My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Friday, June 29, 2012

SkyWatch Friday: Smoky Sunset

The skies over the Rocky Mountains are very smoky and hazy due to all the devastating wildfires in the region, the worst of them an epic, tragic firestorm that's blazing in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Closer to home, a 26,000 acre grassfire was burning out of control a few miles to the south of us. The smoke from it and several other wildfires in Wyoming and Montana filled our valley, obscured the mountains and made for difficult breathing for a couple of days. 

It has also made for some spectacular sunsets, like this one I photographed last evening from our neighborhood... 

But we'd trade the colorful sunsets in a heartbeat for some much-needed rain over the Rockies and an end to these fires

Visit SkyWatch Friday to view skies around the world

(I can especially appreciate Raf's SkyWatch post this week!)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Elvis Sighting!

The highlight of our fun and successful yard sale yesterday was a brief but exciting celebrity appearance. 

Ladies and gentlemen... the incomparable Elvis!

Despite temps in the 90s, Elvis was lookin' cool in his Doggles shades!
(Though Tess thinks she looks much cooler in hers). ;-)

And since I know you're thinking about it now, here you go! 

Friday, June 22, 2012

SkyWatch: Cemetery Sunset

Great balls of fire, it's been a long time since I participated in SkyWatch Friday! We just haven't had very photogenic skies since moving to town last autumn.

But last evening, after a long, hot day, I was in need of some fresh air and exercise so I took my bike for a spin. I'd gotten three blocks when the trees grew sparser and I could see we were in for a spectacular sunset. So I raced back home, grabbed my camera, and headed for the cemetery, where I had a perfect scene in mind: a silhouette of the elk statue against that fiery sky. The light and colors of the sky kept changing, so I just kept snapping photos...

...until I got my favorite!

As I took a final twilight spin around the cemetery, this headstone caught my eye. A lot of graves are decorated with solar lights, but when I saw this I thought it was some sort of new tombstone technology - solar LED illuminated headstones! But no, it was just the polished granite eerily reflecting the last dying light of that vivid, blazing sunset...

How strange this fear of death is! 
We are never frightened at a sunset.
~ George MacDonald
Scottish author, poet and minister
Dec 10 1824 - Sept 18 1905

Happy early days of summer (or winter, depending on where you are)
and have a beautiful weekend!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

ABC Wednesday: Whoo-whooo?

Whoo has worked their way into this week's ABC Wednesday post? A family of Western Screech Owls, that's whoo! :-)

One beautiful evening near sunset last week we rode our bikes to the cemetery, where we saw and heard crows, robins and other birds raising a ruckus and crying out loud warnings (a defensive activity known as mobbing). Wondering what was worrying them so, we waited and watched a while until we spied a small group of owls (called a parliament or a wisdom of owls) perched high in a couple of big spruce trees. The branches, lighting and their distance from the ground made getting good photos difficult work. I didn't always succeed, but hope you'll enjoy my attempts (click on any photo to see larger versions)...

Watchfully waiting

Owls hoot, screech, purr, snort, scream, chitter, hiss and whistle,
but due to a unique feather design on the leading edge of their wings, 
most owl species, including this one, are lethally silent in flight.
(As the poor, lifeless bird in this owl's talons witnessed too late). :-(

 Some people will always blink when you're trying to get their photo!

I love how the shaft of setting sunlight illuminated this owl's eye.

I think this one is a juvenile; s/he was very whiny. :-)

We went back to the cemetery at dusk Sunday evening when the owls (and other wildlife) were even more active, though the waning light made it challenging once again to photograph them. I did manage to wangle a picture and videos, though...

Our wise nocturnal friend waits for night to fall

Owls have binocular vision and see objects in three dimensions (like we do). In order to triangulate something's (or somebody's!) 3D position more precisely by getting multiple viewpoints of it, an owl will bob and weave its head, like this...

This video just cried out for musical accompaniment,
so this Bob & Weave performance is set to the opening bars 
of Dave James' appropriately titled "Nowhere to Hide." 

Here's an example of mobbing in action...

Although the owl appears unfazed by the crow's strafing, 
BW was impressed! (You can hear his "Wow!" in the background!)

More wonders are waiting at ABC Wednesday...

Friday, June 15, 2012

Chime in! :-)

We haz front porch! Well, the start of one, anyway...

We also haz front door (that's missing a piece of decorative molding), garage door (that's installed incorrectly, waiting for a new panel to replace a dented one, and missing its window grilles), window trim, soffits and fascia, and a bunch of construction crap in the front yard...

The city decided this would be a good time to do road repair in our new neighborhood (*sigh*), so the red dumpster and construction trailer had to be moved off the street and into the yard. The street work is making us nervous - it's supposed to wrap up today but they seem to be behind schedule, and we have three large freight trucks showing up Monday to deliver all the cabinetry for the house! (Monday is also our 24th wedding anniversary. Are cabinets the traditional 24th anniversary gift?) :-)

There's a lot going on with the new house in the next couple of weeks (along with my annual yard sale with Robyn next Saturday because I'm clearly a glutton for punishment), so my camera and I will do our best to keep up with it all and I'll post more update photos when I can.

But meanwhile, now that we have at least a rudimentary front porch, I've got wind chimes on my mind!

Wind from the Sea by Andrew Wyeth

We don't get wind from the sea of course, but we do get plenty of breezes off the mountains. Which works for me, since I love wind chimes! But my favorite set, Gregorian Alto Woodstock Chimes I bought on a visit to Maine more than 20 years ago, is done for. We want to hang a replacement on the front porch that sounds a little different, and BW and I have narrowed the field of contenders to these five. Care to give a look and listen and chime in (nyuck) with your favorite(s) in the comments? Your opinions may help us to decide on one...

Celestial "Moonrise"

Celestial "Zodiac"

Celestial "Celtic"

Victorian Garden "Coventry"


(If you happen to be in the market for a set of these yourself, you'll find them much cheaper at Amazon, but without the nifty audio samples.)

And if you haven't yet gotten your fill of the sound of wind chimes, here's a lovely chime-accompanied contemplative video for your meditative pleasure...

Enjoy an easy, breezy weekend! :-)

Friday, June 8, 2012

A Walk in the Park; Birthday Boy Burritos

I had to drop off a book at the library last Sunday so BW and I took the dogs for a walk near our old digs at Dragonfly Cottage, and stopped to check out what was blooming in one of my two favorite spots in Sheridan, the Dorothy King Reflective Garden in Whitney Commons.

What a pity it wasn't "P" week at ABC Wednesday - I'd be Passionately Psyched to Participate with these Photos of Pretty Pink Peonies! :-)

Beautiful peonies

A bumble bee enjoys some Catmint

Then we walked along the creek on a portion of the walking path we always called "The Apple Orchard Trail," since there's a little collection of apple trees along it which is very popular with the local deer...

Josie suddenly decided it was break time and plopped down 
right there in the grass at the sidewalk's edge.
There's absolutely no budging her when she declares "Break!"
She's like an anchor suddenly tossed over the side of a sailboat.
So all of us decided since we couldn't possibly beat her,
we'd happily join her. :-)

(my critter family, front to back: Tessa, Josie, BW, Willow) :-)

Wednesday was BW's birthday and he had the day off. It was a hectic day, as they all are lately, but we did make time to go out to lunch to celebrate. He chose Oliva's Kitchen, a local Mexican restaurant with some vegan options, where we dined al fresco and enjoyed delicious vegan versions of their Vegetarian Burritos (made vegan by simply saying, "No cheese, please!") with their house Margaritas on the rocks...

El Patio at Olivia's
(Speaking of which, our patio's been poured at the new house,
but that's the only development lately worth mentioning!)

The birthday boy toasts his special day, yummy lunch
and new shirt purchased for 50¢ at a yard sale last Saturday!

Our veggie burrito (with dollops of hot sauce),
homemade guacamole and pico de gallo. 

Stuffed with refried beans, Spanish rice, onions, carrots, broccoli,
red and green bell peppers, summer squash and mushrooms.
Here's a tantalizing closer look. Yummmmm!!

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Lotta Progress, Lotta Pictures!

A lot of progress was made on our future home Thursday and Friday, so let's get right to the photo updates!

The windows were all installed...

That's our builder Todd on the right, 
and that's the bonus room dormer window being installed.

The west-facing guest room window going in

The drywall guys were busy hanging sheet rock...

Tony (on left) and one of his crew putting up the guest room ceiling

The two Solatubes were installed...

This one's for the laundry room

See? Of course you can, because now there is illumination! :-)
The other Solatube is in the master bath. 
(Neither has its diffuser in yet, which will cast much better light).

And our first kitchen appliance arrived!

Kidding. :-)
Don't know what they use this gnarly thing for. Not food, we hope! 
It showed up early on, and moves from place to place.
Sometimes we find it in the study, sometimes on the stairs,
and this time it was in the kitchen pantry.

Speaking of the kitchen, here's a photo of part of it, the breakfast nook, the French door out to the (future) patio, and the great room window, taken from the hallway...

Those construction boys are messy, messy!

Taken from the future site of the kitchen island

Here's BW standing at the back of the house on the other side of the French door, looking pleased as punch with all the latest developments...

The master bathroom and bedroom windows are upstairs,
the window on the far right will be in the heated garage kennel,
and the door beside it (not installed yet) will have a dog door in it.
Of course the girls will also get to come in the house with us,
'cause that's what family does. :-)

The front and south side of the house...

Remember the "peekaboo" window in the upstairs corner?

BW in the guest room, demonstrating the peekaboo's purpose.
(It will be easier when the obnoxious sticker isn't blocking it!)

And here's what BW was peering at through the peekaboo. 
You can even see Red Grade Road, where we used to live,
winding up the mountainside!

We're not sure what's in store next, though we know the sheet rock work will continue for some time; the garage door, back door, and doors between the garage and house are all here; the dog door should arrive Wednesday to be installed in the back door; the fireplace is up in Billings waiting to be delivered; and Todd's already been asking us stuff about soffits, so maybe the siding isn't too far off! We're most excited to see the front porch go up, but the patio, driveway and porch floor concrete has to be poured first and we're not sure when that's scheduled to happen. Meanwhile, we'll be choosing the stain color for our hardwood floors this week, deciding on door knobs (which is harder than you'd think!), and trying to figure out where to store the ceiling fan and all the light fixtures that are on their way! 

And while we're waiting for more house-related excitement to unfold, we'll be celebrating BW's birthday on Wednesday! Never a dull moment these days at Chez Laloofah! :-)
Happy Birthday, dear "Bee!" :-)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Bike ride sights

BW was given a day off on the beautiful last day of May, and we took advantage of it. After a morning spent mowing the lawn, walking the dogs, making a batch of chocolate sorbetto, and ordering most of our light fixtures for the new house, we headed out on our bikes to run a few errands. Our first errand was to the Post Office, and while BW was inside I photographed another of Sheridan's sculptures, Coming Home, which is on permanent display near the entrance...

"Coming Home: Sacajawea at the Headwaters of the Missouri"
Sculpture by Mary Michel 

The young Shoshone woman Sacajawea or Sacagawea ("Bird Woman") was an invaluable guide on Lewis & Clark's Expedition to the Pacific. Kidnapped from her tribe and home in today's Idaho Rockies by the Hidatsa people of western North Dakota when she was about 12 and sold as a slave to French trader Toussaint Charbonneau who claimed her as his "wife," she was only about 17 and a new mother when she joined the expedition with Charbonneau and her infant son Jean Baptiste in 1805. She was the only woman to accompany the permanent party from Fort Mandan, ND to the Pacific and back. She died of illness at the young age 25. (You can read more of her fascinating story here).

Sacajawea's infant son, Jean Baptiste "Pompy" Charbonneau

Moccasin details

After a ride past Dragonfly Cottage (still no one living there, though it sold in early May) and another errand, we rode to the job site to check on our house. It was a flurry of exciting activity and progress that will get its own post soon, but we paused to get a drink and this photo a few blocks before we got there...

BW, his bike, and the beautiful Big Horn Mountains

OK, here's one teaser photo from the job site! :-)

Windows, doors, sheet rock and Solatubes were being installed!

And when we got within a couple blocks of home, I took these last photos of yet more irises...

Among a patch of mostly violet irises in a front yard
were these beauties. I'd never seen irises this color before, 
and think they look very Victorian!

Enjoy your weekend and happy June, everyone! 


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...



  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

free counters