Wednesday, September 28, 2016

L is For...

Lenticular clouds over...
Lake Gregory.
Large clouds over Lake Arrowhead...
...and lawns around Lake Arrowhead.
Also, lilacs...
and Merlin and Malcolm, two brothers who love each other!

Linking with: ABC Wednesday

Monday, September 26, 2016

Beautiful Colors

When I saw the multi-colored leaves on this Pacific dogwood (Cornus nuttallii) tree I was entranced.
The feather from a Steller's Jay made it even better.
Nature sure used all the colors on her palette for this tree...

Linking with: Through My Lens
                    Monday Mellow Yellows
                    Blue Monday

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Autumn Arrives

Yesterday and today were wonderful.  Lots of clouds, some sun and high humidity.  Well, high for up here in the mountains...54%.  And, our highs were only in the 50's F! 
I found a couple of small maples down by the lake that are starting to get brilliant color.
Just in time for the Autumn Equinox!
Sadly, we didn't get a drop of rain, even though the San Gorgonio mountain range got over an inch.  That range and the one I live in, the San Bernardino mountain range, are only about 50 miles apart ~ as the cloud travels :D
The clouds certainly looked like they had plenty of rain inside them as they passed over.  But they were selfish clouds, and did not give these parched mountains any rain. 
This weekend temperatures are supposed to shoot back up into the 80's, and dangerous Santa Ana winds will be blowing, which means high wildfire danger.  So, I'm really enjoying right now...it's 44 degrees, the cats are snoozing in front of the fireplace where a cheery fire is burning, and I'm drinking a cup of hot cocoa.  Bliss!


Linking with: Skywatch Friday

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

ABC Wednesday: K is for Kitty Cats

Do all kitty cats love paper?  I know mine become absolutely crazed over paper and boxes.  I think Merlin is thinking, "I hope mom isn't going to throw this paper out right now.  We've only had a couple of hours to play with it, and we need days and days!"   I think that's wishful thinking, Merlin, because paper usually only lasts for a couple of hours before you guys have shredded it completely, and I need to get out the vacuum cleaner...

Linking with: ABC Wednesday

Monday, September 19, 2016

Shooting Stars

This is Western Columbine (Aquilegia formosa), a California native that's found all over western North America.  It has lots of common names: shooting star, crimson columbine and Sitka star are a few.
It's easy to grow in partial shade to full sun, as long as you're not trying to grow it in clay soil.  It likes consistently moist soil, as on the banks of a stream or a seeping spring.  I've had good luck growing it in pots, too.

Linking with: Through My Lens

                    Macro Monday 2

                    Monday Mellow Yellows

Monday, September 12, 2016

Slowly

Autumn is slowly, very slowly, coming to the mountains of Southern California.
Some of the leaves are starting to turn.
But most of them are just drying, dying and turning brown from the drought.
Most boats have been taken out of the water until next summer.
But, I saw one little lonely one way out in the lake.  Well, it probably wasn't lonely...this is the best time of the year to be on the lake...no crowds!
The Arrowhead Queen was trundling around the lake, too, but I only saw one person on board. 
Tonight it feels like autumn is already here.  It's almost 10 p.m. and the temperature is 46 degrees Fahrenheit.
I made a small fire and we all really enjoyed it, Anthony especially.  It will probably get warm again, but I hope that it won't last too long.  Now, if we could just get some rain...

Linking with: Through My Lens

Friday, September 9, 2016

Skywatch Friday

Looking out over the San Bernardino valley, it seems like it always has a haze of smog these days.
The berries of the Blue Elderberry bushes are ripening.  I tried making jam from these once, but they're a real pain to pick and sort through.  Humans can't eat them raw, they must be cooked.  The birds love them though, so they don't go to waste. 
I worry about the children who have to live in, and breathe in, that smog.  It can't be good for their health. 
And, I spotted a California Sister in my garden today. 

Linking with Skywatch Friday

Monday, September 5, 2016

Rows and Flows of Angel Hair

I took these photos in early November of 2009 from about the 5,500 ft. elevation on Highway 18.
The clouds were changing shape and color so quickly...
I was reminded of some of the lyrics from the Joni Mitchell song, Both Sides Now.  "Rows and flows of angel hair...
and ice cream castles in the air...
and feather canyons everywhere."
I never get tired of watching clouds. There haven't been too many lately to watch, but yesterday we did have some very early morning fog from a Pacific marine layer that managed to make its way here.  The temperatures have been lovely, though, for the past couple of days, even without a cloud cover.  Last night our low was 42 F.  It was a welcome relief after a stretch of night time temperatures in the 60's. 

Linking with Through My Lens

Thursday, September 1, 2016

September

September 1st...no rain in months but, somehow, the few apples that the poor trees managed to produce are ripening. 
So are the acorns.
The ferns are...well, mostly drying out, but a few are turning gold.
I did find one plant that's turning fall colors, higher up on the mountain.  I didn't bring any home, though, because it's poison ivy!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Blue, Beautiful Blue

Skies have been beautifully blue lately...sadly, no clouds, but happily, very, very happily, no smoke from fires!  And, the temperatures have been lovely the last few days with highs only in the low 70's.  

Linking with: Skywatch Friday

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A Landmark

This statue of a Serrano indian marks the entrance to the Arrowhead Springs Hotel in the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains.  Well, it started out as a hotel, then was used as a navel hospital during World War II, then it was a hotel again, then it was used as headquarters for a religious organization.  I'm not sure what it is now, or who owns it. 
The hotel gets its name from the natural landmark on one of the hills behind it.  It was frequented by the rich and famous for years; Elizabeth Taylor honeymooned at the hotel with Nicky Hilton. 
The landmark is an arrowhead.  The Serranos believed that it pointed down to the location of the hot springs, and considered it holy ground.  It's certainly shaky ground...it's  very close to the San Andreas fault line.
The arrowhead has been burned over to many times to count, but it always comes back.  Nothing is done to maintain it.  The arrowhead is also where Lake Arrowhead got it's name, even though you can't see the lake from the arrowhead and vice versa. 
These photos were taken a couple of years apart.  It's easy to get photos of the hotel from Hwy 18, but you have to take the Waterman Canyon turnoff to get to the hotel's driveway, and I kept forgetting. 

Linking with: Through My Lens

Friday, August 19, 2016

Skies and Flowers

Monsoon rains are falling out over the Mojave desert to the southeast of us, but nothing here.  It hasn't rained since April, and that wasn't enough to even measure.
To the east and north of us, the Blue Cut fire still rages unchecked.  (Lake Gregory is a tiny, light blue smudge just above the center, and to the left, of the photo, about 10 o'clock) and Lake Arrowhead is the large lake.  (Photo from Rim of the World, by R. Lagler).  At the latest count, 96 homes have burned.  This monster of a fire moved so fast (10,000 acres burned in the first four hours) there was nothing anyone could have done to stop it.  Right now, the area burned totals over 31,000 acres.  No human lives were lost, but who knows how many precious animal lives were lost...I grieve for those little lives, and for the people and animals who lost their homes.
This is what the smoke looked like from Lake Gregory in the valley where I live. (Photo from Rim of the World, by M. Jordan).  The Pilot fire, just over the ridge from this valley is still burning, but it's fully contained and nearly out, thank God.
Near the base of the tree in the first photo I found a little Hoary Tanaster (Machaeranthera canescens) blooming.  They usually don't bloom until the middle of September, and are hardy wildflowers common in the San Bernardino mountains. 
I'm linking with:  Skywatch Friday
                         
                         Flower Friday
                         Floral Friday

Please click the above links to see many beautiful photos!

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