“One Touch of Nature Makes the Whole World Kin” WIlliam Shakespeare


“Look deep into nature and you will understand everything better.” Albert Einstein

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” Henry David Thoreau

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” Henry David Thoreau

“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.” Christopher Mc Candless

“If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.”
St. Francis of Assisi

“Earth Laughs in Flowers.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

What Precisely is a Turkey?

I never thought of turkeys as beautiful. But they are. Aren’t they?
Sort of……
Wild turkeys are a Native American bird.
Benjamin Franklin wanted them to be our national bird, but apparently he was out voted, or something……It probably offended Thomas Jefferson’s sensibilities.
Can you envision a turkey as our national bird?
Franklin was definitely an interesting bird himself.
Anyhoo, I got into a discussion with my son who is in a grad program in wildlife biology about why wild turkeys have bald heads and necks like vultures.
It turns out this is a very complicated matter, basically an issue of morphology (appearance), DNA, and convergent evolution.
You’ll have to google it.
If your interested in turkeys, that is.
Turkeys are in a unique class of Native American bird, similar to the Muschovy duck.
Who knew?
Next time someone says to you, “don’t be a turkey,” ask him or her, “What precisely is a turkey?”
Their answer is certain to be wrong.
And you can feel smug.
Poor underestimated turkeys.
They get a bad rap.
And I am very sorry to say this, but they are fine eating too.
Especially with cranberry sauce….
Here is a wiki link for all of you who are now fascinated by wild turkeys and want to research them in great depth. For the very small few who are not fascinated, well….. just ignore it.
Cheers from all the turkeys at The Holler!

The Place I Want To Get Back To by Mary Oliver

We have many amazingly talented and creative fellow bloggers. I have never reblogged out of concern that each blog I follow is meritorious and I don’t like picking favorites. Please know if I follow your blog, I am an admirer. Sometimes though, our fellow bloggers, engage in such acts of kindness and prescience, that they have caused me to change my thinking, and engage, for the first time, in the art of the “reblog!” Today I will highlight three bloggers whose acts of creative kindness have blown me away.

Since I have never reblogged, I hope I don’t make too many mistakes.
First there is Russel Boyle. Russel is a poet who lives in Melbourne. When you go to his website, please be sure to look and listen to the poetry he has written on the right hand drop down menu, buried amongst all the other brilliant poets.

What particularly blew me away about Russel, was that he saw my most recent post about the friendly deer, recalled this poem and sent it to me. Not only was the poem an uncanny replication of my feelings encountering the deer, it was also amazing that Russel had this poem at the tip of his fingertips, like he does for hundreds of poets. He introduces me to new poets daily. Check out Russel, Mary Oliver, her poetry, and his.

Who’s Hiding Here?

Its Bambi the friendly deer!
At first she was a surreptitious spy,
Camouflaging herself in this bush.
Gaping at me.
While I was sitting on a rock.
Minding bathing-birdy-business.
But then she decided to come near,
or should I say,
“deer-footing” closer.
I wonder why?
When she got closest,
she starting chuffing at me.
Which was either warning or alarm,
or both?
You can see her chuffing.
She came up close.
What a beauty!
I wish she had come closer still,
So I could help her rid those ticks.
I think she maybe wished I could.
Poor beauty with such beasts.

Glorious Song Birds of Julian CA!

The California Quail. All of these birds were photographed during our current three-day trip to Julian California. There are more to come. Julian and the surrounding mountains are incredibly rich in wild bird life
Acorn Woodpecker
American Robin
Lesser Goldfinch

Male House Finch
Black Capped Chickadee?? I am no expert on bird identification, so if I am not correct, I would be most grateful to learn the proper names. So please do not be shy and I will correct as informed. Thank you!

Are these Juvenile Western Bluebirds?

Western Bluebird?
We are alone everywhere we hike and picnic on this trip which is most unusual for this time of year. Cheers to you from beautiful un-crowded Julian!

Bathing Birdies: Julian California!

We are up in the mountains in Julian California hiking with our son. There is a creek where we are staying that functions as a water park for swminning birdies. Check them out:
These birds swim! They go underwater! Who knew?
Who knew hummingbirds swim? Not me! But check out these guys.

Do you think they know The Holler Hummers and were just trying to impress?? 🙂
All sorts of songbirds are into aquatic sports apparently!

This is bird paradise!!
Sorry to be out of touch, but more mountains to climb tomorrow. Cheers from Julian & lots of wet birds!

Vain Holler Critters, Murderous Glories & Jumpin Jack Flash!

Did you know morning glories are plant murderers?
They are. They crowd out, blanket, and smother other plants, and are intensely invasive. You can tell they are stuck up too, can’t you?
I love them anyway despite these “personality problems.” We have lots of room to fill at The Holler and this is what they love to do.
Mean little flowers.
But, my they are beautiful aren’t they?

The purple throated bullied hummer is no longer being harassed. There are new, no-loc hummers to hassle at The Holler. The purple throated guy is now quite ummmm, assertive. The feeder was empty this morning when I got up at the crack of dawn, which for me is 9:30 am.
The purple guy was incensed at me and buzzed me mercilessly and closely. I think he was furious about the feeder, but even more about me taking photos of the turkey vultures. I finally took his photos and he was appeased. I filled the feeder later.
Hummingbirds are just like Mick Jagger. They are so vain.
Did you know I wrote a really unflattering review of Mick Jagger’s biography? Now if you google image search me. (Yes, yes I admit I did it…..I know, I know…. I’m vain too.) Anyhoo, if you do the search you will see my mug right there next to Micks!
Mick and I are tight.
I don’t think he likes to read much, so my review won’t bother him……

The red tails fly close every morning around 9:30. Don’t tell anybody this is when I get up everyday. I know, I know, I am a lazy layabout, but what the heck. I worked for thirty years, now I’m sleeping in.
The red tails get me up because they circle low at this time and I see their shadows.
I wonder if they had a sort of red tail conversation? Let’s go wake that lazy woman up. It’s time for our photo-op and we look best in the morning sun….You know they do!
I bet they are so vain too. What-ya gonna do?
I take their photos!!

Happy weekend from The Holler.
Oh, do you want some morning glories????

The Goddess of the Gate Let’s Loose Her Bird of Peace!

President Obama spoke at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin today, and President Kennedy spoke here almost fifty years before. The statue called the quadriga was designed in 1798 by Johann Schadow as a symbol of peace. It was seized by Napoleon and taken to Paris, but returned to Berlin in 1814. It was heavily damaged during WWII.
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Here the goddess atop the gate appears to set her bird of peace loose among the crowds.
Good for her! Peace for all!
(Photos taken May 2013)

A Tale of Two Cities: Cartagena!

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain has been inhabited for over two millenia. It was “founded” in 227 BC by the Phoenicians. Cartagena de Indias in Columbia, was founded in 1533 by Spain and named after it’s mother city.
This is a misperception though, as indigenous people have inhabited Cartagena de Indias since 4000 BC. Hence, Cartagena Spain “founded” Cartagena Columbia, even though Cartagena Columbia is actually older than it’s namesake in Spain.
Are you confused yet? I was when I checked the recorded dates. Even if the habitation data for Spain is inaccurate, Cartagena Columbia is clearly the older settlement.
cartagena 2 save
Cartagena Columbia.
The important thing though is that each city does resemble the other, and each is vibrant, beautiful, and uniquely colorful! They are two cities made for walking and photographing. We visited Cartagena Columbia in 2008 and Cartagena Spain in 2013. Take a peek and enjoy the colorful street scenes.
Cartagena Columbia
Ancient amphitheatre Cartagena Spain.
Old chapel. Note how the sun makes the chapel glow with radiant light. Incredible!
Flower Market Cartagena Columbia.
Street with Cartagena Spain’s wonderful street lanterns.
Market Cartagena Columbia.