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Who’s there?

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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!

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Ready?

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If you are, I apologize – I’m not quite ready.

Leaving my beautiful Pacific Northwest and my precious family and animals to visit Mom and two more daughters. Not so keen on being in Southern California, with smog, zillions of cars and folks, lots of concrete and not sleeping in my own bed.

I have many blog posts titled and saved, funny stuff, philosophical stuff and my own unique point of view stuff.   I’ll be back soon.  Did I say that before?   I like to do what I say I’m going to, and believe it, I do remember my promises, even from months ago. Posts about barter, cribbage, awards, ukulele scores and more.

Happily, all the creatures here are very well.  I’m the only one with new troubles.

Have you ever met anyone who’s had say, ten colds in their entire life?  How about someone who’s had the flu, um, three or four times? When I had the chicken pox, I had three or four pox and my siblings were covered in them.

I have the greatest immune system, coupled with healthy thoughts and eating, not sitting around all day, and still strong at nearly 59 years old.  Wow.  Fifty nine.

Sadly, I have developed yet another neurological disorder, and it has kept me from focusing on my writing lately.  Trigeminal Neuralgia – horrendous thing…

So, with that, I work on getting the right medications, will seek out natural and homeopathic assistance, hoping to try acupuncture and some exercises that seem to have worked for others.  It’s not going to kill me, but it sure feels like it.

Stay with me, folks.  I have lots and lots to tell you.  See you in a week or so.

Your friend in life,

Darylann

Time to make the donuts and other (not so) goodies!

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I wake up naturally at 7-7:15 am – I’m ready to make the donuts, so to speak.  Here it is, 365 days of the year.

I throw on warm clothes, cut up some carrots for eight rabbits and one guinea pig and hand them out.  As soon as they hear me, they start dancing and swirling around, waiting for the start to their days.  Making the rounds, I visit four rabbit stalls (two in each) and QueeQuee, who’s already squealing.

They live inside with us, four ‘stalls’ and one  cage.  They take up quite a bit of  room in our tiny house.  Rabbits can’t be left outside – we have fox and other predators and they are sensitive and easily frightened.  I heard one of my rabbits scream once and I hope to NEVER hear that sound again.

Amalie & Didier in their living space, remodeled recently.

I grab a coat, hat and mud boots, go outside to my hay barn, collect the morning meal for my horses, who are watching my every move.  We had quite a storm recently, and attempting to keep the horses from sliding and even falling in the slick mud requires dedication, caring and plenty of physical exertion.

Amalie & Brandy, socializing, in the outdoor areas, several months earlier.

Dipsy waits by the front door now.  Since my daughter brought a kitten in, Dipsy rarely comes in the house.  She’s mad.  I’ve been coaxing her in, and she’s lying on a footstool next to me. The footstool has a name – The Stump.  Guess why!

Dipsy, before she got mad at us.

I feed her on the porch, as requested.  She won’t eat inside anymore.   After she’s done eating, I force her inside, to keep her from stalking and killing any of the Oregon Junco who visit each morning during this time of year.

Oregon Junco, here for the winter.

I wash some green vegetables or herbs for the rabbits.  Every rabbit requires 1/2 to 1 cup of fresh greens daily.  It gets expensive, and some days I gather dandelion, plantain and other edible greens.  Sometimes, they eat better than we do!  I may offer dried pumpkin or squash seeds that I’ve collected and dehydrated,  a fresh apple twig or top off their hay boxes with fresh hay.  Am I done yet?

Maybe.

I think so.  Now, it’s time for a cup of coffee.  I’m ready to do some research, write or crochet – nothing taxing.

But wait!  A few days ago, I wanted to go to the beach!  Point St. George, here we come!  Armed with a big plastic bag, two grabbers or pickers for beach trash, we went, after getting dressed, of course!

Tide was low, and the ocean beautiful as usual.  Anemone plentiful, and though we picked up a bit of trash, we didn’t get much that day.  The trash bin was full, so I hung my nearly empty trash bag in front.  Think anyone will take a hint?

I didn’t bring my camera.

Hey! How did you two get in here?

On the way to the beach, I noticed a woman with a small canvas sack walking in the grass, in front of the conifers along the roadway. Just ahead, a blaze of color!  She was gathering the fungi,  the classic Amanita muscaria, or Fly Amanita!

I decided to continue on to the beach, and look at the roadside on the way back, to see if she’d harvested the fungi.  She had, but there were some left, so we stopped and I pulled a few for study.

Stock pic of Amanita Muscaria, very well recognized classic mushroom

For three days, I couldn’t find my reference guide.  I kept the ‘shrooms in the fridge until I did.  Once identified, I put them next to the can for compost, on the floor.

I did see one yellow Amanita with the crowd. Looked just like this one.

Eating this fungi is not recommended, and since I don’t trip, I won’t be eating them.  According to David Arora, in All That the Rain Promises and More…, Fly, Panther and other Amanita  have intoxicating properties, known for centuries.  This group has potentially dangerous and unpredictable side effects.  They are, however, deliberately eaten by some people for the consciousness-altering effects.

As my mushrooms sat in a bag, they deteriorated quickly, and a brown puddle formed before I realized it.  They’re much larger than you may think they are.

That’s my hand and a mid sized Amanita.

After  I tossed them away, my left palm tingled for a few hours, even though I washed my hands immediately.  Ingest this ‘shroom?  I think not…

Salad plate sized Amanita

After tossing them, I did some research and found a website which offered about a pound of these, NOT FOR CONSUMPTION, at $255.00.  I’m aware that mind-altering ‘shrooms grow readily here in the Pacific Northwest, but no amount of money will drive me to collect for sale.  Further, it’s illegal in California to sell a magic mushroom.

I can’t do it.  I sure could use the money!  My family and animals need me, more than  I need the risk. Peligro!!

I’m looking forward to taking the Mycology class in January at the local Community College this year.

Sadie & Yoshi, my retirees & my first pair of rabbits, who desperately needed a home together. Tight is right!

Meet me over by the Sea Monster!

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On a spur of the moment hike to a secluded, difficult to reach area of beach brought a fine surprise.  One can only get here by hiking Endert’s Trail, which isn’t particulary appealing, except for the few views over the bluffs, and down to the beach to a hidden area over slick rocks, moving sand and water.  My eagle eyes caught a glimpse of violet color in the sandy, rocky sea floor, and I dared not move.

My girl brought her camera, so I called her over and kept the purple sea creature in my mind’s eye.  We waited for the waves and sand that moved over the creature to move low enough so we could catch just one more glimpse.

My finger pointed to the spot where she was to click on cue. I watched the waves ahead, I noted a possible break! Still pointing, I said, “Wait…  Wait… Wait… NOW!”  Click.

Violet colored predatory sun star

The sand and water rushed over  (Sunflower Sea Star) Pyconopodia helianthoides  and we moved on as conditions for another photo unlikely. I struggled over the rocks and sub-tidal sands to get to the pristine, unspoiled colony of sea star, mollusks, anemone and other sea life. I counted 8 arms on one side of the star.  A feast for the eyes!  A feast for a Sun Star!

Large colonies of mussels and other mollusks covered the rocky bluffs.  Massive colonies of untouched sea stars in deep purple, reds, oranges clung to the rocks which would soon be covered in the Pacific Tide.

Sample of pristine sea star colony

I walked without shoes, the cold water soothing my feet after the hike down to the beach.  The water temperature was warmer here than what I remember of the Atantic Ocean at this time of year. Conversely, the air temperature is much cooler.  Most folks who visit are surprised by how cold our beaches are, at any time of the year.

BIG sea anemone, potential meal for Star!

More Sea Star (starfish) colony

The  Pacific Northwest Coast waits for the fallout from the Japanese Tsunami.  We know it’s coming with the tides.  I wonder how this will affect this precious and pristine ecological gem.

Endert’s Beach, Crescent City, California 95531

Two pair of Shoelaces for a Song

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Have you heard the story of One Red Paperclip?

One man, a red paper clip, a trade  and  –  click the link above!

While working on my latest paper sculpture, I used some colorful paper clips.  The reds reminded me of a fun trade I’d made on Craigslist.

Some background

I was showing my pressed floral art work at Art Shows from Lompoc to Hollywood to Lake Arrowhead and won ribbons for my work.  I also belonged to a barter organization.  To join, I ‘gave’  $500 worth of pressed floral artwork  and a small fee.

Pressed floral collage including sweet pea tendrils, lunaria, larkspur, verbena…

Members received a list of goods and services available for trade.  Anyone was free to barter for anything on the list, provided that credits were available.  To receive more credits, I’d trade my own stuff  through the list or yearly conventions. I could use my credits, carry my goods as trade or a combination of both.

I still have the huge hand-made needlepoint wool rug I bartered for.

Later, I became a mother again, and couldn’t travel with my floral artwork.  I became a children’s entertainer and with that, amassed plenty of stuff for my act and my costumes.  There were shoelaces galore, some for shoes, some for rope tricks.  Two pair were new, a red curlicue pair and a long white with gold threads running the whole length pair.

Onto Craigslist they went, under the Barter category.

I got offers, and one stood out.  Matt, who lived in the next small city, said he’d trade a song for the shoelaces.  I agreed and mailed the shoelaces.

Not too long after that, I received the song by email and what a thrill!

We both moved on, Matt having recently become a father for the first time and I, living in the Pacific Northwest.

I chose not to red paper clip the song.

Can you guess what that plan is? 

Do you think this was a fair exchange?

Do you barter, or trade, or would you like to?

 

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