Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

May you always have work for your hands to do.
May your pockets hold always a coin or two.
May the sun shine bright on your windowpane.
May the rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend always be near you.
And may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.
~ Irish Blessing

This is not a technically great photo because it was shot through the dirty window of a speeding train, but it was such an amazing scene in the midst of this otherwise very wet and wild winter we're having here in the Western U.S. that I felt compelled to offer it as part of my New Year's wish for everyone. (Taken on December 13 somewhere near Salem, Oregon.)

Here's hoping 2011 brings health, happiness, and rainbows to all!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas! 

May you enjoy all the delights of the holiday.

~ Leslie

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

To those of you who celebrate...
wishing you a special day
with family, friends, food, and fun.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Anyone else out gardening?

I have been neglecting my blog (but trying to keep up with yours)! But I have a really good excuse... I've been spending a lot of time outside getting my fingers nice and dirty in the yard. Until the sudden heat of this week, we've had perfect weather to get out and spruce things up a bit. It sure feels good! I hope all of you are enjoying outside kinds of things too.

When weeding, the best way 
to make sure you are removing a weed 
and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. 
 If it comes out of the ground easily, 
it is a valuable plant.
~ Author Unknown

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day

You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence 
every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers 
who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, 
but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, 
the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. 
 You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.
~ Erma Bombeck

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A thought for this first day of July...

If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances. I would ride more merry-go-rounds. I would pick more daisies.
~ Nadine Stair

Monday, June 28, 2010

Cactus Monday

Happy Cactus Monday!

Strawberry Hedgehog Cactus (Echinocereus engelmannii)

If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, 
if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, 
if the simple things in nature have a message you understand, 
Rejoice, for your soul is alive.
~ Eleanora Duse

For more cactus fun, visit Teri's Painted Daisies.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Solstice

Happy Summer! 
I hope it was as beautiful everywhere else around the globe as it has been here in Southern California today.

There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart.
~ Celia Thaxter

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Stopping by to wish all of the fathers out there a very happy day. I hope everyone has been enjoying this day with their families.

Me & Dad

For those of you who may have been wondering why I disappeared for a while, I had some family matters to attend to. Nothing drastic, just requiring my presence and undivided attention. The good news is that I got to spend a bunch of quality time with my Dad. An early Father's Day treat we both enjoyed.

Have a great week, everyone!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Matilija Poppy II

To answer Out on the prairie's question about my previous post, I went back and looked at the other photos from that day. Here's one of a different bloom that includes a bit more of the foliage. I also found a good image at this link. It does not resemble thistle the way prickly poppy does. I know prickly poppies also have some pretty good stickers (they are named appropriately). You can see that this foliage is darker, and more smooth and "friendly" than that of its prickly cousin.

Matilija poppies are also quite large—they grow up to eight feet tall. The ones in my photographs were only about waist- or chest-high. Now, for those of you who are wondering what a prickly poppy looks like, CalPhotos has some good examples of a variety that's native to California.

Thanks for asking—I always like learning new things about flowers!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Matilija Poppy

This is always one of my favorites. Love how big and bold they are, and those crinkly petals. You can't help but smile when you come upon them. This one was dancing in the breeze, so I was very pleased when I got home to find it was in focus.

Matilija poppy (Romneya coulteri)

With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.
~ William Shakespeare

Friday, May 21, 2010

Happy Friday

Wishing you a lovely weekend.

bush anemone (Carpenteria californica)

Charm is a glow within a woman
that casts a most becoming light on others.
~ John Mason Brown

Monday, May 17, 2010

Cactus Monday

It's a dreary, drippy day here in Southern California,
so how about a bit of color?

Mojave Mound / Claret Cup (Echinocereus triglochidiatus)

As the sun colors flowers, so does art color life.
~ John Lubbock

Be sure to visit Terri's Painted Daisies for more cactus beauty.
Happy Cactus Monday!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Wishing all mothers a very special day today!

Who ran to help me when I fell,
And would some pretty story tell,
Or kiss the place to make it well?
My mother.

~ Ann Taylor

Friday, May 7, 2010

Lady Banks Rose

What flower was I photographing while making the roadrunner in my previous post so nervous? This Lady Banks rose. It was mostly past its prime, but the blossoms were lovely anyway. The profusion of blooms provides a refreshing oasis in the dry desert.

A beautiful lady is an accident of nature.
A beautiful old lady is a work of art.
~ Louis Nizer

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Beep! Beep!

I am by no means a wildlife photographer—usually my photos of wild critters are blurry at best. But I had such a fun encounter with this roadrunner that I thought I'd share a couple photos that turned out okay. This gal (or guy) was very focused on trying to lure me away from her nest and babies. I knew I was invading her territory, and was being very respectful and careful while I took a few photos of flowers. The entire time she "clacked" and scooted about in a hilarious display, getting more and more brave.

Disappearialis quickius*

Finally, when she jumped up on this old cart I was standing next to, almost within arm's reach, I gave her the space she wanted. They are truly fascinating and beautiful birds.

* from "Zoom at the Top," a Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoon

Monday, May 3, 2010

Cactus Monday

How about a delicate beavertail bloom for this Cactus Monday...

A woman should be like a single flower, not a whole bouquet.
~ Anna Held

Happy Cactus Monday!

For more deserty delights, visit Teri's Painted Daisies.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Earth laughs in flowers

desert chicory (Rafinesquia neomexicana)

Fremont's phacelia (Phacelia fremontii)

desert dandelion (Malacothrix glabrata)

Mojave aster (Xylorhiza tortifolia var. tortifolia)

Earth laughs in flowers.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, April 23, 2010


To the illumined man or woman,
a clod of dirt, a stone, and gold are the same.
~ Bhagavad Gita

Monday, April 19, 2010

Cactus Monday

The desert is definitely blooming! We were out over the weekend and were astounded at how green and yellow the East Mojave is right now. It is simply carpeted with flowers. It was a working weekend, so I didn't have time to take many photos, but we could not drive by this beauty without stopping.  This is Mojave mound cactus (Echinocereus triglochidiatus), also known as claret cup for obvious reasons.

Happy Cactus Monday! 
See more treasures at Teri's Painted Daisies.

The earth is like a beautiful bride who needs no manmade jewels to heighten her loveliness.
~ Kahlil Gibran

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


One of the most beautiful flowers of the desert is dune evening primrose (Oenothera deltoides).  It's also called birdcage evening primrose or devil's lantern.  When I saw the flowers for the first time, those other names didn't make sense to me.  I read that when the plant dies, the stems curl upwards into what looks like a birdcage.  Even though I found a few photos online, I still couldn't believe this beautiful, delicate flower could end up looking like that.  Well, this year I found irrefutable proof, up close and personal.  Amazing!  Mother Nature sure has a sense of humor...

If nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies.
~ Unknown

Friday, April 9, 2010


I guess you know spring is in the air when you see multiple photography assignments and contests focused on the color green. I finally decided maybe I should get in on some of the fun, so here is my submission for Gardening Gone Wild's Picture This Contest for April. Be sure to check out the other green submissions too!

pincushion flower seedhead (Scabiosa columbaria)

If your knees aren't green by the end of the day,
you ought to seriously re-examine your life.
~ Bill Watterson

Monday, April 5, 2010

Cactus Monday

One of our tiny cacti that I thought was dead suddenly sprouted buds. And then there was this treat on Saturday.  Certainly not dead!

The glow of one warm thought is to me worth more than money.
~ Thomas Jefferson

Happy Cactus Monday, everyone!

For more cactus beauty, visit Teri's Painted Daisies.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Easter

Happy weekend and Happy Easter!

Well pleaseth me the sweet time of Easter
That maketh the leaf and the flower come out.

~ Bertran de Born

Friday, April 2, 2010

Joshua Trees in Bloom

More from our camping trip:  Joshua trees (Yucca brevifolia) in various stages of bloom. They are quite beautiful up close; so dense and fleshy compared to the dry, spiky nature of the tree itself.

the well-protected bud

(photo by Chris Ervin)

the full bloom

"One time I saw a tiny Joshua tree sapling growing not too far from the old tree. I wanted to dig it up and replant it near our house. I told Mom that I would protect it from the wind and water it every day so that it could grow nice and tall and straight. Mom frowned at me. 'You'd be destroying what makes it special,' she said. 'It's the Joshua tree's struggle that gives it its beauty.'"

~ Jeannette Walls (The Glass Castle)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Different Kind of Easter Lily

One of our "missions" on our camping trip in the East Mojave during the weekend of March 20-21 was to see if we could find desert lilies (Hesperocallis undulata) in bloom. Someone had reported them blooming in Anza-Borrego, so we hoped the conditions might be right in the East Mojave as well. We found many with buds, but no blooms—until we happened upon a south-facing sandy slope. There we found a few with full blossoms open and many more coming soon. It really is a treat to run across such a lush "garden" in an otherwise arid land.

Lined up, waiting to bloom...

A closeup of the bud (photo by my husband)...

When you have only two pennies left in the world,
buy a loaf of bread with one,
and a lily with the other.

~ Chinese Proverb

Monday, March 29, 2010

Cactus Monday

Happy Cactus Monday
This cottontop cactus is very serious about protecting its blooms!

Echinocactus polycephalus

A box without hinges, key, or lid, yet golden treasure inside is hid.
~ J.R.R. Tolkien

Visit Teri's Painted Daisies for more cactus fun...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Desert is Blooming

We went camping in the desert last weekend and spring has definitely arrived!  I'll have more photos to share soon.  Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend.

Bladderpod (Isomeris arborea)

Everything is blooming most recklessly;
if it were voices instead of colors,
there would be an unbelievable shrieking
into the heart of the night.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke

Friday, March 19, 2010

Happy Spring!

I'll be out and about tomorrow, so I thought I'd drop by today to say
"Happy first day of Spring!"

Kalanchoe pumila

The splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not rob the little violet of its scent nor the daisy of its simple charm. If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness.
~ Therese of Lisieux

Friday, March 12, 2010

I Meant to Do My Work Today

I meant to do my work to-day —
But a brown bird sang in the apple-tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.

And the wind went sighing over the land,
Tossing the grasses to and fro,
And a rainbow held out its shining hand —
So what could I do but laugh and go?

~ Richard Le Gallienne

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

An Important Day: WASP Honored

I don't usually post things like this, but this story deserves all the attention it can get.  I have always been fascinated with this part of our history.  These women are my kind of heroes.

There is an excellent story with accompanying photos, audio, and video on NPR's Web site:  Female WWII Pilots: The Original Fly Girls.  Be sure to visit the "WASP Interactive" section, especially "Lillian's Story: In Color."

WASP (from left) Frances Green, Margaret Kirchner, Ann Waldner and Blanche Osborn leave their B-17, called Pistol Packin' Mama, during ferry training at Lockbourne Army Air Force base in Ohio. They're carrying their parachutes. Courtesy of Texas Woman's University

And here's an article from the Los Angeles Times:

Women pilots from World War II to be honored

The groundbreaking Women Airforce Service Pilots were buried without military honors and long denied benefits. But now they'll receive the Congressional Gold Medal.

By Johanna Neuman
March 8, 2010

Reporting from Washington - When World War II beckoned, she was a 24-year-old mother of two daughters, ages 4 and 2. Her husband was a draftsman for Lockheed in Southern California, and her brother became an Army Air Forces pilot.

Carol Brinton longed to become a pilot herself -- "My husband had bad eyes so he couldn't get in, and I've always had a hard time letting my brother get ahead of me in anything," she said -- but the U.S. military had other ideas.

"They kept saying women couldn't fly anything bigger than a Piper," she said.

In 1942, with a shortage of male pilots and a desperate need to muscle up for war, the military changed course.

Famed aviatrix Jacqueline Cochran had been lobbying First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt for a corps of female pilots. Eventually, Gen. H.H. "Hap" Arnold agreed. The Women Airforce Service Pilots, or WASP, program was born, training the first women to fly U.S. military aircraft.

Recruited by newspaper ads and public service announcements, about 25,000 women answered the call. Of the more than 1,800 selected for training, 1,102 graduated.

During the war, they flew 60 million miles in every aircraft available -- Piper Cubs to B-29 bombers.

Prohibited from flying in combat, Brinton and others transported military personnel, towed targets for gunnery practice and tested planes newly repaired or overhauled.

"I'd fly them over their targets," she said. "The boys went down in the nose of the plane and dropped those bombs on the desert floor. Then I'd go back up to about 15,000 feet and fly back."

By the time the program was disbanded in December 1944, 38 women pilots had lost their lives. But there were no flags or military honors at their funerals. Their bodies were sent home and buried at their families' expense. The surviving WASP veterans paid their own way home and melted from history's pages.

The military decreed that their existence had never been cleared by Congress, and denied them benefits. Arnold's son Bruce lobbied for their recognition as veterans, a status Congress finally conferred in 1977.

This week, with fewer than 300 WASP members still alive, Congress is bestowing Congressional Gold Medals on all the trailblazing pilots.

So many relatives and fans are planning to attend a two-day celebration -- including Maj. Nicole Malachowski, the first female Thunderbird pilot -- that planners in Washington are juggling sites to accommodate the crowds at Tuesday's welcome reception and Wednesday's gold medal ceremony.

One of the pilots attending will be Brinton -- now Carol Brinton Selfridge, 92, and living in Santa Barbara.

"They didn't even let us join the Army," said Selfridge in an interview conducted on Skype. "We were private citizens."

Her journey as a military pilot was made possible by her mother, who agreed to care for her daughters. Her biggest challenge in the early days was finding a uniform to fit her 6-foot frame -- "We all got the same size overalls" -- and getting in 45 hours of flying time before showing up at training camp in Sweetwater, Texas.

She remembers making her solo flight in a rare snowstorm. In the barracks, she shared a bay with five women, including two so short they came up to her armpits.

She thought her greatest asset was her visual depth perception, which allowed her to excel at formation flying. In fact, when she started driving cars, passengers often thought she cut it too close for comfort.

Perhaps her greatest legacy is her granddaughter, Air Force Lt. Col. Christy Kayser-Cook, who followed in her footsteps. When Kayser-Cook was commissioned, two people pinned on her bars -- her great-uncle, who had been an Air Force pilot during the war, and her grandmother.

"She was always ahead of her time," Kayser-Cook said. "She only got to fly props and she was jealous that I got to fly jets."

But mostly what the veteran remembers is the adventure of it all. "The idea of flying always sounded wonderful to me. I was tremendously lucky. We had a lot of fun."

Click here for more photos and videos about Selfridge.,0,3738029.story

Monday, March 1, 2010

Cactus Monday: Play-Doh Cactus

Okay, so that's not its official name. 
But doesn't it look like it's made of Play-Doh??

Coastal Prickly Pear (Opuntia littoralis)

Happy Cactus Monday, and Happy March!

Play is the beginning of knowledge.
~George Dorsey

Be sure to check out the lovely cacti at Teri's Painted Daisies.


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sunshine for a Rainy Day

Will you join me

In a dance among the daffodils


With mud between your toes?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Flower Children

Ah, spring is in the air!
The daffodils are showing their smiling faces.

Instead of a quote, how about an illustrated poem?

From a lovely old book, Flower Children: The Little Cousins of The Field and Garden, by Elizabeth Gordon with drawings by M.T. Ross. Copyright 1910, 82nd edition, inscribed "Christmas 1945," given to my mother.  Love this part of the foreword:

"God has implanted in the breasts of children a natural love for flowers—and no one who keeps that love in his heart has entirely forsaken the land of childhood."