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Baltimore by the Sea

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hummingbird Haiku

A shite ladden week

Hummingbird on feeder sips

Things maybe not so bad

Sunday, July 26, 2009

My Non-caloric Hot Sunday

Am totally freaking out - for good reason - over the arrival of my chicks in late August. Perhaps I will indulge myself in whining about it in this forum later in the week. Meanwhile, I had an outing today with docents from the State Indian Museum.

The California Museum

We visited the American Masterpieces: The Artistic Legacy of California Indian Basketry exhibit at the California Museum.

A selection of the baskets from the warehouse in West Sacramento were spiffed up and put on display at the CA Museum. Although I was told I could use non-flash photography in the museum, I show no individual baskets here because the local tribes consider that a bit of a no-no.

Display on zillion basket uses and weaving techniques

Start of a new basket

The actual baskets were in very dimly lit displays, dim so as not to light-damage the baskets. Myself, while I know light may fade coloring on baskets, handling is good for them. Oil from human hands keep the fibers more alive, and without it the baskets grow brittle. Even baskets, now and again, desire the touch of admiring human hands.

Drawers beneath the showcases contain the grasses, roots, etc. used to make the baskets

Quite near the baskets exhibit was the traveling With Malice Toward None: Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Exhibit - no photographs allowed at all. Volumes of hand written Lincoln letters, Civil War memorabilia and the bit that had my full attention was the Lincoln family bible, used for the swearing in of President Obama at his inauguration. The bible is huge, and curiously the name on its front in gold lettering is Mary Todd Lincoln... no one knows how she managed that.

There was a quite display of the bits and bobs Lincoln had in his pockets the night of his assassination at the Ford Theater. Staring at 2 pair of eensie little eye glasses, strange little wallet, and lens cleaner and to think where they have been was amazing. One of the spectacles folded, and both pairs were so small they might have belonged to a myopic child. There was a play bill too, with a long-dry spot of blood on it, that the placard assured was a real blood - ewwww.

After the Lincoln exhibit I visited several other exhibits, including a totally depressing one about the Japanese Americans who found themselves squirreled away on American soil in dreary desert hovels for the crime of being racially Japanese during war time. After a lot of head shaking at unfairnes I have no control over, I decided something whimsical would be nice.

California Dreaming

I discovered there are some strange animals hanging around the California State Musuem. They all seemed to have their origins in the v. strange mind of one Dr. Theodore Giesel, AKA Dr. Seuss.

Mulberry Street Unicorn

Rare & Seldom seen Sawfish (eastern subspecies)

Goo Goo Eyed Tasmanian Wolghast

Friday, July 24, 2009

They'll be in their Shells Shortly!


I just ordered 4, vaccinated Faverolles hen chicks. In a few days they'll be in their eggs, somewhere in the East, and they'll hatch there in the last week of August. Then within 24 hours of hatching the four will be boxed up all warm and cozy, & shipped to me via the U.S. Postal Service. When in transit they'll internally feed on the residual yokes that kept them alive in their eggs. Then, in 2 or 3 days, voila! Les Girlie Chicks will be here! Meanwhile I am getting their little receiving kit assembled - a box, a heat lamp, some chick scratch, etc.

Girlie Faverolles Chicks - does that chick have a cute bum, or what?

French Faverolles are my breed of choice because they are great egg layers and known for their docile natures. My cluck's temperaments are a big issue for my duel purpose birds, as they will be pets as well as egg layers.

My Faverolles are called 'Salmon' for their buff color. The feathers of Faverolles do not lie close to the body, so the birds look all lovely & poofy. As adults they are très charming and Old World in their looks.

The Roosters are mostly iridescent black with straw colored feathers draped over their neck and rump. I wish I could have a Salmon Faverolles rooster, but sadly, will not, because roosters tend to rile up the neighbors with their "Cock-a-doodle-doos", or as the birds emote en français, "Cocorico!"

The hens are buff-colored and like the roosters, and have 'muffs' - a Puff of straw-colored feathers just under their chins. The roosters too have muffs... er, handsome, manly black beards.

Both the boy and girl birds, even as chicks, have feathery/downy leggings and feet, and five toes; most chicken breeds have four toes.

Salmon Faverolles - aren't they pretty!

GAK! I am going to have trouble waiting for the end of August to get here!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Quicky Birdie Post

Boy bird at top, Girlie bird below

After a long sulk, the American Goldfinches are hitting the feeding tube. Apparently the seed I gave them before had grown too old. The fresh seed is far more to their liking. These photos were digiscoped at the patio door.

This guy below is in his 1/2 and 1/2, winter/Spring plumage. He is a singer! He's usually sitting in the nearby oak tree, singing his tiny heart out before he lands on the feeder and wolfs down his seed.

My favorite Goldfinch, Mr. Pavaroti

Monday, July 06, 2009

They don't call, they don't write...

Ooooo... Every once in a bit I get updated information from the National Geographic mitochondria DNA testing I took part in a year or so ago. On the chart below are people who are matches to my mitochonria, meaning we're very near, almost sort of, in some ways, related. In other words, if every other human on earth is my 52nd cousin - and they are, even , these people are my, what... 32nd cousins? Yes, something like that.

Here is how the National Geographic explains it all: An exact match on Hyper Variable Region 1 means you share a common female ancestor, but in only 50% of cases did this common ancestor live within the last 52 generations.

So, half the people on the chart below (I'm, inappropriately, the white inverted drop) share the common female great-great-etc.-granny with me. We are genetic cousins. Cool. Just think on it - a whole new set of relatives to not call or visit!

For the record, the white drop points to where my maternal Grandfather originated - Trinidad.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Mid-week Mini-break

Took the day off today to rendezvous with Barbara in Richmond at Annie's. I don't know how Barb found out about the plant nursery, but she was eager to visit. When I found out the place has speciality native plants I was just as anxious to visit Annie's; neither of us were disappointed.

I got to the nursery a good couple of hours before Barb, and an hour before Annie's even opened, so I read the newspaper, did the crossword puzzle, then I took a walk to look at the plants growing in the parking lot. There were loads of interesting plants growing all over - an immense Passion plant grew over the gate surrounding the nursery, and its fruit were large, but not ripe yet (or you can bet I would have eaten one). Then I noticed some lovely blackish flowers I know as 'Bachelor Buttons' but I could be wrong. I love dark purple flowers!

Right by the flowers was an old dried out bed of skeletal poppy plants. I was fascinated by the big fat poppy pods, which held fist fulls of tiny seeds.

Scarecrow mystery Poppies

My friend Don and my mother, is/were what Don calls, 'Klepto-biologists'. I walk proudly in their steps. The Poppy pods are like a rattle when shook. The seeds fall out of the little holes around the pod top.

Shake that Poppy thang!

Plump-arsed Bumblebee sampling Annie's flowers

The weather was coolish, but grew sunny enough that I went beet red so it was time to call it quits. I only bought four plants; an apricot, double flowered California Poppy, a Chia, some Deer Grass (very exciting native!) and a Western Flax. Barb has fun and bought more than a half dozen exotic looking beauties.

Annie's must be at least two acres of plants

Talk about turning Bulls (in our case, Cows)
loose in a candy store...uh.. that's not quite right, is it?

Worn out and hot, we then beat it over to Berkeley for a late lunch at Skate's by the Bay - one of my favorite restaurants. We had window seats overlooking the ocean, and the sky line of San Francisco could be seen in the distance. As I brought my binoculars into the restaurant with me, birds and sea lions stayed clear - oh well. There was still a thing or two to gawk at through the big picture windows though, before we finished our strawberry/rhubarb cobblers and headed home - east to Sac O' Tomatoes for me, south to Prunetucky (Castroville)for Barbara.

Arrgggg... thar's the Jolly Roger flying above that skurvy lot

You can just see the San Francisco's skyline just above the Berkeley pier on the left

Love my new native plants! I'd better get them into the Gulag Garden before they croak!