Friday, September 29, 2023

Under Ibis Skies


“I loved autumn, the one season of the year that God seemed to have put there just for the beauty of it.” 
~Lee Maynard 

 The number of White-faced Ibis have doubled in the last week or so, which is a very nice turn of events. I love seeing them fly overhead in the late afternoon. They are so quiet. In fact, I don't remember having ever heard them as they fly, and only sometimes while they are on the ground. They make a funny little sound when eating, almost a nom nom nom sound only high pitched. The juvenile Ibis are green, mostly, while the adults are dark, almost burgundy and purple. When the sun hits them just right, their plumage is downright magical. Oh my. I better stop writing this post, or I am going to shuck off all responsibilities, grab my camera, and spend the rest of the afternoon photographing these fabulous birds! I wish, but alas, I can't. I have a BIG day planned with the camera for Friday, so the Ibis will have to wait. But maybe one day next week I will make the day all about them.


Thursday, September 28, 2023

Autumn Leaf Of The Day #7

 “Every story begins somewhere,
 some in the rain of forgotten yesterdays
 and some in the scent of autumn leaves...” 

~Jayita Bhattacharjee

I have decided to expand on the type of leaves in my project. When I first began my autumn leaf peeping, I only posted the most perfect ones I could find, but as the drought waged on it was necessary to take a step back and see the beauty in not just the ones still on the trees, but also the one's that weren't really attractive anymore, the ones that had fallen to the ground dry and withered. After all, they were representing the year and the season as well. Here we have some pretty gorgeous grape leaves. I love the shapes and colors. I expect to see and post more of these, as they turn bright purples and reds, before landing in a soft pile on the ground. As I travel through autumn, I like having these new eyes to see all the beauty possible.

Ghosts, Real And Imagined


"We cannot hide from our ghosts. Whether they are real or not."
~Hercule Poirot
A Haunting In Venice

So, the other night we went to the movies. It has been years since we have been to a movie, what with the big move in 2015, money problems that come with owning a home, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the outbreak of bed bugs in the Central Valley, you name it, there has just been a lot of stuff that kept us from going out the way we once did. We stopped going to drive-ins, all the way back in the 1990's, when the drive-in theaters began to close. I think the last film we saw at the drive-in was Batman! The Michael Keaton, Batman! So, when Alan and I were considering what to do, to break out of our rut of homemade popcorn and streaming, we decided to revisit the idea of the drive-in. We had been wanting to try the West Wind theater for years, so when, if not now? Besides, it would be good for me, as I have been recoiling from trying new things, even if the new thing was something old. Especially if the new thing, once brought me a great deal of joy.
Why? I am not completely sure. Maybe the fear that if I had fun, something awful would happen? Well, I have always been a little bit that way, but not without good reason. There is nothing worse than finally pulling the stick out of one's ass, having a fantastic time doing something fun, only to get a flat tire on the way home, in the dark, on a scary road, during autumn, where everyone knows, ghosts, vampires and werewolves frequent! ACK! Or finally painting one's home office, just the perfect shade of lavender, only to find yourself in a necessary move less than six months later. I kid here, but you get my point. Shit happens. It just feels sometimes like it happens a lot more than I would like it too! Sometimes, however, you just have to push through the head noise and fears and prove your inner sour puss wrong. The next shoe to fall will eventually happen, whether I am having fun or not.

We had a great time. The movie we went to see, A Haunting In Venice, was terrific. Great storytelling. Awesome cast. Everything was fine. I did feel my age a little. It was a dark movie, and my eyes aren't quite what they once were, but it certainly wasn't enough to not enjoy the experience. The movie began at 10:30 pm, which I loved, I am a night owl, so it was a good fit. It was Tuesday, so it was $6 movie night. Hell, I remember paying $12.50 just a few years ago for a matinee. It was, as a night out goes, as perfect as it gets. Okay, so I wish the knucklehead in front of us would have took his foot off of the brake, and I wish it hadn't been a full moon outside. The light from the moon was amazingly bright, but that was just all part of the experience. And in a weird way, made it all kinda fun!
The whole night was good for me. The haunting my mind promised, never happened. No ghosts. It was good for us. October will be here in a few days, I wonder what new old thing we will try next month? Whatever it might be, I really hope ghosts, ghouls, vampires, werewolves and witches are most certainly involved!

Stay Tuned! 


Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Autumn Leaf Of The Day #6


“Autumn is a place where words fall short.
 It is a magic that must be felt, breathed, experienced, and treasured.” 

~Laura Jaworski 


Daisy, Daisy, Give Me Your Answer Do...


“And the yellow sunflower by the brook, in autumn beauty stood.” 

~William Cullen Bryant
The crane have definitely returned to Lodi, and Woodbridge road, but so far I haven't seen them in any great numbers, although yesterday I saw four, where just the day before that it was just two. I am just really ready for all my friends to finally be home, but while I wait, I have other winged creatures to play with, so it's all good. Not just dragonflies, bats and mosquitos, but little yellow lemon-drop butterflies, and honey bees as well! My friend, Stephen, pointed out the beauty of these little ones, and it has brought me a lot of happiness to photograph them over the years. That guy inspired and encouraged me in my photography subjects, and I will be eternally grateful for that. I even spotted and photographed a little creature at Preston Castle, the other day, that a few years ago I would have gone nowhere near. The cutest little lizard ever. It made me smile, because it reminded me of the pet lizard my mother had when she lived in Tracy. His name was Happy.

In October, we plan to visit the Monarch Sanctuary in Pacific Grove. It has been five years, or more, since we visited there, because of the decline in the Monarch numbers. But last winter, their numbers increased again and now it is back! There is so much to see on the Monterey Peninsula. Birds. Butterflies. Ocean sprays. Some of the most gorgeous sunsets I have ever seen, have been in Carmel, as the sun sets over the Pacific ocean. Art. Whale watching. A sculpture honoring John Steinbeck. The Cannery. The setting for many great movies and TV shows are right there as well. And if it all sounds boring, there is the nifty, Monterey Bay Aquarium, to play in. There is simply too much to photograph! It can't be done in one day, and that's what I love most about visiting. It's like going to an amusement park, and around each corner is a new land to experience! So it's all coming my way soon, and even more than that, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Autumn Leaf Of The Day #5


 “Aprils have never meant much to me,

 autumns seem that season of beginning, spring.” 
~Truman Capote,


You Expected To Be Sad In The Fall


“You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person died for no reason.”
Ernest Hemingway,
We are barely into Autumn, and look at all that amazing pallet of colors! I am afraid I will need to be gathering leaves a lot earlier for my project, because I think the leaves will all be gone before Thanksgiving. I hope not. I love it when leaves continue late into the year, it just makes everything so festive. The color of the leaves, and then the colors of Christmas and New Year's. Unfortunately, I don't write the book, Mother Nature does, I better gather them and save all the beauty I can now, after all next year we will be in the middle of yet another national election, where Donald Trump is running for president, and I know my mood will deep and probably dark. Let's say it, I will be depressed. It's a depressing situation. And a scary one too. But that is a year away, there is no way to really plan for it, I can only plan for the leaves next year, and hope for the best on all other matters.

When I look at those colors, and hear the sound of migrating geese, I feel calm and peaceful inside. Life is good. But lately, beginning over the summer, I start to feel especially anxious. Racing thoughts and memories, and I haven't been sleeping well. My therapist and doctor have tried adjusting my medications, and none of what we have tried has done much for my sleeping. In the past I would take a Valium when DT would trigger some anxiety for me, but Kaiser doesn't want to prescribe Valium anymore because it is now considered "the big bad" due to it's addictiveness and America's past of over prescribing it. So, what would ordinarily help me stop the anxiety in the moment, and lead to a better pattern of sleep, is not available, but boy are they willing to put me on other drugs, antidepressants mostly, that don't work as efficiently as what I know does. Not everyone's body or psychological dispositions are the same, but Kaiser has always tended toward treating everyone the same. Like whats being done with my codeine. 

We do indeed have an opioid epidemic in America. Lots of tragedy has taken place, and with the synthetic drug Fentanyl on the street, which only takes one pill to kill you, in some instances, things have gotten pulled back dramatically for folks with chronic pain. When one guy does it, we all get blamed, shamed and otherwise punished. So, there is nothing I can do but wait for the grief to pass, pretend the chronic physical pain isn't there, accept not sleeping, and hope the temporary highs of visiting parks looking for leaves, and wildlife reserves looking for birds, will give me something to focus on as opposed to drowning in anxiety and sadness. And I have to admit, my doctor did suggest an over the counter option, Melatonin for sleep. I tried it, and to my surprise it does help me sleep somewhat better. So, there you have it. Life is never just about one thing, right? It's all an adventure. At least this chapter is being written in Autumn, when love and beauty is all around me.

Monday, September 25, 2023

Autumn Leaf Of The Day #4


“And all the lives we ever lived and all the lives to be
 are full of trees and changing leaves…”
~Virginia Woolf
 A peach colored leaf. It reminds me of the delicious peaches we bought just a couple months ago. I guess summer does have a few redeeming qualities. The amazing fruit. I love fresh peaches and strawberries. Alan has always loved watermelon. Truth be told though, we both love a big fruit salad with something decadent, like sherbet or ice cream. There used to be a restaurant called, Lyon's, and many a summer evening we would walk from our apartment, a third floor walk up, to the restaurant just a cross the alley. We were just married, and made fun out of something as simple as walking to the restaurant or theater, which sat the same amount of steps in the opposite direction. It's a nice memory of being 28, happily married to the love of my life, and enjoying the best of it all in peace. See, that's what my leaves do for me, they help me remember the best of times. I need that right now.


Autumnal Sunshine


“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious
 as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.”
 – Nathaniel Hawthorne
We have already turned a weather corner. There is an really big, early Autumn storm slamming California tonight and tomorrow. Another Atmospheric river like the ones that plagued us earlier this year! Fortunately for us, it will be mainly well north of the Golden Gate. I am trying to not think about what lies ahead when it comes to weather this autumn and winter. We have officially entered another El Nino, so that means another pattern of wetter than usual conditions, and if it is already beginning up north, well, hold onto your hats and umbrellas because your gonna need them! I am trying to not think about it too much. Like that dragonfly, I just want to enjoy the last of the warmth while we have it. It was in the mid 80s today, and there is a little wind outside, so it's just about perfect. I am putting an extra blanket on the bed tonight, which is about as delicious as it gets!



Sunday, September 24, 2023

Autumn Leaf Of The Day #3


“I hope I can be the autumn leaf, who looked at the sky and lived.
 And when it was time to leave, gracefully it knew life was a gift.”
 So much beauty.

Mr. And Mrs. Sandhill Crane


“If a year was tucked inside of a clock,
 then autumn would be the magic hour.”
~Victoria Erickson
Meet the Woodbridge Cranes. They came in on Friday, and at the moment there is just the two of them, but soon they will have company. There are several clusters of them dotting the farm country and the delta. I can't wait until I hear the sound of their wings, when they all fly together as one big ballet! By next week, I think there will be at least 50 or so at Woodbridge! Each red dot on the Sandhill Crane tracker, shows where they are being sighted, and how many where counted. It's a cool little took for keeping track when life gets to hectic to visit the reserve. Currently the count is 27. More to come!

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Gorgeous Beyond Description And Autumn Leaf Of The Day #2

“And the sunsets of autumn... are they not gorgeous beyond description? More so than the brightest dreams of poetry?”
~Charles Lanman
Golden days of autumn, especially when Autumn comes through the door early, like this Autumn has done, leave me in a constant state of daydream life. Drowsy, and at the same time full of energy! I want to run everywhere, and see everything! I tend to forget about silly things, like mosquito bites, and silly people like Donald Trump. All I can do is look for the joys unnoticed. Like knowing that the bird in this photo, is a Black-necked Stilt. And knowing of the happiness he is feeling over having a tasty meal to eat, and a gorgeous sunset to enjoy it by.
 Ethereal Autumn moments like these make me feel like a kid again.

The Magical Autumn Equinox


“His beard was all colors, a grove of trees in autumn, deep brown and fire-orange and wine-red, an untrimmed tangle across the lower half of his face. His cheeks were apple-red. He looked like a friend; like someone you had known all your life.” 

~Neil Gaiman
My friends arrived at Woodbridge yesterday afternoon. This will be the third year in a row I have been lucky enough to be one of a very few to see the Sandhill Crane arrive at the Woodbridge Ecological (AKA The Phil and Marilyn Isenberg) Reserve, in Lodi, California. I know I am one of the few because not only have I been out watching, and listening for them, but I have been following along on multiple apps, to find out when they will make it home. This year they are in about a week late, so needless to say, I have been on pins and needles.But when I watched the pair I spotted take to the sky yesterday, I was in awe, and that is why I got such a bad shot. I was in the moment. Sometimes being in the moment is a lot better than getting the perfect shot. My heart is very happy. So the first to arrive were the Canada geese, followed by the Snow geese, next to come was the Greater White-fronted goose, and finally my lovely friends, the Sandhill crane. And it's all the more magical that they arrived on the Autumn Equinox!

“I’m still in love with you, I want to see you dance again. Because I’m still in love with you on this harvest moon.”
~Neil Young
More to come! 


Autumn Leaf Of The Day #1

Galt, California
September 2023
"That old September feeling, left over from school days, of summer passing, vacation nearly done, obligations gathering, books and football in the air... Another fall, another turned page: there was something of jubilee in that annual autumnal beginning as if last year's mistakes had been wiped clean by summer."
~Wallace Stegner
Angle of Repose


Goodnight Summer, Good Morning Autumn


“But when fall comes, kicking summer out on its treacherous ass as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September, it stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.”
Stephen King
Autumn begins at 10:50 PM tonight, so it's time to say goodnight to summer, and then greet Autumn with a welcome kiss on the cheek. I have missed you old friend. Thank you for coming back.

Friday, September 22, 2023

Autumn Plans


“Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple.”
~ J.K. Rowling,
The birds are back! This blog is about to become nutty with birds. Oh and autumn leaves, and pastries, and pies, and delicious autumn meals. Meatloaf's, Shepard's Pie, and cider... delicious spicy ciders... and cookies. Maybe, oh my, Maple Bacon Brussels sprouts.
Sorry... hungry now... gotta go make Caramel Apples!  

Thursday, September 21, 2023

On The Last Full Day Of Summer... Reflections

Bruceville, Road
September 2023
“I think the sun is a flower.
That blooms for just one hour.” 

~Ray Bradbury
Today is the last full day of summer, and strangely, I am not as happy about it leaving as I have been in past lifetimes. I am not sure how I feel about it all. It was a dreadful summer in ever usual sense, and in the sense that I my niece and nephew passed away, way too young. The temperature outside didn't seem as hot as in past years, or perhaps it was just me, floating in a sea of cold thoughts that gave me the chills every night. After we got the news, I wanted more out of the summer, something to make me forget the pain and to help me avoid the sudden bursts of grief that would not only haunt my daydreams, but my sleep as well. But there was very little to fill that need. Although, happily, and quite by misadventure, I went looking for birds on Desmond road one day, only to not find a single one! On the way home, I did find a bridge, with several thousand Mexican Free-tailed bat emerging from beneath!
The Mexican Free-tailed bat is NOT a bird, it's a bat, but it was a winged creature and I was intrigued! I came home, did my research, thought about it, and the next night hubby and I went back to see and stand among them as they ventured out for the night. And venture out they did! You know. I posted about it a few posts back, I met the challenge of being around a scary bat, without fear! I got to feel proud of myself, have a lot of fun, and even forget, for just a moment, about the pain I was in. It was a summer gift! Imagine that! Summer has a glorious redeeming gift that I can now revisit every night in July and August next year, if I want, but really, I think a few nights next summer will do! Why not every night? Well, as it turns out I am allergic to mosquito bites. It's called Skeeter syndrome. The bite reactions are itchier and more painful then most folks feel. They also blister. ITS NOT FUN! But Benedryl Gel is excellent for healing them should they blister, so it was all ultimately worth it!
So that was my summer adventure. We now kiss summer on the cheek, and send it off to it's well earned sleep. Goodnight summer.


Friday, September 15, 2023

Weariness Or Witherings


"Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don't know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness or witherings, of tarnishing."
~Anais Nin
None of their deaths were natural. All came too soon.
Ralph jr.
And their mother, my sister, Bonny.
I can't share my grief right now, it's too deep and dark to share here. Mostly I don't anymore. I am processing it inside. And that's okay. This blog is my happy place, even when I am pissed or scared or bored. But grieving... no. That is just for me to deal with. I can, and probably will, share little tidbits on how it is processing through, here and there, but summer is over next week, and I want to have this autumn for me, filled with new leaves, new birds, hopefully, and my new office, which is almost finished! My therapist says I need to begin the hard work. The moving on part. The facing each day part. The letting go part. I am trying.

There I said everything out loud.

And I am okay.



Wednesday, September 13, 2023

The Sounds Of Slience And White-faced Ibis


White-faced Ibis 
Yolo Wilderness Area. Davis, Ca
September 11th 2023

"In order to see birds, it is necessary to become a part of the silence."
~Robert Lynd
I love that quote, and it is true. It felt good to turn off the head noise, and become part of the silence. I heard new birds, and heard the voices of old friends, like the White-faced Ibis, and the buzz of little flying creatures. 


Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Dragonflies Damselflies And Sunflowers

 "Dragonflies are reminders that we are light and we can reflect light in powerful ways if we choose to do so."

~Robyn Nola

We visited Yolo Bypass Wilderness area yesterday, and while there wasn't a lot of birds to be found, it was great for finding out about the timetable for when it will be ready for the aquatic birds heading our way. There were definite designed water ways ready to go. Islands of reeds for the wrens and blackbirds, and everything mowed deeply for better viewing. Like everything good heading our way, it will happen soon. I just wish soon was now.

There wasn't many birds, but there were gardens of yellow sunflowers to see and photograph, and more dragonflies and damselflies then I have seen in previous summers/autumns. Good eating for the bats that roost under the overpass that borders the wilderness are along HWY 50. One thing is there to eat the other I guess, I am not fond of the system, but that's how things work. Ugh, duck hunting season is about to begin. November I think. And I am dreading it. Some of the hunters aren't fond of the birders and can be downright rude. Shrug. It's only a few bad apples, so we ignore the ignorant.

I simply go about my business of photographing whatever my camera sees. It's hard to explain, but I think dying weeds are kinda pretty. It's all about the story of the year, or maybe just the summer. Either way, I enjoy sharing that story. And while I don't hate dragonflies, in fact I look forward to photographing them, I don't really want one in the car with me while I am at Yolo. LOL. There were so many creatures flying about that some of the larger of them were pacing my car, if not making serious efforts to become passenger. Basically they thought I was their UBER.

It all worked out. We finally moved passed the areas with large groupings, and few of them actually posed for me, as did a particular White-faced Ibis. There was a small flock of juveniles. They fly in tight flocks, so spotting them coming in was easy and a happy sight. All in all it was a very pleasant adventure. It wasn't too hot, we learned about scheduling, and there was plenty to photograph. I am glad we made the trek to Davis. And we picked up free sandwiches from Jersey Mikes, which was a perk of T-Mobile Tuesdays. I hope there will be more of that in the coming months. Birding is an amazing hobby, but there is some work involved and having a free sandwich to look forward to means a lot. But even if there is no free sandwich, you will never keep me away from the birds and bats. I can always sleep in the car on the way home.
I love naps at the end of a happy day!