Cartas- Letters from Home

Animals and Birds Feed

Roy Rogers and Trigger in The Golden Stallion

Many happy childhood hours were spent watching Roy, Trigger, and that sassy Queen of the Range - my idol - Dale the hills and valleys of Santa Barbara County, streams and mountains and dark oaks still gather old stories and mysteries and haunting songs in their shadows. 

One of my favorite movies of that era was the Golden Stallion. The short movie features Roy, as handsome and humble as ever, who, with his good looks and charm could have any cowgirl in the world.

But he would have none but Dale. And Dale knew how to ride herd on her cowboy like a good cowgirl should.

This story showcases the smartest horse in the movies: Trigger. He, like Roy, is especially handsome, smart, and savvy with the ladies. He is able to calm a rowdy herd of wild horses with just a toss of his mane....

"Why, he's gonna get along all right with that little filly!"

Just like you, Roy. Just like you.

This movie has everything - adventure, mystery, romance, the beauty of the Wild West, and even a few cowboy songs with The Riders of the Purple Sage. 

Roy Rogers encouraged us all to be honest, and true, to be good friends, and citizens, to feed the animals first, and always honor our ma and pa. 

Sit back and enjoy a glimpse at a bygone era. Enjoy the camaraderie, the roping, the riding, the intrigue, and yes, the romance. And while you may be tempted to ride your palomino across the fields at warp speed, remember: 

 “Be brave, but never take chances.” – Roy Rogers Riders Club Rules



 For more cowboy inspiration, here's a great blog entitled, Drifting Cowboy....

Western Mockingbird -

Mockingbird 1 - Condor Magazine 1922

WESTERN MOCKINGBIRD:  Mimus polyglottos leucopterus

  • Family: The Wrens, Thrashers, etc .
  • Length: 9.00" - 11.00"
  • Adults: Upper parts, plain gray; wings and tail, blackish; wings with white patch at base of primaries; wing bars, white tipped; wing quills and tertials with whitish edgings; under parts, white tinged with grayish  - more brownish in autumn.
  • Young:  Upper parts more brownish black,  indistinctly streaked, or spotted with darker breast, spotted with dusky.
  • Geographical Distribution: United States (rare north of latitude 38) from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific coast and in Lower California.
  •  California Breeding Range:  Chiefly in the San Diegan district but also throughout the lower Sonoran zone to San Joaquin Valley.
  • Breeding Season: April, May, and June
  • Nest: Of small twigs and weeds lined with finer material, and sometimes horsehair and cotton; placed from 6 inches to 50 feet high in thick bushes, hedges, vines, and trees.
  • Eggs: 4 or 5 pale bluish or greenish, spotted with reddish brown.
  • Size: 0.94 X 0.71

The Western Mockingbird is to Southern California what the American robin is to the Eastern States - the friendly dweller near the homes of men.  From the fruit trees in the orchard, from the shrubs on the lawn, from the tops of the house chimneys, he pours such a flood of delirious music that the woods and the streams stand silent to listen.

No bird has been oftener written about. It would be difficult to say anything original concerning him, but Mrs Bailey's inimitable description is worth quoting;

 The Mocker almost sings with his wings. He has a pretty trick of lifting them as his song waxes, a gesture that not only serves to show off the white wing patches, but gives a charming touch of vivacity, an airy, almost sublimated fervor to his love song. His fine frenzies often carry him quite off his feet. From his chimney-top perch, he tosses himself up in the air, and dances and pirouettes as he sings, till he drops back, it would seem, from sheer lack of breath. He sings all day and often, if we would believe his audiences ,he sings down the chimney all night, and when camping in Mockerland, in the full of the moon, you can almost credit the contention. A Mocker in one tree pipes up and that wakes his brother Mockers in other trees, and when they have all done their parts, every other sleepy little songster in the neighborhood - be he sparrow or wren - rouses enough to give a line of his song.

His nest, placed often in the hedgerows bordering the lawn, is presided over by his more quiet mate who broods for fourteen days on the mottled blue eggs. There is no need to peek into the nest to ascertain whether those eggs have hatched, for his fussiness proclaims the event to all who care to know.  And now come busy days 


Mockingbird 2 - Condor Magazine 1922
Both male and female Mockers flit through the green like silent shadow,s hunting insects under the leaves, earthworms on the ground, or berries in the garden. These are all swallowed first and delivered to the infant Mockers by regurgitation for the first few days, or until the babies' eyes open. After that, the number of earthworms, butterflies, etc, devoured by those nestlings rivals the story of the young robins who, in twelve hours, ate forty per cent more than their own weight.

 There seems to be no limit to their appetite, and scarcely any to their capacity. Even after they leave the nest and are nearly as large as the adults, they follow the overworked father about, begging with quivering wings.  They are remarkably handsome youngsters with their soft brownish coats and spotted breasts, well deserving the care and pride their fond parents bestow upon them.

~Irene Grosvenor Wheelock,  Birds of California, 1903

Ravens and Crows



In Norse mythology, Odin,  the greatest of all the gods the raven's God had for his chief advisers two ravens,  Hugin and Munin - Mind and Memory - who were sent out by him each morning on newsgathering journeys, and who returned to him at nightfall to perch on his shoulders and whisper into his ears intelligence of the day.

When news of unusual importance was desired,  Odin himself, in raven guise, went forth to seek it - and when the Norse armies went into battle, they followed the raven standard,  a banner under which William the Conqueror fought.   When bellied by the breezes it betokened success, but when it hung limp, only defeat was expected.

Norse navigators took with them a pair of ravens to be liberated and followed as guides - if the bird returned, it was known that land did not lie in that direction; if they did not, they were followed.  The discoveries of both Iceland and Greenland are attributed to their leadership.  

To the Romans and Greeks, the raven was the chief bird of omen, whose effigy was borne on their banners and whose auguries were followed with greatest confidence, while to the German mind he was his satanic majesty made manifest in feathers.  In some parts of Germany, these birds are believed to hold the souls of the damned, while in other European sections priests only are believed to be so reincarnated.

In Sweden, the ravens croaking at night in the swamps are said to be the ghosts of murdered persons who have been denied Christian burial, and whom on this account, Charon has refused ferriage across the River Styx. As a companion of saints, this bird has had too many experiences to mention.

Raven from Nature Neighbors - Audubon Magazine 1914


By some nations, he was regarded as the bearer of propitious news from the gods and sacrosanct  - to others he was the precursor of evil and an object of dread.

With divining power which enabled him for ages to tell the farmer of coming rain, the maiden of the coming of her lover, and the invalid of the coming of death, he was received with joy or sadness according to the messages he bore.

In England, he was looked upon with greater favor; there, the mere presence of the home of a raven in a tree top was enough to insure the continuance in power of the family owning the estate.  The wealth of raven literature bears indubitable testimony to the interest people of all times and all localities have felt in this remarkable bird, an interest certain to increase with acquaintance.

To one with mind open to rural charm, this picturesque bird solemnly stalking about the fields or majestically flapping his way to the treetops is as much a part of the landscape as the fields themselves, or the trees upon their borders; it possesses an interest different from that of any other creature of the feathered race. 

Raven Eggs from Museum of Comparative Oology 1922

Though he no longer pursues the craft of the augur, his superior intelligence, great dignity and general air of mystery inspire confidence in his abilities in that line. What powers were his in the old days!

Foolish maidens and ignorant sailors might put their faith in the divining powers of the flighty wren, others might consult the swallow and the kingfisher, but it was to the many wintered crow that kings and the great ones of earth applied for advice, and it was he who never failed them.  

Crow from Nature Neighbors - Audubon Magazine 1914

According to Pliny, he was the only bird capable of realizing the meaning of his portents.

In the early morning light, the worthy successors of the ancient Hugin and Munin go forth to-day, in quest of news of interest to their clan, just as those historic messengers did in the days when the mighty Norse gods awaited their return that they might act on the intelligence gathered by them during the daylight hours, and when slanting beams call forth the vesper songs of more tuneful birds, they return - followed by long lines of other crows - to their usual haunts on the borders of the marshes.

Singly, or in long lines, never in loose flocks like blackbirds, they arrive from all directions - till what must be the whole tribe is gathered together - a united family for the night's repose.   As there in the treetops, in the early evening, in convention assembled, they discuss important affairs; who can doubt that certain ones of their number are recognized as leaders, and that they have some form of government among themselves.

Crow Nest from Nature Neighbors - Audubon Magazine 1914

One after another delivers himself of a harangue, then the whole assemblage joins in noisy applause or is it disapproval. At other times, sociability seems to be the sole object of the gathering.  As one old crow, more meditative than the rest at the close of the conclave, always betakes himself to the same perch - the lonely up-thrust shaft of a lightning shattered tree on the hillside - we decide that here is old Munin, who has selected this perch as one favorable to meditation,  a place where he may ponder undisturbed over the occurrences of the day.

~ Prarie Gold, Iowa Authors and Artists, 1917