Coffee Share 190427

This is a Weekly Coffee Share hosted by Eclectic Alli.
Alli manages a weekly list of posts from a small group of bloggers who want to just stay in touch, chat about blogging, writing, travel, photography, children, pets, work, life hacks or just about anything else that might be of interest.
Link to Last week’s list Link to This week’s list
Link to my Story Blog.   Come share a laugh with me.

Good morning and welcome. It has been some time since I’ve welcomed anyone to come in out of the hot sunshine to enjoy a cool drink, but here we are.  Our part of California, in the past few days went from the mid to high 50s during the day to the low to mid 80s – completely skipping over my preferred 60s.  Oh well, the weather is the weather.

As you get settled with a drink, let me tell you first about that cover photo.  If you’ve been reading my coffee shares for any amount of time, you know that I enjoy frequent strolls through the backyard just to get out and move some – but also to do some observation of the alligator lizards that live behind a large brick planter we have.

I’ve been wondering where they all are because I’ve observed at least 8 different ones, but at most I seen only 5 at a time. I know their main hunting routes and how to stand still enough that they relax some on continue their bug hunting.

We have bugs a-plenty for them and I’ve noted that even the young ones, who are particularly brazen at times.  However, I’ve wondered where they all are because, when the sun comes up, I expect to see them out doing their thing – but where are they?

I’m seeing only a few these days, so yesterday I was watching from a nearby covered gazebo as 3 of the lizards were watching me from that large brick planter and I began wondering if there were any predictors around that the lizards needed to worry about.

My first thought was of the feral cats that live somewhere nearby.  But I’ve not seen any of them for some time.  Suddenly, a shadow flashed over the scenescrub blue jay and the lizards scrambled to hide, and a scrub blue jay hovered briefly overhead, then flew off when he realized that this fast food was just too fast and he flew off.

Do you have any species of blue jays where you live?  They’re big, think twice the size of a robin or 4 times the size of a sparrow.  They’re also beautiful in appearance, omnivorous (I looked it up to make sure) and really aggressive.  Okay then.  I think I have my answer as to where all my lizards are.  We always see a few blue jays around but up until now, I missed this portion of the old circle of life.

Hoping to tilt the balance a bit more in favor of the lizards, I grabbed a few good sized rocks from around the yard and placed them on the brick ledge, right where the lizards most like to sit and hunt and bake in the afternoon sunshine.  This will help them not stand out so much and give them some easy cover should they see the jays in time.  We’ll see if it helps.

My family, going back to my great grand parents on my mom’s side have held membership is a recreation club.  This club, since the 1930’s, has owned a large piece of property characterized by a pretty decent mountain covered with ancient redwood and bay trees, a wide flat stretch at the base of the mountain and a long riverfront right on the the Russian River in northern Sonoma County.  Members own small cabins on the property and most of us use them only for weekend or summer get-aways.

My kids are the 5th generation of our family to use both the cabin and the property for such get-aways.   On that long flat stretch, the club maintains various recreation setups like bocce ball and tennis, a dance floor shares space for a small restaurant and store, a clubhouse that seats a couple of hundred and a small outdoors theater where the kids can put on their own talent shows.  It is a magical place to grow up.

When we had our kids, this was the first place we would let them wander somewhat without our direct supervision.  When I was very young, my mom took me and my bike to a certain giant tree stump out in front of the teen center.  This was where my grandparents brought her to learn how to ride a bike because it was where my great-grandparents had brought my grandmother.  This stump had become a family tradition for the bicycle right of passage.  It is an ancient redwood tree, lost to logging most likely, and now stands some 12 feet tall and maybe 8-9 feet in diameter.  It was around this stump that I learned to ride a 2 wheeler.  Of course I also found a way to climb to the top of this stump so I could watch the whole world below me.

I also found, a small tree sprout, almost right in the middle and recall thinking that this great old tree stump really wasn’t fully dead and how cool that was.

Almost 2 decades later, when my kids were learning to ride their bikes, of course I took them to this same stump  and told them about the time I was their age and climbed up the stump and looked up to point where I discovered that sprout only to see a wide and healthy looking oak tree.  So yea, that wee tree sprout was not a redwood but an oak which is not as plentiful in the area.  It was shading almost the whole parking area in front of the teen center.

My kids were not particularly impressed, but I thought it fascinating that this great old stump had found a second life protecting one of the few oak trees in the park.

oak treeThe branches of the oak tree are stark contrast to tall straight profile of our giant redwoods.  Oaks are themselves an example of chaos in symmetry. Oak branches twist and turn as if in some kind of contest to be the best climbing tree for any nearby child.

Anyway, we were just at this family heritage yesterday, working with other members to get the park ready for our summer guests.  The park rents cabins and tents slots to families who pay well for the chance to make some memories in this safe, oxygen-rich civilized forest and play down on our beachfront – thus keeping our annual dues very low.

I should have snapped a photo of that oak tree in the redwood stump.  I think it’s quite a unique attraction and still a great place for kids to enjoy their first success on a 2-wheel bike.

I hope you’re having a great weekend.

Thanks again, and again, and again Alli for hosting our get together.


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