Friday, June 29, 2007


After eluding this amateur photographer for the past few weeks, this evening I hung around long enough and determined enough to get a picture of one of my few hummer visitors.

I have been feeling discouraged not being able to get any decent pictures of my backyard birds, but especially the hummingbirds. Here is a shot of him sitting up in my neighbor's acacia tree, hanging out and waiting for me to go back inside the house before flying to the feeder.

I was to find out who could wait the longest. I decided to have some patience and wait it out. So while waiting for this little guy, an Anna's Hummingbird, to get to the feeder, I hung around in the vicinity and admired my cannas that are now blooming.

Here are two shots of a couple of the blooming plants. I am really surprised how easy these plants are to take care of. The last couple of years I had them in pots. But this past spring I wanted to plant them in the ground because they outgrew the pots. And I've seen other neighbors' yards where the plants are doing quite well planted in the ground.

This is a close-up of the larger plant, pictured on the left in the previous photo.

And finally, my payment for patience!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

A favorite backyard resident

Here is one of our resident scrub jays. It was amusing watching this bird caching his peanut -- as with most of my backyard "residents," he/she knows I'm watching and apparently didn't want his/her picture taken. I don't have anything planted in those pots -- believe me I tried once or twice. But between the birds burying their treasures in these small pots and my not remembering to water them on a daily basis, nothing would survive.

After Mr. Jay buried his peanut, he then proceeded to "snoop" around on the ground just to the left of the hanging pots. I apologize for not getting better shots, but as I mentioned before it seems that my backyard birds don't like their pictures taken. Mmmm. Maybe I should try wearing fatigues. :)

Friday, June 22, 2007

My Late Blooming Amaryllis

I have a good friend who gave me this amaryllis plant for Christmas (2005), and this photo (top) was taken when it was at its fullest bloom Feb 2006. The photo below shows two buds about to open, taken last Friday, June 15th in the morning. I wasn't sure this plant was going to bloom at all this year because I did not "follow directions" by putting it in a dark spot for a few months last winter.

This photo (below) was taken Saturday, June 16th, late afternoon -- about 36 hours later.
This photo (below) was taken about 24 hours later - June 17th, late afternoon. Again, a significant change.
And this photo (below) was taken Tuesday morning, June 19th. I decided that the light reflection would be better from the kitchen. So I moved the plant just to see how it would look from another angle. I still wasn't pleased. I figured I'd try another spot in another day or two.

So I decided to try taking a picture of this amaryllis from the living/dining room and see what the results would be. This one (below) was taken today, June 22, early afternoon. Amazing how different it can look when one changes its location, angle and lighting. Of course, we can now see there are four open blossoms. This plant has changed quite a bit in just a week's time.

And this is just another shot, taken from the same location, same time of day, just a different angle.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Fathers' Day

This fine looking gentleman is my father-in-law. He is 91 years old and still going strong. (This picture is a couple years old). He loves to tell us stories about his youth, and he has an excellent memory. He had to be one of the proudest grandpas around when our kids were born. And after they had moved to Colorado, partly to be close to his grandchildren, he and Mom would love to go camping with all of us. My kids always enjoyed being outdoors and in the Rocky Mountains. I'm so glad my kids got to know their Grandpa (and Grandma) before we moved to California. Happy Father's Day, Dad -- and to all dads out there in cyberspace.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

June 16, 1971

Today was Heidi's birthday -- and why is it that when we get older we don't want to think about birthdays anymore. Well, at least some of us are like that. Anyway, I thought I would share some of my thoughts about my daughter. Heidi is my firstborn; she's just 13-1/2 months older than her brother. She was born in Colorado. We were living in Castle Rock, Colorado back then. She was born a red head, but she became a strawberry blonde by the time she turned one. We didn't move to California until the end of May 1974 - when Heidi wasn't yet 3 years old; so she doesn't remember living in Colorado.

This is Heidi's first grade school picture. She enjoyed reading stories about Winnie the Pooh, so I made her a blouse and embroidered a picture of Winnie the Pooh on it. That was when I had more time, and was a stay-at-home mom.

This is Heidi's 7th grade picture. At this age she was into sports. She enjoyed playing soccer, softball, volleyball, and basketball. She also enjoyed playing piano.

This is Heidi's high school senior picture. Heidi still loved her sports, still playing soccer and softball at this age. Volleyball and basketball weren't as popular in her junior and senior years. And as for playing piano, we'll say she had a renewed interest by the time she became a senior, after taking a few years' break.

This is Heidi today, and I'm proud to say she is my daughter and my friend. She is currently an office administrator for the church we attend and enjoys what she is doing. She finished college and got her bachelor's degree in Architectural Studies from KU (Lawrence, KS) in 2001. Heidi was our interior designer for the home remodeling we had done back in 2001 and 2003. She also stays active in our church -- plays piano, sings in the choir, and plays handbells.

Love, Mom

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Trip to the Palo Alto Baylands

Earlier this week, Adam Paul (see his blog) visited the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve and his post inspired me to visit since it's about a 20-25 minute drive from where I live. I asked my husband if he would like to accompany me. He isn't "into birds" like I am, but he does enjoy the outdoors and walking/hiking. So we took off about 8:30 this morning, getting there about 9 a.m. The first thing we wanted to check out was the rookeries for both snowy egrets and black-crowned night herons. We parked near the Duck Pond to see what was there. We did not know that the egrets' rookery was located there. But that was quite a sight to see. Here is a shot of a small portion of the rookery. The palm trees were full of snowy egrets. I never would have thought that egrets would nest in palm trees!Below is a snowy egret in the duck pond. Check out that beautiful reflection. I wonder if he/she was admiring its beauty. :)

This egret was taking off.
And here is another shot of a snowy egret in the palm tree.Below is a picture of mama and offspring.
While standing there watching, marveling and listening to the snowy egrets I found this black-crowned night heron perched among the egrets. Isn't he handsome?
And here is a close-up shot of him. I would have loved to have seen the herons' rookery, but I didn't realize they were located near the ranger's station which we missed. Oh well, maybe next time.
Across the way, on the other side of the road, there was this American Avocet. Another handsome looking bird. We also saw a couple of black-necked stilts, but I couldn't get a decent picture of any of them.Other birds we saw but I couldn't or didn't get pictures of were: mallards, Canada geese with their goslings, Brewer's blackbirds, red-winged blackbirds, American coots, ring-billed gulls, a pair of mockingbirds, rock pigeons, and a couple of song sparrows. We also saw many cliff swallows in flight, but couldn't get any pictures of them, until we went toward the nature center. As we walked around the deck of the nature center I looked up and saw many nests with nestlings peeking out. Below is a nest with 2 little ones staring out. Aren't they cute? As Dave (my husband) and I walked out on the boardwalk toward the mud flats, about midway there was this raucous sound that came from below. It certainly startled me, and I had no idea what it was. After Dave described it, I realized it was most likely a couple of California clapper rails. Too bad I never saw them; I could have marked it down as a "lifer." Oh well, maybe another day, another time.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

This week's "Easter" Lilies

Mostly known as Easter lilies - these are lilium candidum, otherwise correctly known as Madonna Lily. These first two pictures were taken on the 30th of May. I knew it would be a matter of days before they would be in full bloom.

These lilies are all located in my front yard where they get a southerly exposure.

This lily was the first to "pop" open.

Here is another shot of the first to bloom, with our birdbath in the background.
And these Madonna lilies are sitting along the pathway between the sidewalk and the front door. I took this photo on the 4th of June. Quite a difference from the 30th of May.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Wildflowers on the trail

Last Sunday when my son and I were taking his dogs for a walk - yes the same day we encountered the killdeer - we went walking on the trail of a nearby County Park - Los Gatos Creek County Park to be exact. The following pix are a few of the wildflowers we came across. First, there were fields of the following flowers - these are statice. The plant itself looks different from the kind of statice that grows on the coastal side of the hill where they get more humidity and moisture from the daily morning & evening marine layer. But these flowers like drier climates, too. This particular specimen looks so much nicer and healthier than what I tried to grow in my own garden a few years ago.

I think these are called Tidy Tips. From all the wildflower books I looked at, the Tidy Tips in the books have more yellow. But I found these little guys very striking along the trail where we were walking.

And this is a Hollyhock - it must be "wild" because it isn't in a garden getting regular watering and TLC! This was also on the trail.
And here is a close-up of the flower itself. Isn't it pretty? I wonder if it still looks this good this weekend. This is the season of no-rain. Our rainy season ended back in April, and we probably won't see any rain again until November.

Our four-footed family members

This is my son's dog, Redd. Any guess why he's named Redd? He's a pure-bred Siberian Husky, about 10yrs. old. He had some health problems just recently, but he's much better now, and much more playful, too, since he has been neutered.

This is Misty, my daughter's cat. She is as sweet as she looks. She loves to be petted, but wants no part of being held. She's only a "lap kitty" when she wants to be. Misty is one of three siblings posted here. Her brother is Avalanche, and her sister is Midnight. They are all 11 yrs old.

These two beautiful black kitties are Midnight (Misty's sister), my daughter's other cat and Tornado, my "baby." I call him my baby because he is the youngest of the cats at 8 yrs of age. Tornado is our "vocal" kitty. He's also the most playful and energetic - he's long and lean with a beautiful long tail.

And here is another shot of Midnight staring out my bedroom window. Note the bird in the window feeder. Midnight is our dedicated bird watcher. :)

This is Mick, short for McKinley, my son's other dog. She is a 7 yr old mixed husky - in Alaska they are called Alaskan Huskies when they are a mixed breed. Mick was born in Alaska, and my son acquired her when he was living near Fairbanks - back in 2000. Don't you love those beautiful blue eyes? As a matter of fact, out of the six pets this household has, three of them have blue eyes. When we had Kody we had 4 of them with blue eyes. Mick is another one with endless energy.

And here is our beloved Avalanche. My daughter and I share him. Heidi couldn't take all three cats with her when she moved to Kansas to get her bachelor's degree. She was only allowed two pets in her apartment, so she had to choose which cat got left behind for the two years she was gone. I had just recently acquired Tornado as a kitten from our local Humane Society, and he was a holy terror. He definitely did not get along with Misty and Midnight - or at least they did not want to tolerate him as a kitten. Funny how sweet Midnight and Tornado look together in the picture above.

Anyway, Avalanche was the only cat who tolerated Tornado. They got along really well. They loved to wrestle with each other - something the girls don't like to do. Avalanche and Tornado love to play together and sleep together. Avalanche is a very loving cat - he loves to cuddle. And in his younger years would fetch and retrieve. He can still do it, but doesn't do it as often. So, this is my four-footed family. Hope you like the pictures.


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