Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sunday Morning Reflections

If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.

~ Maya Angelou

I may take this week off from blogging. Our vacation from doctors and tests is over. I have an appointment on Wednesday and hubby has his three-month MRI checkup at UCLA on Thursday. Then one week off, then the first two weeks in February will be really bad with trips to doctors in Pasadena, Los Angeles, and Bakersfield. Samson needs to go to the vet also, which is local, just one more thing. 

I have my book report for the books I read in 2014 almost ready. I could work on that this week and then post the two parts of it the following week. It really should be done before the end of January. Then I can spend this week catching up with you all. As always I feel bad when I don't find the time to get back to you who leave comments here. 

Samson Says: From all of us i the canyon. ~ Have a nice Sunday, everyone!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Good Fences ~ No.5

A part of the fence at our Los Angeles house.

While it may be pretty, the bougainvillea is far more lethal than last week's barbed wire fence. You definitely do not want to get tangled up in it. 

The house is rented now and the bouganvillea cut back. It's not as pretty as it once was, but less dangerous and easier to care for. 


Monday, January 12, 2015

The Butterfly Basket ~ A Book About Our Canyon

Over the years, I have told stories of my life in a canyon in the California mountains; of life with hubby and dogs, of wild animals, birds, and plants, but next to nothing of the history of the canyon and its people. 

Cindy Waldman, a friend from our knitting group, has written a book for children and young adults that takes place right here in our canyon. She named the book The Butterfly Basket after a real basket woven by Rosie Hicks, a young Kawaiisu Indian woman, about one hundred years ago. I found pictures of Rosie's basket online:

The Butterfly Basket

After the death of his wife during the Great Depression, Sara's father faces severe financial problems and decides to send Sara and her brother Joey to stay with his parents, who live in a hot and dusty canyon in the mountains of California. While Joey adapts fast to the cowboy lifestyle, Sara has a difficult time as she mourns her mother and misses her dad. 

Then she meets Lena, a Kawaiisu girl about her own age. Lena's mother is also dead and she lives with her grandmother. Lena takes Sara on many outings in the mountains, where she has to face her fears and overcome them, as she finds out about rattlesnakes, bears, mountain lions, flash floods, and much more. Sara also learns about medicinal plants, basket weaving, Kawaiisu traditions and language. Most importantly, Lena shows Sara that her mother is always with her. It takes a while, but eventually Sara comes to see the truth of this. 

At the end of this delightful book, Sara makes a choice that involves a beautiful butterfly basket woven by Lena's mother. She makes her choice based on friendship and the lessons she has learned while living in the canyon.

I found this book to be spiritual, wise, and a delight to read. The book is recommended for ages 8 and up. I'm convinced this book has no upper age limit and that adults will enjoy it as much as I did.  

I loved The Butterfly Basket and recommend it to anyone of you, my blogger friends, who would like to know more about the history of this area, of the Kawaiisu people, the plants and animals that sustained them and provided materials for their magnificent baskets. Or maybe you have kids or grandkids who would enjoy a delightful book about the adventures of a young girl learning about life and change here in our beautiful canyon. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sunday Morning Reflections

How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains. 
~ John Muir

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Good Fences ~ No. 4

A fence on the north side of our field here in the canyon.

Joining Tex for Good Fences fun!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Notes From the Canyon

Christmas was lovely here, a reminder that it is always more rewarding to give than to get. My husband was having that feeling of 'maybe this will be my last Christmas,' but after he went to pick up his brother, his focus shifted. As I mentioned earlier, his brother's girlfriend recently died and you could just look at the man and see his sadness and depression, even though he claimed to be fine. That changed everything and hubby and I both focused on making it the best Christmas ever for his brother. Lots of reminiscing went on between the two of them, lots of laughter, some nice gifts, and the most wonderful food, prepared by my hubby. He was very tired, I could tell, but insisted on doing what he wanted to do anyway. So a wonderful Christmas, to be remembered for a long time to come.

Samson Says: We got presents too! I opened mine right away, 'cause I remember from last year. But Faith had a no idea why some good snack had to be so difficult to open. But eventually, she got it. She also fell head over heels  in love with our uncle Leo. I know that cheered him up a lot, I mean everyone knows us dogs can tell a good person when we meet one. Thank you auntie Judy for the bones you sent. For being a cat person, you sure know how to treat us dogs good.

The header photo was taken by my husband back in 2006. He was working on this house, living here with Princess, a lost dog that found him and moved in. One day, after a snowfall, he and Princess climbed up in the hills and he took some of the best pictures both of her and the landscape around here. Every now and then I post one of them.

As far as the weather goes, a storm passed through our county but managed to miss us once again. It snowed in the the mountains to the west of us, but nothing here. It has been very cold though, three mornings of 10 F (minus 12 C) and lovely days on the chilly side. It's warming up now, but there are storms out in the Pacific that I hope will bring something - rain or snow - at this point I don't care, I just want more wet stuff falling on our canyon. 

For my birthday last summer, my friend Judy sent this book S, conceived by J. J. Abrams and written by Doug Dorst, a strange book to say the least. It's a very elegant and unusual gift and I love that I have it, but I must confess to having some difficulties making my way through it. Even so, it is intriguing and, by now, I have to know how it ends. I can't describe it, so if you are intrigued by the photo, like J. J. Abrams and want to see what he has come up with here (it is very impressive), please:  Click here to read about it on


from all of us here in the canyon.


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