Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sunday Sunlight - Wild Cherry Blossoms and...

A bee!  I love bees, even though I am allergic to their stings.  But bees have such gentle personalities...they'll never sting you unless you're threatening them in some way.  The way I found out I was allergic was when I inadvertently leaned back on one after I had gotten out of the lake.  She had landed on my back to get a drink of water, but I didn't know she was there and leaned back in the chair and... I still feel terrible, all these years later, that she died because I was being so unmindful. 

We've seen so few bees around here lately, so I was thrilled when I saw maybe 15 or so flying around the cherry blossoms.  My apple trees haven't produced as many apples as they usually do in the past two years and I believe this is due to a drastic reduction in the bee population (as well as an ever warming winter season and an ever shortening rainy season).  Maybe this year it will do better.    

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Robins and Daffodils

There are two robins in this photo, but I never saw the second one until I cropped this photo.  It's over on the left, kind of centered between the top and bottom of the photo.  You can just see a little of its head.  Maybe he or she is the robin's baby? 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Faeries Friday - In the Faery Forest

You can always tell when you've entered a part of the forest where faeries live, even if you don't see one.  How?  Sometimes there is a magical glow coming from certain parts of the trees and plants or perhaps that part of the forest looks greener than the rest.  There might be more flowers.  But for a sure way to tell, even when there are no other signs, look at the bark of the trees.  Oak, pine, dogwood, maple, whatever kinds of trees are in the forest where you live, you will see the shapes of faery faces or, sometimes, the outline of a faery wing or an entire faery.  How do the marks get there?  Love!  The trees love the faeries so much that, as they grow, they shape their bark into the images of faeries.  Of course, the marks aren't easy to see; the trees don't want everyone to be able to see them and know where the faeries live.  Soon the forest would be over-run with humans and the faeries would leave.  Faeries like humans, but not huge groups of them. 

So, the next time you're in the forest, sit down quietly and just gaze around randomly.  Soon you'll see the shapes. . . and if you're very lucky you might even see a real faery!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

One of Those Days

"It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold; when it is summer in the light and winter in the shade."  Charles Dickens 

Still a few little patches of snow hanging on...we were supposed to get some rain and/or snow this Sunday and Monday, but now the weather people say that the storm will miss us by 100 miles.  We NEED rain desperately, so this is beyond frustrating.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Full Moon in March

Well, technically, I suppose it was only 99% of full since I took this last night.  I was afraid it would be cloudy tonight.  The wind was blowing really hard, like it always is in this spot and it was SO cold!  Even though it's been in the mid-fifties in the day it still gets down close to the freezing point at night.  I don't know why the moon is oddly shaped and has some rays around her, I wasn't using a filter.  It's been so dry here maybe there is a lot of dust in the air...but whatever caused it, I like the effect.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Water Magic

Pebbles under ripples of clear water, a tiny bit of the magic that is all around us, all the time, waiting for us to open our eyes and see

Monday, March 25, 2013

A Quotation for Monday

"Spring is sooner recognized by plants than by men."  Chinese proverb 
I would add, "and by little spiders."  Enlarge the photo (left click) and follow the line of the spider's web to just above the top willow branch on the left...that part of her strand is reflecting the light like a rainbow!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday Sunlight

I took this in March of last year.  The light on the Lunaria pod caught my attention first, then I noticed the delicate tracery made by the empty husks.  It's also known as the Silver Dollar plant and Money Plant and, probably, by many other names.  It grows wild all over up here in the late spring and early summer and I'm looking forward to seeing great swathes of its pretty blooms later this spring.  Here's what it looks like when it's blooming:

Friday, March 22, 2013

Faeries Friday - Photographing Faeries

In the early evening twilight of yesterday evening, as one of my young great-great grand nieces and I were walking, I noticed a bunch of daffodils that were already in bloom off in the woods.  Against the darkness of the woods, they seemed to almost glow.  I was going to draw her attention to them, but before I could, she said in an awed whisper, "Aunt you see her?"  Well, my eyes aren't what they used to be, but happily I had my  camera with me.  As I brought the camera up and turned it on, my little companion said mournfully, "Oh no.  She left.  I bet the noise of the camera coming on scared her." 

I sat down on the steps and asked her exactly who it was that she had seen.  I knew it hadn't been a person because my eyesight isn't that bad, but it could have been any number of animals.  They all have names and she knows them all very well, so I was expecting to hear that she had seen Mrs. Rose, the skunk, or one of the many other small animals that live in the forest around us.  But an animal is not what she had seen.

Suddenly, she sat down beside me and whispered, "Quick, Aunt V!  There she is again by the daffodils!"  My camera was still on, thank goodness, and I zoomed in close to the daffodils.  I saw what my sharp-sighted young niece had seen. . . a Daffodil Faery actually painting the petals of one of the daffodils!  Flowers may be colored when they first open, but they need the help of a flower-painting faery to be at their most beautiful, and there is a Faery for each different kind of flower. 

I sat entranced, looking through my camera's lens, when my niece softly but urgently whispered to me, "Take a photo, TAKE A PHOTO!"  So I did.  And this is what we saw:

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Spice of Life

The bird on the left is a Steller's Jay, the Western version of the Blue Jay.  Amazingly, the bird on the right is a Rosy House Finch!  Only he isn't rosy, he's yellow in the places where he should be a rosy red.  I thought a new species of bird was visiting my feeders but when I looked it up on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology I found out that sometimes young male house finches can have yellow or orange where the red feathers should be until they reach maturity.  Too bad they can't keep their yellow or orange coloring because you know what they say...variety is the spice of life!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hello Spring

Today is the Vernal Equinox (or spring: Vernal is Latin for 'spring') and the hours of day and night will be, more or less, equal.  The word 'equinox' also comes from a Latin word, aequinoctium, which means 'equal night.'  This morning at around 4 a.m. (here in California) the sun was directly over the equator so in the northern hemisphere our days will be getting longer, while in the southern hemisphere this is their autumn equinox and their days will be getting shorter.

There aren't many flowers here yet, but the Pink Sierra Currant bushes, the lilacs and a few of the cherry trees are putting out new little leaves.  Here in the mountains Spring is just as likely to bring heavy snow storms as it is warmth.  Last year some of my lilacs didn't bloom at all because of a vicious cold snap.  There are a few crocus in bloom though and the daffodil buds are getting bigger each day. 
I filled this bed with crocus last autumn, but these few were the only ones that came up.  I suspect some hungry little critter ate the rest.  I only hope the crocus bulbs didn't make whoever ate them ill, or worse!  This autumn I'll remember to surround the crocus bulbs with daffodil bulbs because critters never seem to bother the daffodils. 

Anyway, happy first day of Spring everyone!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

When I Am Among the Trees

"When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness,
I would almost say that they save me,
and daily.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, "Stay awhile."
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, "It's simple," they say
"and you, too, have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine."   ~Mary Oliver~

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sunday Sunsets - Aglow

Taken in Autumn of 2008 on one on the little winding roads down in Crestline, California, elevation 4,800 feet.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

But You're Wearing a Fur Coat...

Rita Mae Moonsparkle just said this to me: "Oh, you say it feels like spring is here Mama, but I am a wise cat and I won't give up my blankets until it's SUMMER.  And, by the way, close the windows and the doors!  When the sun sets I get very chilly."

Well, let me rush to do your bidding, Queen Rita.  I live to serve.  (Oops, I'm getting the 'look.'  I guess she's better at detecting sarcasm than I had thought).

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Monday, March 11, 2013

Quick Change

Just a couple of days ago it looked like this up here.  (This was taken on Highway 18 just before the turn off to Lake Arrowhead).  But by today, most of the snow is gone except in the shadowed spots and our high was 59 degrees Fahrenheit! 

The creek is in a big hurry to meet up with the lake.  It's low for this time of year, though.  Usually most of the rocks are under water.  This has been a pretty dry winter, although a very cold one, with only a couple of big storms and a lot of 'nothing much' storms.  I'm still hoping we'll get some really big rain storms to fill up the creeks, springs and lakes, but I'm afraid we might have a very dry spring.  I'm hoping that I'm wrong!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Time 101

"Only fools would think that turning a clock forward an hour would give you more daylight.  That's like cutting off of the top of a blanket and sewing it to the bottom of the blanket and believing you have a longer blanket." 

Friday, March 8, 2013

International Women's Day

Today is International Women's Day, a holiday celebrating women, but most importantly a day to bring to the attention of the people of the world that:  It is an intolerable outrage that, even though it is the 21st century, women  in so many places around the world still have to demand to NOT be beaten, NOT be raped, NOT be sexually enslaved, NOT be denied an education, NOT be killed while the murderers go unpunished, NOT be denied the simple human justice and dignity that most men are given.  

It is getting better, but there is still so much to do.  To see what you can do to help please click on the link below:

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Changing Shapes

I love how the wind sculpts the snow on the trees in certain places up here.  This tree is right on the edge of Highway 18, or Rim of the World Highway as it is also known.  The snow on the pine needles above look like sharp knife blades hanging down, or going up, from the needles.

The valley lies far below, but you can't see the bottom in this photo where millions of people live, only more mountains rising up on the other side of the valley and the blue, blue California mountain sky above.

The wind doesn't care about the people though.  Right now all it cares about is sculpting, creating, changing the shape of things.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Faeries Friday - Morgana

I just got this little hand mirror today in the mail from Kirk's Folly.  They named her, so I'm sticking with that name even though she looks more like a 'Theda' to me.  (Please excuse the cat and dog hair on the black velour; you can't live in a house with this many fur babies and not have fur everywhere...sigh).

It reminds me of something that might have been created during the Art Nouveau period, sort of like the 'Belle de Nuit' pendant, ca 1900 -

I'm glad to have the little 'Morgana' hand mirror as I'm quite sure I could never afford anything that was really from the Art Nouveau period!
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