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Sunburst~

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The sunflowers grew tired of growing in their garden.

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So they picked up long legs and walked away.

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After traveling awhile, they arrived at The Holler, hot and bothered.
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They realized too late, as we often do, how good they had it in their garden.

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I put them in water, and took their photos, cheering them up considerably.

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I hope their sunburst cheers you too~

Note: the color in these photos is not enhanced. I have been experimenting with food coloring in flower water. Blue makes some incredible effects which I will show you later. If you’re interested check out:
http://www.wikihow.com/Dye-Flowers

The Methuselah Grove~

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The Great Basin Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in The White Mountains of California/Nevada have the world’s oldest living non-clonal organisms, ancient bristlecone pine trees. Non-clonal means these trees are not genetic duplicates of a parent organism, but are in fact, original organisms.
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The oldest known tree in the basin is 5,065 years old and was germinated in 3051 BC. This tree started growing before the first pyramid was built-in Egypt.

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Another, Methuselah, is 4,848 years old.
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The White Mountains run parallel to the Sierras in the west and Death Valley in the east.

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White Mountain is a sister peak to Mt. Whitney, the highest mountain in the continental US. When you hike here you look to your left at almost eye level with Mt. Whitney, and to your right at the lowest non-submerged place in North America, Death Valley.

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In the dolomite covered White Mountains these ancient organisms continue to thrive in white powdery soil that was once an ancient sea bed.

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When you touch the non-bark covered cambium layer of these ancient ones, it is like touching living stone. Something you have never felt before.

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The bristlecones survive possibly because they live in an isolated hostile location, which makes them strong, and creates the almost impervious density of their stone-like structure.
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To say that I was blown away by being here is a huge understatement.
I am hoping the lack of protection afforded the ancient ones is purposeful. They are hard to get to, even harder to hike to, and not very many people know about them. Plus, for much of the year, due to winter snow, they are inaccessible.
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There is nothing here but these living fossils.
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I never knew about these trees, even though I have driven near them all my life to go skiing, and now I can’t even imagine the world without them.
Cheers to you from the ancient ones~

http://www.arizona.edu/keepers-prometheus-worlds-oldest-tree

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_oldest_trees

http://www.historyofinformation.com/expanded.php?id=3441

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 d├ętente. 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

Rijksmuseum 17th Century Dollhouses~

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In the 17th century, women in Holland created and displayed miniature dollhouses, in much the same way that men of their era, collected and displayed curiosity cabinets. (You can click the images to enlarge them)
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The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has three of these dollhouses, two are pictured here, one from 1676 and another from 1686.
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These dollhouses were not meant for children and could cost as much as an actual canal house at the time.
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One dollhouse creator Petronella Oortman, commissioned artists of her day to create a perfectly to scale house with marble floors, sculpted ceilings, hand painted wall frescoes, and doors that opened on a garden with a working fountain. She commissioned miniature porcelain from China.

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There is something about these miniature worlds that fascinate us to this day, whether it be scale model trains and towns, or intricate dollhouses.

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Many humans like to be creators and masters of their own perfect little worlds, absent the stress and strife of real life. They are miniature dream worlds where everything is beautiful and peaceful.

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These old dollhouses are time capsules, that allow us to travel back in time and imagine what life was like in 1686 living in Holland, on the canals, in this house.

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Creating a house like this must be like Zen meditation, the creator lost in the bliss of their own imagination.
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I would love to make one, but can well imagine the mounting costs, and how much I might get into it.
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But it is free to look at these amazing houses, that others have built before us, and it sends our imaginations soaring across time, back to them.
Cheers to you and may your New Year be happy and peaceful~

Cabin Fever and The Ol’ Wild West~

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Okay, this is a big log cabin! The fireplace weighs 500 tons and is 85 feet tall.
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It is of course the six-story lobby of The Old Faithful Inn built in 1903-4.

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I have a fever for all kinds of cabins.
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They remind me of pioneers, fortitude and the American West.

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There seems to be living history you can feel in the real old ones that are still in use.
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Jim loves experiencing this too.
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We like to stay in cabins and imagine a simpler, more natural world.
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With fire for warmth, log walls for safety and wild animals as constant companions.
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At home in the wilderness…..
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Can you imagine what it was like to travel like a pioneer, stake out a claim, and build your cabin?
Okay, okay, there would be no wi-fi, no indoor plumbing, no grocery stores.
Can you imagine NO WIFI…..Ever????
I can bare knuckle it for 10 days max.
Cheers to you from the, almost wild, WiFi-west~

Astonishing Estonia!

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The old city walls of remarkable Tallinn, the capitol of Estonia.

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The first fortresses in Tallinn were built in 1050 and the old city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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The stunning Alexander Nevsky Orthodox Cathedral is the the largest in Tallinn.
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Tallinn is visually charming at every turn.
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As visitors we felt warmly welcomed, making the city a delight to visit.
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The Nevsky Cathedral is astonishing.
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As if all this isn’t enough to make you fall in love with Tallinn, it is rated one of the top ten digital cities of the world along with Tokyo and Singapore, because of it’s widely available and free wifi, and it’s general public spirited digital saavy. As a person who travels a lot each year and is addicted to wifi, this is massively appreciated. Thank you Estonia!
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For more on the top ten digital cities of the world check out:
http://www.popsugar.com/tech/Top-10-Digital-Cities-World-325012
Cheers to you from the very fast wifi of Tallinn Estonia!

Love Locks of The Rhine~

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We have just arrived, jet-lagged, in Cologne, Germany. The Cologne Cathedral is on beautiful display outside our hotel window. It is stunning at sunset.
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The Hohenzollern Bridge over The Rhine River leads into the old city. Every inch of the bridge fencing on one side is covered with hundreds of thousands of “love locks!”
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Lovers place these locks on the bridge swearing ever-lasting love and toss the keys into the Rhine.
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We are traveling and I will be blogging as we go. Please understand that I will not be able to follow and comment on your posts as much as I would like. I will check in though, whenever I can.
Until then, cheers to you from beautiful Cologne Germany~