Monthly Archives: May 2013

Baby Canada Geese at the Los Angeles Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Arcadia, California

They’re everywhere! They’re everywhere!

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

As much as I love going to the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, and SeaWorld, there’s still nothing like seeing wildlife in the wild. Except I’m pretty sure that I would not want to see a mountain lion mommy and her little one while I was out hiking by myself. Nonetheless……….

I remember when I stumbled upon my first Canada Goose here in San Diego in 1996. I thought the poor thing had a serious deficiency in its map-reading skills (GPS wasn’t on the scene yet). Thirteen years later and I know that the Canada Goose is resident in all the lower 48 States as well as Canada.

In the 38 years I lived in Texas, I never saw a Canada Goose in the wild, yet the whole state is covered with “I live here in the Winter” blue in my National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America. San Diego is covered in the same winter blue, but I can tell you that there are many Canada Geese that live here year round, such as the two in the following flash video. They have been here for several years, rain or shine, hot or cold, winter or summer:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I suspect the same is true up in the Los Angeles area. It definitely is not winter in L.A. yet when I was at the Los Angeles County Arboretum in Arcadia a few days ago for my 19th anniversary, the only bird more prevalent than the peacock was the Canada Goose.

Canada Geese at the Los Angeles Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Arcadia, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Baby Canada Geese at the Los Angeles Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Arcadia, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Canada Geese at the Los Angeles Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Arcadia, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Following are three flash videos of the Canada Geese at the L.A. Arboretum, including two little babies with mommy and daddy.

Remember that birds don’t have nationalities, so the plural of Canada Goose is Canada Geese, not Canadian Geese.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Orchid at the San Diego Zoo

Friday Flower Fiesta — Orchids at the San Diego Zoo

Friday Flower Fiesta

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I go to a lot of orchid shows each year. Recently I found some of the most unusual orchids I’ve ever seen, and it wasn’t at a show. It was at the San Diego Zoo! The Zoo is an internationally recognized botanic garden as well as a zoo, but orchids are not something that we see too many of in our desert climate.

When my blogging friend Barb Beacham and her husband came to San Diego on April 25 and 26, I was able to provide them with free tickets to the Zoo. I think I wore them out.

We discovered the new orchid greenhouses which are now open to the public, and today’s Friday Flower Fiesta is from the greenhouses.

Orchid at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

 Orchid at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchid at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchid at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchid at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchid at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

 Orchid at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchid at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchid at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchid at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchid at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchid at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchid at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchid at the San Diego Zoo

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

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I can recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Monarch butterfly in San Diego

National Butterfly Awareness Day is Saturday, June 1

curtains coming soon

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Saturday, June 1, is National Butterfly Awareness Day.

There are 265 species of butterflies that call California home. The queen of these butterflies is the monarch (Danaus plexippus) .

Monarch

Monarch

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Monarch caterpillars, September 2011, San Diego

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Monarch caterpillar chrysalis, September 2011, San Diego

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I caught a little wormy
A-crawlin’ up a tree.
He wiggled here
He wiggled there
He wiggled right at me.
I put him in a shoebox
And told him “Stay right there.”
But when I opened up the box
A butterfly was there.
I don’t know how it happened
I couldn’t if I tried
‘Cause only Mother Nature
Can make a butterfly.
(Author unknown)

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I just discovered that up in Encinitas, at 450 Ocean View Avenue, is The Monarch Program.

Location of The Monarch Program in Encinitas

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That’s where I’m going on Saturday! They have a 1200-square foot vivarium there. And they’ve been there since 1990! I never knew!

If you happen to be in Balboa Park, check out the two large milkweed plants at the two entrances to the Botanic Building. Monarch butterflies love milkweeds, even needing them for their mere survival, and there are always a couple of butterflies, some caterpillars, and some chrysalises on the bushes. That’s where the second and third pictures above and the final two pictures were taken.

Trivia:

It wasn’t until 1975 that scientists discovered the overwintering sites in central Mexico. At that time, they found a butterfly that had been tagged in Ontario, Canada. There are about 210 overwintering sites in California, with the main one being Pacific Grove, which has taken on the moniker Butterfly Town USA.

The monarch butterfly is the official insect or butterfly for Alabama, Idaho, Illinois, Minnesota, Texas, Vermont, and West Virginia.

There are three overwintering sites in San Diego County: Grape Street Park in Balboa Park, Presidio Park in Old Town, and the UCSD Coast Site on Azul Street. The best time to see these overwintering monarchs is in November, December, and January.

Milkweed flower

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Monarch butterfly

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

New library in Lemon Grove, California

Grand opening for the new Lemon Grove library

curtains coming soon

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego is building a new central library.

The citizens voted it down several times because (1) it was too expensive. (2) people don’t go to libraries anymore because of the Internet, Google, Wikipedia……, and (3) books are so last decade.

Of course, a great City Council will find a way to do things even when the public says no. I mean, who knows better, a Council of Twelve or 60% of the voters? I’m thinking Council of Twelve………………

You can see some pictures of the new San Diego library here: America’s second largest dome is nearing completion. At the time I wrote that post, the new central library was supposed to open in late March or early April 2013. Here it is May 30, and I think the opening has been pushed back to August or so.

But this post isn’t about the new San Diego library. Instead, it’s about the new Lemon Grove library. Lemon Grove is just south of me in La Mesa, and the new Lemon Grove library is about two miles from me. It was supposed to open on June 1, 2013. Unfortunately, it opened early, on May 23. Thus they took a page from retail and called it a soft opening. The official grand opening will be Saturday.

Since I am not going to make the official grand opening, I went over yesterday to have a little look-see. I was impressed. I’m really happy to see that libraries are remaking themselves so that they will still be relevant decades from now — books, audio books, DVDs, CDs, computers………….

New library in Lemon Grove, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

New library in Lemon Grove, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

New library in Lemon Grove, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

New library in Lemon Grove, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The library is very bright and open with natural light streaming in from walls of arched windows and lending itself to not being stuffy like so many libraries. At nearly 13,000 square feet, the Mission-style library features a grand staircase entry, Friends of the Lemon Grove Library bookstore, a computer room, project rooms, and a new community room.

New library in Lemon Grove, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The middle school campus of the Lemon Grove Academy for the Sciences and Humanities is connected to the library on one side. During school hours, children have their own private entrance into the library. How cool is that?!!

Lemon Grove Academy for the Sciences and Humanities

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The new library is located at 3001 School Lane. Kinda makes sense. The Grand Opening celebration will be Saturday, June 1, at 10:00 a.m.

Map to new Lemon Grove library

View Larger Map

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I’m Zoey the Cool Cat,
and since I love books
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

Pasadena City Hall

Pasadena City Hall

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

There’s no doubt that most states have beautiful state capitol buildings.

When one gets down to the county and city level, the buildings tend to be somewhat nondescript with little non-functional beauty.

Such is not the case with the cities of San Francisco and Pasadena, and when I went to Pasadena last weekend, one of my goals was to go see Pasadena City Hall.

Successful goal!

If you’re thinking that Pasadena sounds familiar but you’re not quite sure why, it is the city that hosts the Rose Bowl Parade and the Rose Bowl football game each year. Great place to go spend a little time relaxing!

Pasadena City Hall

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pasadena’s city hall was completed on December 27, 1927, at a cost of $1.3 million. It is, perhaps, the best known example of the City Beautiful movement of the 1920s.

Bakewell and Brown, an architecture firm in San Francisco, designed the building, incorporating Mediterranean Revival Style and Spanish Colonial Revival Style architecture.

Pasadena City Hall

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pasadena City Hall

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pasadena City Hall

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The City Hall courtyard was used in the 1995 movie “A Walk in the Clouds” to portray a Napa Valley town square. It was used as an embassy in the “Mission: Impossible” TV series, and a villa in “The Great Dictator,” a 1940 Oscar-nominated film starring Charlie Chaplin.

Pasadena City Hall

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pasadena City Hall

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pasadena City Hall

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pasadena City Hall serves as the city hall of fictional Pawnee, Indiana, in the TV show “Parks and Recreation,” and the dome is visible through the window of the main characters’ apartment building in the TV show “The Big Bang Theory.”

Pasadena City Hall

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Rising six stories above the street, City Hall is 361′ x 242′ with a dome that is 26′ tall and 54′ in diameter. It has 235 rooms and covers over 170,000 square feet. The Civic Center District, which includes City Hall, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

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

Los Angeles Metro's Del Mar Station in Pasadena

Just passing through

Railroads & Trains logo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When Jim and I travel, we usually try to visit aquariums, zoos, gardens, and university campuses. I also try to sneak in a visit to a place having something to do with trains.

When we went to Los Angeles this past Sunday for our 19th anniversary, our main destiny was the Los Angeles Arboretum & Botanical Garden. Afterwards, we went in search of Pasadena City Hall (the second most beautiful City Hall I’ve ever seen, behind San Francisco), the Rose Bowl, and the old Santa Fe Depot in Pasadena. We found City Hall and the Rose Bowl, but, sadly, never found the old Santa Fe Depot.

According to one site that I found after getting home, the Santa Fe Depot was absorbed into the new station and was “rehabilitated to the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.” Ha! Anything but! See for yourself at Pasadena Views.

Jim and I walked around for about 30 minutes looking for the station, or its remnants, or maybe an address where it had been moved. While we never found it, I did get a couple of good flash videos of the Metro trains. The second one is my favorite.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

Music on Mondays — Happy Memorial Day!

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I have always loved history, especially war history, and on this date in 1941, the British Navy sunk the German battleship Bismarck in the North Atlantic near France.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Bismarck was launched at Hamburg, Germany, on February 14, 1939. At 823 feet long, Adolf Hitler believed that the start-of-the-art battleship would mark the rebirth of the German Navy. The British Navy heavily patrolled ocean routes from Germany to the Atlantic Ocean, though, and only German submarines were able to move freely in the Atlantic Ocean.

In May of 1941, Hilter gave the order for the Bismarck to break the British patrols and get out into the Atlantic Ocean where it might wreak havoc. Britain sent much of the British Home Fleet in pursuit, and the British battle cruiser Hood and the battleship Prince of Wales found the Bismarck near Iceland. A fierce battle ensued but ultimately the Hood exploded and sank, taking 1418 of its 1421 crewmen to a watery grave.

Although the Bismarck escaped, it was leaking fuel and fled to occupied France. On May 26, British aircraft sighted it and crippled it. The next day, three British warships descended on the Bismarck and finished it off, sending it to join the Hood below the waves.

Thank you, Veterans!

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