Sunday Stills Monthly Color Challenge: Ageless and #Evergreen

In keeping with inspiration from July square trees, this week, Sunday Stills focuses on the color evergreen for the monthly color challenge.

You will remember I am now surrounded by evergreen trees, and I couldn’t be happier. Evergreen is considered a dark green and also the name we ascribe to most pine trees and other trees that stay green year-round. Also known as conifers (cone-bearing) their needles are small and waxy enabling pine trees to stay green all year long, unlike deciduous trees that lose their leaves seasonally.

Here is an example to get your creative ideas going. As we headed to Sandpoint, Idaho, we drove by this lovely spot. I love the shape of the towering sugar pines. Image enhanced with Painnt filter.

Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays Writing Challenge

This week Marsha invites us to explore “exploration!” I can’t think of too many places to explore locally that doesn’t include seeing evergreens! I found this quote and it begged to become a meme created from a previous image of mine.

quote meme exploration
Hot air balloon above the evergreens!

An orange dragonfly explored my former garden resting on the evergreen stake.

Orange dragonfly

Come to the woods, for here is rest. There is no repose like that of the green deep woods.

John Muir

Come explore my backyard and neighborhood with me today…most of the evergreens you see are Ponderosa Pines.

Morning walk a block from our home

Even the Birds are Evergreen…sort of…

Some new-old pics from my archives of my sweet hummingbirds. Perhaps not truly evergreen in color, but the second one is surrounded by actual evergreens. These are my headshots for Lisa’s Bird Weekly.

Green hummingbird
Evergreen hummingbird

Update: Journey the Bald Eagle, An Ageless and Evergreen Story for Our Times

Journey the juvenile Bald Eagle was rescued three weeks ago when he fledged too soon due to the extreme heat here in Eastern Washington. See my post here.

Juvenile Bald Eagle, Journey Bluebell Court Eagles ©Diana Gigler
Journey

Thanks to the efforts of staff at Birds of Prey Northwest, he was safely placed in a large aviary and treated for heat exhaustion and dehydration. He exercised his wings daily and once our weather “cooled,” he would be ready to fly back to the nest where his parents are waiting for him.

Bluebell Court Eagles ©Diana Gigler
Journey practicing for flight while still in his nest

Well…Friday, July 16th was the day! KREM 2 news in Spokane, WA, covered the story as Diana G of Bluebell Court Eagles (on Facebook) and Janie Veltkamp, MS, Biology, and director of BOPNW, was there to enable Journey’s first flight since he was rescued. He was launched off Diana G’s deck…

Journey’s (and Janie’s) headshot!

Eagle images are shared by Diana G with her permission.

Success!

…he flew strongly and purposely, never losing altitude, to a nearby pine tree (evergreen!) in the shade. Janie assures us that Journey will return to his nest close by, where his parents will continue to feed him and teach him to hunt!

Another dedicated volunteer of Birds of Prey Northwest, Tina Penny, shared the following images on the Facebook page, Bluebell Court Eagles. She graciously gave me permission to share them.

You can view Journey’s flight here.

https://www.krem.com/video/entertainment/places/inland-northbest/journey-the-eaglets-first-flight/293-1c1a5df4-9a73-4f41-b26d-e4630e2a1fdb

As of Saturday afternoon, we are still anxiously waiting if Journey was reunited with his nest and parents.

There are thousands of people following Journey’s story all over the world. The rescues of early fledgling birds of prey has ignited our concern for climate change and our ability to be the stewards of God’s creatures while we all inhabit Planet Earth. BOPNW reported that they have rescued over 20 raptors in the last 2-3 weeks due to the extreme heat. The organization averages 1-2 rescues a YEAR under normal weather circumstances in addition to the other work it does.

If you can, I urge you to donate to your local animal rescue organization or the Birds of Prey Northwest. Journey’s story has opened our eyes to the wonderful folks who give of their own time and resources, like Birds of Prey Northwest, to rescue and reintroduce our incredible (some endangered) raptors back into their own habitats.

And as Sheriff Andy Taylor told us last week, “But Don’t the Trees Seem Nice and Full?”

Also sharing for Lens-Artists Challenge: Getting Away

Last Week’s Links Under the Trees

Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. Below is the last week’s links from bloggers who shared their favorite photos under the trees. Please take a moment to visit a few, especially those new to Sunday Stills!

Thank you for reading this week! My dad just celebrated his 85th birthday and is visiting this week from Northern California for the first time! I look forward to your creative evergreen images!

Go exploring have a great week
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Sunday Stills: Under (And Over) the #Trees

suburban pine forest

Welcome back to Sunday Stills! I took a weekend break over the July 4th holiday, but I managed to publish two posts between July 2 and 7…whaaatt? I do like my once a week blogging schedule, but I enjoy mixing it up a little now and then, so thanks for reading.

Most of you know I love all types of pine trees, and finally moved to Eastern Washington last December where I am surrounded by Ponderosa pines. Having spent most of my childhood in San Diego surrounded by palm trees (which I love, by the way), my preference for pines was undoubtedly influenced by our two-year stay in Portland, Oregon. We lived on the corner of this Beaverton suburb and you can see the gorgeous view of the Sugar Pines (taken recently while there for a family memorial service).

suburban pine forest
Childhood home under the trees

While we were in the Beaverton area, we stayed in a lovely AirB&B and I discovered a wonderful suburban trail….

pathway under the trees
Suburban trail in Beaverton, OR

…That led to this pocket forest.

Suburban pocket forest

How wonderful to find a surprise forest in this neighborhood!

“Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world.”

John Muir

Tree images are shared for Johnbo’s Cellpic Sunday and Becky B’s July Tree Squares.

I am still inviting links to Marsha’s Writers’ Quotes Wednesdays Writer’s Challenge while she is out and about exploring trees! Please link to THIS POST until next Tuesday–your choice of theme.

“But Don’t the Trees Seem Nice and Full?”

You may have read last Friday’s Bird weekly post where I shared our neighborhood eagle “Journey,” and my former home’s sweet hummingbirds. Journey, the young eagle is still being monitored at the Birds of Prey Northwest facility in nearby Couer d’Alene, Idaho, and is progressing nicely. He is housed with another adult eagle who can mentor him until he is ready to be released. The temps are still very hot, in fact record breaking for this area and time of year, so he will stay at the facility a while longer. The parents are still visiting and maintaining the nest which is a really good sign.

Partially inspired by Lisa’s Bird Weekly (common birds found in your neighborhood), I have three species of birds that can be found over and under the trees.

R-rr-rr–Raven

On my morning walks with my dogs, I take a tree-lined path off the main road. A huge family of ravens inhabit the area and seem rather tame. They are certainly not bothered by my presence even when I creep toward one to take a pic! Of course one will scold me for getting too close! Now that I know the heat caused many young birds to fledge early, perhaps they were keeping track of the fledglings (none that I saw).

High Above the Trees

Birds of prey abound here in Eastern Washington and especially in our rural area of Nine Mile Falls, 20 miles north of Spokane. On any given day one can look up…way up, and see a variety of birds circling. The best times to see them are early mornings and twilight as they search for food.

Hoping to see more eagles, I was surprised to see this particular bird, the Turkey Vulture, also seen in California, circling the skies here. They soar over 300 feet up but I got this shot with my Lumix!

Turkey Vulture
Turkey Vulture

Another busy bird around these parts is the Western Osprey, a member of the hawk family. Lately a family of three soars the morning and evening skies, often heading back and forth between the forest and the nearby Spokane River (Long Lake). The osprey has distinctive face marking, like a black mask across its eyes. A really stunning bird and fun to capture in flight with my Lumix.

Western Osprey
Western Osprey

I’m always a little worried that these huge birds might see my little dog Aero as a tasty treat, but luckily, the Osprey prefers fish while the Turkey Vulture feasts on carrion.

So what does my heading have to do with this section? Let me explain:

The quote in the heading was inspired by an old Andy Griffith TV show from the 60s starring Andy Griffith as the Mayberry, North Carolina sheriff and Ron Howard as his son Opie Taylor.

In the 1963 episode “Opie the Birdman,” Opie accidentally kills a mother bird, then he becomes a foster parent to its three orphaned nestlings and hand-raises them, naming them Winkin, Blinken and Nod. After successfully releasing the birds, Opie sadly remarks, “The cage sure looks awful empty, don’t it, Pa?

Andy Taylor replies, “Yes son, it sure does… but don’t the trees seem nice and full?”

Awwww….I love that reply and the whole episode! And isn’t that how it should be with our birds?

Join me for Sunday Stills the rest of the month:

  • July 18 Monthly Color Challenge: Evergreen (yes, more trees if you wish)
  • July 25 Geometric–think triangles, lines, squares, etc

Great Outdoors Bloggers links

Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. With 32 link-ups, you ‘all seem to love the great outdoors! Previously shared on last Wednesday’s Writers Quotes Wednesday, in case you missed the list.

Have a wonderful week!

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Sunday Stills: Favorite #Vacation Spot

Sunday Still banner vacation

To wrap up the month of May at Sunday Stills, let’s share our favorite vacation spots. As more of the world gets vaccinated against Covid-19, masks are coming off and the world is opening up! Hallelujah!

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”

John Muir

This week, I am sharing my favorite vacation images from my archives. Now, some of you world travelers, like Sarah, will have to choose your favorites, (aren’t they all though?).

“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.”

Seneca

While you think of your favorite vacation spots, remember why we take vacations. In my retired world, every day seems like Saturday and I’ve been on a perpetual vacation for a few months. But think of a vacation in broader terms, like leisure and travel, and how they are all connected. My point (finally) is this: How do the concepts of leisure, vacation, and travel make you feel? Would you say that these words invoke healing when you experience their manifestation?

According to Marsha at Always Write, her newest WQWWW (Writer’s Quote Wednesday) is “healing” and I suggest this is what time off does for us in the form of a vacation, leisure time in a hobby or physical activity, or travel! This quote speaks volumes:

“In matters of healing the body or the mind, vacation is a true genius!”

Mehmet Murat Ildan

Join me as I share my galleries of trips down memory lane and hum along to the song titles. I apologize in advance for any earworms created. You will notice how many of my favorite vacation spots feature the colors blue and green, which ties in nicely to Tina’s Lens-Artists challenge this week!

I Left My Heart in … a US National Park

“Within National Parks is room–glorious room–room in which to find ourselves, in which to think and hope, to dream and plan, to rest and resolve.”

Enos Mills

My family spent a LOT of time visiting national parks, notably Yosemite and Sequoia, since they were in California. Last July, I spent a couple of hours in Sequoia with Marsha, when she lived 30 minutes away in Central California.

Down In Mexico

“Never underestimate the healing power of these three things – music, the ocean and the stars.”

Unknown

My windsurfing husband dragged me to Baja, Mexico three times to the La Paz area. In nearby La Ventana is incredible windsurfing and kite boarding. I took my turns windsurfing in the Sea of Cortez as well as some stand-up paddling. A great vacation spot!

California Dreamin’

“Nature itself is the best physician.”

Hippocrates

Because I lived in California most of my life, I spent the first 20 years in San Diego and the rest in Sacramento (Northern California). On two San Diego vacations, I met fellow blogger, Janis, for lunch twice, and one lunch there with Liesbet, who I met in Sacramento! Since 2009, my vacations consisted of summer weekends at the Sacramento River Delta, with occasional visits to Yosemite. It has been my goal to stand-up paddle on every significant body of water on vacations!

By the Time I Get to Phoenix

“Walk in nature and feel the healing power of the trees.“

Anthony William

Arizona was and still is a winter vacation choice. Not only did we meet fellow blogger, Ingrid and her husband in North Phoenix two years in a row, my brother and recently my stepdaughter now live in the Phoenix area. Winter roadtrip 2022 is in the works!

Blue Hawaii

“Leisure, some degree of it, is necessary to the health of every man’s spirit.”

Harriet Martineau

I’ve been lucky to travel to the Big Island of Hawaii in 2018 and 2019 with the goal to fix up and sell my husband’s house on the Hilo side. The house is dilapidated and needs work that we just cannot do at this time in our lives. This year we will make final arrangements for its sale. During these weeks, we did manage to do a bit of relaxing and exploring after taking care of the home. Hilo is not the tourist mecca like Kona is, but it serves as the county seat where most of the government infrastructure is housed. Hilo is also the wettest city in the US. In 2018 we visited Volcanoes National Park before the last eruption took place. In 2019, I got to visit the Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve and Gardens with fellow blogger, Graham. We had a blast taking tons of photos!

Viva Las Vegas

“Life’s short. Eat dessert first, work less and vacation MORE!!”

Lia Mishell

Las Vegas, Nevada is known for its casinos and nightlife. It’s also a great place for winter RV camping. In 2018, our winter roadtrip to the Southwest was cut short by unseasonable cold and snow, so we high-tailed it to Las Vegas as our last stop and enjoyed a pleasant week. Unable to visit Antelope Canyon that borders southern Utah and northern Arizona, we stumbled on the Valley of Fire State Park just an hour northeast of Las Vegas. I still got my slot canyon fix and plenty of hiking! In 2018, we met up with fellow blogger Maria, formerly of Sagittarius Viking, still on Instagram.

I sum up my vacation experience thus far with this meme I created when I was teaching leisure education and management at Sacramento State University. These surfboards were situated at a windsurf resort. I took the picture and added this thought to help make the point about taking time off of work or other obligations and enjoying leisure time!

Sorry, couldn’t make it…had a mandatory board meeting.

You Are My Home

“Come to the woods for here is rest.“

John Muir

One year ago almost to the day (May 2020), my husband and I stood together on our property for the first time.

Happy on our half acre

We’ve come a long way in one year, figuratively and literally! We are moved in and enjoying everything that goes along with building! All during a pandemic, no less.

New mfg home

Our vacation of choice in 2021 will be a “staycation” since we are new to our home and hoping people visit us as we continually move in. Will the unpacking and getting everything just right never end?

If camping in an RV counts as a vacation, then our 2-month stay in North Spokane RV Park was quite lovely despite winter/early spring-living while we waited for our home to be ready.

Like this Canada Goose family enjoying their home near a local lake, we expect to enjoy all the area has to offer. Submitted for Lisa’s Bird Weekly.

Canada Geese Family

We plan to take some local overnight and weekend trips to the German/Bavarian town of Leavenworth; the Columbia River Gorge near Mt Hood, Oregon—motivated by windsports; and Sandpoint, Idaho; and beyond.

I know several bloggers who live near these areas, so lets meet up when the time is right!

Sunday Stills Photo Challenge Reminders

  • Please create a new post for the theme or link a recent one.
  • Title your blog post a little differently than mine.
  • Don’t forget to create a pingback to this post so that other participants can read your post. I also recommend adding your post’s URL into the comments.
  • Entries for this theme can be posted all week.
  • Use hashtag #SundayStills for sharing on social media.

June Themes are on my Sunday Stills Photography Page

Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. Each week I share the links from the previous post so you can continue to meet and support each other. And with that…

Good Gray Matter in these Blogger’s Links

I am looking forward to seeing your favorite places where you vacation and relax! Speaking of relaxing, Sunday Stills is taking a break next Sunday as my family celebrates a long Memorial Day weekend. See you in June and have a great week!

SUPSIG

© 2021 Copyright—All rights reserved—secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: #Weathering Memories

Strange Cloud

This week’s Sunday Stills theme is all about weather, which can be quite unpredictable during the spring in the Northern Hemisphere as well as the fall in the Southern Hemisphere.

This week, our weather warmed up to 80 degrees on Thursday then it rained overnight! Strange even for the Pacific North West. After a cool, windy day on Friday, we woke up Saturday to frosty conditions. Four distinct weather conditions in two days!

Lets take a look at the the kinds of weather we can expect in May. First up is the creepiest cloud formation I have ever seen. Hubby and I sat in our backyard enjoying the evening and these clouds started developing into…a face? A skull? Egads! It looks creepier in black and white!

Remembering other days of turbulent weather, out of a clear blue sky, spring thunderclouds appear and chase our cars or block our views of Yosemite’s Half Dome!

I’m more used to the beautiful spring storms we would see in the Sacramento Delta.

Thunderstorm

Those same delta spring storms are a mere preview to a windsurfer’s dream day in high winds!

Windsurfer getting some air
Windsurfer getting some air

Unexpected snow falls in desert places (Sedona on the left) or makes a late spring hike in the mountains slightly unmanageable.

On the flip side, too much sun over a long period of time can create devastating drought conditions, like what we experienced in Sacramento 6 years ago.

Dry Park during droubt

Even the Birds are Confused

Speaking of weather, these sunny days warm the land around our property and create thermals that attract the nearby nesting Violet-Green Swallows. They dart and fly at breakneck speeds feasting on insects. For Lisa’s bird weekly, I’m sharing this perky swallow with attitude perched on top of my husband’s truck.

The other day, we found a swallow trapped in our wood stove, having flown into the tiny space of the rooftop smokestack. Luckily my dog’s frantic barking alerted us to the dilemma. Of course I rescued it and took a photo op! She flew away quite vigorously and seemed no worse for the wear. Yesterday, as we continued to watch their flitting antics, my dog kept barking at the BBQ grill. Yep, I opened the cover and out flew another swallow!

Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays

Have you heard of Marsha’s Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays feature? This week is our choice, so I thought I would hop in with a quote about weather from one of my favorite writers, John Muir.

“What a psalm the storm was singing, and how fresh the smell of the washed earth and leaves, and how sweet the still small voices of the storm!”

John Muir, Stickeen

Behind the Artwork Details, Part 2

Last week, to celebrate the theme of water, I shared some information about the Thomas Mangelsen Snake River print hanging in my dining room.

The other two pieces are framed prints purchased in Placerville, California, near my former home in Sacramento. Placerville is home to a popular, long-standing Thomas Kinkade art gallery, a beloved local Christian artist and painter, who passed away in 2012. He was best known as the “Painter of Light,” depicting whimsical cottages, magical streetscapes, mountain churches and idyllic landscapes. He also painted scenes from around Northern California, instantly recognizable by locals.

Memories My Mom Made

Since Mother’s Day is celebrated in the US today, I wanted to share more about how I came by these prints.

Dining room

Back when my mom could travel, she visited me in the early-2000s and we took a drive to walk the quaint streets of Placerville. We stopped in at the Kinkade gallery and gawked at the lovely prints and originals. Of course, most originals and many framed prints were out of my price range, but we saw a two-piece framed set that included the two smaller prints you see. One is of the pink cherry blossoms, a fantasy-scape for which Kinkade is so well known. The smallest print is a snow scene of the American River that runs along Highway 50 that leads from Sacramento to Lake Tahoe.

Kinkade American River
Snow Along the American River, Thomas Kinkade

Believe me when I tell you, I have driven by this scene countless times over the last 40 years during every season. As I oohed and ahhed, my sweet mom, lover of art, bought the set for me. She had some money saved and said it was a gift to me. One that I will forever cherish especially now that she is gone. This is my second Mother’s Day without Mom and my first without my Mother-in-law who passed in February.

Nature’s Garden

With capricious weather conditions here in Eastern Washington, wildflowers can be found everywhere, including our bare backyard. We have lived in our new home for almost two months. As we await the pole barn/shop to be built soon, landscaping our property is a distant project.

I really miss my sunflower, hydrangea and plumeria plants, which were grown and nurtured from seeds. The plumeria and hydrangeas were rehomed where they will thrive. For now I can enjoy what nature provides in the way of wildflowers on our property. Surprisingly, for a half-acre of nothing but sandy dirt, these wildflowers manage to pop up everywhere.

You have seen the Arrowleaf Balsamroot before (aka sunflowers), but just this week, the gorgeous Silky Lupine (a similar species grew in Yosemite) and Carpet Flox are popping up and adding purple and white spots of color to the forest floor and to my dirt yard!

Sharing my wild, Alpine garden this week for Amy’s Lens-Artist Challenge: Gardens. And for Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Sunday Stills Photo Challenge Reminders

  • Please create a new post for the theme or link a recent one.
  • Title your blog post a little differently than mine.
  • Don’t forget to create a pingback to this post so that other participants can read your post. I also recommend adding your post’s URL into the comments.
  • Entries for this theme can be posted all week.
  • Use hashtag #SundayStills for sharing on social media.

Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. Each week I will share the links from the previous post so you can continue to meet and support each other. And with that…we had 26 link-ups this week and two new bloggers to Sunday Stills. I enjoy reading each and every post!

Cascade of Blogger Links for Water

What kind of weather are you expecting and what is your favorite? Some of us are getting it all this month! I look forward to seeing the weather in your neck of the woods. Have a great week!

my signature w/ hibiscus

© 2021 Copyright—All rights reserved—secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: #Water in the Details

Nine Mile Falls, WA

Welcome to the first Sunday in May! How did that happen? This week’s Sunday Stills theme is water. Not only will I share some images of water, I will get into the details partially inspired by this week’s Lens-Artists challenge “in the details” over at Patti’s blog.

As a former Aquatics Director for a large, urban parks and recreation department, I want to remind everyone to observe safety as you venture out into the waterways this month. Memorial Day weekend (end of May) here in the US marks the beginning of summer activities, especially around the water as temps rise. Here in my new neighborhood, I saw people already out in their kayaks and fishing boats.

May is National Water Safety Month

May in National Water Safety Month

People die every year of accidental drowning because they underestimate the cold water, fast currents, or drink too much and enter the water without life vests. Aquatic Professionals all over the world are hypervigilant to keep everyone safe in and around the water and actively promote water safety to their constituents. Please keep yourself, your kids and grandchildren safe!

Overview of Local Waterways

Water exists in all forms here in Eastern Washington, from frozen lakes, rainy days and insane amounts of rivers and lakes. Who needs an ocean?

Let me show you around my new neighborhood of Nine Mile Falls, Washington. As you can see in this featured image, this is the actual Nine Mile Falls dam, for which the town is named. The dam breaks up the Spokane River which originates in Lake Couer D’Alene in Idaho and flows 111 miles into the Columbia River in Oregon.

Nine Mile Falls, WA

Nine Mile Falls Dam is a dam on the Spokane River, in the unincorporated community of Nine Mile Falls, Washington. … The 58-foot-high cyclopean masonry dam and its powerhouse, storehouse, ten cottages and other structures were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. Built in 1906.

Wikipedia

Nearby Riverside State Park is a favorite destination in the area, complete with fishing and water sports like boating, kayaking and stand-up paddling. This image was from last October while smoke from wildfires in the West enveloped the area.

Riverside State Park, WA

Long Lake Dam overlook shows the stunning Falls, still slightly frozen in this photo taken in February.

Completed in 1915, the Long Lake spillway dam is 400 feet long, 250 feet thick at the base, and 208 feet from foundation to crest. It is constructed of concrete on a base of solid rock. When built, the spillway dam was the tallest of its type in existence.

Source

Between these two dams on the Spokane River, Long Lake was created. Our home is situated about a quarter mile from this lake!

On this same day trip, we drove to nearby Loon Lake for giant pizza calzones and a look at the frozen area of the lake.

A Rainy Day’s Details

Right in our neighborhood, unofficially called “Tum Tum,” spring has sprung, and with that, some seasonal rain showers. In between showers last week, I took the dogs for a walk on a “new-to-me” trail and enjoyed blossoming trees and wild sunflowers adorning the trail. Have I mentioned that pine trees and sunflowers are my favorites and they live together here? This is how I knew we found the right place to live!

If you look closer at the details, you will see the raindrops on these sunflowers, dubbed “noxious weeds” by locals, but are really “Arrowleaf Balsamroot,” a plant of the Asteraceae (sunflower family). Believe or not, this entire plant is edible and is known for its medicinal properties!

Water droplets also adorn these blossoming ornamental plum trees.

Adding this walk to Jo’s Monday Walk series!

I hope you enjoyed my tour of my rural neighborhood. Just for fun and to enter Lisa’s Bird Weekly Challenge: Birds in Flight, I share an old photo of swallows nesting under a marina boat ramp along the Sacramento River Delta.

Swallow fly in chaos around their nests.

Behind the Artwork Details, Part 1

Since we are on the subject of water, I wanted to share more about the details of the three framed prints I posted last week that sit over my dining room table. These three pieces are special to me and two are water-themed. For Part 1, I will share details about the center print. Next week I will share more about the Kinkade prints.

Dining room

The middle print, 34 x 44, is by Thomas Mangelsen, world-renowned American nature and wildlife photographer.

How did I get this framed print? Years ago, I visited my brother in San Diego who had just purchased a framed print at the Mangelsen Gallery in La Jolla. I accompanied him to pick it up during their gallery show and filled out a raffle ticket. The grand prize was a $500 gift certificate. I won! I looked all over the store but couldn’t find anything at the time. I had a year to claim the prize and at Christmastime, having viewed some prints online, I visited the gallery again and had narrowed my choices down to a couple prints. But then I saw the print you see now.

Not only did the stunning Autumn landscape speak to me but you may just be able to see a moose walking in the shadows.

Mangelsen Snake River

Turns out Mangelsen had captured this scene along the Snake River near the Idaho-Oregon border. The Snake River eventually feeds into the mighty Columbia River in Oregon. As we hung the print in our new home, I exclaimed to my husband that the moose has come home! Well sort-of. Thar be moose here in Eastern Washington.

This post is also partially inspired by Cee’s Flower of the Day and Jez’ Water Water Everywhere

Sunday Stills Photo Challenge Reminders

  • Please create a new post for the theme or link a recent one.
  • Title your blog post a little differently than mine.
  • Don’t forget to create a pingback to this post so that other participants can read your post. I also recommend adding your post’s URL into the comments.
  • Entries for this theme can be posted all week.
  • Use hashtag #SundayStills for sharing on social media.

Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. Each week I share the links from the previous post so you can continue to meet and support each other. And with that…meet the:

Lovers of Pets and Kids

Copyright Disclaimer

Images of prints are copyrighted by the original artist. I have permission to publish as a certified owner of the prints.

I look forward to your creative images, stories, comments, music and poetry related to water this week. Remember to please be safe in and around the water!

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© 2021 Copyright—All rights reserved—secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: Celebrating #Pets and #Kids

Aero in sweater

Monday, April 26 is National Kids and Pets Day, so let’s share our favorite images of kids and pets. Last week I hinted at some ideas to get you thinking:

No kids or pets? Improvise! Images of other’s kids or grandkids will work, as well as any kinds of images of animal, bird, reptile, fish or critter. Anything goes, so have fun with this theme.

My kids are all grown up, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t celebrate them. Now that we live two states away, I miss my daughters, but we talk regularly.

For my only photo of little kids, I captured my grand niece and nephew last fall playing joyfully in the garden in grandma’s front yard. They gleefully unearthed roly-polies and made little leaf houses for them, at least the ones that didn’t flee. I used to love playing in the dirt, how about you?

My “kids” nowadays happen to be our sweet dogs Aero and Brodie. They love carousing around their new half-acre backyard chasing balls and sticks.

Aero prefers his sweater when visiting our nearby relatives.

Brodie on alert in this image taken in Bend, Oregon, where we got the good idea to eventually build a rural or pine-pole fence around our place. Five to six feet high fences are designed to keep the dogs in and the deer, coyotes and moose out!

Aero sort of photobombed this shot of our new welcome mat sent from my brother.

A “painted” version of Aero enjoying a warm RV a couple of months ago.

Brodie remembering the good times playing in the river at the Sacramento delta.

Wind blowing dog's ear

Are Backyard Birds Pets?

For years, while living in Sacramento, I enjoyed a wide variety of birds that regularly visited my backyard. I enjoyed several generations of kites, members the hawk family, for more than 20 years. The kites nested in the huge pine trees in our yard.

Bird of Prey Kite

Every once in a while I would get an unusual bird like this black-headed grosbeak, a “fake finch,” which surprisingly belongs to the cardinal family. Sharing for Lisa’s Bird Weekly, Birds with letter F.

Black headed Grosbeak
Black-headed Grosbeak

By far, I enjoyed generations of Anna’s hummingbirds that fed and nested in my backyard. They got quite tame and “let” me take their pictures! I put out some bird feeders in our new backyard, but no hummers yet! I miss these little guys!

The Lens-Artists challenge invites us to explore the relationship with those things that are dear to us and how they affect us. As you have read, my dogs are an integral part of our lives. The birds I have photographed over the years are beloved to me as well and I thank God for nature and this beautiful world in which we live.

House Happenings

Since I’m still struggling along without wi-fi in the house, my photography has slowed down. I managed to upload these two images of our home using the WordPress Mobile app then edited on the laptop using the hotspot. This process works for now. I have 100s of images that need to be uploaded and edited and I need to hang out at a neighbor’s house to use their wi-fi. Soon.

Today I share two quick pics of our finished dining room and a view from our back deck into the house.

Aero managed to photobomb yet another picture. All about pets, right?

View from dining room, and living room from back deck

Sunday Stills Photo Challenge Reminders

  • Please create a new post for the theme or link a recent one.
  • Title your blog post a little differently than mine.
  • Don’t forget to create a pingback to this post so that other participants can read your post. I also recommend adding your post’s URL into the comments.
  • Entries for this theme can be posted all week.
  • Use hashtag #SundayStills for sharing on social media.

Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. I sure enjoyed catching up with everyone last week! I was so thrilled to see so many purple/violet/lavender images shared by you all.

“No Shrinking Violets” from Last Week’s Links

May themes are listed on my Sunday Stills page. May 2nd’s theme is water. If you followed my blog long enough, you might remember that May is Water Safety Month, and my former identity as an aquatics director rears its head as I still enjoy promoting water safety. Water in any form, from droplets to oceans will be welcomed.

Sharing for Becky B’s Bright Squares

Looking forward to seeing your images of kids and pets! Have a great week!

signature

© 2021 Copyright—All rights reserved—secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills Monthly Color Challenge: Spring #Green

hummer on wire_spring green

Just in time to celebrate the spring equinox and last week’s “wearin’ o’ the green” for St. Patrick’s Day, this week’s Sunday Stills theme is all about the color green. Not just any green but “spring” green as seen below. Think of fresh, lively greens as dormant plants and trees open their sleepy blooms to the sky (northern hemisphere).

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“Everything is so green it hurts my eyes.”

My remarks when we would visit my cousins in East Texas in spring or summer.

Terri Webster Schrandt

Green is the fresh emblem of well-founded hopes. In blue, the spirit can wander, but in green, it can rest.

Mary Webb

Spring green does not have to be about plants and trees, although I have a few! Spring green is everywhere as you can see in my gallery. (Click images to see in full size).

A Green Gallery

One More B&W Image

I had a lot of comments and questions on my image-compare photo of the hummingbird last week, showing the difference between the same photo in color and in B&W. Here is another hummingbird image shown in image compare, to share for Lisa’s Bird Weekly challenge. Image Compare can be found in the block editor.

hummer on wire_spring greenHummer shades of gray
Spring green or black and white?

I’m Linking this Post to…

Two New Ways to Share Your Amazing Photos

WordPress Stories
Have you tried WordPress stories yet? I posted two this week; one was a preview of today’s post. This is done through your mobile device (currently through Android). I had to upload the most updated WordPress app version, so do check it out. If you’ve shared stories through Facebook and Instagram, you know those only last 24 hours then poof into the netherworld they fly only to be seen by you if you remembered to download them. These seem to serve as quick mini-posts and will stay on your blog’s home page, another great way to share. I don’t see ways to link back to the host’s post, but WordPress Stories seems like another fun way to share our talents within WordPress. Here is mine if you missed it! See full article.

Too Busy to Write a Post for a Photo Challenge? Try Sharing in Comments
Last week, I took a page out of Hugh’s Views and News and Joe’s Easin’ Along by sharing an image in my comment section. Sometimes we don’t have time to write a whole post, but sharing an image in the host’s post is almost as productive. Others will likely view the image and visit your blog. Here is how to accomplish this simple task: Sharing image In Comments or Hugh’s Tutorial.

The Good News and Bad News

Lots of major items were checked off the new house last week. The carpet and septic system were both installed. You guessed; this was the good news.

So what pray tell could be the bad news? We’ve been given the green light (ha!) for the impending walk-through, and move the RV onto the property while they finish. Now, how is this bad news, you ask, scratching your head? Well, we will have no Internet until March 31. Oh yes, and I will be in full-on unpacking and moving mode. So, I will be on a two-week blogging break while I get my act together!

Back to the good news! Marsha Ingrao of Always Write will host Sunday Stills on March 28 and April 4. March 28 is “Respect Your Cat Day,” instead of Emerging which is postponed to April 11. April 4 is “volunteering.” The themes will be updated on my Sunday Stills page, with a link to Marsha’s blog. The remaining April themes will be posted soon! Please feel free to follow our moving progress on Facebook and Instagram, and I may be able to share a WordPress story or two!

The RV park sign shows the color of spring green nicely in its logo. We’ll say goodbye on March 24 as we begin to move into the house!

RV campground sign

Thank you to all who shared your stunning black and white photos this past week. Many commented that B&W photography was not their “thing,” yet everyone shared at least one amazing image. I was truly inspired by YOU all and aim to explore more black and white photography.

Sunday Stills Photo Challenge Reminders

  • Please create a new post for the theme or link a recent one.
  • Title your blog post a little differently than mine.
  • Don’t forget to create a pingback to this post so that other participants can read your post. I also recommend adding your post’s URL into the comments.
  • Entries for this theme can be posted all week.
  • Use hashtag #SundayStills for sharing on social media.

An Expressive But Colorless Collection

Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. Each week I will share the links from the previous post so you can continue to meet and support each other. And with that…view the spectacular and inspiring images in black and white last week shared by your fellow bloggers.

I look forward to your spring green images this week. Please visit my Sunday Stills page to see the latest updates.

Have a wonderful week and “see” you back here on April 11th!

© 2021 Copyright—All rights reserved—secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: Your Best #Black-and-White Photos

Inked hummer

Black and white photography is not at the top of my list of favorite photography techniques. I prefer color photography, but I enjoy seeing others’ black and white images and I recognize the special eye and techniques it takes to create just the right image.

“Black and white photography removes any distraction of color and helps the viewer focus on other aspects of the photo, such as the subject, the textures, shapes and patterns, and the composition.”

David Kindervater

As I challenge myself with this theme, I start by sharing two images of people, which in my opinion, especially lend themselves to black and white photography. I cannot take credit for the images, but they are two of my favorites.

This was taken by my husband’s brother-in-law. He caught this image of my husband lighting a cigar. Not only does the light balance work here, but the smoke curls in contrast to the dark background. His expression shows the anticipation of the first inhale as he lights the cigar. This would be the kind of black and white photography to which I would aspire.

man smoking cigar

We recently celebrated my mother-in-law’s life with a family memorial service. Aside from other wonderful images of her, my sister-in-law took this one of Hella for her high school photography class in 1974.

Hella Schrandt

Again, NOT one of my images, but she captured her mother’s joy and zest for life in this now eternal moment.

A Black and White Gallery

I dug into my archives for these images shown in the gallery. *Note–the black sand beach was actually black and white…cheating?

Birds in Black and White

Any subject can be finished in black and white. In the example below, I have the same image of one of my backyard hummingbirds (incidentally all puffed up from a spring rain shower and a good example of next week’s theme “spring green”). I feel that the color image really pops compared to the black and white image I created. Here is how they look side-by-side.

Fluffed up hummingbirdall fluffed up in BW

Since I was not thrilled with the B&W version, I also used a black and white filter (Painnt app) as seen below to enhance what should remain a wonderful color image but doesn’t lend itself to black and white.

Inked hummer

What do you think?

While we are on the subject of birds, I happened to have an oldie-but-goodie image of a Pacifica shorebird in sepia format, taken on the beaches of San Diego. Shared for Lisa’s BirdWeekly.

sepia shore bird

Whatever your own techniques for creating beautiful B&W images, please share a little about your process.

Looking for Black and White Photo Challenges?

I love coincidence! This photo was taken for Cees Black and White Photo challenge in 2015 (when I was newer to blogging and photography). Why coincidence? I am resubmitting this same image for Cee’s B&W challenge for kitchen objects (started this week!) again 6 years later! This was one of my first attempts to focus a color into a black and white image. I know it’s lacking, but we all start somewhere. Cee offers her black and white photo challenge weekly.

blackand white kitchen

A Light at the End of the Tunnel

porch light

If we were having coffee this week, I would happily tell you that we may be within two weeks of moving into the house! I hope I haven’t jinxed it…but the manufactured home company told us that carpet was installed this weekend, and I’ve had assurances that the septic system goes in this week. Above is the cute porch light recently installed. So much happened at lightning speed over the last three weeks, almost as if to make up for the lo-o-ong wait for just electricity last month. A few more small items to check before the final walk-through. And just in time for spring-like weather. For those who observe daylight saving time, did you spring your clocks forward last night?

Please join Natalie’s Weekend Coffee Share each week and see what other bloggers are up to!

Sunday Stills Photo Challenge Reminders

  • Please create a new post for the theme or link a recent one.
  • Title your blog post a little differently than mine.
  • Don’t forget to create a pingback to this post so that other participants can read your post. I also recommend adding your post’s URL into the comments.
  • Entries for this theme can be posted all week.
  • Use hashtag #SundayStills for sharing on social media.

Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. Each week I will share the links from the previous post so you can continue to meet and support each other. And with that…please visit our…

Rainy Day People

I truly admire folks who can capture lovely images in black and white, so this week, the challenge is YOURS!

Camera graphic

© 2021 Copyright—All rights reserved—secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: A #White-Washed World

Whietwashed world

With winter still in full swing in the northern hemisphere, I wanted to challenge us all to look at and photograph objects that are the color white. If you live in or around snow, then show us your snowy scenes. If not, the color white is all around us. I’m still a newbie to living in snow, so I get that many of you are over it and don’t want to be reminded of winter white! Please indulge my rookie winter as I share a few images of snow.

A morning storm blew three inches of snow from every angle and created the white-washed view from my RV.

Whietwashed world

Despite living in an RV park, the white wash of snow makes just about any scene more beautiful.

Bare White Winter Trees

The powdery snow melts quickly in this high desert-alpine environment, leaving abstract snowy tracks from my own boot.

Making Snow Tracks

As March quickly approaches, I find myself longing for spring, now that temperatures this week are in the upper 40s. No complaints, but I do miss seeing random flowers on my daily walks. These echinacea daisies grew abundantly in early spring, while the paperwhites below grew in January in Northern California. Florals shared are today for Cee’s Flower of the Day.

white and gray flower
Vibrant paperwhites
Vibrant paperwhites

Since we are on the subject of “things that are white,” here is my lovely snowy egret captured with my lens during winter in San Diego a few years ago. Sharing for Lisa’s Bird Weekly.

Snowy egret stands in grace
Egret enjoying San Diego

This Just In…If We Were Having Coffee…

…I would tell you that as of 3:00 Saturday, we visited the property and saw that the interior crew has begun work on the inside of the house! Viewing from outside through the dining room slider door, this shows a “white-washed” view of the work being done. A little messy, but it will be gorgeous in a few weeks!

manufactured home interior work

Weird how things worked out timing-wise for the theme this week! I hope you enjoyed this brief coffee chat and I appreciate your indulgence and encouragement each week as I share our home building progress.

Sunday Stills Photo Challenge Reminders

  • Please create a new post for the theme or link a recent one.
  • Title your blog post a little differently than mine.
  • Don’t forget to create a pingback to this post so that other participants can read your post. I also recommend adding your post’s URL into the comments.
  • Entries for this theme can be shared all week.
  • Use hashtag #SundayStills for sharing on social media.

Bloggers and Their Feathered Friends

Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. Each week I will share the links from the previous post so you can continue to meet and support each other. And with that…join 37 bloggers who shared their fabulous bird photos and stories.

Please join me next week as we kick off March with the theme “Rainy Day.” For March themes, please visit my Sunday Stills Page.

Camera graphic

© 2021 Copyright—All rights reserved—secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: #Feeding Those Birds!

Grosbeak Feeder

February is National Bird Feeding Month if you are wondering what inspired the Sunday Stills challenge theme this week.

Black-Billed Grosbeak

I shared a similar post last year about the need to provide food for the birds, especially in the winter months. By February in the northern hemisphere, seeds, grains and other feed are buried under snow and mud or already eaten.

In addition to sharing some images of birds at their feeders, I have a a couple of hawk images to share, in response to Lisa’s Bird Weekly challenge. The image is of the White-tailed Kite family we had living in our former neighborhood in Sacramento.

At twilight, as many as 20 kites would fly in search of their food–rodents, small birds, and small dogs (just kidding?). Make no mistake, these are medium-sized birds of prey, with wingspans from 35-40 inches.

Kites sharing the top of a tree

I posted this image of this Red-Tailed hawk flying high above the Valley of Fire State park near Las Vegas, Nevada. In search of a tasty rodent, no doubt!

Hawk flies over Valley of Fire state park

Now that the hawks are feeding, here are some images of birds in my former backyard in Sacramento.

No new bird photos yet from Spokane, except a few bald eagles.

Waiting is For the Birds

If we were having coffee today while waiting to feed the birds, I use the above expression to punctuate the slowness of waiting for our home to be built. Yep, every week I have an update, but this week, things finally got moving! Four weeks after our contractor scheduled the electrician to install the meter, the pedestal was set at the end of January. But, I still had to put in a new residential application with our electric company. I could not apply in early January because, as our address is brand new, it did not show up in Google Maps so the electric company had no way to verify the address. Um, really? What did the world do before Google Maps? This application process only took two days, but it took another two weeks to schedule a meeting with the engineer. On one of the snowiest days of the year so far, was the day we met him at the site.

During that time, the state of Washington inspected and passed the work. This week, the engineer approved everything, and gave our contractor the green light to install the conduit to the electrical box on the property, which was placed Wednesday. The crew was also busy working on the home, attaching plumbing lines and other work. I almost cried with relief to see work being done for a change.

I paid the construction fee Thursday morning to the electric company and the construction office called me an hour later and is in the process of scheduling someone to run the wiring. Keep your fingers crossed this happens within a few days. I still predict that it will be the end of March before we can completely move into the home. Did you enjoy some hot coffee while reading? Sure looks cold, doesn’t it?

Feeling Drained and Bird-Brained

As if this wasn’t enough, two major life events happened this week. Sadly, my mother-in-law passed away peacefully in her sleep on Valentine’s Day, at age 89, after suffering strokes and living with Alzheimer’s for several years. We attended a viewing on Saturday and a more formal memorial service is scheduled in March.

On a happy note, I started a new part-time job at Spokane Community College working with disabled students to help them integrate into the community. And you thought I was going to stay retired…nope! More about this in another post!

I’m adding this post to Denyse’s link up Life this Week!

Sunday Stills Photo Challenge Reminders

  • Please create a new post for the theme or link a recent one.
  • Title your blog post a little differently than mine.
  • Don’t forget to create a pingback to this post so that other participants can read your post. I also recommend adding your post’s URL into the comments.
  • Entries for this theme can be shared all week.
  • Use hashtag #SundayStills for sharing on social media.

Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. Each week I will share the links on the following post so you can continue to meet and support each other. And with that…

A Rosy Round-Up

Pease visit these 35 bloggers who shared their rosy-red images last week, and welcome our new friends to Sunday Stills!

Remember to feed the birds the rest of this month and beyond! I’m looking forward to your creative images and ideas!

Bitmoji Birding

© 2021 Copyright—All rights reserved—secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills Color Challenge: A #Rosy Outlook

Rosy Quince blossom

It is time for another Sunday Stills monthly color challenge! This one is rosy red. Just in time for Valentine’s Day (if you celebrate), you can show us your favorite things that are rosy red. “Rosy” implies a little pink in the red, but the range can be dark pink to deep burgundy for this challenge.

Here’s an actual rose to get you started!

Rain-soaked rose glistens
Rainy rosebud

Rosy Florals

All the years I lived in Sacramento, mid-February was the time that many species of trees would bloom, breaking up the dreary, gray landscape with the promise of spring, and thus providing that rosy outlook. Few, if any were red in color, except this one of a Flowering Quince blossom that I took two years ago in February.

Rosy Quince blossom

Living here in Spokane, WA, where winter holds on tight, I won’t see many blooming trees until April or May.

In the meantime, I will share some of my favorite florals from past posts. Bougainvillea are beautiful climbing plants that thrive in warmer climates. Just about any time of year, I would see them while visiting San Diego.

Pink and white bougainvillea
Beautiful bougainvillea

Two years ago, I bought plumeria stalks to plant at home. The pink one flowered within three months of planting (almost unheard of!). I enjoyed its rosy pink blooms for several months, taking endless photos of them.

Rosy pink plumeria

I was quite proud of the plant and the seemingly endless blooms it produced. Last year, the same plant did not flower at all but grew nicely in its pot. As our pending move to Spokane loomed, I re-homed the two plumeria plants, the other a yellow one that never bloomed, to my daughter’s home in San Diego. Plumeria LOVE it there and the plants, especially the pink and yellow variety, thrive in the temperate climate.

All florals are shared today on Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Riotous Red Leaves

“Rebellious leaves going out in a blaze of glory, setting trees aflame in riotous color.”

John Mark Green, Taste the Wild Wonder: Poems

I had a beautiful Japanese Maple planted in my front yard in my former house in Sacramento. The tree never failed to impress me with its magnificent, rich rosy-reds. I will miss this tree I planted 20 years ago.

Red Maple Square

But I have stunning maple trees to enjoy once we get into our new home and can begin landscaping. This one lives in my sister-in-law’s backyard.

Red Maple
Red Maple

Maples, aspens, and pines are my trees of choice and will do well in the various climates here in Eastern Washington.

My Birdy Valentines

I’ve been remiss in joining Lisa’s Bird Weekly lately. This week, her challenge is “birds you love.” So of course I have to share one of my Anna hummers at the red feeder …

hummingbird ready to feed

I dearly loved this little family of hummingbirds. They stayed around all year (in mostly mild Northern California) and nested in the trees with the promise of new generations to visit the neighborhood feeders.

… and while we are on the theme of rosy red, I had to share this redheaded woodpecker from my archives. Captured when I was learning to shoot with my Lumix!

Redheaded Woodpecker

A Rosy Outlook

Despite the bitter cold snap we are having this week, and managing to do so in our RV, a rosy outlook is at hand!

Rosy sunset RV park

As we settle in to accept the slowness of the building of our manufactured home, we have an appointment with an engineer from the local power (electric) company this Monday. Hopefully, this next step to get power officially connected to the home will go swiftly!

I’m also linking this to Natalie’s Weekend Coffee Share!

Sunday Stills Photo Challenge Reminders

  • Please create a new post for the theme.
  • Title your post a little differently than mine.
  • Don’t forget to create a pingback to this post so that other participants can read your post. I also recommend adding your post’s URL into the comments.
  • Entries for this theme can be shared all week. Use hashtag #SundayStills for sharing on social media.

I like to think Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. Each week I will share the links on the following post so you can continue to meet and support each other. And with that…

New Bloggers to Sunday Stills I Failed to Welcome:

A Fallen Round-Up

Please visit and connect with other bloggers who participated in Sunday Stills last week.

I hope you are enjoying your holiday weekend here in the US, or at least Valentines Day today. I’m looking forward to your creative ideas for rosy red!

have a good week

© 2021 Copyright—All rights reserved—secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: #Fog at My Feet, Head in the #Clouds

lenticular clouds over delta

January has usually been a month where it feels like my head is either in a fog or UP in the clouds. So far this year, with so much going on with our move to Washington, I feel slightly unmotivated and a little out-of-sorts. I have a lot to look forward to and I am very eager to get on with our new life here. Even a cloudy, snowy day is beautiful to me.

Winter in Spokane

I won’t let the BIG events cloud my motivation. Despite the hope of a historical, US presidential inauguration, the potential for unrest and what feels like a never-ending pandemic has caused psychological harm to possibly millions of people. Who doesn’t feel brain fog these days?

Malibu Sunrise
Foggy morning in Malibu, California

For now, I will revel in what the month of January brings, usually cold weather, clouds and fog, and discover an ethereal and reflective beauty in the images.

Foggy river reflection
Foggy January day in the Sacramento Delta

“Some days your head is in the clouds. Every now and then, the clouds come down to ignite your creativity.”

Skye McNeil

And just to make it interesting, I’ve included a few of my favorite images of clouds and fog found in other seasons.

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”

Rabindranath Tagore

A delta sunset sparks the imagination in late April.

Day is Done

Windy conditions at the Sacramento delta yielded an incredible variety of cloud formations, including this lenticular formation.

Lenticular Clouds

These ominous storm clouds brought wind to the delta.

Variety of textures in the delta

Lazy Clouds

I couldn’t resist re-posting this image of the wave-like clouds we saw a few years ago in the Mohave Desert.

Who says there are no ocean waves in the desert?
Crazy clouds along Route 66 near Victorville CA

These clouds at 4500 elevation in the Sierra Nevada Mountains were feeling lazy.

Clouds-Envelope-Hillside
Lazy Clouds

The Canada Goose family doesn’t seem to mind the foggy, overcast days as long as they can eat and swim. Submitted for Lisa’s Bird Weekly, Birds with Brown Feathers.

Ducks enjoy the river
Wild geese enjoy the foggy river

And just when you think you are too weary to care about much, Blue Angels soar high above us, a gift of hope as humankind demonstrates its capacity to defy speed and gravity .

Blue Angels Ascent
Blue Angels Soar into the Clouds

Sharing most images for Becky B’s SquaresUp.

I would love to see your fog and cloud images this week!

Camera graphic

© 2021 Copyright—All rights reserved—secondwindleisure.com

The Eagle Has Landed

Bald Eagle in the Tree

Last weekend, I’d read in a local Spokane publication that bald eagles winter in Idaho’s Lake Couer d’Alene in search of spawning Kokanee salmon. Sunday, we drove the short 30 minutes to the area and stopped at Higgins Point where the eagles are known to feed.

Armed with my Lumix camera, our dogs, and wearing warm winter coats on this cold, sunny day, we eagerly joined other eagle-watchers as we hiked along the trail, looking up and around for signs of the eagles.

After 45 minutes of seeing empty skies, we headed back to the main area. Suddenly some onlookers were cheering and clapping and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a gorgeous eagle soar just a few feet away, almost at eye-level.

Did I get the coveted close-up shot? Nope.

But I scurried and managed to capture him flying into the trees.

Bald Eagle in flight

Somewhat disappointed, I sat down with my hubby on a nearby park bench and I got the camera ready again. Looking down on the lake, I noticed other people looking up and my hubby said he could see one in the tree.

Sure enough, there he was, king of the lake.

Bald Eagle in the Tree

Looking up again, I saw another eagle soaring, this time the sun shining on his wings. Ever try to catch an eagle in flight with a 600-zoom lens? Dizzying to say the least. But I managed a few more shots.

Bald Eagle Soars over Lake Couer d' Aline

Did You Know?

The American bald eagle lives in North America including Canada, Alaska, and the contiguous U.S. In the wild, they can live up to 20 years! Their average weight ranges from 6-14 pounds with wingspans ranging from 6 to 7.5 feet.

A local said the kokanee salmon had already run their course for the winter, so our hope of seeing flocks of them feeding was dashed. Although we only saw a total of three eagles, it was three more than I have ever seen with my own eyes.

A good day for looking up!

Joining Lisa’s Bird Weekly (birds with long wingspans) and Becky B’s SquaresUp photo challenges.

Bitmoji Birding

© 2021 Copyright—All rights reserved—secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: Your 2020 #Retrospective

Sunday Stills 2020 Banner
Sunday Stills 2020 Banner

I had originally thought to take a break until January 10, then realized I’m a bit bored, so why not jump back into blogging? Especially with this theme of looking back on our 2020 retrospective.

A retrospective shows our year in words, photos, stories, and other creative endeavors. Share your good and bad, your best and worst, and what your hope is as 2021 begins. I have chosen to share images, old and new, of the highlights of each month of 2020.

2020 was not all bad. Certainly, the pandemic was (and is) a game-changer and we lost friends and loved ones. Some of us tested positive. Our kids and grandkids are still struggling in a two-dimensional world of learning. Most of us cannot travel to the extent we prefer, and too many folks are struggling financially. However, if this was a sci-fi movie, the plot would demonstrate the resilience of humanity as we navigate through these unprecedented times. Many wonderful events happened to countless people in 2020. While we grieve the losses, let us stay positive and look forward to our blessings and futures.

Here is my retrospective written for each month in 2020. This is longer than my usual posts so please be warned!

January Joyrides

In late December 2019, we headed out on another winter road trip from Sacramento, California, to Arizona and Las Vegas, Nevada. We spent time with Ingrid and her husband, then FINALLY got to see the Grand Canyon!

Winter in South Rim of Grand Canyon
Cold Winter’s Day in South Rim of Grand Canyon

My brother and partner lived for a short time in Vegas, so we all enjoyed a trip to Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park.

Entering the Narrows of Valley of Fire
Entering the Narrows of Valley of Fire

Later in the month, we made a trip up north to a nearby bird sanctuary to view the comings and goings of the Canadian snow geese that make their winter home in the Sacramento Valley.

looking up at snow geese

Canadian Snow Geese will cause you to look up abruptly as they fly in graceful formations, honking at each other to stay in line. Submitted for Lisa’s bird weekly challenge, birds with long wingspans. Snow Geese have wingspans up to 4.5 feet!

February Fantasy

The land hunt was over. In 2019, we started planning a life change and an eventual move to Washington State. We began the loan process of purchasing a half-acre of property in Nine Mile Falls, near Spokane, WA. We imagined ourselves making payments on the property for a year while fixing up the existing house in Sacramento at a leisurely pace.

Fixing a new deck

March Madness

On March 3rd, my 79-year old mother passed away from complications of age and pneumonia. Little did I know how blessed we were to spend the last days with her in the hospital and say our goodbyes.

Obituary Image

Covid-19 became too real as shut-downs in countries and local communities began just weeks later. Universities and schools began the arduous task of teaching online. We signed papers on our property the day before California counties shut down. Real estate prices fell and we got nervous about the future of the plans for our new home.

A toast to the future
It’s Ours!

April Angles and Angels

Church services were canceled or limited to online viewing. Our spirits were lifted anyway, especially when our pastor and his wife personally delivered the Easter lilies we purchased that were meant as memorials for loved ones.

Easter Lily Close-Up

During the shut-downs, the only fun we could have was going to the grocery store and various big box stores as people flocked to buy materials for home improvement, gardening, and backyard birding. Below, you can see the incredible siding job hubby completed.

Front of house completed

May We Begin Again?

Our delta campground where we windsurfed and paddled delayed its opening by almost 2 months. Honestly, we were lucky it opened at all. At that time, we didn’t know it would be our last summer.

Delta Sunset Painnted

In mid-May, we took a road trip to Spokane once Covid travel restrictions eased. I finally got to show hubby the land we bought! With some advice, we refinanced our property loan to include construction and the home itself and fast-tracked ourselves on the road to move.

Happy on our half acre

June Jubilee

Opening hydrangeas

This month, I reflected on what would have been my mother’s 80th birthday. She always had a garden full of flowers. Anticipating our move by the end of the year, I eventually rehomed my huge potted hydrangea to a friend in November before our move. My last crop of sunflowers began blooming.

sunflower

Joyful July

This month I celebrated Aeros’ 10th birthday.

Me and My Aero

Covid restrictions eased a bit and some travel was allowed. My gym opened for two weeks and I went every day. I had the absolute pleasure of visiting longtime friend and fellow blogger Marsha at her former home in Central Calfornia.

Two Bloggers

Then, to top it off, we got to see a black bear ambling along the highway near the south entrance of Sequoia National Park! Marsha recently moved to Prescott, Arizona and we have been checking in with each other about how our collective moves have been going!

Golden Black Bear

August Angst

Early August found me on my third road trip, this time to Mammoth Lakes on the Eastern Sierra Nevada. My family had originally made plans to stay in a large condo there and drive to Tuolumne Meadows on the Tioga Pass side of Yosemite National Park to scatter my mom’s ashes. Only myself, my daughter and her boyfriend, and my brother and his partner made the trip, so we saved the scattering for another date in 2021. I cried when I saw my family since we hadn’t been together since Christmas.

Near Mammoth is Mono Lake and we enjoyed a sunset stroll among the tufa towers.

Standing beside Mono Lake

Covid restrictions were well in place in Mammoth and people walked around in masks as if we had been wearing them our whole lives. Entrance into Yosemite was limited to pre-reserved permits. I stood at the Tioga Pass entrance to Yosemite wearing my mask—a sign of the times! Although we could not drive in, we could walk into the park through the nearby meadows. This marked my third visit to a National Park in 2020. Not bad for a pandemic!

Tioga Pass Entrance Masked

Sadly, we endured horrific California fires that engulfed the entire West Coast with smoke and hazardous air quality, along with oppressive heat. To add to an already eventful month, not only did we sell my mother’s home in August, but we also closed on our new construction loan…all in one 24 hour period! Whew!

August and September were unbelievably stressful months. If you haven’t had the chance, you can read more about it: Sunday Stills: Towering Turmoil.

Wake Me Up When September Ends

I started September teaching my university classes online. I gave up my third class to another professor because I did not have the energy or motivation to turn it into an online course. I was extremely sad knowing it was to be my last semester teaching after 10 years as a part-time lecturer and also disappointed to not be in the classroom with the students.

We spent the second weekend of September packing up and saying goodbye to the delta, where I had spent 11 summers learning new board sports and camping with new friends.

Sunset over wind turbines

Determined to continue packing and moving, we moved our travel trailer to Spokane a few days later, before winter set in…. Yep, a tire blew out on the trailer in central Oregon, but Hercules Hans (hubby) fixed it and we were safe!

I said goodbye to the last of my sweet sunflowers. Each spring, I grew them from seeds and their lovely blooms gave me three years of pleasure cultivating them, watching them grow, and taking endless photographs of them.

October Obstacles

I would categorize October as the second-worst month of 2020 (behind March) and the month where obstacles stood waiting for us. As we prepared for the last of the two-way road trips to Spokane, we experienced delays with the moving company. We finally had to drive the bumpy, noisy, 20-foot truck there loaded with 60% of our home and return the empty truck. By now we had packed and prepped to the point of exhaustion. As if that weren’t enough, we contracted mild cases of Covid from family members while staying overnight near Bend, Oregon.

super pink moon

Even the blue moon of Halloween was not enough to make the my month better.

Notable November

Once we got the nod from our real estate agent, all systems were “go” for listing the house. We made plans to take yet another road trip, this time to San Diego to visit our collective adult children and family and take some boxes of goodies to them. We timed the home listing and walk-throughs with this visit so we would be gone for a few days. Over 100 families visited the home in three days. My home of 32 years sold in four days, $16,000 above our asking price.

Japanese Maple Fall

Fall leaves finally made their appearance which gave me a sense of peace tinged with melancholy, knowing that this was my last Autumn at my home. We spent a quiet Thanksgiving as my two daughters came to visit and say goodbye to their childhood home for the last time.

We say goodbye to our family home

A December to Remember

December is traditionally a month of festivity and fun with Christmas and our annual road trips south. This month would be like no other December in memory. Mid-month, I said my goodbyes to fellow faculty on Zoom and farewell to my 10-year teaching career. Below is the last look at my walk toward the building and classrooms.

Sacramento State University

We spent two weeks packing the POD after Thanksgiving, filling it to the brim. Early the next morning, on December 13, I tearfully hugged my house goodbye and took one last look at the empty house as we drove away for the last time, me following behind my husband’s truck in my car.

Huggin my house goodbye

This would be our final, and one-way road trip through Oregon and onto Spokane for 2020. Although it rained all through Oregon, there was no snow, and we made record time on our second day with joy in our hearts as we reached our destination in Spokane. A few days later we visited our property and said hello to our new house!

New home selfie

Someone asked me what I learned from 2020. Like any year, I take away nuggets of wisdom from the choices I made. My husband and I walk in faith, understanding that both good and bad things will happen. The pandemic made 2020 a challenging year, but life went on in its usual fashion. This may sound weird, but the pandemic hastened our move out of California, and the timing for both buying and selling real estate was rather miraculous. Let’s just say, with two homes sold in 2020, Hans and I have enough money to live on for several years if we truly retire.

New Horizons for 2021

What is on the horizon? We are patiently waiting for our house to be ready. Within the next few weeks, it will be set onto the foundation, the two halves joined together, the utilities will get hooked up and the interior will be completed. I’m told this could take another 1-2 months. Meanwhile, we continue to live with my brother-in-law.

Once we get moved into the home, Hans will look for employment. His retirement pension from the City of Sacramento wasn’t as generous as mine, since he only put in 7 years. I am contemplating teaching as a lecturer at Eastern Washington University in their parks and recreation management program. But I prefer to wait until the campus opens back to classroom teaching. Heck, I may not work at all and be truly retired. Our only hiccup is we will have to pay our medical benefits out-of-pocket, at least until age 65 (4 more years). If he works, and he plans to, then our medical benefits will be covered.

I need to get my fitness level back to pre-2019. Between foot surgery in 2019 and gyms closing in most of 2020, I feel very out of shape. Once spring comes, I plan to visit nearby hiking trails and bike paths a few miles from the new home. For now, with winter in full swing, I bought a set of snowshoes and have already tried them. With the poles and 12 inches of snow, it is like an elliptical workout!

me and my snowshoes

As for writing projects, I plan to finish my fitness book, No Excuses Fitness, and get that self-published. I found it difficult to write about motivating others to be physically active when I was not. I am also reading more and have some review posts planned to highlight other bloggers’ books!

Did I mention I’m a bit bored? Living in someone else’s house limits a person. But as you read this post, we plan to drive to Couer D’ Aline, Idaho, just 30 miles away to watch the 100’s of bald eagles feed on the salmon in the lake. If I can capture an eagle with my camera lens, I can check off another bucket list item. Keep your fingers crossed!

I hope this post has inspired you to reflect on your own 2020 experience. The following photo challenges have inspired me as well:
Becky B’s Squares
Cee’s Flower of the Day
Lisa’s Bird weekly

Also linking to the Lens-Artists challenge this week Favorite Images of 2020.

I’m also linking this post to lovely Leslie’s at Once Upon A Time and Happily Ever After.

Won’t you join me for Sunday Stills in 2021? Thank you to all who have participated in Sunday Still these last three years!

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Sunday Stills: City #Sidewalks

sunday stills sidewalks

In a few days, I am trading my city/suburban sidewalks for rural ones, as we make our way north to the Spokane, Washington area.

This week’s Sunday Stills theme is sidewalks, walkways, rural paths, etc! Join me for a walk down memory lane as I share some of my favorite walks.

One of my favorite views as I walk my dogs is this one below of a suburban street a few blocks from my current house of 32 years.

fall in the neighborhood
Last look at neighborhood street

My brother-in-law shot this of the first snow in October on his suburban street in Spokane Valley. Image credit to him. I’m asking for snowshoes this Christmas!

snowy suburban sidewalk

Luckily I don’t need them to “walk” in this miniature Christmas street display.

Christmas Village

The theme of City Sidewalks reminds me of Christmas and the beautiful Christmas song, Silver Bells. My favorite rendition of the song is by Anne Murray.

“City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style
In the air, there’s a feeling of Christmas”

Last Sunday, hubby and I had to leave the house so the inspector could do his thing, and parked on the street that leads to the American River Bike Trail. A beautiful Autumn day in Sacramento!

Road to Bike Trail

Taking a more general approach to the theme, I’m sharing galleries of sidewalks, paths, and walkways I’ve collected on my walks.

Campus Memories

Last Wednesday was my last time to walk on the university campus where I have taught for the last 10 years. I met our department chair to turn in my building and office keys. Having not been on campus for months due to Covid, I felt slightly cheated for missing these views this semester.

Memories of Sidewalks and Pathways Gone By

This is one of my favorite photographs taken in 2014 in Lake Tahoe. We walked down this stairway to the beach on the north shore. I turned and looked back and caught this image. I believe this was a defining moment when I became a photographer.

a long walk up from Lake Tahoe shore
Long Walk Up

Here is another gallery of previous photos taken on walks in San Diego, the Sacramento River Delta, Sedona, Spokane, and Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada.

I would be remiss if I didn’t include this image of my hubby in his green bike helmet looking toward Yosemite Falls. Have I mentioned I have been to Yosemite National Park 26 times so far?

walking path to Yosemite Falls
Path to Yosemite Falls

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”

John Muir

On my walks, I see many types of birds. Frequently seen in my own neighborhood are mockingbirds, mourning doves, and robins. Bluejays are also everywhere as pictured below (on my backyard feeder). Shared for Lisa’s Bird Weekly: Birds beginning with “B.”

Blue jay contorts to get some yummy treats!
Blue jay contorts to get some yummy treats!

One day this week, we took a break from packing the POD to visit my dad and step-mom 45 miles away in the Sierra foothills. A long dirt road to my dad’s house up the hill. I’m not sure when I will be back to see this again.

Western States trail
Walking up Turkey Hill Road in Foresthill, CA

As winter sets in, we drive north to Washington in a few days.

Winter Scene Spokane

For this California native, I will enjoy and embrace my new paths in the Pacific Northwest.

Thank you for walking down memory lane with me this week. Images in this post are submitted for the following photo challenges:

I look forward to your interpretations of City Sidewalks this week!

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