Thursday, August 19, 2010

Country Roads, Trains, and Wildlife in a Suburban Garden

Note:  Those of you who were interested in reading about Henrietta Lacks and the HeLa cells may want to check out the comment by Upupaepops on yesterday's post. I also found out from my friend Jane that the book is still on the NY Times Best Seller List. Great!

Today, I'm going to my diabetes support group for the first time since April. Since my social life here is not much to write home about, I'm very happy to be able to drive and go places and see some friends again. I had a lovely day yesterday. I went to my brother-in-law's place in town to do some laundry after I took care of some other things, including a visit to the dump.

As I left the dump, I noticed the view of the wind farms that line the mountains to the east of town. I hope you can see the wind turbines on top of the mountains in the background.

A good thing about country roads, other than the songs they inspire, they are empty. Never did I drive so long without a break job!

You may meet more trains here than you do cars.

This was a long one and must have been a great sight at the Tehachapi Loop. It's too much to explain here, but the Tehachapi Loop is an engineering feat from the 1800s that made it possible for trains to come from the San Joaquin Valley below up the steep mountain to an altitude of 4,000 feet. The loop draws fans from all over the world and it's one of the area attractions that I promised to blog about.

The street my BIL lives on.

As I opened the sliding doors to his lovely garden, I found more wildlife than here at my house in the canyon. But there is an attraction!

I tried to enlarge this beautiful bird. Not a very successful attempt, I know.

The bird sat there for a long time, looking distressed. I think it was more than giving up the food attraction that upset it. I, of course, need some help in identifying this bird. It's smaller than the red-tailed hawk and larger than the kestrel, the two hawks I see in the canyon. It had a dark brown/grey back and wings and a speckled front and rough on top of its legs. Please let me know if you can get a good enough view to identify it. Gorgeous bird and what a treat to see it fly back and forth close by me in the garden.

There were also plenty of hummingbirds. This one is taking a rest.

And ground squirrels.

This one was so cute in the lavender. So what was the attraction?

Apples, apples and more apples. That's what they were all after and so will I be in a month or two. There are two large apple trees and one pear tree in this garden.

How fun a Centigrade and Fahrenheit thermometer! Unfortunately, you can't see how warm it is, so take my word for it: 92F and 33C in the shade. And it felt cool and pleasant in the shade in this garden, so much cooler than here in the canyon where it was at least 100F yesterday. Then the camera batteries ran out, so I have to buy some tomorrow. Can't be without my camera.


  1. What a lovely garden your BIL has! No wonder so many critters come to visit. I'm not good at raptor identification, but I bet that, when Upupaepops comes along, she will be able to identify it.

  2. Yes, Louise, if she doesn't show up, I'll have to send out an SOS for her assistance. I still need help with those peepy big birds. I have to work on learning a few more things about my camera program, the good one, not the simple one I've been using.

  3. Beautiful country! Gorgeous garden! I believe the hummingbird is on guard, to chase away any other hummingbird who dares to come into it's territory. Yes, a garden is always cooler, that's why I would like some more trees on our property. I am so glad that you finally have your freedom back and can get out and about!

  4. I agree with Louise, love your BIL' garden. I admire people who can make any garden look inviting and a place of relaxation and peaceful tranquility especially with lots of wild life to attract at the same time.

  5. it is a falcon, merlin and prarie would be you eliminators

    Hard to tell what size it is , relative, though my first impression is that it is looking skinny.

    I tip a bit towards Prarie

  6. The bird looks like a hawk, but what kind-I couldn't tell you. In our area we have the red tail hawk and then another one, very similar to this one, with brown/gray wings and back and the ivory/brown speckled underside..

  7. Sharon and Tina, I will let my relatives know how much you liked their garden. I did too, it was the first time I have taken advantage of it while no one else was home. Very lovely and peaceful.
    Upupaepos: I'm thrilled that you visited my blog today. I really want to learn about birds. And I forgot this one had some white and I think it is a prairie falcon. I don't see the feathers on the legs on the merlin photos, nor the lighter color. Thank you so much.
    Polly: I think it is a prairie falcon. It was much smaller than the red-tailed hawk that we have plenty of here in the canyon.

  8. Add me to the list of garden admirers. Thanks for stopping by, have a wonderful weekend=))

  9. I was born in the San Joaquin Valley and am very familiar with the Tehachapi mountains. When I was a kid, we used to travel Route 66 all the way to Needles and I remember crossing over the mountains into the valley. Haven't been back to California in 35 years. Nice pics, I love the desert.


  10. Nice pics:) Sure glad you are able to get out and about now.

  11. Thanks for the tour of your area Inger. I love seeing other places in the different from where we live.
    That hawk was very tame to be so near you. Is that usual?

  12. Marty: I have to let my BIL and SIL know their garden was much admired by all.

    Ninny: I was in OK once to visit a friend and drove through on my way to CA in 1972. A long long time ago.

    Rachael: Me Too!

    Jabacue: You are so welcome to the tour. More of that to come. I think the falcon had something that belonged to it in that garden.

  13. Your BIL garden must be an oasis for wildlife in the area. That is one lonely drive. Hope you are feeling better.

  14. A lovely garden much appreciated by the wildlife. Great photos. I tried to leave a comment earlier... don't know if it published.

  15. Callie: Thank you for your comments, both are published now. I'm feeling so much better! It is a lovely garden, can't believe it's in the same zip code as mine!


Thanks for leaving a comment.. ~~ Inger


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