Wes' Peony

Monday, February 28, 2011
Living in the desert does have some drawbacks.  For an avid gardner it's not being able to grow cool weather plants and those that require more humidity.  But the benefits are pretty neat.  Year round sun (almost) and some pretty unusual plants.  Guess one can't have it all.

"Wes' Peony"     © Kathy Dunham 2011

Two for the Price of One

Sunday, February 27, 2011
It's hard enough to capture one moving insect let alone two.  So you can imagine my delight when I discovered I found there were two bees in this photo that were in focus.

"Two for the Price of One"      © Kathy Dunham 2011

White Prickly Poppy

Friday, February 25, 2011
Related to the Matilija Poppy, this cousin looks very similar although it's smaller in size.  It also has sharp, prickly spines on the leaves, stalks and buds.  It grows at an elevation of 1,500 - 8,000 feet in most of the Southwest.  The plant is distasteful to livestock and tends to increase in heavily grazed rangeland.  The plant is also poisonous but the yellow sap has been used to treat some skin diseases and the plants were also boiled for baths in the treating rheumatism.

"White Prickly Poppy"     © Kathy Dunham 2011


Thursday, February 24, 2011
It's not Monet's garden but the waterlily pond at the Norton Simon Musuem in Pasadena.  I guess being art related makes it count for something. 

"Waterlily"     © Kathy Dunham 2011


Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Wildflower season is almost upon us.  A few flowers have opened their buds but it's been pretty cool here so I expect a later rush of blossoms than normal.  This cholla, a member of the cactus family is a vibrant green.  Just watch out for the stickers as they come out so easily they get the name "jumping cholla".

"Cholla"     © Kathy Dunham 2011

My Thomas Pacconi Music Box

What is a Music Box?

The music box is a 19th century automatic musical instrument that produces sounds by the use of a set of pins placed on a revolving cylinder so as to strike the tuned teeth of a steel comb. They were developed from musical snuff boxes of the 18th century and called “Carillons a Musique.” Some of the more complex boxes also have tiny drum and small bells, in addition to the metal comb. Alec Templeton, an avid collector of music boxes and a professional concert musician, once noted that the tone of a musical box is unlike that of any musical instrument.
History of the Music Box.

The original snuff box music boxes were tiny containers which could fit into a gentleman’s waist coat pocket. The musical boxes could have any size from that of a hatbox to a large piece of furniture though most were tabletop sized. They were usually powered by clockwork and originally produced by artisan watchmakers.
For most of the 19th century the bulk of music box production was concentrated in Switzerland, building upon a strong watch making tradition. The first music box factory was opened Switzerland in 1815 by Jeremie Recordon and Samuel Junod. There were also a few manufacturers in Bohemia and Germany. By the end of the 19th century some of the European makers had opened factories in the United States.
 The cylinders were normally made of metal and powered by a spring. In some of the costlier models, the cylinders could be removed to change melodies, thanks to an invention by Paillard in 1862, which was perfected by Metert, of Geneva in 1879. In some exceptional models there were four springs, to provide continuous play for up to three hours.
The first boxes at the end of the 18th century made use of metal disks. The switch over to cylinders seems to have been complete after the Napoleonic wars. In the last decades of the 19th century however, mass produced models such as the Polyphon and others all made use of interchangeable metal disks instead of cylinders. The cylinder based machines rapidly became a minority.

The term musical box is also applied to clockwork devices where a removable metal disk or cylinder was used only in a programming function without producing the sounds directly by means of pins and a comb. Instead, the cylinder or disk worked by actuating bellows and levers which fed and opened pneumatic valves which activated a modified wind instrument or plucked the chords on a modified string instrument. Some devices could do both at the same time and were often combinations of player pianos and musical boxes, such as the Orchestrion, which is a large mechanical instrument resembling a barrel organ that produces sound in imitation of an orchestra.
Stores six discs in the back of music box.


Afternoon at the Fair

Tuesday, February 22, 2011
It's county fair time!!!   Yes, it's a lot earlier than most county fairs but it's also the National Date Festival here in the desert.  It originally started as the Date Festival as this was the season when the dates were all harvested and ready for distribution.  Then it became the Riverside County Fair.  I miss the displays of produce (yes, we do harvest our agriculture earlier than most areas in the U.S. but it's not the same as a traditional county fair).  We have camel races, ostrich races, Tales of Arabian nights and things themed to being the date capital of the U.S.  And it's fun to do the carnival midway.

"Afternoon at the Fair"       © Kathy Dunham 2011

Mourning Dove

Monday, February 21, 2011
I love the cooing sound doves make.  It's soft, gentle and soothing.  These beautiful birds, their feathers so smooth, are found all over California.  This one was posing in front of a friend's house the other afternoon. 

"Mourning Dove"       © Kathy Dunham 2011

It Snowed Last Night

Sunday, February 20, 2011
I live in the desert, in fact, my house is actually below sea level.  It gets hot here in the summer and yes, there is snow, but only on the top of the nearby mountains.  Mt. San Jacinto, which is the backdrop for Palm Springs is over 10,000 so we do get to see snow and there is a tram to the top so we can even play in the snow without having to drive in it to get there.

"It Snowed Last Night"      © Kathy Dunham 2011

Monet's Rooster

Friday, February 18, 2011
It was an overcast day when we visited Monet's Garden but the local fowl weren't fazed.  This rooster was busy keeping track of all the hens in the yard.  And chase them he did.  He was quite a "cocky" character.

"Monet's Rooster"      © Kathy Dunham 2011

Award from Lila

1. My friend Lila, has sent this my way, a blogger award. I thank her very much for even thinking of me! There are so many wonderful blogs out there, but these are the ones that I know of that I would recommend visiting.

1. http://decorandoonatal.blogspot.com/
2. http://keepingthechristmasspiritalive365.blogspot.com/
3. http://whisperingchristmasdreams.blogspot.com/
5. http://www.stnicholasandchristmas.com/
6. http://somewouldevensayitglows.blogspot.com/
7. http://christmas-believe.blogspot.com/
8. http://5minutesjustforme.blogspot.com/
9. http://bucketideasforchristmas.blogspot.com/
10. http://the-doggy-blogger.blogspot.com/

All of the above have something wonderful to offer their readers!

2. Things about me: 

Name:  Dorothy Jean
Music:  Light Classical, Classic Rock, Pop
Mood:  I try to be in a happy state if possible!
Color:  Red, I love it, all of my cars I've ever had were red!
Time of year:  Spring and Fall
How do you prefer to travel?:  by car
Phrase or word spoken by you:  Please tell me....I'm not a mind reader!
Series Preferred:  Not sure if this means a television series, but if so, I enjoy watching Ancient Discoveries, and Ancient Aliens on the History channel.                                                   

Tonight's Moonrise

Thursday, February 17, 2011
Moonrise in the desert is constantly changing.  One month it might be orange, another blue.  But the desert landscape always adds drama.

"Tonight's Moonrise"      © Kathy Dunham 2011


Wednesday, February 16, 2011
The Portland Rose Gardens are a wild explosion of color in the summer.  If you love roses, add it to your list of must see places.  This hybrid tea rose, "Artistry", is a gorgeous color.  A deep, rich coral, it screams for attention.

"Artistry"      © Kathy Dunham 2011

Oriental Poppy

Tuesday, February 15, 2011
One of the most dramatic poppies, the oriental or Papaver orientale, is native to southwest Asia.  Some of its spectacular flowers are as big as peonies.  They range in shades of pink through to red with 4 inch dark centers. 

"Oriental Poppy"      © Kathy Dunham 2011


Monday, February 14, 2011
I love watching the Westminster Dog Show.  I don't know a lot about the different breeds but the spunk some of the dogs have makes it a pleasure to watch.  I rarely pick Best in Show, although I did the year the bloodhound won.  This is Harley, a pedigree Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppy.  Quite the hearding dog.  For such a shorty, you'd think he wouldn't have a chance with bigger animals but this breed does a great job.

"Harley"     © Kathy Dunham 2011

One Old Wheel

Sunday, February 13, 2011
La Haciaenda de los Martinez in Taos, New Mexico, is full of treasures from years past.  One of the earliest haciendas in the area, it is now a museum that give us an idea how the early rancheros lived.

"One Old Wheel"     © Kathy Dunham 2011

Sunset in Sedona

Friday, February 11, 2011
Known for it's red rock beauty, the area that surrounds Sedona, Arizona is spectacular anytime of day.  But at sunset, when the colors really come alive, it's awesome.

"Sunset in Sedona"     © Kathy Dunham 2011

Orange Day Lily

Thursday, February 10, 2011
It's a real shame that some flowers only last one day.  Which is why they call these "Day Lilies".  Good for a day and they are history.  They'd make a beautiful cut flower if only they lasted longer.  But they do make a great border plant in gardens.

"Orange Day Lily"     © Kathy Dunham 2011

White Chinese Magnolia

Wednesday, February 9, 2011
This is the season to start visiting the Huntington Library and Gardens in San Marino.  The beautifully landscaped grounds always have something of interest in bloom.  These Chinese Magnolias always are fascinating as they bloom while the stalks are void of leaves.  So you have a naked branch with lots of beautiful flowers. 

"White Chinese Magnolias"     © Kathy Dunham 2011

Cogulot Roses

Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Nestled in a small cemetery in the French countryside were these delicate roses peaking over the fence.  An old style rose with tinges of deep pink reminds me of crushed peppermint.  It's definitely a refreshing sight amongst the tombstones.

"Cogulot Roses"    © Kathy Dunham 2011

Chateau Biron

Monday, February 7, 2011
This was a pivotal chateau in France during the 100 year war.  Eleanore of Aquetaine was married in the small chapel on the left.  Any more history than that and you'll have to refer to the history books.

"Chateau Biron"      © Kathy Dunham 2011
Saturday, February 5, 2011
Born Feb. 3, 1894
Died Nov. 8, 1978
Norman Rockwell is known for his timeless art and illustrations of everyday life scenarios he created for The Saturday Evening Post magazine for more than fourty years. His last painting for the Post was in 1963, which marked the end of his publishing relationship with the magazine which included 322 cover paintings. He produced over 4,000 orginal works in his lifetime. He was also commissioned to illustrate over 40 books, Boy Scouts' calendars, his most popular calendars the "Four Seasons" which were published for 17 years, booklets, catalogs, posters ( particularly movie promo's ) , stamps, playing cards, murals, sheet music. This pretty much rounded out his career as an illustrator.

Our tax accountant used to send out Norman Rockwell calendars at the beginning of each year. I enjoyed looking at the pictures. The ones I enjoy most are the Christmas illustrations. I went online and found images...many of them...but didn't want to post many of them. I was lucky enough to find this video on You Tube which has some of his timeless Christmas illustrations. I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I did.

Another video from You Tube I found interesting is about a small town in Stockbridge, Mass. Rockwell used this town as a setting for his painting of an idyllic American Christmas. Each year this town pays tribute to him by recreating his painting.

I also found Norman Rockwell's Christmas Book: revised and updated [ Hardcover] on Amazon. I'm going to order this one! It features his art, eight ready to frame limited-edition prints, poems and stories from writers such as Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Hans Christian Andersen, and Lewis Carroll. It also includes Christmas Carol music & lyrics, and Christmas dinner recipes. I may order two of them, one for myself and one for a friend of mine for Christmas. I think she will enjoy it as much as I will!

I may only be posting once a month between now and October. It just depends on whether or not I have something to post about! Christmas only comes once a year and sometimes I really have to put some thought into what topic I want to post about! I think there is only so much you can say about organizing and traditions, etc. without it becoming a little dull. I certainly don't want my posts to become dull and bore you! So, I'll be thinking about some topics of interest....hopefully! :]

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Pink Poppy

Friday, February 4, 2011
I always enjoy going to France to see the poppies.  Red ones, orange ones, pink ones.  When you live in the California desert the only poppies you get to see are California Poppies.  Don't get me wrong, I love it when the fields are covered with them.  But the oriental poppy is more stately and elegant. 

"Pink Poppy"   © Kathy Dunham 2011


Thursday, February 3, 2011
I am always amazed at the intricacies of nature.  Flowers that have multiple colorations, like someone painted them that way, are the biggest mystery.  I think it's cool.  And the more vivid the colors, the wilder it gets.

"Columbine"      © Kathy Dunham 2011

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Translation......   "Happy New Year" in Chinese.  This is the year of the Rabbit and if you were born in a "rabbit" year you have many good qualities to be proud of.  Articulate, talented, ambitious, sensitive, tactful, discreet and have excellent taste.  But you must be born in one of the following years....  1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999.

"Gung Hay Fat Choy!"      © Kathy Dunham 2011

Coral Cactus

Tuesday, February 1, 2011
I always enjoy Spring in the desert.  When the flowers start to bloom the desert comes alive with color.  In some areas it's like an artist has splashed color over the countryside.

"Coral Cactus"      © Kathy Dunham 2011