We have run out of CBD oil for Callie and her separation anxiety intensified the other day while we were out hiking to Box Lake in Mammoth and she threw up several times waiting for our return. Our daughter Lara is visiting us for a week in the RV and Callie absolutely adores her. Having all three of us gone for most of the day was just too much for her and she up-chucked on the rugs and on her bed.
When we returned, I cleaned up several piles and we spent extra time comforting her and devised a plan to wear her out by taking her with us the next day to Mono Lake, Lee Vining, Saddlebag Lake and Tioga Pass. It has been very hot in Mammoth though and she wasn’t exactly thrilled with the heat, but she enjoyed the outing nevertheless and loves hanging out the window of the car at low speeds in order to feel the wind in her face.
The first stop was to Mono Lake in hopes of capturing some migratory birds for wildlife photography, but we couldn’t get close enough to get any decent shots in. We did see an Osprey perched on a far off tufa pile, two Avocets feeding along the distant shoreline, a White Pelican, and multiple seagulls, none of which were worth shooting. Callie stayed in the car in the shade for our boardwalk hike to the shoreline, but because the lake had receded so far, we turned around after a short outing with nothing but memories to rely on.
After Mono Lake we headed up the pass but turned around before the entrance to Yosemite because the park is closed to the public unless you have a reservation due to COVID-19. We tried for 4 hours to sign up on the first day of August but were not able to get in. Saddlebag Lake was next on the agenda but they are working on the dam and the water level was super low. Callie managed to find some shade along a rock wall while we had a picnic of sorts and she met a fine young lady named Lily who had a cat back in Las Vegas named Jasmine. Callie let Lily sit next to her and Lily was able to pet Callie’s soft fur and share her story about Jasmine with us. So in spite of the many detours and changes of plan, our day was still a resounding success because Callie was worn out and slept through the night.
The secret to Callie’s mental health is to include her in as many activities as is possible, but to not over do it in the heat. If we can make her feel a part of the overall plan, there are plenty of times she would rather stay home and sleep and let us do our exploring on our own.
Donald Trump’s, in your face display of fascism and division on sacred native Indian land at Mount Rushmore left me feeling horrified and saddened with the disgusting turn our country has taken with this presidency. It has brought out a side of humanity that I had hoped was buried for good and for all after Hitler died. But no, there is an element of nationalistic fervor still brewing amongst my fellow American citizens. If at this point, my post is offensive to any of you readers, go away, we have nothing in common and you aren’t welcome here anymore.
Callie had a tummy ache again after we finished a 10 mile bike ride yesterday along the many miles of closed beaches of Pacific Grove. She rushed over to me as soon as I stepped up into the RV and did her classic, demonic chew that expresses hunger and/or discomfort and promptly threw up several times. There is nothing less fun than a cat throwing up in the small confines of an RV. I quickly remove all of the rugs and roll them up because that is her preferred choice to barf on and I also stop feeding her even when she goes into overdrive about telling me she is very unhappy. She thinks she is hungry and pats me constantly and chews and this will go on throughout the entire night. Fortunately for me, at 1 am when Michael chose to come up to bed, we were able to feed her a small amount and she slept well, and so did I for that matter, for the rest of the night.
This morning she and I both got up nice and early and I turned the heater on for her and we are having a pleasant enough dawn while I have a cup of coffee and appreciate my health and her much improved health. The fairgrounds are celebrating the 4th of July with fair food and I walked over and picked up funnel cake and kettle corn yesterday that people could drive through to pick up (you weren’t supposed to get out of your car) but I had walked over from the campgrounds, so I was an exception to the rule. The fairgrounds would normally be humming with hundreds of people going on thrill rides, checking out display booths of all kinds and celebrating our independence with fireworks at the end of the evening. This has all come to a grinding halt again because of COVID-19. The virus did not go away like a miracle and infection rates seemed to have spiked and actually have accelerated since opening the country back up too soon and it is another example of the retched incompetence of this monster in the White House.
Biking along the coastline, all the beaches have been closed in anticipation of large crowds and it is forcing people to keep social distance and masks are required for everyone. Wearing a mask while biking is difficult and my mask kept fogging up. I apparently don’t have it snug enough around the nose and under my eyes. So today could have been a celebration of all the hard work of those of us who have sheltered in place since March, instead of the horror show playing out all across the county now. The economy will only recover if we help those in need by paying people to stay at home and to distance ourselves from one another until a vaccine has been discovered. Stay safe everyone and do your part to help heal this country. The hospitals and health care workers need our participation so that the ICU beds don’t reach full capacity as they are doing now in Texas and Florida. We will happily do the same in our 24ft Class C RV. Happy 4th of July.
I have made a new friend at the Heron Rookery and it is a Black-Crowned Night Heron. He is quite comfortable around me and as long as I don’t intrude on his space, he poses so elegantly and goes about the business of hunting and standing on his perch without fear. Night Herons are notoriously shy, so I feel quite amazed that he is as tolerant of me as he is. I am reminded of my relationship with Sweet Pea, a Costa’s Hummingbird that I have known for years in the desert. I get up early most mornings and head over to the rookery or the marina for a couple of hours of photography, and then I return to the RV for photo editing while Michael focuses on his research papers. We both enjoy life in our cozy 24ft RV and the setting is conducive to uninterrupted quality time to focus on our passions that we work on side by side for hours at a time.
Morro Bay has managed to coexist with wildlife and it is rather unique if you ask me. Many of the eucalyptus trees that line Main Street are filled with Black-Crowned Night Herons, and to turn the other cheek when it comes to the massive amounts of bird poop that falls below is the exception to the rule. When you park your car here, if you see a white discoloration all over the sidewalk, find another space to park your car or you will have poop on it too. Most cities would find a way to scare the birds away in favor of people, and it does my heart good to see the tables turned with animal nesting sites instead of the other way around. We have encroached so much on wildlife habitat that they have been forced to nest within city limits, but a balanced approach is necessary. The herons are very messy, so I do hope that they don’t over stay their welcome and force the city to evict them.
Michael and I also bike over to a look-out south of Morro Bay towards Cayucos every day for exercise and Callie is back walking on a leash because she became too bold when left to her own devices. She has rough and tumble playtime every day and her asthma is controlled again with a chicken-free diet and prednisone cream that is applied to the inner ear flap. We will be here until the end of the month and head north to Monterey for a month after that.
Happy Father’s Day to all the men out there who have raised or who are raising children. It can be a difficult but rewarding job, and a very important one too. Our society seems to be tearing apart at the seams, but hopefully we can vote Trump out of office and bring civility back to the United States. Vote Blue in November as if your life depends on it.
Believe in the Black Lives Matter movement; racism needs to be addressed and stamped out once and for all. BLACK LIVES MATTER!
I am shocked to inform my readers that Callie was brave enough to walk clear across to the other side of the RV Park and was sitting under a parked car in the street when a good neighbor by the name of Kathy recognized her and shooed her back home. Needless to say, Callie has lost her privileges to run free and must now be walked on a leash again. It was fun while it lasted and I am grateful she was discovered before something tragic happened to her. Cats are notorious for getting into trouble and Callie is no different. She is pretty street savvy though from her early years in Redlands. California, but I am not taking any more chances.
On another happy note, the photography opportunities have been awesome here in Morro Bay and just about every day I have managed to capture a baby Sea Otter and it’s mother, Osprey, Snowy Egrets, Black-Crowned Night Herons, Great Herons and Great Blue Herons, Red Shouldered Hawks, and many more. I feel very fortunate to be able to stay here for 3 more weeks because of how well the wildlife coexists with humans. We head to Monterey July 1st.
Callie has been given the somewhat grave responsibility of being able to explore her surroundings outside free and unattended while staying at Cypress RV Park in Morro Bay, California. I realize that many people believe that cats should not be allowed to run free outside because of the danger they pose to themselves and to wildlife, and I totally get it, but I do let Callie roam a bit while parked in a safe and enclosed RV Park that she is familiar with, and I keep the door and a window open and check on her frequently. She usually stays within sight of the RV and if I don’t see her after a short time, I whistle and she comes running.
The other day I was aware that she had been gone for a while so I went out and checked on her and whistled and whistled and she was nowhere to be found. I stood outside and whistled some more and finally, she darted out from a parked truck one site over and she was being chased by a noisy cowbird that was swooping down and pecking at her as she ran as fast as she could toward me. Callie had to run across loose, medium size gravel and an old shoulder injury made it difficult for her to get to me fast enough. As she limped along at a pathetic lope, and with the bird hot on her tail, the term, “a hitch in her giddy-up” came to mind. No wonder she hadn’t come back home any earlier, she needed me to protect her from the bird that was harassing her and she was waiting for my back-up before she headed back to the safety of the RV.
It was quite the hilarious scene witnessing her being tormented by a bird and I think she viewed the whole experience with a mixture of fear and trepidation. Her desire to go exploring seems to have faded because now she parks her rear end next to the picnic table in our site and keeps a wary eye out for those pesky birds.
We have finally escaped the desert heat once again and this time because of COVID-19, we are sheltering in place in Morro Bay. Cypress RV Park had accepted our reservation before the pandemic hit and honored it as long as we stayed put for a couple of months. The public restroom facilities are all closed up and we are fully contained in our CLASS C RV and only go out for bike rides, photo opportunities, and grocery shopping.
Callie has been given permission to explore freely outside for short periods of time because we are nestled way far back in the park with no one next to us. The streets that border the park are quiet and there are very few cars. She is having a blast and loves sitting out in the sun with a cool marine breeze washing over her.
I have been taking lots of sea otter photos and the bird life here is especially rewarding. There is a female Peregrine Falcon named Sierra that has 3 chicks high up on Morro Rock and Great Blue Herons and Snowy Egrets are everywhere. I even captured a Common Loon that looks like it has bright white polka dots on his back feathers.
The virus crisis is far from over, and the lack of testing while opening up the country is a foolish and irresponsible move. I can only hope that most of you readers follow the science and support our first responders and health care workers by continuing to social distance yourself and wear a mask while inside buildings. Stay safe and healthy everyone. We will be enjoying Morro Bay for at least several months and I look forward to sharing lots of photos with you.
The coronavirus is affecting humanity in a way that has not been seen before in my lifetime. It is a humbling experience to think of a tiny virus, a microscopic blob of RNA, can kill one person within weeks and leave another one with mild symptoms. None of us knows whether they will be one of the lucky ones and live to tell the tale. Those of us who are hiding out in our homes and behaving responsibly are sheltering in place and practicing social distancing while watching the numbers of deaths go up at an alarming rate. And until a vaccine is discovered, we will all be vulnerable to catching this virus and possibly dying from it. There is no place that is safe anymore.
I am spending my days exploring the backyard with my camera in hand and the wildlife is thriving and actually doing better without all of the people around. The birds are singing with less interruptions, and my neighbor down the street even had a wild turkey hen visit her backyard. Sweet Pea, the dominant male, Costa’s Hummingbird rules his territory with lots of spunk and plenty of girlfriends, and I had a Phainopepla, a rare blackbird with red eyes that usually only lives in Agua Caliente, visit the other day. He must have blown in with the fierce winds that have rattled the blooming ocotillo that then scatter seeds and pollen everywhere across the sand. Hooded and Bullock’s Orioles arrive to raise their young and the bright golden yellow of their feathers is startling to see after the faded and washed-out colors of the windblown brittlebush have all but disappeared. A Belted Kingfisher suddenly showed up one day and announced his arrival with a comical cackle that pierces the silence when he dives down into the murky water from a tree limb that hangs outstretched over the shoreline. He quickly disappears under the surface with a splash and effortlessly catches a fish and flies straight back up to the same branch he left just seconds ago with a tiny fish wriggling in his strong beak. The graceful Great Egret soars across the surface of the water silently on huge outstretched wings and settles down on the safety of a rock for the evening in the company of noisy frogs croaking loudly in the fading light.
Callie is doing marvelous and has a brand new passion. Every evening a family of some kind of desert mouse comes out from their daytime burrow and zips along the outside of the sliding door of the entertainment room in search of a meal. She waits with heightened anticipation and excitement at dusk and just about the same time every day she chases them along the glass barrier until they disappear into the night. They seem to know that she can’t hurt them because they stop and stare at her which drives her absolutely insane. Her tail jerks spasmodically as she chirps to herself in frustration at not being able to catch her prey. The bats won’t arrive again in huge numbers until the summer months, so thank goodness there is a new game in town for her to enjoy.
I hope that all of you are staying safe and healthy and learning to cope with your newfound reality. If you are reading this blog post, surely you have a blog of your own and have a creative outlet to explore. I can’t imagine not having something to do that gives you joy during these difficult times. Thank you again for taking the time to read my adventures with Callie blog. I am hoping we can hit the road again soon.
What is it about cats and boxes; it is a universal trait and even big cats like tigers and mountain lions will crawl up into a box if they come across one. Callie is no different, and when a wonderful neighbor dropped off some goodies for me and after I had unpacked the sourdough bread and strawberries and placed the empty box on the floor, she didn’t hesitate to claim it as her own. The box was just a tad bit too small though, but that didn’t seem to discourage her as she curled up extra tight in order to fit and sighed deeply while closing both eyes and settling down for a nice long catnap.
“Bloom where you’re planted” was a favorite piece of advice that my mother would tell her 7 daughters and one son. It is a phrase I remind myself of frequently. One must always strive to do the best that you can under any given situation.
Living in the desert with March right around the corner, the creosote and brittle bush are in full swing and the scent of flowers is everywhere. The mimosa tree will stop you in your tracks if you get within 30ft of it. All the plants in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park are offering up their pollen and nectar to insects and birds and the desert is alive with chirps and buzzes and brilliant flashes of gold and orange colors.
Callie is doing very well and we have found the right medications for her asthma. She is less stressed with the CBD oil and the prednisolone cream that is applied to her inner ear flap has lessened her coughing spells.
I finished a painting of a bighorn ram that I have titled “Size Matters” for a flora and fauna show at the Borrego Art Institute, and if it is accepted, I will have put my toe in the door for exhibiting again. Bloom where you’re planted, has been achieved.
I am having a delightful time at Oakzanita Campground in Descanso, California. It is a Thousand Trails facility and we have a membership that we bought into last summer. The campground is in need of a facelift, but the bathrooms are clean and warm, and the staff is very friendly. The best part of all is that I have had ample opportunity to do bird photography and Callie has been able to go on walks and to meet friendly dogs.
Descanso is located about a 20-minute drive to Rancho Cuyamaca State Park and I spent hours photographing Red-winged Blackbirds and Great Blue Herons. Our friends, Fred and Becky have joined us and we head to Agua Caliente today for several days.
Callie is having a marvelous time, and the CBD oil continues to amaze me by helping her with her asthma and anxiety. She had one evening of coughing when we first arrived because of the chilly evenings but has stabilized again and all is well. She is happy and playful and has a hearty appetite.