Spindrift

We’re enjoying a wintry Santa Ana wind event here in SoCal. It’s warm and sunny with gusty winds about 15-25 miles per hour–not bad enough to cause damage. I hear it’s much windier north of us.

The National Weather Service defines a Santa Ana as “Strong down slope winds that blow through the mountain passes in southern California. These winds, which can easily exceed 40 miles per hour are warm and dry and can severely exacerbate brush or forest fires, especially under drought conditions.”

It makes for beautiful ocean views and a bit of spindrift, spray blown from the crests of waves by the wind. Also one of my favorite words because it sounds magical.

Spindrift.

Even though there were no whales or dolphins this time, it’s still the ocean and that’s plenty to be grateful for.

Skyward: Tail(s) of a Mare

Mares’ tails are my FAVORITE cloud formation.

(This led me down a grammar path: one tail as opposed to plural tails; hopefully I’m using proper syntax and punctuation.)

They’re a type of cirrus cloud known as cirrus uncinus. The name is derived from Latin and means “curly hooks”.

An old weather proverb goes, “Mares’ tails and mackerel scales make lofty ships to carry low sails.”

Cirrus uncinus clouds and patchy altocumulus clouds often mean that rain is on its way.

A mackerel sky is a common term for clouds made up of rows of cirrocumulus or altocumulus clouds displaying an undulating, rippling pattern similar in appearance to fish scales. This is caused by high altitude atmospheric waves and can also signal changeable weather.

National Weather Service forecasted our region to receive about two inches of heavy rain along the coast, so everyone should prepare for the inevitable flooding and mudslides in the fireburned areas.

I wonder if the full Wolf Moon will affect the storm’s intensity or the total amounts of rainfall. I bet it will.

As above, so below.

Winter Veggie Garden

Today’s temperature hovered around eighty degrees and we’re in the middle of a Santa Ana heat wave. I’ve known a few January days that have been this warm, so I’m not exactly sure if it’s climate change related or if it’s simply because it’s Southern California.

It’s the perfect time to pick fresh garden veggies and make a salad.

My lettuce crop is thriving; so are the ruby red radishes.

I also started growing celery from the base of the stalks. It’s really easy. One method is to cut off the base and place in a cup with water to watch it sprout, or you can do it my way, plant it directly in the ground. The ribs aren’t as fat and wide as the original, but it’s super fresh and tasty and the leaves are deliciously herby. They’re surrounding by protective spicy mustard green leaves.

These pepper plants are two years old and still producing. There were almost completely destroyed by squirrels when they were in another location, but I rescued and replanted them in a safe location that was critter-free, and they’ve thanked me by continually producing tasty little green peppery jewels.

How does YOUR garden grow?

Fog + real ducks in a fake pond.

I had to get up at the crack of dawn to walk before the devil heat returns.

Lucky for me there’s a deep marine layer and so much fog that it’s impossible to see across the street from my house. The fence around the school is barely visible; that’s how moisture-laden the skies are right now. Normally, it’s possible to see all the way to the lagoon from here, but not today.

It’s an hour-long walk around the lagoon and up the hill, and I hurried to beat the emergence of the fiery ball. All-time heat records were broken yesterday; it’s easier to comprehend nuclear fusion creating a core temperature of 270 million degrees on days like that.

These are real ducks in a fake pond on the street where all the paddleboarders park. They built this water feature and have since tried in every way to deter ducks from using it–but here they are. It’s literally feet away from the lagoon which is a natural body of water; how could they expect wildlife NOT to enjoy it??? Duh.

Hello, ducks! Have a wonderful swim. Welcome to Carlsbad!

My New Best Friend

This little guy visits me every single time i’m outside. He’s easy to identify because of the dark spot on the top of his head. I’m not sure if it’s a wound or an injury, but he seems healthy. I pet him with a little stick; he also enjoys a back massage.

I see nothing wrong with having an alligator lizard as a bestie, do you?

Enchanting Fairy Doors

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Not just fairy gardens…

Do you have these charming creations in your town?

A fairy door is an adorably miniature door usually set into the base of a tree, behind which may be small spaces where people can leave notes, wishes, or gifts for the “fairies”.

Fairy doors are thought of as portals to a magic realm in which the fairy can come and go, but humans cannot enter.

There are lots of them in my little beach town of Carlsbad, but this is a new fairy door I noticed on my walk today.

It might have been missed altogether except that I was walking slower than my usual very brisk pace because I have a broken toe and it was too painful to walk as fast or as far as I usually do.

The next time, I’ll definitely remember to bring a little offering.

Do you believe?

 

 

 

 

Hot summer day in the garden

Really hot for the beach…

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And probably super crowded, too difficult to maintain proper social distancing, so I’m here:

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with a couple friends …

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and some mulberries that aren’t quite ready…IMG_6688

along with some pretty pretty flowers…fullsizeoutput_df1fullsizeoutput_df2I’m enjoying all the lush and colorful garden because pretty soon no matter what I do, the grass will turn brown ‘cos we probably won’t have more rain until next winter and the dry hot SoCal Santana winds make watering a futile effort.

Beach Walk

I got up early, made my French roast coffee (black), observed from the video in the outdoor camera that my coyote came to visit last night around 3:30 a.m.,  got dressed and walked to the beach while it was still overcast and relatively cool.

It’s a hilly walk and I was already sore from a hard workout yesterday, but I kept going. I wanted to avoid the crowds that were sure to descend as soon as the sun came out.

Here’s a couple pics of a very flat Pacific Ocean, although it’s so crowded, I don’t think epic surf was anyone’s goal.

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And then I saw this gem of sage advice on the sidewalk in front of the house where a couple of feral children reside. I know they’re little assholes because at one time I saw them throw rocks at their cat and I told their dad, who turned out to be a bigger asshole. Apple def didn’t fall far from the tree in their genetic pool. He didn’t respond in a kind manner when I told him he was successfully breeding future sociopaths.

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“All roads lead home”

Not necessarily true in all scenarios, but it’s a lovely thought–especially when it’s a text from the original Angel Boy.

Here’s the backstory:

I didn’t want to go the gym ‘cos it seems like everyone is sniffing, sneezing, or coughing, and I don’t want to get sick.

It was a beautiful sunny SoCal morning,  so I thought it’d be fun to try out my new hiking boots, spend a few hours out in nature and soak up the new growth sage-y fragrance blooming after our recent rains.

It is a fact that I have hiked this hill at least a hundred times. It is also a fact that when I go solo, I get lost 100% of the time. I don’t know why or how it happens, but I start out with a solid plan and by the time a couple hours has passed, I’m all turned around and can’t figure out where I am, how I got there, or how to get out.

One time I was lost until dark. I wouldn’t call for help and stubbornly walked until civilization emerged. However, I was fully prepared to sleep with my coyote family if necessary.

I don’t panic anymore. In my head, I say, “Well, Princess, it looks like we’re lost again. Let’s just enjoy the journey.” And then I laugh crazily to myself.

True to form, I got lost. Knowing that my DIL added me to the tracking GPS on her phone, she could be counted on for support if I was in real danger.

I texted my son, “Guess what, I’m lost again.”

He texts back, “All roads lead to home.”

Which wasn’t really helpful in my current dilemma, but it was awfully prosaic of him. (And snarky.)

After a couple of hours wandering around in an aimless pattern, I spotted two young boys riding their bikes. I asked them if they could point me in the right direction to get back where I started. They very kindly did (super nice that they didn’t start laughing at me) and I proceeded to follow their accurate directions.

Love my new hiking shoes, loved the hike, but glad to be back at Casa de Enchanted Seashells.

Apparently, all of MY roads DO lead home. My Angel Boy is a genius.

Who can guess where I was? It’s embarrassing to admit how often I’m clueless up here.

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I can see snow! It was hazy today but that’s definitely snow.

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Bright red toyon berries.

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Coyote scat and my awesome new hikers!

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Power plant off in the distance.IMG_8593

New cairns have arisen.

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I bet a lot of locals know where this is. Do YOU?

 

 

 

Cats, Rats, and Bats

Sorry, no pics to share ‘cos the video is grainy and black and white, but these were my three visitors last night at Casa de Enchanted Seashells.

In that order. The first video shows a cat sitting on the steps, looks to be dark gray and I’ve seen him before. The next is of a very large rat running down the steps, and the third one is a bat flying directly across the camera lens.

It sounds like it could be the start of a joke…”A cat, a rat, and a bat walked into a bar…” (Although I have no idea what kind of a punchline to write. Maybe Mrs. Maisel or Suzie could help.)

Or a children’s book, “The Tall Tale (Tail) of the Cat, the Rat, and the Bat”,

Or as Theo would say, “Grandma, that rhymes!”

Since I don’t have any decent pics of last night’s guests, here’s our beloved Bandit who ruled us all for thirteen years before she died of chronic renal failure.

The bat is from one of my favorite books, Stellaluna, by (my friend) Janell Cannon.

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And the rat, well, this gif says it all…

(There were no coyotes this time, but I’m happy to report that I’ve been seeing TWO beautiful creatures in the garden, which is awesome as coyotes mate for life. I would be even happier if one day they brought some little ones to visit. It would be a dream come true. I could be their grandma, too!)