Saturday, October 31, 2015

Tips for a Happy and Safe Halloween

A Decorated House that Welcomes Rather than Scares Children

This is my personal favorite of all the Halloween decorations I photographed in 2012. It's friendlier than it is scary, and welcoming rather than intimidating. All decorated houses, though, are sure to welcome costumed children looking for treats.

Halloween Banner, ©B. Radisavljevic
Halloween Banner, photo ©B. Radisavljevic

Safety Tips for Treat-or-Treaters

If your children are in preschool, or the early grades, be sure they go out with a parent or other adult you trust.  Older children should trick-or-treat with a group of three or more. Remind all children to leave unwrapped treats alone until you've checked them for safety. Make sure children have lights to be visible to cars. Remind them to cross safely at corners as they would at other times. Warn them not to go inside houses unless they know the inhabitants well, and then not alone. Costumes should not impede movement or make it harder to see.

With that I shall wish you a happy Halloween, however you choose to spend it. Be safe, don't get sick on too much candy, and make sure your teens aren't out there begging without costumes.

Remember that houses without porch lights on may have good reasons for not welcoming treat-or-treaters. Some folks may be sick or be old and living alone, a bit afraid to open the door when they aren't sure it's an innocent young child ringing the bell. Be kind and kindness will come back to you.


Friday, October 30, 2015

More Ghosts from Halloweens Past

Ghostly Halloween Decorations

In a previous post I showed you some houses which had dressed up their yards for Halloween with exterior decorations.  Tonight, in the spirit of the quickly approaching holiday, I will show you more. This house really likes skeletons, though it appears ghosts are also welcome.

More Ghosts from Halloweens Past

Spider Decorations

This house also seems to attract some creepy spiders. Young trick-or-treaters better be careful not to get caught in those spider webs. But once past the webs, they will still face the huge black spider and the skeleton who guards the door. I don't think I'd be brave enough to approach that door if I were five years old.

More Ghosts from Halloweens Past: Halloween Decorations
Halloween Skeleton, Ghost, and Spider Decorations, 

Scare Your Visitors When You Open the Door

When I was in elementary school my mom loved Halloween. She used to put a jack-o-lantern head on a floor lamp, wrap a sheet around the rest of it, and keep it just inside the door. When she opened the door, it would be dark except for that ghost with the evil pumpkin head. I believe we also had creepy music in the background. It did scare quite a few of the youngest candy beggars. Fortunately, it wasn't as creepy as this decoration.

More Ghosts from Halloweens Past - Ghost, and Tombstone Decorations, ©B. Radisavljevic
Up from the Grave

How do your very young children react when they see these kinds of scary sights?

Thursday, October 29, 2015

A Wicked Exterior Light to Scare the Halloween Spooks Away

Devilish Mask on Light, ©B. Radisavljevic
Devilish Mask on Light
As Halloween approaches, we can expect to see some more clever decorating around people's homes in Paso Robles. This exterior light caught my attention last Halloween when I was walking precincts before the election. It was the first time I'd seen a light wearing a mask.

See more clever Halloween decorations around Paso Robles.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Croad Vineyards at Harvest Time

A Quick Look at the Croad Vineyard at Harvest Time

Although it seems just like yesterday I toured the Croad Vineyards during the harvest, it really happened in 2011. The year before I had observed the pickers from my backyard, since I live next door. Martin Croad must have noticed, so in 2011 he invited me to come observe the harvest from his side of the fence. He explained all that was happening and turned me loose with my camera.
Croad Tasting Room, ©B. Radisavljevic, 2011
Croad Tasting Room, ©B. Radisavljevic, 2011

This is the time of year when all the hard work pays off and the grapes are finally ready to start the transformation to wine. See in photos and videos how the magic happens at Croad Vineyards

Croad Vineyard at Harvest Time, ©B. Radisavljevic, 2011
Croad Vineyard at Harvest Time, ©B. Radisavljevic, 2011

Here are some other views of the Croad Tasting Room and Vineyard you can keep.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Moon is Waxing Gibbous

The moon is huge as I write this the evening of October 26, watching it rise. It's not quite as full as it will be tomorrow, but it is 50% illuminated, which is why it's called the Waxing Gibbous moon. It was quite visible in the late afternoon as I was driving east before the sun was gone. I drove up where I  could shoot this from a hilltop. To see the moon features, please click to enlarge the photo.

By the time you read this on October 27, you can look forward to seeing a full moon. I missed the larger harvest super blood moon last month because the clouds made it invisible. The sunset that night, though, was spectacular. Click the link to see those photos if you missed that post.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Looking Back at Peachy Canyon Tasting Room, 2013

It's no secret that I think the grounds of Peachy Canyon's 46 West Tasting Room are beautiful and peaceful places to roam with my camera. It's a bit more lively inside the tasting room itself, but if you step behind the tasting room to the park-like area for picnics it is tranquil. I especially love the large oaks where I sometimes see squirrels playing. Often the winery cats will come to say hello and ask to be petted, and we all know petting a cat is calming.

Looking Back at Peachy Canyon Tasting Room, 2013
Peachy Canyon Gazebo and Picnic Area, ©B. Radisavljevic,  ©B. Radisavljevic

Autumn is one of the most colorful times to visit any vineyard. I took these photos in early November, 2013. Just click on them to enlarge them.

Looking Back at Peachy Canyon Tasting Room, 2013
Ripe Grapes on the Vine at Peachy Canyon,  2013,  ©B. Radisavljevic

Looking Back at Peachy Canyon Tasting Room, 2013
Grape Leaves Dressed for Autumn, Peachy Canyon, 2013,  ©B. Radisavljevic

Looking Back at Peachy Canyon Tasting Room, 2013
Guardian of the Vineyard, Peachy Canyon, 2013,  ©B. Radisavljevic

I'm thankful I have such a generous neighbor who allows me roaming privileges when I need to find a few minutes of peace in the midst of a hectic life. Next time you approach the corner of Bethel Road and Highway 46 West, stop in and taste some wine. Then take it out on the grounds to sip in tranquillity in the shadow of the oaks as you look out at the vines.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Just a Single Bird -- or Two

Lonely Birds

Most of the time when I see birds, they seem to be close to or interacting with other birds unless they are birds of prey. They don't perch alone for long before they have company. That's why I was surprised to see this little fellow by himself on the edge of a planter on Spring Street in downtown Paso Robles. I wondered where his friends were.

Just a Single Bird -- or Two

Last time I walked through Larry Moore Park I saw this lone bird on a fence contemplating the dry riverbed, maybe wondering as I do if the river would ever be visible again. Or maybe he's wondering where his friends have flown off to.

Just a Single Bird -- or Two in Paso Robles
Lone Bird Beside Salinas Riverbed in Paso Robles

Here Are Some Other Single Birds 

Would you like to bring one home?


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Best Deal on Pumpkin Pie Around

You Can't Beat This Price for Pumpkin Pie

On Thursday I made the monthly trek to San Luis Obispo for a medical appointment. Since I was already there, I went to Costco. I spent more than I planned because they finally had everything in stock they've been out of on my last three monthly visits -- broiled chicken strips, Kirkland salted almonds, and all my favorite kinds of chocolate. Well, almost all of them. It's probably good they didn't have them all because I overspent as it was. After all, the one thing about shopping at Costco is that you never know when  they will stop stocking your favorite products. That's why when they have them I buy a two-month supply.

Costco's Pumpkin Pie, © B. Radisavljevic
Costco's Pumpkin Pie

I had to buy the pumpkin pie. My husband loves it and refers to it as "vegetables" to justify eating it. The pie is delicious, huge  (11" around and an inch deep), and only $5.99 at the San Luis Obispo store. I don't think I could make two pies myself for that price, and the Costco pie is about as big as two of my 9-inch pies would be. I have a very good recipe, but my pies aren't really any better than  this one. It's equal to about three Trader Joe pies, which are also delicious, but last time I looked their small pies were as expensive apiece as Costco's huge one.

As I update this in 2017, I just picked up another pie at Costco yesterday. Guess what? It was still only $5.99.

Friday, October 23, 2015

What's Blooming in Larry Moore Park in Mid October?

Catalina Fushia at Larry Moore Park, © B. Radisavljevic
Catalina Fushia at Larry Moore Park, © B. Radisavljevic
I love observing nature. That's one reason I often walk through Larry Moore Park. It is open space with paths along the Salinas River, currently dry. One thing that frustrates me as I walk through the park taking pictures is that I can't identify everything I see. One thing I didn't have a name for is the plant in this photo. It really adds color to the park at this time of year. This photo shows several plants in a group.

Catalina Fushia at Larry Moore Park, © B. Radisavljevic
Catalina Fushia at Larry Moore Park, © B. Radisavljevic
I decided before starting to write this that I would go back to the park today and take some close-up photos that would give me a good look at the individual flowers. I wanted to research them and find a name. As you see, I succeeded. Here is an enlarged view of the flowers. They really do resemble Fushia flowers a bit. Learn more and see a video on the Catalina Fushia  here. 

Willow in Bloom at Larry Moore Park, © B. Radisavljevic
Willow in Bloom at Larry Moore Park, © B. Radisavljevic

Other plants are also in bloom. One is the willow that you see all over the park. This one was right beside the path. Many are in the riverbed or beside it. Do you see the bee? If you need a closer look, just click the photo.

Telegraph Weed at Larry Moore Park, © B. Radisavljevic
Telegraph Weed at Larry Moore Park, © B. Radisavljevic
I finally identified another plant I seem to see everywhere -- even in my own yard. I've always assumed it to be a weed, and since I study weeds I was frustrated that I didn't know this one's name. The internet has more information than I have available in my books, and so I know now that this is a Telegraph Weed.

Coyote Brush in Bloom  at Larry Moore Park, © B. Radisavljevic
Coyote Brush in Bloom  at Larry Moore Park, © B. Radisavljevic
Last today, are the many coyote brush plants you will see not only in the park but on most rural roadsides and county wild places. It is just beginning to bloom and will be ready to lighten up the winter landscape in the bleak months. I think of coyote brush as California snowdrifts.

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