Caturday: Kitties, a dog, and an hour in a wonderful garden

It was an interesting week. We wound up waiting on a guy to show up with a tow truck. The appointment was for the afternoon, but he never showed up. He finally showed up at noon the next day. That effectively killed most of our weekend (for us, it’s Monday and Tuesday). We made it to Tilden Regional Botanical Garden, but could only spend about an hour there. It was still worth it and we’ll go back. We’ll get to that later.

The kitties have been happier with the air conditioning off most of the time now and we might even get some rain later next week. The bird watching has been intense. Very intense. Today though, the neighbor has been outside working Tito and Titanescu have been on alert and Miss Jenny has been growling. Miss Pepi has been a good doggie. No barking or growling from her. That’s good because her volume level is set way too high. πŸ™‚

Miss Jenny watching the birdies. There's a shrub about two feet away from the window that is full of sparrows every evening.
Miss Jenny watching the birdies. There’s a shrub about two feet away from the window that is full of sparrows every evening.
Miss Jenny looking quite lovely
Miss Jenny looking quite lovely
Snoozing Tito
Snoozing Tito
Titanescu owning his sunbeam
Titanescu owning his sunbeam
Pepi was watching the hummingbirds with me
Pepi was watching the hummingbirds with me

This was a camera test. I liked it.

Hummingbird
Hummingbird

Onward to the Tilden Regional Botanical Garden. With the tow truck driver effectively shredding our weekend, we didn’t get to spend much time there. However, it’s not far away, so we’ll go back. The friends of the garden describe it best.

The Regional Parks Botanic Garden is a naturally beautiful and tranquil living museum of California native plants. Located within Tilden Park in the hills above Berkeley, California, this enchanting 10-acre garden is a sanctuary for many of the state’s rare and endangered plants and a place for visitors to wander among trees, shrubs, flowers, and grasses from plant communities throughout the state.

View across the garden from the visitor center
View across the garden from the visitor center

It’s located in Tilden Park in the hills above Berkeley, which is WSW of Concord.

Seeds, photo by Lastech
Seeds, photo by Lastech
Cholla, photo by Lastech
Cholla, photo by Lastech
Teeny lizard. It was only about two inches nose to the tip of the tail.
Teeny lizard. It was only about two inches nose to the tip of the tail.

I put the rest of the pictures in a slide show.


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Fur people, rain, and a loud crash

Yes, I missed Caturday. I got busy taking care of a small repair job and prepping for when it’s colder. I was settling in earlier today to make up for it, when things went wonky and there was a loud crash.

First things first though. The pointy eared people and floppy eared one get to star first. Summer is officially gone and the air conditioner is off. There may be another warm day or two, but the worst is past and the kitties are loving it.

Titanescu having some noms
Titanescu having some noms
Miss Jenny watching the birdies
Miss Jenny watching the birdies
Watchful Tito
Watchful Tito
Miss Pepi was lounging in the sun and hoping we would drop bit of meat (we were grilling).
Miss Pepi was lounging in the sun and hoping we would drop bit of meat (we were grilling).

Now for the crash

My neighbor in the first space in from the Boulevard was moving back in. They had just started to back in into the space when I heard a very loud crashing noise. My first thought was that they clipped the trailer next door, but I couldn’t tell as I had shrubbery in the way. I wandered outside to see. The trailers were fine, thank goodness. However, one of our other neighbors was pulling into the park drive and another car on the boulevard slammed into the back of his truck. The woman in the SUV went to the hospital. My neighbor was ok, but shaken up. As for the cause of the accident? It was unsafe speed, inattention, or both. The street was damp from a prior heavy drizzle making it slippery as we haven’t had rain for a while. It’s a good lesson to alway be alert and watchful. I hope the woman is ok. The ambulance didn’t take off with a siren, so I’m assuming there’s nothing life threatening.

Concord PD providing a traffic break
Concord PD providing a traffic break
The neighbor moving back in is on the right. The truck belongs to another neighbor trying to get home.
The neighbor moving back in is on the right. The truck belongs to another neighbor trying to get home.
It wasn't a mild crash. That's a fair amount of damage
It wasn’t a mild crash. That’s a fair amount of damage
I hope the driver is ok. That was quite a hit.
I hope the driver is ok. That was quite a hit.

To end this on a happy note, here are some desert burros seeing grass for the first time.


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Caturday: Summer’s last hurrah

Yes, summer is over, but it didn’t let go without a fight. It’s going to be close to 100 for the next several days. I think we will all be happy to see summer go away. The beasties are not fond of the air conditioning. I’m not fond of it either.

Once the weather cools down again, we’ll have a couple of adventures. We are going to visit a different botanical garden in the Berkeley Hills. In the meantime here are the pointy eared people and some birdies.

Tito doing the dead-bug
Tito doing the dead-bug
Miss Jenny
Miss Jenny
Titanescu and the sunbeam
Titanescu and the sunbeam
Titanescu using Miss Jenny as a pillow
Titanescu using Miss Jenny as a pillow
Pepi and her green blankie
Pepi and her green blankie

And now for the birds pics and a couple of not-bird pics.

Snowy Egret
Snowy Egret
Snowy egret
Snowy egret
Tugboat
Tugboat
Duck butt
Duck butt
Egret hunting for dinner
Egret hunting for dinner
Kites
Kites
Juvenile cormorant
Juvenile cormorant
Hahahahaha!
Hahahahaha!
The dainty look
The dainty look
Mystery berries
Mystery berries

With luck, we’ll have more variety coming up instead of just birds.

Just for fun, here’s a glamorous kitty


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Caturday: Testing the new camera

I haven’t taken a huge amount of photos as I’m still learning my way around the camera. However, we did manage to go to Martinez on a bird hunt. We got lucky and there were a few birds we didn’t see last time. One nice thing about the camera though is that it seems to work well in low light and so it makes it easier to capture the pointy eared people. It also takes better action photos than the last one, so Pepi looks good in mid run.

Tito's closeup
Tito’s closeup
Miss Jenny's blue peepers
Miss Jenny’s blue peepers
Titanescu's stinkeye
Titanescu’s stinkeye
Here's Pepi having a run.
Here’s Pepi having a run.

As for the birds, here are a few. The fall migration is beginning to kick in, so we’ll try to make regular trips out there to what drops in to visit.

Teeny weeny itty bitty lizard. It was only about 3 inches long, including the tail.
Teeny weeny itty bitty lizard. It was only about 3 inches long, including the tail.
Black-necked stilts
Black-necked stilts
Napping Black-necked stilt
Napping Black-necked stilt
Western Sandpipers
Western Sandpipers

I was amazed to see a green heron fishing. The last time I saw one was in South Florida in 2001. The photo isn’t as good as I would like, but I’m happy to have seen it.

Green heron with a fish.
Green heron with a fish.
Alhambra Creek flowing out to the Carquinez Strait.
Alhambra Creek flowing out to the Carquinez Strait.
Footbridge over the creek
Footbridge over the creek
Looking across the marsh with a sunken ship in the water.
Looking across the marsh with a sunken ship in the water.
Sparrow on a bridge
Sparrow on a bridge
Old boat
Old boat
Snowy egret hunting for supper
Snowy egret hunting for supper
Found it!
Found it!
Snowy egret posing nicely
Snowy egret posing nicely

While we’ll make regular trips out to the marsh, I’m hoping for a trip back up Diablo and another trip to a botanical garden. The weather has warmed up again though, so it might be a short wait.


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Caturday: Death of a camera

Yes, my camera finally died, but all is well.

Before I get to that, we wish to extend our sincerest condelences, hugs, and head bonks to the woman we refer to as Auntie Grace. Last week she lost her beloved doggie, Louise. Louise lived an amazing 17 and a half years with an equally amazing pet mum. I’m sure that Louise has reunited with Jake, but her loss is deeply felt. More hugs and bonks from the entire household.

For Louise
For Louise

As to the camera, it gave up the ghost. I had taken well over 300,000 pictures with it. Along with the LCD screen going bad, the photo quality wasn’t good either. However, I now have a new camera and it blows the old one away. It takes great pics of the pointy eared people. Hopefully next week we’ll get outdoors and see what else it can do. I’ve been tired of only doing Caturday posts due to mostly cruddy pics. Lastech’s phone pics were better than the old camera. Of course, Lastech will still produce great pics as he has a great eye. The new camera works great in low light conditions, which is great for kitty and dog pics. For those curious, it’s a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300. A DSLR was simply not in the budget and I’m not sure I want to lug a heavy camera with a hyper dog on a leash. This camera isn’t small, but it weighs less than the bigger DSLRs.

Now for the pointy eared people and the floppy eared one. For the record, these pics are straight out of the camera with no adjustments made. I may have cropped one, but that’s all.

Tito looking a bit like a Vermeer painting
Tito looking a bit like a Vermeer painting
The lovely Miss Jenny
The lovely Miss Jenny
Gasp! Dare I say it? Titanescu is looking almost cute.
Gasp! Dare I say it? Titanescu is looking almost cute.
Pepi taking a break from bird watching
Pepi taking a break from bird watching

Here’s a nice noisy mama kitty for you.


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Caturday: An Anniversary

Yes, it’s an anniversary. Last Labor Day weekend, Miss Pepita was found in a dumpster. We went back to the pier and picked her up that night. You can read her story here. Since then, she has made friends with Tito and Miss Jenny. Titanescu regards her as his personal punching bag and has her properly cowed. She and Tito play together. Miss Jenny merely sniffs noses with her. She also does it when Pepi is at the end of her leash so that she can dart away if she wants. We have since discovered that her biggest enemy is a plastic bag. Oddly enough, when I handle the bags indoors, she’s fine. If it’s outside, it’s a giant NOPE for her. She was laying at my feet earlier and heard a plastic grocery bag blow by outside. OMG! You would have thought it was a home invasion robbery. She never saw it. She just heard it and went all wonky and barky. Titanescu merely looked at her in disgust. Titanescu may not be celebrating this anniversary, but the rest of us are πŸ™‚

Pepi's dumpster
Pepi’s dumpster

And here is our little dumpster doggie

Pepi, one year later
Pepi, one year later

Now it’s time for the pointy-eared people to shine

The great and magnificently crabby Titanescu watching over his kingdom
The great and magnificently crabby Titanescu watching over his kingdom
The gallant and good-natured Tito
The gallant and good-natured Tito
The lovely blue-eyed Miss Jenny
The lovely blue-eyed Miss Jenny

Just for something different, here’s an angry froggy


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Caturday: Happy cats, a goofy mutt, and funny birds

The cats are happy because the air conditioner has been off for a few days. The weather is cooler than average. From 109 a few weeks ago to 70s and low 80s now. Go figure. I don’t mind at all. Anyhow, the cats are glued to the windows and the floor by the screen door. We’re all happy with the change.

Speaking of the pointy-eared people…

Tito keeping me company
Tito keeping me company
Miss Jenny doing a pin-up pose
Miss Jenny doing a pin-up pose
Happy Titan hogging the sunbeam
Happy Titan hogging the sunbeam

The goofy mutt? We were off at the arboretum when she suddenly went nuts snarling and growling.

Note the raised hackles
Note the raised hackles

What was she snarling at? Why, the enemy of course.

Yeah, seriously. This is what she was growling and snarling at.
Yeah, seriously. This is what she was growling and snarling at.

After that, we took her home because we wanted to go to the shoreline and pooches aren’t permitted. Once we got to the shoreline, we saw plenty of birds putting on a funny performance.

Night time
Night time
Daytime
Daytime
Twinkle toes
Twinkle toes

There were three beautiful white pelicans that landed on the water to feed.

White pelicans
White pelicans

They provided plenty of entertainment. I’ve put the pelicans and other birds in a slideshow that includes a lovely white swan butt.

As a parting note, I’m sure you remember us describing how Titanescu bangs and scratches on the wood paneling or tv box. Well, here’s the raccoon version.


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Caturday: Rock City, Ceiling Cat’s litterbox?

Rudha-an here. Caturday was delayed. Blame Titanescu. I was attempting to update WordPress, but he insisted on walking on the laptop as usual. Today, he’s leaving me alone, but that will change in a couple of hours. πŸ™‚

For now, here are the pointy eared people and the droopy eared one.

Tito was keeping me company
Tito was keeping me company
Miss Jenny was bird watching
Miss Jenny was bird watching
Titanescu was being a poophead and standing on my mouse pad. The battle is real.
Titanescu was being a poophead and standing on my mouse pad. The battle is real.
Pepi enjoying the porch. We made her day and got her a new farting hedgehog toy. It's her third one.
Pepi enjoying the porch. We made her day and got her a new farting hedgehog toy. It’s her third one.

This last week, we escaped and went adventuring. Lastech will tell you about that, but I’m going to do a bit of an intro. As I’ve mentioned before, California is on fire, making the air quality unpleasant, to say the least. Here are two pics I took during out outing that show the problem.

Looking to the North, you can see the smoke layer from the Clayton fire in Lake County. This same area had horrible fires last year. This one was arson.
Looking to the North, you can see the smoke layer from the Clayton fire in Lake County. This same area had horrible fires last year. This one was arson.
Looking to the South, you can see the smoke from the Soberanes fire in Monterey County.
Looking to the South, you can see the smoke from the Soberanes fire in Monterey County.

Lucky for us, our outing took us above the smoke so it was nice out. The critters all stayed home in the air conditioning. Pepi didn’t get to go this time as doggies aren’t permitted on the trails. She had a good run at the park before we went though, so she wasn’t deprived.

Rock City is a group of sandstone caves carved by the winds. It’s located on the SSW side of Mt. Diablo.

And now for adventure…in Lastech’s words.

As familiarity breeds contempt, proximity to “civilization” brings its blemishes. In the case of Rock City, this means carvings in the sandstone, some mundane, some obscene. There’s spray painting as well, although, in fairness, this becomes scarce the further along the trails you go. Driving up from the North Gate, you come to a fork in the road, about 3000 feet up, and turn right at the Ranger station. A short drive later, you pull off the road into one of the lots and choose your trail, easy-peasy.

On the way from the North Gate entrance.
On the way from the North Gate entrance.

Even though you know it is there, sandstone holds some fascination in sight and touch. In sunlight, much of it looks like granite, gray with some black specks (soot from older fires?), but on the ground, the color is tan, and in places, the stone looks ‘pleated’, like windswept sand dunes. You cannot help but touch it to feel its texture, and it appears slightly porous, though firm. And in the heat of an afternoon, it is hard to imagine it could ever be cold to the touch.

Rock City
Rock City
Sandstone caves of Rock City
Sandstone caves of Rock City

Sound travels differently as you walk around the stone formations: there are no echoes, voices sound slightly muffled. It is a quiet place, where you mostly hear birds, and we did see and hear a few woodpeckers.

Manzanita
Manzanita

As sunlight reflects off the lip of a hole in the stone, it paints the inside of the gaping maw in goldish-tan hues,as you can see on some of our photos.
Walking further up the trail, we came to a couple spots where I could take panoramic shots of the area, all the way to the horizon, and lo! carved into the ground was the symbol, universal: a spiral, or maelstrom.

Panorama looking to the West
Panorama looking to the West
Wind caves
Wind caves

Could this be where Ceiling Cat comes to bury His turds..?

Here is a slide show of the rest of the pics

Rudha-an here again. I normally avoid politics on the blog unless it pertains to equality (for women and my LGBTQ brothers and sisters). This time, I couldn’t resist. First, I found this…

At only a couple of inches across, I immediately wondered if I had found the birthplace of Trump's hair.
At only a couple of inches across, I immediately wondered if I had found the birthplace of Trump’s hair.

Then Lastech found this. πŸ™‚

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Caturday: Titanescu was a jerk

Rest assured, I love Titanescu, but he’s a jerk. When he’s not giving me the stinkeye or slapping the wall, he’s a bitey, grouchy jerk. Today he decided to start getting my attention to feed him…three hours before his dinnertime. It went like this:

Titanescu: I’m going to walk on your laptop
Me: No you are not going to walk my laptop
Titanescu: Yes, I’m going to walk your laptop
Me: No you are not going to walk my laptop
Repeat a dozen more times

Me: Puts arm in front of him to keep him off the laptop
Titanescu: I’m going to bite your arm
Me: Go ahead
Titanescu: CHOMP!
Me: That didn’t hurt. You only pushed with your teeth
Titanescu: Ok. I’m going to walk your laptop
Me: You’re a jerk
Titanescu: Yes, I’m a jerk and I’m going to walk on your laptop after I bite your arm again
Me: You’re still being a jerk and NO! I’m not going to feed you.
Titanescu: I’ll bite your arm, hiss my foul breath into your face and then I’ll walk on your laptop
Me: sigh

I had to deal with three hours of his highness being a jerk.

Here's Tito. Tito wasn't a jerk. He was a sweetie.
Here’s Tito. Tito wasn’t a jerk. He was a sweetie.
Miss Jenny waking from a nap.
Miss Jenny waking from a nap.
Titanescu giving me the stinkeye from his sunbeam
Titanescu giving me the stinkeye from his sunbeam
Pepi decided that she didn't like the air conditioner and covered herself with a blanket.
Pepi decided that she didn’t like the air conditioner and covered herself with a blanket.

I saw this video and laughed, trying to imagine Titanescu being that patient.

Those who know me know I complain about phone zombies. Trust Ikea to come up with a wonderful commercial.


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Caturday: Pepi was a pirate

Pepi decided that today was pirate day. Every time Lastech would move, she would say aarrrrrr and leap at him. Then after he went to work and I grabbed up the evil monster known as the vacuum, she yelled “aarrrrrr” every few seconds and tried to attack it. The only thing missing from her pirate imitation was the eyepatch. Otherwise, she had it nailed. Miss Jenny and Tito said %$#& this noise and hid under the sofa. Titan watched with disdain. He does not fear the evil vacuum.

Here are the pointy eared people.

This pic is a rerun as Tito just didn't cooperate this week.
This pic is a rerun as Tito just didn’t cooperate this week.
Miss Jenny waking up from a nap
Miss Jenny waking up from a nap
Titanescu owning is sunbeam
Titanescu owning his sunbeam

I haven’t forgotten Pepita the pirate

Aaarrrrrr!
Aaarrrrrr!

I finally gathered a few nature photos from recent journeys. Lastech managed to get two lovely pics of Karl the Fog over the bay.

Late afternoon fog
Late afternoon fog
Fog and birds
Fog and birds

He also got a cool pic of a rock.

Just a cool rock
Just a cool rock

When the heatwave broke and the weather improved, we went to Martinez, which is a few miles North of us on the Carquinez Strait. The strait is part of the tidal estuary of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers as they drain into the bay. We wandered around the trails where Alhambra Creek runs to the strait. The tide was up and it was beautiful out.

To cap it off, he got this nice wide angle shot of some noisy geese

Honk honk honk
Honk honk honk


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