Wednesday, August 27, 2008
We made our annual pilgrimage up to the cabin at Twain Harte for a long weekend. I finished up a big presentation I'd been working slavishly on for weeks Wednesday afternoon and sent it off. Then I made the mistake of letting my guard down for a little bit and by that evening I had a definite sore throat and a cold coming on. This is the second time in a row that I've been sick on our trip up there, and it's gettin' old.
Less swimming time meant I had more time to do something else. I did a couple of watercolor sketches. The top one is of Twain Harte Lake and "The Rock." I usually enjoy swimming out to the rock, but this time I just paddled over on my noodle, being careful to keep my head out of the water. It was still nice to be out in the middle of the lake looking up at the clear blue sky and pines overhead.
I had planned to bring some art supplies, but I was not feelin' so great while we were packing and said, "The heck with it." But then I got up there and went shopping at my favorite store, Twain Harte Pharmacy. They have everything. It's sort of like an old Woolworth's, but with a clothes and giftware section too. They have every type of craft supply known to woman: glitter, pipe cleaners, fabrics, etc. It's pretty cool to browse around there. I found some nice watercolor blocks on sale and purchased a nice (expensive, naturally...) box of watercolors. I figure I can haul them on other trips.
The other thing I like to do up there is hang out on the deck and read and look at birds. This tree, which I think is a cypress, must have been struck by lightning. I counted 23 nest holes in just one of the dead snags. The birds love it. The acorn woodpeckers are starting to use it as a granary. There are at least 6 acorn woodpeckers in this group.
It was quite "birdy" up there this time. The Steller's jays were zipping around squaking and making their presence known. There were several fledgling jays in the group, similar to the Scrub jay babies we've had in our yard. Their crests were sort of underdeveloped and grey instead of black. They had short wing feathers and were often flapping their wings and begging the adults for food.
Other birds seen on this trip included: tons of Turkey vultures, Red-breasted nuthatches, White-breasted nuthatches, Brown creepers, Warbling vireos, Dark-eyed juncoes, Spotted towhees, Anna's hummingbirds, Western tanagers, White-headed woodpeckers, Northern flickers and Mourning doves.
The nuthatches and creepers are fun to watch as they scour the crevices of the tree trunks for tasty morsels. The Red-breasted nuthatches have a very funny call that sounds like a toy tin horn. I hear them calling almost constantly at the cabin.
I read a couple of the #1 Ladies Detective Agency books by Alexander McCall Smith over the weekend. I love this series. If you haven't read any of them, I think you should check them out. I just read Blue Shoes and Happiness and In the Company of Cheerful Ladies. The books make me want to go to Botswana. Apparently I'm not the only one. I read somewhere that these books have given a boost to the tourism industry there.
Although it's still nice and warm and sunny up there in the foothills of the Sierra during the day, you can sense a bit of a nippy feeling in the breeze. The days are definitely getting shorter. And autumn migration has started here in SF.
Labor Day weekend is coming up and we're going to be checking out the Slow Food Nation, which is holding their first big conference in the US here in San Francisco. I'll try to get some nice photos for you, ok?