Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Here's the Caboose of the October Ultimate Blog Challenge

The October Ultimate Blog Challenge Ends Today

It's been quite a ride! I'm rather sad to see it end. Thirty post cars have passed and this is the caboose.

Here's the Caboose of the October Ultimate Blog Challenge
Caboose on site at Pomar Junction Winery in Paso Robles, © B. Radisavljevic

It's been an exciting journey. I've enjoying meeting and reading many bloggers I didn't know before. I have followed many of them on  social media sites so I don't lose track of them. I have subscribed to many of their blogs. Here are just a few of them. I encourage you to pay their blogs a visit.

  • Inspired by His Words, an urban contemporary Christian lifestyle blog by Ava James
  • My Warrior Mom Life: A mom fights for her troubled teen and a lifestyle with less dependence on electronics. 
  • Healthy Heart 4 Life: Ute Goldkuhle blogs about a healthy lifestyle.
  • Home-Cooked and Handmade: Jill Robbins posts recipes and instructions on how to make many useful things yourself. 
  • The Martha Review: Martha DeMeo reviews books and products for every part of life, links to coupons and great deals, and shares her love of photography.
  • Ramblin with AM: Alana Mautone shares my interest in history, gardening,  photography, and more. I enjoy her observations and photos. 

What's Next?

Here's the Caboose of the October Ultimate Blog Challenge
Picnic Tables beside Santa Fe Train Cars at Pomar Junction Winery in Paso Robles, © B. Radisavljevic

The challenge has renewed my interest in this blog. I don't know if I'll be able to keep posting every day, but I will try to post at least two days a week and on Theme Day, the first day of each month. Of all my blogs, this is the one I enjoy most. I enjoy spotlighting my favorite places, events, and nature photos from the Paso Robles area. Here are the other blogs I write or contribute to: 

  • Barb's Writing Life: This is where I post my observations on the various content and social blogging sites that keep popping up, as well as the more established ones like HubPages. I review some of those sites and analyze why some succeed and others don't. I use the site pages to hold work  I'm moving from other sites on a variety of topics. Most are being revised and transferred from HubPages and some of the sites that have closed. I expect to put more time into this site in the future. 
  • Books to Remember: This site is dedicated to books and resources for home and school educators. The link goes to the blog. The tabs cover various education resources and children's authors with reviews of books. 
  • Bookworm Buffet: Here I review many of the books I've enjoyed reading myself, fiction and nonfiction. I don't have time to review everything I read or I'd never have time to read. I tend to review Christian fiction and mysteries most of the time. I also review memoirs. 
  • A California Life: I'm a life-long Californian and I use posts in this blog to share my state as I've known it for almost eighty years with photos, memories, and tidbits of California history 
  • Barb's Garden Observations: This was my first blog just for fun. It details what I've done in my gardens over 25 years and what I've learned about the plants. I only post to this blog when I have time to get out into the garden and work or take photos. That's not as often as I'd like these days. 
  • ReviewThisReviews is a group blog I contribute to twice a month. It's devoted to book, movie, music, and other product reviews for products that our contributors have used. The link goes to my own contributions, but you will also find links to the work of the other contributors and the most popular subjects on the blog. It's getting to be a very popular blog. 
My other blogs not listed here will probably not exist independently or grow much longer. I simply don't have time for them anymore.

Here's the Caboose of the October Ultimate Blog Challenge
Caboose on site at Pomar Junction Winery in Paso Robles, © B. Radisavljevic

Thank you for taking this journey with me. I hope you will continue to visit even now that the caboose is here. Only the challenge is over. The blog goes on bringing my unique observations of living on the California Central Coast in the midst of wine country. See you on the next train in November.

Here's the Caboose of the October Ultimate Blog Challenge
Partial View 
Caboose on site at Pomar Junction Winery in Paso Robles, © B. Radisavljevic

Monday, October 30, 2017

Ghosts and their Friends Who Lurk to Scare Visitors On Halloween

What Haunts These Yards?

This is the time of year I'm glad I walk to the neighborhood mailbox during daylight. All the ghosts and other scary things I pass on the way are less intimidating in the light. I will show you some of them. By the time I walk home the sun is slowly fading. Below you see the ghosts who live across the street from me.

Ghosts and their Friends Who Lurk to Scare Visitors On Halloween

As you can see above, trees seem to attract a lot of ghosts. Even tiny ones. I never would have found this one had I not been trying to take pictures of the fruits of the sycamore tree. There's one of those right behind the ghost's head.

Ghosts and their Friends Who Lurk to Scare Visitors On Halloween

These ghosts are ready to scare little treat-or-treaters from the air.

Ghosts and their Friends Who Lurk to Scare Visitors On Halloween

This home has ghostly greeters with a little help from their friends.

Ghosts and their Friends Who Lurk to Scare Visitors On Halloween:  Photos of Yards Decorated for Halloween

Scared yet? I didn't think so. If you want to get scared, read this book by my friend Lori Moore. She tells some very chilling ghost stories in this book. Just right to read on a dark night in a haunted house. Or any night when you don't mind a few shivers down your spine. You can even read the Kindle verson in the dark.

Get yourself some spooky classical music to listen to while you read. Or just get it to play while the spooks approach your home on Halloween.

Witches, Etc.

I guess you can't have a Halloween night without a few witches flying around or hanging on trees, like this one. And one also would expect to see Jack-o-Lanterns and skeletons on the scene. Most of the grave that have sprung up in front yards aren't on my block. Thank goodness! They remind me I'm getting old.

Ghosts and their Friends Who Lurk to Scare Visitors On Halloween

Enjoy your Halloween, and be safe. Don't let the ghosts or anything else spoil your evening. And don't eat all the candy your kids bring home.

Ghosts and their Friends Who Lurk to Scare Visitors On Halloween - Photos of Yards Decorated for Halloween


Sunday, October 29, 2017

What's Going on in Kitty's Mind?

Why Won't This Cat Look at Me?

A few days ago I spent a few minutes stalking this kitty in my neighbor's flower bed with camera in hand. Part of her territory is near my mailbox.  I have encountered her before and she was pretty shy then, too.  I first introduced her in Two Very Different Cats: One Shy, the Other Sociable.

What's Going on in Kitty's Mind?

Normally I can at least get a strange cat to look me in the eye, but not this one. If she's looking at me at all, she is scowling. As we appraised each other, she also let out a few growls. Evidently she doesn't like to have me stalk her. I think she'd rather do the stalking herself. On this day it seems her mind was fixed on eating grass.

What's Going on in Kitty's Mind?

What I Learned about This Kitty

One day when I went to get the mail, I was concerned that for a few weeks I hadn't seen any signs of the neighbor I thought owned this kitty. When I saw her neighbor across the street, I asked if she knew why her neighbor wasn't around. I learned she was on vacation and her nephew was taking care of the property.

While we were talking Kitty strolled over. I asked who she belonged to. The neighbor replied that the cat sort of belonged to everyone. She visited all of them and many of them fed her. I immediately thought of Six Dinner Sid, a humorous cat picture book by Inga Moore. Anyone who loves cats will want to read it.

 Sid is also a neighborhood cat, but none of the six neighbors know it. They all think he belongs just to them. He has managed to convince each that he's theirs and they all feed him. He gets six dinners a day. He is able to keep them all unaware of his duplicity because the neighbors don't talk to each other -- until the day Sid gets sick and all six neighbors take him to the same vet, who puts it all together. He lets them know what Sid has been up to. I won't tell you the rest. The book, and its sequel, which I just found out about, is available at Amazon. At least our neighbor kitty hasn't fooled anyone. They all know what she's doing and they don't care.

I Wonder If Kitty Will Ever Be My Friend?

One of my favorite neighbor cats, Sarah, was very hard to befriend, but after a few days and many cat treats she finally warmed up to me. Soon she was hanging out on my porch. I looked forward to coming home every afternoon, knowing she'd be there waiting for me -- and her cat treat. Unfortunately Sarah met with an unknown fate. Her owners kept all their cats, including Sarah, outside. One day she was gone and never returned. We think she met with disaster in the form of the coyotes that roam our property from time to time. I made this memorial ornament to honor her. I miss her every time I return to our Templeton home. The ornament is easy to customize to memorialize any pet.

I wonder if I will ever make friends with neighbor kitty as I did with Sarah. Maybe I'd better buy some cat treats to take with me when I get the mail. I'd like to change the scowl to a smile and the growl to a purr. It would be enlightening to know what Kitty is thinking. I wonder if she would really like to be friends and just wants to be coaxed. I'd love to be able to talk to her.

What's Going on in Kitty's Mind?

Do you ever befriend neighbor pets? Do any special ones come to mind?

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Maybe I Should Have Gone to the ER

Health Dictates a Brief Post Today

Last night was scary. Just before I was ready to go to bed at my usual 2 am, my heart started to race and I felt dizzy. My blood pressure was 149/92 with a pulse of 155. Ten minutes later I took it again and it was 129/88 with a pulse rate of 156. My normal pulse rate is closer to 60. I had very mild chest pain. I wouldn't have noticed it had I not been lying down. Once again I debated internally a frequent question that comes up in my life? Should I take an ambulance ride?

Maybe I Should Have Gone to the ER
Twin Cities Hospital Emergency Treatment Room, © B. Radisavljevic 

Why I Didn't Go

Why did I leave that bed above unfilled? I am an  emergency room veteran. I have been at least twice for chest pain. It's always pretty much been a wasted trip. I come home feeling worse than when I went because it's impossible to sleep. It takes me two days to recover. Read about my past experiences here: Our Experience at the Twin Cities Hospital Emergency Room.

I just reread it. I realize now that maybe I should have gone. But I knew I'd probably not finish this blogging challenge on time because they would have kept me overnight again to do a repeat blood test in the morning. I would have been too exhausted to do anything in the morning and probably the next day as well. I already knew the information in this video:

I have had these palpitations before. They haven't been this bad for years, but my cardiologist wasn't alarmed about them. When I didn't go last time this happened, when I finally got approval to see him he did another stress test and told me I had made the right decision in not going. He told me next time to take another half pill of my medication and rest until it kicked in. I did that last night. Except it took over an hour for anything to change. I tried to sleep, but it's hard when your pulse rate is really high. Then I noticed a tiny bit of pain in my chest and in my fingers in my left hand. I was pretty sure I wasn't having a stroke, because I've read this and keep it handy.

Maybe I Should Have Gone to the ER
The Screen from the Ultrasound from my Stress Test,  © B. Radisavljevic 

I finally woke up my husband. I had almost passed out trying to make it to the bathroom. He sat with me while I sat in my recliner in the family room and we decided what to do. Had it been him instead of me I would have called the ambulance. He has a stent and a history of heart problems.

I know the doctors are in the process of experimenting with changing the doses on my heart and thyroid medications. No one is sure what the right dose is anymore because I lost weight and they cut the dosage of both medications to make up for the weight loss. Meanwhile, I never know when these episodes of palpitations and dizziness will occur, so I hardly dare drive. My head just doesn't feel right.

It's now 2:15 pm. Except for a weird feeling in my head I feel pretty normal, but my last two blood pressure readings, taken in bed, have been way below my normal 124. Meanwhile, I think I'll call my pharmacist for advice on the medications and have a bit of caffeine if my blood pressure is still too low. That would be green tea and maybe a bit of dark chocolate with my banana and almonds.

Maybe I Should Have Gone to the ER
What I Frequently Have for Lunch, © B. Radisavljevic 

I had a pretty safe breakfast: hot oatmeal with walnuts, raisins and chopped apples in it. I'll take it easy today. Above is what I'll probably have for lunch - cold broiled chicken strips, tangerine, avocado, almonds, and maybe some of those olives. I could eat it plain or make a salad of all but the tangerine and olives and add a few white beans. If I do that I'll used slivered instead of the whole almonds. I doubt if my doctors would fault any of those foods.

Since I need to rest, I will schedule this post ahead and go to bed earlier tonight - as soon as I feel tired. I will only do online tonight what I can get done before I tire. I can use a few hours more sleep to make up for the four hours I missed last night, since I didn't fall asleep until about 6 am.

What Would You Have Done?

I'm sure many of you would probably scold me me for staying home. Many others would understand why I did. I'm honestly not sure yet I won't go tonight if the problem comes up again and my pharmacist has no advice and I can't reach my doctors by phone. Stay tuned.

Note: Please do not use this as medical advice you should apply to yourself. This is just my own experience and I used past medical advice from my doctors when making my decision. People with any of these symptoms should see a doctor, and if they are severe they should go to the emergency room. Each person's medical history and condition is unique.

Friday, October 27, 2017

The Weedy Tree of Heaven in October

The Tree of Heaven Thrives Almost Anywhere

Not everyone considers it heavenly. It's not really an ugly tree. It just loves that God made it to bear seeds to reproduce itself and the Tree of Heaven does it with enthusiasm. A remarkable number of those seeds sprout and become new trees. Most of those trees aren't welcomed. They tend to move in and take over. If you try to chop down  or cut off a small tree, it will multiply even more by producing a multitude of suckers.

The Weedy Tree of Heaven in October

What you see above are just a few branches hanging over a shed in the Templeton Community Garden. I'm afraid if someone doesn't so something soon, there will be a forest of Trees of Heaven.  The babies are already popping up all over where they aren't wanted.

Here's an example. The fence you see below separates the Templeton Community Garden from the property around it. There is a majestic oak on the other side of that fence. Do you see what's growing under the oak and on both sides of it? Yep! That's a Tree of Heaven forest waiting to grow up. The Tree of Heaven seemingly can exist and grow without much sunlight, so the shade of the oak won't do much to thwart it. It hardly even needs soil.

The Weedy Tree of Heaven in October: This oak is surrounded by seedlings from the Tree of Heaven.

The Tree of Heaven Is Far from Heavenly 

For one thing, it smells. That's right. The base of the leaves have oil-bearing glands. If you rub them, you probably won't like the odor. The flowers have the same "fragrance."

The tree is also destructive. It can grow from a crack in a sidewalk and destroy the foundations of buildings. It is so invasive that it threatens native plants and agricultural crops. The seedling below is very close to the raised bed where the tomatoes are growing.

The Weedy Tree of Heaven in October
Tree of Heaven Seedling in October,  © B. Radisavljevic

You don't want Tree of Heaven growing anywhere near your garden is because it has a toxin in its bark and leaves that will kill other plants around it. I wouldn't put the leaves in your compost pile.

These Videos Will Give You More Information

This video explains how to identify the Tree of Heaven, also known as ailanthus, Chinese sumac, and stinking sumac. It also suggests some ways of getting rid of even mature trees.

Here's how to kill this invasive tree.

Get the product used in the video above by clicking the ad below.

Are you an organic gardener? Here's an organic way to kill a Tree of Heaven. It just takes longer.

Get the product used in the video above by clicking the ad below.

What Does the Future Have in Store for This Raised Bed in the Community Garden?

We have seen how quickly Tree of Heaven can spread. We also know the toxins in its bark and leaves can kill surrounding plants. It would appear the Templeton Community Services District needs to pay more attention to the maintenance of this garden area. Not only does it play host to the Tree of Heaven, but we've seen in a previous post that poison oak is also growing just inside of its fence on the south side.

The Weedy Tree of Heaven in October
Tree of Heaven Seedling about to Invade Templeton Community Garden, © B. Radisavljevic

The tomatoes survived proximity to the seedlings this year. By next year the tree will be much taller if not controlled now.

For more information on The Tree of Heaven and how to control it, read what experts at Penn State University have to say. 

Have you encountered the Tree of Heaven on your property? If so, what have you done about it? Were you satisfied with the outcome?

Thursday, October 26, 2017

What's Lurking under the Willow Tree?

Is That Hollow a Good Place to Hide?

If one passes by this willow tree and looks at it from the path, one sees this shady space, almost like a little hollow or cave that would make a good hiding place. But you aren't likely to find any lovers there making the most of solitude. Anyone who has any sense will stay away.

Let's take a closer look at what's hidden in the shadow of this tree. I approach it, stepping away from the trail. I use my flash to chase away the shadows. Does it look like a good hiding place now? It this a tree you'd like to climb? Would you like to gather these beautiful shiny autumn leaves? I don't think so. Not if you recognize that lovely patch of poison oak?

And If You Did Not Recognize the Poison Oak in Time or Fell Into It?

Use this. It should offer some relief from the itching and pain.

A Closer Look at the Poison Oak Leaves

The photo above shows how the poison oak looked under the tree without using the flash. It was late afternoon. You will notice that some leaves are changing color, but others are still quite green. Poison oak leaves are arranged in groups of three connected leaflets. They are shiny with urushiol, the oil that causes the rash when it comes in contact with skin. The leaves don't have to touch the skin to cause the rash. Anything touching the skin that has picked up some oil can also do the same damage -- clothing, pet fur, etc.

Below is a photo I took exactly two years earlier than the photo above under that same tree. Here it is easier to see the patterns and colors of the leaves.

It is very important for anyone who hikes in California to be able to recognize poison oak. When I was growing up, we all learned the rhyme you may have heard: "Leaves of three, let it be." That's a good precaution. It's better safe than sorry. And if you touch poison oak and are as sensitive to it as most people are, you will be sorry. Books can tell you how to identify poison oak, but the sketches are often much neater than what you will see in the wild.

 It's true that berries that grow in some of the same places as poison oak does and can resemble it. I've seen them grow right next to each other. Most of the berries have thorns. Poison oak doesn't. They both change color in the fall. If in doubt, don't touch.

Poison Oak Loves to Climb

It climbs fences and shrubs. It especially likes to climb oak trees. Chances are if you are in an unmaintained area and you see a group of oak trees, you will also find poison oak climbing some of them.

Many public parks in Paso Robles that have open spaces don't maintain those open spaces. That's why Larry Moore Park is such a likely place to encounter poison oak right next to trail. I've even seen poison oak in maintained areas. I once encountered it encroaching on a public sidewalk on a busy street next to a hospital in San Luis Obispo.  I sure didn't expect to see it on a busy city sidewalk.

Go enjoy your open spaces, but be careful. Keep your eyes open and stay away from anything than looks like poison oak. If you are walking your dog in such a place, remember if he gets the oil on his fur, and you pet him, you can be just as miserable as if you'd touched the plant itself.

Have you had any experiences with poison oak or poison ivy? Feel free to share them in the comments.


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Wordless Wednesday: The Next Generation of Milk Thistle

New Life Rises from the Death of the Old Milk Thistles

The Next Generation of Milk Thistle
Milk Thistle Seedheads with Green Jimson Weed in Background, © B. Radisavljevic

The Next Generation of Milk Thistle
Dying Milk Thistle with Flowers Turned to Thistles, © B. Radisavljevic

What's Wrong with This Picture?

The Next Generation of Milk Thistle
 Would you rather remove the can or the poison oak?  © B. Radisavljevic

Like It? Please Pin It.

The Next Generation of Milk Thistle

For more information on these plants, also see these articles:

Milk Thistle and Hemlock: The Prickly and the Poisonous

Oak and Poison Oak in Photos: Can You Tell the Difference?

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Pomegranates: A Beautiful Autumn Gift

Pomegranates Are Stunning Stars of the Autumn Garden

When many flowers are beginning to disappear, the bright red fruit of the pomegranate tree adds a burst of color to a flower bed. I found this tree in my neighbor's flower garden.

Pomegranates: A Beautiful Autumn Gift
Pomegranates on the Tree, © B. Radisavljevic

I only wish I'd been around with my camera when this pomegranate tree was in bloom. I've never seen it blooming. I must have been too busy to walk in that direction during spring. I'll make a point of going next spring, God willing. I'm sure it will be a show worth seeing.

I did find this photo of a pomegranate blossom on Pixabay. It shows me what I missed. Imagine a tree filled with these flowers! You can see one of the forming fruits peeking out beneath a leaf a bit higher than the flower.

Pomegranates: A Beautiful Autumn Gift
Pomegranate Flower Image Courtesy of Pixabay

Here's how the tree looks in the garden among the flowers. I believe those are roses below it.

Pomegranates: A Beautiful Autumn Gift
Pomegranate Tree in a Garden, © B. Radisavljevic

Pomegranates Make Lovely Tree Ornaments

As I gazed at the tree, the pomegranate fruits looked like Christmas tree ornaments.  I decided to put some on Zazzle ornaments. They come in many styles and shapes. You can get large ceramic ones as hearts, squares, circles, or ovals -- the only ceramic shapes I recommend. You can also get smaller premium ornaments with metal edges, like this one. (Also available as square.)

These ornaments from Amazon feature open pomegranates that display their delicious seeds. Even the seed color is red to contrast with the green of the trees.

Pomegranates Are Tasty and Healthy Fruits

Pomegranate seeds (also known as arils) are packed with nutrients. Just one cup contains 7 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein. They are also good sources of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, folate, and potassium. They contain powerful antioxidants, as well.

 If that's not enough, they also fight inflammation in the body and may help defend the body against breast and prostate cancer. That's just the beginning of the pomegranate's virtues as a nutrient.  Read more about the healthful effects of eating pomegranates at Twelve Health Benefits of Pomegranate in the Healthlines Newsletter.

Of course, to get the health benefits, one has to actually consume the pomegranate arils. They are tasty, tart and sweet together. The reason more people don't eat pomegranates is that they can be expensive if you don't have a tree, and they aren't the easiest fruit to eat. All the tasty nutritious arils are buried in a tough bitter membrane and it is hard to remove them by hand. I just discovered there is a better way to get at them instead of digging them out while staining your fingers with that lovely red color. There is a handy tool for getting them loose.

Some people still think that's too much work, so they just buy pomegranate juice. It's also packed with nutrients and phytochemicals your body needs, but you can't get the fiber from the juice. This book will tell you more about why pomegranates are considered by some to be so useful in wellness.

Do You Eat Pomegranates?

If you do eat pomegranates, do you dig the seeds out by hand, use a tool, or have a different method of getting them loose? If you don't eat them, what is the main reason why you don't? Have you tried them and not enjoyed their taste? Or does it just seem like too much work to eat them? Do you eat or drink them in products such as juice or jelly? I drink a white tea in which pomegranate extract is one of the ingredients used to add flavor.

Of course there's more one can do with pomegranates than eating the seeds or drinking juice or tea. This book celebrates the pomegranate and contains seventy different recipes that include it. I'd like to try the syrup and some of the main dish recipes.

In addition to explaining how to use the seeds or juice them, the book also illuminates the cultural history of the pomegranate, which has been prized since Biblical times. Some scholars believe this is the forbidden fruit Eve ate, but some others believe she ate a fig or apricot. Apples didn't grow in the Middle East that far back in time.

Do you have a favorite pomegranate recipe? How do you most enjoy getting your pomegranate flavor? Have you ever had a pomegranate tree in your yard?

Pomegranates: A Beautiful Autumn Gift


Monday, October 23, 2017

What I Observed from my Bench at Larry Moore Park

You Can See a Lot of Nature Just Sitting on a Park Bench

Many times we don't really notice what's right in front of us. When I was escaping my roofers' noises this week I found myself on this bench. I'm so blessed I can walk over here, though I didn't on this particular day. This is the bench upon which I sat.

This bench faces west toward the Salinas River, but the riverbed is dry now. On the other side of the river runs some railroad tracks and on the other side of those the 101 Freeway as it goes through Paso Robles. To the left of the bench is the end of the cul-de-sac and a fence dividing public land from the small farm across from it. That land is where I saw the goats after I left this bench to go home.

This Bench Offers a Dose of Wilderness Close to Civilization

One of the first things I saw was an Amtrak train heading south from the Paso Robles Station. It always passes the park, and you can almost set your clock by it if you pay attention. Normally I see it going toward the station, but I was earlier than usual on this day.

You can see beyond the train to the cars on the freeway. It's a divided freeway on this stretch. I was using a zoom lens, so that train and the freeway look much closer than they really are. You'd have to walk about two blocks through the park and across the riverbed and then a bit further to get to those train tracks. When you listen to the video you will hear the traffic, but I believe the train was gone by the time I made the video.

The Salinas River Trail

My bench sits near an entrance to the Salinas River Trail that goes through the park and past it for a couple of miles. If you look to the right of the bench, as I did to take this photo, you will see the trail. Quite often people are walking or biking there. Many people use the trail or the dry riverbed to walk their dogs.

The Video

As I sat on my bench, I made a video by pointing the camera from the right to the left to take in my view. I aimed it up, down, and sideways to take in the height of the tree near me. I narrate to tell you what I'm seeing and doing. I hope you enjoy it.

Still Views from My Bench

Below you see the path that leads to the riverbed, now dry. On the far right is the tree branch you saw in the video that bends all the way to the ground and looks like a little tree by itself. Between that and the path to the river you see a bed of poison oak with a red tinge. The oak is on the left and its branch extends all the way to the ground on the right. The path is steeper than it looks and one has to be careful not to slip -- especially when it's wet after one of our rare rains.

Here's a closer look at that poison oak beside the path to the river.

Here's the other side of the oak on the left side of the path.

Below is the rest of the oak and the rocks near the trail entrance near the road. On the far left you are seeing outside the park onto the private property where I saw the goats yesterday.

This is another perspective of the oak with a zoom and some dried poison hemlock stalks. Have you noticed how much poison lurks near the trails?

Here's a book that will help you identify and deal with poison oak if you happen to touch it. This book has the highest reviews of any I saw, and a great section on identifying these plants.

Below I put the poison oak right next to the oak branch so you can see the leaves clearly. There's part of a willow tree on the far left near the top.

Now You've Shared my Views from the Park Bench

Which did you like best? Did you learn anything from these photos? I feel very fortunate to be able to walk to this park when I need a dose of nature. 


Sunday, October 22, 2017

Life in a Patch of Lavender in October

This Lavender Patch is Buzzing with Life In October

I found this bit of lavender growing in the almost deserted community garden in Templeton in mid-October. You cannot discover how full of life it is in this still photo. That's because the lively creatures active in it are so well camouflaged you can't see them very well unless they are moving

Life in a Patch of Lavender in October
A Lavender Patch in October, © B. Radisavljevic

That's why I want you to see them moving in this video. I'm only sorry the hummingbird that was flitting around disappeared when I started shooting the video. It must have been camera-shy.

A Deserted Community Garden

As you can see from the following photos, it seems most gardeners in the Templeton Community Garden have quit for the season. You can see the patch of lavender from a different perspective as I enter the garden from the path. The lavender is on the right. The raised bed behind it seems to have been left to fend for itself, as have most of the others in the garden.

Life in a Patch of Lavender in October
Deserted Templeton Community Garden in October, © B. Radisavljevic

Below you can see the torch lily, also known as red hot poker, complementing the color of the lavender and adding height.

Life in a Patch of Lavender in October
Lavender Patch and Torch Lily in October, © B. Radisavljevic

In the photo below, I'm standing behind the lavender looking back toward Main Street in Templeton. This gives you an overall view of the lavender patch and its environment.

Life in a Patch of Lavender in October
A Lavender Patch in October, © B. Radisavljevic

The One Active Raised Bed in the Garden

The one raised bed that appeared to still be cared for is this one, full of ripening tomatoes. I can see why it has not been deserted. Look at those luscious tomatoes, many ready to be eaten. I'm sure the gardener who planted these will return to harvest his or her crop. Wouldn't you?

Life in a Patch of Lavender in October
 October Tomatoes in the Templeton Community Garden, © B. Radisavljevic

Life in a Patch of Lavender in October
A Lavender Patch in October, © B. Radisavljevic

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