Tag Archive | Cindy Barton LCSW

Valparaiso Open Air Art~

There are hundreds of wall sized open air painted murals all over Valparaiso.

Click to enlarge this photo to see how the artist recycled plastic soda bottles to create living window planters for her imaginary town and writes about the need to creatively recycle plastics .

The talent and creativity of these artists blows me away.

In this hostel, I zoomed in on the art around the doorway in the photos below, so you can see the detail.

What strikes me is how talented these artists are,

and how many of them will remain unrecognized.

It is often luck that makes one famous, and another unknown.

In a fairer world, all these artists would be recognized for the true talent they have.

Valparaiso is full of gifted artists, but it also has so many poor people, and the largest slums in Chile.

The unfair fact this illustrates is that talent and poverty often reside together.

Please note: I am traveling by sea now and have limited access to internet. I will check in when possible but please excuse my inability to be responsive online.

Cheers to you from the talented artists of Valparaiso~

Bird on a Wire~

Ospreys aren’t usually avid people watchers.

But this guy was!

He couldn’t hide his cross-eyed curiosity about the strange human looking up at him.

Eventually, he resumed more raptor-like disdain,

and went about the serious business of people ignoral.

He focused on anything but the nosy photographer.

Finally, my presence outlived his patience,

and off he flew in a rapturous huff!

Cheers to you from the people-watching osprey~

Local Feathers~

Stellar Jays live in the pine forests in Southern California’s mountains.

Oregon Dark Eyed Juncos are local birds and are related to sparrows.

Burrowing Owls are “a species of special concern,” in Southern California, where much of their natural habitat has been destroyed by development. Petitions are being submitted to the state to change their status to endangered.

This handsome jay was hanging out on a picnic table, waiting for a handout.

So, of course, I gave him one!

Juncos are quite tiny, and rather shy, so they are hard for me to photograph. This guy was unusually cooperative!

Burrowing owls nest underground to hide from raptors and raise their young. People and organizations all over California are setting up underground Burrowing Owl boxes to help shelter and protect these adorable owls. It is a rare thrill to see them out of the boxes curious about the human who is photographing them! These guys were being sheltered by The Big Bear Zoo & Rehabilitation Center.

Cheers to you from a few of our local feathers~

Flow River Flow~

The Holler is getting hammered by storm after storm. This is the view looking north from our back patio, taken on Valentines Day as The Holler was being hit with the most massive rain storm. You can see raindrops on the lens. My iphone sent me 6 flash-flood warnings in 24 hours.

Here is the lower pasture being chewed up by the little creek which turned into a rapid-filled, raging river. The pasture gate is the white structure in the back left of the photo. It partially collapsed in the onslaught.


The river flows.
It flows to the sea.
Wherever that river goes,
that’s where I want to be.
Flow river flow,
past the shaded tree.
Go river, go, to the sea.

(Lyrics: The Byrds)

We hiked along the creek in the pouring rain on Valentines Day. You can see my son by the oxbow, to give you perspective on how big the creek is. It was thirty feet wide at some sections and was carrying logs and trees along like matchsticks!

Our rain gauge kept over-filling at 6 inches, and more storms are on the horizon.

Southern California is getting more snow than Boston, and the Sierras have the biggest snowpack in the country.

This is The Holler looking east this morning. It is still snowing in the mountains, which are obscured by clouds, but there is sunshine here today, with more rain forecasted.

And this is the view to the west. Our multi-year drought is finally over!! Cheers to you from the very wet, and very happy, Holler~

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~

Hiking the Holler~

The Holler is surrounded by thousands of empty acres.

It has many oak groves, and permanent and seasonal creeks running through it.

900 of these acres are set aside as a permanent nature preserve, and many more 1000’s of acres are still free from human development.

There are no hiking trails or public access, but we live adjacent to the preserve and hike it several times a week.

The Holler was first settled in the 1890’s and consisted of 2,700 acres. It was a working ranch for much of its history. Crumbling fences and old ranch dirt roads remain. We hike the dirt roads, and game trails, which are everywhere.

This is the lower pasture below our house, and this is where we access the preserve.

Since people are not here, The Holler is full of wildlife and has an entirely different feel from hiking in parks that people frequent. This natural ecosystem is unique for over-developed Southern California.

We see oodles of tracks, coyotes, bobcat, cougar, raccoon, but no deer. There are no deer because there are too many predators for them to survive. There are lots of kill sites and bones scattered around, but I will spare you photos of these, even though I have them.

And of course there are hundreds of birds! Cheers to you from the still wild Holler~