Wild Wednesday 29/52 Alpine Glow in the High Desert

Copyright © 2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Alpine Glow on the White Mountains over the high desert taken on last months Wild Mustangs trip.

Alpine Glow over the White Mountains

I had a long 3 day week-end to go back to look for the Wild Mustangs with 3 girl-friends. We found some, and made a new friend too! I got home early evening Monday. After the long drive home I showered, relaxed, and caught up with the family then went to bed.

Today, (Tuesday July 17h) as I write this for tomorrow’s post rather than working on the new images from the week-end I spent it with #1 Grandson, and doing a bit of housework,  laundry, and making a head start of cleaning out my artsy-fartsie and hobby stuff from the retreat, and cleaning Box’s room….most would call it his habitat.  I’ve still got a sink full of dishes to get to this evening. It never ends does it. 🤨

Big Baby Boy is coming home tomorrow for a week! We’re so excited! So, I’m sharing an image I made last month, and a tease about this past week-end. It was amazing and I can’t wait to share some images, and tell a story or two about it.

What’s going on at home?

He-Man and I are finally going to do the Wine Train in Napa Saturday. Baby Girl gave us this gift for Christmas.  Big Baby Boy said he’d stay home to feed, and medicate the animals. Which is such a blessing! Baby Girl, and #1 Grandson are planning to come over to keep him company. We’re only going for the day so we’ll be home the same night. We’re both looking forward to it.  I hope I can take photos.  I’m already saying I have nothing to wear! So, that’ll be the rest of my week. Hanging with fam, and agonizing over what to wear. Nothing to fancy, but nothing too casual either.   He-Man cleans up real nice. I hope I get a nice image of him lookin all handsome and hot.  Yes. I did say that.

I’m sorta kinda doing the Fitbit 30 day challenge,  that Amy over at https://bedlamanddaisies.com/ blogged she’s doing. She inspired me to up my game with my morning stretches a bit with it, but I wasn’t to faithful to the challenge over this past week-end. I’ll get back to it seriously tomorrow.

Just so you know… I can’t do a “real” push up…never have been able to, so I do a modified one using the counter to push off of, or while on the floor I am on my knees, and I use a stair step whatchamacallit to push off of. It’s been awhile since that got any use. Since it’s higher than the floor I can lower myself. Lowering myself all the way to the floor I. Can. Not. Do. Never have been able to so modified it is.  I’m feelin it. The squats, push ups, and planks are a work out. I added sit ups one day. I need to do those more often. Since doing the 5 minute Plank Challenge a year ago…or was two years ago? I can do a 30 second Plank…it’s not easy…my arms shake, I need to breath through it.  It’s a challenge to hold my own body up, but I can do that!  Who knew holding ones own body up would be. so. hard? Ants hold 50 times their weight carrying stuff back to the nest.  50 times in those little itty bitty antlers and jaws, and I struggle for 30 seconds holding up my own body.

Ants will always have my respect, and fear of them figuring out to rule humans. I know I watch and read too much Sci-fi! 😀 Speaking of reading…

I’m reading The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien to #1 Grandson. His request.  We start and stop a lot because he’s asking for a lot of word definitions. I LOVE THAT! Some kids probably wouldn’t stop to ask. I hope the words are sinking in and his vocabulary grows.  Which is already really good…lots of $0.25 cent words. Today’s words he stopped me to get definitions for were: forded…as in forded a shallow river,  heather; the flower, the bank was steep and slippery; bank was the word that brought him to attention.  We go to the bank for money stuff he thought,😊 and shallow.

He also stopped me to tell me Hobbits are much taller than him, “like your height Grandma.”…Right! I’m 5ft, 6 + 3/4 inches people!  He’s not convinced they’re only his height and shorter.   He’s just hitting the 3ft 6 inch mark. It’s Bilbo…he’s a HUGE character. For a Hobbit that only wants to eat, and stay in the Shire he’s HUGE! He’s taken on the roll of Burgler to save Middle Earth quite seriously. Who does that? Only the bravest of the brave! He’s my favorite of the Hobbit characters, and Sam is my 2nd favorite. #1 Grandson hasn’t met him yet.  Anyway,  I’ll be  reviewing the words he’s asked for definition, and emphasizing the height of Hobbits the rest of month so it does sink in. Sheesh! Hobbits over 5 ft 6 inches. What is he thinking?

#1 Grandson can’t wait until we get to Smaug, and Gollum.  We’re early on in the book. It’s so far advanced for him that after a few pages we need to stop so he can absorb it all, but Gandalf, the 13 Dwarves, and Bilbo have made it safely past the 3 trolls, and have just arrived in Rivendell to give you an idea of where we are in the book. Chapter 3 now.

Oh and #1 Grandson, 5 years old is constantly correcting my pronunciation Gandalf. I say Gandalph with a short “a”. He says Gandolph with a short “o”.  My argument is if it is meant to be Gandolph it should be spelled that way, and the way it is spelled in the book is alph so that’s the way I read and say it.  I think the movie says Gandolph so that’s where he gets his pronunciation, but I have always pronounced it as I’ve read it. I’ve not seen the movies. How do you say it? English Majors please chime in, and give the grammar rules for the pronunciation!

I have started a summer project- painting rocks. If you follow me on Instagram you’ve seen a couple already. I left two out in the wild to be found, and I hope to leave several more this week. You’ve also seen a few images from the week-end. (my IG account is private. Send me a request if you want to follow me.)

I am having fun painting rocks.  Who knew? I’m also really enjoying acrylic paint. I bought a 10 pound bag of river rocks so there would be plenty to paint this summer.  Unfortunately, #1 Grandson isn’t interested in painting any himself. He’ll happily hunt for rocks with me, and put them out to be found, but not paint any. Hopefully that changes.

I picked up a couple pieces of what is probably slate this week-end…not a great rock for long term to paint on. I may not use them, but I want to paint a horse on a rock for a souvenir. A rock from the actual week-end would be perfect I thought, but I couldn’t find “the perfect rock”.

I’ll probably use a river rock, and keep the slate in the garden. I’m afraid it’s too fragile.  Can you say or think of the word fragile without thinking of “Old  Man”, the crate,  or the old man saying, “Fra-jill-ee” , and the Leg Lamp from A Christmas Story?  I can’t. 😂  I’ve been collecting those Hallmark Christmas ornaments for quite a few years. I hope I didn’t miss Randy in his snow suit fallen in the snow saying, “Help! Ralphie, I can’t get up!” I want that ornament.  I hope I didn’t miss it!

Speaking of #1 Grandson. I’m a bit of an emotional wreck concerning #1 Grandson. He starts Kindergarten in a month. A MONTH! Where did the time go? Our time together now is even more precious, and fleeting, and I’m battling that urge to keep him with me, and letting him go…and to another teacher. Sigh…It’s not so easy being a Helicopter Mom/Grandma. I know I need to let go, but it is so hard!  I wish I could pause so many moments, hold on a little bit tighter, a little bit longer.  I can’t.  So,  I’m enjoying every day we’re together, and this song is in my head a lot now.  Don’t you love Rush?  He-Man introduced me to their music shortly after we met…oh so many decades ago. I love it!

But, my soul; my spirit sings Puff the Magic Dragon.  I am Puff. I have sung this song to #1 Grandson since the day he was born. Knowing what was coming I’m sure.  My scales are falling like a drizzle right now, but I know what’s coming….pouring rain.   This is my favorite version of the song.

ARG!!! TMI!!!

I’ve  shared too much! I should write less and process/develop more images! Y’all know I’m Chatty Cathy just to delay doing those dishes in the sink right? 😊 But, it’s getting late and I won’t be a happy gal, or cheerful Chatty Cathy in the morning if I wake up to those so, off I go to get that done, then I’ll watch a Midsomer Murder episode I have recorded and call it night.

I hope you all had a lovely week-end, and the rest of your week goes easy, and you find or make time to frolic along the Cherry Lane too.  I’ll be catching up with your blogs throughout the week! xx

Nikon D810| Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G| Hoodman Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…

 

Advertisements

Wild Wednesday 28/52 Restless Bachelors

Copyright © 2018 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Back to the Wild Mustangs we go for today’s post.  I was fortunate to catch a pair of bachelors rough housing.   These three were a distance away from the main herd. No doubt they’d been chased off by a more dominant stallion or two.

The attack!

It's Mine, I tell Ya!

The rebuttal…

Bachelors Sparring

…and as quickly as it started it ended with this,

Horsey Make Up

Awwww! They’re so cute! I’m glad it wasn’t a “real” fight. They’re just practicing for their turn at a Mare someday.  I loved that they ended their sparring with a hug more or less.

I hope your week is going well! Happy Hump Day everyone!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm| SanDisk Digital Film|

more to come…

Wild Weds. 25/52 Family moments

Copyright ©Deborah M. Zajac  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

While out in the meadow observing the Wild Mustangs, and waiting for something to happen…because mostly all that horses do is eat! I happened to see this little family scene.

Family Unit

The horse on the far right wasn’t impressed so walked away and must have gestured or said something to the other adult because it started to get up…

Mare and Foal

Then I heard the rumble of horses hooves to my left and turned my camera to find it and saw this-

Get off my Dung Heap!

I missed what started it, but it was a mare, or a dung heap I’m guessing.  I learned a few things about Horse Behavior on this trip.  Stallions will fight over a pile of dung…their version of King of the Hill.

The Hazelnut brown horse chased the dark one all the way to the other side of the group.  Then all was calm again, and they went back to eating.

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm| SanDisk Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…

Wild Weds. 24/52 Wild Mustangs of Adobe Valley Pt 1

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I’m back safely from my trip to Adobe Valley to track, see, and photograph Wild Mustangs!

It was a fantastic trip.  We stayed in two camps; a lower one the first night then we rode for 6 hours up to the upper camp in the high country.

Here’s a look at the kitchen and some of the other photographers. We were assembling for a walk out to the herd of Wild Mustangs that were in a huge meadow a mile and half from camp. The kitchen/hangout is on the far right under the tarp like tent.  Penny our cook had quite a camp kitchen set up.   The paddock the horses and mules were in are just to the right of that out of the frame.

Happily, I can report there wasn’t a hot dog, or hamburger to be found on the menu!

The food was awesome. I wanted to bring Penny home.

We had BBQ chicken, corn puddin, and fresh fruits, Stuffed Pork Chops, fresh mixed salad, homemade applesauce gravy, and summer squash sauté just right, and steak, baked beans, corn, and anything left over from the night before was set out to be eaten.

Breakfasts were hearty and kept us going until our lunch stop along the trail.

We had sausage and egg  comme Mcmuffins, steel cut oatmeal with all sorts of topping choices; raisins, brown sugar, syrup, nuts, fresh strawberries, and bacon, and French toast.

Snacks and lunches we made and packed for the ride each morning. We had turkey, or ham, or roast beef and assorted cheeses, chips, nuts, cookies, and fruit.

Snacks were nuts, dried and fresh fruit, chips, dips, OH, and desserts! Fresh baked berry pie, carrot cake, and oh, I forgot what we had the last night already!  I should have wrote it down. Penny made the cake in a dutch oven on the grill, actually most the meals were made via her huge Dutch Ovens.

We didn’t go hungry!

 

Lower Camp Adobe Valley

I’ll show you some of the camp. My tent, and others.  That cabin is deserted. A rancher lived there once. They told us it’s about 150 yrs. old.  The horse paddock was made of stone fencing instead of wood.  That’s one way to clear the rocks.

Cowboy/Wrangler Patrick setting up my tent.  The pack company provided tents, the cook, wranglers, horses, and tack.  We had to bring our own sleeping bag, and sleeping pad that was weighed in as part of our 40 pound dunnage limit. Patrick setting up my tent

Tents set up at Lower Camp

Do you want to see the Privy? Inside there is a box with a lid. Open the lid to find a hole cutout. It was just a hole dug out of the dirt under that box.  It wasn’t bad.  I don’t see a ziplock bag with toilet paper clipped to the tarp so someone is using it at the time I took this image.  That was the signal. 😊😊

In the upper camp we had two of these privies, and two showers with hot water!

Lower Camp Privy

My trusty steed Tip. He’s a 25 year old Gelding. They told me he’s a mutt. A mix of Draft, and Thoroughbred? He’s a gentle, and easy going horse.  Up in the rocky lava strewn hillsides I would get a bit tense;especially going down. I tighten up his reins a lot, but he’d ask for me more, and I gave him the slack on the condition that he kept me on his back, and didn’t fall.  He stumbled a few times, but he has four legs, and rebounded quickly.  I learned to trust him pretty fast.  He kept me on his back every ride.

Tip

We didn’t find any Wild Mustangs in the high country, but it was fun to explore and ride despite that.  We rode all the way into Nevada!

I took a pair of He-Man’s cycling shorts with a nice gel pad, and lots of butt butter.  My butt was fine, my thighs, and knees on the other hand not so much.  Riding up and down mountains on horseback is a workout! My thighs are still sore.  I hate sage brush! We were riding single track trails between the brush and too often my stirrups or toe would get caught in it and it would pull my leg backwards.  My knees are so bruised.

That is my only complaint about the trip.  The bush is brutal! Nevertheless, if Ken will have me I’m doing this trip again next year.

Okay, I know you want to see some wild horses.  Here’s one of my favorite images.  Taken just as the sun was going down.

Wild Mustangs at Sunset

Aren’t they beautiful?  There were several foals, but only 3 Yearlings.  The mortality rate is awful.  Not many foals will survive because of the mountain lions. 😢

I have tons of images to share so I’ll be sharing for awhile. I hope you don’t get bored!

I’ll be catching up with your blogs!

Happy Wednesday!

Nikon D810 w/ 200-500mm, 20mm f/1.8G. and iPhone 7Plus

more to come…

 

 

Wild Wednesday 23/52 White-tailed Kites

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

On and off for a few weeks I’ve been going to over to a nearby park to photograph and check on a young family of White-tailed Kites.  The adults have two Fledglings.  They aren’t quite ready to be on their own yet.  Mom and Dad are still hunting, and bringing in food for them.

I had hoped to see a mid-air food transfer between parent and fledgling, but that didn’t happen. Mom dropped the food in the nest on this evening.

White-tailed Kite with Prey

Myself and several friends went back the following morning bright and early.

Here’s a look at the Fledglings in the nest:

White-tailed Kite Fledglings

The Fledglings have been flying around the big fields practicing their hovering, spying prey, and diving, but I don’t know that they’ve actually caught anything on their own yet.

I went back again this past Saturday hoping to see and photograph the mid-air food transfer. It happened, but I missed it! After the oldest fledgling left the nest and it didn’t look like anything would happen following it, I set my camera back on the smaller fledgling still in the nest thinking it would follow shortly as it had before, then I heard oooh’s, and ahhh’s to my right and looked just in time to see the transfer but didn’t get my camera on it in time.  I didn’t anticipate that. 😥

Here’s one of the Fledglings in flight on my last visit June 2, 2018:

White-tailed Kite Fledgling in Flight

I fear they’ll be own their own and kicked out of the territory when I return next week.  Mom and Dad have already set up another nest across the field from this set of Fledgling’s nest, and they’re making the fledglings wait for longer periods of time between feedings.

I’ll be offline by the time this post goes live. I’m leaving the house in He-Man’s, and #1 Grandson’s capable hands while I’ll be camping in the wilderness with a group of photographers. 12 of us plus guides, and a cook are going to be tracking by foot, and horseback Wild Mustangs.  I can’t tell you how excited I am about this trip!

As I type my bags are nearly packed. I’m waffling on which wide angle lens to take, and worrying about staying within my dunnage weight limit of 40 pounds!

Wish me luck that I don’t get thrown from my horse, we find the team of Wild Mustangs, get loads of wonderful images made,  Hot Dogs don’t make an appearance on our dining menu.  Some of you know I don’t like Hot Dogs, and I don’t get so saddle sore I’m unable to ride.  I’m packing Butt Butter! ☺

I’ll catch up with you all when I get back.  Until then I hope you have a wonderful week, and stay safe!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm| SanDisk Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…

 

Wild Wednesday 22/52 American Bald Eagles

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Last year we had a pair of American Bald Eagles make a nest in a Redwood tree which is located in the front yard of an Elementary School right here in Silicon Valley. It was very exciting news.  We hoped they’d return this year. Not only did they return to their nest they’ve had two chicks!

Myself and several friends had made a couple of trips over to see and photograph them, 2 weeks ago we met there again.  When I pulled up there were many photographers there, and they were quickly changing positions, and pointing up, one friend already there motioned me to hurry.  There was something exciting happening.  I quickly parked, got out of the car then went to get my camera out of the back of my car. The Female was coming in and she had dinner!  I had to act fast she was flying low, fast, and being dogged by crows who squawked at her the whole time.

There was a row of trees blocking my view, so I ducked down, and sans tripod got her in my viewfinder and fired off three rapid shots then I lost her in the trees. Since I was hand-holding my 200-500mm lens  I wobble all over the place and my position of ducking and shooting wasn’t stable. I didn’t have much hope for having a decent shot. My rig weighs just a smidge under 8 pounds (4kg). I’ve never had any arm strength. 😥 Two of the images were nothing but a blurry blob in the frame, but one was worth saving for myself. It’s not print quality, but I thought I show you it anyway because you can tell what birds they are, and what’s happening.

Mama Eagle scored a whole duck for dinner. A whole duck! There were 3 crows dogging her, but I only got one in the frame with her. See the duck?

Milpitas Eagle Famale with Kill and Crow Chaser

Mama stayed near the nest watching the Eaglets eat for sometime, and the Eaglets would pop their heads up from time to time looking for their parents.

American Bald Eagle Chicks

Mama decided it was time for another flight.  I photographed her just as she left the branch she was on.  I love this shot! Her wings are enormous!  I barely fit all of her in my frame.

American Bald Eagle Adult Female

Dad was nearby on a branch higher up keeping watch, but after Mama left and the chicks were fed he thought it was safe for him to come down and clean off his beak.

He cleaned it by rubbing and wiping it on that branch.  Under his back end below the branch is the nest. You can just make out a chick in there.  Dad has lost all his beautiful white tail feathers!  I hope they grow back.

American Bald Eagle Adult Male

We stayed watching and photographing them until sundown when we lost the good light. I have more images I want to share of the adults, but again I’ll wait for a rainy day, by then I may a few of the Chicks as Fledglings.

Pets Update:  I finally took a photo of Box, and someone cough! (Dan) reminded me that I haven’t shared a photo of Diva Dog in sometime.  Imagonna fix that for ya. 🙂 I had Yosemite Sam pop into my head when I heard that last sentence in my head. 😜

Box is still shy:  He loves to hide in the back corners, and he loves his hay bag. I got him at a good time munching on hay.

Box the Guinea Pig

 

…and for Dan, Diva Dog- Yesterday was in the 80’s and today is supposed to be 89°F.  Early summer?  When it’s hot she likes to lay on the cool wood floor in the entry hall, or on our bathroom floor’s Travertine tiles.  She wouldn’t pose for me. Too hot! I’m sorry you can’t see her cute neckerchief.

Diva Dog Staying Cool

It’s supposed to cool down mid week. I hope you’re not too hot or cold,  and I hope you’re all having a good week, and great day!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm @500mm| SanDisk Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…

 

 

Wild Wednesday 21/52 Osprey Family

Copyright © 2018 Deborah M. Zajac  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The day after Mother’s Day Gordon of undiscoveredimagesamongstus blog was the navigator for an excursion to see an Osprey nest that is currently inhabited with a family of 4.

We had some great sightings of the Female, Male, and little peeks at the chicks.  The morning was overcast, but during lunch the sun broke through the marine layer giving us some blue sky.

The Male was busy in the morning with chores; bringing in new nesting material.

Osprey Male with Nesting Material

Heading out again…

Opresy leaving the Nest

a peek at the chicks!

Osprey with Chicks in the Nest

Osprey and Chicks_DMZ7350

Osprey Facts:

COMMON NAME: Osprey

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Pandion haliaetus

TYPE: Birds

DIET: Carnivores

AVERAGE LIFE SPAN IN THE WILD: 30 years

SIZE: Body, 21 to 23 in; wingspan, 5 to 6 ft

WEIGHT: 3.1 to 4.4 lbs

They are fantastic fishers. Their diet is 99% fish, so you’ll find them on rivers, lakes, ponds and coastal waterways around the world.

Ospreys hunt by diving to the water’s surface from some 30 to 100 feet up. They have gripping pads on their feet to help them pluck fish from the water with their curved claws and carry them for great distances. In flight, ospreys will orient the fish headfirst to ease wind resistance.~https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/birds/o/osprey/

I didn’t get to see the aerial show Gordon and our friend Dan saw on Saturday, but I can’t complain. It was amazing see these fly to and from the nest, and get a bonus peek at the chicks.

We saw some other birds too, but I’ll save those for a rainy day. 🙂

He-Man was seated on a jury today so, I’ll be missing him for the next few days.  Funny that. When he first started telecommuting I wasn’t happy about it. Having him in my space all day; UGH!  I’ve had to adjust. It’s been a few years now and I’ve grown to appreciate him being here.

The Guinea Pig; Box, is settling in and he and Diva Dog are getting used to each other.  Box and she are communicating I think.  Diva Dog chuffs, and wags her tail like crazy when she’s inspecting Box, and his habitat, and Box chirps, and whistles and is really excited to see her after her walks.

Box is standing still in his habitat when I put my hand in to pet him now, so we’re making progress too. I’ll get some images of him to share soon.  He’s a cute little calico Guinea pig.

I hope your week is going well!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm @500mm| f/8| ISO 800| SanDisk Digital Film

more to come…