Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Random Acts of Kindness ~ Rachael and the Hawk

This is my second and final contribution to the Random Acts of Kindness blogfest sponsored by Wayman Publishing. Thank you so much for stopping by and reading my first story. It has been amazing to read your stories as well. There are so many good people in this world and I'm grateful to Elisa for coming up with this brilliant idea for a blogfest. It has created a balance in my life after all the very bad news coming to me via TV from Oregon, to Oklahoma, to Sweden even, to the Middle East and around the world.

Please click on this image in my sidebar for more information on this blogfest.

The random acts of kindness toward both animals and people that my friend Rachael has performed throughout her life must count in the hundreds, if not more. In the six years I have known her, she has been incredibly kind to me, and she has rescued several animals as they randomly crossed her path, including a dumped pet California tortoise, a bearded dragon, a squirrel and, well you get the picture. 

While Rachael worked part-time at a wildlife refuge outside Los Angeles, a call came in that an injured hawk was down in a large shopping center nearby. Since the employees were not allowed to go out on actual rescue missions, Rachael noted the place where the hawk was last seen. Several hours later, after work, she couldn't just leave the hawk to its fate. It would either be run over by a car, caught by a dog, or by a coyote in the night, so she drove over to the shopping center.

Once there, Rachael walked around and asked people if they had seen the bird. This was one of those really huge centers with big box stores, like Costco and Walmart, but no one had seen the hawk. Something told Rachael not to give up, so as dusk turned to darkness, she began to pray. She prayed she would be able to find the bird and to help it. Suddenly, there it was, right in front of her, a large hawk, badly injured. She managed to get the bird to her car where she had a carrier she keeps for situations like this. Once there, she got a young man to help her get the carrier out so she could place the hawk in it. 

Rachael drove back to the wildlife refuge and let someone in charge know the bird was there. The following morning the vet checked the hawk and determined it was too badly injured and could not be saved. While this was a sad ending to Rachael's efforts to save the bird, she was still glad she found him so that the ending of his life was humane and not painful. 

Then, Rachael told me, the hawk's mate called a sad and haunting call from a nearby tree. She had watched over him all this time while he dragged himself around the shopping center, badly injured. And she knew they would not see each other again, so she called her sad farewell as Rachael carried him away. 

Rachael with Orion, the Great Horned Owl 

Monday, May 27, 2013

A Random Act of Kindness

Compassion is a kind of alchemy to restore the soul.

Please click this button in my sidebar to learn more about the blogfest.

Today, I'm joining the Random Acts of Kindness blogfest, sponsored by Wayman Publishing.

This is my story:

It was September 2010, when after a difficult summer recovering from a shattered humerus bone, the uppermost bone in my left arm, I was stopped at a stop sign by the new Love's Truck Stop on my way to our small town. As I began to drive again, I noticed a huge green truck coming toward me in the opposite lane and a large SUV beginning to drive next to me off road in the dirt. 

I got a bad feeling and was going to honk my horn, but had time only to think, not react. The man in the SUV turned his steering wheel in my direction and drove into the right front fender of my Chevy Trailblazer, causing it to lose touch with the ground and travel on two wheels toward the green big rig that was next to me now in the on-coming lane. I felt my seatbelt tighten, then somehow my car landed back down on all fours and went off the road into the gravel. A large rock flew up and shattered my windshield. I screamed.

My left window was open. As I stopped screaming, I felt a hand on my arm. A young man stood there, holding on to my arm. He said, "my name is Matthew and I will help you, just breathe." While the idiot who hit me was fluttering around saying he was sorry, Matthew called 911 and in a few minutes there was a huge response of firetrucks, an ambulance, police, and sheriffs. I almost thought I had died, but no, I learned that in a small town you get a strong and fast response. They kept asking me if I was injured, if I had a bad heart, and so on. Matthew insisted I had to go to the hospital to be checked. I sent away the ambulance after he offered to take me. 

Matthew and his wife, Heather, helped me to their car. On that particular day, the emergency room in our small town hospital was very busy. I called my husband who was working in Los Angeles, normally a two-hour trip, but since he had to go to our L. A. house and pick up our dog, it would take him at least three to get up to our mountain town and to me.

I learned that Heather and Matthew lived several hours away and were on their way home from a trip to Seattle. I could  only imagine how tired they were. I tried to tell them to leave, that my husband was coming, that I would be OK. They both refused. 

I can still feel Matthew's hand on my arm, calming me down, helping me to think and function again. They were Christians they said, born again, and I felt their spirit. They were also just plain kind and caring souls.

My neck and back were injured and I had to stop physical therapy for my broken arm, which left me with little range of motion in my left arm. Since my right arm is pretty much useless too, this became the only lasting problem from the crash. My Trailblazer was totaled, but fortunately the man who hit me had excellent car insurance so everything was covered. 

I will never forget this random act of kindness, this kind and thoughtful gift from Matthew and Heather when I was alone, hurt, confused, and scared. 

Memorial Day ~ Thank You

Friday, May 24, 2013

Vasquez Rocks & The Bandit

A strangely beautiful and forbidding place, Vasquez Rocks Park, off the 14 freeway that we take to Los Angeles, is in the National Register of Historic Places because of its importance as a prehistoric site for the Shoshone and Tataviam peoples. 

I am fascinated by the rock formations you see from the freeway and I want to stop and explore this 900 plus acre park sometime soon. The rocks were formed from sediments deposited adjacent to active faults during rapid uplifts and erosion of regional mountains. The rock formations were also affected by the collision of the North American and Pacific Plates about 25 million years ago and more recently by activity along the San Andreas fault. 

I'm no geological expert, of course, so suffice it say that our earth is neither stable nor constant and in some areas enormous shifts have taken place throughout time. Here in Southern and Central California, the San Andreas fault sort of rumbles through one's consciousness every now and then. 

The park is named after a bandit of all things. Tiburcio Vasquez, born in Monterey in 1835, was one of many bandidos that flourished in California in the years during and after the gold rush. He spent most of his bandit days in northern California where he committed burglaries, highway robberies, and cattle theft. He spent five years in San Quentin prison; he was unsuccessful in going straight after he was released; and, after he was caught committing yet another burglary, he served three more years in prison.

Tiburcio was handsome, charming, a good dancer and guitar player, and quite the ladies man. He had many affairs with married women, one of whom later became his downfall. He was very popular and had friends all over the state of California. For a while, he hid in the southern and central parts of the state where he was less well known. He committed several burglaries throughout the San Joaquin Valley and also spent some time hiding in the Sierra Pelona Mountains among these rocks that later were named after him. 

Vasquez was eventually caught and convicted of murder, a charge he denied. His popularity among women continued and many women gathered in his cell where he posed for photos and signed autographs, which he later sold out the cell window to help pay for his legal defense. After his appeal for clemency was denied, Tiburcio Vasquez was hanged in San Jose on March 19, 1875. He was 39 years old.

Vasquez Rocks Park is frequently used by the film industry. Films as diverse as Dracula, 1931, and A Single Man, 2009, as well as several Star Trek movies have used the dramatic scenery of the park for location shoots. Many, many TV shows have also been filmed here.

There are similar rocks here in the canyon. It took me a while, as I was used to greener scenery, to come to appreciate their special beauty. 

I took these pictures out the window of our moving jeep, so they could have been better. I looked in Google Images for pictures that would do these rocks justice, but didn't find any. 

Instead, I found these last two photos in Wikipedia and they will give you an idea, I think, of what can be found inside this very interesting and rather formidable place called Vasquez Rocks Park.

Source: Wikipedia

Thursday, May 23, 2013

An Old Red Barn

A barn on the west side of town looks old and worn, but still lovely in its field with shade trees behind. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Old Family Photos

A Card Game 1932

My mother playing cards with her then boyfriend, later to become her husband and my dad, and his parents.  I wonder how often they had date nights like this.....

Friday, May 17, 2013

California Oaks & Other Trees ~ Dedicating this Post to Hayley-Eszti

Dear Hayley-Eszti, I would like to dedicate this post to you, as I feel that you have the strength of these ancient oak trees. The strength to deal with this horrible illness.  I sincerely hope more research will be done and someone will find, if not a cure, at least tools to help you and others manage it. It is being talked about more, and the Niagara Falls were colored blue, after all. Take good care, my blogger friend.

Only found in California, the Blue Oak (Quercus douglasii) is the most common oak tree in our area, but since there are at least five different species of oak trees around here, and I'm pretty ignorant when it comes to identifying plants and trees, I can't say for sure that all oaks pictured here are indeed Blue Oaks. 

There are other trees here also, I hope you will enjoy their beauty, and not ask me to name them.

Thank you so much for reading and leaving comments on my post about M. E. I hope that this devastating illness will get a lot more attention in the years to come. 

Looking back at these pictures, I'm amazed at the beauty of the blue and green colors of this place, so different from the canyon. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Guest Post by A Courageous Young Woman

Until I met Hayley-Eszti in Bloggyland, I never knew anyone who suffered from this debilitating disease. I had heard of it, of course, Laura Hillenbrand, the author of Seabiscuit and Unbroken, made it better known here in the U. S. But it is different to get to  know a young, beautiful woman who has M.E. and learning from her what this disease is all about. 

After I read her M.E. Awareness post, I asked Hayley-Eszti if she would guest post on my blog so that I could help to raise awareness in my part of Bloggyland. She accepted and this is her post:

Today is international M.E awareness day. It is a life changing debilitating disease that attacks every system in the body. I have had M.E for almost 2 years now. It is an incredibly ugly neurological illness and very often destroys lives. Severe cases leave people bedbound, housebound, confined to a wheelchair and in need of everyday care. In some cases kill.

The affects of M.E are on a par with Aids and Cancer, it's chronic and there is no known cure or effective treatment. Despite M.E affecting millions of people around the world there still seems to be a stigma attached to it by both the general public and sometimes even the medical profession. This is unacceptable when people are seriously struggling every single day. I would really appreciate it if you could continue to take a few more minutes to read on and help ditch the stigma and incorrect misconceptions attached to M.E.
  • M.E - often known (controversially) as chronic fatigue system is MUCH more than being tired. There are over 60 symptoms involved many of which are debilitating in their own right (such as fibromyalgia, immune system disorder, chronic pain, deficiencies)
  • The most severe cases of people are left paralysed, unable to speak, bedbound, housebound, in need of care and some need to be fed through a tube. Many people are forced to use wheelchairs or other mobility aids.
  • Anyone can get it. Children, teenagers, adults and the elderly.
  • Little or no support is offered by the medical profession. It is incredibly difficult to diagnose and patients are often dismissed by doctors as having a mental illness and many are given incorrect treatment that ultimately makes them more sick.
  • Friends and families often don't know how to cope or believe the person suffering is genuinely sick. This is often down to the stigma that dates back to 50 or so years ago but has somehow managed to stick around today. It IS an approvedPHYSICAL ILLNESS.
  • The cause of the illness is not known. Any theories are merely speculation.
  • Basic things become immensely difficult or impossible, washing, dressing, reading, concentrating, having a conversation, sitting in a chair are amongst them - which makes day to day life extremely difficult. 
  • People with this illness are prone to further problems due to weakened immune systems and as a result of their body shutting down. It then becomes a vicious cycle.
  • M.E is often lifelong. Until more funding and research is put into action, it will continue to be this way.

People with M.E are suffering everyday and desperately need support. If I have helped raise awareness to one person I have done good. I write regularly on my blog about my journey with M.E so have a look at my previous posts if you would like to see how I have dealt with it day to day so far and how it affects me emotionally. If you would like to ask me any questions please do so below (you can comment anonymously if you prefer to do it that way!) I will be writing and raising more awareness for the rest of the week as May 12th - 18th is national M.E awareness week so follow or subscribe if you'd like to read those too (If you are not a blogger you can subscribe by email or just add to your favourites) Thank you so much for reading, and please share spread the word.

Lots of love,
Hayley-Eszti xx

Thank you Hayley-Eszti so much for your guest post. 

Hayley-Eszti lives in the U. K. ~ Blogging helps her stay connected to people out in the world, so I know she would love a visit every now and then at:  

Thank you so much for reading through this and for caring.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Our Picnic In Stallion Springs

In a post a while ago, I mentioned that my husband and I went to Stallion Springs, a community on the west side of town, for a picnic lunch in a nice little park by a small lake.

After our picnic, my husband enjoys the view.

On the other shore is the golf course; there is also a resort attached. 

We disturb many red-winged blackbirds on our walk and they become quite agitated when I linger trying to capture them with my camera. It's spring after all and they have eggs  or baby birds to protect.

I like the way the church spire peeks through the branches.

Another red-winged blackbird, balancing on a thin reed. 

Many Great-tailed Grackle make their home in the park. The males are lovely sounding birds; the Spanish call them clarinere, the clarinet player. Of course, I read that in my Audubon bird book.

Ground squirrels in the park look different from ours in the canyon, with darker fur, no white rings around their necks, and definitely better fed. Chubby little guys, probably thriving on picnic leftovers.

Getting ready for a vermin closeup.

A lovely day.......


Note: I have not been able to access my new hotmail account since last Wednesday or Thursday. Outlook took it over and requires a MS password, which I established, and then everything went wrong. Having neither time nor energy to deal with it now, I have switched back to my account for the time being. Sorry about any inconvenience this may have caused those of you who reply back via email.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

My Mom in 1932, age 24 ~ I will always love you ~

Happy Mother's Day to all my blogger friends, I hope you have a wonderful day!


Friday, May 10, 2013

The End of the Tumbleweed Tales

You asked how I got rid of the tumbleweeds:

On each side of the public road (dirt road) that you often see in my pictures, there are fields. The donkey rescue kept their cattle and senior donkeys in one, and that field has not grown in since they left. 

The other field is very large and we don't know who it belongs to. Two years ago, that field was covered in yellow mustard weeds, like those in the picture above, which are so pretty when they bloom, but then turn into the skinny tumble weeds I had to get rid of. 

I just raked the weeds, well, not just, it was quite a job, up the road a ways, to thin them out. Then I threw them back whence they came from. (I have had that word, WHENCE, on my mind for days, I'm happy I could find some use for it).

In other words, I put them back where they came from, but spread thin to better be disbursed by the wind. Because I spread them out, they have by now blown away.

I don't know where they went, but unfortunately, after taking a good look at that field, it's still covered in dry weeds, there are just patches where you can see the ground. And my hubby went down there again and cleared out some that had piled up against the gate just since I got back from town around two this afternoon. 

So we may have to deal with this for a while. We have never had this problem before, and it would be so great if the owner of that field could perhaps hire some of these:

I found these sheep on my way home today and had to stop and take their picture. 

 I heard on the news that people in Bakersfield are really mad because they have to pay thousands of dollars to clean up their tumbleweeds. They also feel that the owners of the fields where these weeds develop should be responsible for removing them before they start to blow and take over entire neighborhoods. I've never given this any thought before, but I see their point, and the fire hazard alone should be reason enough for owners to take responsibility.

Yes, I am tired, I took a nap after I came home from town today. didn't help much. And, Sandra, we don't really have yards here, we have, you know, large fields, BLM land, and other peoples hills and such. We only have one neighbor and that property has been empty and for sale since last September. Someone may have bought it, we are waiting with baited that what it's called. Looks kind of funny, baited breath..... I better stop because now I'm so tired, I'm starting to babble.


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