Category Archives: Nature

Picture of the Moment—Zoey the Cool Cat’s official 2018 portrait

Picture of the Moment

Zoey the Cool Cat asked me why I have not featured her in my WordPress blog this year. So, here is the little queen’s official 2018 portrait, one of her favorite poses:

Zoey the Cool Cat

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

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Picture of the Moment—Be a unique star!

Picture of the Moment

A picture of some teen tiny flowers on one of my succulents, a jade plant (Crassula ovata). Taken with a Tamron 90mm Macro lens.

How many stars can you count on just the one flower? I see 7 but I would not argue with you if you made a case for 8.

I would/could never have seen this without that cool macro lens.

Be more than a star. Be a unique star.

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

Did You Know?—Euphorbia, Datura & Brugmansia

Did you know?

When I was living with my wise old grandmother from 1965-1973, one of my “chores around the house” was pruning the billions and billions and billions of oleanders forming a fence around our property. I hated those things (which is why I have never had oleanders on any of my properties) because I was severely sensitive to oleander sap. I quickly learned to wear long-sleeve shirts, long pants, and gloves when pruning those blasted things. Hmmm. Deep south Texas and a teenager working outside with long shirts and long pants. Hated it.

Another plant that I am overly sensitive to is actually a plant genus: Euphorbia. Some of you might know that the common Christmas poinsettia is a Euphorbia, Euphorbia pulcherrima. Poinsettias grow year-round here in San Diego and can get about 20 feet tall, making a beautiful statement at Christmas time when they bloom.

Poinsettia

Another common plant around our homes is the “Crown of Thorns,” Euphorbia millii.

Crown of Thorns

My wise old grandmother also had poinsettias and crowns of thorns, both planted along the driveway. Well, guess where this tall, skinny dude had his basketball court? Inevitably a missed basket would result in the ball bouncing over to the poinsettias and crowns of thorns, and breaking branches, getting sticky sap all over my basketball. Poinsettias and crowns of thorns were also on my “Never in my own yard” list. Because poinsettias and crowns of thorns are succulents, though, I have had them in my home and on my property simply because I plant them out of the way and forget about them. They can survive on the water that Mother & Father Nature provide them, and since they are out of the way, I don’t have to prune them. The Crown of Thorns picture above is from one of my past gardens.

When I arrived in San Diego in April 1993 and started exploring, I found a plant that grows wild, is very beautiful, and has a heavenly scent, especially at dusk: Datura.

Datura

Datura

I never saw Datura in a nursery, though. Eventually I found out why. It is very poisonous, especially their flowers and seeds, and people like me can develop a severe skin rash when the milky white sap gets on our skin. Their common name is Devil’s Trumpet.

Related to Datura is a plant that IS found in nurseries although it is just as poisonous: Brugmansia.

The Brugmansia’s common name is Angel’s Trumpet. The Angel’s Trumpet in the picture above is from one of my past gardens. It bloomed year-round, so the scent outside the master bedroom window was out of this world. I think the window was always open at dusk to let the fragrance in.

Brugmansia’s are difficult to find in nurseries and are usually carried by the smaller mom-and-pop nurseries. I recently found a small yellow one that is now outside waiting for me to transfer it from nursery pot to the ground, although the longer it waits, the more I’m thinking about putting it in a large glazed pot.

A side story to Datura and Brugmansia is that if the flowers are boiled in water, they create a “tea” that, when drank, creates a “natural high”—delusional and hallucinogenic euphoria. Sadly, this natural high can paralyze the vocal chords; cause liver failure, dry mouth, blurred vision, and incontinence; and even cause death. About every five years or so, some high school students here in the San Diego area learn the hard way about getting a natural high from these two plants. Animals, especially dogs and cattle, also are affected negatively when they eat the plants.

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

Out & About—Santa Cruz sea lions

Out & About The World

If I’m ever not able to get around on my own, just sit me in a chair on the Santa Cruz Wharf and let me watch and listen to sea lions all day. I think these creatures are just amazing and magical. Watch in full-screen mode and turn the volume up.

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

Picture of the Moment—Point of Impact

Picture of the Moment

Pelicans are one of my favorite birds to watch in the wild.

I grew up in Kingsville, Texas, (Gulf Coast) and spent a lot of time surfing on South Padre Island National Seashore during high school. I have lived here in San Diego since April 1993. I have been able to spend a lot of time watching pelicans and taking their pictures.

I have a few billion pictures of them flying through the air with the greatest of ease. Until this past weekend in Santa Cruz, California, I had never seen a pelican fishing. Usually they just sit around on shore, or a pier, or a fishing site, waiting for scraps from fisherpeople. One can often see crowds of them following a fishing boat returning from the Pacific Ocean.

In Santa Cruz, they weren’t waiting around for anything. They were doing their own fishing, and I caught one of them at the end of his dive, at the point of impact with the water. Click on the picture below and you can see very clearly the fish that Mr. Pelican had his eye on.

Point of Impact

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

It’s raining, it’s pouring…. Zoey the Cool Cat is bored

Did you know?

El Cajon, California, gets an annual average of 13 inches of rain. My front yard has received 9 inches in the past 36 hours. If we can get just 4 more inches today, we can be done with rain for the rest of 2018! Yahooooooo!

My succulent landscaping project has been put on hold, and considering how waterlogged the soil is, I suspect it will be several weeks before I will be able to resume landscaping.

Zoey the Cool CatFollowing is a short video of the
rain the morning of January 9, taken from my home office, where Zoey the Cool Cat sits sadly & silently on an office chair, staring out the office window, wondering where all the rabbits, squirrels, lizards & birds have gone, & wondering what that cold, wet
stuff is that falls from the sky & makes a complete mess.

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

Fauna of the San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo logo

As promised yesterday, here are some pictures of the fauna residing at the San Diego Zoo.

Which is your favorite?

1 – FlamingoFlamingo at the San Diego Zoo

2 – Panda with toothpick
Panda at the San Diego Zoo

3 – Bear (not sure which species)
Bear at the San Diego Zoo

4 – One-legged ball of feathers
One-legged ball of feathers at the San Diego Zoo

5 – Meerkat sentry
Meerkat at the San Diego Zoo

6 – Secretary bird
Secretary bird at the San Diego Zoo

7 – Capybara (world’s largest rodent)
Capybara at the San Diego Zoo

8 – African lion
African lion at the San Diego Zoo

9 – Mountain lion
(the kind that lives in Southern California)
Mountain lion at the San Diego Zoo

10 – Reindeer with an itch
after delivering all those Christmas presents
Reindeer at the San Diego Zoo

11 – Great white pelican
Great white pelican at the San Diego Zoo

12 – White-faced whistling ducks
(wondering if the water is too cold)
White-faced whistling ducks at the San Diego Zoo

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