Archive for June 2014

Baby Shower   1 comment

The baby shower for Ciera yesterday was very pleasant.  The cowboy theme was really appropriate — as well as adorable.  Sarah did the flowers.  I thought the sunflowers were perfect.


There were plenty of presents, of course.


And quantities of goodies.


The cowbbaby  cake was especially adorable.


Andrew was as useful as most fathers at these things — he held up the house really well.


The garden blankie and the turtle were well received.  Isn’t Ciera lovely?


Oh, and there were some magnificent canna lilies in the yard.


I never can resist a picture of a brilliant flower!

Even the weather cooperated.  It was warm, but quite comfortable in the shade.  Now the rest of this week . . . that’s another story.


Posted June 29, 2014 by stablewoman in Events

An Eventful Couple of Days   2 comments

It has been an eventful couple of days, all right.  Day before yesterday we got a call saying that granddaughter Christina had taken a bad fall and broken her leg.  She had been taken to the hospital by ambulance after her horse fell on her.

It turned out that the leg wasn’t broken; just a very bad sprain, cuts, bruises and abrasions.  At least, the doctors didn’t think it was broken.  There was apparently too much swelling to be absolutely sure.  Anyway, she’s home and getting around on crutches, but not at all comfortable, of course.  That  wasn’t the way we wanted her visit from Texas to go, for sure.

Then this morning about six, we got a call from Ciera, Andrew’s partner.  She had gotten up to find a strange woman in their mobile home, going through their things.  The two women scared each other, and the intruder ran, leaving her backpack on the patio.  It was stuffed with household items.  Ciera called 911, then us.

Billy jumped onto his white charger climbed into his pickup, and rushed to the rescue. First, though, he called out the cavalry.  Scott and David arrived before the police, and all three started after the culprit.  She had dropped most of her loot, but still had Ciera’s wallet.

I sat on the steps with Ciera while she called Andrew (who was at work) and set about cancelling her credit card.  The backpack was sitting there.  The woman had stolen Oreos, Cheezits, and a big bottle of dish detergent, among other things.  It would have been pathetic, except for that wallet.

I learned later that Billy actually caught up with the burglar as she walked down the levee.  He yelled at her to just throw down the wallet, and she yelled back that she didn’t have it any more.  Then she vanished into the neighborhood, where Billy couldn’t follow.  He can’t walk more than a few feet any more.

It didn’t do her much good, though.  A neighbor had seen where she had gone, and the police cornered her very quickly.  She was hard to miss; tangled red hair and a black mesh top.  The police took her back for Ciera to identify, and she admitted that yep, she had done it.  But the wallet was still missing, and she probably didn’t know where she had thrown it anyway.  She was pretty much out of it.  The credit card — just one — was cancelled already, though, but it’s a pain to lose your driver’s license and ID.

The police response was excellent, and all and all it could have been much worse.  It might have been possible to feel sorry for the woman.  She was obviously homeless, with tangled, dirty hair, and a big red mark one her cheek as though someone had hit her.  The neighbor, though, said that she and her boyfriend had been robbing the neighborhood blind for some time.  They were likely the ones who stole some saddles from us a few months ago, then abandoned them when they proved too heavy to carry.  (They were recovered when some other homeless came to the house and told us where they were.)

Ciera’s calmness and cool head were remarkable throughout the whole thing.  Her baby shower is tomorrow, for a little one due in September.  It can’t be easy to wake up to a stranger in your home, especially when you’re pregnant.  She is certainly brave.

Oh — she had Spur in the bedroom with her, and Gena and Spanky were in the yard.  None of the dogs said a thing.  I guess Border Collies aren’t much as watchdogs.

Here’s a shot of some lenticular clouds over the mountains last night, to close with.


I just wish I could have seen my 81-year-old husband chasing down the burglar in his trusty pickup.

Posted June 27, 2014 by stablewoman in Events

Faeries’ Garden   1 comment

With a couple of great-grandchildren coming along, I’ve been knitting and crocheting away.  I was struck by an especially lovely blanket, a free pattern on Ravelry, called the Faeries Baby Sampler.  (Ravelry is a site for knitters and crocheters, with thousands of free or paid-for patterns.)  Since at least one of the babies was going to be a boy, I decided to do it in earth, water, and sky colors.


The more I crocheted, the more I thought of a garden; so in my mind, I’ve been calling it the Faeries’ Garden project.

It’s not a beginner’s pattern.  Nearly every row is a different stitch, and it takes careful counting to keep all of the rows the correct repeat.


Since it was a garden, I thought a resident would be nice; so I whipped up a Tiny Striped Turtle — also a free Ravelry pattern — to go along with the blanket.  Here he is, admiring the “sun” reflected in the central “pond”.


I’m on row 42, out of 53, and my wrist is beginning to give out.  It’s about big enough, though.  Just another row . . . or two . . . or three . . .

Oh, my.

Posted June 25, 2014 by stablewoman in Needlework

Goodbye, River . . . for Now   Leave a comment

Looking at the picture of the dry river from the last post got me to thinking about how it changes.  If one hasn’t lived with it year by year, it’s hard to realize all the ups and downs it’s taken.  This is yesterday’s shot, looking west.


Here it is just a few weeks ago . . .


All of the vegetation will be gone, soon.  But here is the same spot in 2010 . . . a bit to the north.


There was a lot more green before the drought.  Still, it’s come a long way since last year’s big fire.

And an even longer way since the 1980’s.  This picture was taken in 1985, when it was rare to have water in the river.  It was also the policy to keep the riverbed clear, so there would be heavy equipment in clearing brush whenever it was dry.  There was very little riparian habitat then.


It’s hard to believe it’s the same spot.  The power lines in the distance are the best clue.

Billy can remember the times before the Isabella dam, when it was a raging cataract.  I wasn’t around for that, but I’ve seen it high enough to be dangerous to swimmers.  That’s rare in our stretch of the “Killer Kern”.  Most of the drownings take place in the upper reaches of the river, but there have been lives lost here, too.

So — the river comes and the river goes.  I just hope we get a good winter, with the help of El Nino, so we can see it full once again — and many more times.

Posted June 24, 2014 by stablewoman in Uncategorized

Tracks!   Leave a comment

Our stretch of the river is dry, now.

Both upriver . . .


. . . and down.


Even the sunflowers at the river’s edge, tough though they are, are looking droopy.


The only bright spot is the opportunity to see tracks in the drying mud.  They look like hieroglyphics, I think.


Most of them are birds and raccoons, though I spotted possum and what I think might have been skunk.


We must have herds of raccoons . . . or one who goes back and forth a lot.

It’s sad to see the river drying up.  The egrets and herons have been busy, feasting on the fish and frogs stranded in the mud.  It’s happened before, though, and will again.  There’s still water farther upriver, so when we do get rain again, there will be another population boom.

We’re sure hoping El Nino comes through.

Posted June 23, 2014 by stablewoman in Kern River

Lost Sleep   1 comment

It was a busy night, and we’re a bit short of sleep this morning.

First, Billy got up about two to make a round and check everything.  He’s been a bit uneasy since the fire.  He wakes me up to let me know he’s going, in case of problems.  I spot him half an hour before I start worrying.  About two-forty, I got up and started peering out of the window.  I was about ready to get in the Beetle and go looking when he showed up.  There hadn’t been anything wrong; he just had been sitting out there looking at the stars.

I didn’t yell at him.  Much.

Anyway, about five I heard him calling me again.  This time, he had heard someone yelling for help down in the riverbed.  Then I heard it, too; it sounded like a woman’s voice.  We went down to the river and yelled back.  I walked a little way down into the sand and called, “Where are you?”  There was one return shout, unintelligible, then nothing.  We decided that I would go back and call 911, while he went over and got Scott up to search further.

The 911 lady asked a few details, then said that someone would be there “as soon as available”.  No one must have been available, because no one ever showed up.  Scott looked for quite a while, but never found anything.  It might have been a transient with the DT’s, or someone passing who thought it would be funny to get us up, or a real problem.  I guess we’ll never know.

So . . . we ended up with about four hours sleep last night.

Later in the morning, I looked out of the window and noticed Peaches peering intently at something on the ground.  I looked more closely, and realized it was a female oriole who must have hit the window and stunned herself.  I went to the rescue, intending to pick her up and put her somewhere safe, but she was quite capable of rescuing herself.  She let me know this by scolding and fluttering up to the window, where she glared at me accusingly.


A moment later, she moved over to a fern.  I got a nice closeup.


Peaches seemed to be saying, “See?  I am a bird dog!”


Later on, I looked out and she had flown off.  Peaches, on the other hand, was exhausted . . .


It’s tough being a rescue dog.

Luckily, we all got a good nap this afternoon.

Posted June 21, 2014 by stablewoman in Birds, Dogs, Events, Nature

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Reblooming   Leave a comment

It’s 100, at 2:30.  This is not promising for outdoor activities in the next few days — at least for me.

I did get out long enough to spend some time with the peach daylily which is just starting its second round of bloom.  It is the one that the ground squirrels attacked, ending its first round prematurely.  Maybe it’s trying to make up for lost time.

I did a little experimenting, picturing the same flower with and without water droplets, in sun and in shade, and with the Canon PowerShot and the iPhone.  Here are some results.

First, the iPhone.




And with the Canon:






Very interesting, I thought.  The colors are much brighter in the iPhone shots — almost garish.  I like the softer tone of the Canon shots better.  But the thing is — the iPhone shots are closer to the actual color of the flower!

I wish I knew a bit more about photography.  Someday I’ll take a class, and maybe at least learn how to get rid of that hose in the background.

The house is full of napping dogs, Andrew’s as well as mine.  Maybe I should take a hint from them . . .

Posted June 20, 2014 by stablewoman in Flowers

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