Eclipse Envy

Yeah, I admit it. I’m jealous of my many friends who are exiting north in search of the total solar eclipse that will sweep across the U.S. on Monday, August 21.

Indiana people, check out the map!  You’ll get about 86% at 2:24:37 in in Whitley County. But it will be 100% in Paducah, KY.  4 hours from Bloomington! Okay, still quite a commitment. Use this cool program from Vox to find out what it will be like where you are.   Here’s NASA’s map.

My good friend, Treacy, sent us an anniversary card with this amazing USPS stamp on it. This is as close as I’ll get to the totality.  But I’ll be outside on Monday at 10:21, you bet.

Dana pushed the video button on my phone and Dodger provided the creaky sound effects by sneaking into the kitchen cupboard while we were both occupied. Group effort!

If you go, you know I want to hear all about it!




Snowy Visitor


Mom and I were sitting on the back deck the afternoon I arrived in Indiana. This pretty (homing?) pigeon watched us from the roof of the garage for a while.  Then she came down to check us out, though she wasn’t interested in the black sunflower seeds we offered her.

Mom says she looks like she was carved out of Ivory soap. And those red feet!

After a while she swooped through the yard and away over the fields, hopefully toward home!

Pining Away


Here’s our Aleppo pine in all her glory in September, 2011.  I loved the sound of the wind in the needles and the cool shade she provided.  It’s only been a week since we had her cut down, but I already miss the sound of the tree squirrels landing on the roof above my home office. The doves who nested there are bewildered.


Last fall, after Dana started deep watering by sinking pvc pipe into the ground at her base, we tried having the dead parts cut out by an arborist.  When we came home from vacation at the end of March, it was clear that this tree was beyond saving.  There’s still some green on the left side of this shot.

I’m guessing she was planted at the same time as our manufactured home, in 1989. The average lifespan of an Aleppo pine is 80-90 years, but up to 150. That’s without a long, deep drought and bark beetles.


We kept some slices of the trunk. They are astonishingly completely dry. No sap at all in them.


Post-pine view. We miss it a lot. We left a big stump to play with. We can always cut it, but we can’t get it back. We’d like to plant something shady and better suited to the climate in that part of the yard. Admittedly, I won’t miss having to clean sodden pine needles off the porch roof after a storm.


Maybe the first signs of trouble, back in October 2015, when I took a picture of our newly-completed terracing.

When I first heard that this is an Aleppo pine at the beginning of this century, I didn’t know where Aleppo was. I presumed it was from Italy.



One of the three babies Dana transplanted on April 5, 2010.


The Aleppo offspring are doing fine at the opposite end of the yard.  Note the deep watering pipes beneath them.

Into the Greening


Moving into the new year  with the promise of rain. As long as it doesn’t get too cold, we should see the hills around us grow green in the coming weeks.

Spent some of the day mending things, doing a little more organizing (the sock drawer, the wardrobe, the tool baskets in the pantry). It feels good to set things aright at the turning of the year.


The drought has even been hard on the formidable juniper.

Spent another part of the day reminiscing with my mother about our travels in France and elsewhere. She’s staying for a nice long while, and it was good to not have to work at the beginning of her visit.

Hydra and I took a short hike. Gorgeous day. Had a chance to try the fabulous 18-140 lens Hydra gave me for Christmas…to replace the 18-105 that I broke when I stood up from my seat on a wall next to the Seine and it dropped to the sidewalk. It’s been my favorite lens for years. This new one goes to eleven!

Planning to post a photo a day for the month of January.



White Christmas Eve


We drove about ten minutes  from our house up into the Sierra Pelona mountains (San Gabriels) this afternoon.  Lovely to see the snow from sun-warmed roads.  A nice amount of people were out having snow ball fights, taking pictures and even loading their truck beds with snow. 😀


Gorgeous blue skies scrubbed clean after last night’s rains and snow.

Hope you spend this time of the year celebrating life with those you love!


Prickly Things


The fruit of the sweet gum tree, various stages.

AKA the most dangerous tree in the suburbs for their ankle-turning abilities. Another import from Australia.

And we Midwestern natives thought Dr. Suess dreamed up all that weird flora!