Thursday, March 31, 2011

Flood Warnings

On my way into town I noticed that the South Fork of the Newaukum River was getting mighty close to flood stage. It looks swollen, and is moving very quickly. In town I heard that there's a flood watch for much of Western Washington, including my county. I didn't hear which rivers, but you can see this one is very close to the top of the banks.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Secret Bloomers

These trees don't really look like they are blooming...

but the ground around them tells the tale. 

These pretty catkins litter the ground some distance from the trees. These are Black Cottonwoods, Populus trichocarpa. From the Wiki description: P. trichocarpa has an extensive and aggressive root system, which can invade and damage drainage systems. Sometimes the roots can even damage the foundations of buildings by drying out the soil.

Well, that may be. I would hate to think what this area would look like without all the Cottonwoods sucking up water:

That lovely catkin in the water is actually in the middle of the road, not a stream bed. We are getting more than our fair share of water this year. As a local author wrote, Spring is the rinse cycle of the Northwest, but I think this year the shut-off valve broke.

Gazebo Envy

As I was moving into my current property, I bought a gazebo and put it up in a small flat area with a great view of my two mountains. I loved that gazebo. It had metal supports and a canvas roof. The first winter storm blew it down and twisted the frame.

This gazebo is everything I would want. Sturdy - doesn't it look heavy? No winds will blow this structure over. Pretty shape, nice red roof. I can see myself having morning coffee in the shelter of it's roof, peacefully looking over the property, contemplating life. Gazebos are perfect for this climate, where it is often raining yet warm enough to comfortably sit outside. Some day.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cockatoos Abound

Having tea with my beautiful 87 year old mother Joy and her beloved friend Santi.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Guest Mountain

A friend of mine took these delightful photos of Mount Shasta (California) while on his way to and from California. The first two are sunset, January 19, 2011. The last one is sunrise, February 12, 2011.
Another beautiful mountain in the "Ring of Fire" showing her different moods.

Photos by Ken Stallcup

Sunday, March 27, 2011


The sky lightened, it looked like the rain stopped. I gave it a few minutes, then decided it was time. I gathered up my tack, set it out on the fence, grabbed the halter and brush and went down to get a horse.

The hill was incredibly wet, muddy and slippery, so even on the way down I was having second thoughts. Both horses came up to me for attention and brushing. I had just started grooming the second horse when the sky darkened again. Soon big drops were hindering my work. And then it poured. Both horses stuck with me, being willing to stand in the rain to get the attention. What could I do but stand in the rain and give it?

So not trying out my new tack today. At least I was able to get a little grooming time in, and lots of horse snuggles. Maybe tomorrow.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Shades of Green

Friends of mine live on the Cowlitz River, about 7 miles from my place. It is one of the most beautiful, peaceful places I've been. It is a world of green, so many shades you'd be pressed to name them all.

This is the view from their front door and deck.

Looking upriver...

and looking downriver.

While I was there several hummingbirds came to their feeder and the sun appeared. I haven't seen hummers yet this year. A perfect place.

Whatever Remains

'Once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth' - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (also Data and Spock).

The electric wire at the top of my field fencing was no longer hot. We'd had a lot of wind, so I figured there were just branches over the wire. I donned my rubber boots and started the arduous journey around the very muddy fence line.

I did find several branches on the wire, and one small tree I had to cut out. In one spot the blackberries had grown over the wire, in another the wire had come loose from the insulator. I fixed all those things.

I checked all of the connection points, and fixed one of the gates that's been a problem. I happily went back up to the charger and plugged it in again, certain I had solved this problem.

The tester showed NO current coming through. I checked the tester against the other fence that I knew was working. The tester was fine.

This wire is not critical to keeping animals in or out, so I let it slide for a few very wet weeks. Then I once again slipped and slid up and down hills, in and out of mud holes, and checked every inch of the wire. Everything was fine. No issues. None. And it was very much not working.

I tested the outlet. It's working just fine. 

And then it struck me - maybe the CHARGER wasn't working. In order to use an inside charger (meant to be protected from the weather) outside, it's tacked to a fence post and covered with a bucket. I unplug, uncover, untack, disconnect it from the fence, and plug it back in. No lights. No clicks. I check the fuses, both are fine. My charger died! For some reason that possibility had never occurred to me.

Fortunately I have a few chargers hanging around, and one of them works without further investigations necessary, so I use it as a replacement. Everything works just fine, fence is hot. Lights are on. Unit clicks. The bucket, however, doesn't fit over this charger.

I cobbled together a temporary solution. I need a different sized box or bucket to protect the thing. At least the fence is now working!

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Opportunist

Storing rolls of cable in a field can have interesting side effects...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mountain Mimic

Even clouds can aim for greatness, or to be something they are not.

Only one of these white shapes is actually a mountain.  

St. Helens making a short appearance this afternoon.

A Day In The Life Of A Mountain

Yesterday was an interesting weather day, starting clear and sunny with clouds accumulating during the day. Mount Saint Helens was in the path of the weather. Same view, same day, ever changing.

6:20 AM - Sunrise

7:15 AM 

9:00 AM - Clouds beginning to appear overhead, and those surrounding the mountain increase

10:30 AM And increase

11:00 AM - The sun sets the clouds alight

11:45 AM - The mountain disappears

12:30 PM - And partially reappears

5:14 PM - The memory of a mountain

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Shy Beauty

The Indian Plum is the first native plant to leaf and bloom. It is everywhere, but is not pushy, it blends in with the surroundings. If you aren't paying attention you might miss this lovely harbinger of spring.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Drama

Sunday, March 20, 2011

What? Us?

Why some people don't like peafowl.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Arrival and Departure

This storm arrowed in from the southeast - right over Mt. St. Helens - and kept moving east and north. It kept it's V shape, like the distant source was moving, continuing to vent clouds.
These pictures were taken over a half-hour period. 

Approaching Storm / SOOC

After a beautiful, mostly sunny morning these clouds approached from the south and rolled overhead, bringing wind, rain and hail. We were only a short stop on it's journey. In less than an hour it had moved off to the north.

For more straight out of the camera shots, visit murrieta365.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Last Light

I had just seen off a friend who'd spent the day helping me with various chores, and was getting hay for my furthest field. I glanced to the horizon as I closed the gate - and stopped to stare. The world had gone from gray to gorgeous. Clouds had lifted, and the setting sun lit the snow-covered mountains, looking more like a Pre-Raphaelite painting than a landscape.

Fortunately, I almost always have my camera with me these days. By the time I'd taken these pictures the sun had descended, and the mountains disappeared once more into the clouds and night.

Moments of beauty. See them, enjoy them, be awed by them. They appear and disappear in a flash, and live in the memory forever. I thank the Universe daily for such a wonderful place to live.

Mt. Adams on the left, behind the South Cascade Range

Mt. St. Helens, barely peeking out of the clouds

Closer look at the Cascades

And a closer view of Mt. Adams

Subtleties, Deer

I love seeing deer. They are beautiful, amazing creatures. These are just off a private lane. They ignore cars going by, unless the car stops. In the last picture you can see one of the does deciding it was time to leave Dodge, we'd been stopped in the lane too long.

I had told my friend to watch for the deer, that two hang out here. We saw the two (on the other side of the lane), and then suddenly noticed the other two behind them. Good camouflage.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Moon Over Washington

Look at all that blue sky! After days of low, heavy clouds and the accompanying rain and wind, the skies cleared just before sunset - which was also just after moonrise. This so often happens with the full moon, it feels magical. So of course I took pictures of it. One must document moments of beauty as a reminder in moments of darkness that beauty is just beyond the clouds.