Saturday, June 28, 2008

Living in a haze

For the past two or more weeks California has been dealing with quite a few fires. Although, on a personal level I have not had to deal with living with the heartbreak of losing my home or pets or other personal treasures, I have had to only look around my "corner of the world" and see how we are all affected by these fires. We live in the Santa Clara Valley, aka Silcon Valley, where we live between the Santa Cruz mountains and the Mt. Hamilton range. In other words we can look all around and see mountains to the east, west and south of us. Because the fires have been widespread, and many in very remote locations, residents of this valley have been living in a haze. Everyday we are reminded of what is going on around us. We are spoiled to the point that residents of this valley usually see blue skies and sunshine during the spring and summer months and we take for granted seeing the mountains around us. So for the past few weeks we can barely see the mountains, if we can see them at all. Instead, we see pink or red sunrises and sunsets through the haze. We have not seen blue skies for more than two weeks. Zhakee from Sierra Nevada Ramblings has written an excellent post about the fires around her, too. Visit her blog to see what she has to say about it. Below are some photos I have taken from here in my neighborhood.
The photo above was taken June 13 in the evening looking east from our front yard. Notice the reddish glow to the sky. Below is the sun just before sunset. I took this shot from standing on my front patio. That's a power line cutting across the lower half of the picture.
This photo below was taken in the evening of June 25, standing in the same location as above. Not much different from the June 13 sky, is it?
And this photo was taken from my back patio, (with more power lines in the way) early the next morning, June 26.
These next three photos were all taken in the evening of June 26. I walked over toward the hospital, trying to get a decent photo of the Santa Cruz mountains (sans power lines). Again, you can see the reddish haze, and the mountains look so far away, yet they are only a few miles away. Yesterday, while walking to work these hills were not visible at all.
Walking back home I took a photo of the hills to the south of us, called Blossom Hill.
And this photo was taken looking southwest. These hills would be part of the southern portion of the Mt. Hamilton range.

Be sure to visit Zhakee at Sierra Nevada Ramblings to see her pix and read her post.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Rose among the cannas

Monday, June 16, 2008


Today is Red's birthday. Below is a scanned photo Red presently uses as her avatar for her blog. She is multi-talented. She is creative when it comes to computer graphics. She is the one who designed my template you see here (called BIRDSNBLOOMS).
Red is an excellent artist in many forms of art. She also enjoys photography, and is really good at it. And as you can see in this photo above Red enjoys her music. She inherited her love of music and playing piano from her paternal grandmother. When Red was two years old she would try to accompany Grandma whenever Grandma would sit and play the piano. When Red learned to play she was able to play duets with her grandmother -- something Grandma always loved to do. Red you always seem to amaze me with your talents. I am so proud of you and I am so glad you are my daughter.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Snowy Egrets at Palo Alto Baylands

The other day I posted the photos of the black-crowned night herons nesting at the Palo Alto Baylands. While walking around between the ranger's station and the fenced-in migratory bird area I saw these strange looking geese. Canada geese they are not! And as far as I can tell I would say they are "hybrid" geese. If anyone in blogland can identify these birds for me I would be appreciative. Meanwhile, we'll just call them hybrid geese. Feel free to click on any of the photos to get a larger view.

This pair of snowy egrets were in the palm trees closest to the pathway, closest to the fencing. And as I said last year seeing these birds nesting in palm trees, I never would have believed it if I didn't see it with my own eyes. Imagine, snowy egrets nesting in palm trees. Only in California (and possibly Florida).
This water area was also behind the fenced-in area, not far from the palm trees. Notice the flora looks like chaparral - shrubs between the water source and the palm trees.
This picture shows the chaparral and the base of one of the palm trees in the background. I guess you can say these Canada Geese were "visiting" the snowy egret rookery area. It seems that neither species was upset about the other sharing their territory.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Palo Alto Baylands revisited

Last year, in June, my husband and I visited the Palo Alto Baylands for the first time. It's a really good place to go birding, and easily accessible. This year, we decided to make an earlier visit, so we went in May, on Memorial Day weekend. One of the things I missed last year was the location where the Black-crowned Night herons were nesting. I had been told they were around the ranger station which is one place we had missed. So this year I wanted to be sure to check out the area around the ranger station and see if I could find any nesting BCN herons. While approaching the ranger station area I found this beautiful plant called statice growing in the garden area. Be sure to click on the photos to get a larger view.
Here is a close-up of the flowers.
While walking around we could hear some birds making a ruckus, but at first I couldn't see them. Then my husband pointed to the top of some trees where we could see a few Black-crowned Night herons. The nests were very difficult to find because it seems they nest in very dense-leaved trees. Nonetheless, one could certainly hear them. I couldn't get any photos of the nests or the birds in the nest because it was so shady and it was too dark for taking decent photos.
Here is a close up of a pair.
I also saw lots of snowy egrets nesting near the duck pond. There is a fenced off area with signage saying "Migratory Bird Sanctuary." The snowy egrets seemed to nest in a different spot this year. Last year they nested in the two palm trees closest to the fenced area. This year they seem to be nesting farther back. I will post those photos next time.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

On the mend

Two weeks ago today we had to take Avalanche to the emergency vet services. He had stopped eating and drinking, and was quite a sick little guy. The diagnosis is still kidney disease, and my daughter Red has been giving him an IV daily (150 cc). But it certainly has helped. My husband took Avalanche back to the vet on Thursday to take another blood and urine test to check on his numbers. We got the call on Friday that Avalanche's numbers are improving but we still need to continue the IV. We were told that as long as he seems to be improving we can slow down with the IV by giving him less (100 cc), but continue daily for at least another week or two. If he continues to improve even more we can cut back to 50 cc. We are hoping that eventually we can give him only 50 cc every other day. But that is definitely in the future.
It certainly is good to have Avalanche getting back to normal -- like his "obnoxious" greeting first thing in the morning. He has the habit of being a furry alarm clock by jumping up on the bed and starts licking my face. This is usually around 6 in the morning, and he and the other cats don't get fed until 7 a.m. But I won't complain. Those days when he was feeling so miserable and I didn't have him as my morning wake-up call, I wanted to have him back so badly. And when Red has been giving him his IV in the evenings, he's also making it difficult for her. He doesn't seem to cooperate like he did when he was really sick. Welcome back, Avalanche, to the good life. I love you!


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