Friday, July 6, 2012

Independence Day ~ Wildlife ~ Brush Fire ~ What is Important ~ An American Girl

"To everything there is a season, and time to every purpose under heaven..." 
~ Ecclesiastics 3:18

The height of summer - bunnies on the grass... Sipping nectar from once was a tiny sapling my mother grew from seed of her own tree...


Hummingbirds on high...

What could possibly disturb our paradise?

Even when the hawks (see one camouflaged in  a tree across our ridge)  careen through our backyard trees like jet fighters on a mission, they are mostly Coopers- not powerful enough to pick up our puppies in their talons. 

However, Mr. coyote showed up before lunch.

He hung around for a good hour, leaving us to believe his den is nearby. Thinking about the downside of cohabitation with this particular indigenous species.  Sometimes it is hard to appreciate his attributes- coyotes suppress populations of rodents, skunks- and yes, the rabbits that are so used to my husband they think he is one of them- some days gathering around where he enjoys his coffee on our patio. 

Last year one of his compatriots followed a medium sized dog through a doggy door - into the house.

Over the years in Diamond Bar, we've listened to neighbor's pets become part of the food chain (and when this happens it doesn't matter how long the pet suffers, the police do not respond). A babysitter reported being followed up the street while she fearfully hurried the baby stroller. There was the teenager who had to wait for mom to call to say the coast was clear- a pack was circling the yard when the girl first tried to come home. Our former veterinary doctor  shared a doberman being killed in a coyote attack.

Handsome creatures, coyotes are opportunistic terrorists hiding in the tall chaparral. Be advised if you live in the foothills- all it takes is a moment's inattention. Our Tahoe got away with going nose to nose with a young male once. She was alone in the backyard less than a minute. What probably saved her life was "the barking bunny" confused the predator long enough for Gerry and I to come running from different directions. The coyote sailed over the back fence like Superman: in a single bound it cleared the fence and the ravine. 

As if this wasn't enough excitement for our July 4th celebration

It wasn't just our barbecue smoking up the skies. Our first hint was the LA County Fire helicopter.

There was a small uphill brush fire not far past "our ridge"

Even with winds strong enough to pull the palm fronds like windsocks, emergency services did not sound concerned. With a high temperature of the day a beach-like  76 degrees, everything was speedily under control. I doubt most of the town even knows there was a fire. 

There is a time and place for everything. Tonight it would be dinner for two. At home. I cut off writing before noon. We took a needed break from studying our downloaded copy of the Supreme Court Decision on the Affordable Care Act. Our personal  anxiety over its ramifications for our family could use the day off. The Act helped other people and somehow the brilliance of this nation's framework to work things out over time will prevail. 

The Fourth of July is a holiday. Time to get in the mood with proper preparations. While Gerry solved the woodworking issue of what to do when a board of black walnut does not want to stabilize, I cooked to a moviethon of favorites.  Glory . The Patriot.   The board where the food waited to be heaped onto our plates groaned under the weight of 

Twice baked potatoes 
Barbecued corn on the cob
Fried Okra 
Barbecued short ribs -

We ate to the new classic movie The Help. We chatted away at ALL the GREAT changes in life we have lived to see.  We are eager for the day when Emma Stone wins her first Oscar.  

We will share the barbecue rib technique soon. Absolutely the BEST ever. Only topped by 

                                                      Homemade Ice Cream. 

Custard based- so good I think I could go shopping and my husband wouldn't care what I bought, just so I make him more):- 

Now, I can't leave you with that substandard picture of dinner as the last personal impression of what you saw on this blog. So I leave you with this image of my model- niece Abby Plunk, so pretty in pink. Abby - if you see this- know we pray for God's blessing on your journey.  To us- You are as quissentential an American Beauty as any rose.


  1. Yes, lots of pictures! That is the most pathetic coyote I have ever seen. Poor skinny guy!!! Sad. Ours up here are fat and beautiful. They eat moles, ground squirrels, gophers....

  2. Mr. Coyote is young. He'll fatten up- but with our milder winters, he probably won't get the luxurious coat I've seen in colder climates.

  3. Lydia,
    Enjoyed your July 4th blog very much!
    Loved the fact that you and Gerry like and cook fried okra! A staple in our house!! The only veggie that my boys fought over growing up! "HEY! HE GOT MORE THAN I GOT"!! "WHY DON'T YOU COOK TWO BAGS INSTEAD OF JUST ONE?"
    OK so I cook two bags at a time now. Those suckers have gotten more and more expensive over time, just like all food!! :(

    Yes, tell us what kind of ribs you buy and what you do to them.

    Abby is a darling!

    XO Trisha

  4. Hey Trisha! Will try to post how to do the ribs this weekend. Had a full work schedule- so trying to catch up in the garden before the daytime temps slide back up where they normally are this time of year.

    I hated okra until I tried it fried southern style.

    Yes, it has gotten more expensive- but what hasn't? At least this is an occasional treat. I'll remember the good meal better than the dollar saved serving something else.

  5. That's about the scrawniest coyote I've ever seen! Ours, too, on the Central Coast, are fat and sassy. Yours must have to work harder to make a living.

  6. Yes, I agree with your friend about the coyote being scrawny! We have many here in Liesure World, Seal Beach. Even still, we are over run with the darned rabbitts. Can't feel warm and fuzzy about them when they eat everyone's gardens and flowers and leave little pillets all over the place. So basically, the coyotes pretty much leave us alone as they are as afraid of us as we are them!


  7. Hi, Joan and Judy! Maybe its the cardiovascularly correct terrain that keeps Mr Coyote in shape. That or he'll end up like John Travolta. Not so skinny when he gets old.

  8. That Coyote is really pitiful looking...Ours over here just a few miles away are sturdy and well fed looking and with luxurious coats.....There must be different Coyote species---Diamolnd Bar seems to have the skinny ones....

    Such a darling Bunny picture, Lydia...And your dinner sounds like it was quite sumptuous...!
    Other than that Fire, it sounds like it was a lovely 4th of July....(Barring hungry coyotes,too, that is)....

  9. Dear Naomi- Westside coyotes- of course there coats are more luxurious.

    Interesting thought on the species. Will have to look it up.

  10. That mimosa (I think) reminds me of the mimosas all over the bit of Louisiana I visited. You've got lovely photos of the hummers enjoying the blooms. I'm looking forward to your ribs recipe. And the coyote... he doesn't seem very camera shy does he?

  11. Good morning Nikki! You correctly ID'd the tree- Mimosa, Persian Silk or Albizia Jiliabrizian (sp). My computer needs to go into the shop- unstable as a dictatorship under seige. So may be a couple days to check in again.

  12. What an incredibly beautiful way to end such a lovely-pictured and artfully described day.

    (Next time I suggest you use something other than a camera to shoot the coyote, though.)

    Thanks for sharing. Your writing is improving (and your neice is growing prettier) with every entry. Keep up the good work..... both of you. :)


Comments are encouraging blessings! Please send your thoughts- unless you look like a robot, in which case you'll be ignored.