Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Just a note to all my very supportive blogging friends to let you know that the sad saga of Bailey is over.

It is a sad day, but it had to be. It was all over in less than an hour from when I woke him from his bed in the sunshine of the patio window, to his demise. It would have been so much worse for him to be caged for 5 days in the off chance that someone would take him -- and who knows, maybe brought back again because of his problem.  This was the most peaceful way for him.

I may not be blogging again until next week as I am going to see my son.  I will miss you all.  But I will be back.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

O is for....


I have been watching birds in my back yard for about 10 years now.  I keep track of the different varieties as they appear.  I have seen 25 varieties over the years and am always on the lookout for new ones. GOLDFINCHES are always favorites.  In the first photo they were waiting for us to go inside so they could get back on to their feeder.  We mostly have the lesser goldfinch which is not as pretty as the true American Goldfinch -- not as much color. 

These two below are the common house finch and the white crowned sparrow. LOTS of these around  We have counted as many as 20 at any one time -- all looking for seed from the feeder.

This bird is a new comer this year.  It is the black-headed grosbeak.  My friend Brenda took this wonderful photo in her yard.  He also came to visit us too but I couldn't get a good photo before he flew away.

This is the common yellow throat.  I call him Zorro because of his black mask  He is often around when the house finches and house sparrows are nearby, but doesn't mix with them.

The California Towhee is quite different from the eastern towhee.  Ours is less colorful and has a brown speckled patch on his throat and a brown patch on his rump.

The Scrub Jay is a beautiful blue but has a harsh shriek to announce his presence.  He is also very common around here.

Everybody knows a crow, but I posted this picture because this one was so cheeky he came so close and started pecking at stuff I was looking at on the patio,  so I was able to get a really good photo.  But in the end I went inside because I think he was after my glasses.

The red tailed hawk is always around but does not visit our yard as much as...

...the Coopers hawk who comes at least once a day, causing quite an uproar among the little birds and frequently catches one as they fly away.  He comes as close as several feet to the house perching on a low fence or on the feeder.

Feeding time !

Waiting for us to go inside.

Some of these photos are better than others, partly because I have become better at taking them and partly because I got a new camera for Christmas.

If you want to see really good bird photographs visit Abe Lincoln's Bird Blog 

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Latest Art Work

Thank you all for your encouraging and empathetic words regarding Bailey.  They are so appreciated.  Nothing has changed thus far.

Meanwhile I have been giving much concentration to my art this past weekend.  The concentration keeps my mind occupied.

This first piece is my copy of a beautiful painting called:

"The Young Shepherdess" by William -Adolphe Bouguereau  (1885). 

Below it I have posted the original.  His girl is so much more beautiful than mine.  I need much more practice doing faces.

It is 6 x 3 1/2 inches done in watercolors on watercolor paper.

 This is Bouguereau's original. 2 1/2 x 6 inches.  Done in oils.

This is my combined composition of two photographs I took at the Leo Carrillo Ranch a week or so ago.  Done in watercolors and pen and ink, on water color paper.  A little too heavy on the ink around the pots, I think  My very fine ink pen (0.03) ran out of ink.  I should have waited until I went to the art store for another one.


Thursday, April 22, 2010


Click to enlarge to read this.

After much heart-rending, we are down to our final week with Bailey.  I am desperate.  We have had him seven years and have had to replace carpet in two rooms three times. We are now retired and living on social security. We just cannot do it again.

He needs a home with tiled floors.  As much as I love this cat -- and he is beautiful in every other way -- we are at a dead end.  He only urinates on the carpet if other cats come past the patio windows and it may be weeks between times.  It is a behavioral problem, not medical. But we are now in the position where we cannot even invite friends to the house.  I have tried all the rescue places, but who wants a ten year old cat who urinates inappropriately especially when kitten season is here?  Believe me we have tried everything else.

Please don't lecture me about keeping him.  It is hard enough to make the final decision, and I know there are people out there with very strong opinions on this topic.  So this is a last ditch effort and to ask you to pray for us as we make the decision.  The Lord loves animals, as do I.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Today in my Bible Study we were discussing some things that King Hezekiah said and did.  People often wonder what relevance the Old Testament has for us today.  In 2Chronicles30, Hezekiah gathers all his people together to celebrate the first passover of his reign, in the newly cleansed and refurbished temple.Worshiping God and taking part in the daily ceremonies of the temple had been given up for years because the previous king, Ahaz, wasn't in any way interested in doing what God wanted him to do.  And the people followed Ahaz's example. 

But Hezekiah was a whole different kind of person. He put everything back to the way God had told Moses centuries before.  Then at one point he prays for all the people and says "May the good Lord provide atonement for everyone."   -- that is for everyone who wanted it!  (2 Chron. 30:18 and 19)  Then a few verses later we find Hezekiah giving "encouragement to all the Levites who taught the good knowledge of the Lord".  2Chron. 30:23. In all his reign, Hezekiah wanted the people to know the good knowledge of the Lord.  

These two acts of Hezekiah are as if they came straight from the New Testament.  God gave Jesus Christ to provide atonement  (forgiveness) for our sins and He sent the Apostles to go out and "teach "the good knowledge of the Lord."   It's no use us trusting in something we know nothing about.  We need to have good knowledge of who God is.  This is partly why Jesus came, because now we know what God is like because Jesus is God.  Jesus also came to bring atonement for us -- that is, for those of us who want it.

I have set my heart to know the good knowledge of the Lord and I have accepted the atonement Jesus Christ has offered me.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

N is for,,,

...NORTH LANDING, Flamborough

Sorry, I held out on using Flamborough for as long as possible, but North Landing?... Flamborough IS North Landing.

Here it is in all its different moods:

Tide in, calm seas

A very different day.  Imagine the fishermen trying to get in to the Landing through breakers like that.
But they often did, sometimes with catastrophic results.  The description below is taken from the Flamborough lifeboat web page:

Loss of 'Gleaner' and 'Two Brothers' - 5th February 1909

Two local fishing cobles had been out fishing, when the more experienced crews had remained ashore. A severe gale was imminent, but as John Cross needed money to feed his family, he put to sea. By the time they were returning to North Landing the gale was raging. The entrance to North Landing is narrow and with rock platforms (known as 'Scars') at either side force the sea into steep rollers. As the weather gets worse the rollers get wider and eventually seal off the entrance.

The coble 'Two Brothers' was the first to attempt the narrow channel into the landing. On board were George Gibbon, Melchoir Chadwick, and Thomas Leng Major. They negotiated the channel successfully although it was touch and go. As they were half way home the coble 'Gleaner' made her attempt to enter the landing. A particularly large roller struck the boat and capsized her, throwing the crew into the boiling sea. The crew were John Cross and his two sons, Robert Cross and Richard Major Cross.
The crew of the 'Two Brothers', on seeing the stricken boat and crew turned their coble around. They made their way back to the scene, but another wave capsized their boat as well. Both crews and boats met their fate near to a point known locally as West Scar.

This is an old photo of another ship that ran onto the rocks in the fog. There are numerous wrecks around the headland, including John Paul Jones' ship the 'Bonhomme Richard'There are crews diving, looking for its remains right now.

 This is a painting I did back in the 80's looking north from North Landing.

This is my copy of an old painting done by an artist whose name we couldn't decipher.

So N is for North Landing, Flamborough 
which is located on the East Coast of  Yorkshire, UK., and is usually marked on maps as Flamborough Head.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Swishing Creatures

Peacocks!  Apparently there are 40 -50 of them in the grounds at the ranch.  We could hear them all afternoon.  I must say  it got to be a little irritating after a while and I wondered how the people whose homes were nearby were reacting.  But then I remembered we used to live by an old, loud foghorn on a frequently foggy headland and we didn't even hear it after a while.  And then too, this is mating season and all the birds are at their loudest at this time of the year.                                                                                                     

Got a photo of this one coming... actually, it was a hen -- no fancy tail.

...and this one going.  
They didn't seem to be too shy but once they approached you they would pass on by pretty fast.  Since we were by now on our way out of the ranch, I didn't have much time to set up shots.

But look at that beautiful tail!  That was the swishing sound we could hear.
I just finished saying, "I suppose it would be too much to ask that they would spread their tail for us", when whoosh...

 ...not in the best light, but the best I could do.  Then I looked to my left and... woosh! There went another one.

But this one was under the picnic table shade. 
It was closing time for the ranch  and we had our hands full, so maybe we will do better next time.
 Even so, it was a very pleasant and satisfying afternoon.
If you come down our way I do recommend you visit the ranch.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

More Leo Carrillo

This is the arch you can see in the distance on yesterday's blog.  It is called the Bridal Arch --  for obvious reasons.  I expect many bridal parties come here for photos , and they may even be able to rent one of the buildings I think.

 This is a closer view and a different angle.  Very beautiful.

 Another quaint old building .  I doubt this would be for a bridal party!  But there was a cantina and a paddling pool (not for public use!) nearby.  We found this as we were leaving and by that time we had passed the cantina (leaving by another route) and I was just concentrating on walking.

 But I couldn't resist this natural photographic spot -- with Moth as the model!

 And on the other side of the gate, oranges and orange blossom. Wonderful perfume!

 Back past the old ranch again, calla lilies that I hadn't noticed on our way in.

 Another photographic moment -- the lantern in the entrance way (I know there's a better word than 'entrance way' but I can't think of it and I have decided if I want to blog I can't spend hours thrashing my brain for words I've lost in recent years.  I blog for fun!)

Then as we were passing the visitor center we were swept on our way by some creatures we had been hearing all afternoon. 

If you want to know what they were you will have to tune in tomorrow!

Friday, April 16, 2010

"Who Was That Masked Man?"

 A few weeks ago Moth and I decided to take a day off each week just for ourselves and explore some of the places nearby that we have always been too busy to visit.  So last week on a beautiful afternoon we set off to explore the Leo Carrillo Ranch -- about 30 minutes away.  Armed with bottles of water, a book for Moth and binoculars and camera for me, we set off.

If you're old enough to remember The Cisco Kid, you've dated yourself! Although we have lived in Carlsbad 36 years we have never been to the Cisco Kid's Ranch.  It it less than 30 minutes away. Last week we finally made it to what is actually known as "The Leo Carrillo Ranch." Carrillo played the part of the Cisco Kid

This was the first thing we saw.  But not to worry, we hardy, stalwart, converted Californians weren't worried a bit.  We didn't intend to go far on the trails even though the ranch is 25 acres.  Though hardy and stalwart, we actually like our comfort and that's what we were looking for -- somewhere quiet and beautiful, one of us to read and the other to watch birds.  I'd better tell you now, we didn't see any rattle snakes.  Since living in California all these years, we have had one or two in our back yard, but not recently.  I always make a lot of noise with my feet before doing much watering in the back yard.  They really aren't there just waiting to bite you.  So if  you make a lot of noise chances are they will slither away -- and chances are there weren't any there in the first place.  Many, many houses have been built behind and around us since we saw the last one -- oops -- I just remembered we did have a couple of baby ones not too many years ago.

The grounds around the ranch house were absolutely beautiful.  I will post a couple of shots for today and some more probably on Monday.  This is what we know as typical southwestern house and grounds only very well kept up.  But I have to tell you that any green grass you see is artificial turf!!  We are in a drought time in a desert climate so though we were a little disillusioned, it really only makes sense because we need all our water.  In addition you really have to go up and touch it to make sure that it is certainly artificial.

I think this is part of the caretaker's house.  We didn't really note the historical influence because we just wanted somewhere pleasant to sit and enjoy all the beauty around us. Remember I can do only very limited walking.

I thought this pottery was a nice contrast to the succulents on either side of it.  The plants were a deep mahogany red and shone like someone had polished them.  Beautiful!

About 50 yards away was the patio with three beautiful wooden tables and chairs (made out of wood from Thailand, it said on the back).  It was very comfortable and there we made camp for a couple of hours.  We chose the table in the shade because it was such a beautiful day.  We brought our own water and I just happened to have a couple of chocolate cookies in my bag.  I can't imagine how they got there!  Now we know how nice it is we will bring a flask of hot tea like all good Britishers do on a picnic!  There is nowhere to buy anything, it's strictly for viewing enjoyment and we were very careful not to leave a trace.  There is a picnic area not too far away under some eucalyptus trees, but that's mainly for families.  It has swings -- and maybe -- snakes???

 This was our view from the patio.  Notice the arch by the bouganvillea.*
 It was a perfect afternoon.  I saw a flock of cedar waxwings which we don't get in our neighborhood, some bush tits, tree sparrows and song sparrows.

*I have some really good shots of this, but Blogger is not cooperating!!!  Does anyone else have problems with blogger freezing up  -- especially when accessing other blogs through the dashboard?
I will post some more tomorrow when perhaps blogger will behave itself.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


This is about the extent of my cooking skills:


Place two crackers of your choice on a paper plate.  They can be graham crackers but but they have to be large enough to accommodate one puffed marshmallow.  I like these which are a Safeway brand (like the Carr's brand,) because they have a slight salty taste. Also since these are whole wheat they are HEALTHY!  HA! (That's meant to be funny!)

This is the hard part. Place some Toll House chocolate chips on the two crackers and carry carefully to the microwave oven.  Bet you can't do it without some rolling off!

 Microwave them for about 30 seconds, depending on your microwave power - or until the chips are just getting soft.

 Squish one marshmallow on each cracker.  

 Mine are straight from the fridge and are cold, so I give them 10 seconds in the microwave....

Pause to let the puff settle down a little then give them 6 seconds more...

 until they look something like this. 

Top with another cracker and gently squish.


Last week instead of a word, I gave you almost a sermon, so this week I am simply posting a couple of verses from the book of Isaiah which my Bible Study Group and I are studying.  But they are such GOOD words to really give some thought to.

Seek the Lord while he may be found.  Call upon Him while He is near.  (Is. 55:6)

"My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways says the Lord" (Is. 55:8)

"I,  even I, am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior." (Is. 43:11)
God said it, not me.