Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Holiday Greetings


Wishing you joy and peace

Hello friends and family,

      I know this has been an unusual and often difficult year for all of us.   I just hope it was also a year in which you were able to find joys, insights and strengths.  None of us will forget 2020.

       I usually head to cooler summer locations, traveling or finding a fun seasonal work location.  Not this year. I stayed on my lot in Coarsegold, except for an evacuation, and survived the heat.  I socially distanced.  For someone who enjoys being with people, starting conversations with folks I don’t even know, eating out and exploring new places, I thought this would be particularly difficult.  But I found zoom to be a huge benefit.  I’ve enjoyed the services, on-line activities and discussions at the Unitarian-Universalist Church in Fresno.  I have howled in the evenings with a few neighbors to honor front line workers.  Outside, well distanced, masked, we would  stand and visit for awhile.  I emailed and talked to friends on phones.   I couldn’t help but think how different this was from the 1918 pandemic. Being a bit of a Luddite, I found I appreciated the technology more than I ever expected.

      I took on responsibility for organizing and working on a sanitation crew to help keep our clubhouse and laundry safe.  Although the clubhouse is closed to activities, we need access to mail boxes, office and to wash clothes.  A woman in the park offered to make a mask for anyone who wanted one.  Later, Chris’ daughter made me a half dozen more. The time allowed for the wound on my head (melanoma surgeries) to heal and bald spots to start shrinking. And I love the wildlife on my site and worked on bird photography. I’ve been adopted by a feral cat I’ve named Kimchee. 

  The hard parts were the Creek Fire which came close enough to be a concern.   Our park was not evacuated but the warning area (people being told to get ready and stay tuned for orders) ended just across the road from us.  But the combination of smoke, raining ash and uncertainty got the best of me.  I headed to my cousin’s house in the Bay Area.  Since she had a very small “bubble” it was a safe place and we talked our heads off  Another  hard part was discovering how many people felt they didn’t need to isolate or wear masks to protect people around them.   The election was stressful.   I lost three good friends from my early full-time RVing days as well as two others.

     Now that vaccines are available, we can hope 2021 will be a better year and that we can begin healing the divisions. 

    I wish you a happy holiday season, knowing I am a bit late for Chanukah and for Christmas with hard copies of this letter.   May you all be blessed in the New Year.

    Virtual hugs for now, real ones again someday,


Thanksgiving in a Pandemic

                                    Thanksgiving in a pandemic

This has been a decidedly different kind of year for all of us.  My Thanksgiving certainly was not my norm.    This holiday has always been my favorite; not for the story of the Pilgrims as that does carry with it the demise of the indigenous people of this continent, but because it has always been about sharing a meal, sharing time with friends and family, taking time for the things for which we are thankful, but without all the pressures of Christmas.  

This year I had Thanksgiving alone.  Well, not quite as I was surrounded by the sounds and sights of over a dozen variety of birds, some of which have become so accustomed to me that they stayed less than the required 6 feet away.

I ordered a meal from a restaurant.  After all, I do love all the Thanksgiving foods, but cooking them for one seemed a bit much.   I set colorful cloth placemats and napkin on my patio table, and sat looking out at the view.   With my new hearing aids, I was well aware of all the feathered neighbors, not just the ones I could see but the ones in the trees or otherwise not in view.

The meal was great, with enough for the best part, turkey and cranberry etc. sandwich the next day.  I poured myself a glass of Pinot Grigio, and sat down.  I found that alone, I could take more time to think about the things for which I am thankful, to think about the people who
are important to me and the things in this world I love.  While next year I hope we will all be able to gather with loved ones again, I think that this year was its own kind of blessing.

I had a long phone conversation with an old friend from early full-time RVing days, a zoom conversations with some of the folks from the Unitarian-Universalist Church in Fresno, lots of emails and Facebook messages.  It was a good day.  

Here are some of the friends I shared it with:

Bush Tits don't socially distance



Sunday, July 26, 2020

In My Neighborhood

From my site and looking down over the open slope below it, I see all kinds of wildlife but especially birds.  Since I am not traveling and sharing those experiences, I thought I would introduce you to the friends who are keeping me entertained during this pandemic period.

Hot and dry, the summer makes my two solar bird baths particularly attractive.  And that isn't just for birds.  I've had a doe, bunnies and grey squirrels come for a drink.  I scare off the ground squirrels;   I know they too need water, but they have had a population explosion this year.  Their dens and tunnels are a broken-ankle-waiting-to-happen not to mention the havoc beneath the pavers on my patio.    Fortunately they are skittish so if I am around, just seeing me or having me wave my arms, sends them scurrying down the hill.   

The special treat has been a Cooper's Hawk. 
Here are some of the images.  These were taken on different days and different times of the day so lighting shifts.  It has also used both birdbaths.  The one on the ground took an angle that left me with sore neck and shoulder for a bit; worth it.

As always, if you click on the first one, you can do this as a slide show with enlarged images.  For reasons beyond my comprehension, the images don't look sharp when I view them on this page.  I know they are sharp and they look better when you view them as a slide show, large.

Lots of other birds and squirrels too.    The Lesser Goldfinches, Titmouse, Western Bluebirds, White Breasted Nuthatches, Acorn Woodpeckers and Nuttail's Woodpeckers. and California Quail are all regulars on my site.

This is a young one, bit more than half the size of the adults.

On three digit days I look like this too.  Looking forward to a couple days in the high 80's later this week.