Category Archives: Mother & Father Nature

SNIPPETS (5/17/2019)

Snippets

SNIPPET 1

I finished my second video of the two Union Pacific steam locomotives, this one titled “They’ll be coming round the mountain when they come. They’ll be high up on the mountain when they come.” The scenery is just as beautiful as the train!

SNIPPET 2

The lead locomotive, Big Boy #4014, recently restored after sitting in static display at Rail Giants Museum in Pomona, California, from 1959 to 2014, derailed yesterday. The public didn’t know the extent of any damage for about thirty minutes. Fortunately, the train was entering the yard in Rawlins, Wyoming, so it was going rather slow. It took them a little over three hours to get Big Boy up on the rails again. We rail fans were tense for a time there.

SNIPPET 3

All the cacti that had bloomed in my gardens two days ago bloomed again yesterday. However, someone was late to the party but finally made it, but it was worth the wait. It’s a Trichocereus grandiflorus Thai hybrid.

SNIPPET 4

My neighbors have a huge loquat tree (Eriobotrya japonica) in their back yard which I can see from my kitchen window. It is in full fruit right now, and the ground squirrels are all over it, seeming to forget that they are ground squirrels, not tree squirrels. Here’s one who has found an all-you-can-eat buffet about thirty feet up in the tree:

Ground squirrel eating loquats in the tree

SNIPPET 5

It rained all day yesterday, so I drank some macho juice and went outside to take macro pictures of raindrops on flowers. The first picture below is raindrops on the flowers of Asclepias physocarpa, a type of milkweed called the “Balloon Plant” because it’s seed pods look like balloons, albeit hairy balloons. The second picture is of the seed pods, of which this plant had three last year when it was just a wee plant; it’s now about ten feet tall.

Asclepias physocarpa

Asclepias physocarpa seed pod

SNIPPET 6

My road trip to Promontory Summit and Ogden, Utah, comprised five days and covered 2,282.9 miles (yes, I’m a little detailed). My two favorite scenic parts of the drive were the Virgin River Gorge in Arizona and Interstate 80 from Echo, Utah, to Evanston, Wyoming.

I bought a dash cam last July on that eight-day road trip, so eventually I’ll be able to share these two drives on YouTube. They were that great.

SNIPPET 6

Based on state license plates over the 2,282.9-mile drive, here is my considered opinion of drivers, best to worst:

  1. Wyoming drivers were the best but perhaps only because there were so few of them, right in line with Wyoming being the least populous state with a mere 544,270 people spread out over 97,000 square miles.
  2. Arizona—Interstate 15 went through the northwest corner of Arizona for only about 35 miles so I might not have a large enough sample to truly say anything definitive about Arizona drivers.
  3. Nevada—The speed limit was 70 or 75 mph, and Interstate 15 goes right smack dab through the heart of Las Vegas. I do believe most Nevada drivers also were gambling while driving.
  4. Utah—The speed limit on Interstate 15 in Utah is 70 to 80 miles per hour, mostly 80, only dropping to 70 in construction zones. Sadly, speed limit laws apply equally to the smart and the stupid, but I think the number of stupid people is far greater than smart people. The fact that so many stupid people are driving 80 miles per hour, and often up to 90 miles per hour, in heavy traffic, was a constant source of worry.
  5. California drivers were the worst. I think each person believes all roadways within 10 miles belong to him or her; female drivers were far worse than male drivers.

SNIPPET 7

Speaking of speed limits, it was interesting how each state handles them. California was 65 mph in or near cities and 70 mph in boondocks areas. Arizona was 70 mph and 75 mph, as was Nevada. Utah was 70 mph in construction zones, 75 mph through cities, and 80 mph in the boondocks, which was basically all of southern Utah. Wyoming was 80 mph. My thinking would be that California needs to get with the program!

SNIPPET 8

Gas prices were another issue of mine. When I left the confines of California, gas was $4.799 a gallon for the cheapest grade, usually something like ARCO 87 octane. In Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming, gas was $3.049 to $3.159. Interestingly, almost all the brands were the exact same price, so instead of doing ARCO, I went with Shell, Union 76, and ExxonMobil.

As I determined back in the late ’70s when I got my first car, the major brands brought better gas mileage. What was weird, though, was that the major brand cheap gas was 85 octane. Theoretically, 85 octane should give you lower gas mileage than 87 octane.

Gas mileage using California ARCO 87 octane gas ranged from 30.9 mpg to 33.8 mpg. Using Shell, Union 76, and ExxonMobil 85 octane gas provided 35.2 to 40.7 mpg.

A new item this morning indicates that certain entities might be manipulating California gas prices, which I would believe since California gas prices usually aren’t $1.80 higher than surrounding states.

I filled up with Shell gas at a truck stop just south of Las Vegas where I paid $3.089. A few miles later I passed the first truck stop in California where the gas was $4.999. I saved $1.91 a gallon, calculating to $22.92 for my
12-gallon tank. That would buy a lot of margaritas!

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

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Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

An explosion of color in my cactus gardens

I live in my own little world

There currently is a flower explosion happening in my cactus gardens.

Here are some pictures of today’s color:

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

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

Picture of the Moment—Trichocereus grandiflorus Thai hybrid

Picture of the Moment

This is one of my favorites of the Trichocereus grandiflorus Thai hybrids growing in my gardens.

I see Mama wearing a beautiful hat and with all her children gathered around.

I think they are going on a spring outing to a botanical garden somewhere.

Trichocereus are some of the most popular cacti because of their huge, magnificent blooms.

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

Friday Flower Fiesta (11-3-17)—Alternatives to that all-white landscaping of the north

Friday Flower Fiesta

I never have been a fan of that all-white landscaping that they seem to prefer this time in northern states. It’s just boring. I want flowers. Lots of flowers. Like these:

Bird of ParadiseBird of Paradise

ArtichokeArtichoke

Tuberous Begonia
Begonia

Tuberous Begonia
Begonia

Tuberous Begonia
Begonia

Wax-leaf Begonia
Begonia

Cane Begonia
Begonia

Tuberous Begonia
Begonia

Water Lily
Water lily

Lily
Easter lily

All of those started as plain ol’ pictures of flowers. I used Redfield’s Fractalius G4 to add a little extra pizzazz to them. Fractalius in one of my favorite photo editing programs. It’s interesting because it literally has millions of settings.

The bad part is that I could not tell you exactly what setting I used for any of those pictures above. The good part is that I could not tell you exactly what setting I used for any of those pictures, which means they truly are one of a kind because other than telling you that I used Fractalius, I wouldn’t know how to do any of them again.

Fractalius does have a little die which you can click on. It’s like rolling the dice. You don’t know what setting is going to come up. It also has a “last used” setting but I quickly discovered that what I liked for the last picture doesn’t necessarily work for the current picture, so I usually just keep rolling the die until I get something I like.

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

Out & About—Residents of the Jetty Cats feral colony at the San Diego Jetty

Out & About San Diego

As promised, many pictures of some of the residents of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colony.

San Diego jetty

Resident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colony

Show me some fangs and tongue, baby!
Resident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colony

Zoey the Cool Cat said that I should include pictures of the non-cat residents because, even though they aren’t cats, they are residents.
Resident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colony

This was one of my favorite cats from this visit.
S/he wouldn’t come to eat anything. Didn’t even move.
Just sat there with its back to me. I felt so ignored.
Resident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colony

Coming up next: Music on Mondays

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

 

Friday Flower Fiesta (9-8-2017)—San Diego summer flowers

Out & About San Diego

San Diego summer flowers for all you people who soon will be heading into fall and winter.

Lantana in the center and bougainvillea at the left.
Two of my favorites because they bloom throughout the year,
and it seems the more you neglect them, the more they bloom.Lantana and bougainvillea

Kangaroo paw
Also comes in yellow, but red is my favorite.
Kangaroo paw

Yucca, called Spanish Dagger in some areas.
In 1966 my uncle planted two of these at the sides
of the driveway entrance. When they bloomed, I was sold.
Yucca, or Spanish Dagger

Unknown wildflower
Unknown wildflower

Orchid treeOrchid tree

Water lily
Green water always bothers me.
Next Photoshop goal: Color replacement
Water lily

Hummingbirds visiting Grevillea flowers
The kind of picture I can get with my new
Tamron 150-600 mm lens, hand-held, no tripod.
No need to chase these flyers on foot anymore.
Hummingbird visiting a grevillea
Hummingbird visiting a grevillea

Jimsonweed, this one Datura metaloides
Datura are quite poisonous but they smell oh so good, especially at night.
It grows profusely in the wild here in San Diego. About every 5 years,
a group of high school students will pick the flowers and make a soup out of them. Drinking the soup provides a natural high. Unfortunately, one can also lose one’s voice, damage one’s vocal chords, burn one’s throat and upper intestines, and even die, usually from kidney failure. I am quite allergic to this plant myself so I have to admire it from afar.
Thank you, Tamron, for my 150-600 mm lens!
Datura metaloides

Silk oak
I spent years trying to find out what this tree was.
Then I went out hiking with some bird photographers
one of whom knew all the plants along our hike.
A good reason to hang out with other people.
Silk oak

Castor bean
The beans are very beautiful but toxic due to the presence of ricin,
and since they look like beans, people will eat them.
Four to eight beans will kill an adult.
Often ranked #1 on the list of most poisonous plants in the world.
This plant grows everywhere and is considered
an invasive species here in San Diego.
Castor bean

Wild rose
This flower is only about an inch in diameter.
Wild rose

Thistle
This plant bugs me when it’s by itself,
but a thistle patch can be quite beautiful.
Thistle

Unknown flower with dew drops
Unknown flower dew drops

Unknown flower
Unknown flower

Unknown flower
Unknown flower

Coming up next: The San Diego Jetty Cats.

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

 

Out & About—The San Diego Jetty

Out & About San Diego

Once a month I go out to the San Diego Jetty to see how the feral cat colony there is doing. We old timers call them the Jetty Cats.

San Diego jetty

San Diego jetty

Feral cats on the San Diego jetty

The Jetty is a great place to see beautiful sunsets because there always is something to put in the picture to add interest to the sunset. It’s also a great place to go for a walk, as so many people do.

Following are some pictures from my trip to the Jetty in August, featuring everything except the Jetty Cats, although a few can be seen in these pictures. The Jetty Cats will be featured in Saturday’s post since tomorrow is Friday Flower Fiesta day.

Sentinel SeagullSentinel Seagull

Dogs at Dog Beach in Ocean Beach,
across the San Diego River from the
San Diego Jetty and the Jetty Cats.Dogs on Dog Beach in Ocean Beach across from the San Diego Jetty

Throw it already!A woman and her dog

The San Diego Jetty is an active fishing area.
Sadly, that means the some fisherpeople leave
fishing line behind which the birds often get
entangled in, quite often losing a leg. This juvenile
already has to go through the rest of its life with just one leg.One-legged bird at the San Diego Jetty

It’s probably too late for this bird’s leg.
You can see the scar where the fishing line
was wrapped around the bird’s leg.
Bird with an injured leg at San Diego Jetty

There are quite a few cormorants and pelicans.
The cormorants are relative new visitors to the Jetty.
Cormorant at the San Diego Jetty

Pelican and sunset at the San Diego Jetty

The Jetty might be the only place where the birds are bigger than the cats,
and the cats have no interest in trying to catch those birds.Cats and a seagull at the San Diego Jetty

Bird mug shots.
I love it when wildlife cooperates with me.
Seagull mug shot at the San Diego Jetty

Seagull mug shot at the San Diego Jetty

ImpostorCats and skunk at the San Diego Jetty

Yes, there is a family of skunks that lives right alongside the Jetty Cats.
Neither the cats nor the skunks seem to care but it does make it
interesting when people like me show up to leave a little water and food.Skunk at the San Diego Jetty
Skunk at the San Diego Jetty
Skunk at the San Diego Jetty

Bushy tails.Skunks at the San Diego Jetty
Skunk at the San Diego Jetty

Tour boat coming back in at sunset.Tour boat at the San Diego Jetty

Wrong side of the fenceWrong side of the fence

Into the sunsetOff into the sunset

Coming up tomorrow: Friday Flower Fiesta. The Jetty Cats will have their own feature on Saturday!

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