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Cheers From Manitoba~

We are in Clear Lake Manitoba staying in a remote cabin.

There are wide open tracts of nature here with nary a person in sight.

We are heading further north soon, to Hudson Bay, to hopefully spend time with belugas and bears, and any other critters we may meet..

I gathered these late summer wild flowers in the meadow behind our cabin, eating wild raspberries as I browsed. We are enjoying the flowers as you can see on the cabin’s screened porch, watching deer in the meadow.

There is no wifi in our cabin, and wifi will be even harder to find as we head further north, so I am out of touch. I will check in when I can, but until then, it is cheers to you & be well from beautiful Manitoba~

Holler Hummers Battle The Centurion~

Each hummer wants this plant all to themself.

Between sips of nectar, they are constantly battling for dominion.

The plant is a blooming Century Plant or Agave Americana, that is the largest I have ever seen, big enough to feed hundreds of hummers. It is well over thirty feet tall and as wide as a telephone pole

Century Plants produce many offspring in their lives and we have lots of them at The Holler. You may notice the plant looks like a giant asparagus stalk. This is because it is related to the asparagus family. The Centurion stands guard by our front gate.

Other birdy pollinators, like orioles, love the nectar too, but they are far more civilized about sharing. The most they do is chatter endlessly at each other.

Bees are attracted en-mass to the centurion which blooms only once in a lifetime, and many 1000’s of bees are busily gathering pollen in the huge masses of flowers.

Century plants are not accurately named. They each live 10-30 years. Soon the entire plant will die, and the hummers will find something else to fight over.

Cheers to you from our giant pollen creator and the beautiful bickering pollinators~

Holler Hummer Portrait Day~

It was a big day at The Holler!

The hummers wanted their portraits taken.

First, there was lots of primping,

and fluffing.

A hummer’s feathers need to look their very best,

for such an auspicious occasion.

After their photo shoot, they got back to their favorite activity,

eating!

Cheers to you from The Holler Hummers~

Palms to Pines & Rare Desert Storm~

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway has the world’s largest rotating tram cars.

The two and a half mile trip up the mountain from the desert floor takes ten minutes.

It brings you from a desert floor elevation of 479 feet to 8, 516 feet. That’s a big climb in ten minutes!

The ride up moves through five different life zones, from the Sonoran Desert floor to the Arctic/Alpine Zone, where the highest peak, Mt. San Jacinto, is 10, 834 feet.

You leave the stark, baking desert, and hike in the mountains where the temperatures are 30 degrees cooler than below.

During our trip, a summer storm was moving in, causing it to rain on the mountain, and dropping the temperatures even more.

By the time we returned to the desert, we could watch the rain clouds move in over the mountains accompanied by lots of thunder. This is a rare summer occurrence and one I have never seen before. Despite the rain, the temperature remained a steady 112 degrees fahrenheit, and the drops evaporated quickly after contact with the superheated desert.

After the passage of the brief storm, the light was lovely.

Cheers to you from the scorching, but beautiful, summer desert~

Water, Water Everywhere~

And not a drop to drink. I can relate to The Ancient Mariner.

The Holler flooded with nice cold drinking water while we were away visiting the baby grand-twins. A faulty refrigerator filter was the culprit. There are 84 industrial fans and scores of dehumidifiers running our electrical bill through the roof. We do, thankfully, have insurance.

The damage is legion,

causing me to dream at night of waves,

and sea creatures.

When the dream waves became violent,

and the creatures creepy,

I knew it was time for a change of scenery. (We are thankful for family members willing to stay and monitor The Holler).

So now we are in the desert, where the temperatures are hovering around 105F which is cool for summer in the desert and thunderstorms are in the forecast. I love the desert in the summer, and in all the years I have been coming here, I have never seen a summer desert thunderstorm. The clouds are forming and I can’t wait! So, bring on the water….

Cheers to you from the soon to be sodden desert~

Cold Spring Tavern~

In 1860 a stagecoach pass was hacked through the California wilderness over the mountainous San Marcos Pass to connect Mission Santa Barbara to The Santa Ynez Rancho.

A rest stop was built along the stage coach route high up on The San Marcos Pass, next to a naturally running cold mountain spring.

This stage-stop was, and is still called, Cold Spring Tavern.

Back in the day the tavern served hot meals and alcohol.

It still serves both today, and the experience of eating here is one we return to enjoy whenever we pass by this area.

There was a bunkhouse,

a small store, a stable, and several small homesteads, forming a town called Gopherville, which is now a ghost town.

The town even had a jail which could hold up to eleven (crowded) souls…. rowdy cowboys and such, who likely drank too much whiskey…..

Cheers to you from Cold Springs Tavern & the still wild west~

Floribunda~

The flower is
the stem’s cry of beauty
to the universe.
-Vassilis Comporozos

Thimbleberry flower, Washington State.

These pink and red poppies

were also found bursting in bloom in Washington state.

We can’t grow peonies at The Holler, but I buy them in season,

to display in bouquets.

Holler white rose.

Holler sweet peas.

We had loads of blooms this year due to the wonderful rain.

Rhododendron Washington State.

Cheers to you from summer’s smiling flowers~