Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tuesday's Treasures & Things

The treasure for this Tuesday is Wildlife in the Canyon. There is so much going on in nature this time of the year: Babies are born all to all species, parents are busy finding food and defending their territories. Bugs, flies, lizards and snakes are waking up or coming to life. I think some of them took a turn-around and went back in their holes because of the cold temperatures lately. This morning we woke up to frost once again and the temperature was 28 degrees F at six a.m. So we had to say goodbye to our vegetable garden for now. We may plant some more later or we may not. Before, I got up I snuggled in bed, listening to an owl hooting outside. It was lovely and it was then I decided to dedicate this post to wildlife, the real and true treasure of our lives here.

Yesterday, we had a visitor. This rather scrawny looking coyote came by. Right after the coyote left, three little baby jack rabbits came out and started eating. We have seen them grow up and we wonder what happened to their parents. They had a close call with the coyote.

About a month ago, we saw a very large, tan colored, bob cat. The cat was so big we started looking for a long tail. I'm still pretty sure it was a bob cat, while my hubby, wanting to be more dramatic, thought it was a young mountain lion. I was too busy looking for a tail to take a picture and the cat was far away. It was playing in the grass and so much fun to watch. Very cute, at a safe distance.

This is another bobcat that came by closer to the house.

Two mule deer also came by last month and it was fun to watch them. We have deer in the canyon, but not that many and we seldom see them down at our ranch.

This photo is of another encounter we saw on a hike this past winter.

My husband saw a fight in the air between a red-tailed hawk and two ravens that ended with the hawk fleeing as fast as it could. 

And I saw a strange sight as far as birds are concerned. When I sit at our dining room table, I face north and have a nice view of wildlife passing by. Last night, and also a few days ago when I took these photos, I saw two doves pecking away in the yard. At first I thought they were mourning doves, a bird I'm very familiar with from Los Angeles. However, on closer inspection, I noticed these birds were almost white and had a distinct black band around their necks. So I looked them up in my Audubon Society field guide and identified them as Ringed Turtle Doves. I always thought that turtle doves just existed in that Christmas carol. But I was in for another surprise when I read about them at the back of my book. This southern Asian species has been a caged bird for centuries, I learned, and a small number of them escaped from captivity and lives in down-town Los Angeles, California, and has apparently not spread. So its range is downtown L. A. where it is localized to a few parks and tree-lined streets. I guess these two, like me, got tired of all that traffic and noise and decided to seek adventure in the mountains.

The Western meadow larks are still here and I'm happy because they sing the prettiest songs of all the birds in the canyon.

Earlier in the spring, I would see the quail in pairs, now I see only the males. I assume the females are busy raising their many young chicks or keeping their eggs warm. I imagine they find food closer to home while busy with their young. I'm looking forward to later in the summer when I get to see them with all their little chicks.

Best of all, we spotted this guy, my favorite canyon bird. He was marching north and kept on marching that evening about a week ago. I have looked and looked, but I have not seen him again. I hope a pair is living somewhere around here because I find road runners the most entertaining birds to watch.

Finally, the most common birds in the canyon are still here, of course, looking for trash and trouble, but also helping to keep the canyon clean. My friends, the ravens.

As far as my health goes, I'm feeling much better and I will probably find out what's going on with my back later today. Have a great day everyone!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday Morning Reflections

Today's Quote by Henry David Thoreau

A man is rich

in proportion to 

the number of things 

he can afford to let alone.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Samson's Complaint

Before I let Samson have his say, I want to welcome Shannon, a new follower of Desert Canyon Living. Shannon writes  about horses and her work in dressage on her blog: shannonfornari.blogspot.com Chickens and very large cats were also featured in the post I just read. While Shannon is serious about dressage, she also has a great sense of humor. Then a correction, Armindo Tavares told me in a comment that his blog is about the creation of the Portuguese Harlequin Canary. Thanks for the clarification and welcome again to my blog.

Samson Says:

Did you know Mommy is recovering again? This time she says she's recovering from a back bone that she broke coughing! Well, she better hurry up and get well, cause our lives are getting pretty boring. Did you know she gets up early and sneaks outside with Angel? Soldier and me, we've both seen them. Then after lunch, she takes a big white pill. For her pain so she can heal. Hmm, that makes her go to sleep for most of the afternoon. Good thing is, Soldier and me, we don't need no pills to sleep our days away.






What? So now I'm a pillow? I didn't know this and I may just beat him up if I ever catch him like this again!!!

Only old Angel stays awake, always worried about 

her Mommy. Looking this way and that, making sure

Mommy and us boys are OK and no intruders are sneaking up to our place. 

Have a nice day everyone!

PS -- Tell Gracie I will still love her, fur or no fur. If I ever see her, I will lick her ear. xoxo, Samson.

Posted by Samson, the Samoyed Pup.

Mommy's Disclaimer: Samson wrote this last week. Since then Mommy is feeling better and no longer sleeps the afternoons away. And Daddy was here and made sure all the dogs had a fun weekend. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tuesday's Treasures & Things

Welcome two new followers, Armindo Tavares whose blog is about raising birds, I believe.(The language is Portuguese and I haven't tried the Google translator yet.) And also a warm welcome to a new follower, a woman from Russia, who is in real estate, but whose name I don't know how to write in English. Here's the link to her blog: berseneva.blogspot.com 

Every Saturday, I look forward to finding out what's "new" on Jim's Retro Saturday post on his blog, Ocean Breezes. Last Saturday, Jim posted pictures of a bowl, a wonderful example of early 1960s table ware. This reminded me that I may just have a few treasures from that period myself. I checked my drawers where I have my dishes and found this:

I believe this dish is very representative of the period in Sweden. When I first got it, back then in the 1960s, I'm afraid I used it as an ash tray. After we moved here, I found this dish, and a ceramic vase that sort of matches it, looked really good on a side table in our living room. That was until Samson arrived in his joyous puppy stage and everything was put away. It will come back out again soon, as Samson is growing up.

The dish was made at the Swedish porcelain/ceramic factory, Rorstrand. I look at it and smile, remembering how things used to look in Sweden back then. 

A Health Update:

I want to thank all of you, my dear blogger friends, for asking how I am doing with my back and for even remembering that I hurt myself. I mean we all have busy lives here, but still, you do remember and you do ask. This is touching my heart and I want you to know that. 

The good news is that my back pain is getting better. Yesterday, I had my appointment with my endocrinologist (diabetes doctor), Dr. E., in Bakersfield. I have had some problems with my primary care doctor, Dr. R., here in town, so I run things by Dr. E., because I trust him completely. He was so concerned about my bones that he called the radiology lab in town (I had gotten approval for a bone scan, but Dr. R. didn't indicate that it was important to do this asap) and asked them to see me right away. They agreed, so we went there and were done with it within the hour. I have to wait about four days to find out if I have osteoporosis. According to Dr. E., I have it, but we will find out how bad and what to do to treat it. He said I must do all I can to avoid breaking a hip. This is true, of course, and I am so grateful to have found a doctor like him here. He is as good and as caring as the best doctors I saw at UCLA. But all this has made me feel so darned old. Nothing wrong with being old, but I don't like not being able to trust my own strength. I guess that's something you have to learn as you grow old. Accepting things. The good news is that my diabetes control and my cholesterol are both getting better. I will let you know about my bones when I get the test results. And, yes, I know it could be much worse.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday Morning Reflections


my husband brought me these

gifts from the ocean

 simple, precious, love.....

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Awards and Links to Some Very Good Blogs

Welcome two new followers, Marian Vodyanova from Russia and Ron Joe White.

I was honored to get awards at the end of the A to Z Challenge but then I ran out of steam and failed to pass these two awards to along: 

I got the Stylish Blogger Award from Julie, a new blogger friend I met during the challenge, and I want to pass it along to:
Bobbi and Gracie at http://gracieownsme.blogspot.com
texwisgirl at http://run-a-roundranch.blogspot.com
Sandy at http://flyingwg.blogspot.com
Syliva at http://homesteadhope.blogspot.com
Kim at http://lifeatgoldenpines.blogspot.com

Then I received The Versatile Blogger Award from Sarah Makela, another new friend I met during the challenge. I want to forward this award to:
Liesl at A Little African Magic
Lori at http://skoogfarm.blogspot.com
Kittie at http://kittiehoward.blogspot.com
Nancy at A Rural Journal
Dawn at http://dawn-dancingintherain.blogspot.com
The Golden Eagle at http://thegoldeneaglesblog.blogspot.com

Thank you Julie and Sarah for these two awards. Those I listed above are but a few of the blogs I love to visit. Please check them out along with Julie's and Sarah's blogs; I know you will enjoy them all. 

Yes, I know I'm now supposed to tell you things about myself and I was, honestly, trying when Google Chrome crashed as I was uploading photos for this purpose. I wanted to tell you some of my favorite things, which would tell you, in turn, something more about me. I have an idea about what I want to do, but I'm running out of steam again, so next week, OK?

Thanks again Julie and Sarah and have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Red Grass and Loggerhead Shrikes

While I have been in the house resting my injured back, 

red grass has completely overtaken our property. Each spring, this hillside is covered in blue, yellow, and purple flowers. 

As you can see, it's all red now. I'm fascinated by this phenomenon, something I have never seen before. It's almost a little sinister; a mild way for nature to demonstrate her power. 

With gray clouds hugging the canyon walls and the distant field covered in yellow mustard weeds, it all made for an interesting, many-colored, nature picture.

The grass in the foreground that my husband mowed and whacked has now turned yellow with red grass growing wild in the background.

Everywhere I turned, I was greeted by this red grass. It grows up on the hillsides in the distance; instead of yellow spring flowers, the hills are now covered in red grass.

Then there were these birds that I hadn't noticed here before.

I managed to get a couple of pictures and enlarged one:

With the help of my new book, the one I had planned to use to identify spring flowers: The Laws Field Guide To The Sierra Nevada, I identified them as Loggerhead Shrikes. Their habitat fits with the canyon and they have the clear white markings above their wings. And a raccoon mask covering their eyes. 

As always, my friend Upupaepops and others who may know: If you have an explanation for this red grass, I would love to know. And did I get the birds right? Thanks in advance......

Finally, if you want more information on the little dog, Kezia, please go here: http://texan.blogspot.com  Thank you, so much.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Kezia, A Small Dog Needs Big Help

I was going to post something entirely different today, but when I saw this little face on my friend Terry's blog, and read her story, I just had to try to help somehow. Like Terry, I don't have homemade things to sell and, in addition, right now our money is really tight. But there is something I can do, I can spread the word here and maybe that will help some. 

Kezia lives with Isobelle Golightly and her mom. Kezia is just a little pup who needs major surgery. Another blogger friend, Texan, is organizing a big fundraiser for Kezia on her blog. There are soaps, yarns, jewelry and many other wonderful things for you to buy. And there are links to other bloggers that are participating. Please help if you can. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tuesday's Treasures & Things

Today's treasure is a small heart -- a piece of Swedish folk art. 

A gift from Elsa, my friend Barbro's mother, who was like a second mother to me, I have owned it now for almost 30 years. My own mother was wonderful and there was no need for a second mother in my life, but sometimes life brings us blessings beyond our wildest expectations.

The heart hangs in our bedroom over the frame of a watercolor of Katarina Church, the church in Stockholm where I was baptized. As with all my treasures, it comes with a story:

It was the spring of 1946 and I had ventured across a hill that separated our street from another street in our suburb. The freedom of being a child then, able to move around freely and explore, was my childhood's greatest gift to me. There was a tree on the other side of this rocky hill. It had a branch, coveted by all us children. The branch was low enough for us to reach, strong enough for us to climb, and, best of all, you could hook your knees around it and hang upside down.

On this day, I met a girl my age there. Her name was Barbro and we struck up an instant friendship. She invited me to her house across the street and when the door opened, I had the biggest surprise of my young life. It was opened by Barbro's mother, Elsa, a very tall and large-boned woman, dressed in one of the flowery housecoats that women wore in those days. Elsa had a very friendly face and demeanor, but what really got me was her voice. My mother was short and soft spoken, not Elsa. She was tall and her voice was incredible. It was loud and strong and happy and it made a lasting impression on me. After visiting for a while, I went home and told my mother about this wonderful woman I met and, years later, we would still talk about her voice. 

Barbro and I – we are the same age, so you can see how tall I was.

Barbro and I are still friends; she stayed in Sweden, married young and had two daughters. Now she has a beautiful granddaughter as well. Every time I go back to Stockholm, we spend time together and, for me, this time is important and unforgettable. I have been friends with no one else for so long, 65 years this spring, and our friendship means the world to me.

I always spent time with Elsa when I came back to Stockholm. In 1983, Elsa and I walked and talked about life and death. My brother had just died at the age of 40 and I needed to talk about such things. We walked past the riding school, the stables and barns, through the beautiful park, all part of the place where I grew up. I remember so clearly that she told me she was not afraid of dying. She felt very calm and reassured about death, she told me. Our conversation has stayed with me all these years. And it is helping me now, as I am getting old myself. Oh, the gifts we give to others without really knowing..... Elsa passed away in the early 1990s at the age of 80, I believe. I will always love her and I will always remember our walk that summer evening in 1983.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Welcome New Followers

I like to welcome new followers to my blog with links to their blogs, but this became too much during the A to Z Challenge. Since it ended, I have welcomed five new followers in most of my new posts. Today I decided to welcome all my remaining new followers and provide links to their blogs when there are links available. So you will find links to some great blogs below. Then I have two more awards to pass along and I will do that in a separate post. After that, I believe it will be back to normal: My posts about my life in the canyon. 

Please join me in welcoming these new followers of Desert Canyon Living:  

http://julieflanders.blogspot.com Julie is an aspiring writer who volunteers as a news writer for Best Friends Animal Society, an organization that is close to my heart. Julie also blogs for Circle Tail, Inc. 
http://elliegreat.blogspot.com Ellie is a writer from New Zealand, who also works helping talented kids develop their potentials. 
http://spacebyaline.blogspot.com Aline blogs from Brazil and her blog brings you fairytale characters and a very creative Mother's Day post.
http://thegoldeneaglesblog.blogspot.com The Golden Eagle tells us she is a Chinese-American girl, adopted from China. She is a writer, reader, blogger, dancer, and musician. She posted a most fabulous entry on Saturday for the Red Angel's Inanimation Blogfest. I can't describe it -- it blew my mind -- please, read it!
These new followers didn't enter links in their Google Friend Connect forms: Jeanette, Patricia Stoltey, Kendal, and Sylvia Ney, welcome to my blog. Also, a warm welcome to:
http://orizzontipadani.blogspot.com Mariolino from Italy. I'm so happy with my Italian followers. I almost think I can read Italian -- so many words come from Latin, that my mind plays tricks on me. And it's so much fun for me to make friends with people from all over the world.

http://www.scott-niven.com Welcome Scott, a caring dad who is also a writer.
http://chaos-dogs.blogspot.com Samantha, with my three large dogs, I can relate to the title of your blog. I know I will enjoy getting to know you better. And your dogs!
http://laussieswritingblog.blogspot.com Denise, I am so glad to welcome you. I saw the new challenges for writers on your blog and I know I will enjoy reading the stories that will follow.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday Morning Reflections

On a cold, windy, and rainy morning in the canyon, I thought I would rather go sailing.......

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Welcome More New Followers, an Award, and Five Things About Me

First, let me welcome five new followers and then send the first of the awards I received after the A to Z Challenge ended out to five wonderful and creative bloggers. I will also show you five photos that give some background to who I am and where I'm from. 
http://lafotografiaefectistaabstracta.blogspot.com Loevi blogs in Spanish, but it doesn't matter much because her blog is about abstract photography. There you can see the most beautiful photos and so much creativity that it's a joy to visit. It is a pleasure for me to give Loevi the Kreativ Blogger Award, I received from Munir.
http://blog.sarahmakela.com I feel a connection to Sarah, whose blog I found during the challenge. Sarah, who is married to a Finn, wrote posts about creatures of folklore, mythology and the paranormal during the challenge. Like me, she has a strong love for wolves. I would like to give the Kreativ Blogger Award to Sarah also. I should mention that Sarah gave me a Versatile Blogger Award that I will accept in a future post.
http://lyndaryoung.blogspot.com Lyn lives in Sydney, Australia and writes Christian devotionals and articles, and loves all things creative.
Welcome Doreen -- I'm sure I read your blog, Doreen, so you must have left a comment on mine. As it is, you didn't leave a link on your Google Friend Connect form, so I can't link back to her blog here.
http://elizabethmueller.blogspot.com Elizabeth is a mother of four and a writer of novels and children's books. Elizabeth's blog reaches out and makes you feel welcome, as if you were friends with her for along time. Elizabeth is the woman who handed out the Zebra Award to all 1200 plus of us who finished the A to Z Challenge. With all that and four kids, I say "Wow!" Elizabeth, please accept the Kreativ Blogger Award and thank you.

I have told you so much about myself, I thought I would go back in time and show you a five things/places you may not have seen before.

I was born on the longest day of the year in Stockholm, Sweden, in the troubled year 1940. I was born under an almost midnight sun, perhaps like in this picture, taken around 10:00 p.m. The tower to the left is City Hall, the other spires are from the three great churches in Old Town. The bridge is the Western Bridge and, as you can see, we grow up around boats there.

I was baptized in Katarina Church, the one in the picture at the top of the cliffs.

As a teenager, I loved to hang out in jazz clubs, deep in the cellars of Old Town. Stockholm celebrated its 700th birthday in 1955 and some buildings here go back that far; the streets are cobblestone and the atmosphere is wonderful.

If I were to go back again, my favorite pastime would be to lie down in a meadow like this and watch the clouds go by overhead, while

perhaps eating some wild strawberries and listening to the birds sing their familiar Swedish bird songs.

I accepted this award from Munir http://focusthroughalens.blogspot.com
on May 4th, but then I got sick and couldn't follow through with forwarding it and letting you know five things about myself. 

It is very difficult to give out awards. I know everyone who blogs regularly deserves one. I want to give this award to five very creative bloggers:

Loevi: http://lafotografiaefectistaabstracta.blogspot.com
Sarah:  http://blog.sarahmakela.com 
Elizabeth: http://elizabethmueller.blogspot.com
Manzanita: http://beajayblock.blogspot.com
Nordis: http://nordisfotohobby.blogspot.com

Please visit these blogs, they are really, really great. And thank you again, Munir.

As for my health, I am over the cold and cough that fractured my vertebrae. The fracture still has to heal but I don't need to see a specialist unless the pain gets worse. So far it seems to be getting better. I am still taking pain medicine at night and resting mixed with being up and about. So it is looking pretty good right now. Thanks for all your good thoughts and wonderful comments. 

Oh, Jim, you didn't read my A to Z Challenge, where the letter P went like this: P is for Pippi Birdie, Parakeet. It tells the story of another rescued parakeet and how Pippi came to live with us.


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