I have ignored my blog since the holiday letter back in December. The last couple weeks I have been organizing and purging photos. Seeing them motivated me to do an update. Again, like last summer, I am not working. I decided instead of a paid, 40-hour job, I would look for a volunteer, interpretive\naturalist spot. In the spring agencies were still hesitant to say if visitor centers would be open and if walking tours etc. would be happening. So while I was starting to look, I had not applied anywhere. Then, as RVers like to say, "the jello melted." Plans changed when I discovered I had a growth in one of my kidneys. With surgery in June and a month of recuperation and getting the motorhome ready to travel, it made more sense to stay put. I am surviving an especially hot summer on my lot in Coarsegold. I've learned lots of techniques to keep it cooler inside with tiny portable AC to assist the main AC, with fans, and methods to help my refrigerator keep up. The good news is that the growth was removed without undue trauma to the kidney; this kind of malignancy is taken care of by removal. No treatment, just some cat scans in the future.
Since I am on the tough news, I'll finish before moving to the positives. My sister, Eileen, died in June. She had had several bouts of cancer and this final one reached her brain. Those who know me well know that we had a difficult relationship, especially in adulthood. Still, she was my sister. We had a shared history and as I concentrate on the childhood years I remember the good times. She had a great sense of humor. Although she never did well in school and had serious dyslexia, she was exceptionally bright and not much got past her. She was the most limber person I have ever known and could bend her body into positions most of don't think of as possible. She had a voice that carried and neighborhood mothers would use her to call their kids down from our summer cardboard sliding and rope swinging on the hills surrounding our neighborhood. Her first word was "Betty" which delighted my 8 year- old-self. Later, when she began stringing words together she referred to me as "my Betty."
A friend here and I have been asked to do some articles for magazines highlighting our park. We have done better on the exploring than finishing anything, but that too will come. I have plenty of photos and will share some of them here. I still have fun with the wildlife and am making slow progress in getting "my" feral feline, Kimchi to trust me. This year we have not one Cooper's Hawk but a family of three. They decided they liked my neighbors' birdbath more than mine so they are further away for photographing, but I have managed. I also got some shots of the rattlesnake who had decided my lot was a great place. The second time I saw her, I was alerted by the birds and squirrels and when I opened my door she was coming out from under my step and was headed across the patio. That time the park manager came up and dispatched her. He attempted to capture her, but she was big and feisty and finally he asked for a shovel. She was a pregnant female so, while I hate to kill the wildlife that was here before we were, I am also thankful not to have dozens of babies rattlesnakes around.
I am having fun photographing the manzanita trees with their curling bark and satiny limbs and trunks.
And the oaks and the acorns that get stored. The first photo has them mostly recovered but the second, a manzanita, still has one tucked in a crack.
Spring brings water to Coarsegold Creek, and an array of wildflowers.
Coarsegold Creek flows through the park where I live. So does the old original stagecoach road to Yosemite. Here the road fords the creek. Right now it is dry and you can walk across it without getting your shoes wet. Often it is okay for wading, or driving a golf cart across. We will have winter storms or years with a heavy snow pack higher up which makes the creek impassible as it melts.
After my friends Betty and Lance and Char and Dave and I had all had our vaccinations, we made a trip to Hanford. South and a bit east of us, Hanford has a number of treats. We were focused on two of them; ice cream and China Alley.
China alley is what remains of the once vibrant Chinese community there. Hanford was a railroad town and many Chinese immigrants (at that point they were not allowed to become citizens and few women were in their number) worked primarily for railroads, agriculture and in gold camps. This one block long street has been preserved. Unfortunately the week before we visited there was a fire in the Temple\museum. We could see the blackened areas around the doors and windows. But firefighters got the fire out before it spread or caused major structural damage. However, many artifacts were lost. And the museum which we were anxious to see is closed indefinitely. However, the tea shop had some of the museum pieces on display so they are unharmed and we got to see some of them.
Another treat in Hanford is Superior Dairy. This family run business, in operation since 1929, is noted for their huge servings of great ice cream and humongous Sundaes and other concoctions. Since they were only open for take out, which we ate across the street sitting on the edge of the fountain, we did not opt for something more difficult to handle than a single scoop of ice cream. B&L and C&D shared those. I had to eat my whole "scoop" by myself. One of the few places that has lemon ice cream (not sherbet, or lemon ice, but lemon ice cream) so that is what I always have. There are several historic buildings, museum etc but things had not fully opened up yet.
Summer is here. We've had record number of three digit days, beginning before usual. It is dry, hot, fire danger is high. The family of Cooper's Hawks has been hogging the bird bath next door and since they prey on small birds, the small birds are coming to my baths. But during the heat of mid-day, the hawks simply sit in the birdbath and most of the small birds are on shaded tree branches or under bushes.