Saturday, February 28, 2009

Don't Blink

022809: Two months of 2009...gone...poof! My first thought when typing the date here.

I awoke just before sunrise. David was already up and at 'em somewhere in the garages below. The house was chilly so I turned on the heater and ran back to bed to wait for the warmth. I turned on the TV and found myself watching Hugh Jackman on "Inside the Actor's Studio." Soon he was giving a brief performance from the stage play "Oklahoma!", singing "Oh What a Beautiful Morning." Do you know the words?

Just then the sun began to rise and the white wooden blinds on our bedroom window began to glow orange, brighter and brighter. I laughed outloud at the coincidence of hearing that song and seeing the sunrise together. Experience had taught me that if I wanted to catch a photo I had better hurry. The light changes with every passing moment.

I RAN into my closet, threw my comfy sweats on (I considered running out in my pj's, but the chill in the house nixed that thought.) I quickly stepped through the house, trying not to make a racket so David wouldn't think an earthquake was occurring as the dogs trotted along with me. Outside on our patio I turned on my camera, breathed in the beautiful morning and captured the Daily Topaz.

And I've still got that song stuck in my head.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Fringe Benefits

022709: Self-employment is not for sissies. Overall it has to be good enough to put up with the sacrifices you make to be your own boss, and believe me there can be many sacrifices. Sometimes, when I'm feeling overwhelmed with the pressures of owning a business, I remind myself that my work clothes are a t-shirt, shorts and tennis shoes and my true "office" is the great outdoors here at Topaz Lake. If that doesn't fully snap me out of it, I'll remember my former career where I often didn't see the light of day because of the hours I worked, and I was seemingly stuck in endless meetings pushing paper. That will usually do the trick and turn my attitude around.

We were out in the Park this morning doing more clean-up and I couldn't help but notice the beautiful warm day. Only a few fisherman, that I could see, were out in their boats. When I saw them all converging towards each other, I thought of my former career and where I would be right now on a Friday at 11:00 am if I had stayed there? Yep, you guessed it: in a meeting.
I rather like being self-employed.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

If Only

022609: The day started windy, ended windy, and oh - it was windy in between. It's a bit of a challenge to control leaves in the fickle direction of the wind. So, not wanting to waste the day, David decided to jump on Little Blue and groom the hayfield instead. I like this photo with the snow covered Sweet Water Mountain Range in the distance.

The water's edge is now only about 40 feet from hayfield's edge, which is last season's high water mark. The lake level is rising right now, and we couldn't be happier!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

So Little Time

022509: We don't have any customers yet for the 2009 season, but we are still very busy! It's just a few short weeks from opening day and right now it's all about preperation for you, our customers.

At the end of a long day cleaning the Park, I am left with very little daylight time left to catch a few photos of the diminishing day. More wind, today, despite weather forecasts to the contrary.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


022409: The sunset last evening was unreal. The last of the rain clouds hung over the lake while the setting sun pinked the Eastern sky. What was especially pretty was the baby blue clouds in the far Eastern horizon. Quite pretty, and uncommon.

Today was all about further clean up in the Park. I took some pictures of the "before", and I will post the after pictures when the "after" has occurred. The leaves and twigs collect all winter long, and in a matter of a few solid weeks of work, we remove them from their winter resting place. Alot of work but quite satisfying work.

Monday, February 23, 2009

It's a Pants Day

022309: The day started cloudy and raining. Raining very hard at times actually. It cleared by midday - we even enjoyed a sun shower. Those are always amazing. The wind blew in the rest of the day.
We never mind the wind in the winter. Especially if it's a West wind - all the leaves blow out of the Park!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Full Life

022209: It was nearly 50 years ago that our little Park opened and over the years it developed into the vacation haven it is today.

Not long before then, my parents were married. Today, they celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary.

I mention both Topaz and my parents, here, not just because of the commonality of "50", but because both are an integral part of my life and what it is today.

Picture: "Topaz Trailer Park" circa 1963.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Addicted to a Good Thing

022109: In the early morning I often will choose to sit at our diningroom table and do my office work. I can't beat the view out my window. But the sun reflects off the lake so I pull my blinds up only partially so I'm not blinded by the light.

This, however, is some kind of cue to our cat, Mickey, who is a addicted to anything warm. Whether it be a lap, furnace vent or the warm morning sunshine reflecting off the lake, he will seek out warmth. And he doesn't care that he lays all over my paperwork!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Flying with Ease

022009: Gorgeous day today! Warm enough to work outside in t-shirts while cleaning up the bazillion leaves in our Park.

As the fishermen puttered around the lake today I couldn't help but notice this particular boat and its' two fishermen. At first I see the boat and the fishermen. At second glance, looking outside the box, they quite looked like an oddly shaped flying shark or something like that...

Thursday, February 19, 2009


021909: The winter months are all about quiet times, sleep, renewal, respite, long showers and being people-less, and a lot about nature! What? Did you think I was talking about just me? The Park goes through the same cycles as we do.

When I started on this quest, this goal of mine, I didn't think about the cycle of the seasons and possibly your perspective of the seemingly unending nature photos at the start of the year. I did think literally about the 365 daily photos and stories. I knew I would be willing and wanting to take my quest a day at a time and enjoy the moment.

No worries, though, as soon we will be open for the 2009 season and the Park will wake up, warm up and "re-people". The photos will vary in the seasons to come and by the end of the year will we be back to the start again...more nature photos.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dog Day Afternoon

021809: It was a beautiful day today. The temperature in the 40's but warm with no wind. A perfect mirror on the lake stayed nearly all day until a mild late afternoon breeze. It was a good day to run the dogs outside.

The Park was a bit mucky, consistency of wet cement. Colt, Gunner & I went for a long run in the Park. Well, they ran, I walked! I put Gunner's running shoes on to protect his sensitive feet. He doesn't like his shoes, but he tolerates them because he loves running and playing tug-o-war with his brother more.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

They Dodged a Bullet

021709: We didn't have snow fall overnight here at the lake, but apparently quite a bit has fallen in the hills (West side of Sierra Nevadas) over the last several storms. These storms have brought our water content in the snow pack to very near what it was last year.

This afternoon we were working when suddenly we saw the eagles diving and dodging above us, followed by a screech of a Red Tailed Hawk. That little bugger was chasing those eagles!

All the birds of prey were on the hunt all day long. Earlier in the day I was on the phone and walked by our patio window. Just then I saw the coots gather into a tight group about 15 ft off the shoreline and I knew a large bird was nearby. I grabbed my camera & stepped outside just in time to see the eagles fly by high overhead. In the photo: (L - R): 2 ducks, about 10 coots, & 2 eared grebes (first siting since they left last fall...)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Mike, Chris & Brandon - Whatup?

021609: Our three local weathermen on TV kept me waiting all day long for this significant storm forecasted. Didn't happen!

Around 1 pm we had a short tease of snow, but it quickly passed and all evidence melted.

It's snowing up in the hills (we call the Sierra Nevadas "hills") but not down here in the valley. Hwy 395 had chain controls 17 miles down the road, but our road were super clear here. There are actually avalanche warnings which I have never seen before, but no snow here.

The "Winter Storm Warning" is in effect until Tuesday 4 am PST. We'll just see how big this storm is when I wake up tomorrow.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Music: Everybody's Talkin' by Harry Nilsson

I'm running low on my creative juices these days. So after seeing and photographing this morning's sunrise I knew which one (of the seven photos that I took) I wanted to post. But it truly was all so pretty, I thought I would try to load it into a short video. This pumped up my creativeness a little and you get to see the sunrise in action. My mom calls that a twofer! Oh, and what you see is what you get...I didn't crop or straighten these pictures - just downloaded them directly into my video program.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Heart Day

021409: Happy Valentine's Day everyone! It's near the end of the day now and we hope you spent this day with the ones you loved.

The morning started with a thin layer of cloud in the East. Experience had taught me that the sunrise would be glowing and I wasn't disappointed. No pink for Valentine's Day, but the yellow/orange was beautiful. And it was cold outside!

Friday, February 13, 2009

It's a Carnival Ride

021309: Trust me - just because we live in a town of population 100, doesn't mean our lives aren't busy. We just have less people around us.

I've been up and at 'em since before 5 am. That is not a typo. And about 10 minutes ago I almost went to bed before I remembered I had to post The Daily Topaz.

Fortunately, I took a few photos late this afternoon. It was actually a weird weather day today. Clouds, snow, sun, clouds, no clouds. And this afternoon the last remnants of clouds reminded me of pink cotton candy.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Mucky Dogs

021209: It was a sunny day today and with impending weather on the horizon I decided to get some fresh air today. Despite the semi-muck of the Park I took the dogs for a walk (run, tug-of-war, whatever....) and we ended up on the top row.

I managed to make them stay in place long enough to get a few photos of them. They ran around for awhile longer then back to the house....where I spent the next 15 minutes wiping the muck off the dogs. Ugh. But overall I would rather wipe mucky dogs than walk stupid ducks.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Stupid Duck Story

021109: I was out feeding the ducks today. Looks like I was standing out in the water, doesn't it? Not today. I was standing at the edge of the water on the natural curve of the shoreline.

Though three winters ago I did wade out into the frozen lake to save our stupid ducks from the ice surrounding them and closing them in about a 1/4 mile down from our Park. You would think they would fly away. But NOooooo., they are just stupid ducks. So David & I hatched a plan to save those stupid ducks from becoming sitting ducks for the eagles. (Sorry, but it happens.) It made perfect sense that I went into the water (with leaky waders) and David stayed on the shoreline with our kayak paddles to herd the ducks into a dog kennel we brought along. I succeeded in getting them out of the water, but they would have nothing to do with the dog kennel so we walked our ducks home. I'm sure we were a sight to see: Two people with kayak paddles, one in waders, walking two ducks down the shoreline. They were quite happy to rejoin all of the smart birds who had taken refuge in the open water we had provided in front of our Park.

Stupid ducks.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

High Five

021009: What? Have you had too many eagle photos lately? If so, let me give you a little forewarning: You haven't seen the last of them! If I'm lucky enough, I will photograph them as often as I can.

Why? Imagine this, if you have to: If you live in an area where eagles do not live, then you cannot imagine the beauty of these birds. Whether they are hunting, scouting or soaring the midday sky. They are captivating birds. They must be photographed!

Two years ago I was lucky (beyond lucky) to photograph an eagle sitting in a tree in our Park. She let me walk up to her and under her before she flew away. She was maybe 40 feet above me. I can appreciate now how special that moment was, because in the two years since every eagle I see keeps a safe distance.

Yesterday's photo was about scenes during the 5 o'clock hour. Today's "five" refers the feathers on the tip of her left wing.

Monday, February 9, 2009

In the Hour of Five

020909am: I woke pre dawn, pre-light. WHHHYYY? My question was answered as dawn arrived. Pre-coffee, I stepped out and truely saw a light and color show I hadn't experienced before. Sorry to say that the photo didn't capture the colors. Snow had fallen overnight, which always brightens the early morning light. The snow was reflecting the colors of the sky, but the lake was silvery steel blue - and entirely different blue than the sky and snow. It was mesmerizing, and very cold!

020909pm: Later today as the sun was setting, I noticed the last of the day's light resting on the Sweetwater Mountain range to the Southeast.

It was quiet, the lake was calm, and still very cold outside! And the scene was pretty. If only cameras had peripheral vision like we see. Sorry to say that a wide angle lens is not the same as peripheral vision. Use your imagination as the entire sky, lake and hills were the same colors as far as I could see to the North, too.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Now Showing....

020809: The clouds and wind were all over the place today. A promise of more wet weather is on the horizon. I snapped alot of photos of the changing scene. The wind chill was so cold today, I was actually taking photos from inside my house at times. For those of you who do not live up in the Sierra Nevada Mtns or Nevada, a common saying is: "If you don't like the weather just wait 5 minutes."

Near the end of the day, as the sun began to set, I caught this photo. The clouds had darkened the sky and lake, but left just a strip of light on the East shore and on our shore. The shiny birds on our shoreline actually caught my eye. The Daily Topaz was chosen.

P.S. While taking this and other photos, a red-tailed swooped down about 25 feet in front of me. That little bugger scared the heck out of me!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The All Nature Channel

020709: It was nice to awake to snow falling this morning. It continued to snow lightly from before dawn to about 10 am. I knew after yesterday's rainy/slushy day, and the dropping temperatures last night, it would mean we would have some white landscape today. I wasn't disappointed.

The day started cold and white with a dash of wind. The day warmed up turning the new white groundcover to muck. Let me rephrase that: M.U.C.K. But hey, it's water and I'll take it! The day is ending now cold, white, brown and no wind.

More wet weather expected Monday. Oh, and our eagles were out hunting on our shoreline again.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Two Coot to Go, Please

020609: From the moment I awoke this morning I started taking photos. It was snowing a bit at first light and made for some quiet scenes, but by the end of the day the photos of the eagles won me over.

We had to run into town and when we returned at 5 pm the eagles were visiting on our shoreline. Actually they were hunting the coots, probably scouting as it turns out because they just stood at the shoreline watching the coots. There were two adult eagles. I caught this photo of one eagle on a quick exit. Rather than hunt their dinner they probably ordered out.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Care to go Sailing?

020509: Finally! A windy day! Why all the excitement? Usually wind is an indication that low pressure system is coming in or going out of the area (and by "area" I mean the Western United States!) This is the 1st wind we have had in weeks, and with it comes the promise of wet weather.

I love winters as it represents a period of renewal on so many levels. And on the weather level, we welcome the rain and snow to literally renew the lake level!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Antelope Valley

020409: I had to go to town today (20 miles), so I brought my camera with me. I stopped at the top of the hill on the way back and took several photos of the lake. Really wide angle photos! And the mirrored effect on the lake actually makes it look even smaller.

Topaz Lake has been a part of my life for over 40 years and whether I'm traveling from the North or the South, each time the lake comes into view the beauty of it makes me smile. It's a peaceful and relaxing place to live.

We are expecting rain/snow this weekend. Maybe I will be able to get some photos of the valley covered in snow?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

"Cat on a...."

020309: The Daily Topaz is all about the everyday life we live at Topaz Lake RV Park. Meet our little cat, Ollie. He is a part of our life here.

He came to us years ago as a visitor and one day he stayed. Immediately we found out he was one sick little cat. He had a condition called hemobartonella (not contagious) and after months of care and medicine he recovered. Unfortunately he was left with chronic emphysema, but that does not stop this little guy from being a typical cat.

He lives to be outside cruising around the house and garages. Ollie is a spunky, funny, curious cat and clearly he is not daunted by a "....tall aluminum ladder."

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Cherry on Top

020209: I love the kind of sunrises that are half in the dark and the other in the light. Often we are blessed with the glow of sun lighting the whole sky. But these kind of sunrises are the kind that stop me in my tracks to run, get my camera and capture the moment before the colors change.

Every sunrise is like ice cream. Every once in a while we get one with, well, you know....

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Great Day, Super Game.

020109: The day began with a promise of a gorgeous day on the lake, and we were not disappointed. Many fisherman enjoyed the warm weather to perfect their angling. We puttered around the house doing chores and cleaning, commenting how we couldn't believe it was February already. It was a relaxing Sunday...

That is until the Super Bowl game. Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest, but you wouldn't know that by all the hootin' & hollerin' going on in our house. We all agreed that the game was actually a super Super Bowl. The best we had seen in years. We rooted for the underdog, and they nearly won. Hats off to the "overdog." Good game. Super game, I mean.