Callie has a New Tree to Climb

Callie has missed her beloved olive trees, but this morning she discovered an arbutus tree that is growing in front of David and JoAnne's house. It has a wood carving of an eagle with the word "ocean" carved on it. The bark of the arbutus is gold and reddish brown, and the underbelly has pinks and green with yellow ochre much like our eucalyptus in California. The bark curls up and peels off in shredded pieces and Callie took great delight in climbing and sharpening her claws on it this morning. When she rakes her claws into the bark, it spills away in sheets and smells much like cedar shavings. Callie would like one of these trees growing in her yard in Anza Borrego please!

Burgoyne Bay & Saltspring Island

It is another smoke filled day on Vancouver Island. There are 126 fires burning last time I checked- down from 200 earlier in the week. The temperature is warm and muggy and there is very little breeze blowing. Callie is doing exceptionally well and has taken to the catamaran as if she has done it all her life. I was somewhat worried about her going over board last night, but she stayed close to my side and was here in the morning to tell the tale….


The Feel of Green

Callie lives in Anza Borrego Desert State Park and there is no grass except for the golf course for her to rest on. She had a lovely day of searching for bugs and hanging out in lush green grass for half the afternoon. I am trusting her more and more to stick close to the RV with her leash and harness on but not anchored to anything.

FYI- Callie is continuing to improve and has only had one small bout of coughing!!!



Black Crowned Sparrow

Callie and I are sitting outside on the picnic table and our neighbor, the little black crowned sparrow is absolutely outraged that Callie is visiting. He is sitting on top of the right side upper branch of a Sitka Spruce tree and is going to be hoarse at the end of the day if he keeps it up! When we walk, a murder of crows follow us and make sure to escort us out of the area. Callie trots along with pride regardless, and tries not to let the insults bother her. Every where we go, people run up to her and pet her and admire her for walking so well on the leash….



Another Day in Morro Bay

Yesterday, Michael and I went on our bike ride to Morro Bay Strand Beach and watched horse back riders galloping along the shoreline, and otter mother’s nursing their young in the bay. The marine layer is thick and the weather cool and comfortable for outside activities in the middle of the day. Biking in the middle of the day is not possible in Anza Borrego Desert State Beach during the summer months. We had the most spectacular super bloom this spring, so I really have no complaints, but it is close to impossible to live in Borrego Springs during the summer. For that reason, we are on the road in our fabulous Fleetwood- Icon 24ft RV and doing our TravelswithCallie~ road trip. We plan on staying in Morro Bay until Tuesday and then head north again after that.

Sadly, Callie is still coughing periodically, and we are taking her back to see Dr Duane Stephens on Monday for a second opinion. He was the vet we saw on April 24th when Callie’s cough wasn’t getting any better with Dr LaPorte in Julian. Dr Stephens also diagnosed it as an upper respiratory infection and gave her a shot of antibiotic that was suppose to last 2 weeks. It did the trick, but her cough returned~ it returns several days after she finishes the antibiotic. It will be interesting to see what he has to say. Poor little Callie….in spite of coughing though,  she is enjoying her RV road adventure and would much prefer being here than in Borrego Springs with the swamp cooler blasting. Her lungs appear sensitive to abrupt changes in temperature, so cuddling up in her bed in the loft of the RV is a treat for her too!

Last night Michael and I went to visit my sister Elizabeth and her husband Eric in order to give them a painting of a black oyster catcher that I had painted about 3 years ago. I had it hanging in my beach condo but it doesn’t go with my desert living decor. She made a lovely dinner for us with homemade baked oatmeal cookies for dessert, and we laughed and drank wine, and had such a good time in their company. They have a beautiful house in Los Osos that overlooks Morro Bay, so the black oyster catcher will have a good home.

Today we are going to explore the wine country inland of Morro Bay…. Yay!








Batgirl to the Rescue

With close to 50% humidity in Borrego Springs, it feels like the tropics minus the greenery. The gnats are everywhere and flies are circling, seeking out your eyes and nose for moisture. The cicadas too are buzzing furiously and “batgirl” has her job cut out for her. Seeing as I won’t let her catch any birds on my watch…. cicadas are all that is left besides dry palm fronds blowing dustily in the wind… PS You will have to look carefully, she is very clever and difficult to spot, and will only be discovered once it is too late!




2 Mice are Better than 1

Callie has had an ongoing cough since early March. She is currently on her 4th dose of antibiotics and it seems that whenever she is finished, she relapses. When she is on the antibiotic, she feels better right away and the culture and sensitivity test showed she has 3 bacteria in her chest. We are pretty sure she aspirated something and eventually it will wall itself off and she will get well.

This morning Callie was feeling friskier than I have seen her in months. She raced around the house itching for trouble. I wacked  her with a feather wand and when she spotted her two mice that are filled with catnip! She thoroughly enjoyed trying to disembowl them and take their heads off. They didn’t have a chance, and all the catnip was spread out over the floor. It was a good job done and now she can rest for awhile.

Wednesday we are loading up the RV and heading back to Morro Bay. It is just too hot here in Borrego Springs and we need to escape. I feel so sorry for the plants and animals that have to endure such hostile conditions.




After she played with the mice!

Four Sisters Come Calling

When I headed out for my early morning bike ride before the inferno kicked in, ( it is suppose to reach 113 today) I happened to spot four hen turkeys getting ready to jump over my back wall in search of food… Turkeys in Anza Borrego Desert State Park? Amazing! I have yet to see a tom- turkey, but the four hens today all looked the same age and are probably sisters.

Wild turkeys are omnivorous and will eat both animal and vegetable products. They forage as they roam and when moving along, one behind the other in single file, they peck at seeds and insects, looking up and all around in a constant search for danger and possible predators. 

This is the first summer I have witnessed turkeys in the desert, I also saw two hens about a month ago along Henderson Canyon where I shoot all of my wildflower photographs. I wonder if there has been a big spike in their population growth due to ample rainfall and the lush vegetation that followed this spring? Neighboring Julian and Ramona, at much higher elevations, and up in the mountains, are known for wild turkeys, but in the desert? These four hens looked healthy and alert, and they were obviously enjoying the bright, early morning sunshine. It hadn’t warmed up yet, and birds were singing and insects buzzing. I left them alone as soon as I shot a few photographs, and they headed back out into the desert in a slow and meandering way, glancing back at me often in silent, calm, curiosity.

Joe Hutto in The Sun Magazine- May-2017, issue 497, gives a wonderful interview in which he shares his experience with living for a couple of years with mule deer and again with wild turkeys. He has the utmost respect for these beautiful creatures, and developed long lasting relationships with some of them. It was quite an honor to watch these four hens obviously thriving in the harshest of climates, and looking out for each other- as only good sisters will do.

This morning on my bike ride with Lara and Michael, we saw many cottontail bunnies, jackrabbits, roadrunners, a hawk soaking in a puddle, one lean coyote and common grackles. Hummingbirds are still braving it out, along with quail. It is amazing that anything can survive in the summer heat. It will be 117 on Friday and thunder strorms are expected on Sunday. We are going to try and pack up the RV and head to the beach for a few days. Hope we can find a camping site!








Happy Days

Rise and shine and let your little light pour through for all to see…. Callie is responding to the antibiotic and climbed her beloved olive tree and asked for rough and tumble playtime. She is still coughing, but less often. She has always done well on the antibiotics, so I am still guarded in my enthusiasm for a cure, but at least for today, it is a happy day!