Saturday, December 31, 2016

Old Wives Tale Disproved this Afternoon

This Old Wives Tale Isn't True

When I was young Mom had a wringer washing machine and dryers hadn't been invented yet. Everyone hung their clothes on a line to dry, and that line was normally inside. When it was overcast and the sky was full of clouds, it might mean rain was coming, but maybe not. I grew up, after all, in Los Angeles County in "sunny California."

Old Wives Tale Disproved this Afternoon

So when the clothes were ready to hang, Mom would look up at the cloudy sky, as her mother had before her. Then she would say, "I can hang out the clothes. There's enough blue in the sky to make a Dutchman a pair of pants."  Today I scientifically proved that's not true. The photo above shows how the sky looked when I left to walk to my mailbox today. I didn't have any clothes to hang out, nor any line to hang them on. 

About halfway down the block, I stopped to take this photo. I'm sure glad I'd brought my camera bag. I'd brought it along to put my camera in when I had to use the key to open my mailbox. As it turned out, my camera might have been damaged without it. I took a few photos of the sky in different directions.

Old Wives Tale Disproved this Afternoon

About then I noticed that raindrops were falling on my head and all around me. It wasn't heavy rain, but I would not have wanted my clothes on the line. Now, an hour later, the sky is as blue as when I started my short walk.The blue had never left the sky at all. There is a slight breeze. There are still many clouds, but they are moving toward the northwest. The sun comes and goes. It will be down in three hours. 

If I had hung the laundry on the line, would it have dried today? I doubt it. But the sidewalk is dry again, at least for now. There's still a 5% chance of rain for the rest of the afternoon. The temperature has reached its high of 49 degrees. 

Old Wives Tale Disproved this Afternoon
Blue Sky with White Clouds, © B. Radisavljevic 

So, do you think if I'd had clothes to hang out when I left on my walk, they would have dried before dark?

Friday, December 30, 2016

A Pot of Split Pea Soup to See the New Year In

This Pot of Split Pea Soup Had Not Been Planned

It was a project made necessary by my thrifty soul as my friend and hostess prepared to serve dinner on Christmas Eve. I saw her slice ham to put on the serving platter and noticed she was throwing any slice with a heel or too much fat or gristle straight into the trash. 

A Pot of Split Pea Soup to See the New Year In

I asked her why she wasn't saving it for a soup. She said she didn't want to make soup. She offered to give me any more slices she didn't want, along with the bone. How could I refuse such a gift? Into a plastic bag it went, and it traveled between my cooler in the car and the refrigerators in our motel rooms, until we returned home from our three-day trip. 

Over the past two days, I made the soup. I put the ingredients together two days ago and let the soup simmer until most of the liquid fat had risen to the top. Then I cooled the whole crockpot overnight so the fat would congeal for easy removal with a spoon. I did that job yesterday. I also trimmed all remaining fat from the hambone and the meat slices so the soup would be as fat-free as possible. 

I sampled a small cup of soup last night. That taste made me very glad I had saved those ham scraps from the trashman and brought them home. The soup was worth the effort. 

Today and tomorrow we will enjoy having it to heat up. It will be perfect for the cold gloomy weather we have. It remains to be seen if we will get rain before the day is over. It's supposed to come at just the time I plan to be eating this soup tonight. We will also heat it up to enjoy as wait for 2017 to arrive.

My crockpot makes the preparation of soup as easy as it can be. My food processor helped, too, since it made slicing the onions, celery, and garlic a snap. I love not having to watch a pot on the stovetop to keep the soup from burning or boiling over. 

I often keep the soup simmering on low for a couple of hours, let it go automatically to warm for a couple more, and then keep switching until I'm ready to refrigerate the soup after eating. These are my best helpers in making soup.  Why not treat yourself to one you don't have?

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Lemons in December that Survived Frost

December Lemons: An Unexpected Sight

When I took a walk this week, I did a double take when I passed the yard where this tree lives. I had never noticed the lemon tree there before. As you can see, it's grown quite high. This is no dwarf in a half wine barrel that can be moved to a warm spot when it's cold. 

Lemons in December that Survived Frost
I was surprised to see this lemon tree in my neighborhood. © B. Radisavljevic 

My husband found ice on his windshield one morning of the week I passed this tree. All the experts told me citrus would not grow here in Paso Robles. This is not the first tree I've seen that proved them wrong. 

Our Orange Tree in Newbury Park

We had a very productive nature navel orange tree at our Newbury Park house in Southern California before we moved here. The climate was perfect for citrus and everyone had citrus trees in their yards. The climate was just right -- except the day it snowed. It snows in Newbury Park about once every twenty years.

Lemons in December that Survived Frost
Our Orange Tree in Ventura County the Day it Snowed, © B. Radisavljevic

The tree survived with no help from us. I guess an occasional really cold day or night won't kill a tree. I'll be keeping an eye on that lemon tree if we have a really cold spell with freezing temperatures for several nights in a row. I hope this beautiful tree lives a long and productive life. May its owners enjoy lemons for years to come. 

Lemons in December that Survived Frost

Do you have a citrus tree in your yard? Is your climate favorable to its growth?


Saturday, December 10, 2016

A Problem with the Camel in the Outdoor Nativity

Christmas decorations are going up all over the neighborhood now. The Cullen Family always puts on a spectacular display with lights, moving objects, and sound. Today I walked by a little after noon and took a few pictures. The display was not completely set up yet. I happened to notice the nativity set, but there seems to be a problem with the wise man and his camel. They appear to be down.

I couldn't help but wonder what happened here. A roaming neighborhood dog? A child? I didn't notice much wind, but we did have some rain this week. Curious minds want to know how this happened.

Here's another daytime view of the set-up.

This display changes every year as the family  adds more to it. Here's how it looked in 2010 when I made this video.

Here is a more professional version from 2009 produced by the Cullen family who created this display.

Things are arranged a bit differently this year, and I anticipate seeing how it all comes together. Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Transition Drought Brings to Land and Economy

In Any Language, No Water Means No Jobs

On a recent trip to Madera, we saw firsthand the transition the California drought has brought to what once was prime agricultural land.  As we approached Highway 198 on Highway 41, through the agricultural area, we saw signs like this in English and Spanish in front of dry and barren fields. Many years ago when we passed they were green.  That was before the drought and the water crisis.

Rough Translation of Sign into English: Enough is enough. There's no water. There are no jobs. It's the fault of Congresspeople Jim Costa and Nancy Pelosi.

I saw another sign but I wasn't quick enough to photograph before we passed it. That sign said something like this.


That sign was on the west side of the highway. Here's what was on the east side.

California Aqueduct on East Side of Highway, with Irrigation Pipes, Sign on Hwy 41 near Hwy 198 in California,
 © B. Radisavljevic 
It made me wonder why some farmers get water and some don't. Do some have more political pull than others? I don't know, but I did wonder.

The congressman for this area, Devin Nunes, had much to say about the politics involved, in his blog posts on the water crisis. Fourth District Congressman Tom McClintock also had a lot to say about the politics of the water crisis.  When farmers don't get water, they don't grow our food. They can't do it without water.

I took this photo just a bit farther down the highway.

Crops Growing Along Hwy 41 Near Hwy 198,  in California, © B. Radisavljevic 
Some farmers do have water, but not others.

Then there was this sign:

Sign on Hwy 41 near Hwy 198 in California, © B. Radisavljevic 

Evidently,  some politicians think so.

Families  Protecting the Valley

Most of the signs we saw were placed by an organization called Families Protecting the Valley. Their website explains some of the policies  that they believe are influencing who gets to use the water. They point out that historically the San Joaquin Valley has been one of the world's primary growing areas. It is important in our country's ability to be food independent.

As you might guess, since the water crisis, many people have lost their jobs, since farmers with no water can't employ them.

We saw this sign behind the Carl's Jr. parking lot near the intersection of Interstate Highway 5 and Highway 41. This is near the busiest intersection we passed on our way to Madera,  and there were many  places to buy food clustered here.

 I could not find the website address written on the sign. It seems to have been temporary since the domain is now for sale.

Sign Behind the Carl's Jr. Parking Lot, © B. Radisavljevic 

One of the last signs we saw on the way home was this.

It's obvious who these farmers believe will help them. I hope they are right.

This post was written for City Daily Photo Bloggers Theme Day. This month's theme is "Transitions." I have personally seen the transition of green fields and even trees to brown ones when there is not enough rain. See what photos other City Daily Photo Bloggers have posted to illustrate this theme. 


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Rushing into Christmas

Christmas Decorations are Already In Yards

On my way to the mailbox yesterday I saw a neighbor getting his Christmas yard display up. 

I guess the holiday is all about snowmen and Santa for many today. I like these displays from past years, like the one below, that capture more of what Christmas means to me. 

The Prince of Peace Belongs Not Just in Our Yards

This nativity decoration is simple and to the point. Peace in our hearts comes only when the Prince of Peace lives in our hearts and rules there. 

May you know his peace as you go through all the activities related to this season. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Souvenir Gifts with San Luis Obispo County Scenes

Give Gifts that Reveal the Beauty of San Luis Obispo County

San Luis Obispo County is one of the most beautiful places in California. We who live here know that. We have vineyards, beaches, mountains, lakes, and some of the most beautiful oak trees I've ever seen. Why not share some of that beauty next time you need a gift for someone?

People Walking at Moonstone Beach, © B. Radisavljevic
Zazzle offers the opportunity to make customized gifts and even customized gift wrap and gift tags for wrapping them. Use designs already on products as is, customize by adding or changing text, or change both text and photos. 

Zazzle has such a diversity of products you are sure to find a suitable gift for almost anyone -- employees, friends, family, newlyweds, new parents -- anyone. I'll show you some of my favorites below. Best of all, there usually is a special sale or promotion going on. Always check the top of the page for a  sale announcement and the current promotion code to use at checkout. When a product is being promoted you will also see that reflected in the price on the product page. 

Let's Start with Ornaments

Ornaments make great commemorative and memorial gifts.  Here's an article that tells you how to personize an ornament as a  pet memorial.You could just as  easily personalize it for "First Christmas Together" or "Baby's First Christmas." The procedure is the same. Here are some of my favorite ornaments of scenes around the county.  Click any one of them and you can find  your favorite places or make your own. 

As you can see above, there are many shapes and styles to choose from. I didn't feature any of the star or shirt shapes above, but you can see my entire wine country selection in all shapes here. If you click on any ornament you will see how it will look on all the different shapes and sizes. The larger ornaments are ceramic. The smaller premium ornaments have silver-color metal frames. The rest of my ornaments that don't relate to wine country are here, including those of the San Miguel Mission. 

A Wrapped Canvas Print Adds Beauty to a Home

These gallery-quality prints are made to last. They are available in many sizes to fit your decor. Here are a few of my own favorite places on premium wrapped canvas. Click through to see all options or to customize. You can substitute your own photo on any product featured on a Zazzle product. 

Wall Clocks Also Add a Personal Touch to a Home

What I like about making clocks on Zazzle is that you can use a favorite scene and add text to make a point or make someone laugh. I did that with most of these clocks below. My favorite of these is on the bottom row on the left. When you are on the beach at Morro Bay, who does care about the time? 

Is Someone You Know Getting an iPad Mini Soon?

Why not get a case to go with it? Here's one of our own Salinas River when it actually had water in it. 

I have reviewed the features of the types of cases one can use to protect the iPad Mini at Let Your iPad Mini Case Reflect Your Love for the California Central Coast. You can also see most of my designs featuring the Central Coast beaches and beach towns there. 

Not Inspired Yet?

There are too many kinds of gifts in my Zazzle stores to show you here. Check out the whole collection of popular cards and gifts with California Coastal Scenes.  See my designs from photos of local wineries on coasters that protect furniture from wet glasses and mugs. Here's a sample of the coasters.

The gifts below are all feature oak trees common to the Central Coast. They show just a sampling of other gift types. 

Clicking any product here will  take you to even more choices and options. Have fun, and maybe you will even want to make your own gift items while you are there. 

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