Saturday, October 1, 2016

Abandoned Gardens Are Sad


The City Daily Photo Bloggers theme for October is "Abandoned." We can abandon almost anything. I wrote on this theme in May 2015 and featured many of our abandoned buildings. See "N" is for Neglected and Abandoned Buildings. I had to come up with something new for this post,  so I've decided to show you my abandoned gardens in Templeton. 

Photos of My Abandoned Gardens

In the photo below, you see what's left of an herb garden I planted about twenty years ago on a slope behind the house. 

Abandoned Gardens Are Sad
Abandoned Herb Garden on Slope
Nature has a way of taking over when a caring gardener is no longer active. I had to abandon my gardens here after some major surgeries. Someone clears the weeds from around the edges during fire season, but there are still plenty hidden among the herbs. Most of what you see here are three varieties of sage left to do what they will. There are a few irises and they still bloom. Hidden from view are the santolina and lavender, which still hold their own. The oregano has almost been smothered by the sages, but manages to get its head into the sun enough to live. The rosemary has also survived. 

Perennial herbs are hardy. These plants have survived over a year with no irrigation. Of course when a flower bed with no perennial plants is abandoned, it will look like the one below. There may still be some rhubarb here if the drought didn't finally kill it, and some lemon balm may remain alive under the weeds. Now its mostly wild grasses, sow thistle, and mallows in season. 

Sometimes nature presents us with unexpected gifts, like this lupine flower that sprang up in the midst of the weeds on the slope. I actually planted lupine years ago, but it seemed to disappear. Some years it comes up and some years it doesn't. 

Here's yet another view of the abandoned herb garden on the slope. This shows you the lavender that was hidden in the other photo. It's only March in these photos, so lavender isn't blooming yet.  That bit of yellow near the left is a calendula -- the flower that keeps reproducing no matter what. See How Colorful Calendula Brightens My Garden All Year Long.

Abandoned Gardens Are Sad: Although I may have abandoned this garden for now, Mother Nature hasn't.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Looking Up to Turkey Vultures

The first Saturday in September is International Turkey Vulture Awareness Day. Many people don't appreciate vultures because of their looks and their reputation as scavengers. The turkey vulture is even nicknamed a buzzard -- that bird we often see circling over deer or other dead animals killed by cars on our roads. It has a bald red head and beady eyes that zero in on any dead creature on the ground. 

Looking Up to Turkey Vultures

I don't normally consider turkey vultures beautiful. They are actually a bit ugly when compared to some of the other birds of prey. In the air, though, it's a different story.

Looking Up to Turkey Vultures

I love watching them fly in groups as they are above. I very often see two or more circling together. Although they are hunting for food, they also fly over buildings and go over and under the power lines. 

Looking Up to Turkey Vultures

The photos above were taken on a February rainy day between showers. 

Some people appreciate the turkey vulture enough to use a bumper sticker to tell the world that they love them. Why not? They help keep our natural areas and roads and fields clean. Do you want a lovable little vulture to cuddle?  It's there for you. If you merely want to help your children learn more about turkey vultures with great photos, easy-to-read text, and even some projects, try the books below. 

Some people have to go to zoos to see turkey vultures. Here in Paso Robles and Templeton, all you have to do is go for a walk on a country road or visit a vineyard or open field and you are likely to see the turkey vultures overhead. Take a few minutes and just watch them. Any day can be Turkey Vulture Day.

Looking Up to Turkey Vultures

Do you see turkey vultures where you live? How do you feel about them?

Thursday, September 1, 2016

A Brief Tour of the Paso Robles Library in Photos

The Photo Tour of the Paso Robles Library Begins at the Entrance

The September theme for City Daily Photo Bloggers is Library, so I decided to take you on a photo tour of our city library. To get to the Paso Robles Library entrance, one must pass under this massive oak tree. ( Unless one uses the street entrance on the other side of the building.) Most library visitors park in the lot, though, and enter by the oak tree entrance.

Oak Tree Near Entrance to Paso Robles  Library, © B. Radisavljevic

Once through the doors, you find yourself in in a foyer that leads into the library, the city hall, the restrooms, the conference rooms, and one of the library bookstores. You can also see across to the other entrance. It looks out to the park where you can walk across to Farmers Market on Saturdays mornings and Tuesday afternoons. Most people don't use that as a library entrance because parking is harder to find there.

Paso Robles Library Foyer, © B. Radisavljevic

Behind these glass doors are the library and the staircase leading to City Hall. The table is used for sharing literature pertaining to city events.

Doors to  Library and City Hall Access, © B. Radisavljevic 

Inside the Library: The Children's Area

As you enter the Paso Robles Library and walk past the service desk, the first thing you really notice ahead is the display wall of the children's area of the library. Here is an overview. 

Children's Area of the Paso Robles Library, © B. Radisavljevic 

The row of reading tables runs through the center of the children's area. Here's another view. The children's periodicals are on display here. To the right of the display shelf is the picture book area. We will get a better view of it in the next photo.

Children's Area of the Paso Robles Library, © B. Radisavljevic 

Picture Book Area of the Paso Robles Library, © B. Radisavljevic

You can see the Highlights magazine we used to read when even I was a child is still around.

The aquarium below acts as a wall divider between the hallway and the children's area.

Aquarium which Divides the Hallway from the Children's Area,  © B. Radisavljevic

You can look through the water to see inside the picture book area.

Today's Library's Are Multi-Media

The library gives a wall for the display of local art. The exhibits change frequently.  If you continue down this hallway, you will find CD's and DVD's to borrow. You can see one of the cases at the left corner of the photo.

Art on Display at the Paso Robles Library, © B. Radisavljevic

A library would be nothing without real books. The Paso Robles has lots of them, though they now also let you check out digital books for your reading devices. I haven't tried it yet. The picture below shows the heart of the adult section. First you see the reference desk in the center where you can ask questions and get directions to what you need.

The Heart of the Library for Adults, © B. Radisavljevic

Beyond the reference desk are the stacks. On the left side you will find fiction. On the right you will see the first cases of the nonfiction stacks. You can also see the computers near the middle. Along the wall by the window are study tables and some cubicles. The windows look out on City Park  across the street. This next photo focuses on that area by the window a bit more.

A Brief Tour of the Paso Robles Library in Photos

In the photo above you can also see the row of upholstered chairs where people often sit to read periodicals or books. The homeless often catch a nap here. I often sit here and read on Smart Days when I want to stay cool outside the house.

Fiction, Graphics, and Reading / Study Areas for Adults, © B. Radisavljevic

The Paso Robles Library Has a Section for Graphic Novels

The label on the prominent case in the photo above reads Graphics. When I was a child, the books in this section did not exist. The closest thing we had to today's graphic novels were comic books. Libraries did not have comic books.

This form of literature has become important in the past few years. It became a book category in bookstores in 2001. Although these are called graphic novels, they are not all fiction. Many nonfiction graphic novels can be found in classrooms today. I used to sell them when I was selling educational books. They appealed to young people whose reading skills could not handle normal books at their grade level.

The first graphic novels I carried were the classic collections of Tin Tin books by Herge. Both my husband and son loved them. They were some of the few graphic novels you might find in a library in the 1980's. If your library doesn't have them, you can find them at Amazon.

Here are some of the nonfiction graphic novels you can find at the Paso Robles Library.

Nonfiction Graphic Novels at Paso Robles Library, © B. Radisavljevic

The Library Helps Bring the Community Together. 

As you come through the library doors, the first thing you see on your right  is this table and bulletin board.  They explain volunteer opportunities in Paso Robles. Just past it are two other information displays -- one announcing community events, and another with hand-outs about community resources.

Volunteer Opportunity Announcements, © B. Radisavljevic

You will often see volunteer tutors with their students in the library, but I'm not supposed to take pictures of them. I didn't see any today anyway, but I often do  see them.

People  who don't have computers use those in the library.

Those who want to find cheap books to keep can find them in the library bookstores run by the Friends of the Library.

The City Council and other  groups hold meetings in the library conference room.

The library also has special programs for children to keep them interested in reading. These are often seasonal.

The Paso Robles Library is a vital service that helps every segment of our community.

How does your city's library compare? Does it offer much the same kinds of services? Does it have services we may not have?  What do you like best about your library?

If you'd like to see what other City Daily Photo bloggers around the world have shared about their libraries, check out the theme photo gallery.

To see my other posts about our library,  click one of the icons below. You will see details that I haven't included here.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

How I Got Rid of This Black Widow

It's Easy for Black Widows to Creep into a Garage

I believe this is the same black widow that was hanging out on my overhead garage door last week. I had to be very careful when I opened it because I wanted to make sure this lady wasn't going to drop on me. This is where I found her today, very close to the garage door.

I'm still storing a lot of boxes, and I know some of these spiders are going to creep into them. That's why I plan to wear heavy gloves when I start going through those boxes. I will also have a can of Terro Spider Spray next to me when I start sorting through those boxes.

I hadn't planned to deal with black widows today, but I saw this lady when I was bringing the groceries in. I had to take her photo first, since these spiders often scurry away before I can photograph them. It was windy, and the door was open, so I'm surprised she didn't run away.

After I Took the Picture, I Killed the Black Widow

Last time I was at Walmart to pick up a prescription, I knew I needed a weapon to use against the spiders. I decided to get Terro Spider and Ant Killer -- the only product Walmart had to kill spiders. I hate using sprays, and I don't use them for ants. I just don't want to get too close to a black widow and a spray is just the right treatment for a spider that's out in the open, as you can see this one is. 

When I tried to use it last week, the spider was above my head. I couldn't get the spray to come out. I guess it's because I was aiming up. I'm supposed to keep the can upright or aim slightly down. I'm  very glad the spray decided to work  today. I'm pretty sure it killed the spider. She tried to get away, but I think it finally killed her. I saw a small black heap on the garage floor after I no longer saw the spider in her web. It does take a few seconds for the spray to actually kill the spider. 

Had I shopped on Amazon first, I would have found Terro Spider Killer, which gets rave reviews. I'm guessing it's pretty much the same product since what I used also kills both spiders and insects. I expect I'll order the double pack of spider killer because it's supposed to help to spray it around the outside of your house to discourage spiders and other annoying insects from coming in. 

Protect Yourself. Be Prepared.

Don't wait until the spider is in your territory to buy the spray. You may not be able to find it locally when you need it. I had to settle for what I could find, even though it wasn't exactly what I was looking for. Fortunately it worked, but it was the only choice I had.

 If you don't have heavy work gloves, it's good to have those on hand, too. They will do double duty in the garden when you have to get rid of thorns or prune roses. 

Stock up now and be prepared for the invasion that's coming. 


Friday, August 19, 2016

Photos of Smoky Sunset during Chimney Fire

Where There's Fire, There's Smoke

Where there is smoke, it affects the view of the sky. In East Paso Robles this is  especially evident at sundown. I took this first photo from my porch tonight, thus the intrusion of the overhang. You can see how the smoke affects the color of the sky.

Photos of Smoky Sunset during Chimney Fire, Paso Robles, August 2016
Smoky Sunset from My Paso Robles Porch, © B. Radisavljevic 

The Chimney Fire started Saturday afternoon, and had burned almost 12,000 acres as of 7 AM this morning, when it was pronounced 33% contained.  Last night the air was so smoky we  had to shut the windows and use the air conditioning instead of outside air to cool the house. Even though we can see the smoke tonight, at least we can't smell it from where we are, so the windows are open again.

Photos of Smoky Sunset during Chimney Fire, Paso Robles, August 2016
Smoky Sunset in  Paso Robles during Chimney Fire, © B. Radisavljevic 

The Chimney Fire Spread Quickly

Forest fires get out of control quickly and can cover a lot of territory fast. This is especially true if it's hot and windy and there is much dry brush to feed the fire. Many get enough warning to prepare to evacuate and save their lives. They may not be able to save their homes.

My heart goes out to those who have lost their homes or had property damaged by this fire. Many of the California fires now burning were deliberately set. It makes me wonder why someone would want to hurt people this much and blacken our beautiful landscapes.

 KIKAR Emergency Escape Hood Oxygen Mask Respirator 60 Minutes Fire Smoke Toxic Filter
If you live in hot dry area that is often subject to fire, it's good to be prepared to evacuate. Have your most precious possessions in one place easy to grab and flee. Most people caught in fires are overcome with smoke inhalation that prevents them from escaping. Whether it's a house fire or forest fire that threatens your family, you can prevent some inhalation tragedies by having some of these masks on hand for family members. The book will help you be ready for any emergency or disaster.

Photos of Smoky Sunset during Chimney Fire, Paso Roble, August 2016
Smoky Sunset in  Paso Robles during Chimney Fire, © B. Radisavljevic 

For those of you outside of the Paso Robles area, this fire did not start in a chimney. It got its name because it is near Chimney Rock near Lake Nacimiento. The entire North San Luis Obispo County and Monterey County area are very dry and fire danger is high everywhere. I pray for the safety of the firefighters and all those in the path of the many fires burning in the West right now.

Photos of Smoky Sunset during Chimney Fire, Paso Robles, August 2016
Feel free to pin this image. It's just the right size. 

Are any fires burning near you  tonight? Can you smell the smoke?