Cazadero, 1/2/14

Flash Forward 1/17/14: back in Tucson.  As I was listening to the news this morning in bed wolf-vs-coyote(as classes at the college have not started yet), my cat came to attention.  A beautiful large coyote strolled by the fence.  Not quite as gorgeous as a wolf, which has much thicker fur, but almost.

We’d had our freezes back in November; these weeks have been back to tourist weather, 74° today.  The living room gets pretty warm in the winter afternoon with its low sun, so turned on the AC for last Sunday’s Open House.  (No offers on the house yet, but have left out a pile of my business cards in case someone wants to hire an architect.  Should have thought of that months ago.)

finch 004
The rosemary flowers have seeded and the finches abound – goldfinch and rosy finch.  Now back to the blog I started in California:


Visiting my brother in upper Sonoma Valley.  No wine tours this trip. His friend with connections at one vineyard said that there were no deals this year.  (The last time I had been here with my son at Thanksgiving a few years ago, and their son had driven up from San Francisco, the four of us – my sister-in-law had to work – went on a wine tour in Sonoma, sharing flights, and I bought a case at 50% price.  But I had to pay $25 for an extra bag at the airport, with did make the wine cost more.)  Now he says you can’t get a bottle for less than $20, too much for me on my new limited budget, so I can afford this trip.)


orion 3star 6rosa 7

Today was my brother’s day to volunteer at the Santa Rosa Bird Rescue Center.  I had written about it a few times previously (1,2).  So I went along and took photos of him with a Cooper’s hawk, Orion, “his” red-tailed hawk, Star (which he is officially monitoring),  and a peregrine falcon, Rosa Luz.  (Shown above, in order.  Click on them to blow up the photo to see the great details I got.)  All had been injured and cannot hunt on their own.

mewsHe takes them out of their mews (shown here),

The term mews is plural in form but singular in construction. It arose from “mews” in the sense of a building where birds used for falconry are kept, which in turn comes from birds’ star 9cyclical loss of feathers known as ‘mewing’ or moulting.

on tethers called jesses,

A jess (plural “jesses“) is a thin strap, traditionally made from leather, used to tether a hawk or falcon in falconry.   Jesses allow a falconer to keep control of a bird while it is on the glove or in training.

to feed them, weigh them, check out their condition, and walk them about to see the fields and the sky.  They often bate for exercise, flying about on their jesses, and Star likes hanging upside down, shown here.  (Kinda like my brother bungee jumping when he was in Australia.)

In falconry, to bate is, for a falconry bird tethered by the jesses, to attempt to fly; a bird hanging from the jesses is said to be “in a bate”.

I really loved the red-tailed.  Photos here of her fluffing her feathers out, or rousing, and her beautiful tail.

star17Rouse The action of a hawk erecting its feathers and then shaking them; part of grooming; a sign of a relaxed and content bird.4

star tail

Fort Ross

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christmas 2013 104Yesterday we had gone to Fort Ross, which had been settled by Russians, and has been reconstructed.  (I never knew that Russians had settled in North America.)

Fort Ross is a California State Historic Park showcasing a historic Russian-era fort compound that has been designated National Historic Landmark status. Located north of Jenner on California Highway One, one of the most scenic coastal routes in the world, Fort Ross is surrounded by sandy beaches, panoramic coves, and redwood forests, with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. The 3,400 acre park also offers historic structures and exhibits that bring to life the former Imperial Russian settlement, early California Ranch era, and the Kashaya territory.





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Sonoma Coast State Park

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Also went to the Sonoma Coast State Park where the Russian River (hey – now I know why it’s the Russian River!) usually empties into the ocean, but it was stopped up.  (Last time there the Army Corps of Engineers had just unblocked it.)  Lots of harbor seals, that looked like rocks, and a myriad of seagulls.  Plus a paraglider.

sonoma coast 13 sonoma coast 15

San Francisco

When we got to San Francisco, we stopped in to see my nephew at the Flower Mart4.  He lives in SF and delivers flowers by bike for Farmgirl Flowers.  (His photo here.)

photofarmgirl flowers

Farmgirl Flowers duplicates one arrangement each day, in three prices, $30, $50, and $70, obviously dependent on size.  Each day is different.  (Example above, as my nephew explains it, looking like you picked it in your backyard.)

Farmgirl Flowers offers one sensational arrangement of the most beautiful and fresh San Francisco flowers each day, grown in the Bay Area.  (70% of the flowers that are made available by florists in the U.S. are grown overseas, soaked in chemicals and shipped here.)

This simple approach we have adopted reduces waste, reduces our carbon footprint and minimizes environmental impact, and allows us to pass our savings on to you with our super-cool bike delivery partners for incredible flower delivery San Francisco!

Sure, the hills are A Bit Much for ordinary mortals, but this is a guy who jumps on his bike to ride 90 miles to visit his parents in Cazadero.

de Young Museum

The de Young, in Golden Gate Park, had a great show on yosemite1(76-year-old) David Hockney, A Bigger Exhibition.  Even his recent “paintings”, done on an iPad, are incredible.  (We were not allowed photos –  although I bet a few people were sneaking them with their iPhones – so all photos here are from the internet.)  Shown here one of the huge blow-ups of his iPad drawings: Yosemite I, October 16th 2011. iPad Drawing printed on six sheets of paper, 143 1/2 x 128 1/4 in. overall.

David Hockney: A Bigger Exhibition [which ends in three days] marks the return of the celebrated British artist to California. Expansive in scope and monumental in scale, this show is the first comprehensive survey of his 21st-century work and represents one of the most prolific decades of his career. Renowned for his use of traditional media as well as evolving technologies, Hockney has selected monumental paintings, Photoshop portraits, digital films that track the changing seasons, vivid landscapes created using the iPad, as well as never-before-exhibited charcoal drawings and paintings completed in 2013.

I had loved his his acrylic paintings of California pools in the 60’s and his photo montages in the 80’s, but now he has gone in another direction. The digital films were interesting, winter, spring, summer, fall each taking up an entire wall of one room.   Here is the video, shrunk:

hockney 1
Another of Hockney’s iPad paintings from The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate.

Bulgari sapphire pendantjapanese garden 2We skipped The Art of Bulgari, which included a lot of Elizabeth Taylor’s jewels, and walked over to the Japanese Tea Garden for tea and mochi (Japanese rice cakes).

japanese garden 7
The Legion of Honor

b matisseThe next day to The Legion of Honor for shows: Matisse from SFMOMA (shown here, The Conversation), and Anders Zorn: Sweden’s Master Painter.

The Matisse show was OK, but Zorn blew us away, especially with his watercolors.  My favorite was River under Old Stone Bridge, 1884, watercolor, shown below.  (We were not allowed photos, so these are from the museum’s web site.) Neither my brother nor I had heard of him, but he had even painted presidents in the United States (Cleveland and Taft) during our Gilded Age.


By the turn of the 20th century, the success of Anders Zorn (1860-1920) rivaled that of the most famous artists of his day, including John Singer Sargent. A virtuoso watercolorist, bravura painter [In painting, vigorous, brilliant treatment in both color and technique], and etcher, Zorn had risen from humble beginnings in the Swedish countryside to travel the world, captivate American artists and politicians alike, and paint some of the most sought after portraits of America’s Gilded Age.5

Below are Reveil, Boulevard Clichy, 1892, watercolor, and Self-Portrait in Red, 1915 oil.

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