A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Fun facts from the 1500's

The other day I was looking through all my papers for something and came across this piece I saved from long ago.  I thought it would make for a nice series on the blog.  I just love this sort of thing.  So here we go.

The next time you are going to take a bath or shower and complain because the water temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to be with life in the 1500's.

   Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May and were still smelling pretty good by June.  However, they were starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide body odor.
   Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water.  The man of the house had the privelege of the nice clean water, then all the sons and other men, then the women and finally the children.  Last of all the babies.  By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it, hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water."

more to come

Thursday, January 30, 2014


This gull was all alone just sitting there enjoying the view.

He seems to like it that way.

 It is fascinating to think this huge mass of rock was once part of the greater land mass which it has parted from and the connecting land between is slowly eroding away.  It too sits alone.  With that huge fissure running down the side someday it will split in two.  Now wouldn't that be an event to behold?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Painting on the Edge

I saw this artist as I was driving along the narrow winding coast road, whipped a U-turn and took a few pictures of him at work, or rather at his pleasure.

I admire artists that can get out there and do their thing in the wide open...with people pestering you, looking over your shoulder and wanting to take pictures of you. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Monday, January 27, 2014

Suds & Lather

"I love being by the ocean. It stills the voices in my head." - Chris Weitz

Rinse and repeat.

Sunday, January 26, 2014


Don't get this too often where I live.  If we do, many times I miss seeing it.

These are straight out of the camera.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Ebb Tide

"Nothing is wrong with California that a rise in ocean level wouldn't cure." - Ross MacDonald
(I couldn't resist that one)
I became fascinated by the ebb tide.  

The white foam edge along the grey sand.

Okay, I got a little bit carried away with it.

Fortunately the tide didn't carry me away.

Friday, January 24, 2014

By the Sea

"You can never turn your back on the ocean." - Rip Torn

Rocks always look neat when wet by the ocean.

I brought a couple pretty ones home to my wife.  They weren't so pretty dried out.

A minute long video with a surprise ending.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Good Enough to Eat

"Health to the ocean means health to us." - Sylvia Earle

Not so sure about that quote these days.  I've been reading where marked increases of radioactivity have been showing up in all forms of sea life here on the west coast due to the Fukushima disaster. Radioactivity or not, I don't think I'd eat kelp although many people do.

On a side note, on the drive out to the coast I was on a two-lane road passing through some redwoods. Up ahead was something on the center line and as I got nearer, it moved right into my lane.  A screwy squirrel.  As squirrels always do, he stops, decides to go back the other way, changes his mind, turns back and bumpty-bump - right over him.  I looked in my rear view mirror expecting to see a long furry tail twitching but no, he scampers off to the side of the road.  "He made it!"  I think just the plastic up front under the car's engine is all that hit him.  Probably rolled him over and he'll be a bit sore for a day or two. I wonder if squirrels can learn from close encounters like that.  Probably not.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


"How inappropriate to call call this planet Earth when it it quite clearly Ocean." - Arthur C. Clarke

I took my camera for a drive out to the coast yesterday.  We returned home with a few pictures.  
Now you won't have to look at mushrooms and fungi for awhile.

The weather out there was ideal.  No wind and a comfortable temperature.  I wore a flannel shirt and that is unheard of for me in the month of January.

 Only thing was that it was high tide and I was unable to get to the tide pools or any driftwood and had to be constantly aware of getting drenched unexpectedly.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

It's All Mine

This is linked to Stewart's Wild Bird Wednesday
James's Weekend Reflection

Getting Along With One and the Other

"Everything in nature invites us constantly to be what we are." - Gretel Ehrlich

Unfortunately mankind has never followed this thought and will continue to quarrel to the very end.
The role of predator and prey aside, I am always gladden to see different species in nature coexisting together peaceably.  Too bad we cannot.

Monday, January 20, 2014

A Tree

"Except during the nine months before he draws his first breath, no man manages his affairs as well as a tree does." - George Bernard Shaw

Just a lone eucalyptus tree.  
Nothing special about it except for those who call it home, then it is pretty special.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

New Year Resolution Kept

Part of making this resolution public on the blog was by doing so forced me to a commitment.  "Well now I have to do this".  So I got right to it.  Initially I thought it would be fun and challenging to create something digitally on the iPad through a couple of sketching and drawing apps I installed.  I sent away for a special pen designed for this sort of thing and sat down trying to learn this new form of art.  Well after several days and numerous attempts I just wasn't "feeling it".  I came to the realization that there was no substitute for the feel of putting a pen point to paper.  There is a lot more precision and control to be had the old fashion way.  I'll not give up on iPad art but for now I'll stick to what I know.

Long ago I did a portrait of a dog we had.  It was a really nice piece if I do say so myself and unfortunately I have lost it.  I don't know where it is.  At any rate, I decided to do a portrait of my little buddy.  Once I got started on the drawing, it felt good.  It was a nice feeling to be once again doing pen and ink after way too long having not done any.  I held myself to no more an hour a day working on it. After a few days I realized I should have selected an easier subject to start on being as rusty as I am having lost some of the skill and technique I once had.  Nothing is better for improvement than practice. And too, trying to get a cat to sit still for an hour is a challenge in itself.  Try it some time. (Just kidding. I had a picture to work from.)  Anyway, I reached a point where dissatisfaction started to creep in and when that happens it is best to stop and move on, and so I did.  But it was a good exercise in getting the juices flowing once again and in that I am quite pleased.  I am working on another piece now and later on I'll do another one of Sinbad, a much better one for he deserves it.  Trust me, I'll not misplace it.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

iPhone Playtime in the Forest

Straight out of the phone.

Other than this, I didn't see anything for the two hours of walking through the woods.  Conditions are very dry and not looking good at all.  And the drought continues on.

Friday, January 17, 2014


More reflection photos at Weekend Reflection

Stacked Living Spaces

"To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment." - Jane Austin

When I see fungi growing in this fashion I think of present day condominiums or ancient cliff dwellings.  

Moving in closer my thoughts change to entire communities or cities of a sci-fi world.

Then again, maybe I've inhaled too many mushroom and fungi spores and it's affecting my imagination.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Wild Vine Leaves

"We do not see nature with our eyes, but with our understandings and our heart." - William Hazlett