Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Getting Your Goat!

4H Goat Competition at the Del Mar Fair. So, is the gal in back smiling at the judges or laughing at the gal in front with the medal-covered hat and the errant goat? Based on the eyes, I'm guessing she's smiling for the judges. No spite, just good, not so clean (but honest) fun.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Nothing Like a Good Scratch

Nubian goat getting his ear/neck scratched by Pierre at the Del Mar County Fairgrounds. That goat was in a state of bliss!

4H Guinea Pig Competition

A proud and determined young woman displaying her pet guinea pig in the 4H Guinea Pig competition. As I watched, I wondered if dog, cat and other non-4H shows were similar and, oddly enough, thought that this young woman, fiercely staring down her guinea pig, almost daring it to move out of its show position, reminded me of a young Sara Palin. Do you suppose that Sara started off with 4H Guinea Pig Competitions as well? Nah, probably not... I had to admit that it was one fine looking guinea pig, certainly a champion (to me at least, if nothing else for being willing to sit still wherever she placed it!).

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Like Carving Butter

A man carving life-sized, human sculptures out of butter at the Del Mar/San Diego County Fair! In the old days, they used to carve lard but, hey, lard is very out these days and butter...well, less out. Besides, who ever heard of carving olive oil?

Friday, June 25, 2010

On the Beach in Florianopolis, Brazil

On a very empty white sand beach in Florianopolis, Brazil. This was taken in October so the beach was a little nippy. Needless to say, none of us were in a hurry to get into swim shorts. Still, it was nice walking along the white sand beach. You can see the little clam shells that littered the sand as well.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Florianopolis, Brazil

Florianopolis, Brazil. Truly a charming island. Quiet, friendly atmosphere and long white sand beaches. This picture is of the houses for the rich foreigners, mainly Europeans, as I was told but then it's been a while.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

View from the Fjords

Trondheim, Norway. We flew over the tundra in a long, cold flight in a turbo-prop. Just when you think you're going to freeze to death, you reach the fjords and everything turns lush and green! The buildings were colorful and the people, friendly. The rooms were small but neat and there were free, make-your-own waffles (and what looked like pickled smelt) in the lobby in the morning.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Jellyfish at the Osaka Aquarium. Jellies are free-swimming members of the phylum Cnidaria. They catch plankton and small sea creatures with their stinging tentacles as they drift/pulse through the water.


Ludo, A sculpture by Daniel Garcia. This one is for sale for $350 ($495 in the Gallery) at the Del Mar Fairgrounds (County Fair). Looks like something right out of the fairy tales!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Dogs Having Fun

Dogs having fun at Fiesta Island, San Diego, California. I swear that water was cold but the dogs didn't even flinch. In fact, they were all having a great time!

Fiesta Island has a leash-free dog area where the dogs can romp around and play with each other. There has been discussion about the City turning it into a city beach for swimmers instead. For the moment, however, it remains one of the last big patches of sand where dogs can run free in the City.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Messing Around With Effects

I've been waiting for the Trichocereus to bloom. As with the rest of my cacti, I get gorgeous flowers for a couple of days, once of year. (What's with that anyhow?) Anyhow, it has these big, fat, colorful buds that just keep you in suspense. But then, who wants to look at buds? So, here they are with a little bit of electronic dunking.

Friday, June 18, 2010

At The Snake Charmer's

Portable Python@Snake Charmer's. This guy hands me the snake and says he'll take my picture. He takes my picture and then says he's not taking the snake back until I tip him. Hah, how's that for motivation to find a big tip?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Lively Social Commentary

This painting really caught my eye at the Del Mar Fair. Shown is an excerpt from "Freedom of Expression," a watercolor by Jim Bates. I was attracted to the vibrant use of color and the wry social commentary. If you enjoy it please note that it is for sale for $2400 by the painter. You can see more of Jim's excellent watercolors at his web site. Most are a bit more formal while this one was very playful!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Taste the Fun!

A shot of the Entrance to the Del Mar Fair (dedicated to Martin!). It says, "Taste the Fun!" They are serving up all sorts of goodies including cotton candy, churros, deep fried Twinkies, deep fried snickers, sno-cones and popcorn! Nobody stays skinny at the fair! Bring back memories? You could hear the animals in the animal pavilion and there were plant displays, art and pottery displays and much more. There was a little something for everyone (except maybe for people on a diet!). As for the mouse up on the sign, hopefully he is part of the audience rather than part of the fare.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Awk...Silly Use of Hawaiian on TV...

Okay, so this Carl's ad has been bugging me. I speak a little Hawaiian and it was just enough to be irritating not knowing the exact translation of what they were saying so I looked it up.

Hala-kahiki on your moa u translates into pineapple on your chicken. Moa is chicken. U is the possessive (hence, "your" chicken). So they literally translated their chicken sandwich with pineapple.

Hala-kahiki means pineapple although I suspect it derives from the more literal translation, Foreign Hala, since the leaves on a pineapple look like the leaves of the Hala Tree, especially a young one before it branches out and pineapple was imported into Hawaii from South America. Just more conjecture of course. Anyhow, mystery solved in the case of the corny Carl's ad.

It all made me feel pretty silly when I realized it was an ad for a chicken sandwich with grilled pineapple (duh!). The answer was right in front of my face. Oh well. My excuse: I'd never heard anyone call a pineapple a Hala-kahiki in Hawaii, ever. The rest of it, I figured out pretty quick.

Disclaimer: the above conjecture is not intended to provide any endorsement for Carl's or their advertising. This was, for me, just an academic exercise.

...Or Maybe They're All Favorites?!

Epiphyllum hookeri. This little jungle cacti or Epiphyllum blooms at night (shown here with a little bit of dew). The flowers last less than a day but are awesome, spectacular things! Wish you could see them in person.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Cactus Favorites

Echinocereus rigidissimus var. rubispinus. One of my all time favorites for dramatic colored flowers and equally awesome red and white spines, this tiny Echinocereus is blooming on the back patio. It's in full sun and seems to love it, with three more buds on the way! I bought this as an unnamed, unbloomed cactus seedling from a really cool cactus shop in town, Exotic Gardens, and it has not disappointed me one bit.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

White, Sparkling Angels in a Flower!

Podangis dactylocerus. One of a myriad of African spurred orchids, typically pollinated by moths. They are white so the pollinators can find them at night! Shown here is a close-up of one of the swarm of 1 cm flowers that covered this plant. These little flowers have a sparkling texture like diamond dust!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Rossioglossum grande

Rossioglossum grande, an orchid found in Guatemala, Belize and Mexico, where it grows in deciduous cloud forests from 4000-8000 feet.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Horney Devil

Four-horned Devil, Del Mar Art Show at the Del Mar Fair, Del Mar, California.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The Lowly Salt Marsh/Mud Snail

Cerithidea californica, California Salt Marsh or Mud Snail, San Diego, California. This snail is common on muddy tidal flats and intertiday zones. They feed largely on algae and detritus. It is under pressure in some areas from introduced habitat competitors such as Ilyanassa obsoleta in the San Francisco Bay area. I had seen it around for some time in various locales around the county and snapped this photo to look it up with.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Who's Fishing in All that Eel Grass?

Snowy Egret, Egretta thula, in flight over the Mission River. This little egret was flying by on Sunday as I walked along the Mission River. These are much smaller than the great egrets, only reaching about 20-27 inches in height and are identifiable by their black beak, yellow feet and yellow loral spot just before the eye.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Just So Much Duck Food...

Eel Grass, Mission River Preserve, San Diego, California. Eel grass is a favorite food for the migratory Brandt geese and many of the ducks (pintails for instance). Clearly, the eel grass is none the worse for the wear, considering that hundreds of ducks have been chowing down on it all Winter long! I snapped this picture to show the huge expanse of deep green eel grass but it really doesn't do it justice. Ironically, you have to get up on the overpass to see it since the water reflection pretty much hides it if you're looking in at a lower angle. It's a wonderful habitat for all sorts of bass, minows, crabs, clams and invertebrates and provides food for the flourishing water bird community there.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Hummingbirds Out Back

Anna's Hummingbird, Calypte anna in the back yard tending to the bird of paradise. I suspect that heliconia and bird of paradise are both polinated by humminbirds in the wild. Doesn't that blue landing pad look taylor made for a hummingbird. Better yet, the hummingbird exposes the pollen and nectary when it lands.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Spiny Candle?

Echinocereus species. Yeah, I wait all year for my Echinocereus to bloom and I get two flowers that last about 3 days each...(grumble, grumble). Still, the flowers are a dramatic sight and overall, the suspense is fun! Just be careful about taking vacations away from home during cacti blooming season! They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?

Just for fun, I looked up the Latin. Echino means spiny and cereus refers to candle. I guess they are shaped like the candles of old and they definitely are painfully (if also artfully) spiny!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

In Bloom in the Wayward Garden

Cattleya warneri variety semi-alba in bloom and decorating the kitchen. The orchids are starting to bloom as they come out of their Winter torpor. Overall, a fun time of year. The nicest thing about Cattleyas is their wonderful perfume-like fragrances. Too bad they seldom carry these in the supermarket. However, if you must have one, most decent growers and nurseries have at least a few for sale.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

"Interteractive" Session at the Zoo

"Interactive" session at the San Diego Zoo with, in this case, the Polar Bear! They have added interactive sessions at various animal enclosures at the zoo. For the polar bears this mean an opening in the glass covered by a metal mesh where the zoo keeper could feed the polar bear while the audience watched. It was pretty fun actually (if a little intimidating). The bear really liked romaine lettuce (of all things!). He also enjoyed carrots and sweet potatos...

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

How Did You Spend Your Memorial Day?

These guys were out fishing. I snapped this picture partly because of that odd contraption (bilge pump maybe?) pumping water out of the boat into the channel. I've never seen anything like it. If it really was a bilge pump, I tend to doubt the safety of hanging out in a rusty old boat with a sizeable leak (based on the amount of water being pumped). On the other hand, maybe it was something more novel such as fish scented water to attract hungy fish to their lines... No idea.

I, of course, was taking pictures of birds in the preserve and working in the yard. Mom was off putting flowers on graves back home. Meanwhile, based on how packed the beaches were, a large part of San Diego was on the water enjoying the sun!