Where There’s Smoke…again

Last year California had record breaking fires – that record held for almost 100 yrs. Now we’ve broken last year’s record for the most destructive fire ever. Normally we would have had rains by now and “fire season” would be over – and acres of land and homes – not to mention lives, would not have been lost. We haven’t had any rain since early spring and the land is very dry. ( In October, San Francisco had weeks of temperatures breaking 80 degrees and in November it was in the 70’s – until the fires darkened the skies.)

Plume from the Camp Fire in Butte Co. on Nov 9.

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Another larger view from NOAA shows the plume covering an extensive region and shows the Woolsey Fire in southern California as well. (I can’t find a date on this image, but it was 2-3 days later).

https://abc7news.com/time-lapse-how-camp-fire-smoke-plume-choked-northern-california/4694952/

The town of Paradise is Paradise no more, in fact very little is left of it. People have died and many more are homeless in this area… because of global warming. Think about that.

Although we live 180 miles south-southwest of the big Butte Co. fire, we are being advised to stay indoors with windows closed. Public schools are closed from Butte Co to well south of  San Francisco; even the Cable cars shut down, as we now have the dirtiest air in the world. The skies vary from hazy to a dirty orangey color and are predicted to continue this week to plague us.

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Taken at noon – smoke blocking the sun.

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We can hardly see our nearby hills where my husband hikes almost every day. Today they have “disappeared.” (photo taken 2 days ago)

It has been 8 days now since that fire started (there are others). Yesterday it was announced it was only 40% contained; today they say they are making progress.

In the first days, the sun’s rays were sometimes bent to cast an unusual gold-red glow that was ironically pretty. It reminds me of the shadows we saw during an eclipse. Smoke particles filter sunlight, scattering short wavelengths and leaving the longer reddish wavelengths of the light spectrum behind. This allows more orange and red colors to pass through the smoke.

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I have a cough and sore eyes, but the bigger picture is… that smoke is coming from people’s lost homes. There are horror stories of people running from the flames into swimming pools and creeks, but you read the news. My heart goes out to the thousands affected.

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With Apologies to Georgia O’Keefe

I love to shoot close-ups of flowers – to look right into their centers a la     Georgia O Keefe.

A macro of a cymbidium

A Cymbidium – one of the easier orchids to grow.

 

These are baby-blue eyes – Nemophila menziesii, a cutie with its silvery anthers and delicate petals – the bifurcated stigma  (center) look like Martian eyes to me.

 

 

Calochortus venustus is a wild mariposa lily.

 

C.leichtinii-xcrp pse7-15 024Calochortus leichtlinii or white mariposa lily.  This is a good one to identify the flower parts : the center column is called the style and is topped by the a 3-part stigma ( the unseen ovary is at the bottom of the style), which in these lilies is surrounded by six white anthers – those are the male parts.

 

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Note the same characteristics: three petals, 3-part stigma  and six anthers. You guessed it: another mariposa lily – Calochortus luteus.

 

Calochortus tolmeii

One more wild lily is C. tolmeii – pussy ears. This is one of my favorite little (no more than ¾ inch across) wildflowers with its blue anthers and fuzzy petals  – it’s nickname is pussy ears.

And I’ll close with a close-up of a Christmas cactus flower.

I’ll save some more for another time…..

A Few Wildflowers

Here are a few photos of spring from parks in Marin County, California.

Delphinium – or larkspur (note the “spur” at the top).

 

Gilia capitata from Azalea Hill.

 

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Several views of Calochortus umbellatus – a small lily also known as the Oakland star tulip.

 

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Fritillaria sp. – or Mission bells from Mt. Tamalpais

 

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A few more lovelies

 

I came upon a small hill that was like a wild garden, covered with several species. Shown here are annual lupin on the left,  owl’s clover (out of focus) behind and the ubiquitous California poppy on the right.

A WILDFLOWER TRAIL ALONG THE YUBA RIVER

My husband and I drove up to California’s “Gold Country” last week, specifically to hike a trail along Buttermilk Bend on the South Yuba River.

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The dog  scared us by running downslope to swim.  I had visions of throwing myself into the raging water to save him, but he was smart enough to find a pool and avoid the rapids.

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The wildflowers were fantastic – both in the abundance of display and diversity of species.

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For over a mile you could hardly take a step without discovering something.

Even the pipevine swallowtail butterflies were having a field day – they were everywhere.

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March is Readers Month

Greetings Dear Readers –

March is National Reading Month, a time to venerate reading, writing and literacy. One way to participate is to read aloud to children for 15 minutes every day through-out March; this can be the start of an appreciation for literature and an enjoyable habit in the years to come.

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I want to take the opportunity to say thanks to all of you who read my novel and especially to those who took the time to write a review. Your notes and comments from different corners of the world bring me joy.

Pictured in the slide show below are readers from as far away as England and Japan. I’d love to have you be part of my fun Pinterest collection (when you get there, click on “Readers” to see more); if you would like to be included, contact me below (your information is confidential and not stored) and I will “pin” your photo with a book.

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I get a thrill almost every month to see (very) small electronic deposits from Amazon, via Smashwords, or my publisher – however tiny! OK, I’m not making a living as an author, but A Place in the World was published a several years ago and yet someone somewhere is still reading it – I can’t tell you how gratifying that is!

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Truth to tell, I found the publishing and talk circuit grueling (and hence didn’t do near enough of that or other marketing). Thus although I am working on two projects, I’m doing it because “I must”  write, not because I have to publish. Readers (yes You – you have remote power over me) – may make me change my mind .

By way of saying thanks I offer a short story as a pdf to anyone interested this month (well, in case there is a stampede of interest, to the first four people who request it).

It is entitled “Life in A Flash”  and told through the eyes of the younger daughter Sandra Jacinto, chronicles a multicultural, dysfunctional family. The cold experiences in young Sandra’s life are balanced by the warm relationships she embraces later in Latin America.

The story is set primarily in Costa Rica, but also Paris and London.  In spite of an unusual lifestyle, there are universal themes of sibling rivalry and adult-child conflicts; it may especially appeal to Expats, TCKs*  or those who embrace other cultures.  It did win “Honors” in the literary journal “Glimmertrain.” (Contact me here at https://cindamackinnon.wordpress.com/about/)

Keep reading – so many books so little time!

Kind regards, Cinda MacKinnon

 

*TCKs= third culture kids.  The term was coined for children who grow up in places other than their parents’ homeland; the first culture refers to the country from which the parents originated, the second culture refers to the cultures in which the family resides, and the third culture refers to the amalgamation of these cultures. There are many TCKs these days!

 

 

 

15th Century Doors

This photo post is inspired by photographer Norm Frampton who has a regular feature on his blog call #Thursday Doors. Below are two ancient doors found in the historic King’s Manor at the University of York in northern England.

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A beautiful, if crumbling façade of an entrance to King’s Manor.

 

The remaining building dates from the 15th century and began as the Abbot’s House.  It survived the dissolution of the monasteries, although the adjacent St Mary’s Abbey was destroyed by Henry VIII. King’s Manor houses the departments of Archeology and appropriately, Medieval Studies (but not Renaissance studies?).

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Entrance Door to the Centre for Medieval Studies.

 

What better place to study the Medieval period than in the City of York which boasts incredible medieval architecture (see previous blog: historical-york-england).

A Pair of Ancient Doors

This photo post is inspired by photographer Norm Frampton who has a regular feature on his blog called  #Thursday Doors.  It hadn’t occurred to me previously that other people were as taken by doorways as I am; they can be interesting.

Stone dogs guard the entrance

I  came across this handsome entry way (above) in a small town east of Gloucester, England. I wish I knew more of its story to tell you.  It shall remain a mystery ( unless one of you out in the world happens to recognize it).

Below is the doorway to Schola Moralis Philosophiae (School of Moral Philosophy) at the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford – not the main entrance of course.

Oxford University

The Bodleian Library is one of the oldest in Europe.  Oxford University itself dates from at least the 12th century. The magnificent architecture of the colleges include some of the more ancient buildings  along with those from subsequent centuries.