Monday, March 31, 2008

Taking time to smell the roses

This was the most beautiful rose that I saw at the cemetery today:

I was running early to meet my friend today, so I had time to stop by a Japanese supermarket on the way to her house and pick up this yummy boysenberry gum. Note that the package says "New Zealand" over the berries, and it features a silhouette of said country. Boysenberries are my favorite berry.Our day got off to a good start -- my friend showed me her wonderful art; I met her kitties; and her husband made us a most excellent pizza (spinach, feta, purple onions, olives, etc.) for us. He made the entire thing from scratch. The crust was divine. We finished up by touring their plantings in their front and back yards. She has a cactus in a planter that is over 30 years old.

After lunch, my friend and I headed for the cemetery.
She and her husband have major green thumbs, and they used to be volunteer gardeners at the cemetery. The first rose that we smelled had a mild, yet scrumptious, fragrance -- like bananas. We had to smell it a second time before we left. My friend said that it reminded her of the delicate flavor of a banana popsicle. The rose is called "Smith's Parish," and it's a type of Bermuda Rose. Oddly enough, this site says that this rose is "Not Fragrant" and "has no discernible fragrance."

This Western Scrub-Jay was proudly perched on the tallest monument around (I'm not a cemetery expert, so I'm not sure if "monument" is the right term).

And now for more roses:

Note the tiny insect on this flower.

We also visited the native plant garden, the cemetery archives, and sniffed each and every rose bush. Glorious!!!

Good night,

Pre-dawn ramblings

I have the day off of work; I've had my bagel; and I'm enjoying a cup of coffee and the insistent call of a California Towhee. It starts in the dark long before dawn, and it's the same note over and over again. I love it -- so adamant. What can I say? I'm a morning person.

I'm totally stoked about my plans for today -- my friend used to be a volunteer gardener at the City Cemetery, and today, she's going to give me a tour of the cemetery's historic rose garden.

I recently purchased Doodle Stitching by Aimee Ray. I really like it, and I might try to incorporate some things from it into in my current embroidery project -- a seahorse.

As I've been typing, the rest of the dawn chorus has started, and includes a Black Phoebe.

Ta ta for now,

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The birds and the bees, etc.

American Robin with olive juice (aka, the blood of past prey) smeared on its bill

The mighty robin checks on the photographer before
Pouncing on its quarry
Success! The olive has been captured!While I was watching this robin, I felt a light splat on my hand. Someone had sent a little whitewash my way. My husband removed his hat, and it had poop on it, as well. We looked up into the tree and saw the underside of another robin. Turdus migratorius, indeed!

We were happy to see Douglas Irises last weekend (location: near a trailhead in El Dorado County).

The most common birds, like this Canada Goose, are beautiful, especially in late afternoon light.

The California lilacs, California poppies, and Western Redbud are providing a riot of color in our front yard. When we get home from work, I often check to see how the bees in the California lilacs are doing. I'm trying to see if I can actually see them transferring the pollen to their hind legs.
They move so fast, but I think I saw it once. Their pollen baskets are so cute when full. What are their pollen baskets like? According to this site, "Each [hind] leg is flattened and covered with long fringed hairs that form a pollen basket," and I'm wondering if the pollen just collects there as they crawl along, or if they actively transfer pollen to the baskets. I'm guessing that it's the latter.

I am almost finished with my second acorn cap doll. I can't find the right cap. Actually, I had one that was the perfect fit; however, I discovered a grub living in it. Eeeeeww!!

Finally, if you want to smile, check out this picture of a Highland Cow. Duuuuude.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

One more thought before bed

Reviews of four image-stabilized binoculars, from Wired

Random Thoughts of 3-25-08

Here are some Horned Lizard figurines that I purchased from the folks at Desert USA. Cute, yes? Pretty accurate depictions of really cool creatures, yes? On a birding trip to Arizona, I bought some Horned Lizard earrings at the Southwest Research Station, but they were so heavy that they hurt my ears, so I'll have to make them into something else -- a couple of necklaces, perhaps.

Another embroidered Lyrebird

I like this quote featured on the Digital Nature Yahoo Group:
"I think having land and not ruining it is the most beautiful art that anybody could ever want to own." - Andy Warhol

I remember listening to an Edward Abbey book-on-tape, with Cactus Ed himself as the narrator. He described javelinas “munching on jojoba nuts” in his deep, slightly goofy voice. Ever since then, every time I hear the word “jojoba,” I think of javelinas and smile. Such charismatic beasts! Speaking of Abbey, this site features an Edward Abbey quote database.

Some neat animals: Bella Dia's Quaker Parrot named Pina looks so neat! Here she is before a bath, and here she is after a bath. After her bath, she looks like a kakapo that has been sprinkled in gold dust. Bella Dia's Jendaya Conure, Poppy, "sleeps in her little fleece hut on her back."

Good night,

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Not so random thoughts of 3-22-08

We birded Lynch Canyon in Solano County today (we were on a Sacramento Audubon field trip). Here are some photos:

Very tame Barn Swallows

A nest (Phoebe or Swallow) outside of the bathroom
Blue-eyed Grass (not actually a grass)
It was a beautiful day.We saw several Golden Eagles. The following photos are of the same individual.

Action shot of a Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Concerned cowsCalifornia's State grass, Nassella pulchra (Purple needlegrass),
Back at home, on the craft front, here is a paperweight that I made that features a picture of the State fish of Hawaii:

Ta ta for now,

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Random Thoughts of 3-20-08

  • The Full Moon is tomorrow. According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, the March Full Moon is the Full Worm Moon, aka, Full Crow Moon, Full Crust Moon, Full Sugar Moon, and Full Sap Moon).
  • I like this book that doe-c-doe picked up at a thrift store.
  • What is that thrift store smell? at Ask Metafilter (I got the link from the Not Martha blog). I used to get a lot of clothes at thrift stores, but I no longer have the patience to spend an hour or so in the thrift store looking for clothes that fit; plus trying on used clothes always grossed me out, and I lost patience with being grossed out. I do like to look at all of the other stuff in thrift stores -- books, tchotchkes, anything that doesn't harbor cooties :-)

Ta ta for now,

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Random Thoughts on the Vernal Equinox

Happy Vernal Equinox! It occurs March 20, 2008 at 1:48 AM EDT, and that's the 19th out West.

Tomorrow is Sun-Earth Day -- see NASA's Web site for information.

I walk during my morning break and at lunch. There is a bail bonds office in an old Victorian near our building, and in warm weather, they put their two budgies out in a cage on the porch. I hadn't seen them for months, and yesterday, I was on my walk, and I heard the unfamiliar calls of non-native birds. The budgies were back! I told my friend that spring is here, since "the bail bondsman's budgies are back." Say that five times fast.

I saw a robin hovering and plucking berries from a bush today. You rarely see songbirds that large hover. Interesting.

My friend and I were discussing the word "grok" today. A few months ago, I decided that I needed to do my part to keep it alive. The Wikipedia says:

To grok (pronounced /ˈgrɒk/) is to share the same reality or line of thinking with another physical or conceptual entity. In Heinlein's view of quantum theory, grokking is the intermingling of intelligence that necessarily affects both the observer and the observed.

According to Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary, to grok is to "to understand profoundly and intuitively."

That made me think about the following description of "namaste" that I found on this blog:

Namaste can mean many things, from Sanskrit literally it means, "I bow to you," but in global discourse, many things. My favorite is probably, "I honor the place in you in which the entire Universe dwells, I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Integrity, of Wisdom and of Peace, When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are One."

Understanding, respect, peace, love. Aw, shucks.

Good night,

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

First Acorn Cap Doll!

Cute, yes? I'm very happy with the results. Instructions are available here. Since I painted the wooden bead brown, I couldn't use colored pencils for the features -- instead I used a white Elmer's Painters opaque paint marker and several colors of Sakura Pigma Micron pens.

Good night,

Obama on Race and Politics

You must listen to all 38 minutes of the speech that Barack Obama gave today.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Random Thoughts

The Little Zoo Flickr photoset, via How About Orange

Very simple weaving from CraftyPod, via the Craft magazine blog. I am definitely going to try one of the cardboard looms at this link. I've always wondered if anyone has tried to spin thread/yarn from the "cotton" from a cottonwood tree (Populus fremontii)?

Garden Patch Cakelet Pan. This pan makes tiny vegetable-shaped cakes. The finished cakes are effing adorable, but far beyond my baking/cake decorating interests and skills. I bake perhaps twice a decade. I made a Key Lime Pie last year. Juicing those tiny, rock-hard limes took forever, but the pie was very good – like eating a slice of the sun. Several years ago, I made lemon bars, which were yummy, too – zesting those lemons took forever. I'm sensing a theme here ...

Speaking of Key Limes, we visited Florida a few years ago, and the flora, fauna, and landscape are beautiful. The birding was excellent! After birding on Key West for a few hours, we were hungry, so we started looking for a restaurant with vegetarian food. We saw Garden Burgers on the menu of one restaurant, so we went in and tried to order a couple. The restaurant employee said that the Garden Burgers were available in the restaurant out back, and pointed to a tall wooden fence about 50 yards in back of the building. We walked up to the fence, opened the gate and ascended the stairs. There was an outdoor restaurant with a bar, a pool, and an all-naked clientele. We found someplace else to eat.

I found some unfinished wooden beads at Michael’s yesterday, and after I rustle up some grub, I'm going to see how they fit with my collection of acorn caps. I'm going to make those acorn cap dolls that I mentioned in this post.

Ta ta for now,

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Random Thoughts

  • I enabled the reader comment function on my blog a while back, but I forgot to mention it here.
  • I really like this embroidered “Lizard in the sun - Glasses Case.” Double-click on the photo (or click the “zoom” button in the lower right corner) to enlarge. Nice detail.
  • The neighbor’s cat (photo) was in our driveway on Sunday. I haven’t seen him in months, because he stays inside in the winter. I don’t approve of letting cats outdoors because they kill so much wildlife, but I was so glad to see him. He is such a funny little old thing – he’s like an elderly stoner. I am also worried that he’ll get hit by a car.
  • Glow jar using glow-in-the-dark-stars (see the last photo). I made one of these, and I keep it on my nightstand under the lamp.
  • My friend told me about DISH: The Shop on Riverside that sells vintage dinnerware and kitchen appliances. I’ve got to visit this store, which is described as “part museum and part retail space.” I don’t want to buy anything; I’m just going for the museum aspect – check out their wall of teapots in this article. I doubt that this store will be around long, so I’d better go soon. Speaking of which, my beloved The Real Pie Company closed a few weeks ago, because business was too good. There was great sadness at my office that day -- our Thursday Pie Posse may never ride again.
Good night,

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Fun in the Sun

We had a great morning -- good birds, good weather, good people -- birding the Beek's Bight Area of the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area. Highlights include: seeing and hearing a Canyon Wren sing, Rufous-crowned Sparrows, Rock Wrens, and Phainopeplas. A fellow birder told us that "phainopepla" means "shining robe." Cool! We agreed that this mushroom looks like it has been turned inside out:Near the lake, another birder found this shell that looks like a heart:
Doctor Who quilt. I like the Tardis, but I don't want to sleep under a bunch of Daleks.

Why I am not very excited about baseball right now: The new Giants lineup is underwhelming. Omar Vizquel -- a true joy to watch play -- is going to have knee surgery and is expected to be out for four to six weeks. The steroid and HGH scandals.

They got rid of the POP-CORN official time phone number last year. What a bummer. The only way you can get the "official" time is to go on-line (

Good night,

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Gratuitous animal cuteness

Check out the over-the-top animal cuteness at Cute Overload and The Daily Puppy. There is nothing cuter than a puppy's belly (see the fourth photo).

Friday, March 7, 2008

Random Thoughts of 3-7-08

OK, Torchwood is at it again with the torture. In last Saturday's episode, they were terrorizing a prisoner with a Weevil (super-scary alien) on a leash -- shades of the dogs at Abu Ghraib. It's no surprise that that rat-bastard-fascist-traitor-to-the-human-race Antonin Scalia is a fan of torturer Jack Bauer of 24. Scalia's remarks in this article are both frightening and immature (although not surprising). I don't care whether or not torture works (it always does on TV) -- it's wrong. I don't care if the prisoner turns out to be guilty -- torture is always wrong. Sometimes I feel like I'm surrounded by barbarians. Geez.

OK, on a lighter note:

Javelina and butterflies print, from Andrea Zuill

This Boy Knits blog. Check out his knitting, his drawings (here and here and here), and his family's art.

Pencil shavings jewelry. This reminds me of my co-worker who uses real, honest-to-goodness, old school wooden pencils.

Good night,

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Elusive Wolverine Makes Its First Sierra Appearance in Years, via The Sacramento Bee. This is a reason for all Californians to celebrate!!! By the way, its scientific name is Gulo gulo, which means "glutton, glutton." Hee, hee.

It's a shame how superstition can rob a person of the ability to appreciate the natural world. I was talking to a friend about owls, and he is afraid of them because as a child, he was told that they symbolized death. That is so sad. Seeing or hearing an owl is a blessing from nature, as is seeing a snake, hearing coyotes howl, and listening to crows and ravens. Yet superstition and irrational fears deprive people of the joy of being in the presence of such awesome creatures. Speaking of coyotes, my husband was in our office at home this morning, and he heard a coyote howling at about 2:20 this morning. That's the first on on our "yard list."

Thinking good thoughts for the wolverine,