Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Bird of a Feather

This is a tribute to someone I admire. Her name was Tasha. She was an artist, illustrator, gardener, collector, lover of animals and children. She was independent and believed that when she died she would be reborn in the 1830's. I hope so because she died yesterday.
She was 92 years old.

A dear friend of mine who lives in Montana gave me a book a few years back.: The Private World of Tasha Tudor. My friend believed in the philosophy and the way of life that Tasha Tudor represented. Independence was a main factor; but her dedication to animals and plants, her "old school" living, and a simpler way of life were a large portion in her affinity to this determined spirit.
I hope you read this, Donna, because I see you in this woman. Proud, determined, independent and living a life of choice , in a place made of your own intent and purpose.

We will all leave this world sooner or later. I hope that we do this with the dignity that says, ".... I''m not even afraid of dying. I think it must be quite exciting."

I knew that Tasha Tudor was a very special lady when I read some of the books that she illustrated. Then I found out that she loved gathering eggs and that she owned goats...., Nubian goats. It was then that I was sure that this was a fine person .
I would liked to have met her and ,maybe, have some tea . We would have talked about all the beautiful things in this world and how wonderful it is to find a warm egg under a chicken and talk to a goat. Maybe my friend, Donna could have joined us. What a grand time that would have been.

She believed the world was a beautiful place and even though we didn't know each other,
I will miss her.

( Credit to Richard Brown of the Associated Press for photos ; Douglas Martin of the International Herald Tribune for the obituary and tashatudor.legacy.com )
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Friday, June 20, 2008

Lavender Buzz on a Warm Summer Evening.

Sometimes you see something so beautiful that you stand in wonder staring at the ability of nature to continuiously outdo itself.

As I finished my walk and came back up to the house last night, I stopped to look at the lavender planted a few years ago in the parking area. There were 5 or 6 big black bumble bees flying around , doing their "bee" thing and moving from one flower to another. Their legs were covered with pollen. Their fuzzy blackness with this bright orange pollen was so striking against the blue lavender that I had to try and take a few photos with my trusty camera (Canon PowerShot) which I carry with me, everywhere. I never leave the house, for a walk ,without a walking stick, my camera and bug spray all over me. It standard issue for hikes or walks around here.The light was beautiful. The sun was gone from our side of the mountain and was making it's last stand on the hills to the east. When this happens the hills produce this amazing ambient lighting that gives everything around it a warm, clear color. A lady I knew once, in a photo club I belonged to, said that the best time to take pictures is early morning and late evening She was right. Middle of the day sunlight tend to take color and defused it so it's not as distinct and true. I don't understand why this happens but mornings and evenings are the best photo shoots. The bees were moving faster than my camera could shoot and none of the pictures were any good. I need a better camera.

While I was making my futile attempt to photograph bees in motion I spotted this bright yellow beauty flying from one flower to another and the contrast was even more striking that with the black bumblebees. This bee was a loner. No others like it were flying around. I must have taken 20 or 30 shots of it, following it in and out of the lavender bush. Bumblebees don't seem to mind my upclose and personal camera and I have never gotton stung. So I dogged this bee and out of all those shots only four were sharp enough to use. The last one was the best.
This is a Golden Northern Bumble Bee: Probably a female because of more yellow color on her abdominal segments and her thorax. I sound like I know what I'm talking about, don't I? Good old National Audubon Society field guides. I couldn't survive without them. Another great set of books for "information junkies".

Some day I'll have a camera that will catch these little dudes in mid air. Untill then , I will continue to take lots of photos hoping that one or two will be really good. One thing that's great about a digital camera is : Delete..., delete..., delete. The other is Picasa2, my photo storage and "photo fix" program. I love it .

By the way: On my walk, I went down the road to the switchback and the Rattlesnake has taken his business elsewhere. He's gone. This doesn't mean another one won't arrive (or that he won't be back) but for now he (or she) has decided not to tempt his fate. Good choice, rattletail!
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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Immortalizing Murphy

Murphy has been honored with his own art work. Terry from 'Songs from the Garden" has created a collage of felt and fabric that was inspired by my story of Murphy dancing during the cycle of the full moon on June 16. Go to her site (terrybusse.blogspot.com) and at the bottom right side of the page click on Murphy's Midnight Dance. You will love what she does. Her art work will be in a children's art show at the Davis Art Center, here in Northern Ca. in August. I'm overwhelmed with gratitude. Thank you, Terry.


How did you get your face in this post? This is all about Murphy today.
We know you're cute. Now scoot.

I will be going out this evening to tell Murphy about the wonderful results of his mysterious behavior story. I'm sure he will be very pleased. We may not be able to live with him for a while...., but maybe he'll do a dance for us.
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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"Let sleeping dogs lie"

To lie: to be in, stay at rest in, or assume a horizontal position. Does this definition fit these photos of Moke and Maggie. Oh yes! Can a dog show you how to relax and be at one with the rug. Oh yes. They are masters of relaxation and possessors of of peaceful passivity.

They like the extra bedroom because it's quiet and , except for me, no one goes in there much unless we have visitors. My computer and desk are in this room. I spend way too much time here writing, blogging and ( information "junky" that I am) using the internet. This is , most of the time, a very peaceful place for them to take a nap and since they are both getting so old, they take lots of naps. I understand this.
Just look at Moke, though. The over head fan is on and he doesn't like the air on his face( I'm guessing), so there he is with his head under the bed. How do I know he's not dead? Because he rivals the Prospector for loud snoring and if you could hear the audio for this photo you would know he's still got a lot of life left. If there is a noise of any kind he will be up and out of here, like a shot. We laugh and say that Moke will go to his maker in mid-air. He has a cruising speed that's astounding. He can cover the whole hillside in record time, stopping only for a long sniff in his favorite holes. His back legs are getting weaker and he can't jump up onto our bed in the morning anymore to snuggle with us. But he's still a mover and a shaker outside and loves to flush anything out of anywhere. I wrote a post about how we found Moke in the mountains. Please go back and read it. His life with us was meant to be. He knows it and we are forever grateful that we found him.

Maggie, on the other hand, can be so still, for so long, that I have to go touch her once in a while to be sure she is just sleeping. When she was a puppy we lived up in a town called Volcano, Ca. The Prospector brought her home in his work truck one day and that puppy jumped out , ran into the house and immediately organized our other two dogs into a posse. She would take them on adventures around the hillsides and leave them in the dust. She'd be back first. Then our black lab would come lopeing in and finally our old dachshund would short-leg his way into the yard and sleep the rest of the day. Maggie was a wild thing. Now, she is old and has arthritis. She doesn't move very fast anymore. She's become a wonderful old ,dog friend that just wants her breakfast, dinner, dog treats and a place to lay in the garden; and , of course, a soft place next to our bed at night.

We will always have a dog. They teach you unconditional love and patience. They are smart; each having they own skills and talents. They warn you when there is danger and bark, sometimes, for no reason at all. They can be stubborn and get into trouble that astounds the imagination. When you are ready to lock them in the garage because they have been so "bad"; chewing up a borrowed book or digging up your prize plants in the garden just to get a gopher, they give you "the look". You know what I mean if you have dogs. It's almost a smile but with a sad, "I didn't mean to do this" look. The tail is down low and wagging slightly. Their whole demeanor is sorry that they have made you unhappy....., and then they forget. A cat would walk away, tail in the air, with a "darn, I got caught" attitude. I've had cats and I loved them all but dogs are where my heart lies.

I will always have a dog!
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Monday, June 16, 2008

Murphy and the mysterious rite of passage.

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"And (he) danced by the light of the moon"

Murphy is up to something. He's been practicing in the evenings just before dark. A few nights ago I went out , with my camera, and caught him trying to jump up on his sleeping quarters. He always goes between the container and the fence because he can get better traction with the wire fence behind him. I don't think he's trying to escape, because he jumps as high as he can and them he prances on his back legs. He doesn't try to climb the fence or go over it.

I just realized that these two photos are not Murphy. What the heck? I can't even keep four goats straight. Murphy was doing all this too but guess who got in there and joined the dance practice. Yep! It's Brownie. My little show off. It was getting so dark that I thought I...., I don't know what I was doing. I should have been in bed.

(Yes, this is Brownie too.)

Look at that sweet face. He seems to be having fun and when he's gets tired he leans against the container and looks up at the sky for a while .

Then he rubs his head on the fence like he's thinking about something. Hope it's not freedom that he yearns for.

Last night I came out, with my camera, again and I snuck around the garage to see if I could get a photo without the goats knowing I was there.
Well, guess who was dancing around on his hind feet intertaining the other three goats. Yes, Murphy was dancing. Dancing, I tell you! and...., looking at the full moon. I find this all kind of spooky, but wonderful.
When he saw me, he stopped and came over for a neck rub, but he still had a glassy look in his eyes.
Do you suppose that goats have some kind of magical rite of passage that only they know about?: Some ancient custom for the changing of seasons?

There will be a full moon on Wednesday night. I will watch them carefully. I suspect that this is all just silly goats behavior but...., then again........

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