Archive for September 2015
It’s officially fall now; summer’s over. The Fair is in progress, which also marks the end of summer here. The days tend to be in the high eighties right now, which is a big improvement — and won’t hurt fair attendance, either.
Kitty and I got out and about this morning, and had a good time. The horses’ coats are beginning to thicken now, taking on the look of velvet. Kitty doesn’t get much of a winter coat, but she’s darker and almost iridescent now. Here’s a shot of her shoulder.
The ranch, too, is taking on a new look. It’s busier, for one thing, as everyone whose jobs don’t prevent it is out riding and enjoying the weather. The trees haven’t started to turn yet.
Here’s a new addition; great-granddaughter Isabella, just six weeks old. She’s a beauty.
It’s surprisingly hard to take a baby picture from horseback, even with a cooperative horse!
I met up with friend and boarder Jennifer, exercising the big Walking Horse, Randy. He and Kitty went along together very well, considering he’s about twice her size. We rode in together, and had a good time.
I’m pretty sure of one thing; I’m not going to miss summer much!
The blood moon, that is. Judging by the number of pictures on the morning news, I’m about the only one in Kern County who did. Clouds covered it most of the time, and I just didn’t look out when they didn’t.
On the other hand, I got a great sunrise this morning . . .
When I looked the other way, I found the one-time Blood Moon once more looking silvery, as it descended to its rest.
It’s supposed to be cooler this week, so I should be once more out and about on faithful Kitty. It’ll feel really good; but I bet the dogs will be happier about it than I will . . . and much happier than Kitty.
Since the big fire a couple of years ago, it seems that the native vegetation has steadily been replaced by a series of unfriendly invaders. I think most of our problem plants are imports from other countries. Here is one of the worst — the castor bean plant.
It’s the one with the large tropical looking leaves in this picture. The one with the yellow tubular flowers is tree tobacco — also poisonous, but not as bad — though it did kill a couple of pigs for us years ago.
The castor bean, though, is the source of ricin. Ricin is so toxic that it’s used in assassination and terrorism. The “bean” itself is less poisonous than concentrated ricin — yet a couple of them can kill a child, and four an adult, according to some sources. The seeds (not true beans) are colorful and attractive, contained in bur-like capsules like the ones below.
The plant is still sold as an ornamental, but we root it out whenever we find it. Unfortunately, it’s all over the riverbed, and shows no sign of disappearing — quite the opposite. I’ve written about it before, and it’s spread a lot since then.
If anyone out there has it in their yard — be warned.
Maybe El Nino will give enough of a boost to the native vegetation to crowd it out. We can but hope.
We’re having our last real heat of the year (Probably. With luck.) and I’ve been pretty much hiding inside. Here are some shots of a super-dramatic sunset from 2012, as a placeholder.
Back soon with new pictures — but it would be hard to beat this sunset!
Just a couple of pretty pictures; rays from the setting sun. I took these a couple of days ago.
I couldn’t decide which one I liked better. They’re much alike, except for the cloud shadow in the first one.
There are few things more inspiring than the clouds’ crown of glory — except maybe rainbows!
Marion and I rode along the river again yesterday, enjoying the relative absence of dust. There wasn’t enough rain to really settle it, but it was definitely better than usual.
You can see the effects of the drought so clearly here. Marion posted on her blog a picture that showed the sharp dividing line between the dying trees to the west, and the reasonably healthy ones to the east. The difference is the beaver pond backing the water up.
Here is a view between Kitty’s ears looking east — with Peaches.
Looking west — with Xena.
I wanted a good picture of the water hyacinth choking the river. Every one that I had taken, the lavender blossoms just looked white. Kitty showed me where to look . . .
I got a pretty good shot.
They are invasive and aggressive weeds . . . but they sure are pretty.
Only a hundredth or two, at the most; but it was real rain. We got enough to settle the dust for a few hours, and to cool and perfume the air. It seems like so long since we’ve had the scent of rain on dry earth.
I went out with my camera, of course. It never rained hard enough to worry about getting it wet. It was glorious, though, to feel it on my skin. Even the horses were watching it. Well — most of them.
I was trying to catch raindrops splashing in the water collecting on this picnic table, but I think I snapped between drops. The rain was so light you could do that. Note the rain shadow under it, and the line of drips beneath the edge of the bench.
It was short-lived, but we can hope it was a sign of things to come. We really hope that it was enough of a change in the weather to help with the firestorms north of us.
Did I say it was glorious?