The weekend was all about being outdoors, being environmentally friendly, and finding photo inspiration in our surroundings. Saturday morning we took the dogs on a pre-breakfast loop around our neighborhood - down the street, through the open space we call Joshua Tree, and up the connecting street back to our house. The dogs enjoy this particular path best because we usually let them off leash when we get to Joshua Tree, where they are free to roam and graze.
Lately the wildflowers have started to bloom so the hillsides are enveloped in color - yellow, white, purple, orange - it's so pretty. For me the flowers are an indication of the health of the land; that even with the drought that California is going through those flowers are still able to bloom and attract the buzzing, floating pollinators which will, in turn, fertilize our fruits and vegetables. It's beautiful symbiosis and it makes me happy.
Then, to add to my happiness, there's the post-walk breakfast and coffee to consume languidly on the patio. Just me, Chris, and the dogs, surrounded by the chirping of many birds and the ocean breeze slowly pushing the morning cloud cover away.
It was during this slow coffee sipping that I noticed a large white bird hovering over our neighborhood, hunting for prey. After doing a little research I think it was either a Black Winged Kite or a White Tailed Kite but I'm no ornithologist, just a girl on Wikipedia.
What I do know is that while watching this bird-of-prey hover high above me I witnessed two crows try and take it down, which, although I never want anything to get hurt, made my odd admiration for crows grow because I believe that cooperation is a sign of animal intelligence and the more I notice about crows the more intellectually advanced they seem to me.
Plus, did you know that the name for a group of crows is a murder, a freaking murder of crows? Crows are awesome; even their collective noun name is badass (although real murder is not, of course).
Okay now, where was I before I geeked out over birds again...Oh yes, spending the weekend greening our home. We're making a big effort to reduce, reuse, and recycle here at Casa Franich: we've begun collecting the water from the shower that usually just goes down the drain while we wait for it to heat up, about three gallons a day, and adding it to a large tub we use for watering around our home; we installed solar panels to power our house; we've added drought resistant plants to our yard along with a garden and some fruit trees, plants that can sustain us.
We also began adding cinder blocks as steps to our backyard's sloping hillside (the part of our property that my dad calls the "lower 48"), which we are hiring someone to terrace for us in order to be able to use the space for planting more fruit trees.
Chris had the great idea of reusing some other older cinder blocks that the former owners had left behind and making a succulent wall with them since they weren't ideal to be part of the hillside steps because of their different sizes.
Then we planted lavender where the old cinder blocks had been dumped and added small pebbles that the former owners had also left behind around it and one of the garden beds, which makes the entire area look much cleaner and neater now. Loyal Bear hung out with us and watched approvingly while her royal highness Kaya napped on our bed upstairs.
It was a wonderful, productive weekend. And even though it may look like Chris did all the work while I took photos I swear I helped, too! Have a great remainder of the week and go green something, it'll make you feel good.