Category Archives: Nature

Hollow And Empty Spaces

My Echeveria plant has a hollow space in the center under its leaves but it is not empty inside there. Some birds have chosen to build a nest in the interior. I saw one bird land and hop over to the side of the plant, look around for anyone watching, then hop inside the opening. I am afraid to be seen hanging around near the Echeveria because I worry I will scare the birds away and the nest will be abandoned.  Recently made a visit to Joshua Tree National Park, with my daughter, and enjoyed many different views empty of people but not empty of interesting rock formations, Joshua trees, and different varieties of cacti like ocotillo, cholla, and others whose names are unknown to me. The rock formations gave the impression of prehistoric times, cavemen with their blocks of stone, Fred Flintstone at work in his quarry.

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According to the National Park Service post about the geological formations the stones are monzogranite and were formed over 100 million years ago.

Short Video about Rock Formation at Joshua Tree

 


Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. Prompt for today empty/hollow.

Bird And Rabbit Sightings

“Here comes Peter Cottontail’

Hopping down the bunny trail..”

We have a rabbit visitor in our back yard again mooching off our greenery. I completely support his eating the wild grass and Sorrell but I get worried when he starts nibbling on my Wooly Thyme ground cover. I don’t mean to be gruff but it is just starting to come in full and I do not want it trimmed by rabbit teeth. They eat it down to the roots and that’s just not being neighborly in my view. I wanted to catch his photo but I am having a hard time with the new cell phone camera. Not as user-friendly. I consider it user-friendly if I can push a button and it takes the photo.  This one is not cooperating with me yet. There were some good shots I missed while I was trying to get it to work. You have to take my word for it but the rabbit was up on his hind legs looking at me who was looking at him with my cell phone.

I do have a small bird’s nest inside the Echeverria plant. I think it has 4 small spotted eggs. I confirmed it by peaking inside today but I startled the little chickadee out of the nest. I hope it comes back. Need to steer clear of that plant for a few days.  I think the bird was trying to divert my attention from the nest by hopping around the yard tweeting and twittering at me. A good future photo may be of the nest after it’s no longer in use so I don’t caws any more disturbance said the crows.

I just checked my cell phone photo gallery and guess what? I did get capture a photo of the rabbit but I wish I could have zoomed in more.

 


Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. Today’s prompt: Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “on the farm.” Find a word that has a farm animal sound in it, i.e. sMOOth, and use it in your post. Bonus points if you include three or more.

Farm animal words; moo, ruff, neigh, tweet, twitter, caw. Ok, caws could be questionable. 😉

‘Here Comes Peter Cottontail’ song by Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins.

Yard Birds

Amateur backyard birdwatchers my husband and I. We have noticed a little bird on our patio the past couple of days. It seemed pretty bold coming up to perch on our patio table chairs and tweeting its head off at us. It was making quite a ruckus this morning. I may have discovered why. I saw a pair of birds flying back and forth from the large Echeveria plant near the edge of our patio with pieces of wild grass in their beaks.  Are they building a nest inside the plant?  Is the bird on our patio standing guard?

Our little lookout could be a chickadee because he fits the discriptions with a black head. The sound he was making at us was like that warning alarm sound you hear in the last part of the little video above. Why are you sending up the alarm? We were minding our own business inside our kitchen when you happened to spot us.

I read that in California you are called the Chestnut-backed Chickadee.

Chestnut-backed Chickadee by VJ Anderson


Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. Today’s prompt is ‘Why/Y.’ Chickadee video by LesleytheBirdNerd on You Tube.

Rainy Day Rabbit

I have mentioned my backyard visitor before and how hard it is to capture him/her with my cell phone camera. Usually, it spots me at the window and hops off. But today I was able to get several pretty good photos of the little guy. We had steady rain this morning for over two hours at least, which is great for us in my section of Southern California. I spotted the rabbit taking shelter from the rain under one of our succulent plants. Then after the rain stopped, it came out and munched on the assorted ground cover for a bit. I have seen it hop about 2 feet up to a retaining wall in the yard, but today I have photographic evidence of this ability.

Flapjack

Octopuses occasionally occupy the ocean floor.

“While diving off the central California coast, the team of E/V Nautilus encountered this Flapjack Octopus (named for its ear flaps) lingering on the sea floor.”- EVNautilus via You Tube

Flapjack or Opisthoteuthis californiana via Monterey Bay Aquarium on You Tube. The octopus looks red because it is being illuminated by a red light which it can’t see and thinks it is in the dark. This little octopus is a rare find in the ocean.


Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. Today’s  “prompt for #JusJoJan and Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “oc.” Find a word that starts with “oc” and use it in your post. Bonus points if you start and end with your post with an “oc” word.”

Redwood

Rachel Baum was looking forward to another opportunity to get out in the forest. Her job as a biologist at UC Berkeley was the study of the effect of climate change on Redwood trees. In recent years there was a growing alarm at the rapid changes in the California climate and how it was stressing the trees. Many felt it could be reaching a tipping point with how long the trees could adapt and survive. Her work sometimes required her to climb to the top of a 300 foot tree to check instruments that monitored the weather up in the canopy.
Rachel loved the spectacular views from the canopy and listening to the wind in the leaves. She came to the grove with another biologist who remained on the ground. Josh would send up any needed supplies with a pulley. There had been reports of a storm front moving in but Rachel and Josh thought they would have enough time. As she reached the top of the tree she heard a loud rumbling and looked up to see dark clouds rolling in.
“We better make this quick, Rachel,” Josh called over the two-way radio.
“I just want to check the fog monitor and then I will head down.”
Rachel was reaching over to the monitor when she saw the little Spotted Owl on a lower branch.

Female Spotted Owl

She was about to catch a quick photo when she felt the hair rise on the back of her neck. The lightning hit a nearby tree sending chunks of wood exploding through the air. A large piece hit Rachel.
Rachel was traveling through a tunnel. She felt the tunnel closing in on her body, squeezing. She thought she heard a young woman cry out and then she forgot about her life on Earth as she came into a new world. The midwife smiled as she welcomed this new life. Her parents named her Alexandria.

Alexandria Mata was one of the first babies born in the Mars colony. Her parents were part of the first colonists to live on Mars. They were both botanists working on plant cultivation. Growing up Alex liked exploring the gardens and small nature areas that were part of the biosphere. Her parents often found her reading her books under one of the few trees. Alex loved stories about trees. She grew up to be a botanist like her parents and her affinity for trees continued. Many of her contemporaries considered her a bit odd for her interest in Forest Biology because, as they told her, the forests are gone on Earth and there would be no forests on Mars. There was one friend who shared her interest in trees, Jeff Kimura. His focus was paleobotany, the study of fossil plants.

776px-Concept_Mars_colony NASA

Artist concept Mars Colony via NASA

Alex was working the day a small package arrived in a shipment from Earth. The contents of the box were not revealed by the label which said it had come from the University of California, Berkeley. As she opened it she found a note from a biologist. I hope you can find a home for this specimen of Sequoia Sempervirens and help this majestic spirit survive in the universe. Most of theses trees had been lost on Earth during the Great Drought of  2030-2045 when there were years of little rain with many months of wild fires. Global warming had denied the moisture giving fog to the giant trees and the drought dried out the soil and the surrounding undergrowth. The fires did the rest. Alex wanted to show the seedling to Jeff but he was at a dig site on Olympus Mons.

Olympus Mons was an old shield volcano and one of the tallest mountains in the solar system. Jeff’s team hoped that the volcano had some buried secrets in its slopes. They were looking for signs of earlier plant life on the planet.  Jeff knew Alex would be very interested in what they discovered, part of a fossilized forest.

“Jeff, this is fantastic, proof of ancient forests on Mars! When will you get some specimens back here?”

“We have them here now if you want to come over to my lab.”

” Right away!”

Word spread fast among the scientists and Alex found a large group in the Botany lab. The lead paleobotanist, Dr. Albero, was speaking. ” The microscopic evaluation of the fossils suggest these trees were ancestors of Sequoia Sempervirens, or Coast Redwoods.”

“How could Mars and Earth have the same trees? “ Alex thought, incredulous.

After the announcement people broke up into smaller groups to talk about the discovery. Jeff signaled to Alex. She walked over to a corner of the room where he was standing.

“Can you believe it, Coast Redwoods on Mars?

“We found a body.”

“What! Where?”

“We found a body buried near the trees.”

“What kind of body? What did it look like?”

“Like this.” Jeff showed Alex a photo he had stored on his communicator.

“Oh my God! This proves there were humanoids here on Mars.”

“Well there was one anyway.”

“Why wasn’t the discovery of this body announced?”

“Dr. Albero wants to discuss it with some higher-ups at NASA. He thinks this discovery might cause some panic in the colony.”

The colony leaders called for a community meeting the following week. Dr. Albero was asked to speak about the discovery.

“I know there have been rumors about the other discovery made on Olympus Mons. We found the body of a humanoid buried near the petrified forest. Further testing on the remains indicates that this humanoid is genetically related to us.”

******

The expedition found two planets in the solar system with environments compatible to their home world. They decided to introduce some of their flora prior to colonization to see if it could survive. They planted some seedlings from one of their most revered and beloved trees.

 

Ancient Coast Redwoods tower above hikers at Simpson Reed Grove Trail

“The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always. No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe. It’s not only their unbelievable stature, nor the color which seems to shift and vary under your eyes, no, they are not like any trees we know, they are ambassadors from another time.” – John Steinbeck


More information about climate change and the Redwoods. And 100 Practical Ways to Reverse Climate Change: Drawdown.

Featured Image ‘Growth, plant’ by Antranias on Pixabay.com. Image of ‘Female Spotted Owl’ by Emily Brauwer of the US National Park Service via wikimedia. Image of ‘Petrified Wood,  Petrified Forest National Park, USA’ via Pixabay.com. Image of ‘Mummy’ from British Museum Collection by Klafubra on wikimedia. Image of Coast Redwoods in Redwood National Park via US National Park Service.

This post is part of the Write…Edit…Publish #WEP#ff December Challenge, The End is the Beginning hosted by Denise Covey, Yolanda Renee, Nilanjana Bose, and Olga Godim.

Word Count:  990 (excluding quote)

Full Critique

WEP CHALLENGE FOR DECEMBER ............THE END IS THE BEGINNINGS

Contrasts

Ganges Chasma in the Valles Marineris System of Mars Image by NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Soft sand,

hard rock,

dark blue,

light gray,

solid and striped.

Hot, windy, Smokey, fire, water, wood, ash, climate change. Waiting for winter, cold, clear, and rain.


Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. Prompt word and theme for today ‘contrast/contrasting things.’