Archive for March 2016

Cecile, Once More   3 comments

Every spring, when my climbing Cecile Brunner rose is in full bloom, I get my camera out and record her glory once more.  Cecile is not a flashy rose, with her tiny pink blooms, but she is faithful.  When spring comes, she covers herself in pale pink blossoms.

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She has gotten so large that her lower limbs need the wire support you can just see in the above shot.  (You can also see our drought-stricken lawn, or ex-lawn, but try to ignore that.)

Cecile is an old rose, dating from 1881, with the climbing variety like mine first appearing in 1894.  According to my rose book, she was named after the grower’s daughter; so she is definitely Cecile, and not Cecil.  She came from Switzerland, and has many names.  “Sweetheart Rose”, “Mignon” and “Maltese Rose” are among them.  “Sweetheart” seems very appropriate when you look at the tiny, perfect buds.

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The foliage is green and lush, and Cecile is a tough, strong grower.  Mine has survived several disasters, including fire and dust storms, and endured at least forty years of Bakersfield weather.

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Every spring she flings herself at the sky once more, and embraces countless tiny birds nesting in her branches.

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The individual flowers don’t seem to have much scent, but when she’s in full bloom, the spicy-sweet scent is lovely.

Enduring, sweet, and faithful — what more can you ask of a rose?

P. S.  There’s water in the river again!  Lots of water!


Posted March 30, 2016 by stablewoman in Around the Ranch, Flowers

Sycamore   Leave a comment

Well, a few days have passed with no wrecks, accidents, or crime.  You never know what’s going to happen next around here . . . oh, well.  It’s quiet today.  So far.

Here’s a pretty picture anyway.  When Marion and I rode yesterday on the Preserve, we were  struck by the beauty of the sun shining through the spring leaves of this sycamore.  It reminded me of green jewels — not emerald, but peridot.

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I suspect, from the way the multiple trunks are growing, that this group grew from the stump of an ancient fallen tree.  In any case, they make a beautiful picture, while the leaves are clean and gleaming.  Later, dust will dull their color, but they’re wonderful now.

Posted March 25, 2016 by stablewoman in Nature

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It Happened Again!   Leave a comment

Yet another car came off of the road at the tunnel.  This wasn’t a serious wreck; the car landed upright and no one was injured.  In a few moments, people were helping them get it off of the county fence.


Unfortunately, as soon as they were free of the fence, and as the fire, ambulance, and Highway Patrol started to arrive, they got turned around and took off.  Obviously they wanted nothing to do with the officials.  They didn’t know how to get out of the ranch, though, and spent the next twenty minutes or so driving madly all over the place, looking for a way out.  The Highway Patrol was looking for them, but apparently didn’t know they were still down here.

Eventually, they found their way to the levee, which usually has a locked gate at each end.  In a stroke of luck for them, though, a county employee was working up there and had left the west gate unlocked.  They got away free.  The Patrol has their license number, though, so unless it was a stolen car (very possible) they’ll be found.

It’s not always that exciting around here.  I stopped on our ride this morning to get a shot of this lovely bush.  Several of our customers have landscaped their tackrooms, and this one is especially pretty.  I’m not sure what the bush is, except it seems to be some variety of rose.

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The rest of the flower bed is lovely, too.

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It was a perfect spring day, and we enjoyed it!

Posted March 21, 2016 by stablewoman in Around the Ranch, Events

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A Bit of Green   Leave a comment

The weather around here has been just about perfect, and everyone is taking advantage of it.  Once more, Marion and I rode out yesterday, just to enjoy the brief Bakersfield green.

We stopped on the way out to look at our recovered truck.  It doesn’t look bad, except for its missing drawers.  Replacing all of the tools will be expensive, but at least they couldn’t steal the cherry-picker.


I couldn’t resist taking a couple of pictures at my favorite spot on the trail.

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We crossed the canal, and rode down the southern bank.  One spot seemed so green and wooded that it might have been Ireland.  Well, sort of.

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I’m not sure what this ferny little plant is, but it can be a stand-in for shamrocks, can’t it?

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


Posted March 17, 2016 by stablewoman in Nature, Riding

The Lost is Found — Mostly   1 comment

Our stolen work truck turned up — missing almost all of the tools and equipment it carried, of course.  There was also quite a bit o damage to the steering column and ignition, which puzzled us since the drove it out with a key.  David suggested that perhaps it was stolen twice; abandoned after the first time, then stolen again by thieves who didn’t have the key.  Maybe.  At any rate, it’s been found at an apartment complex only a couple of miles away, and the damage is repairable.  We’re glad it’s back.

I heard the dogs barking ferociously a couple of days ago, and went out to find Xena and Peaches were alarmed by an egret.  It was hunting lizards, probably, on the riverbank, and ignoring them totally.  Later, when we went out for our ball chase, I spotted a streak of white near the bridge.

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Sure enough, it was the same egret, still hunting.

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It still ignored the dogs, too, but took off when I got too close.  I snapped madly as it passed overhead, and got one shot that actually had the egret in it.

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They are beautiful in flight; incredibly white and graceful.

It’s been busy around here — I took my Prius in for maintenance today, which took up most of the morning.  They were quick and courteous at the dealership, and commented that it was still basically a new car.  That’s true; it hit 2800 miles as I drove in.  No, I didn’t leave out a zero.  That’s not many miles for a year-old car!

Posted March 16, 2016 by stablewoman in Birds, Nature

Saving Snakes and Eyeing Eagles   Leave a comment

It’s been an interesting couple of days, especially with wildlife.  Yesterday, Marion spotted a baby gopher snake in the driveway.  It apparently felt it was safe if it froze in place, but as you can see by the tire tracks, this was really not a good idea.

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It was definitely a gopher snake, as can be told by the shape of the head.  In forty-five years, I’ve never seen a rattler around here.

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While Marion took pictures, I caught the little guy to move him to a safer place.  He was kind of cute; just look at his little head peeping over my hand.

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Goodbye, little fella.  You’re getting turned loose in the nearest weedpatch — of which we have plenty.

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Then, this morning, boarder Jennifer called to me.  When I poked my head out of the window, she told me that there was a bald eagle in a tree behind the shop.  I grabbed my camera and was out of there like a shot.  And yes, there he/she was, glaring around in an eagle-like manner.

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These are not the highest-quality pictures, because they were taken at extreme telephoto.  But this was the only bald eagle I’d ever seen on our property, and I just had to get his picture.  We sometimes get eagles, especially before or after a storm, but they’ve always been the smaller golden eagle.  This was a real live bald eagle.

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He wasn’t bothered by his growing audience, as more people came to look at him, but posed nicely for his picture.  I went to the store after I took these, but later spotted him on a PG&E tower across the river.  It was the height of the rainstorm, and it seems as though he must have been pretty miserable.  Those feathers are a good shield, though, and he sat there for a long time, so maybe it wasn’t too bad.

We did get a good rain today, with wind and heavy at times.  The temperature was seventy-two in the morning, and right now at three-thirty it’s fifty-two.  It’s been an unusual day.

Posted March 11, 2016 by stablewoman in Uncategorized

Riding by the River   Leave a comment

It feels really good to choose that title, because there was a real river, with real water, to ride by — if only for the day.

The first thing we noticed was this sign, in the middle of the river.  It was too far out to read.

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Later we learned that it was a warning to riders that there was going to be a cross-country run on the Preserve this weekend.  I’m fairly sure they put up the sign before the water came down.  I wonder if they expected the runners to cross the river here.  If so, they’re going to have a surprise — at least, if there’s still water.

The dogs, of course, were thrilled to find they could actually swim .  At least, Peaches was.  Xena always seems less enthusiastic, but follows her buddy.  Sometimes.

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Here they strike a noble pose, not far from the beaver dam.  Can you see the apprehensive heron by the dam?  He was watching them closely.

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The beavers must have been really surprised.  They have a nasty hole in their dam.

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We stopped at the “beach”, and Peaches had yet another swim.  I didn’t take a picture of all of her swims; she made frequent detours to try out a new spot.

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We went back on the higher ground, and found this lonely little lupine.  See it?  Look closely . . . last year there were many more.

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I didn’t want to get any closer for fear of stepping on the Last Lupine.  You can see that the grass is already going brown.  I’m afraid the predicted showers won’t help it much.

I’ll bet people used to rivers that are always rivers don’t appreciate them half as much as we do ours.

Posted March 11, 2016 by stablewoman in Dogs, Kern River, Riding

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