…at the Santa Cruz Arboretum.
Recently we had the pleasure of having an Anna’s (I assume 🙂 ) hummingbird make its nest in a rhododendron tree in our backyard. I was lucky enough to witness the moment when baby number two got brave enough to take its first flight. We’d been watching for the few weeks it takes from nesting to fledging, so it was a pretty emotional moment watching baby number two leaving the nest and I became quite weepy about it all. 🙂 Is today the day? Maybe? But the nest is so warm, even though the sibling left yesterday. Whoah, wings help to not fall off the edge of the nest?! Who knew? What else can these wing things do? Flaptastic! And away we go! Okay, that was tiring. Where’s my mum? I’m hungry after all that effort! Hummermama assist! Just chilling :). Whew, the world is a big place! I think you’ve got this, little guy. Come back and visit regularly, please! ____________________________________________________ Bonus Hummermama keeping an eye on things: Second bonus, baby hummer number one shortly after leaving the nest the previous day (baby one was always the bolder of the two 🙂 ): And now, we just have an empty nest, but what a lovely nest it is.
My friend reminded me, through posting the cutest video of a prairie dog, that I had taken a few photos of these adorable animals at the San Francisco Zoo a little while back. Just look at these little guys :).
Well, I mean, obviously she’s a cat. But, you know.
I went away with my dear friend Inna for a couple of days to Bodega Bay and while we were there we visited the beautiful and deeply touching Children’s Bell Tower memorial. It is a memorial to Nicholas Green, a young boy who was killed in 1994 when his family was holidaying in Calabria, Italy. Thieves mistook the family’s rental car for a jeweller’s car and attempted a robbery, and Nicholas was shot and killed as a result when the thieves opened fire. His parents then chose to donate his organs and this incredible generosity came to be known as “The Nicholas Effect”, greatly increasing the rates of organ donation in Italy. You can read more about this story here and here, because if I keep on writing, I’m going to be a blubbering mess again.
I got a new lens (Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8) for an upcoming trip to Iceland, Norway and the UK. So it’s intended for the big landscapes we’re going to see, but of course I had to test it out as soon as it arrived last night. Thank goodness for willing fuzzball subjects :).
The husband and I had the rare opportunity to visit one of California’s parks that doesn’t allow dogs (and there are a lot of those, sadly): the beautiful Point Lobos. We’d attended a beautiful wedding in Monterey the night before and all of our fuzzy babies were being taken care of by a good friend, so the timing was perfect. And, as usual, I need to get a bigger lens for sightings of sea otters and harbour seals. 🙂
Spied at the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden with me wishing I’d had a more appropriate lens! (crop, crop, crop)
We popped up to UC Berkeley Botanical Garden today to see Trudy the titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum, for those unafraid of a giant, misshapen phallus). The titan arum is also known as the corpse flower, because when in bloom the stench produced is supposed to smell very much like a decaying body. After their first bloom (which can take 7-10 years to build up to), they then bloom only once every 2-7 or so years, so we felt it was kind of a big deal to get our arses up to UC Berkeley when they finally announced on their Facebook page that Trudy was ready for her public. So, with all the anticipation, I was ready to be completely amazed by the flower and completely grossed out by the smell, but alas (?), when we got to spend five minutes with Trudy, she had not pulsed any smell out in our direction (or “plantfarted”, as I’ve coined it). I didn’t mind, though, because it was quite the thrill to see such an unusual and rare plant at all. It was so encouraging to see the long lines at the garden to see Trudy, too, and I can’t help but think that a lot of it was down to the power of social media to get the word out. Trudy was so in demand that the Garden was running a shuttle bus to a carpark and back all day, not to mention staying open two hours longer to accommodate all the eager beavers. In front of us in the long long to the tropical room where Trudy was being admired all day was a lovely father and his two young sons. He spent the entire time explaining absolutely everything to his boys and they hung off his every word. Later I saw them playing some kind of make-believe wizard game on the lawn and I couldn’t help but think what a great parent he was, and what sweet kids. They were all amused at a rather peristent bee that kept landing on the flowers of my handbag and I have to say, the giggling was contagious ;). After visiting Trudy, we had an entirely pleasant wander around the garden and then visited Cha Ya, our favourite Japanese (vegetarian!) restaurant in Berkeley.
I was looking through some old photos this morning and came across this ridiculous face. Miro, five years ago :).
This is Tzara. He’s 17 years old and was born in Hopper’s Crossing, Victoria, Australia. In his life, he has, like his human mother, lived in Melbourne (Australia), Singapore (Singapore), Pittsburgh (USA) and Saratoga (USA). He is a total sweetheart and I love him.
This lavender looks like it’s growing tiny pansies on it.
Eventually I went to help out my poor husband, but it was important to get photos first, right? 🙂
This is Myrna, named after the delightful actor Myrna Loy. We adopted her after we discovered that some neighbours had abandoned her when they moved out. She’s a sweet girl and is gradually getting used to the rest of our fuzzballs. She’s particularly fond of the rainbow ribbon toys, as you’ll see in the pictures below:
My magnificent dog being fabulous 🙂
So, the bloke and I went on a week-long trip to stay at a sweet cabin in Carmel. We were celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary a few months late. While I took hundred of photos, here’s a few to start with. More processing when I get some time!
I almost typed “redneckia”, but that would be a different kind of flower entirely.
Look at that dog. He is awesome.
…and his dad :).
Thought I’d reprocess a snow light tulip photo.
Just some wee wildflowers found during a Portola Valley hike.
I love Miro’s smile :).
Wooden shutters and candle holders, really. But maybe this is what it was like when they took Fox Mulder’s sister away… ;).
I got a tiny bit less busy for a second, so I grabbed a camera and this is what happened. 🙂
I couldn’t decide which orientation I liked better, so I’m posting both. These are my birthday flowers from my delightful and extremely sweet husband. He rocks! 🙂
So, last year I noticed these trees popping up everywhere around here. From a distance they reminded me very much of the Western Australian “Christmas Tree” (Nuytsia floribunda). I didn’t think to take a photo of the gorgeous flowers on the tree last year, but this year I parked at the local library and wandered through the Heritage Orchard to the two tall trees that I first noticed in the middle of all the apricot trees. Once I got up close to the flowers, I thought, “Hmmm, these look like grevillea flowers, but on a huge tree?” So, I’ve since found out that these trees are actually the grevillea robusta aka Australian Silver Oak. At least I was right about it being from my home country, just not my home state. Still, what a stunner:
I do! These are all from Filoli gardens. They do like to go extravagant with the tulips :).
Spied at one of the local nurseries a few days ago. Such a fiery red, this dahlia is pretty sexy :).
Something that I didn’t know until this year is that parsley flowers are incredibly pretty. Last year I planted an Italian parsley plant in a large pot in my garden. It kept growing through what passes for winter here and then in the spring it bolted. Being curious, I thought, okay, carry on, show me your flowers. And now I’ve been putting them in cut flower arrangements . After a little research, I’ve found out that it’s a bi-annual (flowers in the second year). I may just have to go and sprinkle the seeds in my yard and create a parsley forest for the pocket gophers…
At one of our favourite places again: Filoli! We try and get out there regularly, as it changes so much throughout the year. This photo was taken in early spring, right when all the tulips were in bloom and everything was really going nuts :).
So, we built an outdoor cat room for the three little cat munchkins and they pretty much dig it. 🙂
When we moved into this house a couple of years ago the backyard was completely barren and the earth was dry, hard clay. Mostly due to the ridiculous practice of the gardeners spraying anything that dared grow with some kind of chemical. Now, wild chamomile has decided to sprout up in one section of the garden where last year I had planted just one plant of an entirely different chamomile plant. Sadly, the bumper crop of chamomile is being decimated by moles (or something burrowing), but my way of thinking is that they’re aerating the soil while they destroy these “free” flowers, so I’m not too pissed off about the state of affairs. Woo, optimism! 🙂
I remember when I lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the forsythia always made me happy because, along with the crocus and snowdrops, it signaled the end of winter. Except for those times when there would be a freak snow storm after that. Which was about every other year…
Are they spectacular things? 🙂
Linaria reticulata “flamenco” to be precise. I was at one of the local nurseries and spotted this rather groovy plant :).
Isn’t nature awesome with its groovy patterns? 🙂
So this little guy had to go to the vet because his eyes were leaking goopy stuff. It turns out that he’s visiting an ophthalmologist on Monday to have his eyes properly checked out, not because of the goop but because his retinas apparently look weird and he’s not responding to light properly. So, it’s not just his slightly dopey personality that makes him occasionally run into things, it seems! Poor guy. Still, he’s in terribly good spirits and seems to have no idea at all that anything’s up. 🙂
I think this is a cherry tree, but I’m not entirely sure. I just dug how the moss and the blossoms look together :).
I’m always astounded by how very blue delphinium is. Such a majestic flower :). And it’s still spring, so this blog is all about the flowers, clearly.
So, we were continuing building an outdoor room for our cats today when this visitor decided that one of the top beams would be a great place to get its moult on. 🙂
The amount of crab apples that are going to appear on this tree is going to be freakish, I would imagine. 🙂
The smell was so, so good :). These flowers always remind my of the little plastic bits that hold birthday cake candles.