Thursday, January 02, 2014

Out with 2013, in with 2014!

Here in Central California it has been an unseasonably warm winter. I know I need to take the decorations down but decided on trying a little experiment.  I don't know why I have never tried it before.  I took my iPhone outside and played bird songs from my favorite bird app ibirdplus 

I noticed the return of the dark eyed juncos, so I played their calls and songs.  Low and behold many answered!  I got a photo of this guy up in the branches.  They are such a sweet bird.  Last year I noticed them more around April.  But this year they seem to be around earlier or maybe longer.  Their little pink beaks are such a blessing in the yard! Read about dark eyed juncos HERE

























Then I started on the hummingbird calls. This marvelous Anna's Hummingbird.  His head flashed a beautiful pinkish color.  They are around all year, so we are careful about keeping the feeders full.  You can read about them HERE.

Isn't he beautiful?  They are simply an amazing wonder of God's creation.  Then suddenly I noticed a Yellow Rumped Warbler. I also saw these last year.  You almost think they are just a sparrow, then you see the flash of yellow.  So amazing really.  You can read about them HERE.



 Look at him?  He really couldn't figure out what was going on.  Where was the bird singing the song?







Here he is looking around.  Check out my iPhone on the rock.  Why didn't I think of this before?  I'm especially proud of this picture


I've been a little sad that I haven't been birding for awhile.  But, I noticing my own backyard is full of life and excitement.  


I didn't want to leave this guy out.  Northern Mockingbird.  I thought he might peck my eyes out!  All in all, a very nice start to 2014.  I have an idea….I wonder if I can get owls to come if I play owl sounds?  What do you think?

Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Moments that bring Joy

I have to say one of the biggest joys in my life is when the grand kids are together.  I love it.  Little CJ is "teaching" the boys to play on the iPad!  The moment just makes me smile every time I look at it.  Hopefully it makes you smile as well.  Have a blessed day!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Family Camp 2013 was amazing!


It's time again for Family Camp!  For years our church has done a family camp.  I think this was our 13th year, or there about.  (However they weren't in order, there were years in the middle where we didn't have it due to something with the YMCA, but that is not important right now)

Some years we would go up for all weekend, but this year we went up for Saturday only.  Our church does so many great things.  Everyone loves Family Camp when they come!  It is like no other! But, I will do a post on what we do, but this one is about finding a life bird!  I posted a while ago that I had started birding.  I have many wonderful birds that come to my yard, but in the summer it is pretty much the same every day.  We went out in the spring but the summer here is so hot that I just don't do well outside for very long.

We were free this year to go birding around the lake.  I was surprised how very hard it was to find any birds.  Either the time of year, or the loud voices, or something seemed to keep them away.  My son gave me a pamphlet that said what kinds of birds were at the lake and how often.  I was so excited to set out on a trail and find them!

It was a very good thing that we took a dear friend named Linda Harris with us.  She was a real birder who knew things that we didn't. (we don't know much) She came along for the one hike we did. 

First of all this girl was swimming around the lake. I think it is a mallard.  There were two of these last year, but this year there was only one.  It made me sad that she seemed all alone.  She was very friendly and not shy of the kids and loud people around.



 I really love this picture!  I caught her getting some snack.  I affectionately call this "bottom's up!"


 Then we saw this bird.  I have to admit.  I thought it wasn't much but Then Linda said it was a Western Blue Bird....WHAT?  I figured there were no blue birds in California. 




I wish the lighting was better, but I think it was a female she had the red breast and grey upper and we could see blue when she flew.  I was pretty excited about that...but there is more! 
We heard these guys, but finally caught a photo.  A Steller's Jay!  Yes they are bossy but they have the crest which makes them special to me! 



Then we saw several of these
The dreaded parasite bird-Brown Headed Cow Bird.  Yes this male is very pretty, but they are terrible birds. Read about them on the link mouse over the name.

I'm teasing you now, but it is a beautiful tease.  These lovelies were along the trail.  I was going to try and identify them, but that is harder than you think.

 There seemed to be a lot of butterflies and dragon flies.  Then while walking back I had to sit on a table to rest and I was staring at the trees.  I saw something moving.  I said to Gene....look there is something over there.  He was thinking, it is a lizard but I'll take a photo.  I couldn't believe what it ended up being.  If it weren't for Linda I would have figured it was a wren or something. 

There was this little bird that blended into the tree so amazingly.  It was traveling up the tree poking his nose into the cracks of the bark.  I'm guessing it was eating insects.



Look at him!  (or her) It's a Brown Creeper.  The pamphlet said it was uncommon around the lake.  I felt so excited.  Like I found a priceless treasure! 

I was hoping to see the Bald Eagles that people saw last year, but there was no siting this year.   But truthfully this little guy made up for it all!  We did find this nest, but it seemed abandoned.  Maybe next year we will find someone using it next year!

 All in all it was a wonderful day!  And I am hooked on birding!  Last night we watched the movie The Big Year.  It is a must for us birders! 





Wednesday, August 14, 2013

When did August 20th become September 3rd?

Summer is all but gone here in the Central Valley of California.   What we have done each year for the past few years is underwater photography with those reusable cameras.  This year there was only a couple of times I wanted to go in the water when CJ was here.  The water has to get warm enough for me to venture in.  :-)
These cameras remind me of the "stone age" when you didn't know what you were taking pictures of?  Remember that?  You went and bought expensive film and then hoped you actually got one good one out of the batch.  (I just realized that I didn't remember how many photos were on a roll...I guess that isn't important right now)  You'd go to the store and get the package and look to see if there was one good one, maybe 2 if you were lucky!  So, most people didn't take many pictures because of the cost.  Most of us have shoe boxes around filled with photos.  They were organized once but they are not now.  I did try and be a great mom and make albums, but you know what I am going to say...they were on that acid paper so....they all turned yellow!  Who had time really?  And the generations before us had even less.  I often shop in thrift stores and want to buy all photos I see just because I feel bad that they are in the store and their families have forgotten or just out lived them.  But I digress....

We got our underwater camera this year and snapped some good photos.  Little CJ is such a joy in our lives.  She is growing leaps and bounds.  Can you believe she will be in second grade?  This year she likes to do tricks in the water.  She does one then I try and preform it.  She doesn't care that I look ridiculous and terrible in a bathing suit! 

She does twists and turns, hand stands and she even can sit on the bottom like a yoga person for the longest time with out floating up.  Well, I assure you I can't do that one!

What is the title all about?  Well, in Southern California school always started after Labor Day.  ALWAYS!  It is how we gauged life.  Labor Day marked the beginning of the year.  Here in the San Joaquin Valley school starts August 20th!  What?  It's still summer!  Why are they robbing us of these precious hours? 
People are buying "Back to School" clothes.  Teachers are going and getting their classes ready.  It all feels wrong to me.  It's like something precious has been taken from everyone and most people don't even know what it is.
Well, that is the state of our society isn't it?  Kids can't play outside.  They can't linger in the warm outside air.  There are no more Wonder Years.  I suppose I am showing my age.  I miss the days of summer the way they were when I was a child.  I miss the carefree moments.  I miss the old days!

I can almost hear her saying...."Come in the water Coco"...and just like that...it's gone.

 

I love you peanut!  Have a great year!  Learn Lots!  Come over soon! 

Monday, August 12, 2013

A celebration with BOYS!


A few weeks ago we celebrated my grandson's birthday!  He is one year old and the whole family was there!  The party was on a Sunday and that day was his dedication at church.  Now, baby dedications are not like infant baptisms.  A baby dedication at CCH is when the family comes forward to ask for prayer for raising the child and for the blessing of the church in helping and directing the child with the idea that the child will grow strong in the ways of The Lord.  Also that the family would stay strong and dedicated to The Lord in raising the child.  It is a fun thing.  At CCH we usually post a photo on the overhead screen and then the family comes up with the child to be prayed for.  Since my husband is the pastor, it is especially exciting when it is one of our grand children being dedicated. 

There Zekie is up on the screen and below is his family.

 Geno (his brother) had wanted to use the microphone and said he would talk, which is always fun when little kids talk to the audience. 


In the end, all he would do was hold the fake microphone.  So on to Zekie

 Is there anything sweeter than a 1 year old baby?  Gene (husband) made a comment like "this is what I can do when the child is mine....fingers in mouth!" 

Zekie was the king of the day.  He had his first taste of chocolate and wore a crown

All the while his brother was enjoying the excitement as well!  Happy Birthday Zekie and we all promise to help in your upbringing! 

The banner on the cupcakes was from Lisa Leonard Designs.  You can find it HERE! Visit her site for many ideas.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pastelitos de Guayaba

My BFF is always texting, tweeting, blogging, posting about these little lovelies.. One day, in a weakened state I said I want some NOW.  Not only that I am going to make them.  Which really means I'm gonna make my husband make them!  So I went to her blog, and printed out the recipe.


 Here's the ingredients.  I had to go to a store I didn't usually go to because I couldn't find the Goya Guayaba paste.  This store deserves a shout out!  Thank you Foods Co. for having the things I needed!
 Gene followed her instructions to the letter, even added marks on the parchment to be sure to cut them correctly.
But then something happened....The Italian in him came out, he had to use his ravioli roller. Who can blame him? 



He proceeded on and put them in the oven and out came the beautiful Pastelitos de Guayaba.  They are meant to be enjoyed with coffee...so I requested (nicely) that my husband make coffee.  There after a couple of hours my desire was complete! 


 They are truly a wonderful treat.  And if I were Cuban I suppose it would seem even more wonderful.  Marti says that when she fled from Cuba she so missed these little wonders.  She then found a wonderfully simple way to make them.  I do love how they taste. But I'm wondering if my Pamogranate jelly would work in them?  Perhaps this is becoming the inspiration for a new Pensiero treat.  Maybe Pastelitos de  Guayaba Pamagranate   I'll keep you posted.  Go read about how Marti got to go to NEW YORK to make these lovelies!