Category Archives: Uncategorized

I need a favor

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I need a favor.

On a Thursday last July, I went to the La Mesa ’50s Classic Car Cruise and met a woman and her son, Kassandra and Julian, who were playing chess. I stopped to watch and wound up playing a game of chess against Kassandra instead of walking around gazing at classic cars. She beat me. Ack! How could I lose a chess game to a woman? Ack!

Jim and I have become good friends with Kassandra and Julian, and I’m helping her get a WordPress web site and blog up and running. Kassandra is an Alzheimer’s Disease specialist.

I just wrote the first post for her blog. I don’t know whether or not she’ll like it, but I also want to show her the power of WordPress and the power of the WordPress family throughout the world.

Instead of leaving a LIKE or comment on my post here, please visit her new blog and leave a LIKE or comment there. Her web site is http://alzconnectlamesa.com, and my first blog post is at Thoughts from a friend.

I would be thrilled if she woke up in the morning and found twenty or thirty likes on her new blog! Gallivanta and rarasaur already have been over there and left comments because I didn’t have LIKE buttons working at the time. Thank you two, and thanks to everyone else!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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Consider Photographic Art!photographic art logoVisit Russel Ray Photos.

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About these ads

Oh, no! I have competition!

photographic art logo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When Jim and I were at the Wesley Palms Retirement Community for his chamber music performance, I took time to wander around and look at things.

Wesley was a beautiful place with unique glass art everywhere.

Even the ceiling tiles were artistic, having various birds etched into them.

I found some custom wallpaper that had pictures of well-known sites throughout San Diego County.

Then I found framed pictures on some walls farther back near the dining room, also of well-known sites throughout San Diego County. However, the pictures had been Photoshopped! Any one of them could have been from my Photographic Art Catalog! Oh, no! I have competition!

In this case, though, the competition inspires me to do more because there obviously is a market for Photographic Art, even if a specialized market. Thus, I’m encouraged to offer my Photographic Art for sale at places like Zazzle, SmugMug, and Fine Art America, and in larger sizes than my current offerings!

Following is a Photographic Art creation of Zoey the Cool Cat. You can see the original in my blog post from February 1 titled “Finally found a home she likes.”

Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Alright! I’m going for it! Wish me luck!

Visit Russel Ray Photos.

Peruse Russel Ray Photos’ Photographic Art Catalog.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Need a unique gift?
Consider Photographic Art!photographic art logoVisit Russel Ray Photos.

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I can highly recommend James Frimmer, Realtor, CDPE
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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Walkway art at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

We’re supposed to walk on those?

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Many years ago, shortly after I came to San Diego, I signed on as a consultant working in the wireless telecommunications industry. We built cell sites so your cell phone would work, and for that I apologize. Of course, if I didn’t do it, someone else would have….

I had been with the company just a couple of months when everyone from around the nation flew to Boulder, Colorado, for a team weekend. During that weekend, I won a $100 gift certificate for meeting the most people and having them sign my team book as proof. I was also asked by the company to talk on fire….

Wait! What?

Yep, they asked me to walk on fire. I could not convince myself to do it. Purposefully walking on fire is kind of like purposefully inhaling smoke into your lungs. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Out of more than 500 people, though, there were only about 30 of us who declined the experience.

Last year when I was at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden, I was in the eucalyptus forest when I came upon a walkway that begged me NOT to walk on it. Everyone else, of course, was walking on it as if it was the most natural thing in the world. Maybe walking on walkways is natural, but walking on this one just seemed wrong.

Here are some pictures of what I chose NOT to walk on:

Walkway art at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Walkway art at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Walkway art at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Walkway art at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Walkway art at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Walkway art at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Walkway art at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Walkway art at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Would you have walked on that beautiful art?

Be truthful!

Smile if you would lie and say, “Sure! I would walk on those!”

Location of Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Need a unique gift?
Consider Photographic Art!photographic art logoVisit Russel Ray Photos.

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Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend James Frimmer, Realtor, CDPE
CA BRE #0145857201 HomeSmartDiamondSmall copy 2

02 HomeSmartRWnameOnly2 copy

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If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Zoey the Cool Cat

It’s a good thing I can multitask

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Yesterday afternoon it started.

Seems every blog post I visited and tried to like or comment on refused to accommodate me.

It’s been that way all day today.

Fortunately, I’ve been cataloging pictures and creating some necessary documents for my new enterprise.

Photographic Art

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

So I haven’t been slowed down other than in my daily rounds of reading blogs, liking, and commenting (RLC).

Of course, now I am far behind, and I suspect some of my new followers in this new year have decided to unfollow me since I haven’t been over to their blogs to do any RLC.

What I discovered today, though, is that the only blog posts that are problematic are those which have a URL ending with wordpress.com. If your blog is like mine, either a self-hosted blog or an upgraded WordPress.com blog without wordpress.com in the URL, they are okay. It’s just the blogs ending in wordpress.com, so if you have such a URL and are wondering why no one has been by to like or comment on your posts, now you know.

As soon as WordPress gets its act together, I shall continue my daily rounds.

Dear WordPress: Please send me an email when you have everything working again.

Which reminds me of a joke I heard several years ago on The Comedy Channel: “The best thing about Wikipedia is that anyone can add to it or edit it. The worst thing about Wikipedia is that anyone can add to it or edit it.”

Such similarly is the case with open source software such as WordPress—Anyone can contribute, but that doesn’t mean that what they contribute is worthwhile or free of bugs.

With that out of the way, I leave you with a picture of Zoey the Cool Cat in her newest home.

Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Is she not a content little kitty?

She gets a new home each week, courtesy of Costco. However, I recently discovered that she doesn’t have to have a new home each week as long as the old home gets remodeled. Remodeling is easy. A few bags, sacks, or scrap paper torn up or wrinkled up and thrown into the bottom of the house and she’s a happy little one.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend James Frimmer, Realtor, CDPE
CA BRE #0145857201 HomeSmartDiamondSmall copy 2

02 HomeSmartRWnameOnly2 copy

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Exit

If all enter and exit signs looked like this….

Picture of the Moment

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If all enter and exit signs looked like this….

Enter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Exit

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

….I might enter and exit more often!

I suppose only in an arts community like Laguna Beach can you find enter and exit signs that are not as mundane as the average signs seen here in San Diego:

Exit

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Laguna Beach location

View Larger Map

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, BRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sights & sounds from the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con International

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The 2013 San Diego Comic-Con International brought about 150,000 people to the convention, but if you were in downtown San Diego anytime from July 18 to July 21, it felt like twice that many.

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Crowds crowded the restaurants; buses and trains were bursting at the seams; and monsters, aliens, and the walking dead were searching for victims.

Advertising took over hotels, buses, and trains. Some company brought in about a dozen double-decker British-style buses, all decked out in advertising.

2013 Comic Con advertising

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Lines were long. The following picture was taken Sunday morning at 6:00 a.m. I’m thinking that many of these people probably camped out.

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Public services were at capacity.

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Now that the preliminaries are over with, on with the show!

My two favorite costumes: first, the Headless Horseman, and second, Gandalf featuring a real beard.

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

And now for the supporting cast:

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

These last two pictures show a little girl dressed up as a police call box (TARDIS from “Dr. Who”). A couple of San Diego police officers saw her and offered to let mom and dad take pictures of them with their little girl. That little girl had the biggest smile in the world at that moment.

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Peacock at the Los Angeles Arboretum

Los Angeles Arboretum — Gone to the birds

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When Jim went to bed Saturday night (he goes to bed much earlier than me), he told me we were going to the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena for our 19th anniversary.

When Jim got up Sunday morning (he gets up much later than me), he told me we were going to the Los Angeles County Arboretum in Arcadia (next to Pasadena) for our 19th anniversary.

I guess he had a dream…………..

The Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden (herafter, LACA) comprises 127 acres whereas our San Diego Botanic Garden is 37 acres. Of course, we have the San Diego Zoo, also an internationally recognized Botanic Garden, at 100 acres, so there…………..

LACA had a huge Australia garden, probably covering half of the arboretum. That’s about 60 acres. Much of our Southern California climate is very similar to Australia, and Australian native vegetation does exceedingly well here. Walk through Balboa Park here, though, at 1,200 acres, and you’ll see everything in LACA’s Australia garden.

One thing that LACA had that San Diego Botanic Garden does not have is birds. Particularly Peafowl and Canada Geese. More than you can shake a stick at, and if you were to shake a stick at them, some might take the stick out of your hands!

I think if I were around Peafowl  (remember that male Peafowl are Peacocks and female Peafowl are Peahens) more often, they could easily become my favorite bird. They are so much fun to watch.

Following are 15 pictures and 5 flash videos of the Peafowl at LACA. Be sure to watch the last video if you don’t do anything else here today; he’s a little tease! The 15 pictures are of 15 different birds.

Lastly, I would like to dedicate this post to my blogging friend Julie, her husband Anthony, and their son Ming (jmgoyder) in Australia. They are the only ones I know who might have more Peafowl than the Los Angeles County Arboretum.

Peacock at the Los Angeles Arboretum

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Peacock at the Los Angeles Arboretum

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Peacock at the Los Angeles Arboretum

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Peacock at the Los Angeles Arboretum

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Peacock at the Los Angeles Arboretum

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Peacock at the Los Angeles Arboretum

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Peahen at the Los Angeles Arboretum

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Peahen at the Los Angeles Arboretum

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Peahen at the Los Angeles Arboretum

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Baby Peafowl at the Los Angeles Arboretum

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Peacock at the Los Angeles Arboretum

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Peacock at the Los Angeles Arboretum

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Peacock at the Los Angeles Arboretum

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Peacock at the Los Angeles Arboretum

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Peacock at the Los Angeles Arboretum

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Peacock (male Peafowl) walking the grounds

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Mom and baby Peafowl

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Peacock jumping from tree to fence

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Peahen giving herself a dirt bath

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Peacock showing off

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I’m Zoey the Cool Cat,
and I approve this post.Zoey the Cool Cat

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego Urban Exploration Meetup group

So much to see, so little time

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Finally I have some time off from doing home inspections and reports to tell you about my eight-mile mountain hike into the East County boondocks known as Lake Morena County Park and Cleveland National Forest.

This post is a little longer than the majority of my posts, but I hope you enjoy it anyway.

I went hiking with the San Diego Urban Exploration Meetup Group. My experience with the group indicates that it is a bunch of urban city folks exploring the boondocks of San Diego County. Most of us were meeting at the Grantville Trolley Station, the third stop down from my neighborhood 70th Street Trolley Station.

San Diego Trolley map from 70th Street to Grantville

View Larger Map

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Since it was a Sunday when the Trolley schedule is abbreviated in the early morning, I made sure to get to the Trolley Station about an hour earlier than normal to make sure I caught a train and got to Grantville on time. Unfortunately, even thought I caught an 8:09 train, I only made it to the Alvarado Station before the conductor kicked everyone off the train. Seems that the brakes were not working properly. I had to wait another 30 minutes for the next Sunday morning train to come along. Here’s a picture of the brakeless train as it slowly limped out of the Alvarado Station, its three cars void of life as we know it:

San Diego Trolley at Grantville Station

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

We arranged carpools at the Grantville Station parking lot, left at about 9:15, and got to Lake Morena County Park around 10:15. Our goal was to get to the Lake Morena dam and some rumored caves. While we were checking in with the park ranger and paying our $3 parking fee, the ranger informed us not to go past the NO TRESSPASSING sign to get to the caves. Apparently some spelunkers had forewarned the park authorities that a group of non-spelunking hikers were planning to go to the caves. Drat. Don’t spelunkers have anything else to do other than rat us out and keep us from having fun?

The County Park misled me into believing that the hike would be easy with nice, wide, paved trails:

San Diego Urban Exploration Meetup group

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Ha! Eventually the paved trail gave way to a dirt trail that got smaller and smaller:

San Diego Urban Exploration Meetup group

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego Urban Exploration Meetup group

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego Urban Exploration Meetup group

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego Urban Exploration Meetup group

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego Urban Exploration Meetup group

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego Urban Exploration Meetup group

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego Urban Exploration Meetup group

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego Urban Exploration Meetup group

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Did you see the trail in that last picture? Neither did I, and I was there! Fortunately, about 90% of the time I was able to keep at least one person in sight in front of me; I was always dead last. I did get lost twice but eventually found my way back to the trail. Here is that last picture with a couple of red arrows pointing at two people on the trail. Everyone else was far far far ahead of me.

San Diego Urban Exploration Meetup group

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I see you, I see you. I’m coming, I’m coming.

San Diego Urban Exploration Meetup group

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

At the top of the mountain peaks, the views were spectacular, especially the boulders:

Lake Morena County Park in Cleveland National Forest

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Lake Morena County Park in Cleveland National Forest

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Lake Morena County Park in Cleveland National Forest

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Lake Morena County Park in Cleveland National Forest

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Lake Morena County Park in Cleveland National Forest

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Near the top of one of the buttes was a vernal pool, which at least one dog was enjoying:

Lake Morena County Park in Cleveland National Forest

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

And at the top was a big rock that I would have climbed on in my much younger days to look down at the valley a thousand feet below us:

Lake Morena County Park in Cleveland National Forest

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego Urban Exploration Meetup group

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego Urban Exploration Meetup group

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

You can see a bronze plaque on the big rock that the three guys are sitting on. Looks like this:

Lake Morena County Park in Cleveland National Forest

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I tried to find out the story behind that plaque but there doesn’t seem to be any information in my books or on the Internet. Too bad. I think KMR and JDE should be known to all!

There is a plaque in Lake Morena County Park that does have a well-known story:

Lake Morena County Park in Cleveland National Forest

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That plaque commemorates the rainmaking exploits of pluviculturist Charles Hatfield (ca. 1875-1958). In 1915, San Diego was in the midst of a four-year drought. Hatfield was known throughout Southern California as a successful rainmaker with his secret mixture of 23 chemicals in evaporating tanks that, according to him, “attracted rain.”

The San Diego City Council approached Hatfield to produce rain to fill the Morena Dam reservoir. Hatfield offered to produce rain for free up to forty inches and then charge $1,000 per inch for forty to fifty inches and then free again for anything over fifty inches. In other words, $10,000 for fifty inches or more, payable when the reservoir was full. Hatfield and his brother, Paul, built a 20-foot evaporating tower beside Lake Morena for the chemical mixture.

On January 5, 1916, it began to rain heavily, growing more intense day by day. Dry riverbeds started flooding, and floodwaters destroyed bridges, phone cables, homes, and farms. Trains were marooned, and the Sweetwater Dam and Lower Otay Lake Dam overflowed. Although rain ceased on January 20, it resumed on January 22, and on January 27 the Lower Otay Dam broke, killing between 14 and 20 people depending on whose accounts you read.

Although Hatfield had fulfilled the requirements of his contract, the City Council refused to pay unless Hatfield accepted liability for damages; claims already were north of three million dollars, quite a sum in 1916. Hatfield tried to settle for $4,000 but wound up suing the Council. Two trials resulted in rulings that the rain was an act of God. Hatfield continued at least one lawsuit until 1938 when two courts ruled that the rain was an act of God, absolving him of any wrongdoing but also meaning that he would not collect any money for making it rain.

Charles Hatfield has entered American folklore in many ways:

  1. Gerry Jenkins wrote about the incident in his book
    Wizard of Sun City.
  2. The 1916 flood at Lake Morena is the subject of Widespread Panic’s song “Hatfield.”
  3. Burt Lancaster starred in the 1956 film “The Rainmaker,” inspired by the true story of Hatfield.
  4. Hatfield’s “moisture acceleration” was central to the plot of
    T. Jefferson Parker’s 2007 book “Storm Runners.”
  5. Joshua Davis, lead singer of Steppin’ In It, wrote a song about “The Weatherman” called “Charles Hatfield Blues.”

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

You might have noticed that Lake Morena County Park is out in Cleveland National Forest. You might also be wondering where the trees are if it’s a National Forest. Well, 90% of the trees look like this:

Manzanita

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That’s a Manzanita, prevalent throughout the Southern California boondocks. It has beautiful red bark and lovely purple flowers.

Manzanita flowers

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Unfortunately, Manzanita, which can get as tall as twenty feet, are quite flammable, so when next you hear about wildfires in Southern California, you’ll know what’s burning in the boondocks. Wildfires are something that those who live in the Southern California boondocks have to put up with:

Lake Morena County Park in Cleveland National Forest

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Lake Morena County Park in Cleveland National Forest

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The other ten percent of trees in the boondocks are Coast Live Oaks (also called California Live Oak) and pine trees. Occasionally you’ll find a huge pine tree, the Coulter Pine:

Coulter Pine in Cleveland National Forest

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Coulter Pine can grow to eighty feet tall, but the defining characteristic of this tree is its huge pine cones which can get to 16 inches long and weigh up to ten pounds. Although it’s illegal to take stuff out of National Forests, whenever someone finds these pine cones, they tend to take one with them. I didn’t find any on the ground (I already have one that I bought at a store in Julian) but here’s one still on the tree:

Pine cone from Coulter Pine

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Although we did not get to the caves, we did get to a nice vista point above the dam:

Morena Reservoir dam in Cleveland National Forest

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Lastly, yours truly above the Morena Dam:

Russel Ray at Lake Morena County Park in Cleveland National Forest

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

We were in the boondocks for five hours. There was so much to see that five hours was rushing it. Will have to go back……..

For previous pictures from this mountain hike, see I can see for miles and miles and Need ID help from my bird experts.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Squirrel at Chollas Lake Park in San Diego

Today’s walk at Chollas Lake Park

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Today I took some bread and the other half and went for a walk at Chollas Lake Park, an extremely nice park that I discovered last November 11. Some pictures of the park wildlife for your enjoyment.

Canada goose lost in San Diego:

Canada goose in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This goose had wings that look like they were broken, facing outward:

Goose

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Some of the friendlier geese were nibbling at my hand even though I had given all my bread to the squirrels.

Goose

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Goose

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Goose

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Goose

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This little Muscovy Duck was chasing all the little children. I’m not sure who was having more fun, the duck or the children.

Muscovey duck

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

There was a guy and gal throwing bread in the air and watching the gulls swoop in to catch it. I got a great video which I’ll post tomorrow with my South Bay Power Plant implosion video.

Flying gulls

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I saw more American Coots per square inch of water than I’d ever seen before. Reminded me of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. There are two mallards in the picture, too, a male and a female. Can you find them?

American coots

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Remember those squirrels I mentioned? Friendliest and cutest little fellas in all the world.

Squirrel at Chollas Lake Park in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Squirrel at Chollas Lake Park in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Squirrel at Chollas Lake Park in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Squirrel at Chollas Lake Park in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I found one goose that had clawed feet, something I’ve never seen before. After finding this bird, suddenly I was looking at the feet of all the geese and ducks. (Hmmm. Foot fetish?) This was the only bird with clawed, webbed feet.

Goose feet with claws

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Queen of the House was not impressed.

Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Stapelia

Friday Flower Fiesta — San Diego winter colors

Friday Flower Fiesta

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I know some other parts of the country are covered in white right now, but here in San Diego it’s dry and sunny with lots of color.

Hemlock

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Honeysuckle

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Spider flower

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Unknown lily-type flower

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Hydrangea

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Hibiscus

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Opuntia

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Brugmansia 'Feingold'

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

African Tulip Tree

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Rose

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Stapelia

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved byThis post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I can recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos