A Lovely Sunday at the Beach

Some clouds and sunshine, perfect for these little lefts and rights this morning…

A lineup in the ocean…

And a lineup in the sky. Look up! Pelicans!

Streets closed and a run around town, the Carlsbad 5000.

Raven or Crow?

Both ravens and crows live in my neighborhood, but I think these two thirsty birds are crows.
What do you think?

This photo was taken as I peeked through the long pointy fronds of a ponytail palm situated directly outside my downstairs living room.

Here’s an especially informative Audubon link that helps to discern the differences between the two:https://www.audubon.org/news/how-tell-raven-crow

Sunday in the Garden: Downy Woodpecker

It was super quiet this morning until I heard a familiar staccato taptaptaptap, ran outside with my camera and was FINALLY able to capture a visit from my Downy Woodpecker!

Usually they’re playing hide and seek in my garden; this time he’s just over the fence on the neighbor’s palm tree. A while later, his mate came to eat in the exact same spot.

Isn’t he simply magnificent?

In many ancient cultures, the symbolism of the woodpecker is associated with wishes, luck, prosperity, and spiritual healing. The woodpecker often symbolizes new opportunities that come knocking into our lives. Other cultures consider the woodpecker to represent hard work, perseverance, strength, and determination, all positive attributes for sure! (curated from Google search)

Happy Sunday, friend!

No ReGRET, just my Egret AGAIN

Well, hello there!

As I pulled into the driveway and opened the garage door, look who was waiting for me!

I couldn’t park fast enough to jump out and greet this magnificent creature. I’m positive this is the same egret I had been lucky enough to have an encounter with on Sunday.

How did she know where I live?

In my fantasy world, I like to pretend that she was flying high above me as I walked home the day before and decided to pay me a personal visit because I helped her cross the street and stay safe from speeding cars.

I’m sure that’s NOT reality, but I like my version better.

This isn’t my house, but I followed her down to the corner. Come back soon, my friend! I have lots of yummy lizards running around the garden. Enjoy!

A Day in the Life: A Naked Lady and a Wandering White Egret

Or how I became the spirit human to a wandering white egret. Do you have a spirit animal? I’m sure we all do, but today I became a bird’s spirit human. At least that’s the story I told myself.

(I’ll not bury the lede and confess that I’m NOT the naked lady, just in case you were curious.)

I don’t know if it’s because of the lingering full moon energy coupled with another Santa Ana heatwave, but this was a strange and interesting Sunday.

I’ve been able to increase my mileage according to the doc’s plan, as long as my foot doesn’t hurt. It can be bit sore, but if I start limping, that’s my cue to give him a call. So far, so good.

On today’s walk, I got a late start and didn’t want to walk to the beach because that’s about 7 or 8 miles round trip, much more than the five miles he approved.

I walked up and around the lagoon. On the way back, I saw one police car and then two and when I saw the third one, my interest was piqued and I decided to follow it. They seemed to all be parked on a street that leads to a lagoon beach.

I stopped and asked a neighbor what was going on and he said he heard there was a naked woman wandering around the area. I then walked up to a police officer and asked him to corroborate what I heard, and he did. I exhorted (strongly encouraged) him to be kind to her since the police dog was there too, and it probably was some sort of mental health issue, not a “let’s unleash the hounds of hell” issue.

By the way, when did cops start dressing like urban warfare combat fighters? The ones I saw today were dressed in FULL ON body armor, in FULL ON FIGHT MODE to what was probably either a domestic or a mental health situation. They were incredibly intimidating looking for a little beach town, way too hard core.

I decided to move on and continue walking out of respect for whomever it was and whatever was going on. Sometimes I hang around to document possible police misconduct, but there were other people gathering, so I felt it was okay to leave.

After walking for another block or so, this is what I saw.

Yup, a beautiful white egret simply standing as still as a statue. S/he took a couple of steps…do you have any idea how SLOWLY egrets walk? It’s like doing a mindful walking meditation with Thich Nhat Hanh, something I’m not at all good at, ‘cos I’m not patient. At all.

But this time, I slowed down to enjoy the moment. S/he walked across the street SO S L O W L Y, turned his/her head and seemed to beckon me to follow, so I did. I stayed a couple feet back and every so often, s/he would turn to look at me and continue.

When it seemed as if (I’ll just call it a female, cos that’s the vibe I got) she wanted to cross a street that’s a bit busier, I went out in the street to warn traffic and to escort her safely. A mom and her two kids joined me and we all followed this queenly white egret up the street. Cars stopped to watch and it was so joyous and so delightful to participate in the Queen Egret Parade. The mom and kids went back home but I continued on our journey together to shepherd this magnificent bird.

I felt as if she was a bit timid, a bit unsure about where she was, and needed me. When we came to a clearing with a field and tall trees, I decided it was time for her to fly. I raised both of my arms outstretched like wings and silently communicated to her that it wasn’t safe on these streets and she needed to fly.

And she did. I watched her circle the area and land in a tall eucalyptus tree. Another egret flew by and my hope is that they all ended up back at the lagoon, safe and sound.

Honestly, I feel like in that moment, I became the spirit human to this pure white egret wanderer.

I don’t have any new information about the naked woman, and I’ll update if I hear anything.

It’s only 11 a.m. and I’ve already had a magical day. It’s time to put a clothes in the washing machine and check the video to see if my coyote or bobcat came to visit. For me, that would be the icing on the cake.

Check out how S L O W L Y she walks.

Hawk or Roadrunner? Camouflaged by Nature

It was just about ninety degrees here yesterday and today is even hotter. I climbed up the hill to check on the the fruit trees (the apple trees are flowering) when this hawk flew right over my head –so close that I could almost feel him.

It seemed as if he was hunting for something, so I stood absolutely still. I’m sure he was looking for a rodent and I didn’t want to disturb THAT!

A couple minutes later he flew back over my head and landed in this tree. Either he didn’t know I was right there or he didn’t care.

I only had my phone so I wasn’t able to zoom in any closer but here he is. I believe it’s a juvenile Red-tailed hawk with the longest tail I’ve ever seen.

At first my son thought I had sent him a pic of a roadrunner because of the long tail, but I think it’s definitely a hawk because the roadrunner that I’ve seen around here is much larger and also walked/ran on the ground.

This is an older pic of our resident roadrunner side by side with the hawk. I think the click of the camera really annoyed him because he immediately flew away and didn’t get whatever he thought he was going to eat. Sorry, Mr. Hawk!

Zion National Park

Why, hello, you gorgeous angel!

What a little beauty. Sometimes my camera clicks at exactly the right moment. It’s like finding gold.

Bountiful Harvest

It was time to harvest most of the chard and spinach and figure out what to do with it.

I cut off the mature leaves and left the plants in the ground because they’ll continue to produce.

It easily filled a laundry basket…

Pretty green and rainbow chard with hardly any bug-bitten areas. Yay for organic gardening!

After I put them in two giant pots and blanched in boiling water, this is what I was left with to store in the freezer; two quart-sized bags…

But yum, anyway!

When Doves Cry: Life and Death

**This is so strange. I only published this post today, June 26, but it shows that it was published on the 24th, so I am RE-writing and posting again. Very odd WordPress, very odd.

We had a bit of rain, just a few drops, definitely not the kind of rain we need here in the Southwest, but I think my veggie garden was grateful for it.

When I went outside to check on the status of baby lettuce seedlings, I noticed a Monarch butterfly entangled in the netting surrounding the garden. I’ve been forced to use the barrier to keep out squirrels and rats and bunnies. There are plenty of other things in the garden those guys can eat, so I don’t feel too bad about restricting them from my yummy greens.

Carefully, I removed the netting from those delicate wings.

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After flying off, s/he returned with a mate and they circled my head a few times as if to thank me. “You’re welcome, guys! I was glad to help.”

Later that afternoon, right before dusk, I went for a walk. There were still beautiful clouds in the sky and I was thinking happy thoughts about the butterflies.

Suddenly, before I could even react, several things happened at once. A white van was driving down the street faster than the twenty-five mile an hour speed limit. A dove flew low across the street, left to right. (Yup, you can see where this is going.) The driver MUST have seen the bird, I’m sure of it.

Without slowing down or trying to avoid the imminent impact, the van ran into the bird, and to make it even more horrific, the back tires finished the slaughter. There were no other cars on the road; simply slowing down would have avoided it completely.

It doesn’t matter to me that there was nothing I could have done to prevent this tragedy. I ran out into the street to see if I needed to take the bird to a vet, but it was too late. Too late. I crouched down on my knees over the little dove almost in shock at the massive destruction the van did to his body. I took a photo because I wanted to remember the poor dear and honor his/her life, but it’s too gruesome to post and I feel it would be disrespectful to the innocent creature.

The bird was probably on his way home, and there might have been nesting babies that won’t be fed and won’t survive all because of the actions of one unaware or uncaring human. What if it was one of the doves I just wrote about that often visit me in the garden? How incredibly sad.

Well, that stripped me of the joy of saving a butterfly, that’s for sure. I’m a fixer and a helper. It’s a tough lesson for me to comprehend that sometimes things can be so terribly damaged that they can’t be mended or put back together, like this poor little bird who was beyond repair.

This made me think of Prince. When doves cry, so do I.