I love butterflies. I’ll stop whatever I’m doing to point and say, “Look at the butterfly!”
Category Archives: Photography
Gifts From Above
My crow cousins have been leaving gifts for me all around the garden and deck.
Shiny and sparkly!
So far I’ve discovered these four baubles. I always look up to see if I can catch the gift giver; so far I haven’t, but I say thank you out loud as I pocket my treasures.
Crows are known to give small gifts to people who pay attention to them or feed them. The phenomenon is actually called “gifting”. I don’t feed my local crow family as there is plenty to eat without my intervention, but I do talk to them and generally love their presence, so maybe they feel that emotion and return the affection. I’ve read that crows (and other corvids) remember the faces of those who are mean to them and those who are especially kind.
Some of my neighbors don’t appreciate our community of crows as much as I do, and I’m positive they aren’t receiving the same kinds of gifts like I am.
I’m full of gratitude to my bird family Thank you, cousins!
Check out another crow post:
Nature and Nietzsche
“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” Friedrich Nietzsche
I like the sensual undulating ribbon dance of this little creek at the lagoon.
“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.” Friedrich Nietzsche.
I can’t disagree with that!
“The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.” Friedrich Nietzsche ·
For me, nature IS art and I’m grateful for it, especially this lagoon, one of my happy places.
Rainy Rocky Vibes
This is my one of my dry riverbeds. (The other one is in the front garden.)
I proudly carried each and every rock and placed them with loving intention.
It’s not so dry now! Yesterday’s relentless rain had other ideas.
Spring Garden Promises
Casa de Enchanted Seashells gardens are alive, blooming with color and fragrance.
In one week, since the last rain, most of the fruit trees are flowering and my florals are flourishing. It brings much joy to create a bouquet from the fruits of my own efforts, a labor of love.
This lavender is vibrant!
We’re expecting more rain this week. 2023 has been a crazy wet year in SoCal, but it’s just what we need to end the drought for a while. The only downside is horrible seasonal allergies, but that’s a small price to pay to live in paradise.
First Sign of Spring: Daffodils
Every year Trader Joe’s displays boxes and boxes of these beauties, ready to bring home and unfurl their sunny joy.
It only took a couple days and they’re in full, glorious display.
We had almost four more inches of rain! In Southern California! It’s unbelievable, but these yellow daffodils brighten my world. Even arranged in an old jam jar, they’re perfection.
Connected Cloud Love
Two clouds (one that looks to me like a bunny) tethered to each other; my view from the front door. No rain today but it’s freezing in the shade and only slightly warmer in the weak winter sun.
It was the kind of March day when the sun shines hot,
and the wind blows cold,
when it is summer in the light and winter in the shade.
–Charles Dickens from Great Expectations
Snow in Southern California?
A few days ago, we had a special weather alert telling us it actually might SNOW on the beach!
The temp dropped significantly. It had been raining off and on all day and I was SO hopeful, as excited as a first grader; sadly it didn’t snow here.
There were a few flakes several miles up the coast, and measurable snow just a bit inland, but nothing at Casa de Enchanted Seashells.
While I waited in anticipation for SNOW, I looked off in the distance and snapped this photo from my deck.
The perspective is a bit skewed as the apartments aren’t that close. They’re more than a few blocks away and the mountains are further than they appear here, too, actually about fifty miles east. I think it’s because I used a different camera lens and setting.
If you ignore the ugly and invasive apartments defiling my view, I think that’s Palomar Mountain covered in snow. It could also be the Lagunas; regardless, they both received several feet of snow while we had more than four inches of rain.
March certainly came in like a lion!
In The Garden: Lemonade Berry
This Lemonade Berry tree has almost completely taken over my front yard, surpassing our wildest intentions.
Once again, my brilliant Angel Boy didn’t think far enough into the future when we turned our front garden from lawn into a haven for California native plants.
Lemonade Berry (Rhus integrifolia) is an evergreen shrub or small tree. It tends to grow upright (10- 30 feet tall), but sprawls next to beaches. It’s often found in coastal canyons where it sometimes dominates entire hillsides. (YES!)
The Lemonade Berry’s petioles are pink or brownish and leaf blades are leathery. The flowers appear from February to May. The fruit is red to gray and has a tart flavor which gives the plant its name. Lemonade Berry is an important wildlife plant and the berries are a significant food source for birds and small mammals.
The Cahuilla and other California native peoples ate the fruits of the lemonade berry raw. They soaked the berries in water to make a beverage, and ground the dried berries into flour for a mush or to add to soup. It also has medicinal uses.
Ripe berries of the sugar bush or lemonade berry can be soaked in hot water to produce a tart lemon-tasting beverage. Steeping in almost boiling water produces a stronger drink than steeping in sun-heated water. For a strong drink, you will need a ratio of one-part berries to two parts water.
These berries make a tart snack if picked right off of the bush, but only if sucked for their juice; the pulp is not swallowed. The berries have small hairs that can upset your stomach. Enjoy the bitter refreshing taste and spit the berry out when done.
Tea made from the stems can be used to treat coughs. The tea made from the bark, berries, or leaves steeped in cold water can be gargled for sore throats and cold sores.Caution: Some people are allergic to the bark, roots, and leaves, so use it sparingly the first time.
Some info curated from Santa Monica Mountains Trail Council
California Lilacs: Blooming Ceanothus
California Lilacs, or Ceanothus, are some of our most fragrant and colorful shrubs here in California. They are also evergreen and very drought tolerant.
Our extreme rain has caused my prize ceanothus plant to bloom like it’s never bloomed before.
What’s even more amazing is that a few years ago I thought it had died and planted other things in its place. When I noticed a few sprouted leaves, I decided to watch and see what happened.
Magic happened where I couldn’t see; beneath the topsoil.
Today, it’s taken over the entire area next to my driveway. It’s a testament to tenacity, determination, and perseverance; great qualities to emulate.
This ceanothus is so vibrant and alive that it takes my breath away.