Sunday, March 31, 2019

I Got Loaded

Sunday Mailbag

Linda and Joseph just sent these shots from Lapland, Finland. Fun but frosty, I would say.

Beth sends a picture astride her horse Lenny up in the mountains of Lake Elsinore.

Stewart sent me a picture of one of a pair of the most magnificent agave ovatifolia in his Kensington neighbor's yard.

Lois shares a picture of her pretty wisteria.
Shawn sent a lovely view from Thailand.

With the recent poppy shots as inspiration, Warren sent a picture flying over the aspens in Colorado on his way back from Kansas City last fall.

Once again Cam feels the need to alert us to the first day of spring!

The phantom sends over a picture of a stealth bomber and what appears to be a Cooper's Hawk. Think there was a design influence?

Gary sends over an artistic black and white.

R at the I.M.Pei designed steel tunnel in Japan at the Miho Museum.

Zinner sends some picturesque pictures of the superbloom from his home in the desert.

My bucket list dream has always been to go to Patagonia and points beyond. Sadly I can not foresee a time in the future when I will be able to afford such an undertaking with the economy so squishy. But this Nikon trip sure looked good to me.

Doesn't have the Marble Caves of Chile I want to see before I die but looks so lovely. I sent the link to some of my cronies. Looks like one of my friend's might be going on my dream vacation. Happy for him but honestly very envious.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Voodoo Child

Purple reign

R & D are now raising their own pigs and chickens up in Washington. Last time we saw them they gave us generous portions of each. Leslie cooked up the chicken with some herbs de Provence and it was honestly the most flavorful, moist and delicious chicken I have ever tasted. A whole other world.

Renee offered to cook the pork roast up for us. Leslie and I joined Renee and her boyfriend Vern the other night. Roasted cauliflower in cumin, acini de pepi pasta and a beautiful salad.

She roasted the pork with lots of garlic and course salt and it was incredibly tasty with a crisp flavorful skin.

R told me that she had finished the pigs on hazelnuts the last two months and you could taste the exquisite rich flavor. It is becoming a regional delicacy in the Pacific northwest.

Our friends have two large hummingbird feeders set up and they told us the birds have been going to town. Lots of baby birds humming around.

I decided to drop by yesterday afternoon and take some shots. Unfortunately my 400mm 2.8 wouldn't allow me to focus, the confined area didn't give me enough critical distance to do what I wanted to do.

I flailed around, didn't capture much that was noteworthy. I decided to just shoot the birds in plants and trees, cooler than plastic feeders anyway.

That was more productive and visually interesting. I think the flower is a type of grevillia. Click on a photograph and you will see all of them full size.

I snapped pictures for a while, enjoyed the breeze and the grounds of the beautiful home.

Finally packed it in and went home. I decided to water my palm and succulent garden. Although we had a lot of rain, things are getting dry again and need regular watering once more.

I turned on the sprinkler and here came more hummingbirds.

Darn, I forgot I had my own at home.

They really love the new flowers on the echium spikes. So do we.

I could bore you with a thousand or more shots but will have mercy on you.

Did shoot the first male hooded oriole I have seen in the yard, now residing in the large washingtonia filifera off my front door.

We played hide and seek for a few minutes until he finally consented to giving me a shot or two.
My place is enjoying spring. Oak tree is fully encapsulated with wisteria. Along with the echium there is a real strong purple and green theme.

And I close with a picture of my beloved. I put this on her Facebook page unbeknownst to her the other day and she has gotten a million compliments so I might as well share it with you as well.

She really brightens and compliments the landscape. And my life.

Otis Rush

Friday, March 29, 2019

In his own words

I always felt the best way to judge a person was to see if they had a nice boat. Finally a president who understands this.
Nicolas Kamm - Getty
“We got more money, we got more brains, we got better houses and apartments, we got nicer boats, we’re smarter than they are and they say they’re the elite,” the president said. “You’re the elite, we’re the elite.”

I’m smarter than they are, I went to better schools than they did, I have better apartments than they have, I’m better educated all around," Trump said talking of liberal elites. "I have a much more beautiful house, much more beautiful anything. And I'm president and they're not." 
the very tasteful Trump Princess
"I get a kick, I hear: 'So and so, the elite.' Then you see this guy, like, this little schlepper. 'This is elite? I'm not elite?' " Trump continued. "We're the elite. You're smarter. You're sharper. You're more loyal."

"I know a lot about wind."

"I support the Great Lakes. Always have. They're beautiful. They're big. Very deep. Record deepness.”

Pressure drop

More pearls from Stephan Pastis

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Bought and paid for

David Bernhardt - Tami Heilemann
Interesting story in the New York Times yesterday. The current nominee for Interior Secretary, David Bernhardt, intervened to block an endangered species report that dealt with the effects of pesticides on a multitude of animals, including foxes and sparrows. 

Scientists at the Department of Fish and Wildlife had produced the reports after years of study and analysis.
Their analysis found that two of the pesticides, malathion and chlorpyrifos, were so toxic that they “jeopardize the continued existence” of more than 1,200 endangered birds, fish and other animals and plants, a conclusion that could lead to tighter restrictions on use of the chemicals.
But just before the team planned to make its findings public in November 2017, something unexpected happened: Top political appointees of the Interior Department, which oversees the Fish and Wildlife Service, blocked the release and set in motion a new process intended to apply a much narrower standard to determine the risks from the pesticides.
I'm not a religious man, but find myself wishing for a place in the afterlife called hell, a fitting place for the David Bernhardts of this world. And their cronies at Dow Chemical.
Dow, which was recently renamed Corteva, donated $1 million to Mr. Trump’s inauguration committee. E.P.A. and Interior Department records show that top pesticide industry executives had regular access to senior agency officials, pressing them to reconsider the way the federal government evaluates the threat pesticides cause to endangered species. 
A Dow spokesman said the shift in policy was unrelated to the $1 million contribution.


Golden Hills of Elsinore

Last night

Back to San Jack

I have friends across the political spectrum. It is obvious that many of those on the left are in a deep funk over the Mueller Report and are nursing serious depressions.  My counsel is to stay away from high ledges and sharp objects. I have been steering clear of politics wherever possible of late. and don't intend to really spill now. Don't have enough faith in my fellow man to get too disappointed over stuff like this.

Our nation is deeply divided and the no collusion/no exoneration edict will obviously satisfy no one.

Kicks the can down the road, the truth will eventually out I suppose.

For now it is like a rorschach blot and people see what they want to see.

I decided to bug out yesterday and head for the hills for a couple of hours and see what was up at the SJWA.

In the bird sense, not a whole hell of a lot besides a million or so red winged blackbirds.

But the fields were bursting with lupine and a bad day there certainly beats just about anything else when I need a mental health break. I got an excellent hike in, laden down with heavy camera gear for a little extra cardiac burn.

Didn't see a whole lot of raptors, a harrier here or there, a red tailed or two, lot of action just out of range.

The ever present shorebirds were there of course, like this avocet. Saw cinnamon teals and shovelers, buffleheads and mallards.

I am certainly no expert but will take a shot and say these are dowitchers of the long billed variety. Looking for a wealthy dowager with a pet dowitcher...

I set my tripod up and was content to just chill and see what might fly by. Never get tired of the harriers gliding silently over the marshes.

I was walking through the marsh loop yesterday and realized that I was hearing about thirty high pitched bird frequencies at once.

It felt like I was in the center of an avian symphony, a rich tapestry of sound.

So calming. At 8000 hz and above I was absorbing a lot of alpha wave frequencies. Instantly puts me in the right place.

What do you non birders do when you need a shot of mental health? Besides church and pharmaceuticals...

Walker Rd. is still closed due to storm damage. I cut out of the San Jacinto Wildlife Area pretty early, had my fix. Talked to a ranger I know, he says that the tri-colored blackbirds should be making an appearance soon.

I stopped off at Les's house to pick up some oranges.

He had a beautiful female hooded oriole in a tree, the hummers were going crazy over his bottlebrush.

Made it home to a reheat of the Chinese food and a rewatch of Kung Fu Hustle which is on Netflix again.

Leaving the driveway this morning I captured a lovely red shouldered hawk on a branch at the end of my driveway in the twilight dawn hour.

Funny, no matter how far I travel, home is always the best and most beautiful place for me.

Let's all try to stay happy and away from each other's throats.