Thursday, March 15, 2012

Barbara's Birthday!

On March 3rd, we attended the birthday celebration of another such millionaire.

Her eldest great grandchildren are in college, her youngest great grand is due to be born in few day.

Born in 1930, she grew up and became an adult, birthed three children, grandmothered nine grandchildren, and will have the joy of meeting her seventh great grandchild soon.
Fifty nine years of marriage to a fine man.
A simple life, hardly likely to find its way into history books, but then again, when has history books ever noted the peaceful women who are good wives, good mothers and good neighbors?

A few days ago I heard someone refer to her own grandmother as being having been elderly and in her eighties.
I had to smile...the person herself was deeper into her eighties than her own grandmother had ever been.
Eighty used to be considered quite elderly.

I just don't think of my Mother-by-love as being much more than on the high side of middle years.

I do so hope she gets her wish...

(Eighty two separate candles might have posed a fire risk...don't you think the numbers declare the birthday number better anyway?)

Only a few grandchildren were there for the day.
Her fourth grandchild Gwynn...

(And yes, her eyes really are that amazing shade of blue!)

Daughter Shari was able to be there...she lives in Kentucky now so birthday attendance isn't a given anymore.
Bernie and I were there too.  It was the first time Bernie and Shari had seen each other in a few years...and certainly it has been years since they were together for their mother's birthday.
The scary looking guy?
Shari's husband Joe. 
(Actually that's a pretty good picture of him...not!)

Hal...Barbara's fella for the past 59 years.

The blond guy...Barbara's seventh grandchild Jeff, soon to be the father of Barbara's seventh great grandchild, a boy named Luke.
The brunette...Gwynn's husband of less than a year...John.
Barbara had just gotten released after an overnight hospital stay the day before and while I wish we had been able to have celebrated her day with lots of hoop-de-lah and dancing, I think the quiet at home celebration turned out to be the best for her after all.

We'll save the celebration with all the trimmings for another time...and oh what a party that one will be!

Love you Barbara!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Barbara's Garden Friends

My in-laws garden is also a haven for several varieties of birds.
While we were there, a baby mockingbird was blasting his song out for all to hear.

Southern California mockingbird have a song that is so loud and so persistent that many people find they no longer like having mockingbirds in the neighborhood.

Usually one bird will stake his claim to an area and spend all day and all night flying a set pattern between perches.

Once I spotted the branch this loud mouth had chosen it was easy see him.
It took zooming in on him with my camera to discover he was still a baby with downy feathers and short tail and wing feathers.

His singing voice...oh that part of him was fully grown.

He would look one way...

Then the other....
Then he would look up...

And then he would let rip with a series of notes.
Wee wee wee...chirp, chirp, kree kree...cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger...

(I am not making that last part up.  That is what the song sounded like!)

Then he would start looking one way...

And then the other....

Fluff up his throat...

 And begin his song again.
Then wing away to one of his territorial perches.
Want to hear him in action?
(I clearly need to do a better job doing videos, but at one point you can see a tiny humming bird buzz by the mocker.  The hummer also liked that particular spot for singing!)

Then he would wing away to another one of his territorial perches.

The soft chirp of a finch flitting close to the ground was almost inaudible.

A steady chitter came from a flock of English sparrow that swooped in and out of a pepper tree behind the property finally revealed a Mama Sparrow and her baby fledgelings that still shamelessly demanded to be fed.

Zooming in with my camera I could see the short wing feathers and downy bits still on the fat baby birds.
A few moments later I was in for a surprise.

I had never seen goldfinches in San Diego before.

Goldfinches swarm about in our snowy garden at home, steadily taking a thistle seed one at a time from our window bird feeder.

I thought it was such a visual treat to see the goldfinches feeding on dandelions blooming on the wire fence.

(Hmmm...this  shot just might make for a really cool spring time blog header...)

These bird sure know how to pick a perfect setting to pose for their picture.

I really liked this shot...

My father-in-law Hal said he had seen the birds out there before but had thought somebody's canary had gotten loose.

Funny how an old rusty hurricane fence looks so artistic with the addition of a goldfinch perching on it!

I did mention that it was up to 92 degrees out there didn't I?
The garden lizards were enjoying the bright warm sunshine in their usual fashion.
Lizard: Are you lookin' at me?

Lizard: I said...are you lookin' at ME?

Doesn't he look like he was ready to start a fight?
Silly lizard.

The square orange thing is a one inch tile.
Me: Yes, I am looking at you. I think you are very cute little baby lizard.