Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Hard Work in the Yard!

The blog date says Tuesday, April 29 but actually it is being posted on Wednesday, April 30th. I started it Tuesday and finished it today, the 30th. I don't know how to make the date change. Sorry.
(Thanks to Donna, of By His Grace Alone... who told me how to do this, I have now been able to change the date. Thank you Donna and thank you for visiting.)

Owen and Deborah with 3/4's of their yard showing here. The brick patio and fire-ring was designed and hand laid by Owen. The "privacy wall" or rustic fence as we decided to call it, is to their right. Behind them is another quarter of the yard unfinished but showing a vegetable patch, covered with a fine mesh to keep the birds and squirrels out. All tenderly planted and cared for by Deborah.

The lilac bush is about to spring into bloom and the tulips have put on a good display. Deborah chooses and plants all the flowers and shrubs. Clematis is planned for the arch.

Owen saw a bean support at a local garden shop and decided he could just as easily make one as buy one. So this is it, waiting for Deborah's beans.

Behind the "rustic fence" (partly seen on the right of the first photo) is the gazebo built by Owen, and the beginning of a curved walkway can be seen here. We had great fun matching the two sides of the curved path, but it is all set now to have the bricks embedded.

At the opposite side of the patio from the arch, Owen has built this little hutch to house the wood for the evening's entertainment around the fire.

And to the left of this, is the waterfall against the neighbor's fence, with the privacy wall right-angled to it. The waterfall plants are just beginning to fill in around the rocks. Deborah is planning honeysuckle for the neighbor's fence. By this time next year, when we will visit them again, most of all this work will be finished, including pea gravel and bark chips on walks where needed. It is amazing how much they can do in a day! Such hard work and so talented, both of them.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Almost Forgot...

Probably won't be able to blog for about a week. So don't forget about me. Hopefully Wanda will be back in the land of the living by then. Poor girl, she is probably in the throes of unpacking -- but I miss her.

Here, I leave you with one of my as yet unpublished photos of Hawaii which I thought was different. Hawaii is on my mind because we are thinking and semi-planning for Hawaii again later this year.
(Going to Boise this week.)

See you soon!

Wild 'n Crazy

What's wrong with these two cars?

Look closely at their side view mirrors.

Yup! They're covered. One with a plastic bag and the other with a towel.
Because we have a crazy bird called a Phoebe who likes to look at his reflection in the mirror and peck at it -- and leave his marks on the nice clean car.


This is as wild and crazy as Bailey gets. He really does look wild in the first picture. But you have to work really hard to get him in this mood. His usual mood is sleep or sulk.

Just to make sure we are all still sane, here is a picture of my neighbor's flowers in our yard. Last year she had nasturtiums and they spread under the fence.

Now this year we have beautiful bright red and yellow nasturtiums blooming in our yard!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Oh No ! Not Again!

That might be the heading I would give to my friends up in Canada who got yet more snow this past weekend. But actually it is there because of the news my husband woke me up with this morning: Henrietta has a companion! A very large red rooster is what he told me. But when I got out there, it was large and red but not a rooster. (Sorry, MOTH is a city boy). It had beautiful red feathers and was more like a Rhode Island Red.

I didn't even wait to take a photograph because large chickens make large messes. My neighbor came and got it right away, but I don't have too much faith that that is the last we will see of it. It looked as if it had been tethered by the leg. There was a piece of string or something hanging off one of its legs. Henrietta had the sense to stay hidden while the neighbor was here. Then she calmly came out of the bushes to take a dust bath in one of my planters this afternoon.

All the white crowned sparrows have quite suddenly disappeared. I suppose they have moved further north. Where ever they have gone they will undoubtedly be the chubbiest birds in their area after eating all my sunflower seed all winter, not to mention taking many baths in my waterfall. -- and I might add -- making sure their underparts were washed clean, by standing with their rear ends under the water flow!

Now that they have gone, the house sparrows have
turned out in full force, along with the house finches. The white crowned sparrows are a little larger and somewhat bully-ish so the other birds are more bold now that they've gone.

Hawaiian Hide-Away
I finally manged to do another ATC. Haven't felt much like drawing for a while. Must try to do a couple more before we go up to Boise. I had difficulty posting this one but I THINK I've fixed the problem.

Someone asked what ATC's are. Well, I'm not an authority but this is what I know. ATC stands for Art Trading Cards. Most people make them with different kinds of fabric, paints and other media. Also most people make them in order to trade them with other collectors. However I do neither of these things. I'm not into trading and I use only Prisma Colors, pen and ink or water colors. So may be mine are not true ATC's The thing that distinguishes these from other art works is that they are done on a piece of card approximately
2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches. I like doing these because I can usually finish one in an evening.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


All of these post cards are over one hundred years old. They range from 1902 to 1906. They are a part of my collection of cards and photographs of the place where I grew up and the place for which this blog is named : FLAMBLOG.

I lived here for approximately ten years from the age of 9 to the age of 19. It is a wild and windy place, but a place of much beauty. The cliffs are chalk limestone and contain many, many caves, with interesting legends attached. They are about 150 feet to 400 feet in height. Thousands, if not more, of seagulls nest on these cliffs. There are gannets, kittiwakes, guillimots, puffins and many others. As a teenager I would roam these cliffs, bays and caves with my dog, Rip. It was a paradise. The summer was only about 8 weeks long and the temperatures seldom rose above 65-70 degrees. Winters were wet and windy but not often below freezing.

Notice the 'climmers' (climbers) on the cliff top and half way down the cliff face. They are collecting sea birds eggs to eat and to sell. This practice is now illegal.

The two stacks are named King and Queen Rocks. Only one of them is left standing now. I don't know which one it is.

There are over a hundred shipwrecks off the headland, one of which is John Paul Jones' ship ''The Bonhomme Richard". In a north-easterly storm the waves become enormous, at times breaking over the tops of the 100 foot cliffs. I know this is true because I have seen it myself.

Another ship about to wreck on the rocks.

The lighthouse and Silex Bay. The stack in this photo is Matron. She is no longer standing. This view is taken almost from my back yard. Our house was literally on the cliff tops.

The seabird preserve is famous. It is said that fishermen and sailors would listen for the sound of the birds to know if they were too close to the rocks. They make an enormous noise and it echoes in and around the cliffs and bays. This was in the days before the fog horn and the lighthouse.
Flamborough is known for its dense fogs.

Here is another view of Silex Bay. The stack here is either, Adam or Eve. Only one of these is left standing today.

Silex Bay and 'Matron'.

Another ship about to wreck. This card is dated 1903. The post mark is very clear on the back.

More rough seas at the Head and yet another ship about to wreck. This card is dated 1902

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT FLAMBOROUGH HEAD GO TO MY WEB SITE Click on the link in the side-bar on the right that says, My web of Flamborough.

Monday, April 14, 2008

More Visitors to the Patio

The last three days it has been too hot to sit out on the patio until late afternoon. We have had Santa Ana weather, when the wind turns and blows from the desert in the east. So it has been 90 degrees for two days and a little cooler today. But we will be back to the high sixties tomorrow and the rest of the week.

Last week we had this young fellow visit the waterfall. He was 'way too shy for a photo and not really sure of himself in perching on the leaves and rocks. At first I thought it was our friend Zorro, (the yellow throated warbler, not Antonio Banderas, although that WOULD have been something to brag about!) but with the binoculars I could see it was the Townsend Warbler. First time I have ever seen him in our yard, so I can add him to my list of birds seen in our back yard. He is number 26

The blue scrub jay still visits at least twice a day. A couple of days ago I watched through the binoculars when he dropped from the feeder to the ground and started pecking furiously away at something. I couldn't see what it was. Then he picked it up in his beak and flew away. It was a lizard about four or five inches long. I could see it distinctly. Fro where I sit, the distance to the waterfall is about 15 feet and to the feeder, about twenty feet. So if I sit very quietly I get to see a lot of activity.

I took this photo a week or two ago. These two Mourning Doves (center and to the right) visit every day. The male is looking very nice with his pink vest. They upset Bailey a lot because when they fly away their wings give a distinct whhrrr.

The last of the daffodils, I'm sorry to say. Taken today.
But there is always next year, if the Lord tarries.

But even as one variety fades, a new flower is about to
burst into bloom. This one really does BURST. It has
very large and very bright pink flowers. There are actually
three buds in this shot. It is the Orchid Cactus. As soon as
they open I will post a photo

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Discovery Center

The Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center in Carlsbad is where we went last week. I went back today to get a photo of the beautiful dog they had there. So while I was there I took a couple of other photos.

Last week when we were there it was cloudy and windy and we missed this sight. Dozens of swallows wheeling around and in nests under the leaves.
I had to just keep clicking the camera without looking because they move so fast. Took about ten shots and this was the best I came up with.

They told us at the center that the swallows had been there since March 21 and some of the babies were about to fly. There were dozens of them .

Then as I was leaving I saw these pretty blue flowers, like double Bachelor's Buttons. I couldn't get a close -up because my battery was about dead. But as I stood there a rabbit scampered past into the bushes. It was only 4:00 in the afternoon and the traffic beside the center was roaring by, but this wetlands area is quite large and full of wild life. You can see the lagoon and beyond it is Highway 5 and then the ocean which is lost in the gray. The yellow on the hills is wild mustard and can be seen everywhere all over the hills in and around Carlsbad.

And this is Bear, the dog I really went to visit. Isn't she beautiful?

So sweet natured. This photo shows more of her size.

But this shows her sweet face. What a doll! Doesn't she look like a bear? One of the ladies at the center is fostering her because her owners have been posted abroad for a while. So I don't know how long she will be there. I will have to go and visit again soon.

Monday, April 7, 2008

More Mix 'n' Match

First a couple of house-keeping items:

1. I have decided to call the Man of the House, MOTH for short, but please note, I am not a butterfly, social or otherwise. Definitely not 'social' quite the opposite in fact; and LOTH doesn't seem quite fitting.

2.What was that green thing in my last post?

Here it is.... Before... and After. An ugly, bright white sprinkler. It's not very artistically disguised because I haven't had much practice in doing this. But it is an effective way to get rid of a distracting item in a photograph, when it is used properly. I used my Microsoft Digital Imaging program which can do all kind of magical tricks.

Here's another one. Can you find the item I put in that doesn't belong there?

Answer at the end of the column.

After we visited the Flower Fields the other day, we stopped off at the new Lagoon Discovery Center on Cannon Road, near Legoland. It is still under development but it has a great view of one of the coastal lagoons that are so famous along our stretch of coast. They have a small but interesting selection of items in a kind of museum area. Sometime in the future they will put down trails through the marshes and wetlands.

I think they should also have a little tea room -- nothing more touristy just tea, coffee and cold drinks, because that isn't its prime purpose. Although I did do a little birdwatching while we were there, I was much more interested in their beautiful black dog. I think it was an Akita but I'm not well up on dog breeds.

I should have taken more photos and so I was going to go back today to get a photo of the dog "Bear". But I am on some wretched sulpher drug for a few days and it just makes me too sick to walk or drive.

Bear greeted us with growls but left us with many kisses. Her face does really look like a bear. You see I do like dogs, almost more than cats, and that's saying a lot. Unfortunately I couldn't have a dog as it would be too much like a child for me. I would get so attached I would never be able to leave it when we travel. It's hard enough to leave Bailey. But now I know where Bear is, (only about 10 minutes away), I can be a visiting aunt to her!!

This is a part of their succulent garden. I hope they get a lot of support because the center has many possibilities for natural development.


Mrs. Sunley's Shop -- High Street, Flamborough.

This is the latest ATC I have made. Copied from a
photograph taken about fifteen years ago. It was
a place where I would buy sweets (candy) when
I was about 11 years old - especially licorice sherbet!

I'm still using the pen and ink style and coloring

afterwards. Unfortunately, the card on which I
did this doesn't have a smooth enough surface
to take the Prisma Colors well.

"Who says I never play? I do when I feel like
it but I'd rather watch you trying to make me play."
ANSWER: The small red flower at extreme right. I put it there to cover a plastic clip I'd left on the table.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Mix 'n Match

On our way to the Flower Fields yesterday, we stopped at the fancy hotel nearby. Since Carlsbad is known for another kind of flower, I decided to take a photo of them -- Bird of Paradise. This flower was developed in Carlsbad and you will find them everywhere here. It is nice because they bloom throughout the winter also. (The flowers in the foreground are bouganvillia)

Close-up of Bird of Paradise. If you don't know what that green thing in the background is I will tell you tomorrow.

Still on the subject of flowers, (don't worry, spring will soon be finished and I'll get over my 'flower fad ph(f)otos'.

Here we have yet more daffodils -- purchased a week ago and a basket of flowers (almost done, but still doing well,) left over from Easter -- two weeks ago, no less. No more daffodils now until next year, but we have had them on our patio table (courtesy of Vons) since the beginning of March.


Bailey and Henrietta, door open.

"I'm Keeping my eye on you!"

Henrietta is still thriving. Our begonias are doing well. I think she is leaving them alone because now I set out a small dish of water for her in the ivy. She probably needed moisture. In fact, as you can see from this photo, she is even leaving the nasturtiums alone, although she has made the planter her bed. But the nasturtiums are clinging on tenaciously to what soil she has left in the planter.

This is Bailey's favorite past-time. I am struggling bravely to get a couple of photos of him when he is doing something active! Which isn't very often!

"Now I lay me down to sleep..."

Too cute for words!

The Carlsbad Flower Fields

Feeling a little down in the dumps, the man of the house and I decided to go visit the Flower Fields. This is just half of the fields, the other half is not fully in bloom yet so there are still about 4 weeks of blooms left at least.

The flowers are Ranunculas. The spring after 911 they had a huge American flag in red white and blue flowers.
Yes I am sorry to say that is a power plant on the horizon -- right on the beach. If you're just passing through that's about all there is to distinguish Carlsbad from other beach towns -- except when the fields are blooming. That's sad, because there is so much more to Carlsbad.

Here is one without the power plant. They keep promising us they will take down the chimney stack, but who knows when that will happen! And yes, that is the blue Pacific Ocean on the horizon. It was a cloudy day and the wind was a bit too cool, but it was good photography weather.

A tractor pulling a cart takes you all around the fields if you don't want to walk. The fields lie parallel to the Freeway (Hwy 5) but you only get glimpses of them from there. You have to come off at Palomar Airport Road.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

More Wood Carvings

I have posted two blogs today. Both are of wood carvings we have collected. The second group is different, so I posted it separately.

"The Praying Hands" by Albrecht Durer, (should be an umlaut over the "u" for our German friends but I don't know how to do it on the blog).

Here is the story of this wood carving -- a little different from the one I knew but still in essence the same:
Back in the fifteenth century, in a tiny village near Nuremberg, lived a family with eighteen children. Eighteen!

In order merely to keep food on the table for this big family, the father and head of the household, a goldsmith by profession, worked almost eighteen hours a day at his trade and any other paying chore he could find in the neighbourhood.

Despite their seemingly hopeless condition, two of Albrecht Durer the Elder's children had a dream. They both wanted to pursue their talent for art, but they knew full well that their father would never be financially able to send either of them to Nuremberg to study at the Academy.

After many long discussions at night in their crowded bed, the two boys finally worked out a pact. They would toss a coin. The loser would go down into the nearby mines and, with his earnings, support his brother while he attended the academy. Then, when that brother who won the toss completed his studies, in four years, he would support the other brother at the academy, either with sales of his artwork or, if necessary, also by labouring in the mines.

They tossed a coin on a Sunday morning after church. Albrecht Durer won the toss and went off to Nuremberg.

Albert went down into the dangerous mines and, for the next four years, financed his brother, whose work at the academy was almost an immediate sensation. Albrecht's etchings, his woodcuts, and his oils were far better than those of most of his professors, and by the time he graduated, he was beginning to earn considerable fees for his commissioned works.

When the young artist returned to his village, the Durer family held a festive dinner on their lawn to celebrate Albrecht's triumphant homecoming. After a long and memorable meal, punctuated with music and laughter, Albrecht rose from his honoured position at the head of the table to drink a toast to his beloved brother for the years of sacrifice that had enabled Albrecht to fulfil his ambition. His closing words were, "And now, Albert, blessed brother of mine, now it is your turn. Now you can go to Nuremberg to pursue your dream, and I will take care of you."

All heads turned in eager expectation to the far end of the table where Albert sat, tears streaming down his pale face, shaking his lowered head from side to side while he sobbed and repeated, over and over, "No"

Finally, Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks. He glanced down the long table at the faces he loved, and then, holding his hands close to his right cheek, he said softly, "No, brother. I cannot go to Nuremberg. It is too late for me. Look ... look what four years in the mines have done to my hands! The bones in every finger have been smashed at least once, and lately I have been suffering from arthritis so badly in my right hand that I cannot even hold a glass to return your toast, much less make delicate lines on parchment or canvas with a pen or a brush. No, brother ... for me it is too late."

More than 450 years have passed. By now, Albrecht Durer's hundreds of masterful portraits, pen and silver point sketches, water-colours, charcoals, woodcuts, and copper engravings hang in every great museum in the world, but the odds are great that you, like most people, are familiar with only one of Albrecht Durer's works. More than merely being familiar with it, you very well may have a reproduction hanging in your home or office.

One day, to pay homage to Albert for all that he had sacrificed, Albrecht Durer painstakingly drew his brother's abused hands with palms together and thin fingers stretched skyward. He called his powerful drawing simply "Hands," but the entire world almost immediately opened their hearts to his great masterpiece and renamed his tribute of love "The Praying Hands."

The next time you see a copy of that touching creation, take a second look. Let it be your reminder, if you still need one, that no one - no one - - ever makes it alone!

This one is from another famous artist. You will recognize it immediately as based on Michelangelo's "The Last Supper". A number of years ago our church was making some structural changes and this carving surfaced. it is not exactly a carving it is more like a wooden jigsaw puzzle that had to be fitted together piece by piece. I don't think it has any great value, but we liked it and the church didn't know who made it or what to do with it, so it hangs on the landing in our house.