Wildflowers of Torrey Pines, Guy Fleming Trail

Super Bloom, Spring 2017

The drought that has plagued the Southwest United States, Southern California included, has been declared over… for the most part. We saw hardly any rain over the last five years and this winter we made up for the deficit. Finally! And when the rains come, so do the wildflowers.

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The Torrey Pines State Reserve is a special place, and if you are visiting the San Diego area, try to stop by here. For spectacular scenery, the Guy Fleming Trail is one of my favorite places to walk, run, bring tourist friends, and take photos.

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This year, a lot of photos. Never have I taken more pictures of any natural area. Ever. And I like taking pictures along hikes, so that is saying something.

 

From the dozen or so walks I have taken recently, I’ve saved about a hundred photos, culled down from four hundred, at least. The scenery changes every ten paces or so, quite literally! During San Diego’s May Gray and June Gloom, the fog sneaks and slips through the pines and up over the slopes that rise from the beach below. But- in a matter of minutes, the entire marine layer can clear up leaving tourist and locals blinking in the bright sunlight and marveling at the weathered bluffs, crumbling cliffs, and lovely, lovely flowers.

Just look at these side-by-side photos of similar views, but different times or weather:

 

and more…

 

 

Cold, early morning poppies vs. bright, shiny (and badly photographed) poppies:

 

I love these two:

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Here’s a bit of the wildlife. Surfers count, they are totally legit wildlife…

 

 

Get a load of the geometry and patterns seen out on the beach trails:

 

 

 

 

And to conclude, a few of my favorite pics of just the flowers:

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Milk Maids
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The Blue Larkspur- spotted in the eponymous Larkspur Canyon.

 

 

 

 

All right. I have to quit. I could upload another 50 photos that are every bit as lovely as these, but I have to calm the heck down.

Happy hiking, all!

Anza Borrego Desert State Park- Wildflower “Super Bloom” March 2017

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Brown-eyed Primrose

California’s above average, drought-busting winter rains are the proverbial blessing and a curse- floods, rock falls and mudslides that probably won’t be seen for another ten to twenty years, but the reservoirs are near to full, the snowpack in the Sierras is reassuringly deep and… oh, the WILDFLOWERS!

 

 

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Blue-eyed Scorpion Weed (AKA Wild Heliotrope?)

If you have considered driving out to the desert to see The Superbloom, GO. NOW. I’m going to conclude this post with a barrage of photos of the desert wildflowers.

 

Here is our Anza Borrego Desert State Park in full bloom on March 13, 2017:

Above: top left- Lupine (Arizona Lupine?); top right- Beavertail Cactus; bottom- Desert Sunflower

 

Some of the wildflowers at one of the highway park entrance signs, pictured below, include Desert Pincushion, Desert Dandelion, and Blue-eyed Scorpion Weed, and in the pic on the left, you can also see an Ocotillo “skeleton.”

It’s simply lovely. I mean LOOK HOW GREEN THE DESERT HILLS ARE! Below left, an Ocotillo’s tips are ready to fire up it’s red blooms. Below right a Cholla cactus is usually the only green thing you would see in this picture.. again, look at those GREEEN HILLS!

Henderson Canyon Road is stunning this year:

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A ridiculously beautiful expanse of yellow Desert Sunflowers

 

Coyote Canyon has water! And amazing flowers!

 

More flowers, Ocotillo, and Agave along the Coyote Canyon drive (off-road, not for casual tourists in sedans):

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Wednesday’s Wildflowers- Torrey Pines State Reserve

Along the coastal chaparral of the Guy Fleming Trail wildflowers are bursting forth thanks to the downpours we’ve seen this rainy season. If you can’t drive out to the desert region this spring, get over to Torrey Pines State Reserve and enjoy the beauty before the heat returns and withers away these blooms.

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Wooly Paintbrush is one of the chaparral perennials.
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The San Diego Sea Dahlia, of the sunflower family, has contrasting sturdy stems and delicate leaves.
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Here is one of my favorite wildflowers to spot- Miner’s Lettuce, of the purslane family. An early spring edible like the more common purslane… but don’t take my word for it, I’m no botanist.
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One of the many mustards, Milkmaids are popping up all over the Torrey Pines trails.

Thanks to my handy-dandy spiral bound book-

Native Plants Torrey Pines State Reserve & nearby San Diego County Locations

by Margaret L. Fillius, 2nd Edition

This book is available for purchase at the visitor center atop the preserve, and if you’re lucky, the author will be on site leading a nature walk.

Good Old Friends and Complete Silliness

What happens when you put a family of five into an SUV for thirty hours of nearly straight-through driving to visit their old friends and attend the Rose Bowl? They have fun. We helped our old friends get their wiggles out by putting them through our Tourist Treatment, specially constructed for Hoosiers.

You get some terribly centered selfies…

Some Christmas Card worthy photos…

 

A whole LOT of drinking…

 

And pics that were as much fun to see and share as the whole day.

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Seven years ago we were all canoeing on Sugar Creek in central Indiana:

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And this is the ridiculousness into which we have degraded:

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“Look, Mrs. J! I bet she’s not wearing any undies!”

 

 

 

 

SoNo Fest- Chili Tasting Meets School Fundraiser

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A lot of people trying a lot of chili… and will be sleeping with the windows open tonight, said one of our friends, ha.

And the Genius Award in the category of Fundraising goes to (drumroll)… The Originators of The SoNo Fest and Chili Cook Off Fundraiser for McKinley Elementary School in San Diego.

The South Park/North Park community has a gold mine here. You buy your little sampler pottery bowl for $20 and get to taste five chilis. Want more? Buy another five sample pass for $15 and reuse your bowl. Bring your bowls back from the previous year, too, if you like.

All of the tax deductible proceeds from this event go to benefit the Spanish, art, and music programs at McKinley Elementary… to the tune of over $50K last year.

IMG_9555I realized really quickly that the best strategy for tasting the best chili is the most simple- when my bowl is empty, I try the chili from the nearest booth. It is that simple- they are all are delicious!! One of my favorites was the Duck Confit, Lardon, Sausage and White Bean Chili from Café Madeleine for a non-traditional chili. I’m not the biggest chili fan… OH MY GOSH THIS WAS DELICIOUS!!

IMG_9557My overall favorite was a Pork Belly and Smoked Brisket from The Deck at Moonshine Flats. An unbelievable, savory, meaty, flavorful taste and overall the best chili I’ve ever had. So there. Eat your heart out, every other place. This is something that is served in Heaven, I am sure.

IMG_9558Another out of this word chili came from City Tacos, and may well have been completely unplanned. When they ran out of their Albondigas Chili, they substituted Carnitas. I am already a huge fan of carnitas, and this sample was pushed over the top when topped by chicharrones and tortilla chip strips. I KNOW, RIGHT??? CHICHARRONES!!!

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Finish that beer, there is more chili to taste!!

“Into the fun zone we go,” declared the ID checker we entered the Beer Garden. When one of our group (we’re looking at you, Johnnie!!) was holding up the Chili Sampling (Round 2!) with their unfinished beer, we decided to institute a new motto: Drink for Those Who Can’t… as in, if you can’t finish fast enough, we are now going to help finish it for you!

Music at both ends of the festival, student pottery available for purchase from the incredible gallery that is partly responsible for the SoNo Fest, unique vendors, and a handful of food trucks rounded out the sights for the day. Food trucks? I guess if you think you don’t like chili, you still will find some great eats here.

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Thorn Street Brewery, a festival sponsor
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Happy puppy, happy drinkers inside Thorn St. Brewery– nice people, too. If you two see this, hi!!
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Inside the San Diego Ceramics Connection, major sponsor and partly responsible for the SoNo Fest
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Buy my son some bow ties, Deedee, go ahead! Find these great ties online at ZBSavoy.com

More gratuitous chili photos:

 

Girls’ Day Out #2- Frutilandia and more!

In June I went exploring Liberty Station with one of my most favorite friends- two moms on the loose having a lot of fun!

Six months is way too long to wait. Time for another “field trip,” this time with Dee Dee and Suzanne, friends from our church’s Bunco Club. Incidentally, Bunco Club needs to be renamed to “Let’s Have a Blast Chatting about All Our Favorite Things, Then Finally Get Around to Throwing Those Dice” Club (at least on the day it was held at my house, oops). Well, we chit-chatted about so many different favorite products, foods, restaurants and other places that we promised to go on a field trip to a few of these spots the very next week.

IMG_9304Which brings us to today: Fruitilandia, Pancho Villa’s Farmer’s Market, and Penzey’s Spices. Two of our stops I was very familiar with, but Fruitilandia was my new venture for today. This place was really neato-burrito.

According to Dee Dee, Fruitilandia was once a dumpy-looking small shop across the street from it’s current location at 4328 University Avenue in San Diego. Now it is located in a bright spot, still offering smoothies and all kinds of fabulous Mexican drink specialties.

We asked about the different snack options and were all in for sharing a Tostilocos, and tried the Strawberries and Cream (unfreakingbelievably delish), Pico de Gallo Fruit Salad, Fruit Salad with cottage cheese, raisins and honey, and a Licuado.

IMG_9313Holy cow, where has a Licuado been all my life? It is kind of like a Mexican milkshake, only lighter, like a smoothie. And tastier. And more refreshing. Choose which of many fruits you want blended into your drink with the milk- I chose pineapple and mango. Wow. Delish.

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Ermuhgersh! Tostilocos!

The three of us split a snack that we decided was like a Walking Taco… on steroids. We barely made a dent in the Tostilocos- served in one opened small bag of Tostitos was cucumbers, jicama, fried peanuts, tamarind bits, spicy sauce and chicharron strips. I’m pretty sure there were 42 other things in there, we just couldn’t get down to the bottom of the bag.

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Three forks-full of chicharron… not fried.

Imagine how sad I was to find that the chicharrones were not fried… boo hoo hoo! I definitely prefer my chicharrones fried. Pork skin cooked this way is like calamari, only a little more firm. Not bad, but not to my taste.

Fruit Salad Pico de Gallo- something I never had, but always meant to- chunks of fruit with chile. Definitely tasty, now all my So Cal and Mexican friends and family can get off my case. I think I liked the papaya and watermelon best.

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Fruit Salad Pico de Gallo

Fruitilandia could take over the country’s smoothie market. I hope it does.

And I NEED to get out with the women more often!

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Out and about, trouble times three, ha.

 

 

San Diego Beer Week 2015

The Husband gets to pick all the new events for next week- it’s the beer lover’s paradise all week plus three days, starting November 3rd and running through the 11th.

They love their beer so much here that an official “Beer Week” is Ten Days Long. Seven days? Bah! Clearly not enough time to properly celebrate the brews.

Here’s a great article by Ian Anderson writing for the San Diego Reader. It is full of events and information around one of San Diego’s favorite past times, next to identifying which air craft Miramar MCAS is flying over head, water temps at Swamis, and arguing over who serves the best carne asada fries.

San Diego Beer Week 2015 article by Ian Anderson in the San Diego Reader... click the pic to link
San Diego Beer Week 2015 article by Ian Anderson in the San Diego Reader… click the pic to link