Archive for March 2015
Our Cecile Brunner, otherwise known as the Sweetheart Rose, is in full bloom.
It’s a very old rose variety. One bloomed in our yard more than fifty years ago, and it was an old rose then.
This climbing Cecile has survived being blown over in a windstorm, the big fire, drought, and dust. It’s doing just fine. Here, it’s grown through the holes in the patio shadecloth that were burned in the wildfire. It used to form a canopy over half the patio, and birds loved to nest in it. They knew they were absolutely safe; Cecile’s a thorny girl. She’s on her way to providing refuge again.
It’s beautiful up close. It’s hard to believe the buds are the size of a finger tip.
It’s even lovely from the back.
Its only fault is that it hasn’t got much scent. But then, who’s perfect?
Things are pretty quiet around here today, so I’ll just post a pretty picture. It’s an amaryllis that’s blooming right now.
Have a nice spring break, everyone!
Our neighbors, the Hinds stables, held a used tack sale today. Sarah spent a couple of days selecting and cleaning up a bunch of our excess saddles, bridles, bits, and so on, to take. I went over there this morning to check it out.
They had a good turnout. Horse people tend to accumulate tack, and welcome a chance to thin it out. Or acquire more, depending.
They held it at the old Sheriff’s Posse quonset hut, which is a beautiful spot for an event of this type.
I looked long and hard at a couple of items, such as this Australian saddle, but managed to avoid temptation.
Sarah had set up in the shade of an old cottonwood tree, and did quite well. She had a lot of stuff — seventy years accumulation.
Usually, there’s not a lot of stuff actually sold at an event of this type, but everyone has a good time visiting and gossiping anyway. And it was a beautiful day; not to warm, not too cold. Not a bad way to spend a spring morning!
I had just gotten off the phone when Billy looked up and said, “There’s a fire downriver.” He was right.
It had actually died down a bit by the time I got out with my camera. The first flames must have been forty feet high. It didn’t take long to build up again, though.
We called 911 and tried to report it, but everyone else in Oildale must have been doing the same. There was no chance of getting through. Meanwhile, it continued to grow. The fire department, and a helicopter, had arrived.
It looked more dramatic yet as dusk deepened. People were arriving, eager to help, but there was nothing that needed to be done. The line of stalls down there was not in danger, because the wind was out of the north. We don’t normally have a problem unless the wind’s from the south. (It seems strange to talk about a normal fire, but there have been many of them over the years. Only the one May before last was a danger to the stables, because it was set during a Santa Ana.)
Flares kept roaring up as it hit patches of dry vegetation.
It began to die down as night deepened, but the fire crews worked on it until about two-thirty this morning. We gave up and went to bed about one o’clock, though.
The next morning, I was returning from a shopping trip and spotted smoke in the river. It had flared up again. In this shot, you can see our fire crew — David and Christina, on the big tractors. They were ready to cut a firebreak, if necessary. Luckily, the fire department had things well in hand. The news called it a second fire, but we’d bet it was a flare-up of the first one.
I couldn’t help but wonder, trying to get through to 911 yesterday, what would have happened if someone had been trying to report a different fire. Or a crime. I think next time we’ll stay off the phone, unless it’s something no one else can see. There are so many cell phones out there, we don’t have to worry about reporting it ourselves. At least when it’s something this spectacular.
I titled this entry, “The First Fire”, because it will be. There’s been enough rain to bring on lots of vegetation, but not enough to keep it alive. I imagine Kern County, and all of the West, will see many wildfires this season.
A couple of days ago, I was out playing catch with the dogs when I noticed some interesting cloud formations. Much to their chagrin, I darted inside to fetch my camera.
I was particularly interested in one cloud.
These were lenticular (lens-shaped) cloud formations, and ones like that above are often referred to as “flying saucers”
It had already begun to lose its shape by the time I got back with the camera, but you could still see why they might be taken for UFOs. If you had a really lively imagination, that is.
Sure enough, that very same cloud featured on the evening news, with comments like, “Yup, sure does look like a flying saucer, all right!” Maybe it does and maybe it doesn’t, but it makes an unusual picture, anyway.
Yesterday, Marion and I set out to backtrack the route of the Fun Run yesterday. We discovered how much the landscape can change in just a short time.
All the green fields had turned to gold.
We stopped to look at one of the old fig trees on the Preserve. In a good year, it will set edible fruit. In most years, it can’t set fruit at all. This year, there is fruit, but it will be small, dry, and seedy. People might not care for it, but the critters will.
The fig trees are not native, but left over from squatters’ gardens many years ago. Squatters in those days didn’t take over abandoned homes and trash them, but build homes and gardens on fallow land — that happened to be owned by others. In this case, the enormous Kern County Land Company apparently pretty much ignored the little farms dotting their land. Those squatters included some of Billy’s relatives, backin the 20’s and 30’s..
The fields may not be as green, but the trees have leafed out as if to make up for it. I liked the Picturesque Old Stump in this picture.
Up at the weirs, Peaches seems to be asking if the arrow means anything. Yep, Peaches, we’ll follow it.
After your dip, that is.
It was a beautiful cool day, and we admired the clouds and water.
We abandoned the run route, and headed straight home. Here, EZ seems to be asking why we’re stopping again. Actually he was hoping for a carrot.
And here are Kitty’s ears once more, looking alertly down the trail. She knows it’s the way home.
We were impressed by how clean the trail was, after all of the hubbub on Saturday. We saw exactly one dropped water bottle, and no other trash at all. (We should have picked it up, but getting down isn’t that easy any more. Maybe next time.) The organizers did a great job. It was a chance for a lot of people to enjoy what is a relatively unknown public area, and hopefully to support it in the future. It’s a great cause.
Granddaughter Sarah and her lovely mare Aggie went to a horse show yesterday, and a good time was had by all.
A reined cow horse is expected to sit down and tuck their rear when they stop, and Aggie does just that.
They must also show the cow who’s the boss. They do that well, too.
Here’s another stop.
That’s the way to go, girls!
Today Marion and I rode , and followed the arrows from Saturday’s Fun Run (backwards in spots) just to see where they went. It looks like they would have gone through most of the nicest spots on the Preserve. Tonight at the knitting group, I hope to learn more about how many showed up, and how it went. So few people know about Panorama Vista; now more will have seen it at its best. Well, almost best; a couple of weeks ago it would have been greener — but the trees wouldn’t have been as leafy, either.
I’ll post some of the pictures we got tomorrow.