Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Creepy, Crawly Halloween!

"Just Hangin'!"

I saved these photos especially for Halloween - I thought they were appropriately ghoulish;-) Let me just say I'm a big baby when it comes to spiders, and have been known not to enter a room when a spider is present. However, I recognize that they are usually beneficial visitors to gardens. So, when I saw this spider setting up residence in our plants, I let her be. At first, the Skippers kept getting caught. I didn't like seeing them being devoured, but there were so many, and I figured that Miss Spider needed to eat, too. I also figured, incorrectly, that Skippers would be as big as she could catch and eat... Then she caught a Common Buckeye. I left her alone, though, because Common Buckeyes didn't visit that often, so I hoped it would be the exception, not the rule. The very next day, this insatiable spider caught an Anise Swallowtail!!! I couldn't believe my eyes:-( At that point, I decided Miss Spider was uninvited, and needed to find a new home. I caught her and her prey on the bottom of the broom, and gave her a gentle ride over the wall. Sorry, but I wanted the butterflies to be safe while visiting my flowers. I had really hoped the grasshoppers would get caught, but I guess they're too wily, and are still out there munching my roses. P.S. These photos were taken over the course of four days in August. I never knew spiders were so voracious! There was initially a second spider, but it disappeared... or did it get eaten??? HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

"The Mummy"

"Monster Mash"


"Spider Bat" or "Bat Spider";-)

"Gift Wrapped"

"The Last Supper"

"Creepy Crawly!"

Hey! How did he get in here? Sighted last weekend on a drive:-)


Yup, Skye's a cat, and he was born on Halloween, 2000. He came into our lives in May, 2001. He's a purebred Persian, and the sweetest cat you'll ever meet:-) We've had other Persians, who have since passed, and they've all been lovebugs. While they are high-maintenance cats, they're also very laid-back and don't get into much cat trouble (no counter surfing unless there's a way for them to step up to it, no curtain swinging, etc.;-).

Skye spends most of his day in true cat fashion, asleep. Because of his flat face, he snores, lol! When he is awake, he just wants to be petted and loved. He'll meow (loud and raspy!) and make a pest of himself until you do:-) He's also got the fine art of plopping down the spot where you're most likely to trip over him - or getting up when you do, and running right in front of your legs.

He's not big on being held, but he loves to be petted - he'll make biscuits the whole time, and purrs as loud as a freight train. He doesn't have a mean bone in his body... Well, except for when it comes to getting a bath. Persians tend to get oily/dandruffy and their hair starts to mat if they don't get bathed. Our others didn't mind that much, but Skye hollers and screams so loud the whole time that the neighbors probably think we're killing him! He doesn't get too many baths nowadays, to keep his stress level down - it wears him out too much. He doesn't mind being shaved (the full body pic shows a little of this year's haircut), which keeps him cleaner longer. We've had to shave him since moving here because summers are so hot. He loves being groomed, and will follow you around when he sees the brushes come out:-)

Skye is strictly indoors, and always has been. We believe all cats should be indoors for a variety of reasons (however, we know how hard it can be to turn an outdoor cat into an indoor one). Persians are foo-foo cats, though, and aren't meant to survive outdoors. They were created at the whim of humans, and are dependent on us to take care of all that hair and to clean that smooshy-face.

Anyways, Happy Birthday to the sweetest cat in the world! Skye, it's been an honor to have you in our lives, and we hope there are many more years still to come. You are so very special, and I wish everyone could know the joy of such a wonderful cat:-)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cowabunga, dudes! Oh, those silly cows...

That's right, it's an ode to the cow - the silly cow, that is;-) When we take our drives up into the foothills, if we don't see anything else, we know we'll see some cows. Unlike the ones on the valley floor in factory dairy farms, these actually are happy California cows. They have lots and lots of land to roam, grass to eat, and mighty oak trees to lie under. Yes, some will wind up as hamburger, but at least they're able to enjoy life before they do, and just be cows.

Being cows, they're a pretty mellow bunch, though wary of strange humans wearing weird things around their necks;-) They actually have a really good energy. Standing near them, I can feel their calm, and it's very soothing. I looked up their "wisdom" on Animal Spirits, and it's no surprise that two of the things they represent are love and contentment:-)

That said, they should also represent silliness! It seems every time I take cow photos, I wind up with something funny. So, I finally put some of these silly shots together, gave them goofy captions, and am presenting them here for your viewing pleasure:

cow chewing cud
longhorn steer
charolais bullAka "Stank Eye" ;-)

black angus bull

This young bull had escaped from his pasture, wandered down the road (leaving lots of ploppies), and wound up here. Looking for love in all the wrong places, I guess;-)

black angus
longhorn cow
hereford cow

Monday, October 18, 2010


This October has seen some weather extremes - lots of rain, then up into the 90's again, back to more rain (unusual here). Yesterday, it was a little cloudy, but we decided to take a drive just to get out. It started raining right after we got into the hills. We almost turned around, then thought what the heck;-) The air smelled so good, and it was so awesome and refreshing to be out in the rain. The thunder and lightning came a little close, but just spiced things up a little - actually, the animals didn't seem to phased by it, which was surprising. Unfortunately, the conditions weren't great for photos, and they were all a little dark. After some editing, these are the best of the bunch, and I thought I'd share:-)

raindrops on leaf

Just to prove there were actual raindrops... Woo hoo!

horse, rain

This cutie is a bit u-necked (looked young, so maybe just needs some muscles), but was a total sweetie. She and her pal, below, came over for pets and scratches:-)

black horse eye

"Black Eye" - Couldn't resist the opportunity to add to my horse eye photo collection! He was a very mellow fellow.


Buckeyes bring a little light to a dark spot.

woodpecker, acorns, phone pole

"What's One More?" Guess nothing's going to stop a woodpecker from pecking;-)

lark sparrow, rain, bath

In the same vein, apparently it wasn't raining hard enough for this Lark Sparrow. There was a little group of them in the middle of the road bathing. They weren't close enough to get a real good shot from inside the car, but still funny. Like little kids playing in puddles!

sparrow, barbed wire

On the other hand, this little sparrow is taking a break and trying to dry off.

california quail, rain, stump

"Might as well Jump!" - If only there had been more light and time, this would have been the shot of the day! My mom spotted this guy as we rounded a corner, but there was a truck coming from the other side. I only had a second before he left with the rest of his group. This was so dark, that I really had to edit it to get it to this point. There were lots of quail out and about, but they always scurry into the brush so quickly - not that I blame them, but they're so handsome, I always try to catch them:-)

calf portrait

And this is a teaser shot for my next post. This handsome little guy was photographed yesterday, too, but you have to stay tuned to see some very humorous cows coming to my blog this week...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Dragons and Damsels

Flies, of course! ;-) Yes, I know it's been a long time again. Getting back into the swing of things, though. Edited to remove link/info no longer valid (08/12). Anyways, lots to do, including getting my blog back up to speed! So, here are some recent dragonfly and damselfly photos. I've always thought they were the coolest insects, but it wasn't till I started photographing them that I learned just how fascinating they really are! So many parts, so much intricacy in something so small - I could watch them all day:-)

"A Little Blue", male Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum)

Variegated Meadowhawk Dragonfly
"Smile!", female Variegated Meadowhawk, (Sympetrum corruptum)

Desert Firetail
"Freeze!", male Desert Firetail (Telebasis salva)

"Dragonfly Diner", female Variegated Meadowhawk chowing down

"Gripping", female(?) Neon Skimmer (Libellula croceipennis)

"Steady", Variegated Meadowhawk

"Ready for Liftoff!", male Flame Skimmer (Libellula saturata)

"The Aviator", female Variegated Meadowhawk

"A Little Privacy, Please", pair of Common Blues last May - this was taken while leaning over a barbed wire fence, and I actually didn't see Mrs. Blue until I processed the photos. I couldn't figure out what Mr. Blue was doing "standing up", lol!

"Copper Collision", the same Meadowhawk as "Steady". This beauty stayed long enough to get different angles and backgrounds:-)

Hope you've enjoyed this little montage! If I've identified any of these incorrectly, please leave a comment and let me know. I've tried to match them up to what I've found online, but dragonfly id is all new to me. Several of these are in our shops, so I've included links in the photos when you click them. I find them irresistible, and thought others might, as well:-)

P.S. A little Dragonfly/Damselfly medicine - They represent transformation. They help us break down illusions and find truth, and provide help with learning what we need to change/breaking bad habits. They represent much more, but these are the things that stand out to me the most.