Sunday, July 28, 2013

Anna's Hummingbird

Anna's Hummingbird on the apricot tree in the back yard.  This one is keeping an eye on both me and on the feeder.

Stanhopea shuttleworthii

Stanhopea shuttleworthii growing on the North side of the house under shade cloth.

Epidendrum raniferum 'Arnie'

Epidendrum raniferum 'Arnie'.  Note that the canes rebloom each year from the apex.  These get big, this particular plant current being around 4-5 feet tall.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Giant Leaf-Tailed Gecko, Uroplatus fimbriatus

Giant Leaf-Tailed Gecko, Uroplatus fimbriatus, hiding in a small crevice.  These nocturnal, well camouflaged lizards are native to Madagascar, where they rely of their bark-like skin to hide them during the day.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Baja California Treefrog, Pseudacris hypochondriaca

Baja California Treefrog, Pseudacris hypochondriaca on my Bifrenaria (orchid).  These little guys are doing just fine in my back yard.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Qualcomm Contingent at San Diego Pride 2013

The Qualcomm contingent at San Diego Pride 2013.  There were over 250 company participants including the CEO and his wife, showing the company commitment to diversity.

Gay Wedding Cake

This float was decorated as a gay wedding cake at the San Diego Gay Pride Parade.  It appeared that everyone was in a celebratory mood, given the recent overturn of DOMA and Proposition 8 at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Shell Ginger

Shell Ginger, Alpinia zerumbet, is an East Asian native that happens to do really well in tropical and subtropical climates.  It is one of the Gingers that grows quite well in San Diego, surviving our mildly chilly Winters (down to the 30s) with occasional browning off of the foliage.  The pink buds remind me of a shell necklace and the flowers remind me of a string of orchids!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

San Pedro Cactus, Trichocereus pachanoi

A huge San Pedro Cactus, Trichocereus pachanoi, in full bloom.  The flowers open in late evening and close back in the morning, probably because it is pollinated by a moth, bat or other night flyer.  The bees, however, are taking advantage of the long Summer days to sneak in a two or three hour frenzy of activity just before the sun sets.  There was a huge swarm of bees taking advantage of some thirty or so flowers.  Luckily, they liked the flowers far more than harassing the photographer!

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Flamenco Dancer

Asian Flamenco Dancer at Liberty Station in San Diego, California.

Another flamenco dancer from Flamenco Sur, this time with a fan!

Sea Hare, Aplysia californica

Sea Hare, Aplysia californica, on a shallow, sandy flat, along with many of its brethren where they were grazing on kelp and other seaweed that was washed up by the tide.  It's called a sea hare for the two stalks that are vaguely reminiscent of a rabbit's ears as they flop around with the current.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Allen's Hummingbird, Selasphorus sasin

Allen's Hummingbird, Selasphorus sasin, drinking nectar out of a gorgeous red blossom from a Sausage tree, Kigelia africana.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

February 2013 San Diego AOS Judging Results

 Bulbophyllum virescens 'Windflower' AM 82 pts.

 Cattleya (alaorii X Esbetts) 'Sunset Valley Orchids' AM 80 pts.

 Cattleya dowiana var rosita 'Sunset Valley Orchids' FCC 91 pts.

 Encyclia Cynthia 'Darkest Pleasure' AM 80 pts.

 Paph (Prince Edward of York x adductum) 'Sunset Valley Orchids' AM 81 pts.

Prosthechea cochleata 'Steve Kelepecz' AM 81 pts.

Myrmecophila christinae

Myrmecophila christinae just opening in the shade area out back of the house. This is the first time this has bloomed for me (seems to like it outside rather than in the greenhouse).

Fish Caught in a Web

Fish Caught in a web at Hasuyo  Miller and Robert Farmer's house!  They had all sorts of cute ceramic critters hanging from trees, in the garden and even on the walls!

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Sweet Potato - Yam - Banana Bread

Sweet Potato - Yam - Banana Bread, just out of the oven.  I will note that it was really awesome (and particularly so for another spontaneous creation)!  Just in case you want to try it out here's a rough recipe.

Combine in a blender and blend on low speed until lightly pureed:
1 cup canola oil
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
4 bananas
2 pre-cooked sweet potatoes
1 pre-cooked yam (if your blender is not a high horsepower one, I'd suggest that you peel them first)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger powder
1/4 tsp salt

Combine in a dry mixing bowl:
2 cups white enriched wheat flour
1 cup whole wheat flower
2-3 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup ground almonds

Pour wet mixture into the dry mixture in the mixing bowl and stir until well blended in.

Grease 2 bread pans with butter and then flour
Pour mixture into the 2 pans and bake for about 70-80 minutes at 325F (preheat the oven).
Let cool and then pop out of the pan.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Begonia boliviensis hybrid

Begonia boliviensis hybrid at the San Diego County Fair.  The flowers were so brilliant, you could see them a mile off!  These were from Weidner's Gardens.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Goats Snuggle

Baby goats snuggling at the San Diego State Fair.

Pink Pig

Pink Pig resting its weary head on another pig at the San Diego State Fair.

Furry Heartache at the State Fair

Parting with the pet cow at the State Fair.  Honestly, I cannot begin to imagine how attached you would get to a pet cow after raising it by hand from when it was a calf and the subsequent heartache in trying to give it up for auction.

Skull and Rose Tattoo

Skull and Rose Tattoo, highlighting the difference between life and death and between beauty and decay.  The skulls appears to be depictions of the sugar skulls created to celebrate the Dia de los Muertos or the “Day of the Dead,” a Mexican religious holiday. Celebrating Dia de los Muertos started 3,500 as a month-long Aztec celebration honoring the dead and welcoming their spirits back for a visit. The Aztecs would often display (real human) skulls that they had collected as symbols of life, death, and rebirth.

Today, Dia de los Muertos begins on the evening of October 31st when the gates of heaven open at midnight, and the souls of the deceased children, angelitos, visit their family. They roam the earth for just one day, and then the following midnight, when the gates are opened once again, the adult souls descend and also visit their loved ones.  The skulls have long since been replaced with sugar skulls, made with a mixture of sugar and meringue and decorated with multi-colored icing, still symbolizing life, death and rebirth.