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Herbert!

You may remember Herbert, the feral kitten we adopted about seven months ago from the wonderful organization, “Love Your Feral Felines.”

 Here he is all ‘growed’ up, and definitely a most important member of the family! 

If it weren’t for ‘Love Your Feral Felines,’ Herbert would have been euthanized. He is such an amazing, social and loving cat, and he always looks you straight in the eye! We are very grateful to have him.

Herbert enjoys being my secretary cat, but has difficulty following directions. (This reminds me of all my report cards from elementary school, and I still, proudly, have this problem).

Herbert goes through kleenex like nobody’s business. (Now my husband will know why he is buying me so many boxes of kleenex. He thought it was my allergies.) You can’t keep secrets when you blog…….

Here is Herbert being “King of the Fountain,” in his own private courtyard!

Cheers to you from ever vigilant Herbert, the no longer feral cat~

Waders~

Wading Birds like this oystercatcher are fascinating to watch. I photographed this American Oystercatcher in South America.

This Black Oystercatcher, near The Holler, was a rare sighting.


California has about 668 species of birds. The Holler, and nearby environs alone, account for approximately 500 of them, including a variety of waders. Little Blue Herons can be found near the coast, and are seen less often, closer to The Holler.

Majestic Great Blue Herons are common.

They sometimes show up at our front door!

Sandhill Cranes stand over four feet tall and are further afield.

They winter at The Salton Sea.

Snowy Egrets are everywhere. This guy was near the coast.

His green crab lunch was a bit crabby and hard to swallow!

Cheers to you from The Holler’s wonderful waders~

The Canadians Are Coming~

I have heard quite a few Americans talking about moving to Canada, (including yours truly on occasion).  But I never hear Canadians talking about emigrating to the USA.  So I was very surprised when these guys showed up in force on Holler lakes. They haven’t been here before.

I also rarely see Canadians squabble amongst each other, but these guys certainly do! We were hanging out with a congenial group of happy gooseys, when all of a sudden, an invading nautical army launched themselves across the lake, to drive the peaceful gooseys away!

Come to think of it, they do kinda remind me, just a bit, of Canadian hockey players……

Anyhoo, the hockey player geese certainly did not hesitate to ram their way ashore and displace the more peaceful gooseys. 

There was lots of hissing and honking, shoving, and general mayhem, just like a hockey game!


The peaceful gooseys were so upset by this hostile behavior, they just packed up their picnics, and swam away. I knew just how they felt. I tend to respond, to even a hint of conflict, in the exact same way.


The smartest goose of all, stayed away from everyone, hung out by himself, and took a nap on the hiking trail.


He made friends with my son, smart goose.


I suspect the fires up north confused these gooseys and they decided to fly further south and check out the real estate. Apparently, they liked what they saw, cuz’ there are a whole bunch of them here! I hope they decide to stay all winter, and come back every year, because I love Canadians! 

Cheers to you from The Holler’s new Canadians~

Desert Moonscapes~

Carve impossible vistas.

Jumbled and stacked.

Boulders perch, tossed like balls.

Cracked spines.

Desert ice cream cones.

Joshua Trees twist in tortured poses.

Mother Nature’s iconic artistry.

A gift to treasure and protect.

Joshua Tree National Park encompasses almost 800,000 acres and straddles both The Mojave and Colorado Deserts in Southern California. Joshua Trees are not trees at all, but a variety of Yucca, sculpted into bizarre shapes by desert winds. The eerie rock formations were formed eons ago by cooling lava, that cracked and split from fault uplifting, and eroded over time by wind, water and sand.

100’s of species survive in this harsh desert landscape, despite summer temperature that reach well above 100 degrees fahrenheit. Native Americans inhabited this region for thousands of years and their artifacts remain scattered throughout the park. Be careful or you will walk right by them! We encountered this metate, or grinding stone, on a hike.

Cheers to you from Joshua Tree’s stunning and fragile ecosystem~

Holler Lakes & Birds~

There are several lakes surrounding The Holler that provide wonderful places to hike, picnic and birdwatch.

This osprey was vigilant,

intently watching the lake for her next meal (despite the feather stuck on her beak.)

Bald eagles are congregating in greater numbers around Holler lakes,

which thrills me to no end, because they were almost wiped out locally, and I went decades without seeing them here.

Brewer’s Blackbirds are common at The Holler. They are very friendly birds and often eat out of my son’s hands.

Ring necked ducks were on the lake in force,

resting from migration.

The area around The Holler burned extensively in 2007, destroying 1000’s of homes and extensive habitat. You can see the progress of regrowth and the burned trees on the horizon.

Cheers to you from beautiful, burning, California, my native state~

Belfast Alainn~

Belfast is beautiful!

Like Dublin, Belfast has scores of fascinating, historic old pubs to crawl. One of the most famous is The Crown built in 1827. The art deco interior has ten snugs, which are private mahogany booths with doors, surrounded by stained glass and hand made tiles.

Belfast City Hall has an array of striking stained glass windows depicting important events in Irish history. This glass is dedicated to the two million souls who suffered and died in the Irish potato famine.

City Hall itself is an architectural gem. Built in 1898, it has a gorgeous grand staircase,

replete with a stunning interior dome and rotunda.

Belfast is a very fun city to explore, full of vibrant street art, interesting shops,

and, as cannot be emphasized enough, wonderful pubs! Kelly’s is another classic pub. It is the oldest licensed pub in Belfast, built in 1720.

Kelly’s is lovely inside and out, and full of some of your soon to be newest best friends!

Cheers to you from soulful Belfast~

Hollerites~

We have the best neighbors at The Holler,

the kind with feathers.

They are the most populous of all The Hollerites,

and they make the most congenial neighbors.

At the first sign of conflict,

they just fly away,

and land somewhere quieter.

I try and emulate them,

leaving crowds behind,

and seeking my own quiet spaces.

The only problem is I can’t fly! 

Cheers to you from the feathered Hollerites~

(Note: I did this post with the new Gutenberg editor which was kind of fun. Can you detect any differences?)