You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2011.

Pumpkin lounging in the sun

It really is.

The past few years have been really hard, but I do believe we are in the sunshine on the other side of the darkness now – so to speak that is.  Mom is doing much MUCH better 🙂  She is no longer on the medication that was doing so much harm to her.  She is back to being MOM!  My mind has been otherwise occupied for the longest time.  Now, I am better too.

Once again I can concentrate on some other things, writing, swapping out the old, pretty much not working fridge for a used one from the neighbors……..getting the garage roof fixed.  Oh and the plumbing, well, each thing in its time I guess.  Point being I can think and plan now, at least a bit 🙂 Loads more things to do, best get busy!

The critter in the photo above is a Barbados sheep wether.  We got him as a bottle baby, and he is a sweet old man now.  He is….13? I think.  Where does the time go?

Should be in the 50’s today, which defies January in the Sierra.  Wow!



Sunflower on Whidbey Island last October

Lovely weather still………  We’ve had more rain this winter than ever in the time we have lived here. 8 1/2 years of  some snow, more snow, too much snow and where is the snow winters.

I attended a writer’s workshop on Whidbey Island Washington late October/November.  It was beautiful.  Sunflowers and California poppies blooming on Halloween.  Unheard of.  Appreciated.  Like this current weather.  That was a wonderful weekend, wasn’t it Carol ?  My friend and writer arranged it for us.  If you have the opportunity to attend any of Bob Mayer’s classes, do it!  Wonderful teacher.

Hope wherever you are reading this from you are safe, warm and cozy.  Time for evening chores 🙂


Frosted leaves by the creek

There are always things that are different.  Life is composed of different moments, interactions, steps, hopes and dreams.  Each time I go outside, I find something interesting or wonderful.  I have gotten to really like my cell phone camera – especially since I finally figured out that it is easier than my last phone to load photos to my main computer:)

Enjoy the day all!

Wild violets

Today is mom’s birthday.  She has gotten through all the surgeries and medication issues the past few years – and things are going in the right direction now for the first time in a very long time.  It’s a good thing 🙂  There were a lot of surgical repairs and now that the heavy duty muscle relaxant is out of the daily lineup, she is mom again.  Brighter and very much happier! Yay! So happy birthday to you mom, and here’s to many more !   Today is  lunch with her and her friends at our favorite Mexican restaurant.

I know so much of life is enjoying things along the way.  Like life is a journey, not a destination and all that.

I was looking through my photo files and found this…..Violets.  I love violets.  Any type or color is fine.  They grow locally, the most recent I saw them was interspersed in a lawn in town.  They free seed and grow rapidly. Such lovely little bits of color.

Enjoy the day all!


O’Malley, son of best goat ever – Audrey 🙂

In my world, there are few things cuter or more personable than a bottle fed baby goat. They are smart, they don’t smell 🙂  They love to have their bottle and cuddle if you are inclined to sit with them.  They solidly imprint on humans, and will stay devoted to you as a parental figure their whole life.  O’Malley’s mom Audrey was the best goat I ever had the pleasure of knowing.  I don’t recall her ever getting into trouble, she always ran to me when I called her.  She passed away last May.  Her son, O’Malley still lives with us here.  He is now grown and buckly……I chose not to dehorn him and now he has beautiful horns.  I left him intact mostly because I missed having him altered (fixed, castrated, neutered, take your pick).  So, he is a gorgeous boy, and while we have no need for a buck now – haven’t had babies here for years: he is still a momma’s boy.  He was weak and tiny at birth, and raised by hand.  This was just a nice springtime photo.

The weather here is still weird, below freezing at night, but now into the 50’s again during the day.  Odd.  Very odd.  Oh well, not complaining!

Enjoy the day all!


My oldest lilac tree in May a few years ago

No, the lilacs aren’t blooming today (but I wish it were May so they would).

The weather has lost it’s mind.  90 in Los Angeles.  Almost 60 here in Northeastern California in January.  JANUARY.  Good heavens.

The weather here is fickle to put it mildly.  We have lived here for 8 1/2 years or so.  The lilacs have not bloomed more years than they have bloomed.  Late killing frosts.  Very irritating.  Few things really irk me now, age and life has mellowed me.  Besides, what are you going to do? Put in smudge pots like the orange growers have in Florida? The ones they  light so the fruit growing on the trees won’t freeze? Might work on lilacs…….nah. Just makes me appreciate them when they do bloom all the more.

Heading outside to do some more chores, and enjoy the weather.



Dawn Friday January 14 2010

Just being grateful for each day……..


a few minutes later..........

Enjoy the day all !

The old stove minus the stovepipe, the old chimney intake above

We are so very lucky.  Tuesday night, we  had what is known as a “flue fire”.  It was contained in the chimney. Today I found out we don’t have a brick chimney.  We have a poured concrete chimney.  With terra cotta clay inserted .  Not that this set up is foolproof, but it kept the fire in the chimney contained.  It likely would have been the last time that was true.  Upon inspection, the chimney is so worn, aged, cracked and broken that we are opting to abandon it.  Now we will have a straight stovepipe up through the ceiling and roof.

Through the cut out in the ceiling through the roof, flanked by lodgepole pine timbers

No more 90 degree angles to cause more problems.  Much better draft.  The house (and the stove we use) is 106 years old.  I hope no one has to wake up to the words from a neighbor at one am….”there are big flames coming out of your chimney”.  Makes me start shaking again to think about it.  After the neighbor reported this to me, I called 911.  We live very rural.  We have a good volunteer fire department. I however knew, as I stood hosing the roof down, that if it had breeched the chimney, our house would be toast, literally.  Stupid thoughts, like “do I keep hosing this down, or should I grab things out of the house and where do I put them?  What about the CATS??”  OMG.  I have NEVER felt as helpless as Tuesday night.  My son ran to mom’s for our extension ladder – which by the way I now know – don’t try to put out a flue fire by hose.  Which left me alone, hosing the roof – praying for the fire in the flue to go out.  In the silence, the darkness, in the midst of my anguished panic, I heard a small noise.  I turned, and there at my gate, was a firefighter, in his full turnout gear.  I was relieved, and really confused.  There was no firetruck.  There was no CAR.  I thought for a minute I had totally lost it and imagined him.  I called to him “should I keep doing this?  I don’t know what else to do!!”   He didn’t answer me.  Then I realized he was indeed of this world, he was listening to his radio. Turns out that of the two houses across the street, both with new neighbors, this fellow is the fire captain.  OMG.  Seriously?  About 20 minutes after I called for help, the old firetruck rolled up.  Then a small pickup with more volunteers.  In that time before they arrived, the captain looked around, inside and told me he thought it would be ok.  Once the truck got there, they brought an extension ladder, and put it up to the side of our very steep, icy and snow covered roof.  Then they hoisted up another ladder, this one with a couple of big grabber hooks at the end of it.  They pushed it to the peak and hooked it on.  Then the captain crawled up and looked into the chimney.  “Still burning a bit, we will wait a while”…….and they did.  They waited, and checked the temps of the walls and chimney inside the house, and in the attic.  Normal. No smoke where it shouldn’t be.  They packed up and left me with the warning “don’t use that until it gets looked at”.  Oh.  Really ? Geez.  He said that they have to tell the people that.  I can imagine so.  Like I said, don’t try this at home.  I didn’t sleep for a long time, then startled awake twice.  Both times knowing how very close we had come to complete change.  This house is 106 years old.  The roof it make of lodgepole pine timbers, with the saw marks where the limbs were removed.  I know now, that no matter what one thinks, if you think you are prepared, think again.  I went into shutdown mode, which is not normal for me.  Today I began purging the house.  I want to see little in here besides furniture – just the necessities.  After inspecting the situation, the heating contractor is now here to install the new metal flue/chimney.   Interesting to watch 🙂

New metal stovepipe 🙂


The last glimmer of daylight through the roof - before the pipe went in

Now I know that when using a woodstove, have the system checked and the chimney cleaned every six months.  Period. DO IT.  It had been 14 months since ours had been swept.  In retrospect, cleaning it would have prevented a flue fire, but the chimney was already in dire condition. After I post this, I am going to lay and light the first fire for the new stovepipes. Yay!


finished !

I appreciate having our home,  more than I can express.  Thankfully we didn’t have a tragic loss of property and mementos…….but I am planning ahead now, “just in case”.  I won’t be caught flatfooted again.

Enjoy your evening, ours will be warm and safe !


We rush around, doing errands, work, taking care of our homes, our families.  We worry we don’t do enough.  We worry we are doing too much.

In all the rushing, we need to remember to take time to look around.  Someone said don’t forget to stop and smell the roses.  How right they are.

Sometime in the fall, mom and I stopped into the local garden shop.  In the patio area, there were roses for sale (still!  we had already had a hard frost).  This rose was there, and while not a clear shot, so colorful it was.  It was an heirloom rose, with the full rose scent.  Lovely.

Crabapples anyone?

Recently, well, before the holidays I noticed this.  Tiny apples.  I was amused.  I had to play with them, arranging them, taking photos.  The produce guy must have wondered……ha, I wondered!  I never had seen crabapples for sale at the supermarket. No, I didn’t buy any, I just admired them 🙂  So, above is one shot…..and here is another…….


Wow, WordPress must have had it’s coffee today…..I barely blinked and it loaded this photo.  Weird.

Life changes each day, sometimes in ways so small we don’t notice.

Sometimes life changes in ways the world sees and hears.

Tell those in your life you care, that you love them.  Never leave those words unsaid, we never know what is coming down the pike.  So, look outside your own little world, be kind, and know it is the little things that can matter most.

Enjoy the day and stay warm 🙂