Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) Open House

My grandmother used to tell me stories of an animal sanctuary nearby that took care of retired show animals.  Well, it turns out that the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) has two locations, one in Galt and another in San Andreas, California.  I know she always wanted to visit the place but it was never open to the public during her lifetime.

A lovely soul named Pat Derby started this organization in the ’80s after she saw animals in show business being neglected, abused, or abandoned after filming.  She and her husband ultimately created a sanctuary where they have taken in Elephants, Big cats, Bears, and more.  Pat has since passed away but her mission is being carried on by a large group of wonderful people.

I finally had the opportunity to visit one of the locations for a charitable open house.  We were able to see Brown Bears, Bengal Tigers, and Elephants.  We were able to explore the grounds and meet the trainers and learn more about the non-profit.  It was a very wet day but it was worth being out in the rain to get a taste of what this wonderful organization does.

For more information on PAWS I encourage you to visit their website by clicking here.

The Elephant trainer displaying his method of positive reinforcement training helpful in caring for the animals without use of bull hooks or other pain methods

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day Everyone

Everyone is Irish on Saint Patrick’s Day!  As you partake in your Guinness I hope you enjoy a conglomeration of some of my favorite photos from Ireland!

I never travel without my diary.

One should always have something sensational to read on the train.

Oscar Wilde (The Importance of being Earnest)

I leave you with the song Ride on by Christy Moore…one of the most beautiful voices ever created.  Close your eyes and be transported back to Ireland.

For more of journey through Ireland please click here.

Quin Town and Abbey / Knappogue Castle and Walled Gardens – Ireland

For part of our trip to Ireland in July we stayed at a lovely little B&B in County Clare.  We took many day trips in all directions from a village called Tulla.  On one of our trips back to our base we passed through the town of Quin and came across the Abbey there.  It was a charming quiet and peaceful scene with locals walking their dogs.  We had to pull over and have a look.

We continued down the road following a sign that said Knappogue Castle and Walled Gardens.  This led us to a lovely restored castle and gardens used for events.  One could certainly imagine weddings, parties, or work events in this lovely venue surrounded by rolling green hills, cattle, and horses.

This is the real and rural and lovely Ireland that you will not find in your guidebooks.  You must drive or walk or explore and you will be rewarded every time in this magnificent country.



For more Irish musings please click here…

Saint Kevin’s Monastery

Saint Kevin’s Monastery in Glendalough holds a special place in my heart.  It was one of the first places I visited outside of Dublin on my first trip to Ireland.  I visited here with a group of people from the college class I was taking and was really moved by the place.  I have taken my brother here, my husband here, and my parents here all on separate trips. It is charming and beautiful set in the hills of the Wicklow Mountains.  The monastery sits on a peaceful lake said to have medicinal properties that visitors can have a nice walk around. Saint Kevin lived much of his time in a cave above the lake in contemplation.  As is the case with most monasteries I can certainly see why.  (Remember Kylemore Abbey?) The site also boasts many lovely buildings to explore along with several tall crosses and the iconic tower.

It is a beautiful drive here from Dublin whether you drive up over the bog-filled mountains or via Avoca and Powerscourt through the more direct route.  If you are traveling the countryside I highly recommend staying the night in the area at one of the many lovely bed and breakfasts and enjoy some food in the quaint town of Laragh.


Follow my other Irish musings here…

Gold Country Drive – Barbed Wire

When I was a kid my Grandfather had a decoration he hung on the wall with various kinds and shapes of Barbed Wire affixed to it.  I was always interested and had a veiled respect for this display because it could hurt me if I touched it and it also seemed strange that a man would display what seemed like garbage on the wall.  Well, now that I am a little older and realize that the barbed wire isn’t going to jump off the display and cut me I find it a fascinating thing to photograph.  I ran across some while I took my little Gold Country drive the other day.  I hope you enjoy the different perspective and the good excuse to use my macro lens. 


Jenner Coast, California Hwy 1

I have been camping for years now near Bodega Bay, California in the Sonoma Coast State Park area.  Just north of that up the famed California Highway 1 is a little seaside town called Jenner.  Some friends bought a small piece of property and are building a “tiny home” on it.  They recently invited us up for a visit and we took them up on it.  The drive from Sacramento took us through Santa Rosa and along the Russian River along Hwy 166 until the road dead ends in to the coast.  From there you head north on a dizzyingly windy road past Jenner towards Stillwater Cove on Hwy 1.  Mother Nature was kind to us providing us with a glorious view of the ocean and the rocky coastline saving her fog and haze for another day.  Once we made it to the property we set out for a brisk fern lined walk through the oaks and redwoods mushroom spotting along the way.

Friends, its days like this that remind me why I live in California.