May Day

Beltane is the second principal Celtic festival (the other being Samhain). Celebrated approximately halfway between Vernal (spring) equinox and the midsummer (Summer Solstice). Beltane traditionally marked the arrival if summer in ancient times.

At Beltane the Pleiades star cluster rises just before sunrise on the morning horizon, whereas winter (Samhain) begins when the Pleiades rises at sunset. The Pleiades is a cluster of seven closely placed stars, the seven sisters, in the constellation of Taurus, near his shoulder. When looking for the Pleiades with the naked eye, remember it looks like a tiny dipper-shaped pattern of six moderately bright stars (the seventh can be seen on very dark nights) in the constellation of Taurus. It stands very low in the east-northeast sky for just a few minutes before sunrise.

Beltane, and its counterpart Samhain, divide the year into its two primary seasons, winter (Dark Part) and summer (Light Part). As Samhain is about honoring Death, Beltane, its counter part, is about honoring Life. It is the time when the sun is fully released from his bondage of winter and able to rule over summer and life once again. (from

The beginning of May was a very popular feast time for the Romans. It was devoted primarily to the worship of Flora, the goddess of flowers. It was in her honor a five day celebration, called the Floralia, was held. The five day festival would start from April 28 and end on May 2. The Romans brought in the rituals of the Floralia festival in the British Isles. And gradually the rituals of the Floralia were added to those of the Beltane. And many of today’s customs on the May Day bear a stark similarity with those combined traditions. (from

Here are the flowers for Flora. Sorry, not up to a photograph of the Pleiades (if I could even do that). I am a prisoner in my own cottage, playing nursemaid to my dog.


Rabbit Hole

Life on the Edge … We all spend time here, wondering if our balance will leave us … falling … into the rabbit hole. That is where I am, at the moment – balanced at the edge of the rabbit hole.

My water system collapsed. Not totally, as I had 600 gallons stored, so just rationing at the moment while we work to get it back up and running. Will take a week or two. Not a good thing at the beginning of fire season.

My dog was missing for 4 days, and returned in bad shape as you all know.

I leave for Morocco in one week on a trip that has been planned for a year.

I am behind in my work. This isn’t new, but with leaving, it is just a tad more added stress.

Oh, and the swine flu pandemic. Is this really a good time to be traveling? 

How deep is this rabbit hole, anyway?

The swine flu is on everybody’s mind. Big Sur is susceptible, as we have visitors from all over the world. It is the beginning of the tourist season. Monterey County has designated the Big Sur Health Clinic as a “sentinel” site. Which means close monitoring, although it has neither of the two treatment medicines available.

The WHO (World Health Organization) has just upgraded the level of the swine flu (H1N1 – wtf is this? We can’t call it swine flu anymore?) to one level below a full blown pandemic. A little boy in TX (visiting from Mexico) died yesterday. This is the first death in the US. My friend has been on a cruise from Florida through the Panama Canal. They stopped in Mexico, although canceled the Cabo stop due to the flu. I would imagine when it docks in San Diego tomorrow, the passengers will be checked for flu symptoms. My concern is for those people who serve the motoring public here, and have contact with literally hundreds of people a day.

As for me, my advice is: Wash your hands, often and  keep your hands away from your face.  If you can, join me in dancing around this rabbit hole we call life, and have fun … and encourage others  to do the same. What else can we do?

Bedfellows (Dakota)

Dakota came home today, after two surgeries for being hit by a car. She has two drains, and stitches from a few inches from her spine, all the way down and around to an inch from her vagina — hundreds of stitches. She gets pain meds and antibiotics. The vet says she cannot jump, and needs to be on bed rest for 2 weeks. No excitement, no running, no fun for the puppy. Just quiet, peaceful bed rest. I have 3 other dogs. And a job. How is that possible?

The no running and bed rest are pretty doable. I’m lucky enough to work at home. I’ve been worried about how to keep her from jumping, though. Her place is in bed with me. She has to jump to get on the bed. What to do? I bought her a special bed. A $50 bed, to place on the floor next to mine. She loved it in the car. But would she prefer it over sleeping with me? Somehow, I doubt it. I think she will try to jump, which could open everything up again, requiring a THIRD surgery. Plus there is the excitement of 3 other dogs. No way.

So, I moved a mattress into my cottage — on the floor. No jumping for her, and no other dogs to worry about. Just Dakota and me, spending the night (probably many nights) on the floor in the cottage. It’s like camping out, sorta. I have heat, a chamber pot, some water in a jug. A kind of odd camping out, as I have electricity, internet, and DVD to watch tonight, some champagne to celebrate the return of the love of my life, and we are happy campers. Ten days of this? I’ll do what I have to do.

I have tried to primarily report on conditions in Big Sur, either fire, flood, or wildflowers. I have tried to keep from making it “personal.” I was a private person. But Dakota’s accident changed all that, and I find myself making this blog personal. Once she is well, I hope to get back to the regularly scheduled programming my readers have come to expect. I hope you will bear with me until then. I hope. 

Oh, and on my regularly scheduled programming? There was to be a  new post on the Cal-Trans project page, but the announcement won’t open. However, there is to be rockfall drapery replacement on Rain Rocks, which will cause delays. Until I can get the details (days, hours, etc.) that is all I have. But I do understand. The darn things are FULL!!

Dakota, 4/27/09

Dakota had her second surgery today.  Today’s surgery was to remove the dead tissue, and not nearly as long and difficult as the first one. She gets to come home tomorrow, but has to be on bed rest for a couple weeks, and she might have to have a third surgery, depending on how this one heals. Keep us in your thoughts just a little bit longer. Thanks. 

Also, see Cal-Trans page for project update.

Big Sur International Marathon

The leaders may have already made the finish line, and the road should be almost back to normal by around noon. CONGRATULATIONS to ALL the runners! For any additional information, see the link under non-profits.

My son ran a couple years ago, and is running again next year.

Two South Coast Incidences today, 4/25/09

There were two fire-related incidences reported today. One was a possible wildfire in the Nacimiento area. One was an abandoned campfire on Plaskett Ridge. The USFS-KC sent a very nice young lady named Tammy over to check on both.

The Nacimiento report was a false alarm. It was a burn pile, near a residence being closely monitored by the owner. The second, which the ex reported to me, and I passed along to the USFS, was not “originally” abandoned, as the ex had seen people there, but after he left, it WAS abandoned, and when the USFS got there, it was still hot, and Tammy made sure it was good and out. 

Thank you, USFS!!

Also, Tammy informed me that the current plan is to open the  forest on May 1, 2009. I did not think to ask if that was the entire forest, or just the portion down here. (Gotta get better at that!) She did say that it should help to take the strain off of this unburned (since 2000) area. That should be good news for the VWA folks.

Fire at Salmon Creek, 4/24/09

Noon – nothing more, so I can only assume no news is good news. I will continue to monitor, but given the cool, foggy conditions, I think it is a good bet that this little fire is either out, or on its way to being out. 

8:20 am – No details, yet. Heard on scanner. I will post more information as it becomes available .

From chp website:

7:57AM 1039 27-S1
8:16AM CHP Unit Assigned

This posted on Wildland Fire, hotlist:

From the Salinas Californian wire 50-yard brush fire reported in Big Sur
April 24, 2009 
The California Highway Patrol reports that a brush fire has broken out near the ranger station at Highway 1 and Salmon Creek Arch Culvert in Big Sur.
As of 7:54 a.m., the fire was reported as 50 yards by 50 yards in size. 
Fire fighting teams are responding.

Considering the cold, damp conditions, I don’t expect this one to be a problem. But, like Capt. Mike says, it means the ground is ready. *sigh*

Redbud & Blue

Redbud & Blue, originally uploaded by wind_dancer.

In honor of Earth Day, as I was a little preoccupied yesterday.

I planted this amazing redbud in the corner of my garden. I babied it for years, as they usually like more water. But, over the years, it has gradually become very drought tolerant.

Here, it is pictured in its between time, when it still has the buds, but is beginning to leaf out.