Archives

Red Shafted Flicker~

The Northern Flicker is a type of woodpecker.

In the western US, Flickers have red cheeks and tail feathers, but in the east they have yellow accents.

This guy was so relaxed around me, he started snoozing while I was photographing him,

and then hopped over for a closer look!

I photographed him in The San Bernardino Mountains, near Big Bear Lake California.


These photos were taken before the region was hit with five major storms, leaving several feet of snow and alleviating the drought.

Cheers To you from snowy & birdie, Southern California~

Big Morongo Canyon Preserve~

The Big Morongo Canyon Preserve is a verdant oasis in Southern California’s San Bernardino Mountains.

The 31,000 acre canyon is surrounded by desert,

and is one of California’s ten largest perennial oases.

The preserve is a riparian wilderness with Palm Trees, Cottonwood Trees and Willows, as well as a variety of native shrubs and flowers.

It is a critical wildlife corridor sheltering mountain lion, bighorn sheep, mule deer and bobcat.

It is also hosts up to 274 different varieties of birds during the spring and fall migrations.

The marsh like preserve is perpetually flowering even in late fall and winter.

Cheers to you from the happy wildlife at Big Morongo Canyon Preserve~

Romance & Fine Dining~

Spending the holidays with family in Santa Cruz California,

and spied this young egret on Christmas Day.

He had romance on his mind,

but his timing was all wrong.

He expected affection,

prior to,

fine dining!

Live and learn.

He got the dinner,

but not the date!

Cheers to you from sunny Santa Cruz~

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~

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~

Dublin’s Fair City~


Is really so pretty!

The historic old pubs are lovely,

and fun to explore,

on a good, old-fashioned Irish pub-crawl.

You are guaranteed to make friends because the people are warm, friendly, and often just a tad tipsy!

Dublin is a vibrant, colorful city,

justifiably proud,

of its artistic and literary history.

I am still home at The Holler, but it’s cheers to you from beautiful Dublin~

Witches Woods~


In Oban Scotland, The Dunollie Woodland Trail, will lead you into The Witches Woods.

The deeper you go into the forest, the older it becomes.

The trees in the forest were twisted over time into witch-like shapes by the actions of fierce coastal winds.

Some of the oaks are over 400 years old.

The Witches Woods surround Dunollie Castle,

which was once home to the most powerful clan in Western Scotland, the MacDougalls.

The remains of the castle and the old manor house can be toured.

I was first scheduled to visit Oban about 30 years ago, but The Queen was doing a walk about, so our plans were changed. I am happy to have finally visited this charming town and the gorgeous Hebrides.

We are home at The Holler now, but it is cheers and BOO to you from misty Oban’s Witches Woods~