Archive for June 2016
Billy and I were dozing in the living room late last night, when he looked up and said, “There’s a police car out there in the river.” I got up to see, just as flames erupted in the night. It wasn’t a police car, but a fire truck; and it was quickly joined by others. I wanted to get a picture, but the iPhone insisted on using its little flash to light up the whole night. By the time I figured out how to get it to stop, the flames were already dying down.
The fire department got right on it. I counted four or five big trucks cruising back and forth on the bike path to the south, trying to figure out how to get down to the blaze. They found a way, because soon we heard the drone of a pump working, getting water to the right spot. It was all over inside half an hour, though a couple of trucks stayed for quite a while — just in case.
This is only the first. We’ve never had a summer without a few fires on the river. They are usually like this one; put out quickly and posing no danger to our side. The prevailing winds are from the north. Every once in a while, though, there’s a really bad one. We are not looking forward to the Fourth.
It seems right to follow up with something more cheerful. Here’s Peaches and her friend Cochise, in pictures taken by Jennifer. Yet again, Peaches has made a buddy.
In this shot, you can see Cochise is grooming Peaches as he would another horse. I’ve never seen anything like this with our other dogs. Horses will form attachments to dogs, goats, or even cats; but Peaches loves all horses, and they seem to love her right back.
A couple of them have gotten too rough with their teeth, even going so far as to pick her up by her skin, but she is unfazed. Most of them, however, are very gentle and careful. It’s amazing to watch.
The main subject on the news lately has been the Erskine fire, up around Lake Isabella. It’s only affected us directly in that the air quality has been poor, but it’s life and death up there, as many homes go up in flames, and two lives are lost.
Since the big fire just over three years ago, which nearly took our house . . .
we’ve been really sensitive on the subject. There’s enough deadwood here in the river from that fire to make a really nasty one now, if it once gets started. So we got worried when we looked out of the window the other day and saw this . . .
We thought it was in the vacant lot across the levee, but it turned out to be a house just to the west. The fire department had it out very quickly. Our fire department is really good — but then, they get lots of practice.
On a more cheerful note, I stopped to snap this picture as I picked up Chinese food a couple of days ago. This beautiful woody was parked near me.
I knew Billy would love it. I loved it too, especially the big wooden surfboard on top. Not a lot of surf in Bakersfield, though; they’ll have to head for the beach.
The number of critters of all kinds has sure been going up since the river’s been . . . wet. I’m growing more little toads than grass, now that I’m watering the lawn again. It’s really hard to avoid stepping on them when I go out to water, as they hop away in all directions.
There’s larger wildlife, too. I love this quite accidental shot I got a few days ago. I was trying for the tree full of egrets out on the island; but just as I took the picture, one of them flew across below the moon.
That’s a lucky shot. Friend Jennifer got a lucky shot, too, when she encountered a bobcat on the trail.
They are beautiful creatures; and you can see how well they are camouflaged in the brush.
The heat wave goes on, and only the most dedicated riders are out this morning. If you don’t get a ride in before ten, you are going to suffer! Personally, I plan to hole up in the house. Our swamp cooler is working very well — so far.
We’re due for our second heat wave of the summer — starting on the official first day of summer, which seems appropriate. They’re forecasting at least ten days over a hundred. We’ll hope they’re wrong.
Marion and I got in one last ride Friday, before the heat sets in, and here are the requisite pictures.
Marion . . .
And me . . .
Xena made it into the picture, but Peaches is still swimming happily in the lovely cool water. It’ll be the last time here for a while, though I’ll still take them down to the stretch of river by our house in the evenings.
A daylily that Marion gave me is blooming, and it is really different. It’s beautiful, of course . . .
From any angle . . .
The unique thing about it is that it is actually a triple bloom. It’s fully double, plus a little crest on top. You can see it best in this shot . . .
Maybe it’s not triple the beauty, but it’s a good-looking flower!
I’ve been posting a lot of pictures of the Kern River as it flows by our house. It doesn’t have much to do with the stable that is the main reason for this blog, that’s true. But it’s not going to be there forever — or even for very long. I’m watching the rebirth of an ecosystem. But the water that is allowing it to bloom is temporary, as I have noted earlier. I understand it will be cut off again sometime around August, and all of this . . .
. . . will look like this again.
Right now, we have a marsh. There are reeds and cattails, red-winged blackbirds and egrets. If the water was going to stay, the trees would once more take over,, and the river would be shaded by willows and cottonwoods. The ducks and geese would come back — I saw a mallard the other day — and maybe the frogs would sing at night. But that’s not likely to happen, because there is still a drought here.
So we’ll enjoy our gentle stretch of the “Killer Kern” while we can, and I’ll take pictures to remember it by.
Until the drought breaks again.
To start with, here’s a river sunset from a few days ago. What a peaceful scene . . .
The death of Muhammad Ali has reminded me of a very old story. It’s a second-hand story, and I may not get all of the details right, but it’s worth a try.
Many years ago, one of my fellow teachers at Virginia Avenue school received an invitation for his sixth-grade class to attend the presidential inauguration. (It was President Carter’s, so that tells you just how long ago this was.) I don’t think it was ever intended that they actually attend; it was more of a courtesy thing. Teacher Jim C., however, became a man with a mission. He was going to get the whole class to Washington.
The community came through for him. It was by no means a wealthy district, but they managed to scrape together enough money to send those kids to Washington D. C.. It was amazing.
It was a great opportunity for those children, and they enjoyed it very much. For many of them, though, the greatest (in more ways than one) thing that happened on that trip was when they encountered Muhammad Ali at the airport.
Now, Ali was at the height of his fame. He was one of the most famous men in the world. But he took time to talk with those youngsters. One little girl even sat on his knee. There were no reporters present, nothing to gain in publicity; he just wanted to talk to them.
I’m not sure how much of the inauguration the kids would remember, but I guarantee they’d remember Muhammad Ali. He was truly The Greatest.