My Home Photography Weather/Nature

Sunset Over My Mountains

Jerry and I eat many of our meals on our back deck during these splendid summer days. Yesterday as we did so, we heard very loud thunder and saw thin lightening streaks. Ten drops of rain. Today, our forecast called for a significant chance of rain. Nothing. The skies have been filled with towering thunderheads, and many of the communities around are receiving showers.

Toward evening as I sat on a living room couch, I raised my eyes, looked out the sliding glass door and saw this scene. I picked up my camera, walked to the front deck and snapped. What a beautiful world we inhabit. It’s as though up in Heaven, God mixed all this paint together and dumped it down for us to see. 🙂


Animals Crestline Humor My Home Photography Weather/Nature


I first met him last week when he skittered through our back yard. I took particular notice for it has been a long time since we’ve had a squirrel visit. We used to have lots of bushy-tailed tree squirrels here in Crestline (actually so many, and they so invaded the  bird feeders, that Jerry threatened to scatter them with a little birdshot, but I said, NO!) but during the few years that we lived in Lake Havasu all the squirrels disappeared. Bill said some kind of disease had wiped them out, but we have been thinking they would repopulate. So, when I saw the squirrel, I was excited. Turned out to be just a ground squirrel, although a really big, fat one, and sporting a rather fine tail.

He’s tame. I know he’s a he because, well, because he’s so adventurous and he is so feisty, and when I get close to him he wiggles his nose just like a rabbit. Something a little boy would do. He’s definitely a boy. And he’s definitely tame. He’s so tame I’m trying to teach him to respond when I call, Squirrel. “Your name is Squirrel,” I told him today as he stared at me with bright, little boy squirrel eyes.

He visited our living room today. (Told you he was tame.) Earlier, he had been in the garage, and I had said, “No, you stay out of the garage,” and he obeyed me and ran out and down the blue steps in the back, under which I believe he lives.

Bill must have a mound of acorns somewhere in his yard, for Squirrel runs up from our blue steps, across the yard to the fence between Bill’s yard and ours, squeezes through, and returns with an acorn in his mouth, which he deposits under the blue steps. I watched him do this several times, then set a chair close to the fence and snapped his picture, for I thought you might not believe me if I didn’t show you a picture.

I suppose I left the sliding door open in the back and that’s how he came to visit in the living room. “Jerry, Squirrel’s in here,” I warned.

“Well, get a broom and get him out of here.”

Squirrel ran to a guest bedroom, I trailed, broom in hand, and just stood while he checked out the area under the bed, then ran across the hall, through the study, and toward the back slider. “You can’t be in the house,” I told him. “You have to stay outside.” He understood and without too much fuss went out. I closed the door, and hear me, this is the truth: He did not leave the deck, but turned around to look at me as I stood with my hand on the closed door. He is adorable.

Earlier today he bounded up the front deck steps, cozzied down in a sunny area, and had a time of squirrel reflection, I guess, for he stayed there a long time, gazing off at the distant mountains. A  couple of hours ago as I sat here on the couch, I saw movement on the front deck, and watched as he scampered to the glass, reached up, and standing on two feet peered into the living room! He didn’t stay long enough for me to get my camera, but I did snap him hanging out under one of our tables just a few feet away. I think he wanted me to open the slider.

Wonder how he would take to a leash? Then I could take him for a walk around the lake. Cool, except that given his nature, I think he might not be too fond of being leased. Keep you posted.

Arizona Food Photography Road Trip Journal Weather/Nature

To Sunset (Day 9 Summer Roadtrip 2012)

After arriving in Yuma a little after ten, Jerry set up our rig, I arranged the inside portion of the motor home, then we set down for a light lunch. It was hot, so we stayed inside; temperature reached 112 degrees today.

Remembering we had a Cracker Barrel gift card, being hungry now in the early evening, and not motivated to cook very much, we trekked to our faithful Jeep and drove to Cracker Barrel. I’m ambivalent about Cracker Barrel, although I hesitate to say so for fear of old shoes and rotten tomatoes being thrown my way, for I understand that lots of people revel in the thought of sitting down to a meal in one of these restaurants. Jerry’s food was great (fish and chips), mine was mediocre (chopped sirloin). Cracker Barrel management is brilliant; I give them that, for everyone who enters to have a meal must walk first through the shopping area. Cute things there, reasonably priced. What say you about Cracker Barrel? Of course some will have no opinion, never having had the opportunity to eat at one of these interesting places. I believe there are none in California; probably this one in Yuma is the closest.

The best part of the day now evolved, when heading back toward our rig, I saw this attractive church, set high above the freeway and practically glowing in the magnificent evening light. We turned off, and while Jerry stayed in the parking lot overlooking the Colorado River, where across the way, families were splashing around in that surging cooling water, I climbed many steps to stand before the church.

A firey orb, the sun was setting now showing its splendid glow across one of the numerous agricultural fields here in this area. Jerry was good enough to stop every little bit so I could snap the progression as the sun quickly slipped behind the mountains that loom in the distance.

. . . and day is done.

Crestline Flowers/Gardening My Home Photography Weather/Nature

A Day at Home

On Facebook yesterday, as I was “waxing eloquent” concerning the advantage of living here in Crestline, Jocelyn suggested I should post pictures. “Going out in a few minutes with my camera,” I responded to her, and so I did. I didn’t prowl far, only in our own gardens.

Gazing from our front deck, I saw this vision. I cannot tell you how many shots I’ve taken from this point. (Actually the header on this site is such photography.) Between where I’m standing and the far trees is Lake Gregory. Often clouds spill over the ridge, appearing as foamy water being poured from a gigantic bucket. Mist envelopes the stately conifers.

Friendly lizards scamper about our property, and as I descended the steps, camera over my shoulder, this beautiful one, whom I named Liz, stopped to stare at me. Later when I posted her picture on Flickr (where, by the way, I have thousands of viewable pictures), the following conversation arose:

“Liz is gorgeous!! and she looks like she knows it..:) is she yours? how old is she? :))”

“She must be your pet if you are on a first-name basis. A beautifully detailed shot of this critter.”

“Liz couldn’t have chosen a better background!”

I responded: “I must confess to having met Liz only today. Actually I may have met her before–not sure, but I certainly am acquainted with other members of her family. They freely roam around our property here in Crestline. Friendly little things. Liz stared at me, and when she saw I was taking her picture, and naming her, she sat perfectly still for several shots. She’s beautiful. Did you see that her belly is blue?”

And in response to her choosing such a splendid background, I said, “That’s because in addition to being beautiful, Liz is smart.”

I snapped a quick shot of the front of our house where rockroses are now in full bloom.

Bill’s yard adjoins ours. His rockroses have little faces like pansies.

Our yards have suffered since we’re gone so much, but amazingly we still have some spectacular flowers. These are blooming in the back.

Come see me sometime!

Arizona Lake Havasu Photography Weather/Nature

Moon Night

As the evening’s end, Melina said, “We should have had Moon Pies.”

How right she was, and how I wish I had thought of such a treat. You see it was the night of the biggest full moon of the year and to our Crystal Beach property in Lake Havasu where we are staying in our motorhome we had invited the Jarrid Younkin and Mike Buxton families. I prepared a few snacks, then we visited while we waited for the moonrise for we had been told it would be magnificent. We had the perfect place to view the sight.

The moon will officially become full on May 5 at 11:35 p.m. EDT. And because this month’s full moon coincides with the moon’s perigee — its closest approach to Earth — it will also be the year’s biggest.
The moon will swing in 221,802 miles (356,955 kilometers) from our planet, offering skywatchers a spectacular view of an extra-big, extra-bright moon, nicknamed a supermoon.
Eliana and Josiah helped us scan the sky for signs of the rising of the moon. Oh, and Mac looked too.
I used the term breath-taking advisedly, for when that spectacular orb began its first showing in the far mountains, it was a stunning sight.
Bulging, and rising quickly, the moon peered over the mountains, the city lights, fastened securely below.
The night was dark; the moon a magical light.
Melina had a little magic going on when she held that brilliant orb in her tiny hand.
It hangs by nothing, does that dazzing moon.
It was time to leave then, and that’s when Melina said, “We should have eaten Moon Pies.” She was right.
Crestline Food My Family My Home Photography Weather/Nature

Lunch At Fireside

In a previous post, I told how here in Crestline a couple of days ago the weather changed drastically, taking us from languid summer to chilly winter. Hard rain and strong winds lashed through the night yesterday. and when I looked out the windows in the back of the house this morning, I saw that every blossom on our fruit trees has been ripped off, save for one. The pear, plum, and peach trees are bare of flowers; the apple tree that yesterday was a mass of white flowers today has a single bloom. Drizzle and fog have played the skies all day,

Definitely, it was soup weather. I prepared the ingredients, soon had a pot of potato soup simmering on my cook top, and it was at that time I decided it would be neat if Jerry and I ate our lunch in the living room before the leaping fire that roared in the fireplace. I set in place a small, lightweight table and two chairs, selected neat soup bowls and pretty napkins. Jerry grinned.

I had a little issue with preparing the soup, not having the celery I usually add. I did have a package of Knorr spinach soup/dip mix that I thought might be a good addition. In a cast-iron skillet, I crisply cooked about 1/3 pound of bacon, then setting that aside, I browned 1/2 medium sized chopped onion in the bacon drippings. Into the soup pot I placed peeled, chopped potatoes that I covered with water, the spinach mix, and the onions. Seasoned with salt, pepper, and Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning. After mixture had simmered so that the potatoes were almost tender, I added one can of evaporated milk, letting the soup continue to simmer very slowly. The soup was delicious, made even better when Jerry and I added crumbled crisp bacon and grated cheddar cheese to our bowls of steaming potato soup.

Though extremely familiar to us, and very ordinary, the ambiance was exceptional. 🙂

Christianity/Religion Death Home Photography Weather/Nature


“Why don’t we eat on the front deck?” Jerry said as I prepared lunch a few hours ago.

“Fine with me,” I said as I reached for a large tray on which to place our food and drink.

We’ve been home here in Crestline for a week and it has been delightful summery weather. We’ve had doors and windows open, I’ve padded barefoot on the decks where I had laid rugs and where I had placed furniture that in the winter time I move inside. I plopped down three elegant pillows on the front-deck swing, and from time to time I sit there and gaze at the swaying trees. Always there are birds. At times they call,  the abundant little chickadees saying chick a dee, chick a dee.Tulips were blooming in the back yard when we arrived last Monday, and I picked one and placed it on the sill in the kitchen, where I admired its ragged shape and deep color. Daffodils by the thousands are blooming here in the San Bernardino Mountains and once on my way back from grocery shopping this week, I stopped longside a mountain roadway and snapped these images, admiring the tender light playing over and through the yellow and white forms.

As Jerry and I ate our lunch, we noticed clouds spilling over the southern rim of the rising mountains and then I felt a chill in the air. We napped, and when I awoke it was definitely cold and I noted the wind to have picked up and that now we were completely fogged in. I dashed about bringing in the rugs and pillows and closing windows and doors. At the kitchen window I checked the thermometer. Three hours after Jerry and I had eaten turkey sandwiches in balmy weather, the temperature had dropped 22 points and now read 48 degrees. Amazing.

“A fire,” Jerry said. “I’m building a fire.” And so he did.

Change. This dramatic alteration in our weather brought me to a place in my mind I often go, for in recent years Jerry and I have had to make severe changes in our lives, and I frequently consider them. These changes owe in part to our ages and again to varied other circumstances. Some of our changes have been difficult; others have been pleasant and easy. Change is inevitable. Comes to all. Let us be prepared for those startling, uneasy moments so that with grace we will accept the unavoidable.

This past week, in ghastly ways, two of my friends have had severe change come to them. In both cases the change involved the death of dear family members; one, the loss of a cherished 16 month-old grandbaby, the other, the sudden unexpected death of an adult son. I am not close friends to either of these godly women, yet I grieve for each of them and have prayed sincerely for God’s comfort to envelop them.

Edit Tuesday, April 24: And a few hours ago another of my friends lost her 30 year old daughter…but listen as this godly woman writes of this dreadful change in her life:

Isaiah 55:8

For my thoughts are not your
thoughts,neither are your
ways my ways,saith the LORD.

He has plans for accomplishing his PURPOSES which are different from ours and he secures our own welfare by schemes that cross our own.We must HEAR the VOICE of God in our thoughts.We have to go GOD’S WAY and not our own way.
When I think of the GOODNESS of GOD my soul cry’s out HALLELUJAH!!Thank God for saving me!

I want to thank everyone for their prayers for my daughter Vanessa Willet….Vanessa went home to be with the LORD. She was a miracle in our life she wasn’t suppose to live but God had MERCY and at 3 moths old she had open heart surgery…She had congesitional heart failure and by God’s MERCY she lived until 30 yrs old.Gilbert & I will miss her deeply and she will always be in our hearts and thoughts..Our greatest JOY is that she made things right with GOD….My heart smiles to know she made it..

Praise the LORD!
♥ Gilbert & Katy Buelna

Food My Home Photography Weather/Nature

A Snowy Day

Inexplicable is my love for snow. Some say it is because I grew up in Missouri, so snow and snow play are a big part of my childhood memories. Others, though, who grew up in cold wintry places are of contrary thinking, proclaiming that for years they had enough of that kind of weather and are happy to live in southern California, or similar place, where they are done with such activities. Why do I love snow? Why do I love storms, even lightning and thunder and pounding rain and sleet and hail? though always with the thought that no one be hurt, and that no property be damaged. Is it merely the drama of a storm? Could it be that my subconscious considers the threat of danger and couples this with the assurance of shelter, fire and food, and that attracts me?

Perhaps, though, my love of snow is for the sheer beauty of falling downy flakes  as they fuse to cover the earth and tree branches and rooftops. A miracle is snow, and although comprehension eludes me, I am told that no two flakes are alike. Amazing, a wonder from God, for over time, multiplied trillions of snowflakes have fallen. And none are the same? A quiet waltz is the coming, except that is not always so, for some times when I open the glass, I hear a faint sizzling sound.

Robert Frost shared my infatuation with snow, for he writes of stopping on a snowy evening as, on a dark road, he travels with a horse-drawn carriage. He watches as snow fills a meadow.

Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Clouds moving over the lake gave early promise to the snow forecast. I was eager and set up a couple of elements to show the progress through the day. The first flakes came just before 10:00 as I spoke on the phone with Rebecca.

Jerry likes snow, too, although he is not as enthusiastic as I am about it, but he did agree to go for a walk after it had been snowing hard for about an hour. We had decided to invite Mary to join us for a simple dinner of pinto beans cooked with a ham hock, and freshly baked cornbread, so, using snow-ski poles to help with balance, he went over to tell her we would be eating about 5:00. (Turned out to be stubborn beans, so it was after 6:00 when we finally ate. :))

It was snowing hard, and I was struggling to take pictures, while at the same time trying to keep my camera from becoming excessively wet.

Finally, the fog and snow mixed so that from our windows it was a whiteout. Later in the day, for a few minutes, the air cleared and I caught a quick view of the houses and trees across the lake–now gloriously decked in white. Then the skies closed again.

In the evening Mary came for dinner. We ate, sat by the fire, talked and laughed, then it was time for her to go. She pulled on her boots, we encouraged her to be careful, and watched as she crossed the street to her little place.

It had stopped snowing quite a while before we went to our bedroom for the night. Lying in bed, I listened for wind, wished for more snow, and imagined the ermine fairyland that might greet me in the morning when I pulled the living room drapes.

Crestline Photography Weather/Nature

Grocery Shopping in the San Bernardino Mountains

Perhaps to excess so that others find my conversation boring do I speak glowingly of  living here in the San Bernardino mountains, and of how blessed of God do I feel to call this place my home.. “I need to work for the Crestline Chamber of Commerce,” more than once I have half-teasingly said to someone.

My routine trip to the grocery store yesterday reinforced this notion.

The parking lot at Stater Brothers was cramped. On the far corner as I drove about looking for an available spot, I spied this view. Its beauty is rare, yet in one sense, it is common to me, for during routine grocery shopping errands, I see this. How can I not feel blessed?

I’ve never clocked it, but I think I travel between six and eight miles to the grocery store in Lake Arrowhead. (A locally-owned super market is in Crestline where I also shop, but prices, quality and selection are much better at Staters, so for a larger amount of groceries, I go there.) Often on these trips I travel the “backway,” which takes me through Blue Jay and a couple of other little communities. Yesterday, I chose to travel home by way of Highway 18 which–with good reason–is dubbed The Rim of the World Highway.

Spread before me as I pulled into one of the picnic areas off the highway were these scenes.

Perhaps I am peculiar, but I found the sight of that large, freshly fallen pine cone appealing. I’m glad I left it for someone else to admire, but if my grandkids come back before the snow falls, I want to take them to gather pine cones. (Four-year-old Ella calls them pineapples. 🙂  ) Thousands lie about.

Crestline My Family Photography Weather/Nature

Eleventh of Eleven

Today was the last day of the eleven that Jerry and I had the oversight of the five children who belong to our son Andrew and his wife Shawnna, who spent the eleven days vacationing in Hawaii. The children range in age from 4 to 16.

These have been wonderful days, but I think today was the finest of all. Started this way: Rebecca and Nathaniel came up about 10:30, we loaded everyone in two cars–Rebecca’s and ours, tossed in a few snacks, chairs, fishing tackle and headed down to the lake which is about 5 minutes from our house. It was a glorious day, brilliant sky, temperature in the mid ’80s, hint of a breeze, and we found a perfect spot beneath trees where we set up and the kids set to fishing and traipsing about.

Suddenly a bald eagle began flying over the lake, soaring through the crystal sky and then settling into the top of a large pine tree. I snapped several pictures from where we sat, then began walking, until finally I stood beneath the tree where the majestic bird still perched. What an opportunity to see and to photograph such a splendid bird.

At home, I had left food in a crock pot and we would eat a late lunch-early dinner, but when several hours had passed at the lake and we mentioned going home, no one wanted to leave. They hadn’t caught one fish, but were having a blast. We discussed options and decided Rebecca would stay with the youngsters while I went home to make sandwiches and then return.

When I arrived at the house, the sky had slightly darkened, and then a little rain sprinkled down, so I called Rebecca and asked how it looked at the lake. “Same here,” she reported, saying she would call me back in 15 minutes with a decision. The decision was: Come back to the lake. I did, stopping at the store to pick up ice cream drumsticks for dessert. We stayed another couple of hours, the youngsters still didn’t want to head home, but I insisted then, for they had chores and by now it was getting toward early evening.

(Slight attitude adjustment indicated above.)

Everyone has had a shower now and the young ones are asleep. Not sure about the older ones, but the house is quiet. Their parents are leaving Hawaii at midnight…be here sometime in the morning. Change is in the air!