San Rafael Valley, AZ ~~ Photo by Bill Haas

Monday, January 30, 2012


It's been a few whiles since I shared what I like best about the outdoors:  wildflowers.  Here's hoping these wildflowers (some may be repeats) will help cheer you if your mid-Winter day has a slate gray sky.

Cheer up bunkie...Spring will be here before you know it!

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Most of the time I think ads and commercials are pretty lame, but every so often, something coming out of a Madison Avenue right brain makes me chuckle.  Like the woman, Jen, who telephones her boyfriend, Todd, just to tell him she's giving him the silent treatment!
Or, the packaging for "Bugles," my all time favorite junk food snack (recently rediscovered at The Dollar Tree).

I know, I know -- pretty corny.  But I love shaggy dog jokes too.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


...were worn by Karen Lutz, a through-hiker, when, in 1978, she hiked the entire length of the Appalachian Trail, lovingly referred to as "The AT."  A "through-hiker" is someone who hikes the entire distance, from Georgia to Maine, in one season.  Ms. Lutz' fabulous feat took her 5-1/2 months to complete.

Boots made of lightweight fabric and leather last about 1,000 miles; the heavyweight full grain leather boots pictured here lasted 1,600 miles.   Since the entire AT is 2179 miles, I'm guessing Ms. Lutz had to break in TWO pairs of boots as part of her pre-trip planning!  I couldn't see the maker's name on this pair, but they sure look like the Dunhams I used to wear.  (No relation!!)

The AT is well marked and many times tied into local spur trails.  This one appeared on the Tennessee-North Carolina state line in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The Appalachian Trail, a "Scenic Trail" part of the National Park system, was completed in 1937, passes through 14 states, and is meticulously maintained by 31 trail-maintaining hiking clubs throughout its length, thus making the AT the only volunteer-managed National Park.
Some parts of the AT are "improved" with steps, shelters, information kiosks and picnic tables that double as roadside picnic areas, like this one at Dick's Creek Gap, that also provides trailhead parking for day hikers. The trail signage is carved into rock and helps keep hikers oriented.
Other trail sections are more back-to-nature!

As part of her Masters Degree study, Ms. Lutz determined that through-hikers need from 4,000 to 6,000 calories per day. Just imagine the food planning necessary; imagine the fuel conservation necessary; just imagine the fitness training required!  

Today, Ms. Lutz is the Mid-Atlantic Regional Director of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.  Her through-hiker boots were encased at a Blue Ridge Parkway museum honoring the Civilian Conservation Corps and other pioneers.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Enumclaw, WA honey bees
Fort Bragg, CA bumbles
Fort Bragg, CA honey bees
So laden with sweet nectar he can barely fly!
Diggin' in..."I know there's some left in there"!
E.B White's "Song of the Queen Bee" is my absolute FAVORITE poem of all time! Scoffing at mankind, one of the queen's refrains is "...[man] thinks he's advancing as long as he's changing..."  So true!
Most fun when read aloud.  Enjoy!
Never fail to delight
Coarsegold, CA Goldfinches
 Coarsegold, CA Bluebirds of happiness clean up well in my backyard birdbath!
 Coarsegold, CA little red House Finches.  Clicking to enlarge this one, lets you better see the Finch on the right in flight, coming in fast, not to miss his very own primo spot at the banquet "table"!
Coarsegold, CA Blue Jay with an uppity attitude!
An enlargement of this zaftig little sentry was one of eight chosen by members to grace Park Sierra's Clubhouse walls.  His favorite lookout is right outside the front of my rig, where his charges feast on leftover nyjer (thistle) seeds scattered on the ground by rowdy Goldfinches. 
 His name is Stanley.  Don't you think that's just a perfect moniker for him?

Friday, January 13, 2012


 or LYCOGALA EPIDENDRUM to any students of botany or mycology out there.
When in Santa Cruz, I use the disposal station at New Brighton State Park in Aptos to relieve my tanks.  I found these little lovelies on a rotted, downed log near the fresh water spigot.  It was the tiny pink blobs that caught my eye.

These are actually considered a slime mold, not a fungus, and when opened, they ooze a toothpaste-like substance.  Ick!  As interesting as they presented, I chose to go no further and didn't poke any of them!!  For some really nice closeups, go to:

and for images of the slime, go to:

Who names this stuff anyway?!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


 ...linked with the element of fire which represents outgoing, action-oriented energy that seeks spontaneous expression. ....the symbolic focus of the sign is connected to the principle of exploration and evolution....drawn toward travel ... and to enjoy social contacts, meeting new people and exploring other cultures. 
They are said to be tolerant in their views, mainly concerned with the "big picture" but with little patience for the details.  Like all fire signs, Sagittarius can be idealistic in vision but tactless in expression. 

 They are known for their bluntness and are often unaware of their ability to cause anguish in others.

Playing with fire

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Thank you President Obama, for ensuring at least SOME of our troops have been reunited with their families, loved ones and American soil.
Barnside art found at Classic Organic, Gaviota, CA

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


CAMERON reminds me:
Yesterday is history
Tomorrow is a mystery
Today is a gift
That's why we call it "the present."


Monday, January 2, 2012


from Lake Superior State University, MI's tongue-in-cheek "Annual List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness"!

Nominations have been invited from across the globe since 1976, and there are now about 900 words in the university's archives.  This year the top of the list ("amazing") received 1500 nominations.  There's even a Facebook page called "Overuse of the Word Amazing"!  One person quoted in the article I read blamed it all on Martha Stewart, who thinks EVERYTHING'S amazing!!!

Here are 2011's winners:
baby bump
shared sacrifice
win the future
man cave
the new normal
thank you in advance

Those words join last year's list, which included:
a-ha moment

However, usage of some words, like "viral," stubbornly continue to hang on to this day.

I'll wager *you've* got one or two or five idiotic, useless favorites, right?  Like, you know, the word "like"!?!!