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While picking my earliest raspberries for the market on Saturday, I considered the company I keep.

The thorns, the berries, the bees and Amadeus, my little gelding, pestering me at his corral fence for a handout.

And that’s not all.  I was surprise by a number of insects, no doubt pests, and this  –

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lovely California Tree Frog, about the size of a thumb.  🙂  What beautiful camouflage!

No images have been harmed in the making of this post

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Carrying our binoculars  on Saturday, we hoped to catch a glimpse of migrating whales.  Stand at street level on the bluff,  or walk down the steep cement stairs to sea level.

view from the top of the bluff, street level

View from the top of the bluff, street level, Pebble Beach Drive

beautiful sea

beautiful sea, Castle Rock Island

Castle Rock is a 14 acre National Wildlife Refuge and is a half mile off shore.

For more information on Castle Rock NWR, click here

http://www.fws.gov/humboldtbay/castlerock.html

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Run, Run!!  Here comes another wave!!

Black Turnstone.

The birds are rarely far from sea spray.

In flight, they carry a bold and striking wing pattern!

http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Black_Turnstone/id

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It's morning.

It’s morning.

Aleutian Geese pair, roosting.

Aleutian Geese pair, roosting.

Rocky Coastline

Rocky Coastline

How about us?  Can you see us roosting?

How about us? Can you see us roosting?

We didn’t see any migratory whales this time, but we’ll keep looking.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Mama kicked him out!

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Over the last few weeks, we’ve had a beautiful visitor.

The first visit was outside of the garage door, when my husband and the visitor stood about 10 feet from one another, both quite surprised.

The next few visits were under the apple trees.  Pardon the poor quality photos.  The visitor seems more comfortable in the shade or cover of dusk.

Having just eaten an apple, his tongue is out!

This young buck is about 16 months old, and his Mama sent him on his way.  Black tailed deer find new territory miles from the does herd and either stay alone or join a bachelor herd.

In the front yard, picking up apples.

You can see his small antlers, as spikes.  The don’t appear fuzzy at all, here.  This was taken about a week ago, from my front porch, about fifty feet away. When we saw him again yesterday, his antlers had grown about an inch or two!

Not so sure of himself yet. Checking things out…

He doesn’t weigh much, but he’s not thin, either.  Food is plentiful now, and he’s helped himself to the foliage of an apple tree we planted last summer.   Arrrrgggghhhh….

Hey!

I decided to let him eat the leaves, and he didn’t take much, after all.

Looking for dropped apples.

He seems to come about the same time most days. Perhaps he visits and we miss seeing him.

Our horses stand at the fence, watching.  He’s noticed me, but doesn’t seem concerned.  I don’t want him becoming too familiar, or let his guard down, though, as that would make him a perfect target for hunters.  There are many of those around here.

A view from our garage, facing west.

Young buck comes from here, the clearing to the right of the old shed, a meadow setting.   He makes his way here, may cross over the street by the apple trees and returns into cover.

Please excuse the poor quality and the shaky ending of the following video.  Young buck takes a look at me before he disappears behind the spruce and redwoods in the front yard.

We hope to see  him again!

 

Out the door, and all around me

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Red Huckleberry

A wonderful place to live, this!  It’s berry picking season, and the varieties numerous!

My little harvest.

Red huckleberries aren’t for everyone, being tart, and hard to reach.  I spent an hour or two recently gathering some.  You can see how tiny they are, and every berry I gathered is in that small bowl.  Crushed them, mixed a bit of organic sugar in, and served it warm on ice cream.  Wow!  What a punch of flavor!

Seems that the spiders and moths are more active and visible in spring and fall.  It’s not fall yet, but it’s coming, as the nights are cooler and the fog and mist are back in the mornings.

An unusual visitor!

This little moth resembles a bit of redwood bark!  Clever camouflage and astounding what Mother Nature can do with even the tiniest of creatures.  But wait!  What of this?

Why wait?

Every insect, creature, plant seems so perfectly formed! Beautiful symmetry!

Ordinary?

 The ordinary, extraordinary. This reminds me of a kaleidoscope, sans bright colors.

Another moth seeking protection.

 Symmetry, beauty, camouflage, fleeting moments, life.

BIG dragonfly.

During the summer, if the sun comes out in the afternoon, dragonflies circle over the horses, feasting on what I can’t see. Camera in hand, this generous, colorful winged creature, posed on my daughter’s shorts for a photo shoot.

neSpider sense!

Busy eating a bumblebee, Spider resembles the flower it preys from.  The Himalayan blackberry flowers with white and pink tones and stamens very similar to the color of the stripe that this beauty sports along her sides! This bee became a fast feast.

I’m particularly fond of plants that contain courmarins.  My Lady’s Bedstraw, though not abundant, one of my favorite.  When I find a patch, it’s gathering time. I pick a respectful amount and leave the rest to seed, for next year. After it dries, I keep it by my bedside, and put it to my nose every evening before sleep.

Sweet Scented Bedstraw (Galium triflorum)

The Galium triflorum shown above, growing on the redwood carpet and Oregon Sorrel.  This variety of Bedstraw, native, releases sweet smelling coumarins when it’s bruised or dried.

Ditidaht Indians used it to make a hair rinse.  They believed it made the hair thick and lustrous. Will I believe the same?

  The dried flowers were used as perfume. The flowers are so tiny, I wonder how many hours were spent gathering them…

Just behind my house, on the way to gather Bedstraw.

On the way back, just a hundred feet to the back yard, I couldn’t help but see the fruit of the Hooker’s Fairybells.

Hooker’s or Smith’s Fairybells fruits.

Most Indian tribes considered the fruits poisonous and very few ate them. For no obvious reason, Fairybells were associated them with ghosts or snakes.  The leaf shape highly effective with pointed ‘drip tips’ which allows the rain and mist to fall from the tips, precisely.

Next spring, I’ll be watching for Viola blooms here.  I can’t tell now, which variety they’ll be!

Violet, growing on redwood forest floor.

The fairies put the small twigs in front of their opening.  (bottom left)   Is this where the ghosts live?

Our friends in the forest.

 Native banana slugs – haven’t seen many lately.  Perhaps there’s little competition here under the redwoods from the visible, invasive slugs in my back yard.

Fireweed seeds

 The fireweed beginning to set seed, I’m patiently waiting to harvest.  Pondering that, I see the tiniest caterpillar in the world.  Perhaps only in the world around me.

Look at me! I’m only a quarter of an inch long!

This little creature moving across a Rosa Rugosa leaf.  I have fifty shrubs planted, and one leaf with a bright spot, caught my attention.  The caterpillar didn’t appreciate being on my finger, so back she went.

I hope you enjoyed being here with me.  In perspective, a tiny dot on the face of earth.  And I’m loving it.

Postscript – If you have further interest in coumarins, please click on the link below.  There are hazards for livestock, in this regard.

Coumarins

 

WordPress Photo Challenge – Merge

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While beach combing at Point St. George this past February, I picked up shells during low tide.  I often decide in advance, what I’ll be combing for. Low tide during the winter season’s the best for uninhabited shells, such as gastropods, olividae and limpet shells.  Ask any seagull.

I usually wear my reading glasses if I sit on the sand or pebbles but I forgot them and did my best to check the shells for inhabitants.  At home, the shells would have a rinse and sort in a day or so.

However, on this day, I decided to clean and sort that same evening and once rinsed, I put the container next to a bright lamp.  Something was moving in there!  This is what I found, and then, another, even smaller!

Less than 3/4″ long!

I respect all life, well, maybe not flies and mosquitoes…  I created an artificial world for them, and decided to take them back to the ocean in the morning  if they’d just survive the night.  They did.

After feeding all my creatures here at the ranch, back to the beach I went, with two tiny living crabs in their chosen shells.

 

Will someone explain this to me, please?

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Yesterday, my Parkway Drive  statistics did a song and dance.

The post is pleasant, offers my brand of wisdom, practical, with minimal historical information and a suggestion. .  Nothing outstanding, really, just me talking, and sharing my plan to create something out of nature.

The post got a dozen ‘likes’ and no new followers, new commenters.  So what’s my question?

The statistics show over 500 views from StumbleUpon.  A glitch?  Why does this number appear and no sign that the 500 read the post?  No comments, no likes, no new followers, nothing.  No negative, no positive. What does that mean?

Things are back to normal today.  Slow and steady wins the race, except I’m not a turtle and I do like my rabbits.  🙂

Perhaps because I mention Indian tribes here in the states and Canada, many folks visited momentarily.  Perhaps those same folks thought that I’d have something profound to say.

Actually, making cord out of Fireweed is profound. It’s a long process requiring attention, dedication and commitment to the task. Processes such as this – a direct road back to guardianship of and love for our precious earth.

It takes the determination and desire to experience what is real. Making the cord out of a wildflower seems real enough to me!

I want to know how it feels to take the time and how my hands will feel, how the fiber behaves.  How does it feel to make the cord, and how much practice will I need before I have success?

Handmade cord isn’t the goal, it’s the process I want to experience, as have those before me. And respectfully, I’ll take only what I need.

Take a step backward, take the time to do something out of nature –  perhaps you’ll find a sense of  peace and connection to the natural world. Put some meaning into your life.

The question remains.  What happened yesterday? 

Land of Dreams

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This morning, I woke to a very odd dream.

DREAM-

I ran outside to the end of the driveway because my elderly neighbor had two men in trench coats and hats (looking like gangsters or crooked businessmen) standing with him where my mailbox used to be.  They had directed a diorama type guy (not moving, not really human) dig two huge holes in my yard to put a sign up, for keeping the trucks from coming down the road.

Agitated, I asked, “What are you doing?” 

The men ignored me.  I continued to ask, becoming more agitated each time, and they snickered. 

I said, “I’m calling the Sheriff!”

They looked at me as if I were a mosquito –

Suddenly, they’re in my yard, about ten feet in, 25 feet down the driveway, and two new, deep holes had been dug by Diorama man, wouldn’t move or speak and seemed plastic. I could see how beautiful my soil is.  I was very upset.

Now, I’m shouting at the snickering men, the neighbor man, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” 

Neighbor man, the only person in full color, said, “We’re putting in a sign to keep the big trucks from coming in here.” 

I told them to stop and shouted again, “I’m calling the Sheriff!”

Diorama guy stayed frozen but I knew he was aware.  The drab gangster-style men chuckled together and mimicked me under their breath. 

With determination, the old man hovered over the deep holes that Diorama guy dug, looking in, and I didn’t matter at all.

I was very upset and ran to the house to make my call.

END OF DREAM

Possible explanation:

On every side of me, save one, I have property line disputes. I wasn’t made aware of the depth of disputes in this area.  If we claim our land, we make enemies.  If we don’t claim our land – I don’t know.

No trucks come down this road, except for the power company, UPS or tree trimmers.

Over time, land lines altered, assumed, purchased, transferred or adversely possessed and easements created.  Old fences with barbed wire installed by early loggers, though arbitrarily placed, as this “road” was a leg for the railway during early logging. Some think that the old fences are property lines.

Specifically, there is an easement in our driveway for neighbor to enter his parking area in front of his door.  The easement put into effect as a courtesy by his son-in-law before son-in-law sold this property to the next owner, who is a close friend of our neighbor’s granddaughter. The easement doesn’t run the entire length of the driveway anymore, as the “close friend” gave a pie shaped piece of land that was part of this property, to the elderly neighbor, because his family ‘wanted’  it.

Our mailbox post has a platform with two mailboxes on it.  Years ago, I bought two new mailboxes and stenciled them, and Mark mounted them.  If I were to guess why our neighbor has his mailbox on our property, I’d say it was something his son-in-law did, for convenience.  I’d prefer to see this disappear.

The easement is a problem for me. My girl and I plan to spray paint the property line, find where the easement ends, in the driveway.  I can see a surveyor in the future.

Perhaps the latest trigger for my dream is when old man turned off the little drip into a bowl in his front yard.  Birds and other wildlife depended on this little water source and now, it’s off and he tipped the bowl over.  I saw mourning doves, cats and robins all attempting to drink when he “fixed” it, and have since put my bowl of water out for the animals needs.

I realize that I will have to call the Sheriff when it’s time to face the Wicked Witch of the North, with that particular property line.  She’s already told me where to go… and she’s not the only one to the north, who’s expressed anger toward me, for being on my place.

I want my space, to live my life without complications. I’ve had plenty of heartache and turmoil in life, and want no more.  I want to close myself in, invite the wildlife.  To have my animals, my family, my trees and shrubs and fruits, to breathe the air and go outside in my pajamas, harvest my fruit, graze my horse, carry my bunnies out, without an audience.

My girl and I have talked about putting SLOW DOWN signs on the roadway.  The road in front of each of our houses is part of our property, and everyone that lives further down the road, has an easement, of which we’ve twice been reminded.  Why?  I object to speeding here  There are baby quail, cats, birds who are often on the road.  I’m puzzled as to why anyone would live here and not care.

I’ve become increasingly disheartened by the lack of awareness and the disconnect people have to what’s going on in the natural world.  Here, especially here, I had hoped that people would care. Most don’t.

This isn’t a neighborhood at all.  There’s no interaction, no connection.

Is this a sign of the times?  Does this happen everywhere, or do neighborhoods still exist?

Do people care about the trees, plants? Do they care about each other?

Where is my resolve? A Tree Grows in Brooklyn…

 

Weather Report – Crescent City, California 8/3/2012

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  • It’s 10:16 a.m. PST on Friday morning in Crescent City, California.
  • The temperature is 53° with 100% humidity.
  • The fog is dissipating and temps should reach a high of 63° today
  • It’s overcast and will be partly sunny this afternoon.  Since the humidity level will be only 48%, it’ll be nice.
  • Sunset at 8:31 p.m.

beautiful moth on red alder in the front yard

 

And the prize for the best stone ‘whatsit’ goes to –

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Qu’est-ce que c’est?

Standing alone

On our last hike in Gasquet, we stopped by the Smith River National Recreation Area comfort station.  Our hikes were two that day – Darlingtonia Trail and Myrtle Creek Trail, which is an interpretive trail, and we decided to keep going north on the 199, through Gasquet.

I had forgotten that I took this photograph until I saw this one – breathing-space-july-3112

This structure was well thought out.  It’s right next to the 199, amidst brush and trees.  Behind, are homes, and to the north, the Comfort Station.  I am so inspired by this stone structure, that I’m compelled to make one of my own, in miniature, with pebbles of agate and semi-precious stones I find on the beaches here, by the hundreds, when I’m so inclined.  It’s on my short list of artworks that’s poking me in the brain.

Can you picture many men, after a day of hydro mining or logging, as in cutting down the ancient redwoods, physically exhausted, hungry and tormented by mosquitos and other biting insects, sitting here, keeping warm?

Gasquet, though only 13 or so miles from the center of MY world, has a different climate.  Gasquet, CA can reach into the 100’s in summer, and over 100 inches of rain a year.  Snow falls, too.

I’m happy in maritime climate, Crescent City, CA.  Though we had 89% humidity yesterday, it never reached over 70° thankfully.  I’m still waiting for the one day that reaches 72 or 73° so I can give my horses their yearly bath!

Photo of Horace Gasquet, originally from France, courtesy of DBerry2006, Flickr photos.

 

WORLD GUY!!

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www.worldguy.org

Yesterday, I taught my daughter to play cribbage.  We had one round of cribbage, and later in the evening, she asked for another game.  😀 😀 😀   Happy!!!

After the game, she  was studying on her computer.  Then, she said, “That’s who it is!!”

World Guy was rolling his earth ball down the 101 in Crescent City.   I sent an email, thinking he’d be resting for the evening, but when I read his post this morning, for yesterday, he stated that he’d be walking all night. He sounds tired and his writing seemed tired, too.

If I had known, I would have picked him up in MY pick-up truck.  And fed him and his dog, too.  We always carry dog food for the homeless and traveler’s dogs.

It’s a funny place, Crescent City.  Hitch hikers backpacking, grungy, hungry and weighed down don’t get bothered too much, as long as they stand still.  Most just want to see the world and are almost always heading north to Oregon and Washington.  The bicyclists are welcome. We have lanes just for bicyclists and lights specifically for them, to cross the bridges safely. Bicycle friendly place.

World Guy walks for Diabetes Awareness.  My girl saw a “crazy guy walking down the 101 rolling a big ball and walking with a dog.”  I think it’s a good thing, and I wished she’d told me earlier in the day.

Maybe it was the ball, or the dog that the CHP (California Highway Patrol) objected to. I’ve dealt with CHP officers in the past, as getting a school bus drivers license in this state is tough business.  A driver has to do a song and dance in front of an officer, demonstrating her knowledge in extreme detail, of the school bus.  And then, you drive with him, show your skill in handling the 40′ rectangular box.  It’s not fun, really.  I’ve seen women cry when they fail.  CHP are pretty stiff when it comes to what’s okay and what isn’t.

When I drove the bus for the High School, one of the parents was a CHP officer.  We’d go on sports trips together.  I found him friendly and not the same as on duty. In fact, he insisted that I call him by his first name, because he didn’t want anyone to know who he was because, “You never know.”  It was a good plan, really.  Daniel helped me navigate a few times, in or out of  ridiculously tight spots.  It’s good to have another pair of eyes.

I digress.

World Guy may think that he was singled out for harassment –  I don’t think so.  If he were going to be harassed, it’d be by the ‘locals,’ the people born here,  with dogs and guns, big pick up trucks that haven’t been cleaned out since last year’s hunting season and wearing flannel shirts with the top two buttons opened.  The same guys who drink beer for breakfast – hair of the dog –  and give ugly stares to anyone who doesn’t look like a pot smoker, a relative, or someone visiting Pelican Bay State Prison here.

English: Pelican Bay State Prison, looking wes...

English: Pelican Bay State Prison, looking west, taken July 27, 2009, from 6,500 feet MSL (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Never let the locals, the rednecks, the CHP or anyone else ever stop you from coming to see this fantastically unique place on earth, Del Norte county, California.   Most of us stay home during the summer.  We just give way to the hoards of tourists who just pass through, and tend to our gardens and houses, before the rains come again.

This map shows the incorporated and unincorpor...

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