Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Working, Eating, Walking With A Good Friend

 Tom was Errol's friend since the late 1970s and became my friend as soon as I met him in the mid-'80s. He lives in Seattle now, to be close to his grandkids. After spending some time in Los Angeles on family business, he came up to see me. And he wanted to help, to fix, to work. Didn't tell me how much he suffered from bad discs and arthritis. 

Can you see the young Jack rabbit?

First he spent an entire day with the weed-whacker, whacking down all the weeds the tractor guy was unable to reach and I had feared would keep me weeding for weeks to come. Then he hurt, but still wanted to work, so we set to work on the dog run. I wanted everything out: Errol's greenhouse and all the containers inside, some huge; the BBQ, the smoker, the wood container, and various items strewn around. We took Old Betsy to the dump with her entire truck bed filled to the max. 

Faith just rolled in the sand, which is why she's a dirty dog here. Looking mad too! Like, why do you make me pose for pictures, mommy?

Then we drove to Home Depot and bought several things I needed, including a new garden hose, plus a few things I didn't know I needed, like a washers, screws, and stuff like that. And plywood for a new doghouse Tom felt the dogs needed. A labor of love with a raised floor, new plywood on top and to one side. I hope the dogs will appreciate it. So far they are ignoring it in favor of intense gopher watching through the fence.

Their table is all that's left now. I'll get a chair so I can sit out there with them in the mornings and evenings. That's it, they will have plenty of room to run around.

Tom also drove me to my eye surgeon appointment in Bakersfield, where I got examined and scheduled my cataract surgery for early August. To thank Tom for all he helped me with I took him to dinner at my favorite restaurant in town, Don Juan's Latin Fusion. Where Tom had a huge steak, I had salmon, and we both

feasted on heavenly rolls smothered in this delicious sauce, which I forget the name of now. 

Both Tom and I love to hike and are fascinated by the hikers who walk the Pacific Crest Trail. Since the trail actually goes through the mountains not far from here, we decided to get up early on Saturday and go and walk a little bit of it. 

We headed down to Cameron Road where the trail head is located. A trail angel, a local who helps hikers find the campground and other places in town, just let two young women out of his car. Both women, though not together, had hiked from the Mexican border and hoped to make it all the way to Canada.

This is one of the women. She began her hike at the border on April 20th. When I asked if I could take her picture, she exclaimed: "You gotta be kidding me!" I said, "no, you are just gorgeous and I'm awe of what you are doing!" So she smiled and Tom took this picture.

Unfortunately, I lost all my pictures from the trail because I was tired and clicked the wrong button in Picasa. But Tom had his, so all was not lost. Look at this dude! 

From a distance he looked like someone from outer space, but as he came closer we noticed his clever umbrella. It fastened to his backpack and had sun reflectors on top. Must make his hike through the desert parts a bit easier, I would imagine. 

This part of the trail goes next to Hwy 58 before it veers off into the Sierra Nevada mountains behind our canyon. I only walked about a quarter mile along the trail since it wasn't that much fun next to the highway. And we had lots to do that day. But at least I have now walked a very, very tiny portion of the wonderful adventure that is the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Springtime In The Mountains

Ancient gnarly apple trees frame the Tehachapi Mountains.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Nature's Rock Garden

Errol's and my friend Tom is coming from Seattle today to spend a week or so. 

Last year, he told me he wanted to come and stay with me to help me plant a garden. I don't want a garden this year, but there are a few other things I need some help with.

First I want to clean up the dog run. I actually wanted to make it larger, but my BIL Glenn is still recovering from his heart stent implants and I want to wait for him to help with that. Plus another BIL (I have so many!) needs to come and pick up the Mustang that Errol gave to him before I can extend the run out. 

But Errol built a little greenhouse in there that worked great at the time, but has now come to ruin and just takes up space. I hope to get that removed, as well as all the containers that are inside. 

I also need help with stupid simple things where even with a wrench I can't cope. Unscrewing a waterhose, for example. I can't even unscrew the broken sprayer on it, much less get it off the faucet. So frustrating!

I so miss Glenn, he's doing better but is adjusting to a variety of different medicines.  He's been such a wonderful help. I'm glad he seems to be doing much better, that's the main thing. 

My friend Rachael, the other strong person in my life, is also recovering very well. 

Have a great week!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Best Spent $$ Ever!

The Tractor Guy came yesterday and mowed for eight hours.

He mowed the front yard and the field down below, he mowed around the container and in both fields facing east.

He clearned the 100 ft around the house, required by law for fire department access, and then some. There are still some spots he couldn't get to that I have to do, but not much. 

Compared to the above picture and the header photo. Phew, I'm so happy today and feel so much safer. Wildfires are a reality here and they scare me. Really scare me. Not many things scare me, but wildfires do, so it feels good to be a bit safer.

I wake up early every day, but I take my time eating breakfast, reading, crocheting, and so on. Yesterday, I went out around 6:15, drove old Betsy around the property and picked up all kinds of junk and debris that I have looked at for years and never done anything about. That feels so good. 

And it was lovely to be outside that early.....

Monday, May 16, 2016

Down The Mountain, Again

Feels like I have a new job! It's called doctors' appointments! Set the alarm, take a shower, wash hair, get dressed nicely, or close to it. Get in my Jeep, drive for an hour or more. OK, I know I have to put up with so much of this because I only did what was most necessary while Errol was ill. And it could be worse, so much worse. It's just that I so love to stay home......

I didn't have the stress test Thursday because Mary got on a jury. She was sure she wouldn't, but there you go. But I drove down to Bakersfield and had the ultrasound on the veins in my legs. I will reschedule the other test.

Sitting there, waiting for the vein ultrasound in the heart place, I saw so many sick people. So many old people, struggling with opening a car door, getting out a walker, pushing an oxygen tank, and I felt so sad. This place is the picture of heart disease, of suffering with a bad heart. 

I didn't really want to go, but decided I better and make the best of it. Murray Farms is on the way, at the foot of the mountain; it sells all the regular farmer's market stuff, not cheap. It has changed a lot over the years, getting more commercial, installing a Chevron Station, charging to see the farm animals, giving tours, and so on.

For me, they have a ladies room and these palm trees that tell me I'm now at sea level. It's more fun here in the fall when they sell pumpkins and everything is colorfull in pumpkin orange, red apple, purple lavender and other colors of fall.

But I did find this colorful railing with a critter attached to it. So here I am, taking a picture of the critter.

And here it is a bit enlarged. So that's the way to do it when you don't want to do it. Just throw in some fun along the way and it will turn out that the journey wasn't so bad, after all.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

What The Eye Can't See

I liked this picture of the mountains, but wasn't sure I would leave the sunbeam in or not. So I went to picmonkey and played around with it. Then I accidentally pulled the brightness button all the way to the end, and got this:

I thought this was fascinating. Now I GET it, Madsnapper and the rest of you who like to play around with your pictures. I can't wait to do this again!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Sheep, Sheep, Everywhere

Every spring they come to eat weeds and grasses, reducing fire hazards around our area. This year, Mary and I were lucky to come upon a place where they birth their lambs. It doesn't get much cuter than a newborn lamb. And on a hill across the nearby freeway, the shepherds' marvelous dogs were driving the largest flock/herd of sheep we had ever seen, thousands of them, toward a gathering place. The pictures I took with my phone didn't come out well. 
As I was looking for old springtime posts, I came upon this one: 

The Franciscan Padres were the first to bring sheep to California in the late 1700s. And sheep have been a large part of farm and ranch life in this area for centuries. Large sheep drives of up to 10,000 sheep came through the Tehachapi valley in the late 1800s on their way from California to New Mexico. 

For many years, sheep ranchers in the San Joaquin Valley hired Basque shepherds to drive their sheep from the valley to the mountains, where they would spend the summer grazing in the mountain meadows. The Basque shepherds still bring sheep up to our town and the surrounding countryside. While it's a serious business to get the weeds eaten, it's also lots of fun for us all up here to see and enjoy the sheep and watch the marvelous sheep herding dogs at work.

They drove sheep through town until 1970 when modern life caught up with them. I think it's great that sheep are still useful, helping to reduce the risk of fires around our town. I often mention the winds here and if you look at the trees in the background, it's easy to see how they are affected by the more or less constant winds. The prevailing winds come from the west or north-west here and all trees get bent accordingly.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

An Old Barn

I want to share with you (again) some pictures I took in the spring of 2012, as well as some current ones of springtime in the mountains.

The Tehachapi mountains are in the background of this picture. After "talking" so much during the A to Z, sharing so many emotions, I feel a need to be quiet. I have never managed that before on my blog.  I have a few posts that I will schedule for every other day, beginning with this one. 

On Thursday, I may or may not have my heart stress test. Something has come up that Mary may have to do, so it depends. If she can't drive me, I will still drive down to Bakersfield and have them do the ultrasound of the veins in my legs. 

Other than that, Rachael continues to recover from her ordeal, while I continue to struggle with the weeds and Samson and Faith are a bit upset they don't get walked enough. Oh, well.....

I hope you will enjoy the pictures to come of springtime in the mountains. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Notes From The Canyon

All along, I thought I wrote the A to Z for myself, then I heard back from my friends Barbro and Christina in Sweden, friends I have known all my life, who said they read every post. The same with my friends here in California. And you, my blogger friends, who followed me through my battles, hopes, and fears during 2014 through April 2015 when Errol lost his battle. Of course I wrote it for you too. Thank you for reading and commenting. Some of you left a comment on every post, even the most boring of them. Yes, I did run out of steam here and there. Thank you, all of you, friends in Sweden, in California and blogger friends all over the world. 

Since I last wrote, Rachael had a terrible scare with a burst ovarian cyst, internal bleeding, and what the doctors thought was a cancerous mass. She had major surgery and now we know she didn't have cancer, but something weird happening inside of her. Which has been corrected now with the surgery. Her mom and sister flew in from Minnesota and have stayed for a week. I went to see her in a hospital in the San Fernando Valley part of Los Angeles last Monday. I am so glad, so very glad she's doing OK.

I saw my PCP who had a copy of my EKG and said it wasn't anything bad, just normal age-related changes in how efficiently the heart pumps blood. I may need a pace-maker eventually but not now. 

All of us in the canyon and the rest of the county are battling weeds. It was almost this bad the first spring I lived here, but since then I haven't seen anything like it. The tractor guy is coming on the 19th, but there are many areas I have to cut back that he will not be able to reach. 

I printed the my entire A to Z and will put it in a binder to keep. I had to change to a Simple White template for that. I have been bored with white for some time and thought I may go dark, like black, but decided it was not right for me. So I had fun checking out the various templates today. I settled on this one, which is a Watermark. I started out with the beige colored Watermark template with the birds flying up in the corner for my first posts back in 2009. And now I'm back. I liked the color and after I spruced it up a bit, I think it will keep for a while. 

The weeds were this short on March 25. 

Faith and Samson join me in hoping all you moms out there had a great Mother's Day and in wishing you all the best for the coming week.


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