Archive | February, 2009

You asked for it!

19 Feb

Here’s a California Towhee orange butt. I wish I could tell you that I took this amazing shot but I didn’t (Click on it to embiggen and see more shots by this photographer!). But, it does show the surprisingly orange butt that these “nondescript” birds have! enjoy!


Wordless Wednesday – Driving in the Rain

18 Feb


Ruby Tuesday: Storm Watch!

17 Feb

Ruby's going to wait out the storm

Ruby’s philosophy is to get cozy and wait out the storm.  I agree with her completely!

I’m using this weather site to keep track of the rain rate.  Past tests have shown that it tracks pretty consistently with my house.  Another really cool thing I found while perusing local weather stuff is this neat tool.  It is a USGS site that shows the water rate going through our local river, the San Lorenzo River.  As you can see, we got very close to our all-time high yesterday.  For the record, I lived here when we had that all-time-high in 1982 — it was the year that we had mudslides that took out 16 homes.

If you are curious about how this storm is looking for our creek and how it compares to previous years, take a look at the Flickr set I’ve created for my photos of our creek during storms [click].

Oh, and you may notice that my friend, Neefer, has wondered about this huge log that is in my creek.  I don’t see it going anywhere soon — it’s on rock, not mud.  But, now there is additional cause for concern . . . Winnie the Pooh is hanging out on it just tempting fate!

Teddy Bear in peril

Hopefully, the storms have settled down for now although we’d like to have more rain, please!  If the creek gets higher, I’ll share here and on the Flickr group.

Friendly & Sweet: California Towhee

16 Feb

A large, dully marked, ground-foraging sparrow, the California Towhee is a characteristic bird of chaparral and underbrush in oak woodlands of California. It occurs in remote backcountry habitats, but also is common in urban and suburban areas.
From All About Birds:  California Towhee


What that doesn’t say is how friendly and sociable California Towhees are.   Towhees are the kind of birds who hang out in your garden while you are gardening.  They don’t mind posing for photographs.  They stay around even while the kids are rampaging their way from the house to the car in the mornings.


Towhees may be “dully marked” but their beauty is in their subtlety.  They are brown with cinnamon highlights on their face and sides.  And, when they scurry away from you on the ground, they flip their tails up and reveal a bright orange butt.  Dully marked only to the uninitiated!


But the main reason I love my California Towhees is their song.  They love it sit and call in the spring, just one loud, clear note of “tsip” over and over again.  I have woken up to this pair calling in my yard for years.  They are far-and-away my favorite neighbors! If you click on the “All About Birds” link above, you can listen to their song.  Enjoy!

For more photos of cooperative birds, visit Bird Photography Weekly.

Finally, winter is here

15 Feb

We are finally getting some rain.  Days and days and days of it.  There is water in the creek again, thank goodness.  Rain drums on the rooftop.  (And, leaks — Greg heard a strange drip this morning.  Yup, a leak right above his head.  Thankfully, we have a canopy so it hadn’t reached our bed yet.  So, as Spring is approaching, we are finally in the depths of winter here in Boulder Creek.


Our current rainfall total is 20″.  That’s up significantly from my last report of about 16″.  And, the weather report is showing rain for days!  It’s all good news for the drought although, we are still very far behind where we should be water-wise for the 2nd year in a row.  Last year, we had around 30″ and that’s just about 3/4 of what we should get in a normal winter.    If it stopped raining right now, we’d be about the same as the dryest year on record (going back to 1888) which happened in 1976.  Contrast that to our highest rain year ever which was 100″ of rain in one year.  More typical is 50-70″ of rain in a year.

Anyway, let it rain, let it rain, let it rain.  But, in the back of my mind is always that too much rain, too quickly causes landslides and trees to come down and we don’t need that either.  Not to be picky but can we have lots of rain but not too much!



The rain brings out some local wildlife that I haven’t seen in weeks.

Orchid Overload

14 Feb


I’m going to need advice from the Orchid Goddess, Julie Zickefoose, on this one. I attended a Valentine’s Party yesterday with a gift exchange. One of the women opened this amazing orchid and said, “Oooo, I’ll kill this one quickly.” So, when someone stole my beautiful little bird house from me, I didn’t hesitate to rescue this amazing orchid-boganza and bring it home. It’s cheering me up just to walk into my kitchen and see this much beauty staring back at me.

Did you see the moon?

13 Feb

Maxfield Parrish Moon

Did you see the moon?
Big and bold and beautiful
Hanging in the sky

Did you see the moon?
Full of promises
Floating in a bright blue sky

Did you see the moon?
Influencing the oceans
Tugging at the seas

Did you see the moon?
Did you hear it’s call?
Did you answer?

All content written by Liza Lee Miller unless otherwise noted.
© 2009, Liza Lee Miller. Creative Commons License

Another published mini-poem!

12 Feb

Go visit the wonderful A Handful of Stones and see my latest! You should be visiting daily anyway . . . great stuff!

70 MPH Sky Watching

12 Feb

70 mph cloud shots

Between storms, the California skies are beautiful and awe-inspiring.  Worthy of pulling out the camera and taking dozens of shots at 70 mph.  Oh, don’t worry, I wasn’t driving . . . just snapping lots of pictures.


For more inspirational skies, visit Sky Watch Friday

Wordless Wednesday – American Robin (Turdus migratorius)

11 Feb

American Robin