And for good news about my sister. She's over eighty years old, and during her last mammogram, a lump was found. Various tests were done that showed it was cancer. She had a lumpectomy last Thursday. Her doctors feel confident that they were able to get all of it, since they also removed the main lymph node under her left arm. I've been with her since last Thursday, but she's been watching the news. The newscasters here are making the coming storm sound like we'll get huge amounts of rain at the lower elevations and four to five feet of snow up here. I just can't believe we'll get that much, since the news people tend to exaggerate most things. She was so nervous about me being able to get home (she is the Queen of Worrying, even though I pointed out that I've been driving mountain roads since I was sixteen in every kind of weather) that I finally said I would come home this afternoon. She's doing great, so I felt confident leaving her by herself. Also, her property manager, Arturo, lives with his family on the grounds, so she has someone nearby to call if she needs help. He and his wife, Rosalinda, are some of the best, kindest, people on this earth. What worried me, really worried me, is that she might try to drive, which she's not supposed to do for another four days. She doesn't have a great record when it comes to taking doctors' advice. I made sure the pantry was stocked up with anything and everything she could possibly want so she has no need to go out, and asked Rosalinda to check in on her every so often.
Now I'm going to settle down in front of the fire and wait for the rain...and the irate phone call from my sister telling me she can't find her car keys. Gosh, I wonder where they could be?
I think this little guy (or girl) thought he was hiding from me. I know I was having trouble believing I was actually looking at a robin...in February! Usually they don't show up until April. I even saw a hummingbird the day before yesterday! I rushed to put out fresh nectar, but the hummingbird hasn't been back.
I've been out getting the garden ready because it's been so warm; that's another thing I usually don't do until around the middle or end of April. I'm not taking the pine needle mulch off the hydrangeas just yet, though, because the nighttime temperatures are still below freezing. But, our high today was a crazy 60 degrees F.
I took this photo of a redbud tree ( cultivar Forest Pansy) last May, and I have been waiting since then for Valentine's Day so I could post it and wish everyone a happy Valentine's Day with red, heart-shaped leaves.
Yes...I know. But, I'm a sucker for things like this in nature.
My Valentine's Day present was a replacement Kindle from Amazon at no charge because I hadn't had the old one for a year before it croaked. Yippee! The reason I bought a Kindle in the first place was so that I could (hopefully) find all of my favorite books and have them stored on Kindle in case we have to evacuate for a forest fire. I don't have room in my car for my books and my animals, and when it comes to that kind of choice the books are going to lose. Any thing is going to lose, even treasured photos.
BUT...did I get rid of my favorite, and even second favorite, books once I had them on Kindle? No. I couldn't bear to part with them. There's just something magical about holding a book, the scent of a book, and when I open it up (if I've read it before) I can see my favorite characters coming out to greet me. If I'm reading a book for the first time and it turns out to be a favorite, then I've just made a whole bunch of new friends. The downside of making these new friends with a Kindle is that I then want to have the actual book so I can add it to my shelves (and shelves, and shelves, and shelves...well, you get the idea) of books.
If it weren't for the threat of wildfires up here I don't think I ever would have bought a Kindle. But, it's so wonderful to be able to have the best of both worlds!
I found this cute little teapot at a thrift shop up here. I don't think it's antique, or even vintage, but it just spoke to me...really. It said, "Take me home, I'll brighten up your mantle." So I did.
When I got home, I made a cup of tea and sat down with my Kindle to read. DRAT! It refused to function. I went to Amazon.com and did all the things the help section said to do, but no luck. I haven't even had the thing eight months (it is the Kindle Fire HD). So, I called Amazon and, bless them, they said they would have a new one delivered to me by Thursday, no charge to me since it wasn't even a year old. I sure hope so. I was right in the middle of a really good book.
Thank goodness I couldn't bring myself to get rid of my real books (well, not many of them, anyway). I just don't feel right if I don't have a book to read!
"The hunter seldom realizes when he is the one being hunted. He walks in the woods, rifle in hand, eyes alert for his quarry's prints on snow-dusted ground. He searches for spoor or sits perched in his tree blind, waiting for the bear to lumber into view. It never occurs to him that his prey might be watching him, biding its time until he makes a mistake."
Tess Gerritsen, from her book "The Silent Girl"
This is not my photo, sadly. There are no grizzly bears left in California to photograph because they were hunted to extinction by 1922. Ironic, tragic and stupid, since a grizzly first appeared on the California state flag in 1846 and was signed into law as the official state flag in 1911.
(This photo is a close-up of water in the creek in January, 2011). We received a tiny smidgen of rain early today that turned into a tiny dusting of snow this evening. As my Scots friend, Kathy, says, "Some is better than none." Too true!
But, right now, more would sure be better. I'm hoping for a "Miracle March" like we had some years ago. We received over twelve feet of snow from just one storm!
I took this last May. I had stopped my car, gotten out and taken the photo, when a darling yellow lab came galloping up to me. I put the camera in the car as he joyfully leaped up on me and washed my face. I was hugging and petting him when his owner came rushing out of a nearby house. She was yelling, "Stay still and he won't bite you!" Huh? Then she noticed that I was hugging him and he was licking me. She was astounded. I was astounded that she thought he would bite me...I've never met a lab that wasn't a sweetheart. We talked awhile and she told me she had just adopted him a few weeks ago to be a watchdog. I had no doubt he would be a good watchdog, but I gave her my phone number and asked her to call me if he didn't turn out to be the kind of dog she thought he would be.
The following week she did call me, but it was to tell me she had fallen in love with Sandy and didn't care that he wasn't the killer guard dog the people she adopted him from had told her he was. She said he was great at "woofing" and that, plus his adorable personality, made it impossible for her to part with him. I was so glad, but a little sad, just a little, because I had fallen in love with Sandy, too, and was sort of hoping he would get to come be a part of our "fur family."
I just wish I had remembered to take a picture of Sandy!
We got a tiny bit of rain last night, then a light dusting of snow. I think these two Steller Jays haven't seen snow in so long they've forgotten what it is! The tiny bit of rain and snow aren't anywhere near what we need to get out of this terrible drought, but maybe it's a start...I'm crossing my fingers.
And some other Wildings, big and little, who kindly share their forest with me:
"To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded." Ralph Waldo Emerson
A Young Steller's Jay
Common to high altitude forests all over the west
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Our task must be to free ourselves...by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. ~~ Albert Einstein
June Is Adopt a Cat Month
But, there are always strays who need a loving home - so don't shop, ADOPT! Click the photo for helpful tips on adopting.
If they breathe, they live. If they live, they feel. If they feel, they love. If they love, they are aware. If they are aware, they have a soul. ~ Williams
I love cats because I enjoy my home and, little by little, they become its visible soul ~ Jean Cocteau (That's Malcolm O'Mewy on the chair)
Feed the Hungry
I think we are bound to, and by, Nature. We may want to deny this connection and try to believe we control the external world, but every time there's a snowstorm or drought we know our fate is tied to the world around us. ~~ Alice Hoffman
What I'm Reading Now:
Give a Child a Book
Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors and the most patient of teachers.
Charles W. Eliot
A person who collects or is fond of books. Also, a person who immediately feels safe, happy, even euphoric, when holding a favorite book.
Care for a cuppa?
Where there is tea there is hope - Pinero
Boulder Bay, Big Bear Lake
Click to visit Big Bear
Lake Gregory, Crestline
Click to visit Crestline
Click to visit Lake Arrowhead
A Favorite Quote
"I don't want life to imitate art; I want life to BE art." Carrie Fisher
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. ~ John Muir, from "The California Mountains"
I'm three-quarters Native American (Oglala Sioux and Cherokee), and one-quarter Northern Italian. I live in a little cottage with my husband and our furry "children" in a beautiful, high altitude, California mountain forest where we enjoy daily visits from the little wild creatures. I love animals (you probably guessed), books, photography, tall trees, rain, snow, tea, the moon, creating all kinds of art...and, I'm proud to be a Crone ~ I never thought I'd make it!