Sitting ducks

A family of California ground squirrels (Otospermophilus beecheyi summolestus), a.k.a. the Incredibly Annoying Beechey ground squirrel, has moved into a series of bungalows along our neighbor’s fence line and are driving our two dogs bonkers. The parents and cheeky offspring set off jauntily on hourly foraging missions, slipping under our fence usually just when Reggie […]

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Barn find

I spied a lovely new friend this morning just after sunrise, watching me intently from her Barn Owl penthouse set high in a pine tree above a nearby field. All was quiet in the family room so she’s probably still incubating up to a dozen eggs. I’ve heard her mate screeching at night – Barn […]

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Dawn patrol

It must be nesting season because the big birds in the local Great Blue Heron heronry – numerous saucer-shaped stick nests in an ancient Eucalyptus about 1,000 yards away as the heron flies – seem to be flying more sorties than normal. This one zoomed just overhead at dawn while I was still half-asleep and […]

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Riding in style

I never would have thought a motorcycle nut like my friend Gary, who has ridden, raced, and owned every conceivable growling machine on two wheels for the past half century, would fall for a rather pedestrian (albeit elegantly designed) scooter from the 1960s. But on a recent tour of Vietnam with several like-minded gearheads – […]

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Doubly delightful

Herbert Cecil Swim (1906-1989) hit it out of the park in 1976 when he created the Double Delight rose. Mr. Swim, of Mister Lincoln fame, another colorful and fragrant rose developed a decade earlier, worked for Armstrong Nurseries in San Bernardino, California, and created this splendid hybrid tea rose by cross-breeding the red and yellow […]

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Time marches on

Time seems to stand still in these days of isolation, each day feeling much like another with little to break the monotony from dawn to dusk. There are reminders all around us though that time moves inexorably forward, from the hum of desktop computers to the steady ticking and hourly ringing of a lovely old […]

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A wondrous bird

I just happened to look up while outside this afternoon and spied a most unusual sight; three beautiful, broad-winged American White Pelicans wheeling in a wide circle about 300 feet above me silhouetted against a brilliant blue afternoon sky. They were sharing airspace with a large hawk whose wingspan was about equal to one pelican […]

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April rains

A solid week of precipitation dumped over five inches of rain across the San Dieguito River valley and some six inches of snow in the nearby mountains. As a precaution, over the weekend the city of San Diego released 923 million gallons through the 100-year-old Lake Hodges dam, six miles upstream, so for the last […]

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Source Seley

If you drive to the end of Borrego Valley Road, a long, razor-straight strip of macadam in the shadow of 4,000-ft. mountain ridges a few miles outside the California desert town of Borrego Springs, you will be in for a treat unlike any other. Along the way you pass towering Casuarina windbreaks, a massive palm […]

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Enfleurage

There’s a small Valencia orange tree just outside our front door that, surprisingly, produced a couple dozen delicious juice orbs this season. Surprising, because aside from watering, trimming an errant branch or two, and spreading ash from the grill around its trunk, it seems very happy to be left on its own. Today, with fruit […]

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