Archive for March 2010
. . . just wait a minute. At least that’s how the old saying goes about the weather in New England. It doesn’t usually apply to Bakersfield, where day after day can drag on just about the same.
Today, however, was Interesting. I’m still getting used to my new camera, and was out snapping pictures quite a lot. In the morning it was dull and gray, but most of the day it looked like this:
But about two o’clock I looked out and saw this:
I thought we were in for it. We ended up with about ten drops.
All day, we’ve gotten only a couple of sprinkles; not enough even to settle the dust very much. They’ve been talking about thunderstorms late this afternoon, but I’m not holding my breath. Still, it’s been a beautiful if breezy day.
The nice man from Lincare came by today with my new CPAP* machine. He went to a lot of trouble to get me a mask that didn’t drown me, and he was helpful in explaining the new machine. Compared to the old one, it’s a lot like the space shuttle next to a World War I biplane. It’s even shaped a little like the space shuttle.
Now if it’ll just be as dependable as the old one was . . .
*I can never remember what CPAP stands for. It’s Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. In other words, it blows air down your nose.
Someone sent us some old photos that they had lying around, from years ago. The first is Billy’s mother Irma, sometime in the late sixties or early seventies. I had a copy of this picture — and posted it on my old blog — but it was from an old Christmas card and was in pretty poor shape. This was the original. She is on her good old gaited horse, Caesar, somewhere upriver.
The second is us! Billy and me, sometime in the seventies. I don’t remember the occasion, but it looks like it might be Billy’s birthday. I didn’t wear tank tops much. You can see why; just look at that farmer tan!
I’m glad to get this picture, for there aren’t many of Billy and me together. I’m usually taking the photo. That’s true of a lot of families, I imagine. Take ’em and label ’em!
I was browsing through a site called Vaqueros and Buckaroos when I came across this picture.
I was surprised to see, in an excerpt from a book by Arnold Rojas, a pictue of my old friend Sid Spencer on her stallion Antman. He was unique, because he was a registered Morgan who was one-quarter Arab. The Morgan registry opened their books for a short time in the thirties to allow such crosses.
Sid was an old-fashioned ranchwoman, tough as nails, but with a gentle side too. She raised top quality Morgan horses; so good that people are still maintaining her bloodlines years after her death. I never got to see Antman — he was foaled in 1936 — but his pictures showed an extremely handsome horse. Still, he worked for a living. If you look closely at this picture, you will see there’s a rope that would have a calf on the end of it.
The place where this was taken is, most likely, not there any more. Most of the old ranch is under Lopez Lake near Arroyo Grande. It’s a beautiful lake, but it took up some prime ranching country.
I count myself lucky to have known Sid and her sister Anne. So many of those old ranching families have sold up or died out. They were good people.
Yesterday I bought a new camera — a Panasonic ZR1 Lumix. It’s smaller than my old camera, has 12.1 megapixels, and an 8x zoom. If my memory serves me, it was cheaper, too. Below is the first picture I took with it; an Icelandic poppy. It won’t look different from the old ones, because the size of the uploaded pictures is limited, but I think this is going to be a nice camera.
As I was typing, Billy got a call from Ethel’s, the local watering hole; and it’s a problem. A boarder’s horse was frightened by some motorcycles roaring by, broke its reins, and is running home. Her friend’s horse is so upset she can’t get on, and wants someone with a trailer to come and get her. Billy went out to see to it.
Horses have gotten loose at Ethel’s before, and made it home, but it’s always scary. Someone may catch it before it gets here; we’ll see. I’ll add the outcome to this post later.
Never a dull moment.
Later: Luckily, someone caught the horse before it got out to the road. Both of them got hauled home in the trailer. I’m afraid Ethel’s may not be as safe for horseback riders as it used to be . . .
Marion and I noticed an unusual flower on our trip Tuesday. I took a couple of pictures, because I seemed to remember it was an endangered species. I think it was California Jewel Flower (or Jewelflower). My close up came out blurry, but you can see them among the other flowers in this shot. They are the dark maroon ones.
Fellow blogger Tina took a picture last spring that I think was the same thing. According to the Internet, these are a very rare species, known to be found in Santa Barbara Canyon, the Carrizo Plain, and the Kreyenhagen Hills in Fresno County. But, the article went on, “undiscovered populations may persist in the foothills of Fresno, Kern, and Kings counties.” It looks like that might be true.
They are prettier than they look here; the color is a rich deep red, nearly black. All of the colors are a bit washed out. The lupines were a deeper blue-violet, and the fluffy little brodiaea were powder blue. The article I read said the Jewelflower seeds seemed to need weathering to germinate, and they were on a weathered stretch of hillside.
There are sure a lot of flowers in this shot. Besides the jewelflower, lupine and brodiaea, I can see poppies, bird’s-eye gilia, and chia.
Kern County sure doesn’t get much respect, even when it comes to wildflowers. We’re lucky to live here.
I was finishing the paper this morning when Billy looked up from his recliner and said, “There’s an egret.”
“Where?” I said, twisting around to see.
“On the lawn; right there,” he said.
Sure enough, there it was, intent on something in the grass. I ducked down and hurried to get my camera, hoping that a) it would stay right there, and b) I could get a decent picture through the glass. Egrets are photogenic.
I got back, crept around the edges of the room, and poked my head (and camera) past the edge of the window. This is the shot I got.
That vanishing bit of white is the egret. A moment ago, it was right there. I was frustrated.
It’s interesting, though, that it looks like a scrap of white paper — perhaps an origami egret — stuck to the hummingbird feeder. That’s just a trick of perspective, though. It’s skedaddling.
So far, that’s the most excitement for the day. The picture shows the cool gray weather we had this morning. The sun’s out now, but it’s still a lot cooler than it has been. They’re talking about rain next week. It’d be nice, and the mountains especially can still use it.
It’s a gray and chilly day, after the balmy weather of the past days. It’s kind of nice — cuddling under the electric blanket this morning was comfy again. It’ll be warm again soon enough.
The heavy equipment is gone out of the yard, the bridge having been repaired. Billy wanted to adopt the little baby loader they parked out front, but had to admit we don’t really need it.
We were a bit alarmed about noon to look out and see a surveyor busy setting up shop on the riverbank. I think most people would be, upon seeing their property being surveyed for unknown purposes. It turned out that they were working for FEMA, to update the flood plain maps; creating, as they called it, a “model” of the riverbed. They were taken aback to see the amount of tree growth in the river, and , I understand, took pictures to send on to the powers that be. Well, it worries us, too; it’s a riverbed. It’s not supposed to have trees.
Other plants, now, that’s a different matter. Here’s a monkeyflower I snapped while walking under the bridge.
Rancheria Road is not the only place with wildflowers!
And I think it’s time for a theme (background) change . . .