Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Dad's visit

My husband's dad, 91 years young, came to visit us last week. He flew in from Phoenix - a two-hour flight into San Jose. He arrived Saturday, July 21, and just flew home yesterday (Monday, July 30) These two photos were taken at church Sunday. The first one is during coffee time and the second one was just before bible class began.

This past week we visited our nephew and his wife who live just north of Santa Cruz. We visited them Thursday evening for dinner, and then again Sunday for a picnic. These beautiful flowers were sitting on the table welcoming all who arrived. I think I was told they are Star Gazer Lilies.

While visiting, my daughter and I wanted to go walk down to the beach area. This photo is looking back (east) toward the place where my nephew and his wife live, toward Highway 1. This area north of Santa Cruz is protected from development and will always be zoned as agricultural. The land between the highway and the bay/ocean is all farm land. What you see here is a field of brussel sprouts.

When we got to the beach we could see birds flying out around the water. I not only had my camera with, but also brought my binoculars. The wind was blowing pretty hard and it was a challenge to plant myself firmly in the sand and focus out on the water. I knew there were seagulls flying around, but I could also see dark colored birds. I wanted to know what they were. I finally got a decent glimpse and realized they were all brown pelicans. This was the best I could do for a picture.

On our way back from the beach we saw this bumble bee on a thistle. Photo taken by "Red." Here are other photos taken by Red (my daughter) on our way back to the "farm."

Looking back to the bay/ocean - looking north toward Half Moon Bay.

Looking south toward Monterey. You can see the marine layer (aka fog) between Santa Cruz and Monterey.

And here is another shot looking south toward Santa Cruz and Monterey. We were standing on the dirt road between here and the brussel sprouts.

And here is one more shot of Dad enjoying himself during the picnic.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Not wanting to grow up or grow old

T.D. at 6-1/2 months, aka Timothy. My parents were the only folks who called him Timmy. Friends and other relatives called him Tim or Timothy. And his godparents called him Timmer.

Tim was born July 29, 1972 in Colorado. Before he turned two, we moved to California, so Tim does not remember living in Colorado.

Here is Tim celebrating his 5th birthday.

Summer of 1982 - (Tim is 10 years old) - we took a tour of the Hershey plant, located in Oakdale, Calif. And Tim's t-shirt said "Have a Hershey Kiss."

May, 1986 Tim was confirmed by Pastor Bestul. Pastor Bestul is still the pastor of our congregation. He and his family came to our congregation Dec. 1983.

Fall of 1986 Tim started high school. If memory serves me correctly, the only "subjects" Tim liked was extracurricular sports. Before high school Tim always enjoyed playing AYSO soccer and Little League baseball. Once he was in high school he enjoyed being on the JV wrestling team.

While in high school, Tim would always score high grades in aptitude exams, including the SAT. Here is one of those awards. As for Tim's regular classes, he always was disinterested, therefore, he would only do the absolute minimum to barely get a passing grade.

But here is Tim on graduation day, June 14, 1990. The fun part about that day was that I also graduated from DeAnza Community College with our commencements only a couple hours apart. Good thing the high school was only about a mile down the road from DeAnza. We were also fortunate that my husband's parents came out for a visit to attend both commencements. Quite an exciting day for the entire family.
Shortly before graduation, Tim completed all the requirements for earning his Eagle. We then attended the ceremony in August, 1990.

Beginning Fall semester 1990, Tim started classes at West Valley Community College. He found college classes more interesting than high school, but he was never in a hurry to take his life to the next level, namely a four-year university to earn his bachelor's degree. Tim enjoyed attending West Valley and for several years helped students with their math by working part-time in the Tutorial Center, even while he attended the University of California in Santa Cruz. When Tim finally graduated from UCSC, with a double major in math and physics, he decided to pursue his masters degree in math and decided to attend the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. While living in Alaska, Tim taught part-time in a private high school. Before finishing his masters' degree, Tim moved to Barrow, AK, accepting a teaching position for a community college. After a year in Barrow, Tim then moved to Portland, and taught part-time at Portland Community College and Vancouver, WA. He then finally completed all his classes to earn his masters degree in math from UAF.

Here's Tim grading papers on Christmas Day 2004 when he came home for a holiday visit. Tim was teaching a couple of math classes in the Portland, OR and Vancouver, WA areas.
The summer of 2005, Tim was offered a teaching position at a community college in Saranac Lake, New York. Saranac Lake is about 5 or 6 miles from Lake Placid in the Adirondacks. And Tim lived in Bloomingdale, a borough about 5 miles from Saranac Lake.

And then last summer Tim moved back home. After a month or so vacation in Alaska, Tim then had to start looking for work. He didn't get any teaching positions for the fall of 2005, so he found a part-time job working for REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc). He did get an offer to teach a couple math classes for the spring quarter at DeAnza College, and then taught one more math class this summer at Evergreen College. He is now preparing to go back to Alaska for a month's vacation to bike and to fish. He will leave in a few days and then his dad will join him another week later. But first, we are all going to Santa Cruz today for an art festival that my nephew (Tim's cousin) is participating in. So, here's to you, Tim. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Around the house, part 2

I thought my morning glories were so pretty a week ago - they seemed to be even prettier this weekend. At least there are more flowers this time. And the beautiful heart-shaped leaves - some of them are 4-5 inches across.
Here is a shot of the cannas with the morning glories. Don't you love the color combination? :o) Some of the leaves of the cannas tropicana are 10-12 inches across, and they are about 15-18 inches long.

The other day I was in our front yard - that's where I got one of those hummingbird pix. I am still trying to get a photo of some bees or at least one bee (the large kind) on one of our crepe myrtle flowers. I'll succeed one of these days. Meanwhile I found this praying mantis clinging to our stucco wall. I'm surprised he/she wasn't in the rose bushes or any of the other plants. Of course, if he/she would have been in the plants I may have missed him/her.
This plant is just starting to bloom; it's a marguerite daisy. This plant is located in the side yard on the east side of the house. I look forward to seeing the rest of the buds bloom, which shouldn't be too long - hopefully by next weekend.
In our backyard we have a Japanese maple just outside our bedroom window. Under the tree we have some kafir lilies. Here is the one of the blossoms.
Also in the back yard just across from the kafir lilies is this red geranium.
And then along the west side of our house we have a passion flower. Here is one of the blooms.
Just next to the passion flower are more of my cannas. The climbing plant beyond the cannas is a flowering maple. I'll have to get a close-up shot of it one of these days.
Back to the front yard. Here is a blossom from one of our trailing lantanas. If you think you see Easter lily leaves around it, you are right. The lantana is creeping its way toward the pathway where the Easter lilies are located.
And then back around the east side of the house we have Naked Ladies blooming.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Around the house

For the past couple of days I have seen this little fledgling house sparrow visit my feeders. Imagine trying to get a photo from inside the house, with at least one cat, and usually it was two cats trying to attack it at the window feeder. I know the pic from inside the house isn't very clear, so I was glad to see the little bird go to the other feeder.
Then I rushed outside to see if I could get a decent shot of this fledgling at this feeder which is surrounded by my morning glories and cannas.

Earlier in the day I was out in the front yard and I happened to be at the right place at the right time with my trusty little camera. I've been experimenting with my camera, too. And I decided to try using the "action" or "sport" mode to see if I can get a better shot of these birds in action. And apparently I did just that.
This shot was later in the day and taken at one of my hummingbird feeders in the back yard. Too bad it's only his back, but again I managed to get an action shot.
If you click on this photo to enlarge it, you will see a male house finch at the same feeder the fledgling sparrow was at. This pic was taken late in the day, getting close to sundown.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Lower Klamath NWR and Butte Valley area

Thursday morning, July 12th we left Klamath Falls (where we stayed overnight) and headed for Lower Klamath to finish the auto tour. Shortly after getting to Lower Klamath we could spot Mt. Shasta. Here is a view of Mt. Shasta as I zoomed in on it.
Click on this photo to get a larger view of a red-winged blackbird I was able to capture along the road tour. Other birds I had seen, but don't have any photos of: western meadowlark, marsh wrens, terns sp., brown-headed cowbird, cliff swallows.

Here is one of my better shots of a great egret we saw along the road. Other birds seen along the road: gadwall (many mamas with their chicks), red-tailed hawk, American white pelican, Forster's tern, and a male ruddy duck. We also saw several flocks of white-faced ibises flying all over the refuge.
As we left Lower Klamath NWR, we came into Butte Valley National Grassland and Butte Valley Wildlife Management area. As we were driving along my husband spotted this bald eagle along the roadside. This was our first bald eagle in California. We've seen bald eagles before in Alaska and New Mexico, but never in this state.
As we drove around the Butte Valley Wildlife Management area we came to a small lake - Juanita Lake. Local folks were camping there and fishing. Walking along the trail around part of the lake I spotted this cormorant.
Then as we left the wildlife management area, we kept watching to see if we would see the bald eagle again. He apparently moved from one snag to another about 40 feet from the first snag. And here he was surrounded by (I think) a bunch of crows. Click on the image to get a larger view. The eagle is in the lower left of the tree/snag.
As we continued to travel south on US 97 to catch I-5 we stopped by the vista point to get some photos of Mt. Shasta.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Tule Lake and Lower Klamath NWR

Here is a better view of the Lava Beds in the foreground and Tule Lake in the background. My husband and I drove over to the Tule Lake/Klamath Basin Visitor Center and saw a robin, a couple of Brewer's blackbirds, and a lizard. The lizard was sitting on the wall sunning himself and allowed me the privilege of getting a snapshot of him.

While touring around Tule Lake and Lower Klamath we encountered Western Grebes, Clark's Grebes, and even a horned grebe. We saw several flocks of ibises in flight. That was quite a sight to see. We also saw coots, a common merganser, a double-breasted cormorant, many yellow-headed blackbirds, and a northern harrier. Here are some other photos I took.
I think this is milkweed. Can someone verify this for me?
Another wildflower I cannot identify - but there were quite a few of these all around. It looks like something caterpillars and butterflies, or even dragonflies, etc. would make use of. As a matter of fact, throughout the entire trip there was a plethora of dragonflies, darning needles, and damselflies everywhere we went.
Clark's Grebes

White-faced ibis. Second photo also includes a Brewer's blackbird.
And here is a double-breasted cormorant with his "harem" of gulls.

And if you click on these photos you can get a better view of the red-wing and yellow-headed blackbirds on these tule reeds.


Current skin is MC Winter 08 and designed by Red.
Best viewed on Firefox at 1024x768, larger or widescreen.