On an early morning walk before the rain started (yes, we’re getting more sky water!), I spied this colorfully striking succulent.
Sticks on Fire, sometimes called Firesticks (Euphorbia tirucalli), is a shrubby succulent with bright red, pink, orange, or yellow stems.
The more sun it gets, the more ‘fiery’ it appears. The sap of this plant is sticky/milky and may cause irritation to skin as there are mild toxins.
Many succulents in the euphorbia genus, such as the pencil cactus and crown of thorns, are also poisonous to both cats and dogs. Symptoms of poisoning from ingesting this succulent range from gastrointestinal upset to skin and eye irritation.
I made it home just in time! That’s not a speck on your screen, it’s an airplane heading to our local airport.
Kids really do listen to everything we say, that’s absolutely true.
One time I looked up as a crow flew by and said, “Hello, cousin!”
Angel Girl asked me why I said that, and I told her that crows are very smart and that I feel they’re like family to me.
The next time we saw crows fly by, she pointed and said, “There goes one of your cousins, Grandma!”
Mom asked her why she said that, and Angel Girl told her all the crows in the whole world are Grandma’s cousins, which is a great thing to her because she loves her own cousins.
The best part of the story is that it makes perfect sense to her that animals are family. I like that a lot.
Besides a murder of crows, there are other collective nouns for crows: a horde, a hover, a mob, a parcel, a parliament, and a storytelling.
As for a storytelling of crows? This is a bit of an unknown but crows do tend to gather in large flocks and are known for their loud ‘caw’. Perhaps someone observed this and decided that they weren’t so much plotting a murder but were telling stories to each other, https://www.birdspot.co.uk/
This photo from late yesterday afternoon must tell quite the story; I’ve never seen so many crows on the school field.
Seeing crows at sundown is a common occurrence around here, but not on this grand scale. Everyone driving by slowed down to gawk and neighbors came out to record it like I did.
On the roof, on the fence, on the fields — all my cousins!
Update: I sent the photo to my original Angel Boy and received a video text from his almost seven-year-old clone, AB 2.0 — “Hey Grandma, that’s a lot of cousins!”
I’ve lived in Southern California since high school and never heard about this mythical surf spot at Cortes Bank, about one hundred miles west of San Diego.
We’ve all heard of the giant waves at Mavericks in Northern California which sadly claimed the life of Mark Foo in 1994, but this location was brand new to me — not that I’ll ever see it or surf there, considering I don’t surf at all, but I love all things ocean-related.
Apparently, about ten thousand years ago, an island used to exist in that spot called Kinkipar by native Americans, the ancestors of the Tongva or Chumash Tribes.
Presently, it’s entirely submerged, the top rising to within three to six feet of the surface with nearby shoals catching the largest swells on the planet from the North Pacific.
Monster swells that generate waves moving at incredibly high speeds as they move from the deep ocean, over a mile deep at the base of the bank, into a series of shallow reefs made of sandstone and volcanic basalt.
These photos of Nic von Rupp (amazing professional big wave surfer) were taken last week at Cortes Bank.
Because of its location, estimates are that the waves move fifty percent faster than comparable waves along Oahu’s north shore.
If you’re under the outdated and superstitious belief that Friday the 13th is an unlucky day, I’ve learned something new.
Before patriarchal times, Friday the 13th was considered the Day of the Goddess. It was considered a day to honor the divine feminine that lives in us all and to honor the cycles of creation and death and rebirth.
Friday the 13th was considered a very powerful day to manifest, honor creativity, and to celebrate beauty, wisdom, and nourishment of the soul.
Friday is VenusDay, named for Frigga, the goddess of love and tansformation. She rules the spiritual aspects of people as they manifest on the physical.
Venus is the epitome of feminine energy. Her energy joins us at the end of the week to honor the days gone by and to remind us that it is important to rest, relax, and play.
Not unlucky at all, this is a day to celebrate the power and energy of being female.
Last week’s King Tides created the unusual sight of flooded marsh and wetlands.
Here at Agua Hedionda, freshwater creeks drain into a low-lying area meeting the sea. The ocean pushes tides and sands against the land as the creek drains its fresh water and sediment into the sea. This mix of fresh and salt water forms a brackish environment. The salinity varies with the seasonal influence of rain and storms.
Sometimes the tide is so low, we can walk all the way around to the south side where there’s a sweet little beach, but not that day!
With all of this recent rain we’ve had (and more on the way), freshwater basins appear and fill the normally dry land surrounding the lagoon.
After all these years, this is still one of my favorite views. We see the lagoon, freeway, train tracks, and Pacific ocean.
SoCal didn’t receive as much rain as they did up north, but we still had an impressive amount of sky water during our recent storm.
Northern California saw a historic nearly six inches of rain while we had two inches over the weekend with more forecasted this week. That’s a LOT in a short period of time, due to a phenomenon called an atmospheric river.
An atmospheric river is a narrow corridor or filament of concentrated moisture in the atmosphere. Other names for this phenomenon are tropical plume, tropical connection, moisture plume, water vapor surge, and cloud band. Wikipedia
During a brief dry period, we checked out the big windy waves. Fresh air feels so purifying and cleansing. A walk on the beach is a great way to start a new year!
That’s the feeling I get from an afternoon walk around Agua Hedionda Lagoon. It’s the kind of holiday celebration I love.
This is the perfect spot to breathe and contemplate centuries of Native American history.
For ten thousand years, these rolling hills and canyons surrounding the lagoon provided shelter and food with an abundance of native plants and trees.
Indigenous peoples spent their winters making salt and gathering shellfish for food, jewelry, tools, and trade.
To the Luiseño, this area was Palmai, or “place of big water.” The Luiseño culture is noted for its mysticism and religious practices.
From “Seekers of the Spring – A History of Carlsbad” by Marje Howard-Jones: “It was a hot and dusty afternoon when Don Gaspar de Portola and Father Juan Crespi called a halt by the banks of a tidal lagoon. According to the padre’s journal for Monday, July 17, 1769, the party had left San Alejo to the south at three in the afternoon. They had traveled one league before descending into a valley where alders sheltered a deserted Indian village. ‘We named this valley San Simon Lipnica’, he wrote. Taking special exception to the scent of decaying fish and other debris, it was the soldiers who unwittingly christened the lagoon for posterity: ‘Agua Hedionda,” the ‘stinking waters’.”
The Native American peaceful coexistence with nature created a culture whose openness and adaptability left them vulnerable to aggressive invaders, another tragic story of desecration, destruction, and appropriation.