• Birds can be maddening. The ease with which they flit around, the angles they can take, sometimes I get so jealous. And, of course, they can fly. Bastards.

  • I recommend micro.bloggers play Globle today.

  • Definition: turncat, noun, a cat that suddenly lashes out while being petted. Alternate definition: cat.

  • Pine Creek Canyon, after the storm.

  • Mt Tom, covered in snow, draped with clouds.

  • Cattle in Pleasant Valley, seemingly unmoved by the snow on the White Mountains.

  • After sulking, then meditating in the sun, Greybear was finally ready for his contractual photoshoot.

  • Greybear, in repose.

  • Greybear, the supermodel, was visiting this past week. Saturday morning the light was streaming in, but he was too sleepy to pose at first.

  • Another life bird, the Bohemian Waxwing. The Cedar Waxwings have yellow bellies and no wing bars. The Bohemians live in the high Rocky Mountains, so we don’t get them often here. Even the expert birders get excited when they show up. One neighbor just added them to his life list, despite being very experienced.

  • Runes of fire, secret messages from my woodstove.

  • A Downy Woodpecker visited this week, an infrequent guest. Normally we get Hairy Woodpeckers. They look similar, but the Hairy Woodpeckers have longer beaks, different markings on the neck.

    This Downy seems untroubled by gravity. He’s picking bugs out of the dead pine in my back yard. I should really cut it down, but the birds love it and the lack of needles makes it a great photo site, so I’m still conflicted.

  • Well, the cats are visiting again. They brought their wool cat cave, which they never use.

    But I couldn’t find Diego, and it’s really cold around the edges, so I wondered, was it possible…?

    Yup. A black cat in a dark cave. I could just barely see the gleam of an eye.

    I put my hand in and gave him a pat. Super cozy in there.

  • Cooper's Hawk on the Snag

    A juvenile Cooper’s Hawk visited this morning. Although it might be a Sharp-shinned Hawk. My bird expert wasn’t 100% sure, and I have to send more photos so she can think about it.

    Since the storms, we’ve had a bunch of birds showing up. Another local expert didn’t think they were fleeing the storms, per se, but were seeking new food sources. I’m not clear what the difference is, and it is clear that divining the reasoning of bird movements is not trivial. They just aren’t that forthcoming about their motivations.

    But there is something I know for sure. This Cooper’s Hawk was looking downward while he was on that branch, to where rodents and California Quail are always making tracks.

  • All morning this view was pure white, snow storm everywhere. When the storm broke, the White Mountains peeked through the different type of cloud banks.

  • Black Mountain was looking very sharp today.

  • Flooding can be so serene, if you aren’t worried about property damage.

  • Swaddled in clouds, Wheeler Crest is all dressed up, with nowhere to go.

  • We’ve had an influx of birds recently, possibly pushed south by the big storms. I suspect this hawk is taking advantage of the population increase to fatten up a little.

  • Fog over the highway after two days of rain.

  • We are often on the borderline between snow and rain. With daily temperature swings of 30F-40F, even if it snows, the melting starts soon after. Here, snow on the Cotoneaster bush has started to melt.

  • If you don't like the weather, just wait five minutes.

    That’s what they say about the weather here, and they aren’t wrong.

    It rained again today, for a bit. Then it snowed. Then it stopped. And then it snowed four inches in two hours. Nobody drove down this hill for most of the day, probably because it had an inch of slush as a base.

    And now it is all freezing. But at least the stars are out.

  • How long is a cubit? Asking for a friend...

    A few days ago, my neighbor was out with a shovel clearing out a culvert entrance in the ditch next to the road. “It’s going to be 1862 all over again,” he said. “Get your Ark ready.”

    About the same time, my brother sent me a note, asking if the “bomb cyclone” was affecting us. “A little,” I said, “but mostly it is hitting northern California.”

    Well, the storms have continued and we’re in the crosshairs now. It has rained for two days, with another to come, and more expected at the end of the week. When my neighbors bought their house, the insurance underwriter asked if they were in a flood zone. They said, “If our house washes away, the world has bigger problems.” I’ll keep you posted.

    Meanwhile, there are normally cows in this pasture. And it’s normally pasture, not a lake. At least it’s pretty.

    Noah’s ark was supposed to be 50 cubits by 30 cubits by 300 cubits. I don’t think I have that much wood, but then, we don’t have elephants and giraffes here, so maybe we can build smaller.

  • I have a sudden desire to see a biopic of Gareth Bale starring Christian Bale.

  • Cinder Cone, Owens Valley

    Between Independence and Big Pine, the slope below the Palisades was smooth with snow. On the valley floor is a volcanic cinder cone called Red Mountain.

    The Owens Valley is full of volcanic structures, all of which I find difficult to photograph. The volcanic rock is dark and pockmarked, and just swallows light. Red Mountain is usually just a dark spot within the image. So the Sierra’s steal the show for now.

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