a species I ate the other day (not today, darn it):  wild blackberry.  Yum.

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Hot Dry Season

A couple of weeks ago, we took a short overnight trip to the Bay Area to visit my parents. When we came back on Saturday afternoon I'd just sat down with a nice afternoon cuppa, ready to relax and unwind when our neighbor called to say:  "Are you aware there's a fire on Lily Peak?"  That's about three miles or so away from the house.  Nope, we hadn't noticed that.  Good thing he was taking on the phone round robin chores.  After the big Carstens fire from a week or so before that, which wasn't close to us but was pretty scary anyway, I'd identified a group of sentimental mementos that I'd be sad to lose.  I scurried around and got those loaded up in the truck, just in case, plus a couple changes of clothes.  Then we went up into the orchard to watch.  Within not too long, there were helicopters bringing in big underslung buckets of water to dump on the area and we could see the vehicles of the fire crew on the top of the ridge.   (Binoculars came in pretty handy here.)  One plane came by and released a big red plume of fire retardant on the back side of the peak where the fire must have been at its worst.  It was difficult to make out the forms of the firefighters in the smoke, but we could see frequent glints of light off what I guess was helmets or face shields.  Basically, they put most of it out in about an hour's time, with a couple of daylight hours to spare.   We've done the best we can to make the house defensible if it comes to that, what with clearing a big area around the house, placing the big water tank on the top of Ant Hill, choosing the best fire safe roof, etc etc.

Since then, it's been just pretty doggone hot.  I'm getting as much cooking done first thing in the morning on the weekends, or making cold suppers.  I haven't really felt like shouldering my big camera bag with its 30+ pounds of equipment and then sweating my way around the neighborhood. 

That means that you're stuck with this iPhone shot of a super nifty California King Snake that I found sunning itself in the middle of the road while on my way home the other day.  After I took the picture, I waved my arms at it and it decided to head back downhill to somewhere safe for snakes.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

My Own Home Brewed Superstition About Acorn Woodpeckers

Every morning as I drive up the hill to work, I look for the following auspicious omen:

All Is Right in the World

A day when I see an acorn woodpecker on a post will automatically be a good day.

Multiple woodpeckers is even better.  Two woodpeckers on a post (or neighboring posts) is not called merely "two woodpeckers".  Instead, the name for that occurence is "DOUBLE PECK!"  Similar designations are applied to "TRIPLE!", "QUADRUPLE!" and on one memorable morning, "QUINTUPLE!" (There may have been an additional non-family friendly qualifier on that last occasion.  When one gets excited one may not always modulate the vocabulary.) 

Note:  days when no woodpeckers are noticed on posts are neutral days.  The lack of the woodpecker/post combination is not a negative.

Since woodpeckers evidently like to sit on posts and as you undoubtedly know, they like to peck on wood, which of course the wood posts are, the probability of seeing this sight on any given morning is well into the 90% range.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Have I Mentioned Lately

That I love where I live?  Last Sunday's walk took me once again, to the Chowchilla, where I walked downriver looking for "stuff".  Mostly this turned out to be birds and hot sun, but I do love this part of the river where the ash trees line up so nicely along the bank.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Next Question

What's up with cows?  As I was taking those photographs the other day of the sandpiper, I felt "someone" watching me.  I turned around and saw this.  Middle-aged, sweaty ladies with camera bags can't be *that* interesting, can we?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Help Identifying Wildflowers

It's nearly as bad as the fungus obsession - this time of year - well anytime of year I see a wildflower is more accurate.  I have a semi-real goal of photographing all of the wildflowers on or around Dryad Ranch.  "Semi" in that I doubt I'll ever see them all. 

I work with four wildflower field guides, including John Muir Law's Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada.  I also spent a lot of time on the Calflora web site trying to track down what species of flora I've just photographed.  Sometimes, I can only get as close as family and then get stumped.  Sometimes I don't even get that far.  I suspect that many times I've photographed something that is non-native and therefore isn't included in any of the guides. 

The next two images show two I've gotten nowhere with.  Any ideas on where to start looking?  Both of these were found in the mostly dry creek bed that runs below the road from the ford (just past the green gate) to the Chowchilla River.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Number 94: Spotted Sandpiper

I hadn't walked along the river near the bridge in quite some time, so I decided to head that direction just to see what could be seen.  I had wildflowers in mind, mostly, but one must always keep an open mind because lovely surprises could be waiting around the next corner.  After spending some time watching a pair of killdeers calling and scurrying along the sides of the Chowchilla, I headed upriver for a ways in hopes of possibly spotting a turtle.  Instead, I saw a pair of these Spotted Sandpipers:  number 94 for our bird list!  I didn't know the species until I was able to get home and consult the Sibley's; I just knew we hadn't seen them here before.

It's at times like this that I'm glad for always having the big lens in my camera bag.  It's extra weight to carry but worth it.  (This time of year I start carrying lots of water because it's starting to heat up a bit. The bag weighs somewhere upwards of 30 pounds; it's a good workout.)

For good measure, I'll throw in a wildflower picture.  This is yellow sweet clover - unfortunately not native.  I saw quite a lot of it in the dry creek just below the ford. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Spiders, Beetles, Birds

I took this week off work meaning that the days flew by.  I've been getting a lot of weeding done and believe I have only a few more days work to go on that and then it'll be more or less done for the year. 

Of course I've also been out looking for wildflowers and other neat things.  I found these beetles enjoying themselves on some white whorled lupines.  I'm pretty sure they are Hoplia dispar - they have an interesting silver sheen on the underside.  Evidently they prefer white flowers to any other and can be garden pests although evidently they usually aren't a scourge.  The ones I saw were way down near the river so I remain hopeful they don't find their way up to our roses.  A friend of mine saw this picture and helped me with the ID and the only reason she knew about them was because they had munched on her garden, especially her roses.

This next picture I got because I was originally interested in the wildflower - a winecup clarkia.  When I noticed the spider I refocused on that since I already have a decent image of the clarkia (I'm pretty sure).  I used the black case I have in my camera bag as a makeshift backdrop.  I don't know what kind of spider it is.

I've seen a blue heron the last two times I've walked down to the river - it's not impossible that there is a pair.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Wildflowers that Walk on the Darker Side

Usually one would think of wildflower pictures as pretty and springlike.  Sometimes, the image doesn't call for that.  Or possibly the photographer has noticed current events, and the play of light and dark changes.

Purple Milkweed

Backlit Common Madia

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Yours Truly and Her Very Own Website

I've been thinking about doing this for a while and finally wedged enough time into the weekends and evenings to get it finished.  I've put up my favorite images as well as some silk scarves that I designed and had digitally printed.

The site is:

I'm sorting through quite a few wildflower pics - even though it's been a dreadfully dry winter, some sturdy flowers are popping up.  I'll post some of those soon, but in the meantime, enjoy these Wild Pea Leaves (sorry don't know the species, as there are no flowers yet).  Taken with my Lensbaby, after a lovely spring rainfall.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Rural Living (Dino's Adventure Getting Home)

Photo by Megan (iphone camera) on her way home Thursday

 Dispatch from Dino about his day on Wednesday:

I had an errand in Mariposa, and since it was dry, went to Eastman Lake to remove two Kestrel nest boxes temporarily for a construction project. Since it was still dry after that, I completed another task at Hensley Lake. I thought a town trip was warranted, since I was close, so off to Madera I went. It just started to sprinkle as I was heading to Madera. When I was in Evan's Feed at about 16:00 hours, I could really hear the rain, and the gutters on the streets were full. I left Madera at 18:00 hours, and with the rain and darkness, drove like an old man at 50 mph.

Pulling the grade just past the Raymond church, I noticed that the road cuts were more white than I'm used to seeing. At the Road 600/415 split, snow was sticking to the road. I proceeded up Road 600 and finally hit a curve where I was slipping a bit, so engaged 4WD. At the high point just past the old stage stop, there were a bunch of cars stopped. Some pickup had spun out and blocked traffic. A 4WD towed him out and down towards Raymond, but the half dozen cars that had stopped were stuck. 3 inches of snow were on the ground. At least the stuck cars could get a cell signal, and the ones I talked to had called their husbands or friends to come get them. I found out this morning that the highway into Oakhurst was closed at Deadwood summit, so a few of those cars had tried a detour via Raymond and up Road 600.

Going down Road 810 was another matter. This is a one-lane dirt road dropping 1000 feet. The #$*! automatic with 3:1 first gear hardly held me to a slow speed, but would require more brakes than I'd like to stop. A few bushes were encroaching upon the roadway with the snow, but there was plenty of room to get by. At one sharp corner on the dirt, there was a larger oak in part of the road that covered the tracks of the previous vehicle. Not a good sign, I was thinking. At the paved 10% grade I had to put the Lemon in low range to hold me back on compression, and before the cattle guard, there was a live oak across the road. Damn!

I was not thrilled about backing up the 10 % grade with the ice and snow before I could turn around, and who knows what troubles I'd find on Road 600 back to Raymond and up Bailey Flats Road. I had my nest box installer's tool bag with me, which had a 10-inch folding pruning saw. Working on the trees, I kept hearing trees and limbs falling around me. A reassuring sound to some, no doubt. One hour later, I was back on my way with soaked gloves and numb fingers.

A few hundred feet later, there was a car in the middle of the one lane road, and another live oak down across the road in front of the car. No one was in the locked car. I used some Nixon presidential language about then! My tow chains were at the house where I've been using them to pick up and move moss rocks for a wall I'm building. Besides, this isn't Montana where you need to keep all types of supplies in your vehicle because the weather can change suddenly.  I had some 1-1/2 inch tie-down straps, and was able to use them to drag the vehicle over the ice and snow to where I could push it off the road so I could get by. (I was nice, it was pushed off on the uphill side)

Another hour and I was on the road again. On Bessie Jacobs Road, there are a few trees I'll have to prune back so I can get by with the trailer on Thursday.  On one of the notoriously steeper hills, I lost traction in the clay and was all over the road. I'll have to get a more aggressive tire for the Lemon for winter use. (I was telling Megan earlier she could go with a less aggressive tire for the Toyota, but this storm showed me to stay with what she has.)

End result was 47 miles in 3hours 50 minutes.

Thursday, I cut up parts of seven trees on our road, including two that fell after I had passed by Wednesday night. Since I had the saws in the Ford, I cleared the trees off the remainder of the road that passes through our land, and took one path I have through another parcel, and cut my way through a total of thirty limbs until the sun was setting, and I had to backtrack home. Maybe this weekend I can finish the trail, and see what is across the fences. When it is all said and done, this sure beats living in the city!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Hopeful for Some Speed

They're gone now, but Sierra Telephone was here over the last few weeks digging an underground phone line to our neighbor's new house site.  Since they needed to come through our place to get there, Dino suggested the best way to go through.  It was interesting watching the progress.

Of course I was thrilled to have the opportunity to take pictures of the equipment.  There were four (five?) machines of various types, plus a trailer.  I'm sure Dino knows what all of it was. 

Now that all the work is done, supposedly we may be able to get DSL here.  Finding a replacement for our current very cantankerous satellite connection would be excellent, and I've got a call into the phone company now to find out if we can get it. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

It's Mid January Already?

I mostly bailed on doing chores today and all sorts of other "shoulds" in favor of taking a long walk along the river.  Scared up the great blue heron a couple of times, heard a kingfisher and saw any number of juncos. 

The fungi are in a bit of a retreat just now, what with not much precipitation lately, not to mention the cold weather.  I took some photos of a mushroom with ice crystals on it just for the fun of it.  It's a wonder that this particular mushroom hadn't been obliterated though, by the phone company heavy equipment that is currently digging an underground phone line up to our neighbors.  (Note:  some great machinery shots on their way at some, couldn't resist.)  It was mere inches away from the path left behind by the Cats.

Meanwhile, Dino had called early in the a.m., determined that it was a burn day and headed for the slope below the house to do some cleanup.  This is the same area he'd worked on some years ago, and entropy being what it is, things had gotten untidy again.

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