Category Archives: Photography

WE Build 2019

I think this is my sixth “Women’s Empowerment” Build (WE Build) at the non-profit where I work. It was a great event and the predicted nasty weather held off enough so that it didn’t interfere at all with what we needed to get done.

Damn – I’m tired!

Up at 03:45 to get up to Palmdale at 06:00. We’re (“we” = Homes4Families, where I’ve worked for the last 3.5 years) just starting construction on a 56 home subdivision there for low-income veterans. One of our big events, every Mother’s Day weekend, is the WE Build, where we get hundreds and hundreds of women on site to do some heavy-duty construction. Over the years we’ve done everything from framing, fencing, landscaping, pouring concrete driveways and sidewalks, base and case, painting, building concrete walls, jackhammering holes for tree planting, and so on.

This was my sixth WE Build, but the first where the weather was a potential issue. We just don’t get much rain in May out in these parts.

When the sun finally bothered to come up, it was pretty, but threatening.

The rainbow just before we started was very pretty, but also meant that there were showers in the area.

Our turnout this year was huge, which is a fantastic thing. This is our first WE Build in Palmdale since we’re just starting the project there (notice all of that flat, only recently graded dirt!) and the support we’re seeing from the community is wonderful.

My staff job for the day was to work with the women starting a block wall along the main road. I obviously don’t do this on a regular basis and learn just enough to be dangerous, but I know where to go to get answers so I’m not completely useless.

Today one of my primary jobs ended up being tying rebar together. It turns out to be a painful job since the wire is hard and stiff, sharp, and you’re often operating in semi-confined spaces such as that pillaster in the lower right. The can cause you to come home with an “interesting” array of scratches and punctures on your hands.

But that’s a fantastic wall!

Once we were finishing up cleaning and storing tools and equipment at the end of the day, the thunderstorms finally moved in. We never actually got hit with a downpour, but we could see them all around us, along with the lightning and thunder.

Finally, as always, I managed to stuff about two months’ worth of exercise into one day. I will be paying the price for that over the next few days, I’m sure.

Still, a great event for us. I’m just sooooooo sore and sooooooo tired at this point. And a little sunburnt. And a lot scabby on my hands.

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Then Came A Touch Of Rain

It didn’t take much.

Rain in SoCal in May is reasonably rare. The average is 0.31″ for the entire month.

Today’s official total at Van Nuys Airport was only 0.01″. The closest weather station to us reported 0.10″.

It wasn’t even enough to wash the layers of dirt off my car. It was only enough to make it splotchy and look worse than normal.

But the white and pink rose bush took it hard.

As it’s supposed to, I guess. The rose bush didn’t seem to mind. For all I know there are critters out there that are going to eat well over the next few days on these rose petals.

But I’ll miss them.

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Filed under Castle Willett, Flowers, Photography

Pink Roses

Some things just speak for themselves.

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No Context For You – May 08th

Assuming of course that by “you,” you aren’t Donielle.

Donielle. She knows shit.

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The Running Of The Butterflies

Something unusual has been happening around Los Angeles this year – butterflies. Clouds of them. Swarms of them.

We’re not talking “blotting out the sun” swarms, nothing apocalyptic. But for a few days last month there were days at the house on the hill where we would see what I estimated to be several hundred per minute flitting by for hours at a time. It’s been quite impressive.

They’ve been notoriously difficult to get pictures of. For the most part they’re not stopping or refueling on any of those flowers in our yard that I shared last month. They’re just bobbing and weaving in the breeze, a half dozen here, ten there, a few more over there, coming past the house and being gone downwind in just a few seconds.

Then they were gone for several weeks and I figured that was it. Until they started showing up on Thursday and Friday. Yesterday while driving back home from the hangar in Camarillo I saw the largest clouds of them I had seen yet, easily ten times the rate that I had seen last month.

This morning they were flowing past the house at a pretty good rate and I finally got some pictures. I found a corner of the house with a good view of the sky where the butterflies were coming around the house at my back and then silhouetted against the sky. I got video from my iPhone, than did some screen captures of freeze frames.

The individual images are somewhat blurry and small – they’re just a tiny crop of a full frame with a picture of a small-ish butterfly, typically five or six feet away. The video is found at the bottom.


Filed under Castle Willett, Critters, Photography, Video

Roses Are Red And Pink And White And Yellow And Orange-ish

At least, the ones growing next to our driveway are!

Damn, I’m busy – enjoy the roses that I don’t have time to stop and smell!


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Bottle Brush

What did they call “bottle brush” trees back before bottles and glass and brushes had been invented?

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Filed under Flowers, Photography