Thursday, May 29, 2014



We were not going to tell you about this. You know about our mountains but you don't know about the flowers this year. You know it is a year of drought, hot, dry, miserably dry. But somehow our joy of seeing so many flowers, so soon this year, is not so great if we don't tell you about it. I wanted to wait until the bloom was over, you would have never known. Shirley thought we should share. Maybe I will feel better once you know. I don't know.

Snow plants are everywhere. More than we have ever seen. I should have not even stopped to take this picture. They are so common this year. But yet I did.
Indian Pinks? It is too early I think. Are they crazy? It is too early, but there they were! I must take their picture too. I don't need any Indian Pinks mad at me.
Yellow Monkey flowers are everywhere on every canyon wall. What can one do? Drive right by? After all, we came to see the lakes and mountains too.
Hell Hole lake is a little low. But what the heck! It is wet and cold, and fishermen are catching lots of fish. Should we be sad? Remember? It is a drought year too.
Now French Meadows lake, it is really low this year. There will be no canoeing up the Middle Fork to photograph Osprey catching fish for us this year. I wonder if the old Forest Service cabin Shirley and I and our three kids used to stay in when it was snowing hard during deer season will show itself in the lowering lake? Sad thoughts of happy bygone days I guess.
Dogwood were in bloom from French Meadows up to Chipmunk Ridge like they always are in July. But hay! This is still May! Maybe a summer thunder storm will brighten up our sky. The Dogwood will need some rain in July this year for sure. 
This was Mt.Mildred last Sat.and I used to ski down that ridge coming down Chipmunk Ridge every June first ! Coming over from Alpine Meadows to French Meadows each late May to early June was always a blast.Guess Shirley and I will just have to hike up to the summit and see what it looks like in the summer for a change. Now that you know about our flowers and our secret Mt. Mildred ski trip, please....don't tell anybody. You see....even on the Memorial holiday, there was no one looking at the flowers and the mountains were all ours. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Our Loneliest Friend
By Jim and Shirley White

We have had a visitor to our home the past few weeks. It is a Canada goose, one of the species of wild Canada Geese that have made this part of the Sierra foothills their yearlong home. He has flown into our small backyard livestock pasture to rest and feed on our abundant green grass. A few weeks ago we had a pair of geese that would come and feed for a while and then leave. They never spent the night here. The goose that is here now, has spent two days and nights here 24 hours each day, this past week. He leaves for an hour or two to go where we do not know? I saw him land about 6:30 A.M. this Sun. morning so he went somewhere either last night or real early this morning. We are on a sort of a flyway here with geese flying over headed out to the Country Club golf course, or perhaps another pasture in between. They call to our goose as they pass over but he just looks up and says nothing. About 10 days ago we had a pair land to visit him, cackling loudly as they landed but he lowered his head and charged them and ran them off. He seems very content to feed by himself, preens by the hour, or just stares at the pairs of Mocking birds that are nesting just below our pasture. I had to mow the pasture last week and hated to bother him but he just stood and watched as I rode the mower back and forth for at least an hour. He moved from place to place to get out of the way of the mower but acted like he could care less about me.
I think our goose likes us because when Shirley and I sit on our deck overlooking the pasture and the goose, he often looks up at us. Shirley talks to him all the time. She wants to name him but I don’t believe in giving wildlife human names. After all, they are not human and deserve better than that. The bird biologist have named the Canada Goose, “Branta Canadensis” but who in the world calls them that. I just call him “Our Loneliest Friend”.