Cindy’s Nonsense of Snow~

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Do you remember Smila who had a “Sense of Snow?” I loved the book and movie about her, and the way she could interpert subtle changes in the snowy region where she lived, that other people couldn’t see or understand.
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I unlike Smila, can make no sense of snow.

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In fact, I am mildly afraid of snow, oh heck, make that more than mildly.
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My fear comes from growing up in Southern California where there is no snow worth speaking about, and traveling regularly to ski various mountains since I was young. Mammoth in the Sierras has more snow than many high mountain ranges.
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There is more snow averaged over the years in Mammoth than the Rocky Mountains. Here is the snow looking out the SECOND FLOOR kitchen window in our rented condo unit today.

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Here is the snow resting against our second floor balcony’s sliding glass window. This is a moderate amount of snow for Mammoth in that we have not yet reached 300 inches. In seven winters over the past 45 years, Mammoth has received well over 500 inches of snow, and up to 668! Mammoth averages over 300 inches each year. The snowiest European Alps on average get approximately 380-400 inches of snow, while Andermatt in Switzerland gets around 480 inches a year.

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I know all this because I am married to a professor of biostatistics who loves to ski.

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Here is the ski route out from our condo to the lifts. I get intimidated with snow because unlike Smila, there are a lot of things I don’t know about it, like how to build a snow cave to survive overnight when I get lost on the come-back trail after the lifts close. I often get lost on the come-back trail as the sun starts to set. Once, years ago, I got lost and didn’t find my way back till well after dark.
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I have always skied with guys, first my brother, than boyfriends, husband, son, friends of them, and so on. They always ski better than I do and I focus on keeping up and not breaking my bones. When we are on summits, with whipping winds blowing freezing snow-needles into our faces and practically zero visibility, they get strangely hyped up.
“Awesome,” they say.
“Shit,” I think.
“I can’t see anything and I know it’s steep. I’m dumping them after this run and going alone.”
I do this, and then I get lost on the come-back trail.

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Skiing with young guys is particularly fun. “No black diamond runs unless you ask me before.” I emphasize.
“No problem,” they say.
We get down a particularly nasty run and I say, “That was horrible. I don’t ever want to do that again.”
“Look at the bright side,” they say, “You just did another black diamond.”

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“Do one thing every day that scares you.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt
I clearly am not as brave as Eleanore Roosevelt. I don’t want to do something scary everyday. Once a year is quite enough for me, thank you Eleanore!
Cheers to you from the gorgeous, snowy, and sometimes scary High Sierras~

Bamberg~

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The early medieval town of Bamberg is in northern Bavaria and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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It has one of Europe’s largest intact old town squares and is remarkable due to its distinctive half-timbered old buildings.
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Bamberg was originally settled by the Slavs and starting in the 10th century served as a link between central and eastern Europe.

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In the 11th century the town’s unique style strongly influenced the architectural development of central Europe.
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During the 18th century enlightenment, Bamberg was the home of the philosopher Hegel and ETA Hoffman who wrote The Nutcracker.
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The Alte Hofhaltung, or Old Palace, dates from 10th and 11th centuries. The inner courtyard is surrounded by half-timbered buildings with steeply pitched roofs and stunning wooden walkways.
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Bamberg is a visual feast!
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It is also pleasing to the palate with wonderful restaurants and is famous for its beer! The town has nine breweries, one of which makes an unusual smoky tasting brew, which no, I didn’t try, and neither did my husband which is a surprise because he is the beer aficionado in the family. I guess we’ll just have to go back!
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The town is ideal for exploring on foot and full of wonderful surprises at every turn.
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Cheers to you from the remarkably beautiful old town of Bamberg~

Lo-Down Ankole Watusi Holler Life-

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The Holler is really a Holler and not only for the birds.

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It is for low-down, on the ground, critter life as well. Meet the new, free range calf.

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And, meet the guys who are overly fond of new free range calves.
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We were quite done with watching the coyotes prey on the defenseless calves, and the cowboy intermittently shoot the coyotes.

This approach solved nothing.

The cowboy who grazes the free range cattle on the 1200 acre state-owned nature preserve that abuts The Holler, finally came up with a creative solution.

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You know I value creativity. It is why I love bloggers so much!

Anyhoo, meet the new juvenile Ankole-Watusi bull. Imagine how big he is gonna be when he is all “growed” up!

These are African free range cattle that grow horns up to eight feet from tip to tip. At night, in Africa, when predators are active, the Ankole adults place the calves in the center, while the adults, and their eight foot horns defend the perimeter through intimidation. They are highly protective of calves and able to repel African predators. These cattle can subsist in drought conditions with low water and feed.

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They are currently interbred in Europe and North America and, and news to me, The Holler. I had no idea of the Ankole solution until my telephoto saw them, and I sent it straight from my camera, to your eyes!

I am grateful to my camera because Ankole can be quite aggressive towards humans. If my camera hadn’t alerted me to their presence, I would still be hiking in the preserve, not expecting an ambush by potentially aggressive African bulls!
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The coyotes are now in a state of détente. When the Ankoles lower their horns in the coyotes direction, off the coyotes trot. Coyotes regulate their estrus and birth cycles in accordance with environmental conditions. They are intelligent and adaptable. As they are able to kill less calves, they will limit their birth rates, and subsist on rodents.
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Of course the poor squirrels have no say in this matter, but at least they can run fast into their extensive burrows.

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Cheers to you from the still wild, and almost natural, Holler~
For more than you probably ever want to know about the Ankole-Watusi check out: http://edventures.phoenixzoo.org/pdf/animalFactSheets/watusiCattle.pdf

The Holler Soars~

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Transcendent hawk.

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Soaring above us all.

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Watching everything,

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engaging nothing.
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Touching earth only for a bite,

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and then sailing up again,
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catching wind drafts with a friend.

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Forever, chasing rainbows.

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Cheers to you from The Holler and her hawks~

The Holler Preens it’s Plumage~

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I couldn’t do another post on Holler birds without including The Holler Hummers could I?

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The year-round hummers are mellow and co-operative.

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Right, and I am the Queen of Bavaria!

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We have oak groves full of all sorts of birds including droves of Acorn Woodpeckers in their smart red pope caps.
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There are Western Scrub Jays,
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who don’t like being photographed,
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and very shy Western Bluebirds,
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who like it even less!
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“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without words
And never stops at all.” (Emily Dickinson)
Cheers to you from your Holler feathered friends~

The Holler Flaunts it’s Feathers~

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Ahhh, home at The Holler!

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I’ve told you before, The Holler is ‘for the birds.’
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And this is just how we like it!
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Check out the cheeky, chirpy ones.
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The beep-beep felt like a photo-op today,
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and even forgot to run away!
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He actually posed and beeped, vain meeper!
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The mocking bird was in modeling mode, although still a very coy boy.
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Cheers to you from The Holler and the world’s best neighbors~

Amsterdam Seen~

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In one day,

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walking in Amsterdam,
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you can find all sorts of unusual things.
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In one day walking anywhere,

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you can find remarkable things!
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Just look and you’ll see.
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Cheers to you,
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from the unusual, the remarkable, the strange,

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the beauty that is around you everyday!