The friendly Great Horned Owl kid earlier in the year.

The friendly Great Horned Owl kid earlier in the year.

In November, we had horrific winds.  85 mph, which are hurricane force.  Sadly, the Great Horned Owl youngsters, who were 6 months old at the time, disappeared.  Now it has been nearly 4 months since, and not a day goes by that I do not mourn their loss.  I whistle for the youngster probably daily, knowing he is gone. At dawn that November morning, looking out the living room window, the wind was white.  And horizontal.  And HORRIFIC.  It was very  scary to say the least.  My biggest fear then was that one of the old trees would give up and crash through our house.  Those trees must GO this year.  I wondered how the owls would fare.  Then, as the days, then the weeks went by with no sign of them, it became clear, even to my mind (which was oh so much happier living in the “land of denial”) had to accept the youngsters were gone.  The parent owls, the speech impediment owl, and his wife – spent time flying around calling, sometimes loudly, sometimes busily, perching in different far off trees out of their usual haunts, all the time calling.  All the time with no answer back.

We were all very sad.

Tonight, I heard a strange owl discussion going on.  It is cold once again, snow is likely.  As I opened the back door, the booming voice of the granddad owl rang out.  He was perched in the owl tree above our house.   I stood still, listening.  Granddad and his wife moved a half mile away 3 years ago, this is only the second time I have seen him since. Much to my joy I could hear a young owl answer, “screeeeeeee” in the distance, calling twice. I couldn’t get into my boots and coat fast enough! I went out and whistled. The youngster I had helped earlier last year would whistle back to me. That young owl’s presence was magical. I whistled several times, no answer. The light pole on my mom’s long driveway had been a favorite spot for it to roost. I chanced using the spotlight and an owl was there! I stood in the dark, the sky pitch black. The stars and heavens brilliantly lit. I see a shooting star. Then above my head, from the pole, the owl flew, dipping down over my head and up to the owl tree. It never called back, but it was a young owl.  I don’t know if this owl is one of the two that were raised in the owl tree – or are related to the granddad owl. Either way, I am thrilled and blessed to have seen them tonight.

 

 

 

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The owl tree covered densely with Pogonip!

The owl tree covered densely with Pogonip!

Pogonip.  This was in our Susanville Stuff.com news today.

Susanville’s resident meteorological expert, Dr. Owen Bateson, talks about the prolonged cold spell. For the past several weeks, our area has felt the effects of below-freezing temperatures; broken pipes, car problems, treacherous roads and sidewalks that are glazed over with ice.The extremely cold temperatures in some areas dropped thermometers to almost 20 degrees below zero

“The December snow has lasted longer than my records show over the past 30-years and still shows no signs of even thinking about melting,” says Bateson, “It has been so cold that we have experienced a weather phenomenon called diamond dust.”

Diamond dust is made up of tiny frozen ice crystals that precipitate directly out of a clear but very cold blue sky that normally occurs in the Arctic or Antarctica

“This type of fog begins as super-cooled droplets of liquid water that begins to form when the dew point and the temperature are within 4 degrees Fahrenheit of each other,” explains Bateson, “These droplets then start to precipitate out of the fog as small ice crystals which can look very much like regular snow.”

“It builds up on everything like a hoarfrost, resulting in white flocked trees and bushes and practically everything else that is left outside. It covers the roads with a thin layer of very slick ice creating very hazardous driving conditions and can even build up so much on power lines to cause them to sag and break under the added weight.”

“Hopefully,” says Doctor Bateson, “we will get a cold front coming through which will actually raise our temperatures and maybe even start raining or snowing again.”

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This is the weirdest stuff.  It seems to snow out of a blue sky.  Yes, we saw the sky yesterday.  Today too.  But this below freezing for the last month has gotten a bit unbearable.  Yesterday, my frost free water spicket in the barn aisle froze.  This morning, I had the thought flit through my head that “maybe it unfroze since yesterday”  Oh yes.  Not quite.  It was -2 this morning.  It is 6 above now.  Not thinking that is going to be the case.  Now I am hauling water from the house to the chicken coop and the barn.  Thankfully the water near the horse is in front of mom’s place and thus far (knock on wood please don’t jinx this) it is still working.  So far.  I am ready for it to warm up enough to thaw at least!

Yesterday I took the camera out and took perhaps 60 photographs.  Lots of fun, it had warmed up to 18, so I could go without gloves for a bit.  I am not happy with the computer moniter display I am using, it makes things dark.  The sky was brilliant blue, and the ice crystals bright white in this next photo.  Perhaps it will come across better for you.

The top of the tree the owls usually sit in

The top of the tree the owls usually sit in

The branches of the owl tree.

The branches of the owl tree.

Amazing.

Good thing it is pretty....

Good thing it is pretty….

So, away from the electronic box again, time to get some work on the house done.  Stay warm all!

Picture 271

This is snow from the big overnight fall in November.  We still have snow on the ground, it is slowly evaporating thankfully.  It is at the watch each step stage.  Like put your foot down and carefully step again.  At some point the snow loses enough structure it does not support my weight and will drop one to two inches JUST when stepping off to the next step.  Easy to get hurt.  I am excellent at that, so I am slowly moving about doing chores.  Dreaming of spring.

Lilacs of course

Lilacs of course

Dreaming of moving.

 

Dawn on the beach, Port Orchard Washington

Dawn on the beach, Port Orchard Washington

For now though, it is this  sort of thing.

Ice in one of the metal birdbaths

Ice in one of the metal birdbaths

While I dream of this 🙂

The beach house Port Orchard Washington

The beach house Port Orchard Washington

 

Have a good day all!

 

 

 

 

Winter 2010 - snowflakes on my truck

Winter 2010 – snowflakes on my truck

Not much in the way of words needed.

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The winter here, from another year.  Right now we have more snow on the ground than this photograph.

Yep, we live in the country :)

Yep, we live in the country 🙂

A fun day, watching the crews fill the balloons with hot air, then the chase was on!  Great day!

Ice in one of the metal birdbaths

Ice in one of the metal birdbaths

Light and texture fascinates me (no, really?) Yes it does!

Dawn on the beach, Port Orchard Washington

Dawn on the beach, Port Orchard Washington

We are going to live here one day – not on the beach but with the view of the sound.  So we can say “there goes the ferry!” as often as we can!

100_4348 The Great Horned Owl babies from 2012.   ❤ Owls!

Have a good evening all 🙂

The poor lilacs under almost two feet of snow on December 9th.

The poor lilacs under almost two feet of snow on December 9th.

As I was standing looking out the kitchen window just now, I felt her spirit.  It was like she was speaking to me.   Great Aunt Ruth, our only aunt, but the greatest one as well.  When we were growing up, she and our grandmother lived far away, not like down the street or even in the next town.  75 miles across Los Angeles.  A veritable desert of humanity in between us.  That was way before the population exploded, way back in the 1970’s.  Kind of humorous now, as for us, the next “big” shoppable/doctor appt town is 75 miles from here.  Also the closest I have lived to a Trader Joes since 1991 has been 75 miles.  I loved Aunt Ruth.  I always called her on New Years eve, and her sweet greeting will remain in my heart forever.  She was always so happy when I called 🙂   I wonder now what else she did aside from do amazing knitting, love her Pomeranian dog and keep watch on her sister, our grandmother.  Oh she grew amazing African Violets, which compelled me to do the same.  Now I “grow” or rather tend 100 year old lilacs 🙂

Lilacs of course

Lilacs of course

She lived in the same community as our grandmother.  She lived there BECAUSE of our grandmother.  Always silently sitting by while being told “OH NO Ruth”……which was our grandmother’s way of dealing with life.  Actually not dealing.  Telling everyone else how it is.  Or was, since they both are long since passed.  I digress, sorry.

So, looking out the window, I remember Aunt Ruth’s last visit with me.  She too had a difficult marriage.  Alcohol was involved with him as well.  I think she was one of the strongest women I have ever known.  On her last visit, she told me that she wished she still had her own home, that she would take me and my son and we would have a nice life, a calm life like we should have.  She was sad for me, for us.  She had lived the same life and walked the same walk at one time.  She knew my hopes and dreams.  But at the time I had a 2 year old son with my then alcoholic minded husband . As people, as parents, we end up make choices, wanting to save our loved ones and end up sacrificing ourselves.  Was the end result worth it?  The price of the sacrifice of soul and dreams and youth?  I don’t know.  It is sad how mixed up life can become when love is involved.  How I wish that I knew then, that we never get one day back.  To live in the moment.  That tomorrow isn’t for certain, it is a gift.

At the time I got involved with my husband to be, while I had fallen in love with him at 17, now I was in my late 20’s.  This was a big time in my life.  I was ready to take my California State Horse Racing board trainer test.  I had amazing people behind me- helping me, Henry Moreno, D. Wayne Lukas, Bobby Frankel.  Mesh Tenney, who was Swaps trainer.  Each one advising me and giving me more information which I will value forever.  Then my heart got involved and I stepped away from what I knew and loved,  through what I had hoped was a revolving door.  Instead, that door was shut tight, I was never to return to racing.  I only did so from a distance,  to rescue Thoroughbreds.  In thinking how I let this happen,  I had never known anyone who drank.  I did not know how bad it could be, that people could have a substance dictate their life the way alcohol did for my husband.  That and PTSD – the gift that kept on giving courtesy of Vietnam.  Life and learn?  Not any more for me.  More likely watch where you go and think before you jump.

Leaving the racetrack, moving to central California.  Through the birth of our son and horrible life at a gated community at a lake.  The worst time of my life.  Then, finally, a move to outside that place.  A ranch where I could have the horses on site.  Two homes so I could care for my failing dad until he passed.  Then another move, this time life brought us here to rural northeastern California.  The desert where it snows. My husband was sober and I let him rejoin our family.  Life for the first time ever was promising.  He was healthy until he made a horrific mistake.  He ignored the use instructions for a wood preservative.  Against all instruction, he used it in a closed space, in shorts and flip flops in a spray bottle.  The whole bottle has tiny type, all huge warnings on use.  It is copper napthanate for the record ranching/farming/contractor friends.  Brand name, appropriately called “Terminate”.  Yep, did the job.  The “blue stuff” that people paint on wood that is partly deteriorated, it stops the rot of the wood.  On a human, it is absorbed through the skin and ends up lodged in the liver.  The grand filter of the human body.  And it kills it.  But for my husband, finally sober, useful, kind, musical man he was, it took 2 years almost to finish him off.  Always just a bit too sick for a transplant (and you need to be nearly dead to get one) or a bit too un-well. No one lives for that span of time with a failed liver. No one.  Defied the doctors explanation.  Actually they didn’t HAVE an explanation.  It was almost funny – he was sober a recovering alcoholic for years.  His liver was healthy (biopsy done 8 months before) and life was finally good for us all.  So yes, he died, almost 8 1/2 years ago.  Point being, here in this age of transplantation and organ donation, I have two things to say.

1.  Please consider being an organ donor.  It save lives!!

2.  If a loved one needs a transplant, they  screen the patient for it when the doc is talking transplant and getting on the UNOS list.  THEN if you can afford it, insurance pay for it or not, get listed in other areas!!! No one told us that this was an option.  Organs are distributed by region through different area lists as well.  The time limit on distance/shipping is critical.  Just look into it.  If I had known it might have made a difference.

Ok, off the soapbox now, heard of a person in need and I am always compelled to impart the information I learned.  Maybe for them it won’t be too late.

Life is too short to waste, enjoy yours today!

In the last couple of weeks now we have had in addition to the almost 2 feet of snow, hurricane force winds now approaching 11 inches of rain.  There are tilting power poles on the access road around the corner – one is roped to another to keep it upright at this point.  All in all, the fixing the power company has done the last 10 years is paying off.  Through the worst of it we kept our lights on!  Much appreciated for sure!
A million and one things to get done today, in town, around the place here.
Have a great day all, and remember to tell those who matter to you that you love them!!

 

Just another day in paradise!

Really? This was a dusting forecast for us.

That is my arena.

When it snows, it is absolutely breathtaking for about oh say 10 minutes.  Once I put the camera away and am snow blind.  Then I have to take a while, getting over  seeing without everything being bright PINK  before I can get to work shoveling.

A table, stacked with several feet of snow.

Then at about this point, it had totally stopped being amusing.  Or pretty. Or anything other than just WORK!  If I could just stay inside and not worry about clearing the vehicles or the roads etc etc it would be nice!

My lilac trees under about a million pounds of powder.

I sent this photo to our local weatherman on channel 4 and he aired it.  The area we live in was special, we had 20+ inches of snow overnight.

This morphed into more rain than ever, which melted all the snow away pretty quickly.  Mud.  Mud.  More mud.

Then last night, at 1:26 am, something woke me up.  The sound of terrible wind, freight train sounding winds.  The local CalTrans weather tower clocked the wind at 85 mph.  ENOUGH already!  Now there is more tree limbs on the ground than ever before.  It narrowly missed my trailer, my truck (which was parked in the back, which should have been well clear of the trees)

Just really varied and wild weather.  Enjoy your evening and stay warm folks!

 

The new to us propane heating stove – installed!

Ahhhh!

It has been a long time in saving and planning and finally today was the day!  I had begun looking for a used propane heating stove this summer.  After 10 years here, part of those years we heated with propane. Part with electric.  The last four or so with wood.  It finally came to me, the realization that using the little parlor wood stove was the issue.  We found that we could be continually stuffing wood into it and it never and I mean NEVER heated the #$@% house.  I am told that the reasoning was that it should be used in a harmonious way with a propane stove.  Oh?  Whatever.  I am Southern California born and lived there for 30 years.  What do I know? To this point, I was always worried about the pipes in the kitchen and laundry room.  The bathroom pipes I have heat tape on.  But the other rooms? Gak.  Like do not close the laundry room door at night.  Potential disaster.  For the kitchen I do leave the cabinet doors under the kitchen sink open.  I will actually continue to do so for both rooms….but right now, it is over 70 degrees in the living room.  I think the old farmhouse is going to faint 🙂

That last winter before my husband passed, he was freezing all the time.  The large old propane heating stove did a good job.  I would step indoors and poof, my glasses would instantly fog up 😉 It also showed me it was possible to use $300 a month in propane.  Before we resumed using the wood stove, I had the big old stove lit.  Then it nearly killed us with carbon monoxide.  Seriously. Very ill.  It was bad.  The big stove was then dubbed the “murder stove”  It is now out in my son’s work area.  I don’t know what is really in store for it, but it is no longer in my living room so I don’t care!  This stove is something like 80% efficient vs the murder stove and the 52% efficiency.  It is going to cost more than wood, but I am still thrilled!  To think that I will find the living room warm in the morning, versus the 48 degrees it was the last week – heavenly!

So, I am happy now.   I appreciate it a lot.  Stay warm all, I certainly have a better opportunity to !

Our best hen-pet-feathered friend, Tweety.

As anyone who knows me or reads the blog knows, I love birds.  Domestic birds, chickens, and wild things.  Owls.  But this chicken pictured above, was the best.  Dubbed “Tweety” by the girl who raised and loved her, she came to live with us when the girl’s mom decided she was a rooster.  It was either take her or the next stop would put this chicken into a stew pot. Eeeeeeewwww! So, Tweety came to stay.  Her early months were spent being with the girl.  She was carried everywhere and learned to observe and “help” as she decided we needed.  One day, not long after her arrival here, I was standing at my outdoor feed can.  Tossing wild bird seed to the wild things.  Tweety came over of course to see.  She sat down next to my foot and was bocking quietly to herself.  I was busy, and so apparently was she.  After a few minutes, I had gotten things straightened out and was done.  Tweety let out a loud “BOCK” and stood up.  There, next to my foot, was a perfect fresh from the Tweety egg.  A rooster? Nope!

She was the ringleader of the hens, not the top hen, but the smartest girl.  I could count on being rushed when I opened the back door, no matter where she might be.  When she heard that door open, it was pedal to the metal and she would come tearing up to the back porch.  She would come to a halt and inquire “Bawwwwwkkkkk????” peering up at me past the feathers that always fell into her eyes, looking for treats.  She was hilarious.

She did not like the Ameracauna chickens we had.  They are bossy and always had an uneasy truce between them.  If I was even a tiny bit slow tossing seed or treats when the girls were outside the coop, I was told about it.  Tweety would come and stand next to my foot and say “BAWWWWWWKKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!” and then peck the top of my foot with quite a bit of force.  Point taken Tweety.  I always hurried.  I re-homed the Ameracaunas recently, and it made the yard very quiet and relaxed.  Interesting.  She was soft and kind and the only chicken I had that would tell my full grown white peacocks where to go and when to do it.

I loved her “hair” and the way it flopped over her pretty eyes.  She would have to really tilt her head to the side to look up at me past those Polish derived feathers on top of her head.  She was a good girl.

She passed away yesterday.  It was late morning, after I carried her around with me while doing chores.  She observed the food and water giving to the other birds.  She observed treats being consumed….but I knew.  When I put her back in her safe coop inside the main coop, I had the opportunity to do what I always try to do when a loved one is leaving us.   I of course thanked her for being such a good friend.  That we loved her so much and that I would miss her always.   I felt it in my soul when she left this place, even though I was in town.   I teared up, I was not ready for her to be gone.   When I got home, I found her, lying peacefully with her beak next to the uneaten treats I had given her, eyes closed, that cute fluff of feathers still fluffy but too still.  Tweety was the best.

I will miss you forever my Tweety.  Thank you for bringing so much joy to my life.  Rest in peace my little feathered friend.

Ah. Nothing like 20″ of surprise snow.

Culture shock for me.  Our winters of late had not had this much all season. Plus never this much overnight. EVER.

I have other photos, but need to load them to the computer. Last night, when I was in the dining room talking to my son, I heard a high pitched whistle call.  The young Great Horned Owl’s voice is changing.  I went outside and whistled back and forth with him for perhaps 15 minutes.  I walked out to the bridge across the frozen creekbed under the tree he was in. He flew from branch to branch, echoing my whistle and then trying a new voice out.  Standing there in the darkness, looking at the tree illuminated against the pitch black velvet of the sky – the bright stars like blazing diamonds we conversed.  This is the young owl that had gotten caught in some large chicken wire on the side of the dog kennel earlier in the year. The previous people who owned this place left an assortment of animal dangers and this one had slipped past me when a deer had jumped into the dog kennel and broken a post and took down the side section of  wire.  His parents alerted me to the problem, the male flew off while mom owl watched. That baby just sat there and waited. No beak clacking, no feather rattling. Just stood and watched me calmly get his feet loose and then once free, flew off with mom owl.  I wrote about it in the blog when it happened.  You can search for it through the function on this page if you are interested. Now this owl seems happy to spend time chatting and my heart was filled with joy that so wild a creature would take the time to visit 🙂

❤ owls!

Off to town for some meetings and appointments. Shopping and perhaps a Peppermint Mocha Frappachino with extra bittersweet chocolate curls. Have a good day all!

The friendly Great Horned Owl kid earlier in the year.

Some years we have brilliant trees.  Actually I guess 8 of the 10 years we have been here have been really something.  Then two years, this being the second time this has happened – no real fall.  The daytime temps stay up, warm at night until BOOM, below freezing.  Snow. Rain. The lilac trees are confused again.  When this happens, the leaves freeze on the trees.  It deprives the root systems of the storage of the sap.  The trees in places here died the other year this happened.  Of the trees here, only one lilac has leaves trying to turn.  The ancient tree is still green albeit rather dull now.  Poor trees.

We always do have a short amount of fall here.  I say that we only have two season, winter and summer.  That is of course because we only have a bit of spring and usually even less fall.  Hmph.  One year we had spring, in January. It went on for weeks.  Then winter came back.  Weird.

So there is a tremendous storm in the east, dubbed “Frankenstorm” but it goes by the name of Sandy.  I have a friend who is bi-coastal, and she is in NY now.  Loves storms as I do too.  Stay safe my friend, I am sure you have what you need at hand for you and the girls 🙂  Be careful and make contact when you can!

I lost my series of fall photographs from the last 10 years with the hard drive failure, so I can’t pull one up to show how pretty it gets here.  So, you get an owl instead! Have a good day all, and my east coast friends be careful!!