Archive for August 2014
There were probably a lot of people taking pictures of the spectacular sunset yesterday.
It was worth it.
The real show, though, was not in the west, but in the east, over the mountains.
There were some amazing cloud formations there, and they just got better as the moments passed.
Of course, Peaches had to get in there somewhere. That bright streak at the center of the photo was especially interesting. It looked as if the top of the cloud had folded over, and the darker streak beneath it was its shadow. Gorgeous.
The evening was topped off by the crescent moon rising among cotton-candy clouds.
It was a fitting end for a memorable evening.
It’s not quite a heat wave, but it’s hot enough to put my riding on hold for a few days. There’s cooler weather coming; each day that passes brings us closer to fall.
Not that I haven’t enjoyed riding Kitty this summer. Here’s a picture of us Marion took better than a week ago.
Along the river is about the only green to be seen these days, so it’s nice to get out and see it. It’s been a long dry season.
There was an interesting letter in the paper today, in the section reserved for complaints. In it, the writer complained about the poor image given to Oildale in the Californian. This person thought it all traced back to the floods of ’51-’52, in which the levees on the north bank of the river were holding, while the south bank’s levees were leaking and threatening to give way. This would have flooded the wealthier areas of town, such as Westchester. The influential citizens wanted to dynamite the Oildale levee, so the flood would be diverted away from their expensive homes. (I wonder if this would have been our levee; the same one they’ve been working on this week.) Anyway, it didn’t come to pass; because people from Oildale took to patrolling the levee to put a stop to any such attempts. Some say they were heavily armed.
I found it hard to believe that this was the real reason for Oildale’s image, but wondered if the story was correct, so I asked Billy if he remembered the incident. He would have been seventeen or so at the time, plenty old enough for memories of it. He said yep, that was pretty much the way he recalled it.
The dam at Isabella was intended to prevent floods such as this, and so far it’s worked well. We still get water in the low areas of the property in really wet years — part of the ranch was actually an arm of the river. But there hasn’t been any real flooding.
Not that there’ve been any problems lately, of course!
There’s been work on the flood control levee that forms the northern border of our property. That happens every few years. Heavy equipment comes in to clean, scrape, and fill any holes. After all, it’s essential in case of flooding. And that is so likely these days.
Anyhow, that was the reason for this behemoth parked in our driveway.
It had been grading the levee that day. It was parked well out of the way, but caused some surprise on the part of people coming in. The heavy equipment has been no problem, despite roaring back and forth, but people are curious about what’s going on.
They’ll be done soon, and it’ll be nice to be rid of the weeds and junk that accumulate up there. Around Oildale, “place to dump your garbage” = “any flat area big enough”.
Floods used to be fairly common along the Kern, until the Isabella dam was built in the fifties. There’s been worry about its safety lately, as it’s an aging earthen structure built in earthquake country. Right now, though, there’s not enough water behind it to do more than give us a nice cooling bath, let alone the sixty foot high wall of water predicted if it broke when full. Our modest levee wouldn’t hold that anyway.
I took the dogs out chasing the ball last night. As usual, Xena grabbed it and ran on ahead to hide it. She does this too well. Centuries from now, if archaeologists excavate this place, they’re going to think it was a tennis court.
Here’s the problem. The ball isn’t far off the path, under some trees. Can you see it in this interesting study of textures?
How about now? It’s almost in the center.
I eventually got back to the house with it. We’ll try to lose it again tonight, to the dogs’ delight.
It’s too early for all of those dead leaves; another effect of the drought. Thank goodness, summer’s at last drawing to an end. We’re supposed to have another heat wave this weekend, but the heat’s reign is growing shorter. Everyone is more than ready for fall weather . . .
And maybe rain.
When I rode yesterday, I was interested to see evidence that there had been real water in the river. There isn’t any now, but I could see its tracks, so to speak. I wondered if the dying trees hand gotten a reprieve.
So we — Kitty, me, Peaches, and Xena, as usual — set out to see where it had come from.
It was a beautiful day for a ride.
We headed upriver, with Xena showing the way.
Pretty soon, we came to the beaver pond. It was higher than usual. (I should have waited for the dust to settle.)
So . . . we went on.
It turned out that there was a lot of water being bypassed from the canal into the river.
I think we would have had more of it downriver, if not for those busy beavers.
I’ve got to restrain myself a little. Ever since I realized I could use the iPhone to take pictures from Kitty’s back, I’ve been immortalizing every ride. I’m sure Kitty is tired of stopping all of the time.
Or maybe not.
I’ve been posting lots of riding pictures, between the moderate weather and Kitty’s cooperative nature. Today, though, I’d thought I’d feature my efforts to capture the beauty of daylilies backlit by the morning sun.
These are some more of Marion’s red lilies, still blooming bravely in the August heat. In the first picture, I was trying to get just the right angle, and didn’t notice Billy’s pickup coming up the hill.
A slightly different angle — and more pickup.
Another shot — and a parked pickup.
Finally I immortalized the pickup, Xena, Billy’s legs — and the very beautiful lilies.
I told him he ruined my composition, but on second thought, they added a certain life to the series!
This morning I crossed the river and rode on the south bank, and I’ll have some of those pictures tomorrow. Today the flowers got center stage for a change.
After the ride yesterday, it was pleasant to cruise around the home place for a bit and just look at things.
Peaches was glad to get back, so she could have a nice drink from a horse waterer. I don’t think the horses mind.
There’s always something different to look at, as the boarders customize their tack rooms. Chairs, umbrellas, flowers . . . everything they need to enjoy an evening hanging out with their horses.
The horses watch us going by, too. This is the oldest section, built of salvage from the oilfields and the 50’s earthquake.
We got back to the house just as Sarah was going out with Aggie and Bella. She’s showing Bella more of the world.
I’m sure they had as good a time as we did — and didn’t meet any territorial dogs!