I could hear the loud cawing of crows from a block away, as I took my morning walk on Sunday. Getting closer to the cacophony, I started seeing dark shapes in the air, circling in flight, then alighting on tree branches, and then flying again.
It was a large group or murder of crows, I believe taking part in a crow funeral. I have seen this phenomena before in front of my house, when I could see dead crow in the street. Then, a lot of crows started flying in circles near the fallen bird, cawing in full voice. It went on for about twenty minutes.
In the photos, most of the crows are in the large tree, with some sitting on top of the Italian Cypresses. Earlier, they had been circling.
May 21st, 2013 · Outdoors
A volunteer artichoke plant started growing in the corner of my backyard, some months ago. It grew taller and taller with no artichokes that I could see, so I just ignored it.
Finally the ‘chokes have appeared, when the plant is taller than I am, and I really have to reach to harvest! I managed to get three of them, and can’t wait to be dipping the leaves in mayo and lemon juice.
Mid-week, I drove to Lake Shrine, located in Pacific Palisades, to enjoy walking around the lake and taking time to meditate in the Windmill Chapel.
I always get recharged there! It is only a 45-minute drive from the Conejo Valley and it is open Tuesday through Saturday, and free to all. It is located on Sunset Boulevard, about 1/4 mile from Pacific Coast Highway. It was founded by Paramahansa Yogananda, founder of Self Realization Fellowship, who dedicated the property in 1950, as a place for all religions.
Click here to view a visit by Huell Howser.
Photo is of the Windmill Chapel with the lake to the lower right.
If the true measure of an advertising message is producing the desired response from viewers, then I saw an amazingly effective message scrawled on a piece of cardboard the other day. The cardboard was held by a young man with wild hair, standing at the intersection of Topange Canyon Boulevard and PCH, facing cars coming down the canyon.
As he walked closer to where my car was stopped waiting for a green light, I read his message, which said, “I won’t lie, I need a beer.” In amazement, I watched three drivers dig into their wallets and hand bills to the guy!
I thought about this a lot, and came to the conclusion that folks would much rather give money to someone who wants to have a good time and whom they can identify with a little bit. Compare that to giving money to someone who says they need food, and it can leave the giver to thinking how sad that is.
What do you think?
The copy-edited sample chapter of “Growing Up With G.I. Joe’s” was emailed to me by the copy editor last Friday evening. I found myself so nervous about the changes she might suggest, along with what mistakes she might find and comments she might make, that I put off opening the email until late Saturday afternoon!
I am happy to report that I survived her critique, and actually found it useful. The very first thing I found, from the first paragraph of the sample chapter, was that I should have used the word “floodplain” as one word and not two. I did not catch that and neither did spellcheck.
I will go through the other changes Tammy suggested to improve the flow, and see what I want to keep and change. Since I survived the critique and my nerves are still intact, I decided to send off all the chapters for editing.
But, I do hope that my nerves don’t act up again, and that it doesn’t take a week or so before I can open the email with the complete critique!
Photo of my dad, Edward Orkney, who was a bomber pilot with the Jolly Rogers Bomber Group in New Guinea in 1943 and 1944.
Gittin’ out of the Conejo for a change of scene can be therapeutic, and it was for me on Wednesday when I met my sons for a second Mother’s Day celebration. (I am in favor of observing happy holidays often!)
However, gittin’ back to the Valley was lot less therapeutic, with traffic as it was yesterday. For some unknown reason, PCH traffic heading for Malbu was backed up from the 10 Freeway tunnel, so I decided to go the 405 Freeway, getting on at Wilshire Boulevard. That was not a wise choice, but I don’t believe Santa Monica Boulevard or Sunset Boulevard would have been much of an improvement, because of the freeway construction.
Inching along the Wilshire onramp, I decided to share the experience in photos, including the unfinished on or offramp above me. You can bet I was mighty glad to make it back to the Conejo!
I have been keeping my fingers crossed that I will have a cherry crop this year from my two trees in the parking strip. I guess I can uncross by fingers now because there are definitely cherries-to-be on both trees! Perhaps cherries are coming because there were so many winter mornings in Oak Park this year, that were below freezing. Whatever the reason that cherries are coming, I am so happy!
Unlike the cherry trees, my two pineapple guava trees bear a plentiful crop every fall. They are not actually in the guava family, and their botanical name is Feijoa sellowiana. Pictured are the blossoms that promise the fruit is coming again this year.
On my morning walk on May 8, my friend and I passed a sign I had never seen posted only once before, after the 2005 Topanga Fire. It was a trail closure sign, due to fire danger, at the entrance to the Santa Monica National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) at the Sunrise Meadows area off Smoketree Street in Oak Park.
One more sign to the extreme spring weather we are experiencing in the Conejo Valley. I will check this morning to see if the sign is still posted.