Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Oh Henrietta!

It looks like Henrietta has actually laid at least one egg! I have not rooted through the bushes to see if there are any more, but these two photos certainly do look like chicken's eggs to me. I did hear her clucking loudly one afternoon and I said to the man of the house as a joke, "Maybe she's laid an egg!".

What ate the eggs is another question, but Henrietta is still around, and so far has left our begonias alone, since I stated hissing at her every time she came near them. Can you train chickens, I wonder?

I heard loud clucking coming from next door today, Henrietta's original home, so it looks like they may have more chickens. I hope their coop is secure. One is entirely enough for us.


I have at last begun working on more ATC's. The first one is a new technique for me -- pen and ink drawing and then coloring.

A Dutch Sailboat

Tropical Trunks

Scarlet Flower

Monday, March 24, 2008

Unavoidable Responsiblities...

Unavoidable doesn't that sound important! What it means is that I would have avoided them if it had been possible.

In the week that I've been gone, spring has burst into bloom.

First the California Poppies -- looking too yellow here because it was bright midday and in strong golden sunlight. Taken Easter Sunday. We broke all temperature records -- probably about 85 degrees. We sat outside for our Easter Lunch/dinner and everyone was 'fighting' over sun umbrellas.

This is why if you visit Southern California, you should come down in March. This ice plant is blooming everywhere --an almost dazzling display of color. These two photos were taken at the side of the on-ramp near Legoland, from the car window -- again Easter Sunday.

Here is a curious cactus/succulent. Someone gave us four of them. Even before they began to bloom, they were quite intriguing because of their symmetrical shape. Then the flowers appeared and they were like small pepper shaped flowers....

...then they opened into bell shaped flowers. Since we had never seen these plants before, every stage was a surprise.

Two red-winged blackbirds taken at the harbor a week or two ago. I liked the effect of the railings.

And finally, my adorable cat, Bailey. I don't know when you will ever see a photo of him not sleeping, because that is about all he does, except keep close watch on the birds just outside the the screened window.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


I have decided to have my 1973 book "Lord I Want to Tell You Something" reprinted. So I have been busy retyping and updating. I was told the cover should be bright and colorful for today's kids, not photographs, (courtesy of computer games, I guess). This is what I came up with. Should be bright and colorful enough but I don't know if the publisher can handle it. We shall see.

It is a book of prayers for boys, but before that turns you off just read the two samples. They are prayers for boys (5-10 yrs), just like boys talk:

"Father, I love noise.
I love to stomp through the house,
to yell at a ball game,
to turn up the TV,
and to hammer real loud
when I'm making something.
I love to hear the big jetliners
roar overhead
or listen to the thump- thump
of the big drum in a parade.
Thank you for loud noises, Father,
and for the little ones too.
Thank you for good ears to hear a whisper
as well as the big drum."


"Thank you Lord, for coming to earth,
for making people happy,
for making them well,
for teaching about God
and for dying on the cross.
But most of all, thank you
for coming alive again.
Now we can go to heaven
because you paid for our sins.
Thank you for that, Lord Jesus."

Speaking of coming alive again, here is my plumeria as it was last summer.

And below is what it looks like now. I really do think it is 'coming alive again'.
I very carefully covered it every night the temperature got below 40, but I
thought I had lost it a few times.

That's why spring is so great. It speaks of coming alive again --
and Easter speaks of coming alive again through Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

San Diego Spring Flowers

They begin in February with a few blossom trees. Then comes the Oxalis or Common Wood Sorrel, which is really a weed and it is everywhere with its bright lemon yellow flowers massed along the sides of the roads (along with the mustard, which isn't nearly so pretty).

In March the bright , bright colors of the ice plant are thatched along banks and roadsides.

These colors are so bright that they are almost breathtaking when you see a whole hill side of them.

Almost every year a new kind of flower is planted by landscapers who look after shopping malls and office buildings. A couple of years ago they introduced yellow daisies that are very showy and grow to about two feet high and can almost become hedges. My photos didn't all come out too well this time, so I just have this one to show you.

About a year ago they introduced the Cape Honeysuckle which is a shrub with pretty honey suckle type red flowers that the humming birds love.

The latest is a bedding plant that looks like cabbage or cauliflower, but it is more tightly whorled and comes in purple and a creamy white. More attractive than it sounds. I will try get a photo.

Because the hills are still green from the winter rains, March through May/June is the best time to see our array of flowers. The display ends for me when my Jacaranda tree blooms in late May. It is my most favorite blossom tree of all. I will keep you posted. You know, of course, that our beautiful green hills become beautiful "golden brown" when the heat comes. At least if if you're a true Californian they do!

I will try to get some photos of the flower fields also, though it is still about two weeks too early. These are ranunculus and a magnificent sight when the whole field is in bloom. They are commercially cultivated.

In case you are wondering...

Henrietta is still thriving, looking very handsome and very healthy with her white feathers speckled with black, and her beautiful black tail. No more signs of the raccoon/coyote.......

...The humming bird was back taking a bath in the waterfall today....

...The blue scrub jay still visits several times a day....

...and yes the Mocking Bird is still singing his heart out to the night. He can very accurately imitate the Scrub Jay's shriek and the King Bird's also. When I first heard him I thought they were really out there joining the Mocking Bird's nightly rituals!

We had new visitors today: the Bush-tit and the Oak-tit. I have seen them flitting around but couldn't get close enough to identify them until today.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Toronto Snow!

So Kay left the desert for this...

Toronto has had more snow than they have had in years. Another foot and a half in this past week. You're probably thinking, "Well that's Canada". Yes, but we lived there for eight years and in St. Paul, Minnesota for another five years and never saw this much snow!

Pretty in the sunset, but look at that car! It's not going anywhere.

But this fellow doesn't seem to mind all the snow. (Cardinal, if you are not bird savvy).

And still it snows! I think they'll be digging themselves out in June!

Do you think we'll be able to persuade her (and Wendy) to move down here? I don't dare tell her what the temperature has been here this week. Though they say it's going to rain at the weekend.

Thanks for the photos, Kay.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Quite Simply Flamborough...

This is the name of the magazine that the Bridlington Free Press (East Yorkshire, UK) put out once a quarter. Flamborough is the small fishing village where I grew up as a teenager, not far away from Bridlington.

The white outline on the cover is of the red campion, a wild flower that grows all over the headland.

The beacon is a monument to the Battle of Flamborough Head,September 23, 1779, which John Paul Jones fought against the English naval ship the
Serapis. Jones' ship, the Bonhomme Richard, sank, even though they won the battle. There has been much to do about finding the wreck. It hasn't been found yet, as far as we know.

It is said that the people of Flamborough stood on the cliffs and watched the sea battle for hours. It took place about three miles off the headland and it was a fine bright moonlight night. Here is my painting of The Battle of Flamborough Head, copied from an original.

This is the two page spread of my article in this issue, written as an ex-pat, Flamborian. I have even been invited to write regularly for this little magazine! What an honor to write about my beautiful village!

The dark house at the back on the left side of the left hand page was my house, right on the cliff edge. The house in front of it was the golf club.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

It's Spring All Right!!!

Oh good grief! Would you believe it? Here it is at ten minutes to eleven at night and a crazy Mocking Bird is singing his head off in the dark!! I haven't heard one singing at night in years. They must be making a comeback. All the other birds are nearly deafening in the morning, but please, not at night! I started gathering some spring flower pictures, just like Wanda. We do seem to think of the same stuff often. I will post them another day as I am tired and need to go to bed early. Yes, 11:00 p.m is early for me.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Travels of Two Sisters, continued

So we were off to the desert -- a week ago today. The weather was gorgeous and there was no wind. We visited the Anza Borrego Desert which can be quite windy -- but not today. I wanted to go down my favorite desert road: The Great Southern Stagecoach Route, more commonly known as S2. But first we had to stop at Dudley's to pick up some sandwiches and a pastry or two -- or three. This is a favorite stopping off place for people on their way to the very pretty mountain towns of Ramona and Julian. The desert is the other side of the mountains.

This is what we saw there -- and I thought "Oh Mrs. Nesbitt, you have got to see this!" They were all lined up and gleaming brightly in the sunshine. They very kindly let me take their photos -- just for you Mrs. Nesbitt!

Of course we had to take a photo of Kay actually in the desert:

The Butterfield Ranch Stage Coach took this route. Down this gully, we are told, you can actually see scrapes and marks made by the coaches. We didn't explore the gully, it was warm enough for rattle snakes to be on the move. So we took their word for it. In this photo the gully is from the bottom left hand corner going up to about 1/3 of the right hand side of the photo. It doesn't look like much of a gully, but it was about a15 foot drop

So now I have to educate you about the cacti we saw there.

First, chollas. Very prickly. Pieces seem to jump right out at you. That is how they propagate. Very pretty with the sun behind them. Looked like halos.

Then yucca, with which most California folk are familiar.

This is a beautiful barrel cactus. There were quite a few but this was the finest we saw.

This is Indian paintbrush. Just look at that sky! I promise you I have not doctored the color!

Finally, I liked the look of these two colors together so took this photo.
I think the bottom part is tumble weed.

Then there was just desert!

Perhaps you are wondering why we were so excited to see the desert. It's because we have nothing remotely like this in England where we grew up.


Did you see Prince Charles on the TV news the other day? He was wearing a leek on his lapel, because he is the Prince of Wales. It was rather a spindly one -- more like a spring onion!