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PostHeaderIcon Danville Cyclist Rides the Pony Express

It's been described as "The Loneliest Road in America". US Route 50 wanders across Nevada's Basin and Range geography for over 400 miles and is noted in one guide book as "...extremely dry with no shade except for three trees just east of Fallon. You will see occasional vehicles but towns, services and roads are spaced, sometimes, more than 100 miles apart".

June 4, 2012 I will begin a 2000-mile ride, alone on my Trek Madone road bike with just the water and food I can carry, a change of clothes, an Ipad, credit card and a healthy bit of enthusiasm. I will pedal along the Pony Express Route from Sacramento to St. Joseph, MO. I don't know how many others have done this before me, certainly some, but clearly it's not a popular idea even by car.

The first segment of the ride will take me from Sacramento and across Nevada to Salt Lake City. 8 days of riding. I'm always intrigued by the idea of riding the bike in any random direction for any random number of days solely for the experience and adventure but the story of the Pony Express, a uniquely American West bit of history, intrigued me enough to give the ride a bit of purpose; to follow the Pony Express route on my bicycle.

Pony Express 101: The Pony Express was established in 1860 as the first reliable means to send messages across the vast American West. The Civil War was looming and timely news and communication between California and the East was crucial. The Pony Express was, essentially, a relay. A specially designed horse saddle could carry important correspondence in leather pockets. The rider would leave St. Joseph, Missouri, where the railroad and telegraph lines from the East came to an end, and ride his horse westbound at full gallop.

Ten-15 miles later at an established relay station rider and saddle would change to a fresh horse and continue. After a series of horses and 100 or so miles the rider would stop to rest and pass the saddle on the next rider and so it went. 150 relay stations and 10 days later the saddle and its important contents would arrive in Sacramento. During the journey riders were subjected to extreme weather, high elevation, darkness, and particularly in Nevada, serious trouble with Indians.

Of course the Express ran in reverse direction at the same time for returning correspondence. If a series of horses with riders could manage the journey certainly a middle-aged father of two with plenty of energy drink and ambition could manage it? I've enjoyed, for many years, solo long-distance bicycle rides and the experiences, challenges and memories they provide me. To the left, you can see me on one such adventure with the Girls Gone Wild bus and the bike.

It comes with a great sense of accomplishment. This ride won't be my first multi-day solo bike adventure but one week will be, by far, the longest time spent in the bike saddle. I've enjoyed multi-day rides throughout California, Hawaii, Italy and along the Mississippi River. All very unique and equally awesome.

A Pony Express delivery would take about 10 days to complete the 2000 mile horseback journey. At 100 miles per day a strong bike rider should, ideally, be able to complete the same route in about 3 weeks. However enthusiastic my family and the guys at work might seem about this I expect the enthusiasm will fade after being gone for a week, therefore, I will break the ride into 3 phases each about one week long. Phase 1 begins June 4, Sacramento to Salt Lake City to return by train. Phase 2 commences in SLC one year later and Phase 3 in 2014 to eventually end in St. Joseph all along following, as closely as possible on paved roads, the Pony Express route.

With the planning and follow-up story telling this should keep me amused for over 2 years. I'll be 50 then. Perhaps this can be my mid-life crisis. I'm drawn to this sort of thing for many reasons. I like the solitude of the great outdoors best appreciated from the bike. The wind, rain, sun, geology, geography, flora and fauna are all around all the time. I like that.

I believe life is a risk and reward tradeoff. I'm not a risk taker and, as a commercial pilot, my long-time profession has conditioned me to minimize risk in everything I do. Having said that I expect any reward in this case will far outweigh the risk and I'm OK with that.

Most of the Pony Express route and associated structures are long gone. With a few exceptions only a few monuments and museums remain but the desert has a funny way of preserving things so I'm hopeful I will discover a reward or two along the way. It's all part of the adventure. To follow Ben on the road go to: http://bensponyexpress.blogspot.com/ --KB


PostHeaderIcon 10 Questions with "Don't Sweat" Author

ANNB: This is your first “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” book in nine years. Why now and why this topic? 

KC: The "Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff" book series is full of tried and true advice and has been on coffee tables and night stands, and in libraries for 15 years.  It’s a small book that helps people make big shifts in their lives. And now their kids are at the age where they are sweating the small stuff too.  Every ten years, there is a new group of people ready for the timeless wisdom of the "Don’t Sweat" tradition and that’s why I am adding a new book to the series. "Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff for Moms" has the same commonsense approach and is current, setting it apart from the "Don’t Sweat" guidebook released years ago. Kids haven’t changed that much but the world has. Technology and the Internet have changed family life and the issues bombarding our kids and moms today are many.  This book focuses on how moms can be inspired to be the best they can and also maintain a separate identity as an empowered, modern woman.

ANNB: You’ve been called an 'unyielding believer of living in the moment with an attitude of gratitude and finding happiness in life.' Can that be learned or does someone have to be born with those traits?
KC: I think people are born with a proclivity for happiness or unhappiness, but both of these are impacted greatly by the life we practice.  Life is no different than a sport; it takes practice to get good at it.  Your attitude can shift with your thoughts and beliefs about life as well as your mental and physical health.  Adopting an attitude of gratitude can be learned and is all about noticing what’s right in your life and focusing on those things instead of what’s wrong.

ANNB: How can someone get started “living in the moment?”
KC: Living in the moment is something we are born with, but most of us unlearn this quality and have to practice presence to get good at it again later in life.  Our minds get busy as do our schedules.  Creating space for stillness and quiet isn’t necessarily practical or part of our American training but it is necessary to learning how to embrace the moment.  Being present is one of the keys to true and lasting inner peace and contentment.  It is in the spaces between our thoughts that we are present; all it takes is a single breath to bring the moment into focus, and we can all practice that!  

ANNB: Your book advises how to be "a mom and not a friend." Is that something you struggled with raising your own children?

KC: I did not struggle with this issue of being a friend over a mom.  I knew that my girls had friends to fill that role of ‘girlfriend,' and quite frankly, I had my own girlfriends too.  What my girls needed was a solid role model and mother figure that they could respect and trust as a guide and mentor to lead and love them with discipline. Friendship comes later with kids.

ANNB: The term "helicopter parent" is popular these days. What can those who hover too close to their kids learn from your new book? 
KC: Hovering too close can disable children and also can lead to a sense of entitlement. I think parents today need to let their kids fall down a little before jumping so quick to save them from every fall.  It’s a lot shorter fall and closer to the ground when you are 10, than say, when you are 20.  If kids forget an assignment or their gym shoes or soccer cleats, well, maybe they ought to lose the opportunity that comes with remembering their responsibilities.  Doing too much for our kids can actually harm and disable them later in life when they have to show up or they lose big.

ANNB: What did you personally learn about being a mother in writing this book?
KC: While writing this book, I was reminded of just how crazy a job being a mom is and all the hats we wear.  I learned how much I know to be true sitting from the vantage point of looking back.  I know that being a mom will test everything about you bringing out your best and showing you areas of falability too.  It’s a big job with small joys leading to endless possibilities.  

ANNB: Is this book good for moms of "grown" children? Why or why not? 
KC: I think this book is good for all moms because there are chuckles of understanding for moms of older kids and chapters to help her transition too.  Once a mom, always a mom!

ANNB: Why do you think this book has a universal appeal?
KC: This book has universal appeal for the same reason all the Don’t Sweat series does.  The series of books have principles for happiness based on mental health and well-being that transcend cultural differences and are universal to all people.

ANNB: Where can we see you talk about the book and/or sign books in the Bay Area in the coming weeks/months?
KC: Check out http://www.kristinecarlson.com/healing/dont-sweat-the-small-stuff-for-moms for all the latest information on upcoming events.

ANNB: What’s up next for you?
KC: Living life.  Sharing.  Loving my grandkids. Joy. -- KB


PostHeaderIcon Food for Thought: Eat Right for Health


Nutrition is a vital part of your physical well-being, however, there’s more to it than just following the food pyramid or eating your spinach. Studies have shown that how, when and what you eat, can actually change your brain function and improve your mood, impact your appetite and stabilize your blood sugar, sleep habits and behavior.

The most prominent offender in our diet is refined sugar in various forms, as an average American consumes 158 pounds of sugar annually or equal to about 50 teaspoons per day.

Dr. Michael Lara, Belmont psychiatrist, psycho-pharmacologist and lecturer (at right) is recognized for his use of evidence-based theories to treat the whole person, including a lifestyle defining approach that incorporates the role of nutrition. 

Dr. Lara was inspired by Jack LaLanne, the late fitness guru who at age 41 swam 1.5 miles from Alcatraz to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco while handcuffed. During his 80 years as a fitness guru came to believe that the country’s health depends on the overall health of its population. 

He had a simple yet profound message: take responsibility for your own life through exercise and nutrition.

Understanding how food works in your body is a first step in making food work for you.
The three major neurotransmitters, internal messengers in communication with mood, memory, appetite and the sleep/wake cycle, are made up of amino acids, essential proteins in dietary food sources. 

Serotonin, the neurotransmitter that regulates the sense of well-being, happiness, sleep and appetite, is synthesized within the body from the amino acid, tryptophan, and is only obtained in the diet.   Some natural serotonin boosting foods are those rich in vitamin B:  whole grains, brown rice, green leafy vegetables, avocados, mushrooms, tomatoes, legumes, nuts, meat, eggs, bananas, papaya and dates.

When serotonin is low, it can cause depression, carbohydrate cravings and lack of impulse control.  

Omega 3 fatty acids, found in fish such as salmon and tuna, play a significant role in enhancing the production of serotonin along with exercise and meditation for stress reduction. Long-term stress and sleep deprivation are known to deplete serotonin levels as will chronic consumption of stimulants, caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, refined carbohydrates and sugar. Skipping meals leads to mood swings.

Good news prevails:  chocolate in moderation serves as an emergency rescue food when a quick pickup is needed for a feel-good mood. The food rich in tryptophan, which has been found to regulate “melatonin” in the body, for restful sleep, is turkey.

A second neurotransmitter, dopamine, triggers pleasure and reward sensations, signals goal attainments, and acts as a driving force in extroversion, mania and psychosis at high levels. Low levels of the neuro-chemical are associated with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Parkinson’s, depression, addictions and introspective behavior patterns. 

A balance is needed for harmony, like the instruments in a synchronous symphony. 

Dietary sources of note include fish, chicken, turkey, almonds, avocados, cheeses, yogurt and pumpkin seeds. Benefits of a healthy balance are found during physical performance, periods of stress or sleep shortage and when there is a need for sharp cognition.

The neurotransmitter, norepinephrine (NE) requires dopamine as a precursor, and like adrenaline, is part of the sympathetic nervous system, serving multiple functions as a hormone as well. 

Activated during the “fight or flight response,” it triggers the release of glucose from the body stores and increases oxygen supply to the brain.  NE acts as an endogenous anti-inflammatory agent, mediates alertness, long-term memory, decision processing and dreams.  Like dopamine, NE has a role in ADHD and when in excess in the body causes anxiety, fears, aggression and schizophrenia.

The complex interaction of the neuro-regulatory system to enhance or impair virtually all body and mind functions is on a continuum of ebb and flow, mediated by stimuli to that part of the body’s nervous system that reacts with automatic reflexes

Endogenous opiates, endorphins, developed within the body, are released during exercise, eating, sex, excitement and pain.  The sensation known as “Runner’s high”,  is well-known as an addictive sensation of well-being that is produced during strenuous exercise. Conversely, the stress hormone, Cortisol, chronically released during adverse conditions, is responsible for elevated blood sugar leading to Type II Diabetes, a compromised immune system, increased cravings for sweet or fatty foods and the accumulation of visceral fat, deposited around the abdominal organs and belly. 

The rationale for the presence of high levels of Cortisol may be related to loss of sleep, excessive exercise, psychological stress or restrictive dieting.  Anti-stress nutrients are an option in regulating the effects on mental health and brain function, making proactive choices and taking control.
Chronic inflammation as a connection to mood disorders, from depression to Alzheimer’s disease, has been identified as pertinent to various kinds of plaque formation within the body and inflammatory signals from stress-related mid-line fat.   Refined sugar and other inflammatory foods are:  processed and refined white flour, pasta, rice and pastries.  Healthy selections for body and mind are natural foods, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, soy and lean protein.

The key to optimizing mental health, sleep and awareness is found in a nutrient balance that provides for anti-inflammatory foods, Omega 3’s, green tea, spices such as ginseng, garlic, turmeric, cumin, with red wine and chocolate in moderation.
For further interest, contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .-- KRB

Karen Balch is a retired nurse, freelance writer and expert on staying healthy in all stages of life. She is a regular contributror to allnewsnoblues.com.  Reach her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


PostHeaderIcon Interior Design As Seen on TV - April Designers Log


Due to popular demand, The Designers Log updates and revisits a post from 2010, adding a top 10 list. Enjoy! 

Do you ever look at a house on TV and wish it was yours? Did you ever try to decorate your home to look like one you saw on the small screen? How we see others live on television shapes how we see our own homes, what we aspire to and offers a possible blueprint for perfect living. 

In the 1950s, television started giving us an eye into how others live. No longer did we have to leave the comfort of our living room to get a peek at our neighbors. We could compare and contrast our spaces with other families, from Ozzie and Harriet to Leave it to Beaver.  Post WW II, ostentatious wealth was out. Manufactured furniture, Lucy and Desi and the middle class was in. The rich were not like us; family and a suburban life was on the rise. We moved from formal rooms to tract homes and twin beds.

On 60s TV, programs like The Dick Van Dyke Show brought us black and white living and a concept of what the perfect home needed to look like. Bewitched also depicted a version of suburban homes and neighborhoods. Husbands came home from the city to a wife with dinner on the table and a martini in hand. Darrin Stevens gave us the first "man cave", his paneled den. As Gladys Kravitz peeked through the blinds, it was the beginning of keeping up with the Joneses.

Television has given us such iconic rooms as The Mary Tyler Moore Show single woman apartment with the big M on the wall and Rhoda's hip attic pad. Who can forget the Archie Bunker dad chair or the upscale urban family rooms of 30-Something?

Recently I worked with a couple in their 40's. Their number one concern was not to get a Brady Bunch house. For people of that generation, the decor of the 1970s is their parents era. Ironically, at the time the show aired, it was considered the epitome of upscale California suburban living. Their combined family resided in arguably the most recognizable house on TV. The stone planter, the open stairway, the orange laminate counters and the Jack and Jill bathroom were mimicked by builders and designers for years as the way a family should live.

By the 80s, shows like Dallas, Falcon Crest and Dynasty depicted the poster interiors for opulence.  Bigger was better, rich was back in vogue and the over the top furnishings held their own with the big shoulders of Linda Evans and Joan Collins. Hart to Hart showcased wealthy Los Angeles living, while The Golden Girls put hip Florida senior living on the map.

In the 2000's, Mad Men, about the advertising industry in the 1960s, showcases mid century modern decor. The hipness of the martini crowd has made this look very trendy. Mad Men attempts to mimic the era, right down to the smallest detail. They do a remarkable job of re-creating the time and romanticizing days gone by. By enjoying the modern feel of the interiors, we are seeing a strong example of how styles and trends recycle. Now in it's 5th season, we've seen Mad Men go from the Eisenhower era to the swinging 60's. Pucci prints, shag rugs and bean bag chairs have renewed interest in the colors of those pychedelic years.

Currently, TV allows us to peek into the hipness of New York lofts on Smash, see a real depiction of  family diversity on Modern Family and fabulous interiors around the country on The Real Housewives of... series. We see how real celebrities live on reality shows and HGTV schedules makeovers and renovations to entertain us for hours.

Over the years, interiors on TV have shown us glamour, style and reality as well as trends and design disasters. We have been given rooms to admire, color palettes to stagger the senses and the diversity of our lives. Our own homes and lifestyle has been reflected through the lense in subliminal messages of how we should live. 

So whether you are a Don Draper, miss your Brady Bunch childhood or still like to fantasize about the homes of the uber-rich, the line between real life and the media has shrunken. 

Here is my Top 10 list of favorite TV rooms:

10 -  Don Johnson's Miami Vice bacholer pad.

9 - The Doris Day Show spiral staircase with San Francisco Bay view.

8 - Brothers and Sisters Santa Barbara loggia.

7 - Marlo Thomas' That Girl New York one bedroom.

6 - The Brady Bunch stairway.

5 - Smash brownstone of Debra Messing.

4 - Any room in Downton Abbey.

3 - Dick Van Dyke Show living room in New Rochelle.

2 - Niles' living room on Frasier.

1 - The Madison Avenue offices of Mad Men.

An established Interior Designer for over 20 years, Steve Wallace Design is based in Walnut Creek, California.  His work has appeared in Palm Springs Life and other interior design publications, and he is the author of a soon to be published book about design and the way we live. 

He can be reached at  925 915 1005, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or visit www.SteveWallaceDesign.com.


PostHeaderIcon Rafting the Tuolumne River

As we headed towards a raging Clavey Falls, I took a deep breath and gripped my paddle with white knuckles. During the biggest runoff in a decade on the Tuolumne, the steepest drop on the state’s wildest river looked like the watery end of the world. But it was definitely too late to go back.

“Forward, forward, forward!” screamed our guide over the water’s roar. We pulled our paddles furiously even though obeying the order ruled out hanging onto the raft for dear life. Hearts pounding, we dropped off the edge.  The boat rocked about madly and one paddler nearly swam before the crew pulled him back from the brink.
Terror turned to triumph moments later as we reached the safety of a calm eddy, the roughest rapid of the trip behind us. “All right, woo-hoo, huzzah!” cried my shipmates. I shared the sentiment but was too winded to join in.

Though far from an expert, I’ve enjoyed rafting perhaps a dozen runs on Sierra Nevada rivers over the years. My trips along the Tuolumne always took a different form, though. I had climbed atop Yosemite’s Lyell Glacier where the river originates and hiked beside the Tuolumne for dozens of miles. Yet I always knew I’d have to raft “The T” someday.
That occasion finally arrived when friends and I joined Sierra Mac River Rafting Trips for a two-day, 18-mile run on the main segment of the Tuolumne, from Meral’s Pool to Ward’s Ferry. The outing began with multiple Class 4 (challenging) rapids including Rock Garden, Nemesis, Sunderland’s Chute and Hackamack Hole.

Like many rafters, we spent a night camping beside a sandy beach near Clavey Falls. Those who go with a guided group may enjoy a decadent meal of steak, salmon, potatoes, hot green veggies, beer and wine, as we did. We rafted rough water but hardly roughed it. The river sang us to sleep.
After an equally hearty breakfast, the main event awaited. Clavey Falls, the run’s only Class 5 (experts only) rapid, tends to lodge in boaters’ memories and not just because of the adrenaline rush it produces. The confluence of the Clavey and Tuolumne rivers embody nature’s power which shaped this beautiful canyon. It’s also a special setting to Marty McDonnell, Sierra Mac’s owner and Tuolumne rafting pioneer.

“The Clavey River/Tuolumne River confluence for me is my place to worship, play, call home and enjoy a display of nature’s Michaelangelo’s stone carvings,” McDonnell said. “Rock, gravity and water create one of the world’s greatest navigable rapids… Each visit changes your life forever.”

The second half of the journey features Class 3 (moderate) and more Class 4 rapids like Gray’s Grindstone and Hell’s Kitchen, providing boaters with thrills and also a chance to take in the canyon’s scenery and wildlife. Cedars, alders, willows, oaks, pines and plenty of manzanita make for pleasant viewing. Black bears, coyote, hawks and even mountain lions show themselves occasionally.

Everyone was sorry to reach the take out at Ward’s Ferry Bridge. “If you liked the Main T, you’ll love the Upper T,” another rafter commented. Just like that, I knew I had to go back, and a month later I did.
With nine miles of continuous Class 4 and Class 5 rapids, the Cherry Creek/Upper Tuolumne route is the most challenging rafted run in the United States. Wetsuits and life vests are mandatory, as are swimming tests across the icy, fast flowing river and back. The exercise will kick-start your heart for the workout that awaits downstream.

The Guillotine, Jawbone, Unknown Soldier and Coffin Rock rapids bear fearful names but the more innocuous-sounding Mushroom, Flat Rock Falls and Lewis’ Leap are actually more hazardous. Many parties disembark and walk to avoid these and especially Lumsden Falls, a Class 6 rapid (potentially deadly even for experts) and the river’s most dangerous spot.
Still, that leaves plenty of whitewater and this run felt like a non-stop thrill ride with more exciting rapids than all my previous rafting trips combined.

The Upper T averages an amazing 100-foot drop per mile but a middle section known as the Miracle Mile drops a phenomenal 200 feet. By this point, guide Jeff Hall had our two-man, two-woman crew working well in sync, thankfully. Only a miracle could get a raft with less-than-expert guidance through this mile, a slalom course of raging rapids and countless rocky obstacles.

The memorable outing ended with a well-deserved lunch and a congratulatory champagne toast the rafters and guides shared. I was surprised to learn that guides who’ve completed this challenge hundreds of times still consider every run a special occasion.

“Cherry Creek is tops: steep, absurdly difficult and relentless,” said Adam Crom, a guide since 1982. “It’s simply the best guided whitewater trip I’ve ever seen. This run demands your best every minute of every day. If you are inattentive or unfocused, bad things will happen, and soon! It is a rare thing to work in a place that demands so much and rewards you so beautifully if you do it right.”

As a frequent Yosemite visitor, I drove beside the Tuolumne on Highway 120 for nearly 20 years before finally rafting this gem. I’m not going to wait nearly so long to take the plunge again. --MJ

Matt Johanson writes about travel, sports, the outdoors, education and politics for California newspapers and magazines. He also teaches social studies and journalism at Castro Valley High School. Check out his site at http://mattjohanson.com. Thanks to Sierra Mac River Rafting Trips for the photos.


PostHeaderIcon Keep Your Eye Out for the Red-tailed Hawk

As I was sitting at my patio table enjoying our warm spring weather, I heard a “whoosh” right over the top of my head, and then a clattering noise in the ash tree next to me.  At first I thought it was my Great Horned Owl coming home to rest after a long night of hunting.  I remained still for a few moments to regain my composure and then looked up into the tree and discovered a beautiful Red-tailed Hawk perched in the tree eating its prey.

I remained very quiet and unobtrusive for several minutes until I felt confident about moving and not causing it to leave its perch.  I got up very slowly and tip-toed over to the patio door and quietly opened the slider.  The minute I stepped inside, I dashed to grab the binoculars and my trusty Canon Power Shot camera. 

The hawk was indeed eating its prey – a huge roof rat!  I observed the rat’s tail hanging over the limb of the tree where the hawk was perched.  It was ravenous about ripping the rat apart and getting to the meat of the operation.  It was interesting that it would eat for a time and then rest, eat for a time and then rest again. 

My family arrived in the afternoon for Sunday dinner and the grandchildren had an opportunity to observe the hawk.  My 6-year-old grandson was the most enthusiastic.  In fact, the letter for the week in his kindergarten class the following week was “H” and he wanted a picture of the hawk to take to school and present to his fellow students.  We blew one up poster size.

As we were busy watching and learning, we were confident the hawk would not leave his perch as long as it was eating.   It appeared as though the hawk had completed its meal when we discovered its last morsel of food had been dropped into the shrub below the tree.  The hawk remained on the limb of the tree and stared down at the bush for the longest time.  To our amazement, the hawk dove from the tree into the dense shrub to retrieve its last bit of meat.  At this point we were frightened that it may have been injured because it was struggling to get out of the shrub.  Luckily it emerged with the morsel of meat and finished its meal on the top ledge of my fence in full view of the family gathering.

The Red-tailed Hawk is one of the most common Hawks in North America.  They live in a wide and diverse range of habitats, including urban areas.  The Red-tailed hawk is an opportunistic predator and uses a variety of hunting skills depending on the type of prey it is attacking.

The Red-tailed hawk feeds on rodents, snakes, shrews, ducks, and lizards.  In the air, it may strike at bats and small birds.  It may perch on trees or poles, hover, and then drop down vertically on the prey (which is what it did when it dove into the shrub).

This particular hawk is a monogamous bird that mates with a partner for many years and will stay with the same bird unless one of them dies.  Courtship displays include a “sky dance” where the mates plunge and swoop together.  After the courtship, they build their nest of twigs lined with bark and other vegetation.  They nest in large trees, but may also nest on cliff ledges.  They use the same nesting sight over and over.  Their clutch is between one and five eggs and incubated by both the male and female.  Eggs hatch in 28-35 days.  The chicks are dependent on their parents for a long time.  The male provides food for the female and chicks and the female feeds the chicks by tearing the meat into small pieces.  They generally leave the nest within 42-46 days.  Hopefully this particular Red-tailed hawk will nest in another area because the Great Horned Owl is a predator and will attempt to seize the nesting sight.Native Americans believed the distinctive tail feathers of this bird were sacred and they used them for religious ceremonies.--- JM


 Jody McPheeters is a published author, freelance writer, and a gardening coach with a passion for sustainability and a love for nature and animals. Reach her through her website at www.yourgardeningcoach.com.

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