Saturday, December 29, 2007

My Last Christmas and Birthday Photos

The Wise Men in the Living Room

The Manger on the Buffet (side board, for we Brits).

Side Board complete with Birthday Cards (16 of them!)

My Birthday/Christmas Gift

A fountain spouting just enough water to flow over the globe
and doesn't make enough noise to attract Bailey.

'Nuff Said!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

This Just about Says it All!!

I don't believe this is really me and I don't believe I have actually reached 70. But my body tells me so!
Actually, I guess my brain should tell me so too. In the process of typing this up and checking it, I ran the mouse over the black cat in the side bar on this page. It meowed as it's supposed to do and I'm looking all around for Bailey saying "Where are you?" "What's the matter?" Then it suddenly dawned on me what I'd done!

My family bugged me about having a birthday cake -- note it is store bought, -- and so far we've had so much other stuff, we haven't touched it. My husband bugged me about taking a photo of how many birthday cards I got. Finally, to keep them quiet I submitted to this photo. I think that is a look of resignation on my face.

This is one of my favorite presents. Really unusual! A candle that when put in its chimney, gives off a very beautiful, flickering, rainbow-colored hologram.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Sobering Thought

For some time now, when anyone asked me what I wanted for my 70th birthday --(today)-- I've only half jokingly said, "to pet a tiger".

I just watched the 11 o'clock news tonight and heard about three men in the San Francisco Zoo who were mauled by a tiger today. Actually one of them died. The pictures were not pretty. I had even gone so far as to e mail Shambala to see if they ever allowed anyone to pet their tigers. Of course they said no, in a very gracious way. I think the Lord is trying to tell me something! I do love animals of all kinds, but wild animals are wild and who am I to think I have a special connection with His wild animals? That this should happen today on the very day I was secretly hoping my family might somehow have arranged this and I would find an invitation in an envelope for me, is somehow a rebuke to me. God has set His natural laws in place and I must abide by them and be satisfied.

But I did have a great birthday and a wonderful Christmas with many birthday cards and wonderful gifts. More of this in another post. And.... I have the Greatest Gift.

Please check the comments for this post, in case you misunderstood my thinking here.

Monday, December 24, 2007


A special Merry Christmas to:

Wanda, Mrs. Nesbitt, Rosa, Sandy and Martyn, the Three Ginger Darlings, Andrew Lockhart, Abraham Lincoln, 'By His Grace Alone', 'Petunia's Gardener' Meeyaw, The Daily Kitten and a whole host of others who brighten my day when I read their blogs.

(I decided I was tired of red and green, so went with blue.)

Friday, December 21, 2007


I recently heard it put a little differently:
are the reason for the season!" Of course that's true, because it was for us He came, for us He died, for us He gives eternal life, and this for all who believe.
Because of this we can sing of a blessed, happy and hopeful Christmas.

Our Christmas Tree 2007

Christmas in the Nineties

Cars and people, slush and mud,

Puddles, splashes, rain and snow.

Noise and bustle, laughs and tears.

Christmas music, mistletoe.

Merchants worry, mothers anxious.

Children restless – time goes slow.

Frosty, Santa, Rudolph, Grinch,

TV specials –ice skate shows.

Wrapping paper, Christmas trees

Glasses filled with cheer o’erflow.

Gifts are opened, stomachs filled.

Where did such excitement go?

Where’s the wonder, peace and awe?

Where’s the time o’er which to pore

The mighty miracle of God made man;

The God-man given, life, death to span.

Mistaken jubilation,

His birth to celebrate

Without a thought of cost, rejection,

Spawning death and hate!

Christ’s mass, so sweet and merry –-

For Christ, penurious stall;

Inevitable step moves on

T’wards Herod’s Judgment Hall.

Rejoice! Ah yes, with reason!

Birth, death, are intertwined.

True Christmas celebration sings,

For Easter is behind.

Empty Christmas preparation

If all unknown His resurrection!

Copyright: Christine A. Jones 2007

This photo was taken in Kauai a couple of weeks ago -- a real live Poinsettia bush.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


(Real Christmas Greetings coming Soon)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Disturbed Days at Our House.

Henrietta has been quiet the last couple of days. Yesterday we had the gardeners come in to finish "thinning" out the yard, so she hid among the bushes most of the afternoon, though she did come out to be fed! Bailey too has not been happy. He doesn't like strangers in his yard. Then today we had to move furniture around because the carpet cleaners came. Bailey disappeared upstairs on to "his" bed (in the spare bedroom) and now doesn't like the fans we have going to help dry the carpet.

Above is a photo I took the other day, of a creature which Bailey alerted me to at about midnight. It was just running round and round in circles around the flower pot. It was going round so fast, I took more than 10 pictures before I got this one. It has a rat's tail, but I thought it was too short for a rat and its nose wasn't sharp like a rat. It was more blunt and its fur was more like the scruffy look of a hamster. It was about 4" long. I watched it for at least ten minutes, and as you can see Bailey was very interested. Eventually it swirled its way to the back of t
he patio and followed the wall into the bushes. I'm thinking it may have been a baby and was therefore blind and that's why it was going in circles -- very fast. Also it may have been a tree rat which I'm not sure how to identify. But then yesterday the garden men found a gopher's home back up in the corner where all the thick brush had been. But do baby gophers have rat-like tails? Or maybe it was a ground squirrel or is that the same as a gopher? Haven't had time to look all this up on the internet. We're steadily trying to get ready for Christmas, but Barry has had a really bad cold and hasn't felt like doing much. But we'll get there...eventually.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Henrietta cont....

Hmm. I sense a problem developing. I've been checking on the internet about chickens and their care. Yesterday when I did the grocery shopping I bought a head of lettuce especially for her! I think I'm in danger of getting attached. The internet says they make good pets...especially if you talk to them, which of course I do! I examined the eaten begonias this afternoon to discover that they have little green shoots growing after the rain we got last week. That's a negative, because she will eat those shoots unless I do something complicated with them. She should be laying eggs -- somewhere -- that's a negative too, because they will go bad and there's nothing worse than the smell of bad eggs, (reminds me of Yellowstone). But then, I think we have tree rats and they will probably eat them first. (Speaking of tree rats, I have another post about these for later this week). I haven't found any real positives for Henrietta yet, except that she does keep Bailey amused. The patio window is his TV and her tail is becoming more beautiful, daily.


In the mean time, my sister just sent this marvelous photo from Toronto.

Fifteen inches of snow last night! As with Henrietta I have mixed feelings about this. All the years we lived in Minnesota and Toronto we never had a massive snowstorm like this and I do like my weather to be exciting, which it rarely is, here in Southern California, unless you count wild fires as a season, which they really are, (seasonal that is). And who can deny how beautiful the snow looks? So I look at the photo with a bit of nostalgia. But no, I couldn't give up our wonderful year round weather! I'm just too thoroughly spoiled. The snow's beautiful to look at, but that's it. I don't know where my youngest son gets his love of the snow. He lives in Boise and actually sleeps out in the snow at times when he is leading troops of hikers up through the mountains in winter.

Kay (my sister) takes some really good pictures and I think she should have a blog. Perhaps she will, -- when she finishes the book she is writing. Yes, another writer in the family.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Joe, the Scarecrow

This is the answer for Wanda's question, "Did the scare crow have a decent burial?"

Yes, Joe, the Scarecrow did have a decent burial and like the good Christian scarecrow he is, he was resurrected!

Friday, December 14, 2007

In Between -- and Soon to Be Gone!

Here she is "in between". Do you think she's getting fat?!! Actually, it was quite a cold day and she may have been fluffing up her feathers. But she is sitting outside the den window, even as I work now on the computer, gently calling to tell me I haven't fed her yet today.

Bailey Is not too sure what to make of it all. This is an up-to-the-minute photo, taken five minutes ago -- and she's not showing any signs of moving. Yes, she is getting fat!

And this is her latest handiwork, that greeted me this morning. Note the scarecrow. Such disrespect!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

She's in Trouble Now!

Do you see the dark shadow just behind the scarecrow to the right? She has scratched out all the soil to make herself a bed there, right by the patio window - in case I forget to feed her and so she can sleep in the sun. She actually comes up and taps with her beak on the window! The husband of 'the lady of the patio' is none too pleased. He has to sweep the patio every day.

The funny thing is that when we told the neighbors about their chicken making herself at home in our yard, they said "Is it the white one or the brown one?" Well Barry was out taking a walk this morning and took the road behind our house and guess what he found....yes, "the brown one". Only the brown one is actually a rooster and he has made his home across the other side of the street behind our house. At least we don't have the rooster crowing at the crack of dawn!

Below is more of Henrietta's handiwork. She enjoys a good nasturtium salad!

Next are Henrietta's "before and after" photos. That is: before the neighbors clipped her tail thinking it would stop her flying over into our yard!

This is BEFORE:

And this is AFTER:

I am happy to say that her tail feathers are now growing back. I will try to get her IN BETWEEN photo tomorrow. That is: how she looks right now with half the tail grown in.

I must say that although she is a bit of a nuisance, she was a rather beautiful looking hen, and if she HAS to stay with us I'd rather have her with her tail than without it.

People keep asking, "Why don't you just stop feeding her, then she'll go away." But I'm not feeding her I'm feeding the birds, which is my hobby. I don't intend to give that up just because of Henrietta. I already have plans for a chicken run but I think I will have to wait until the master of the house goes away. He's not quite in favor of adopting it. However he does indulge me in my whims occasionally. In the mean time I'm hoping she will go away of her own accord -- or the neighbors could come and claim her!

(Kay, if you are reading this, you must know who I sound like! Heaven forbid!)

Sorry! This is such nonsense!

I will eventually show you some photos of Kauai.

We Went to Kauai for Thanksiving

So we went to Kauai for Thanksgiving and guess who we met....

Yup!!... Henrietta's cousin Henry!

...and cousin Isabella!...and Aphrodite... and Percy... and Elbert...and...... and actually, many, many other cousins of Henrietta's . If you don't know who Henrietta is you will have to go back in my blog a few pages.

They really weren't very interested in hearing my greetings from Henrietta. Actually, they do seem to take after her because all they wanted to do was eat!

In truth, there are chickens running wild all over Kauai. There are a few true native Hawaiian chickens back in the center of the island away from civilization, but all these others, we were told, were at one time owned by the islanders until Hurricane Iniki came and totally devastated the island back in 1992. Of course no one could tell whose chickens were whose and who wanted to run around chasing chickens? Now they have increased greatly in number. They roam the streets and gardens everywhere as freely as sparrows.


By the way I do apologize for breaking my promise to have this post up before the weekend was over. (I'm a pastor's wife so I guess that was pretty bad!) but we just couldn't cram anything more into our busy weekend. I do plan on posting more regularly from hereon, until Christmas is upon us By then you will all be too busy with your own Christmas preparations to go blog hunting.

Friday, December 7, 2007


I'm back... but have had many things happening that have kept me away from my blog (mostly work to be done on the computer, until I'm almost cross-eyed!). I promise I will be back before the weekend is over. Don't give up on me. I have a few things to share.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Three More of My Paintings

This will be my last post for two weeks. See you about December 1st.

Misty Morning in Monterey

Leo. Probably my favorite of all my paintings.

My Mother's Garden - Garston
Watford. Approx. 1983

Friday, November 16, 2007

Some of my Paintings.

Most of my paintings are copies of originals with some variations. When I say copied, I don't mean copied by using any technical means. Just copied by hand and definitely not traced.

The English Robin, copied from a Christmas card.

Superstition Mountain, Arizona. I don't think I copied this one.
It was done for my son who was at school out there.

View of Mount Snowdon, North Wales. Copied from Note Card.
Did this one just a week ago.

More paintings next time as we are busy getting ready to go
away for Thanksgiving, so time is of the essence and I have
to post what I have already done.

Computer problems seem to be solved.

Harriet (Sorry, Henrietta) is still with us!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


I am having trouble getting blogger to accept any of my comments, and even sometimes signing in. So if all you have from me is silence, I'm really still here. I can't seem to find anywhere to contact blogger in an e mail either.

Sorry folks. But I am still visiting everyone.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


She's ba-ack! But look at her tail!! I guess the neighbors thought that by clipping her tail it would stop her flying over the fence. Didn't work! You have to clip her wings!

Caught in the act! This is her fourth pot o
f begonias.


In my last post I said I would put up some happier photos.

Here is my first photo of a humming bird at the feeder we put up last week.

Here are a couple of white crowned sparrows actually sunbathing. They were not taking a dust bath but spreading out their tail feathers and plumping up their feathers to collect the sun. These white crowned sparrows are so difficult to photograph. They move
so fast. I'm still trying to get a good one.

This is an awful photo (below) but I kept it because this is a house finch that has been visiting us for quite some time and he is really a beautiful gold color -- not yellow and not pink. Of course he may not be a house finch at all. I will try to get a better photo but either I have changed some setting on my camera or else the camera is not working properly.

The next two photos are just to show that I can still take a half decent photo!

The Pyracantha berries are in good form again this year.

The red leaves are from a plant whose name I cannot remember, but they turn red in the fall. These are in an insignificant part of our back yard around by the chimney.

I have posted some more ATC's on my ATC Blog, (see side bar for link).

I also plan on posting a couple of paintings I have been working on, on this blog in a day or so.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Look what that chicken did to my begonia! Compare this photo with the last photo on my last blog. She has not only eaten my flowers but is now scaring off the birds, so she can eat their seed.

So I went to the neighbor's this afternoon and asked if he would please come and get his chicken. He was very apologetic, but between the two of us chasing the thing around our back yard we were getting no where. He went to get his cousin to help. Well, with the three of us after her the chicken just squawked and flew up over the wall into the neighbor's yard behind us. But they have a big dog, so with another big squawk it quickly flew back again. Then we were off again. Finally it flew up into its owner's olive tree, so we abondoned the chase. I'm hoping the two men somehow got it down from there and caged it, but I'm not very optimistic. The saga of Henrietta will continue.


And here's something else that is not very welcome in my back yard. This is the third one I've seen so far. The first photo is rather blurred but I left it in the post so that you can see it's size. It was getting far too close to the patio door entrance for my taste!

Just look at the size of this thing!! I know they are supposed to be good for your garden but this is just too much of a good thing!

Tomorrow I will post some of the good things I have found in my back yard this past week.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Feeding the Birds

So I've been throwing out seed to feed the birds and now look what's happened!

Where did he -- sorry, she,--come from? She has now been living with us for a couple of weeks. I think she belongs to the Spanish family next door. We've told them several times but all they say is, "Is it the brown one or the white one? She keeps getting out of her cage." ....There's a brown one?? I sent another message today but they've made no attempt to come and get her. So since we either have to put up with the chicken, or stop feeding the birds I decided we'll put up with the chicken. She stays pretty much in the semi-enclosed area outside the den, which we were attempting to turn into a small ornamental garden. Perhaps we can pretend she's a peacock! I have decided to call her either Harriet or Henrietta, whichever name I can think of at the time. Actually, for Bailey, I call her "Chucky chuck" Not very sophisticated I know, but Bailey is rather put out.

If I find any eggs, are they ours or the neighbors? Since this is a bantam, (drawing upon my childhood memories of chickens kept in the village), do bantams lay eggs? I am paying for the seed. How much seed does a chicken need any way?

The other problem is that it is going to rain and I'm just soft enough that I don't like to think of it out in the rain, so........

It's a cat tent house which Bailey never took to. Honestly, I must be nuts! Now I'm thinking, my cat-sitter who will come at Thanksgiving will now have to be a chicken sitter as well. I wonder if she will mind. Life is never simple.

Sunday, November 4, 2007


Whew! Two weeks without the computer! I've been having withdrawal symptoms.
First you must go to:

to see what a great job Brid Free Press reporter, John Edwards, did in writing about my experiences with the San Diego County wild fires two weeks ago. The Brid Free Press is "The Bridlington Free Press", the local newspaper of my home town, Bridlington, Yorkshire, UK. (Brid is the affectionate local name for Bridlington.) The newspaper has a "Flamborough" section, which is the name of my village.

The fires are still all in the news
today, but they are contained (not out -- just won't spread any further). Sadly, there are now hundreds of people without homes and though the press may not write about them, they will be dealing with this catastrophe for several years to come.

Incidentally, the newspaper contacted me because I have a blog with them called "Homesick for Flamborough".

I try not to duplicate what I write here, on my "Homesick for Flamborough" blog. Two different audiences. To read my "Homesick for Flamborough" blog, you will have to Google its name. I can't make this blog link to it.

Here is the view from my back yard mid-day Monday. This is the Witch Creek Fire when it was about half an hour away from us. Thankfully we did not have to evacuate. My husband took this photo, as I was "out of it" on pain medication. The fort and flag are in my neighbor's yard. He built them for his grandchildren.

I really expect to be back blogging reasonably regularly now, that is until we go away for Thanksgiving. That will be another two weeks.
Thank you all you faithful ones who have kept checking back.

I'm still checking in on all my favorites.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fires and Emergencies

Sorry no blogs for a day or two. I'm not supposed to be on the computer. Had to go to emergency for bad, bad, pain. Turns out it is my sciatic nerve. Could have been anything from kidney stones to pulmonary deep vein thrombosis -- or something! Came just as all the fires broke out at about 3:00am Monday morning.

We are in a small semicircle on the coast between Camp Pendleton and Del Mar, where there were no evacuations -- but my doctor was evacuated. He was scooting out of the door as I came in. Saw him today. He and his family are safe. The pharmacies are overrun with evacuees seeking medication they'd left behind. Banks are closed, many stores closed because personnel had to go home to evacuate, schools are closed for the week , probably no mail tomorrow and the fires burn on.

The wind truly becomes the "Devil Wind" because with all the canyons, valleys and mountains they swirl around at hurricane force in some places. Temps in the eighties and nineties. We were among the fortunate few who did not have to evacuate, but I kept my eyes glued to the TV -- from a prone position. This patio lady will take photos when she can comfortably move, to show you the "fire-snow" where I usually sit. Had to put out extra water for the birds and poor Bailey is thoroughly spooked because it looks like twilight and the smell of smoke is so strong. Actually the sky this afternoon was a dull orange -- not fire, just sun through the smoke. (Sounds like a song). Nearest fire to us was 15 minutes away, but the worst ones were only about a half hour away in any direction.

I will return with photos as soon as I can sit without pain.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday, Flowers and Phantom Feelings

My faithful Vons store-bought Hibiscus is blooming its little heart out in its 6 inch pot. We haven't got around to planting it yet and there are already three more buds on it and this flower!

So after taking these photos, I took a look fresh look around as I haven't been outside on the patio for a few days. Too cool. Anyway these are my Friday blessings: beautiful, cool green, and colorful flowers:


Our Cape Honeysuckle only in the ground a couple of months...

...our thirty, or even forty year old pink hibiscus. Been here since before we moved in. And no giant white fly this year!

No flowers on the plumeria this year though. But it's looking pretty healthy.


So tonight I put my husband's Macedonia and Bulgaria photos on CD's and ..... Such a strange feeling to see this photo with my husband in it (far right). Strange because having poured over every little detail of the brochure photo of this church in Macedonia in order to make my drawing (see post October 12th) I feel like I've been there. It didn't feel like a real place until I saw this photo and part of me wants to say, Where am I? Surely I was there!