Category Archives: Photos

Out & About—Poppies everywhere!

Out & About The World

So far in 2019 I have had 37¾ inches of rain at my front door. Other parts of Southern California also have been getting a lot of rain, and lots of rain in January & February mean lots of flowers in the mountains and deserts in March & April.

Yesterday I went to see the supper poppy bloom in Walker Canyon in Lake Elsinore, California. I love mass plantings, especially flowers, and the supper poppy bloom now ranks #1 on my list, ahead of the Texas bluebonnets in the Houston/Austin/College Station area and the tulips at the CN Tower in Toronto.The poppies are California poppies, the official flower of the State of California. Enjoy them in their native habitat!

There were People, Parking, People Parking, Poppies, Poppy Parking, Puppies, Puppy Packing, and Purple flowers (for contrast):

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

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What to do in retirement….

Back in 2003, I stopped by a plant nursery in Solana Beach, California, after a home inspection. I had never been to it, did not know about it, and simply stumbled upon it while delaying going home in rush hour traffic. I used to include 10% discount coupons to the nursery in my home inspection reports, and I know that many of my home inspection clients used the coupons.

Fast forward to 2017. I stopped by Solana Succulents to tell the owner that I had retired as a home inspector. He thanked me for all the years of sending my clients to his nursery. He gave me free copies of his first two books that he had authored, “Under the Spell of Succulents” and “Soft Succulents.”

Jeff Moore books

He had a third book, “Aloes & Agaves in Cultivation,” that was in the process of being printed, and he was starting on a fourth book to be titled “Spiny Succulents.” I went home and immediately started reading the two books and looking at the glorious pictures.

Since I was a copyeditor and writer for the Department of Chemistry, the College of Science, and the University Press at Texas A&M University from 1983 to 1987, as well as the Department of Chemistry at Stanford University for six months in 1987, I have this habit of looking for errors in my reading materials—makes it really fun to read the uncorrected advance editions of novels that my husband brings home from Warwick’s bookstore at the San Diego Airport.

After several pages, I noticed that there were a lot of grammatical and punctuation errors, as well as some word use (“compliment” instead of “complement”) and spelling errors (it’s for its). I went back to page one and decided to make a list. Whenever I find a huge number of errors, I always inform the author, and that’s what I did with Jeff Moore’s books.

Fast forward another two years. Jeff asked me if I would like to do the final editing and design layout on his “Spiny Succulents” book. I was an easy sale. I got the pages on January 30. 350 pages to edit and create the final layout. I just finished page 139.

I wanted to share a few pictures of some of the beautiful plants in the book. You’re getting a free look that no one else has had. These are low-resolution pictures specifically for my WordPress blog. Enjoy!

Front Cover
Front cover

Adenium obesum
Adenium

Turbinocarpus pseudopectinatus
Turbinocarpus pseudopectinatus

Collection

Collection

Euphorbia woodii
Euphorbia woodii

Euphorbia pulcherrima
Yes, the Christmas poinsettia is a succulent!
Euphorbia pulcherrima

Trichocereus hybrids
Trichocereus hybrids

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

Saving throwaway pictures

How I Did It

I took a picture this morning of two black tree monitors (Varanus beccari) cuddling in the Reptile House at the San Diego Zoo. Sadly, the picture is focused on the leg of one of the monitors:

Varanus beccari

It’s a poor picture. Many photographers would call it a “throwaway” and promptly delete it. Not me. As my wise old grandmother told me: “Don’t throw anything away! There is no away!”

Hint for taking pictures of wildlife: Focus on the eyes; everything else will fall into place.

Since have so many different picture editing software programs, I decided to see if I could make something “artsy fartsy” out of it.

Here’s the one I like the most (so far!), using Fractalius G4 software by Redfield:

Varanus beccari

Considering what digital photo editing software was available 20 years ago, I wonder what I might be able to do with “throwaway” pictures in another 20 years.

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

Out & About—The Flower Fields open today!

Out & About San Diego

The Flower Fields in Carlsbad open today and remain open through May 12.

Their specialization is the giant ranunculus, which they grow on about fifty acres. There are another five acres of other flowers: roses, petunias, columbines, water lilies, geraniums, sweet peas, poinsettias, cacti & succulents, and more.

If you’re in the San Diego area during this time, I can highly recommend a visit to The Flower Fields.

The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, California

The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, California

The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, California

The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, California

The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, California

The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, California

The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, California

The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, California

The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, California

The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, California

The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, California

The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, California

The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, California

The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, California

There are lots of activities for the family, as well. They often have a maze for the children that is created out of tall walls of growing sweet peas plants, all in flower.

Instead of being forced to go through a gift show on your way out, you’re forced to go through what I believe is Armstrong Garden Centers’ biggest and best nursery.

If you don’t spend the whole day in The Flower Fields—I do!—there is a lot more to see and do just around the corner:

  • LegolandLegoland with its awesome SeaLife Aquarium
  • Museum of Making Music where budding musicians, as well as musicians in full flower (puns intended!), can play drums, guitars, and quite a few other instruments
  • Green Dragon Tavern & Museum with great New England cuisine and a Revolutionary War Museum.

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

Out & About—San Diego’s snow-capped mountains

Out & About San Diego

I arrived in San Diego on April 27, 1993. It was to be my last stop on my attempt to find a place to live outside of the Great Nation of Texas. I considered myself retired from all previous professions, so I spent my time visiting all the beaches between Mexico and Los Angeles. Gawd I was having a good time.

One day, while playing beach volleyball with some friends and new acquaintances, someone suggested going skiing. Well, we’re at the beach so what could be more logical than hopping in a boat and going skiing on the great Pacific Ocean. Ha! That’s not what the suggester had in mind. He wanted to go snow skiing. Uh, we’re in San Diego. There’s no snow anywhere for miles around.

I was only partially right. Snow and ski resorts were only 90 miles away. I had been snow skiing several times before so I was game. We headed to Big Bear, California, and spent the rest of the day snow skiing.

Several years later, I saw a picture of downtown San Diego with snow-capped mountains in the background. I thought it had been photoshopped until I saw it for myself a few years later.

I have been trying for 23 years to get my own picture of San Diego with snow-capped mountains in the background. Absent an airplane, helicopter, or hot-air balloon, the only place to get such pictures was Point Loma, about 40 miles due west of the mountains.

For me to get such a picture, not only would it have to snow down to about 1,800 feet above sea level, but it would have to be a beautifully clear day to see all that way through clouds, fog, and smog. Although it snows down to 1,800 feet every five years or so, clear days while the snow exists are few and far between.

When I woke the morning of February 22, 2019, I learned that it had snowed in Alpine, just 7 miles east of where I live, and right at 1,800 feet above sea level. I knew the higher-elevation mountains would be covered in snow, lots of snow.

I can see the mountains from my house, and they had lots of snow on them. It was a beautifully clear day at 7:00 a.m., so I immediately headed to Point Loma. The result of my trip is the three pictures below.

San Diego with snow-capped mountains in the background

San Diego with snow-capped mountains in the background

The first picture was taken from Cabrillo National Monument on Point Loma. The second picture was taken from Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, also on Point Loma. Here’s another picture which includes part of Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery:

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, downtown San Diego, and snow-capped mountains

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

SNIPPETS (8-20-18)

Snippets

SNIPPET 1

A short video starring the furry felines at the Friends of Cats from my 2½ hours volunteering on August 19, 2018.

SNIPPET 2

I will be volunteering at Friends of Cats for 2½ hours each day, Sunday through Thursday. Yesterday I spent most of my time letting the FIV cats know that they have not been forgotten. They really enjoyed having me with them. Except this one. I wasn’t fooled. I saw him watching me.

Cat eye

SNIPPET 3

I have a Bachelor of Science in Forest Management from Texas A&M University. So I do, uh, kinda like trees. However, treeless mountains also can be quite beautiful, like these over near Death Valley National Monument in California.

Treeless mountains

SNIPPET 4

Now, along with alternative facts and fake news, we have Rudy Giuliani telling us that “Truth isn’t truth.” Zoey the Cool Cat agrees, I think. Maybe not. Maybe she’s just being sarcastic.

Truth isn't truth!

SNIPPET 5

While volunteering at Friends of Cats for National Clear the Shelters Day on Saturday, I met my first heterochromia cat. Previously all I had seen were pictures. Now I have my own picture.

White cat with heterochromia

Heterochromia can occur in humans and dogs as well as cats. With cats, it occurs mostly in white cats. One eye almost always is blue in humans, dogs, and cats.

SNIPPET 6

When I came home Saturday after 8 hours volunteering for Friends of Cats, I went to hug Zoey the Cool Cat. She smelled me and gave me a look that said, “Dude! You’ve been cheating on me!” A video of many of the little furry ones that I had the pleasure to cheat with on my first day of volunteering

SNIPPET 7

While I was roaming the country a few weeks ago, I made it a point to visit all the great railroad spots, such as the historic California railroad yards in Barstow and Yermo. Here’s a video of a Union Pacific freight train heading west into the Barstow yard. From there it will go either to San Francisco, Los Angeles, or San Diego.

SNIPPET 8

This little guy’s name is Chuckie. He lives at the Friends of Cats shelter in El Cajon, California. He is a finicky eater, preferring only whole chicken from Costco.

Chuckie

SNIPPET 9

Got the official diagnosis Saturday on Zoey the Cool Cat’s blood, poop, and pee analysis. She’s diabetic, although not severe enough to require daily insulin shots. The vet wants to give her a significant change of diet.

Zoey the Cool Cat book

SNIPPET 10

It is often said that you don’t choose a cat, a cat chooses you. I saw that on Saturday while volunteering all day at Friends of Cats shelter in El Cajon, California. It was very moving.

A teen boy came in with his mom. They sat on the floor and were petting cats. A black cat (yeah black cats!) named Ace, a “problem cat” that had been in the shelter for several years, came up to him, flopped on the floor, and proceeded to let the boy rub his tummy and head, and even pick him up. Ace wanted to snuggle and generally told this boy that he was the one. The boy took him home.

Staff was astounded because Ace had never done such before.

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

SNIPPETS (4/8/18)

Snippets

SNIPPET 1

I joined the Internet as soon as it was available because previously I had been connected from Texas A&M University to co-workers at other universities like Wisconsin, LSU, Georgia, Washington, Washington State, Oregon, and Oregon State through the ARPANET, the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network.

Although ARPANET was run by the United States Department of Defense, it wasn’t so much a defense network per sé as it was a way for researchers throughout the nation to connect with each other in writing without relying on the U.S. Mail.

With ARPANET, though, to the best of my knowledge after forty years, we had a little privacy. Such is not true with today’s Internet. Searches using Google, Bing, and Yahoo, are great examples.

If I ever thought that my little ol’ blog here was just an out-of-the-limelight set of musings, I realized very early after starting to blog in July 2007 that such was not the case. It got to the point in 2015 where I could publish a blog post and, within just a couple of minutes, my post would be indexed by Google and Yahoo. Because I don’t publish as often, it will take over an hour for this post to be indexed.

And now we have Facebook. If, after the Facebook fiasco, anyone thinks their information is private, well, I have news for you. I’m thinking that there needs to be a sequel to the 2010 movie, “The Social Network.”

SNIPPET 2

I have always loved pictures of raindrops on plants but I never was happy with my own pictures. That was the purpose of me buying the Tamron 90mm Macro lens several months ago. I just wasn’t happy with the raindrops pictures I was getting with my Tamron 18-300mm lens, which didn’t completely surprise me because it’s not a macro lens.

My gardens have had over 13 inches of rain in 2018, and that has allowed me plenty of opportunities to get pictures of raindrops on plants. Here are five of my favorites:

#1 — Raindrops on Sprenger asparagus fern (not a true fern)Raindrops

#2 — Raindrops on Aloe flower
Raindrops

#3 — Raindrops on a succulent flower stalk
Raindrops

#4 — Raindrops on leaves of Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’
Raindrops

#5 — Raindrops on a Graptopetalum leaf
(Might be in the NSFW category)
Raindrops

SNIPPET 3

I have been working tirelessly on getting a good inventory of Designer Pots for my new company, A+R POTTERY. There are about 50 completed pots, some of which will be kept as display pots to provide inspiration for those looking to buy but wondering what to do with such a small pot. Remember that my tagline is Designer Pots For Your Small Cactus And Succulents.

I shall be selling at cactus & succulent shows throughout Southern California. There are 15 such shows through August 12, although I don’t know if I’ll be able to participate in all of them. I sure would like to.

In order to be a vendor at a show, though, there usually are two basic requirements: (1) One has to be a member of the Cactus & Succulent Society that is hosting the show, and (2) One has to enter anywhere from two to eight entries into the show. They don’t have to be competitive entries, but obviously a show has to have plants in the show in order to have a show. Makes sense.

Of course, members and even the general public can enter plants into the show, but of vendors, it is a requirement. Here are five of my Designer Pots with plants for entering shows:

#1
These plants are stonecrops, so I call this my Stonecrop Swimming Pool.
Stonecrop Swimming Pool

#2
The larger plant at the back is Graptoveria olivia.
I bought it from a person on Facebook that I met
in the Cactus & Succulents Marketplace group.
Show pot & plants

#3
Many shows have auctions with the proceeds going to scholarships,
libraries, or special functions. It’s a great way to get publicity.
This one will be donated to the Benefit Auction on April 14
for the San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society,
which benefits their scholarship fund.
Benefit Auction Designer Pot & plant

#4
Many people don’t like “scraggly” plants. I’m a big fan of them.
They look so cool hanging over the edge of one of my Designer Pots.
Designer Pot with scraggly plant

#5
This is Crassula corymbulosa (Red Pagoda).
This one will be entered into show competitions.
Crassula corymbulosa (Red Pagoda)

#6
These five plants are Aloe varieties.
I call this Aloe Avenue.
It will be for inspiration only display.
Aloe Avenue

#7
I call this one Cactus Condominiums.
It also will be for inspiration only display.
Cactus Condominiums

#8
Lastly, I like this one so much
that I will be making more of them today and tomorrow.
San Diego Designer Pot by A+R Pottery

Each Designer Pot is different and numbered, so even if I make more starting with the same San Diego tile, the glass pot and frame on each one will be different, making each pot unique.

SNIPPET 4

Jim’s brother, Steve, had a stroke on March 19 and spent a couple of weeks in the hospital and rehab after successful surgery. Steve has a cat named Ninja. Since he lives just 120 miles from us, the Jim & Russel Rescue Service sprang into action and took Ninja in to care for her and love her while her daddy is recovering. Ninja will be returning to her daddy this coming Friday. Ninja is an older cat, and quite large. I call her Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat. She and Zoey the Cool Cat don’t really like each other but they do tolerate each other.

Here are a few pictures of Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat:

Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat

Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat

It took a little while for Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat
to get comfortable in her new home.
She did that by creating bed tunnels
to hide in while she was acclimating.
Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat

Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat

Eventually they were able to get pretty close to each other
without growling and hissing.
Zoey the Cool Cat & Ninja the visiting Fat Cat

Zoey the Cool Cat & Ninja the visiting Fat Cat

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