Sunday, October 30, 2005

A Pair Of Pygmies

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Two Pygmy Nuthatches (Sitta pygmaea) peck at an abandoned telephone pole along our walk home from the marsh Saturday morning.
I was trying to be patient until they both came into the sunlight, which never happened, but I kind of like this shot with one in the light and one in silhouette.
This picture reminds me that the really good bird photographer around these blog parts, Cindy M., has tagged me, so if your reading this Cindy I'll try & get to that tag thing tomorrow.

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Not Another Great Blue Heron Shot! Sorry...

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I probably didn't need the zoom lens for this photo because the heron let me get really close.

The sun wasn't up yet so the picture's a bit dark but I like it anyway, the ripples and reeds make for a nice effect I think.

No more Great Blue Heron Pictures for awhile I promise.

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A whole flock of White Pelicans flew over us just in time to test my limited skill with the new camera but I did manage to get this one almost good shot.

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The Elusive White Pelican

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I tried to sneak up on this pelican but 300 feet is about as close as they'll let me get before they start paddling away.
They seem determined to keep me from getting a good close-up photo, but I'm just as resolved to get one, so I'll just keep at it.

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The Planks Are Down!

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Finally, seven days later, the pine planks are down in the living room ready for me to start sanding them tomorrow.
I thought it would take maybe two days but I forgot about all the other stuff that needs doing around here daily.
Anyhow, sorry for the week of no posts, but I did get a few nature pictures on Saturday that I'll post above.

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Breakfast Among The Planked Pines

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Peggy enjoys a relaxing breakfast among the pine planks on Saturday morning October 29th.

We had just come back from a walk to the Stanfield Marsh (photos above) and were about to resume work on the floor which is taking much longer than I expected.

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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Construction Zone

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The pine planks have been acclimating (note the air spaces between the boards) in the living room for weeks now and today I began laying the boards.

If all goes well I should have the living room floor ready for sanding by day after tomorrow.

Dallas wants his ugly green carpet back.

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Friday, October 21, 2005

Our Daughter Is 21

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Jamie is 21 years old today and I've decided to post 21 pictures in tribute to her and the joy she's brought to our lives.

This photo is the first and I'll be posting 20 more throughout the day as I spend it thinking about this loving girl far away on the shores of Lake Tahoe.

Thank you Jamie...

We Love You!

The subsequent photos will be posted below this one in no chronological order.

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New Tricycle Day

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Jamies playful happiness...
...always contagious!

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Early Reader?

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Yeah right!
Always mugging for the camera, Jamie seems to be having difficulty keeping a straight face here.

And as you can see by the book, we were brainwashing her early on too.

I think this photo was taken at a shopping mall studio in Victorville.

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August 1985

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Jamie and her mother a couple of months before Jamies first birthday.

...and yes that's Peggy's natural hair color & curl.

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Clowning With Angie By The Garden

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Angie lived with her grandparents in the house right behind us and, until she moved away, was one of Jamie's best friends so here they are clowning around for me by the garden gate.

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Studio Portrait

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I really love this portrait, it so captures Jamie's direct, forward and exuberant personality.

Just look at that little rascal, I was in deep trouble and I knew it!

The portait was taken in the good old days of 1989, about the time Jamie started school, by our friend Richard Millener at his studio here in Big Bear.

Good job Richard & Jamie.

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A Long Time Ago...

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Jamie and a tired daddy relaxing on the couch in their PJs a long long time ago, March of 1985 to be exact.

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Happy Halloween!

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Jamie and her Cat O'Lantern some Halloweens back.

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Becoming A Young Woman

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Jamie was already becoming quite the young woman when this eighth grade school portrait was taken.

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Into The Music

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Jamie getting into piano at Grandma & Grandpa Griers house.

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The Baby Shower

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Here's Jamie at her baby shower, she couldn't see what was going on from inside the womb there, but we knew she was listening.

The shower was held at Mary & Barney's house (my aunt & uncle) here in Big Bear and the joyful occasion was enjoyed by all those present, including Jamie I presume, seeing how she received a truckload of gifts.

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Sea Shell Necklace

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Jamie on a camping trip to the beach sporting her new sea shell necklace that dad made from shells we collected that day. My tackle box supplied the line and attachments for stringing it.
We still have that necklace around here somewhere and to me it's now a family heirloom just like the leather keyfob you made me in pre-school that still adorns the keys in my pocket right now.

That's our tent and camper in the background.

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Camping & Singing

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Jamie and our friend Elizabeth working on songs to sing by the campfire during one of our camping trips to the Eastern Sierras.

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Another Jamie

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There is another side to Jamie that you won't see very often. This was the first time I can remember seeing her with this sad pensive expression, and I think she had a cold at the time, but the light that day, and her mood, caught my interest enough for me to take several pictures, and this was my favorite.
But it's still discomforting for me to see this sad beautiful face that I barely recognized.

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Graduation Day

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Jamie couldn't decide if she wanted to laugh or cry after her graduation from high school as you can tell from her puffy eyes. Then her friend Daniel brought her roses which cheered her right back up .

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Brand New Friends

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I've always loved this photo of these two innocent young colorblind girls in their matching pink sundresses.

Jamie's new friend was on vacation here for the weekend and their pink & white striped outfits were just a coincidence.

Her friend came to visit a couple of more times while they were growing up but it's been so long ago that I've forgotten her name.

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Off To Kindergarten

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There goes our baby, excited and scared, off to her first day of school.
At this point in my life I could write a book on my feelings about public education, and believe me, if I knew back then what I know now, my kids would have been educated much differently.

One of the great regrets of my life is sending my kids to public school.

I'm sorry...

...and I think the photo is blurry because I get teary-eyed looking at it.

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Olde Tyme Photo

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I hope you'll forgive me too Jamie for all the times I asked the family to dress or pose for pictures, or dragged you off every few years to Richard Millener's studio for another portrait.

I realize none of you were as enthusiastic about this as I was, but you usually humored me.

This olde time photo was meant to portray us as the opposite of ourselves, a rather strict orthodox pioneer family with very serious lives, in dramatic contrast with our free-spirited, fun-loving democratic lifestyle, and to greatly amuse our friends & family.

The irony is, that in hindsight, the portrait turns out to be a very realistic study of us.

While you're not likely to catch me toting a bible, there I am rule book in hand, projecting a moral obligation to enforce boundaries when neccesary, while your beautiful unwaveringly even-tempered mother towers tall behind the family embracing us in her determination to hold it all together by being there for everyone. Your brother already exhibiting his proud defiant independent streak stands, rifle in hand, ready to defend himself and his family from all-comers, while a lovely young Jamie with a huge heart and and a laughing spirit struggles once again to keep a straight face.

We may not have all the right answers but we've sure been giving it a damned good try and I treasure all the memories of my beautiful family and the life you've given me to cherish.

Thank you...

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Snugbugs In The Toyota Camper

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How much fun we all had on our camping adventures to the mountains, the deserts and the ocean.

I knew then that I would never be happier and I wished that we could remain as we were, always.

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Such Joy & Beauty

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I've been blessed with so much joy and beauty in my life but I'll never understand why I'm so very fortunate.

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OK, now I realize there's no possible way to say what needs to be said in 21 pictures, or even 21,000.

What I thought would take a few hours has taken two solid days of teary-eyed reminiscing, all mixed in with the frustration of electronic technology.

But I hope you understand what I'm trying to say, what you mean to us, and how much you've enriched our lives.

This picture of you and your brother says so much more than my words can.

So again...


...and many happy returns.

We Love You!

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Cave Dweller...

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© 1973 & 2005 - jim otterstrom

I used to be a cave dweller and parts of me still are, in my heart, and my DNA.

I lived in this very cave for a period of time, back about 1966, and had I run across a cavewoman maybe I would've have stayed there.

The cave may look primitive by some standards but it was equipped with several homey amenities.

It faces away from the prevailing winds, the exterior granite wall sloping back at enough of an angle to facilitate the building of a fire among the boulders at the entrance, where the warm rocks heated the interior late into the night, yet the smoke still vented to the outside air.

A soft sandy layer of decomposed granite behind the fire pit made for a nice sitting & eating area with an inspiring view, and a good place for sleeping as well.

In the upper right corner of the picture you will see an extra bedroom, its yoni-esque doorway just the right size for a thin agile young hunter/gatherer to slide through, but once inside, the domed ceiling allows two six foot humans to sit upright on a level sandy floor. This is where I usually slept.

The tiny trickling creek flowing along the base of the rock, pooling here & there, provided water, which, after boiling for a few minutes over a wood fire, was quite suitable for drinking, making tea, or cooking rice & beans. Parts of the year some pools were even deep enough for bathing, other times I bathed in the Pacific Ocean, not terribly far away.

Instinctively, you know this is no ordinary hole in rock, uniquely situated as it is, and I never imagined myself as its first human inhabitant. So I often wondered about the people who slept on those beds of sand long before me, quenching their thirst from the same pools. Three jagged notches define the upper left side of the cave opening, and, if you look closely at the one in the middle, you'll see faint sooty traces of smoke from long cold fires, some much older than mine.

And no, I didn't live there with the woman in the photo. She was my girlfriend much later, in the early 1970s when I worked for the Post Office, owned a Nikon camera, drove a Datsun pick-up and dwelt in a man-made house with forced air heat, a gas-range, avocado shag carpeting and a king size bed, but it's the only photograph I have of the Santa Maria Cave, and Annie's lovely presence adds humanness to the picture.

My days of cave dwelling, and the accompanying nights in, on and around that ancient heap of granite, under black skies and blazing heavens, were ponderable times indeed, and are surely as close as I'll ever come to revisiting the womb.

The gravity of stone, to humans, feels like stability or permanence, something solid and protective.

Sheltering in a cave after a day of sharing in lifes magic, mysteries, and struggles, or exploring the infinite possibilities suggested by the moon, stars, and universe above, or simply to avoid the turbulence of an approaching storm, allows people to contemplate their observations from the warm dry safety of a completely natural space.

The primal simplicity of cave dwelling is oddly familiar too, like a long overdue visit to an almost forgotten home.

Perhaps I come from a line of cave dwellers, not an unreasonable thought considering that, sometime during the late '60s, unaware of my cave dwelling inclinations, my younger brother, Kerry, briefly changed his name to Otis Sun, and, for several months, also inhabited a cave.

A cave just barely above the high tide line in the cliffside of a secluded cove near Zuma Beach, the same cave that was later used in the original 'Planet Of The Apes' movie.


Today the Santa Maria Cave sits desecrated, a piece of private property in the backyard of a white stucco box.

Two stories of particle board, drywall, plastic and garbage were deposited directly in front of one of my most treasured places like so much excrement.

The builder made no attempt whatsoever to match the ugly pile to its gorgeous surroundings.

And the secluded valley I knew in those Santa Monica Mountains is now populated most noticably with Hummers and Cadillac Escalades roving back and forth between million dollar mini-ranches and the jobs that pay for them.

Even in my time there, when the cave was literally out in the middle of nowhere, you could already see an ominous glow at night, radiating above a ridge to the north, beyond which, the "greater" San Fernando Valley I had escaped from was already lain to waste, so you knew what was coming.

Now it's just another place I don't go anymore...

... and I'm sure the Serrano Indians that populated Big Bear during the summers of past centuries wouldn't want to visit what has become of their forested mountain valley either, where our little cabin now sits, among all the others, between paved grids of asphalt and noisy speeding cars.

How much of our planet will end up like this before it's over?

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Monday, October 17, 2005

Beautiful, Beautiful Thunderstorm...

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I took this photo yesterday after a light morning rain had fallen, a rain that was just a teaser for what was to follow.

Last night we enjoyed one of the most dramatic thunderstorms I can remember, the flashing, crashing and booming continuing relentlessly until dawn.

Upstairs, in our little cabin, with the rain lashing at the roof, the wind swaying & ripping at our forest of Jeffrey Pines, and the constant thunderous trembling of earth & sky, it was almost like being in a tiny ship on a storm tossed sea (minus the seasickness).

Nobody slept much, we just laid here, all cozy like, taking in the spectacular show mother nature was providing.

Well, the humans were enjoying it anyway, Dallas was terrified and spent the whole night on the bed with me, Peggy, and our two cats, Trinity & Neo.

We received over 2 inches of rain & hail last night and the storm continues today without quite the drama, a more subdued thundering, but with lots of intermittent driving rain. My guess is that we've had another inch to inch and a half of rain this morning and the storm is supposed to continue into Wednesday.

So I'm spending the day indoors by a warm fire reading some and checking up on my blogger friends while enjoying the aura of rightness emanating from the forest around me.


OOoooooooohhhhh! The drama has resumed, I think I'd best turn off the computer for awhile.


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Saturday, October 15, 2005

Places Lost...

There are places I don't go anymore, places that were special to me once but have now become different kinds of places.

One of those places is where I grew up, the West San Fernando Valley on the outskirts of Los Angeles.

When we moved there from Santa Monica in 1949, I was four, and the West Valley was a rural agricultural area, sheep pasture, row crops and orchards as far as the eye could see, broken only by dirt roads, small farmettes & chicken ranches. Old barns and tractor sheds dotted the landscape and the Los Angeles River, running through the middle of it all, was a meandering creek teeming with wildlife. My dad had a small backyard chicken ranch and an egg route he delivered out of the trunk of his '41 Chevy.

That's all gone now, replaced with a sickening smoggy sprawl of freeways, parking lots, apartment houses, strip malls and big box discount stores, the rich living earth buried beneath concrete, asphalt & crapboard slums, while the magic river of my childhood, home of dragonflies, pollywogs, frogs, butterflies, snakes and birdsong is now a cement box flood control channel.

I try not to go there anymore.

Long ago I moved to the mountains, first the Santa Monica's, until the 1970s Yuppie boom priced me out, then on to Big Bear in the San Bernardino's, which I then called "The place that time forgot".

But somewhere during the past 25 years time caught up with Big Bear which, now of course, is just another ski resort boomtown well into its own ruination.

This is still a very special place though, in that we're surrounded by hundreds of square miles of National Forest, where the beautiful solitude of nature is only a short walk in any direction.

Yet there are places here that I don't go to anymore either, places like Crystal Mountain.

Crystal Mountain is no more than a knob of shattered, decomposing quartz debris overlooking the Mojave Desert from a 7,000 foot vantage point.

A few yards off the Pacific Crest Trail, at the east end of Bear Valley, Crystal Mountain languished for decades in close proximity to a ramshackle little paradise once called Shadow Ranch.

I don't know what they call the place now and don't care.

Shadow Ranch consisted of what looked to be an old bunkhouse, situated all by itself on several acres, at the end of a dirt road in a small secluded valley. There was a dog that barked from the porch whenever someone hiked past on the trail, and a chicken coop that housed a few hens & a rooster.

Behind the house & chicken coop was a large outcropping of granite, covered in bright shades of yellow, orange, green and purplish lichen, and atop this pile of painted rock, facing the desert, sat a rickety aluminum lawnchair with a beer can holder.

I never saw anyone sitting in it.

I dreamed of owning Shadow Ranch, of living there and taking in tired hikers on their way from Mexico to Canada or vice-versa...

...and of kicking back in that lawnchair drinking craft beer & losing myself to the immense vista of the Mojave and the mountains beyond.

But all that's gone now, replaced by a 5,000+ square foot McMansion, a paved road, mercury vapor lights and a stable of SUVs.

I haven't seen it because I won't go there, but my fiddle-playing wildlife biologist friend MaryAnne described it all to me in excruciatingly painful detail.

Eleven years ago, when I still owned four wheels with an infernal combustion engine, I drove to the PCT trailhead at Highway 18 and took my last hike to Crystal Mountain.

I wrote more in those days, and what's written below is my journal entry from that morning.

I don't know why I'm sharing this today, except that it's another Fall and I was thinking about the place.

Crystal Mountain Sunrise

Has it been half an hour since I parked the truck in fading darkness and wandered onto the gainly curves of the Pacific Crest Trail?

The minutes have been lost between here and the highway, evaporated into a perfume of damp sage and pinyon.

Nonetheless, I remain involved in the friction back where distant radials slap steel belts to asphalt, broadcasting their hyperactive drone through the stillness of dawn to this crag where I wait for the sun.

An airbus churns a curdling howl from the atmosphere above, its vapor trail narrowing to a needle of cold aluminum splashed in a bath of golden firelight. People sit up there in the morning glow, peering from microscopic windows into a wild blue haystack, as I look down to the brass sun-pendant strung by rawhide from my neck. Cast by the hands of my stepfather the pendants pointed rays frame the finely carved features of a womans face, and I’m drawn into the blank stare of her ball bearing eyes transfixed eastward in metallic meditation.

With equal contempt for all that is sacred, the racket of man’s machinery intensifies its assault, blaring from the west, from Bear Valley’s roadways, runways and subdivisions, through horse-trail, footpath and beyond to find each secret quiet place where man has never been. The roar rises, then fades, leaving only the breath of the wind raking toward the desert, ever cleansing our smoky stench from the air.

Sipping hot coffee amidst the quartz debris known as Crystal Mountain I contemplate the crumbling rubble.

Slowly the disintegration continues, glittering in endless shades of white, pink and beige until rock again becomes fine particles of soil for nurturing lacey webs of textured flora.

In this shallow crystalline graveyard of impossible hues, a closer look reveals tiny fungal lives clinging to stone, clothed in fuzzy earthy ochres, olives, grays and rusts and harmonizing perfectly their combined energy to create a living aura of great complexity.

Joshua Trees and Pinyon stand from their beds of stone defiant of the coming winter as if they were statues eternally bronzed in the shock of sunlight now squeezing through low cracks in a horizon of fleeting clouds.

A light rain fell here yesterday and the musty fragrance still flows around all who care to notice.

Sailing dark and proud the remnants of the storm hang about bending rainbow light through myriad spectral prisms, and closely huddled, they seem to mull the option of one last shower as the second day of September is born.

The droning, the friction, and the wind accompany me to a precipice.

From my seven thousand foot perch I gaze to the northeast, across the Mojave, where a pastel haze softly mixes desert with mountain and moving sky to paint a terrestrial landscape of planetary dimension. In the east, the sun finding another hole, sends a fan of luminous rays to kiss the rock good morning while a clump of drying sage tries for resurrection and chartreuse splotches of lichen look on hopefully.

A gentle breeze moves through it all, smoothing the edges of dead wood, of stone and the hard noise of man.

And now, a dog barks to the crowing rooster over at Shadow Ranch.

September 2, 1994

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Friday, October 14, 2005

Banner Blue Heron Day!

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During my 25 years here in Big Bear I've never seen more than two Great Blue Herons at one time until this morning.

I counted four of them in the west end of marsh and I think there was a fifth in the main lake where it joins the marsh.

I didn't see any of the other four fly over that way but I couldn't see them all at that time.

While I was taking the picture below another of the giant birds flew so low over my head it could've grabbed my hat, a very fun morning indeed!

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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Fall Quaking Aspen Leaf

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I spent some time this morning photographing leaves on a Quaking Aspen and I think this is my favorite shot.
It was taken at 8:15 as Dallas and I dilly-dallyed homeward from the lake.

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Great Blue Heron

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This Blue Heron was very intently dabbling for breakfast at 7:36 this morning in the Stanfield Marsh as Dallas and I meandered around the shoreline.
I suspect this one is a youngster because it's a wee bit smaller than the other two we've seen here for several years, and it's not quite as skitterish yet either.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Earth Home Garden Library

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Even with all the thought & effort we've directed toward simple living, and reducing our consumerism, I'm still addicted to books & music, so here you see the results of a lifetime of reading & listening.
This composite of two photos shows about 2/3 of the library.

The books cover a wide range of interests including organic gardening, small scale farming, the raising & caretaking of poultry & livestock, composting, permaculture, self-sufficiency, sustainabilty, ecology, species diversity, native-plant gardening, simple living, alternative lifestyles, alternative transportation (pedal-power), human powered tools, arts & crafts, classic & contemporary literature & poetry (especially that related to ecology and a sustainable future), histories of empire building, colonization, imperialism, globalization, fascism and the corporate state, the military-industrial complex, democracy & dissent, political history, socio-economic classism, racism, religion, genocide, anarchy & survival, and practical guides on everything from primitive skills like basket weaving, acorn preparation or hand tanning hides to more contemporary manuals on carpentry, earth-friendly houses & their construction, alternative energy (such as solar & wind power) and several titles on watershed and habitat restoration.

There are also many books on healthful cooking, holistic medicine, medicinal plants & herbs, grammar & writing skills, philosophy, human sexuality, a large assortment of books on natural history, evolution, geology, biology, botany and related technical manuals, journals and field guides, Beacham's 6 volume reference guide to endangered species of North America, a 10 year collection of World Watch Institute's 'State Of The World' reports, dictionaries, encyclopedias, atlases, music books and more...

All in all, probably close to 1,000 hand-picked volumes which are an invaluable resource, and will be even more so if "civilization" continues on its present course, which seems highly likely.

On the music side there are over 2,000 CDs spanning nearly a century of recorded music.
A large collection of early American mountain & folk music (fiddle, banjo, classic ballads, hillbilly & cowboy music) as well as hundreds of historical folk recordings from vanishing cultures of every continent on earth, and there's country blues, delta blues, blues, r&b, cajun, reggae, jazz, big band, swing, country, western & western swing, pop, doo-wop, rock, modern jazz, classical, contemporary folk, alternative, hip-hop and contemporary world music.

Again, all hand selected during a lifetime of fascination with music (& dancing) and its historical & contemporary significance to people's lives & times.

I'm often rather self-conscious about possessing this large library of stuff, but to me it represents a lifetime of research and self-education (I'm an unrepentant high school dropout), and I like to think it might someday be treasured by a small community of like-minded folks as part of a library for their own research, education and (hopefully) home-schooling.

By the way, the couch is a second-hand freebie, the lamps were bought at a yard sale for 3 bucks each (we had to buy shades), the curtains were home-made from remnants, our musical instruments were all purchased used (except for the ukelele which we got from the local music store that was going out of business), many of the books & CDs were purchased used, the signs on the wall to the right were also freebies (found art junk Americana from defunct gas stations of the terminally ill petroleum age), the fan that cools the room in summer is 100 years old and our little cabin was hand built in 1969 by the old guy we bought it from.

There, I feel better now! ;~)

See what stuff does to you?
Sometimes I feel like Frodo with that damned ring!

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Sunday, October 09, 2005


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Neo the freckle nosed mouser relaxes on the couch next to Peggy this evening.
This is a weekend cat blog inspired by Farmgirl.
Can you make out the three tiny black dots (freckles) on the tip of his nose in the enlarged photo? Posted by Picasa

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Friday, October 07, 2005

A Morning Hike

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Peggy and I went up to explore this picturesque little waterfall alongside the Santa Ana River Trail at about 7 A.M. on our well-deserved hike today.
Sunrise was at 6:47 so it was still quite dark down in this canyon and I had to use a flash to get this picture.
The heavy snows of last winter and our wonderful monsoon summer have kept even some of the smaller tributaries of the Santa Ana River flowing nicely for this late in the season.
Just the sound of falling water refreshes the spirit...
Posted by Picasa

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Santa Ana River Trail

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Peggy and Dallas pose on the Santa Ana River Trail near the waterfall as we hiked back out. Posted by Picasa

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A Cool Fall Morning On The Trail

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Hiking out from the waterfall on the Santa Ana River Trail at 7:30 A.M.
The recent cool mornings are a harbinger of the colder days soon to come and we were already bundled up, gloves & all, for this brisk walk. Posted by Picasa

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Thursday, October 06, 2005

Jimmy, Lindsay & Dallas

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Lindsay just returned today from a visit home to Evergreen, Colorado where she visited her parents.

I'm sure they were quite relieved to verify that Lindsay's all in one piece after going over the cliff with Jimmy, but I can testify for certain that Jimmy is elated to have her back here again.

Posted by Picasa

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It's hard to believe that just five short weeks ago these kids went over a 450 foot cliff in a Toyota 4X4.
I had to post two pictures of them today just because I could.
This is an extremely lucky young couple and we're so fortunate to still have them in our lives.
Now comes the job of caring, nurturing, promoting health & healing, and patiently waiting for improvement in Jimmy's vision.

Keep sending those positive thoughts and well wishes our way...

...and THANK YOU ALL!!! Posted by Picasa

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Fall Creeper...

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    A lone leaf, in fall color, hangs by a last thread from the Virginia Creeper on the vegetable garden fence.

    Somehow the fall chores are getting done, the cordwood is stacked, newly planted fall/winter greens are sprouting in the raised beds and the deck is freshly varnished, ready for snow, and lots of it I hope.

    I also hope to get a coat of paint on the east & north facing sides of the house during the next couple of days and then we're ready to start working on new flooring in the house.

    Since 1969, when it was hand built by the previous owner, our little cabin has been carpeted with ugly lime green hi/lo carpet accented with chartreuse linoleum in the kitchen, bath and entry, I mean really ugly stuff!

    In fact the colors were so ugly I almost passed on buying the house, which was close to ideal for us otherwise.

    Unfortunately, the floor coverings were like brand new when we moved in, and one of the mottos we live by around here "Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make Do, Or Do Without" requires that, when we wear something out, we wear it out all the way!

    Consequently, we put up with that putrid green dust magnet ugliness for 25 years, until it was so grimy and worn out that even old Bohemian types like us couldn't stand it anymore.

    Peggy and I always knew we preferred wood floors but didn't like the idea of using up more of the world's dwindling hardwoods just to walk on, so my first idea at floor replacement was to make a sort of mosaic patterned floor with 1 inch thick rounds cut from cords of readily available firewood, but I would've had to fill the gaps between the rounds with some sort of fiberglass or plastic resin which didn't agree with my ecological sensibilities, and I surely didn't want to use toxic substances inside our house.

    So we decided to install wide planks of common pine (11 1/2" wide) over the plywood subfloor and, after doing some research on the internet, I found a non-toxic adhesive (Taylor 2071 Tuff-Lok X-Link Wood Flooring Adhesive) and a non-toxic floor finish manufactured in Germany (Osmo Hardwax Oil) that we will use on our floors.

    We finally tore out the downstairs carpet on the weekend of Jimmy's accident (and Hurricane Katrina) and have been living on rough plywood under-flooring every since, no big deal really, but there's also the 16' long pine planks stacked in our small living room, saws, tools, buckets of glue & hardwax oil where once was a couch, coffee table and dining area, and any day now, I'm actually going to begin installing our new floor.
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