What a difference a few storms made at the Markham arboretum, now wearing its vibrant Spring blues, greens and reds from blade of grass to treetop. The Galindo Creek meandering through the gardens remains a few feet at its deepest, hummingbirds have begun their courtships, but the countdown to summer has already begun.
The following photos were all taken yesterday during the course of a single walk through, taking advantage of the blooms we waited months to see. There were over twenty of them, so we decided to arrange them in a slide show for convenience. Below, that, you’ll find a short video of Anna’s hummingbirds courting.
The female hummingbird perched at the very top of a tree, is being buzzed by a male. The chirping sound you hear as he passes by is made by fanning out his tail feathers.
Our Mercury Grand Marquis is finally being retired after six years of service and exploration. A mechanical vessel of a bygone era, a sturdy vehicle short on electronics but safe and comfortable. It’s been argued it was too big a vehicle for the dense, hostile environments of the San Francisco Bay Area, but smaller cars don’t fare any better.
While the Mercury was parked on the street, the driver side front marker light was hit. This was fixed. It happened again within 6 months. This time, we let it be and I patched up the damage with aluminum tape. One night, a hostile life-form (an angry homeless dude) ambled down the street kicking cars. The result: dented rear passenger side door. But the worst came after Saint Patrick’s day…
All holidays are just an occasion to get good and drunk, evidently. Aside from erratic drivers running red lights, swerving and speeding, even parking carries its own risks. About four blocks from our apartment, one street has a particularly odd parking configuration: perpendicular to the curb one side, parallel on the other. The Mercury was hit there on the past, which left a crease on the driver side front wheel well. But can lightning strike twice in the same place, really?
Well, I should have known better after what happened to the marker light. The drinking does not start on Saint Patrick’s day. It starts before, spikes during and slowly returns to usual levels of consumption after.
I found an impact on the front of the car that was bad enough to push the body panels, right front fender and hood, out of alignment. I would need a pry bar to open the hood and then, I’d probably be unable to get it shut again.
This was three months before our move out of San Francisco, just as the Endurance program planning was ramping up. The check engine light was coming on intermittently because of a bad valve, the brake light was on permanently, probably because the rotors were not turned at the shop. Not dangerous but annoying.
Bear in mind, we had not yet really begun the search for the Endurance, nor the search for a place to dock it. We had a lot of ground to cover and a damaged vehicle to do it in. Would it last?
Of course, it did. It took us to the Central Valley looking for trailers, to the East Bay looking at RV parks and shuttled our belongings to and from storage once we found the Endurance. It continued commuting to work, It did everything. In better times, it took us from Pinnacles National Monument to Yosemite, from ocean beach to mountain ridge. Now it’s time for it to return to the Universe one last time, its metal and plastic separating to be reformed and perhaps see the road again. I hope so.
The Mercury carried the Catonauts to the Endurance, their new home. Without it… Well who knows?
…or at least take pictures of them. Lastech and I have been snapping pics like crazy. This year is a bit off with the drought and all, so none are wildflowers.
Oh, I should add that Lastech was finally awake early enough to see Titanescu at his most tyrannical when it comes to begging for his breakfast. There’s no photo evidence, but here’s a close example of what he’s like. Yeah, he’s really a grumpy ole fart. 🙂
Lastech managed to take a couple of pics from the pier and at the Embarcadero. They weren’t taken on the same day, but they all occurred after the storms that have been blowing through.
We have had lots of rain, small hail, thunder and lightning. The pointy eared people were not amused, but they only hid during the hailstorm. They didn’t hide for long at all. That’s evidence (to me) that the Feliway is working.
The Sunday before Christmas, Lastech and I braved the unruly masses and went grocery shopping. Once we got home, and put away our supplies, Lastech told me to get ready to go out again and to grab the camera. The next thing I knew we were headed across the Bay Bridge.
He wound up taking me to Tilden Park to ride the steam trains. Redwood Valley Railway was established in 1952. It uses a small scale steam engine that runs on 15 inch track. The track is a bit over a mile in length and winds around through redwood trees that were planted there back in the 50s.
Naturally, I just had to ride the train. 🙂 I felt like a little kid again. Here are a few of my pics. Forgive the quality. The lighting was bad as it was late in the day.
The ride was over too soon. The next time we go, we’ll leave home sooner so that we can ride it more than once. In addition, there’s an even smaller gauge steam train adjacent to this one. It had just made its final run when we got there, so that ride will have to wait.
On our way back out, we made a point of stopping by the roundhouse where they work on the different engines.
I know we’re maybe supposed to talk to the cats about catnip… But it’s too much fun and they’re all having a good time. Jenny in particular, likes to chew on her toys. Especially after I place them in the catnip jar and shake it…
Chew, hug and toss ’em. This last time, of course, she farted when I reached down to pet her…