Magical Full Snow Moon

An unexpected marriage of art + photography.

Since I can’t draw any better than an average two-year-old, this is the closest I’ll ever get to creating art. It reminds me of The Joy of Painting’s Bob Ross and his “happy little trees”, only these appear rather gloomy and vague; evocative of nature’s dark night of the soul.

I don’t know how my phone managed to capture this image. I attempted to get a pic of the full moon between the branches of my eucalyptus tree and ended up with what appears to be a glimpse into the portal leading toward a shadowy otherworld.

This full moon is in Leo and since Leo is ruled by the sun, our INNER LIGHT will shine brightly.

I think I’ll print and frame, I love it that much!

House Finch Invasion

I was standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes and looked out at an amazing sight. There were literally dozens of chirpy birds invading my garden, SO MANY I couldn’t even count them all.

They’re easy to identify as House Finches.

According to AllAboutBirds.org,  If House Finches discover your feeders, they might bring flocks of fifty or more birds with them. They did!

I no longer have feeders because of my arch nemeses, RATS, so what they’re feasting on here is actually an invasive species, a Brazilian Pepper tree that somehow sprouted into the neighbor’s yard and they didn’t get rid of it like we did.

The House Finch is a recent introduction from western into eastern North America (and Hawaii). Males boast cheerful red breasts and their distinctive long, twittering song.

The House Finch was originally a bird of the western United States and Mexico. In 1940 a small number of finches were turned loose on Long Island, New York, after failed attempts to sell them as cage birds (“Hollywood finches”). They quickly started breeding and spread across almost all of the eastern United States and southern Canada within the next fifty years.

There’s no way I could capture as many as there are, but I’d say definitely more than fifty of these lovely red breasted birds are visiting Casa de Enchanted Seashells.

The red of a male House Finch comes from pigments contained in its food during molt (birds can’t make bright red or yellow colors directly). So the more pigment in the food, the redder the male.

This makes sense because they’re eating red berries from the pepper tree.

They stayed for about an hour, saturating my world with their most delightful song and chirpy calls to friends and family. Every tree in the garden is full of these guys as well the rosemary and lavender bushes.

I’ve never seen anything like this. For me, It’s as exciting as spotting a pod of whales or dolphin. I’m grateful they chose my garden to visit. Pure joy!

The Sun is Not My Friend

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Not again!

During my biannual visit with my dermatologist, she saw something she didn’t like, took a biopsy, and just called with the results…

This time it was squamous cell carcinoma, or as the report states: atypical squamous proliferation.

Previously, it was basel cell malignancy, and before that it was a basel/squamous combo, so I’m no stranger to this kind of diagnosis.

That means I’ll have to undergo another procedure to remove all the offending cells.

While the actual procedure isn’t painful, the healing IS, and since it’s on my back, it’s in a tough position for wound care and sleeping, which totally sucks.

Once again, all those summers of baby oil and cocoa butter for six hour tanning sessions on the beach have taken their toll.

Another PSA: Don’t be like me; wear hats and sunscreen and don’t forget the importance of a yearly skin check. Thank goodness for my eagle-eyed dermatologist!

Another Tragedy: Justice for Tyre Nichols

Not another one. Not another incredibly anguished murder of another young man by police. My heart goes out to his family.

It’s bad enough that we had THREE mass shootings in California last week in three separate locations – it’s unfathomable to think of all the random violence, but this young man did not deserve to suffer the way he did, calling out for his mom with his last breath. It’s heartbreaking and disgusting at the same time.

I’m posting the following from https://msnewsgroup.com/

So much has been talked about in regards to the death of Tyre Nichols. Rightfully so. But let’s talk about his life:

He was a son and a friend. He liked to skateboard. He worked at FedEx and he was a self described aspiring photographer.

He posted the following on his photography website:

Hey guys,
My name is Tyre D. Nichols. I am an aspiring photographer. Well I mostly do this stuff for fun but i enjoy it very much. Photography helps me look at the world in a more creative way. It expresses me in ways i cannot write down for people. I take different types of photograhy, anywhere from action sports to rural photos, to bodies of water and my favorite.. landscape photography. My vision is to bring my viewers deep into what i am seeing through my eye and out through my lens. People have a story to tell why not capture it instead of doing the “norm” and writing it down or speaking it. I hope to one day let people see what i see and to hopefully admire my work based on the quality and ideals of my work. So on that note enjoy my page and let me know what you think.
Your friend,
-Tyre D. Nichols

This picture below was posted by Tyre Nichols on a photography website he designed.

Here is a link… https://thiscaliforniakid2.wixsite.com/tnicholsph…/fashion

May be an image of nature, body of water and bridge

Sticks on Fire

On an early morning walk before the rain started (yes, we’re getting more sky water!), I spied this colorfully striking succulent.

Sticks on Fire, sometimes called Firesticks (Euphorbia tirucalli), is a shrubby succulent with bright red, pink, orange, or yellow stems.

The more sun it gets, the more ‘fiery’ it appears. The sap of this plant is sticky/milky and may cause irritation to skin as there are mild toxins.  

Many succulents in the euphorbia genus, such as the pencil cactus and crown of thorns, are also poisonous to both cats and dogs. Symptoms of poisoning from ingesting this succulent range from gastrointestinal upset to skin and eye irritation.

I made it home just in time! That’s not a speck on your screen, it’s an airplane heading to our local airport.

Crows, Crows, and MORE Crows!


Kids really do listen to everything we say, that’s absolutely true.

One time I looked up as a crow flew by and said, “Hello, cousin!”

Angel Girl asked me why I said that, and I told her that crows are very smart and that I feel they’re like family to me.

The next time we saw crows fly by, she pointed and said, “There goes one of your cousins, Grandma!”

Mom asked her why she said that, and Angel Girl told her all the crows in the whole world are Grandma’s cousins, which is a great thing to her because she loves her own cousins.

The best part of the story is that it makes perfect sense to her that animals are family. I like that a lot.

Besides a murder of crows, there are other collective nouns for crows: a horde, a hover, a mob, a parcel, a parliament, and a storytelling.

As for a storytelling of crows? This is a bit of an unknown but crows do tend to gather in large flocks and are known for their loud ‘caw’.  Perhaps someone observed this and decided that they weren’t so much plotting a murder but were telling stories to each other, https://www.birdspot.co.uk/

This photo from late yesterday afternoon must tell quite the story; I’ve never seen so many crows on the school field.

Seeing crows at sundown is a common occurrence around here, but not on this grand scale. Everyone driving by slowed down to gawk and neighbors came out to record it like I did.

On the roof, on the fence, on the fields — all my cousins!

Update: I sent the photo to my original Angel Boy and received a video text from his almost seven-year-old clone, AB 2.0 — “Hey Grandma, that’s a lot of cousins!”

My happiness grew exponentially.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow Bridge

After yet another too real lucid dream about my kitty Bandit, I’ve been thinking about all of my children, from Misty to Tawny to Sabrina, Yenta, and Stella Rondo (named for a character in a short story by Eudora Welty) to Victor, Blackie, darling Ban — cats and dogs, mostly Border Collies, but also my rescued wolf hybrid Beowulf (of course) and crazy Tovah, my neurotic black German Shepherd.

I can’t wait to meet my babies again; happy and healthy. It’s going to be HEAVENly.

Art by Susan Alison

LISTEN to the Serenade of America’s Songdogs

Last night in the garden around 9pm, I heard this chorus of beautiful songdogs; my beloved coyote family. This lasted nearly a full minute, along with other shorter lyrical melodies.

Turn up the volume, as it was extremely LOUD! I wanted to run up the hill to join them, but I did that once and broke my wrist in the dark, so I merely sent them all my love.

I know what you’re thinking, but there are other reasons for this symphony besides a fresh meal…

“The sound of coyotes howling and yipping at night sometimes causes people concern and alarm. Some mistakenly believe howling indicates that a group of coyotes has made a kill. While coyotes howl for a variety of reasons, it is not likely because they have downed prey. Doing so would draw attention and might attract competing coyotes or other predators to their location, which is not something a hungry coyote would want to do. Coyotes howl and yip primarily to communicate with each other and establish territory. They may bark when they are defending a den or a kill.” https://wildlifehelp.org/solution/district-columbia/coyote/should-i-be-concerned-if-i-hear-coyotes-howling-yipping-or-barking/93