Category Archives: Out & About

Out & About—Pottery Canyon Natural Park in La Jolla, California

Out & About

My wise old grandmother introduced me to the joys of gardening, so anytime I see a plant nursery or anything related to plants, including pottery, I tend to stop and take a look.

When I found Pottery Canyon Natural Park in La Jolla, a little sign was zooming by me at about 50 miles per hour…………Wait. Maybe I was zooming by it………!

Therein is the problem. The poorly marked entrance to Pottery Canyon Natural Park is on a curve on one of La Jolla’s busiest roadways. If you don’t plan your method of attack appropriately…. an accident in the making. Not only that, but Pottery Canyon Natural Park is not on any map anywhere. Here’s where it is, though:

Location of Pottery Canyon Natural Park in La Jolla, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The little stub of a street on the right side of Torrey Pines Road is Pottery Park Driveway. Although there is a traffic signal there, I have never been through there on Torrey Pines Road where the signal was anything other than green with cars going up the hill at 50 mph or more. That presents a problem if you’re coming out of Pottery Park Driveway because the light is always red for the Driveway and traffic on the other side going south backs up from all the traffic signals at the messy Torrey Pines Road/La Jolla Parkway intersection. As you’re leaving the Park, I recommend turning right and going north to La Jolla Village Drive to get back to Interstate 5. Otherwise, plan on a long wait at the traffic signal in order to go south.

Pottery Park Driveway leads to a small parking lot big enough for four motorcycles or two Mini Coopers or one 2002 Toyota Camry V6, black.

With that said, what did I find at Pottery Canyon Natural Park? Well, it’s a eucalyptus grove with a hiking trail that is wide, mulched, and short, maybe a half mile, round trip. Easily hiked. Heck, even my husband, Jim, went hiking with me and he’s not the outdoorsy type like me.

That’s it.

Pottery Canyon Natural Park in La Jolla, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

There is history behind this little park, though. According to research, there is a sign about the history. I couldn’t find the sign, which is kind of odd since the park is so small. Nonetheless, according to the La Jolla Historical Society, here’s what the sign apparently says:

Cornelio Rodriguez, an accomplished potter, came to La Jolla in 1928 from Tomatlan in the state of Jalisco, Mexico. He was looking for a suitable site where he and his brothers, Abraham and Ubaldo, could start a pottery works. Here, at the bend of what was then called La Jolla Canyon Road and which was the main route to Los Angeles, he found potter’s gold, the perfect clay deposit, otherwise known as “barro.”

Mission San Diego de AlcalaHe purchased the property, and he and his brothers established the La Jolla Canyon Clay Products Company and built it and their houses here. Their families and their company flourished. They produced handmade roof tiles, unglazed floor tiles, and adobe brick for more than 20 years. Tiles used in the restoration of Mission San Diego de Alcala [picture ►], the construction of the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club and La Jolla’s Mary Star of the Sea church came from here, as did the roof tiles of numerous houses of the Mission Revival architectural period.

In the 1950s, the brothers were no longer able to use the large oil-fired kiln of earlier days. Many in the large family moved, but Abraham and Cornelio lived out their days here. Cornelio and his wife, Matiana, continued making pots and other clay products on a more limited scale. Using hand-dug clay shaped on a potter’s wheel and fired in a circular wood-burning kiln of ancient Roman design, they supplied the community with unique pottery and delighted generations of school children with deomnstrations of their skill.

All that remains of the original tile works is the old wood-burning kiln, which continued in use until the 1980s.

Sadly, I did not find the old wood-burning kiln either. The missing sign and kiln makes me wonder how long ago that was written by the La Jolla Historical Society.

Pottery Canyon Natural Park in La Jolla, California

Pottery Canyon Natural Park in La Jolla, California

Pottery Canyon Natural Park in La Jolla, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Little Free Libraries in San Diego County

Out & About

Little Free Libraries are a community movement that offers free books housed in small containers to members of the local community. They are also referred to as community book exchanges, book trading posts, pop-up libraries, and Noox (Neighbourhood bOOk eXchange).

The Little Free Library phenomenon, according to Wikipedia, started in 2009 in Hudson, Wisconsin.

“Todd Bol mounted a wooden container designed to look like a school house on a post on his lawn as a tribute to his mother, who was a book lover and school teacher.”

Recently I found a Little Free Library at Chollas Lake, but it also has nice chairs to sit in!

Little Free Library

Little Free Library

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Quoting Wikipedia again:

Little Free Library owners can create their own library box, usually about the size of a doll house, or purchase one from the [Little Free Library website]. Libraries may be registered for a fee and assigned a number at the organization’s website. Libraries can be found through their GPS coordinates. Owners receive a sign that reads “Little Free Library”. They often have the phrase, “Take a Book. Leave a Book.”

As of February 2013, all 50 states and 40 countries worldwide have been involved in the literary program.[6

The original goal was the creation of 2,150 Little Libraries, which would surpass the number of libraries founded by Andrew Carnegie. As of January 2014, there are over 15,000 Little Libraries worldwide, including all 50 states and 40 countries.

Here is a list of Little Free Libraries that I know of as of January 25, 2015:

2727 Southampton Road, Carlsbad
2357 Summerwind Place, Carlsbad
4190 Sunnyhill Drive, Carlsbad
2605 Unicornio Street, Carlsbad
911 Rutgers Avenue, Chula Vista
601 Crescent Drive, Chula Vista
200 Stratford Court, Del Mar
1902 Quidort Court, El Cajon
1332 Whitsett Drive, El Cajon
1650 Sunburst Drive, El Cajon
107 Woodshadow Lane, Encinitas
744 Quiet Hills Farm Road, Escondido
2356 Heather Point, Escondido
660 East Grand Avenue, Escondido
1263 Canter Road, Escondido
611 El Norte Hills Place, Escondido
1683 Calle Candela, La Jolla
Little Free Library4622 Grandview Terrace, La Mesa
10733 Itzamna Road, La Mesa
4424 Nabal Drive, La Mesa
4351 Parks Avenue, La Mesa
4630 Palm Avenue, La Mesa (picture ►)
10615 Snyder Road, La Mesa
317 Hoover Street, Oceanside
16285 Oak Creek Trail, Poway
13130 Woodmont Street, Poway
12133 Sage View Road, Poway
13423 Cricket Hill, Poway
3412 Quince St, San Diego
2611 Grandview St, San Diego
3343 Harbor View Drive, San Diego
2263 Pentuckett Avenue, San Diego
4963 Canterbury Drive, San Diego
1079 Cypress Avenue, San Diego
3314 Karok Avenue, San Diego
2153 Pine Street, San Diego
2731 Amulet Street, San Diego
12655 Pacato Circle South, San Diego
4523 Cather Avenue, San Diego
815 Avalon Court, San Diego
10444 Cheviot Court, San Diego
4567 East Talmadge Drive, San Diego
5854 Malvern Court, San Diego
3530 Cooper Street, San Diego
2341 Whitman Street, San Diego
4649 Biona Drive, San Diego
9505 East Harland Circle, Santee

If you have a Little Free Library, you can register it to make it official.

Little Free Library

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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The Birds

Out & About

When I was eight and living in Brigham City, Utah, mom and dad came home one afternoon talking about the birds. I have always loved birds, and all animals actually, but what they were saying about the birds really had me upset. I couldn’t picture birds attacking people, killing them, and eating them. That’s not like any birds I’ve ever seen. Eventually I found out that they were talking about a movie.

Ah, movies. A couple of friends and I used to sneak into the local movie theater to watch movies free since we couldn’t afford the 25¢ ticket.

Ever since then, whenever I’m in the midst of billions and billions of birds, I think of Alfred Hitchcock and “The Birds.”

So when I was at Chollas Lake Park the other day feeding the birds, yep, flashbacks.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Out & About—The La Jolla Munchkin House

Out & About

There is so much to see and do in La Jolla. After 21½ years living in the San Diego area, I’m still going to La Jolla to see and do things.

Recently I made a trip to La Jolla just to see the famous Munchkin House. Looks like this:

The Munchkin House of La Jolla, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Munchkin House of La Jolla, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Munchkin House of La Jolla, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

There used to be four of these Munchkin Houses, and there are many rumors about them, foremost of which is that after the success of “The Wizard of Oz” movie, released in August 1939, several “Munchkins” took their earnings and built four houses high up on the hillside overlooking La Jolla, houses that were not as tall as traditional homes.

Sadly, the facts aren’t near as exciting as the rumors.

IMG_9271 framedThe last of the remaining houses is located at 7477 Hillside Drive in La Jolla. Public records indicate that the house was built in 1935. That right there destroys the rumor that Munchkins took their earnings from a 1939 movie and had the houses built.

The house was designed by noted architect Cliff May (1909-1989). May grew up in San Diego and is best known for developing the suburban post-war dream home, the California Ranch House. He designed over 1,000 custom residences, and over 18,000 tract homes bear the imprint of his model house prototypes. He died at his mansion in Los Angeles in Brentwood, a neighborhood made famous worldwide by O.J. Simpson in 1994.

The Munchkin House has 1,176 square feet, two bedrooms and one bathroom, and was last sold in August 2003 for $975,000. Although 1,176 square feet certainly is small for a La Jolla home, look at the rear of the house—love the wraparound deck!—as well as the sweeping view it has of La Jolla and the Pacific Ocean:

The Munchkin House of La Jolla, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Ocean view from The Munchkin House of La Jolla, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The other reason why the Munchkin rumors hold water (pun intended) is due to the lay of the land. I could easily touch the top of the roof without jumping. The house is built into the hillside, so some of it is below street level, leading to the optical illusion that the home’s height is lower than normal, perfect for Munchkins!

Look at the first picture, paying close attention to the doorway. See the path from the street to the door, below ground level? Then look at the window north of the doorway. See how the ground slopes up, making it look like the window is not as high as normal? It’s just closer to the ground is all.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Out & About—The La Jolla tide pools

Out & About

Any time is a great time to visit the San Diego coast, but when the low tides get really low, it’s time for a visit to the various tide pools along the coast. One of the best is the La Jolla Tide Pools.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

La Jolla Tide Pools, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

La Jolla Tide Pools, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

La Jolla Tide Pools, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

La Jolla Tide Pools, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

La Jolla Tide Pools, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

La Jolla Tide Pools, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

La Jolla Tide Pools, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

La Jolla Tide Pools, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

La Jolla Tide Pools, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

La Jolla Tide Pools, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

La Jolla Tide Pools, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The lowest of the low tides, and the highest of the high tides, present the best opportunities to see (low tide) or witness (high tide) things that normally can’t be seen or witnessed. To find the low and high tides for San Diego, visit San Diego Tides.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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San Diego beach houses of the extraordinarily wealthy

Picture of the Moment

Yesterday afternoon’s low tide was one of the lowest we’ll have in January, which means that the tide pools along the coast required a visit.

Depending on where you go to see the tide pools, sometimes the little ol’ beach houses command one’s attention, like these two beach houses in La Jolla:

San Diego beach houses

Click on the image for a larger version.

La Jolla is one of San Diego County’s enclaves of the rich and famous. In 2008 & 2009, La Jolla had the highest home prices in the nation, an average price around $2 million.

It’s one of the places politicians stay when they come to San Diego.

John McCain owns a home in La Jolla…. Mitt Romney lives there. Racquel Welch…. Robin Wright Penn…. Shane Harper….

There are rich Republicans and rich Democrats there. Probably some rich Independents, rich Atheists, rich Wiccans, and rich Satanists….

La Jolla, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Location of the two beach houses:

La Jolla beach houses

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Friday Flower Fiesta (1-16-15)—It’s aloe season in San Diego!

Friday Flower Fiesta

The San Diego Zoo and the Safari Park both are internationally recognized zoos, but they also are internationally recognized arboretums and botanical gardens, too.

Now is a great time to see both the critters and the plants because it’s aloe season here in San Diego.

Here are some recent aloe pictures:

1Aloe

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2Aloe

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

3Aloe

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

4Aloe

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

5Aloe

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

6Aloe

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

7Aloe

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

8Aloe

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

9Aloe

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

10Aloe

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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