Monday, February 28, 2011

Scrub Jay Winter

We've gotten over two feet of snow in the past several days and have had numerous power outages because the snow is not the powder that we usually get, but heavy, wet stuff. I hate the smell of kerosene lanterns, but I hate the noise the generator makes even more. I won't use candles because candles and cats are a sure recipe for disaster. Of course, if the power stays off too long, DH wants to turn the generator on to keep the stuff in the freezer and fridge from going bad. My method is to fill a couple of large ice chests with snow and stick the stuff in there, lock the lid down tight so the raccoons can't get to it, and stick it back outside. In weather like this, it's colder outside than our refrigerator is even when the power is on! I have to admit, though, that if the power is off for more than four or five days, I'm willing to suffer the noise of the generator. Looking at the lack of 'mod cons' as a challenge to be overcome isn't quite as much fun as it was when I was younger.
This Scrub Jay is an unusual visitor to the feeders in winter. I see them more in the warm months than the cold ones. Like everyone else, he's probably confused by the off again, on again winter we've been having.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Looking Like Winter

Well, a little bit. There's not too much snow accumulated yet...maybe 6 inches or so. But it's still snowing heavily. Thankfully, the winds have calmed down. Last night they were horrendous; we lost power for about a half hour, and I found out my nifty new computer with super fast wi fi loses its Internet connection when the power goes out. That never happened when I had dial-up, of course, because it's a land line connection. But, oh my gosh, dial-up was sooo slow!

I talked to my friend, Kathleen and she said they lost power around the same time we did last night but, as of 3:30 p.m. today Edison still hadn't got it back on. Her house is all electric; thank goodness she has a generator.
Rushing in and out of the house trying to keep the water bowls free from snow and ice, filling the bird feeders and cat food bowls, brushing the dry, powdery snow from my shoulders and hood when I come back in the house gives me a profound sense of calm happiness. Winter is finally here...just as it should be.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


We've been getting a mix of rain, sleet and snow all day. It started last night and is supposed to continue for seven days or longer. The mix is supposed to turn into just snow in a couple of days, so maybe it will finally start to look like winter around here!
The cats, both the inside ones and the feral ones outside, are curled up in their favorite places, snug and warm and dry. I can hear the creek roaring over the sound of the rain on the roof. Periodically, the wind rampages through the little valley making the rain fly sideways and the trees moan and sway in protest. It grabs my cottage and shakes it, then prowls around the eaves and windows keening like a Banshee. Once, a long time ago, I felt so sorry for the winter wind that I opened the door and invited it inside to sit by the fire. It was a terribly rude guest though, and I haven't repeated the invitation.
(The above picture was taken in November of last year).

Monday, February 14, 2011

Betsy is Home!

I took this yesterday afternoon after we brought her home, but I was just too tired to post. And you can see that little Betsy was exhausted from her ordeal, but very happy to be home!
The doctor doesn't know what the lump is on her pancreas, but she is hopeful that it will go away now that Betsy is on the right dose of Insulin for her Diabetes. She gets a shot at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. every day. If it doesn't go away...well, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. She sees the doctor again this Thursday, but (hopefully) won't have to stay overnight.
And, amazingly, Betsy seems to feel a whole lot better already! She's eating well, followed us upstairs to sleep with us at last night, and is back to bossing everybody around. She doesn't even feel the shot because the diabetic needle is so tiny, and that is a real blessing. If they hurt a lot and caused her to run from us once she figured out what was going on, I don't think it would be possible to catch her. As it is, I pet her and give her the shot at the same time and she just purrs!
I got the best Valentine's Day present ever.....just one day early! :) :) :)

Friday, February 11, 2011


This is Betsy, and if anyone has any healing thoughts or good wishes to send her way she could certainly use them.
Today we found out she has Diabetes, plus some sort of lump on her pancreas. The vet doesn't know right now what might be the cause of the lump.
Betsy is staying overnight, possibly all weekend, at the hospital to have repeated tests to see what the appropriate amount of Insulin would be for her.
She's never had to stay at the vet overnight and I know she must be terrified. She is a little feral cat we adopted when she was a kitten; my husband literally snatched her from the jaws of a raccoon 10 years ago when she was only 5 weeks old.
I don't think I'll get much sleep tonight. I wish animal hospitals had the same options as hospitals for humans, then at least I could go sit in a chair beside her.
Anyway, even if you don't post them here, any and all healing, good thoughts and wishes for Betsy will greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ridiculously Early Spring

Well, I guess Spring must be on the way, even though it isn't officially due until March 20th here in the Northern Hemisphere. I've been seeing this little person for the past three days, and even the twigs on the trees are starting to green up.
I really miss the time when the weather and seasons behaved, for the most part, in a predictable manner.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Another Gift From the Forest

I found this piece of Nephrite Jade at the bottom of a creek. (It's the green rock on the right, leaning against a chunk of granite). The sun was striking the water just right, or I would have missed it. Even so, I at first thought it was moss. I thought I'd give it a closer look though, just to be sure. I'm glad I did!
Nephrite Jade is not gem quality; that is called Jadeite and does not occur in these mountains. Nephrite Jade isn't really jade at all, but the similarities between the two stones caused gemologists to eventually start adding 'jade' to the name 'Nephrite.'
Nephrite Jade can be found in mountain creeks and dry creek beds in California, Oregon, Washington, Western Canada and Alaska.
It is used for jewelry and, more commonly, carvings like the little owl (2" high) to the left of the stone. When carved and polished, the green intensifies and darkens. Carvings and jewelry made from Nephrite are not expensive at all; I only paid $45.00 for the owl, which I bought in Alaska several years ago.
I don't plan on having this stone polished or carved. I like it just the way it is, and I'm so excited to have found it!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sunday Sunsets

I took this last week. I wish there would have been snow on the ground; this is the kind of sunset that turns the snow pink and lavender.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Gifts From the Forest

I found this feather from a Band Tailed Pigeon last autumn (or the autumn before that, I can't remember) while walking up to my studio. I always watch for 'gifts' from the forest when ever I'm walking...sometimes even when I'm driving.
I was driving really slow with the window down (I was stuck behind a very slow moving car) when I spotted this little guy on the side of the road. I'm pretty sure this acorn was given his smiley 'hedgehog' face (anyway, that's what it looks like to me) by a squirrel biting it lightly, but I'm not one hundred percent sure that's how it happened. However it got its cute little face, I'm really glad I found it.
I suppose most people would consider these things to be junk, but I really am grateful for my little gifts from the forest and its inhabitants!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Out of Sorts

This little Finch is right where he should be, but our weather isn't. The branch he's sitting on should be covered with snow, or at least wet with rain.

These ferns shouldn't be unfurled yet, they should still be sleeping with fronds tightly curled.

The creek should be frozen solid, not rushing along as free as though it were spring.

I detest it when the weather doesn't behave as it should. It makes me feel disconnected, out of sorts, and out of step with Nature. Oh sure, it's been cold at night, temperatures down in the single digits (F), but then the thermometer shoots back up to the 40's or 50's during the day.

And would you look at grass in the middle of winter! Although it will soon be brown if we don't get some rain or snow. I desperately wanted to pick up this interesting, beautiful piece of wood, but I looked at it closely and, sure enough, the bug people were already setting up house in the various little apartments. Oh well, at least I can look at it when I walk to and from my studio.

I can't stand all this sunshine. It's bad enough that there is so much of it during the summer and fall. I feel cheated when we don't get enough cloudy/rainy/snowy days during the winter and spring.

I know that a lot of people move to Southern California for the good weather, but it irritates me intensely when I see these people being interviewed on the nightly news after we've had two or three days of rain and they're complaining about it! Idiots.

If I loved my little cottage less, or wouldn't miss my family so very, very much, I'd move to ... oh, who am I kidding. My roots go so deep here I'd probably wither and die if I were transplanted. But I certainly wasn't born with a typical Southern California attitude when it comes to the weather.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

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