A friend and I kayaked the river last year, an eye-opening experience no matter how well you think you know our embattled waterway.
So it's great news to learn today the state of California has allowed the LA River to officially reclaimed its river status. Details here.
It was 82 degrees as we walked on the bluff, a slight breeze drying things out, sending scent molecules tumbling.
The brine of the sea:
A flinty, mineral smell where, in bone-dry earth, a wildflower made its last stand:
And the tiny Labrador waiting, waiting, ever and again waiting for someone to please throw the ball.
Already 70 degrees here at sunrise, everything still, even the ocean.
Plane above, heron below, beautiful cloud in the middle.
And with the sunrise comes the heat...
We're grateful for small favors up at the barn, where the garden is actually a 'garden' this year, with a mere three tomato plants surviving the predations of gophers and deer and Maisie's mortal enemy, the ground squirrel.
Is this way too many photos of way too few cherry tomatoes?
And your point is...?
Here's last light last night, the moment the sun drops behind the western ridge and just like that, it's dusk.
And here's the light this morning, sun edging up, mountains red, the air still heavy with the overnight chill.
In the last few days we've gone from fully fogged-in to bright blue skies, all in the space of a morning. Here's the tipping point, the marine layer thinning, the sun not quite winning, and everything, everywhere, still vague enough to still be beautiful.
This is but a corner of the collection of statues, signs, and all-around stuff that moves in and out of the yard of one of our neighbors, whose sense of humor and style makes it mostly whimsical and only occasionally (hello, tombstones) weird.
Let the lobbying begin!
The marine layer is back, stretches from the coast to the canyons, a cool, cool blanket of grey and boy, are we ever grateful.
It's late afternoon, still 90 degrees, honey bees humming in the heat, yet the oaks and the grasses and the slant of sun, it all says fall is coming.
For a few days last week the Barbara H., the Monterey Bay Aquarium's boat, sat moored right next to the floating four-million-gallon fish pen. This usually means there's a shark in the tank and scientists are seeing whether it's stressed, whether it will feed, whether it's a candidate for the trip up north.
This time the answer was no, and the shark (it's always a 'young of the year', which means it's under a year old and feeds only on fish and hasn't begun yet to hunt larger prey, like sea lions or seals) was tagged released. It joins two other young sharks that were tagged and released this month, one in the Santa Monica Bay, and one near Oxnard that a fisherman accidentally caught.
So that's the news. But what I like about this moment is the boat and the kayaker and the flight of gliding pelicans all in the same frame, and the way the sun was rising and the air was warming and how the beeze laid down a skim of salt on bare skin, and how the scent of it said it's still summer.
I never know which sunrise shots to show, the shifts of light so slight it's hard to say what's different. Blink and everything changes, so err on the side of abundance.
It seemed like every long-necked bird who had ever visited the little lake here in the mountains arrived for breakfast this morning.
The humans oohed and aahed. The Muffinhead? Less than impressed.
Driving home from the store yesterday morning when suddenly, the road sounded loud. Then it sounded specific, like hey, I can hear the ruts, and that rock and that stick, and then oh no, are we riding at a bit of an angle?
We were. The inner tread on the right front tire had worn so thin, it turned permeable. And just like that, we had a flat. (Channeling the Cat in the Hat. Sorry.)
I left the car and walked home because I had a meeting from 10 until 1, so by the time I called AAA and met the very nice (and hot and sunburned) tow truck guy back at the car, it was at least 130 degrees in the shade, and by the time he changed the tire and urged me not to drive more than a few miles on the cartoonishly small spare, my brain was fried and Saturday was shot.
So I took the back roads to the local CostCo, bought four new tires, and as I waited for them to be mounted (long line) spent close to three hours in the AC of the store, surrounded by glazed shoppers pushing enormous carts filled with enormous sizes of so much stuff that you know, once they got home and started blinking their eyes again, they were going to think, wtf? and, one more time, resolve to stick to the shopping list.
BUT I DIGRESS.
The point being (and I may actually have one) is that what with the heat and the traffic and the flat and the heat (and have I mentioned the heat? And the humidity? I mean, if it's going to be this humid, shouldn't there be ukeleles and leis and handsome men twirling flaming batons?) sorry, where was I? Oh, right.
The point being I haven't used my camera much the last few days so here's an easy, uncomplicated shot, sand and water and sea grass that, with the slightest flight of fancy, you can actually feel your bare feet sink into wetness, and know if you looked up, there it would be, blue horizon, as far as the eye can see.
We've reached that point of summer where it's dry here in the hills, everything shrinking, even the little lake.
Each morning there's a bit more land and a lot less water:
...taking to the trees for shade and shelter.
It's been weeks since I've happened upon a hawk and honestly, I was getting worried. They're a part of the landscape here, a touchstone, and if too much time goes by without a close encounter, you start to wonder.
This guy was wondering, too, whether the person under the tree was ever going to press the shutter release and get the shot and move along already, wondering how many photos do you need, silly human, when there are rodents to hunt and thermals to ride and a hawk's wild life to be lived?
All summer long the talk has been about the surf, about how there isn't any and there's no sign of any and will there ever be any ever again. (Does that sentence end in a question mark? I can never tell.)
So imagine the joy when the view from here yesterday morning was this:
And, for Tiny Labradors who are all about the foam, this:
Frankly, you can just give me this and I'm happy:
Headed home from town on Sunday. Hot weather equals heavy traffic here so PCH was slow going. And then we got to the Cove, where things simply stopped. (Yes, the photo was shot through my windshield and yes, I have since washed it.)
Traffic into the Cove has gotten heavier ever since the sleepy Sand Castle restaurant vanished and the amped-up, heavily advertised Paradise Cove Beach Cafe appeared. At first just the Cove road backed up, making getting into the mobile home park or the restaurant a long, slow drive. Now, with crowds too big and parking too scarce, the back-up spills out onto PCH.
Obviously another nightmare day at Paradise Cove - the cars cannot fit into the left turn lane as you can see and they are dangerously blocking part of the left lane going north. Then they are illegally loading up in the double - double crossing the line. People are making left turns into Paradise cove blocking the highway and causing gridlock even though it says FULL on the sign as early as 11 a.m. when I went to church.
The cars coming from the north are backed up because cars are doing turns and then stuck in the middle of the highway. Further, those young men with the safety vests are powerless out in front - they look like deer in the headlights. We need sheriff's out there all day on the weekend and we need to pay for them. This is a dire situation if there is an emergency.
Add in the hundreds of people who park on PCH and fork over $10 to walk into the Cove, many of them carting in alcohol (drunken beach party! yay!) and it's a nightmare. Who's going to step in and fix things? The city? The LA County Sheriffs? The Kissel Company? Anyone at all?
It'll be interesting to see.
Like clockwork each August we're walloped by heat, big heat, the kind that wilts the spirits of the Little Dog. So like clockwork each August we're at the local hardware store, shelling out ten bucks for a pool. This year, it's this pool:
And the Tiny Labrador is all, what?
A walk-in water dish?
This great white egret has been a regular visitor, his long, long legs and the fast-evaporating water in our little lake making his hunt for food much easier.
He ate two fish in a row, bill slicing water, coming up with the catch, a flash of silver suddenly there and, just as suddenly, swallowed.
Nearly 10 years old, a concrete mash note to our city.
Meanwhile, don't forget about the Perseid meteor showers this weekend, up to 100 shooting stars per hour, according to NASA, with the best show lighting up the eastern early-morning sky.
That's "Happy blogiversary" in Latin.
Six years now since that first post. You can read it right here.
Scientists from the Monterey Bay Aquarium are back in the Santa Monica Bay, working to capture a young great white shark, the 7th in a series. They'll keep it in the floating tank and, if it feeds and seems to tolerate the stress of captivity, will transport it north.
There it'll go on display in the aquarium's shark exhibit for anywhere from a few days to several months, again depending on how well it tolerates the stress of captivity.
Before they set it free, the scientists will tag the shark with a geolocator, then track its journey online. The program, while geared toward research and conservation, is not without controversy. Lots more info here.
On our evening walk in Bluffs Park last night we saw these guys:
Photographing these guys:
They chose the sere, seaside chaparral over the lush park lawns for their photos, the bride hiking in heels, the groom keeping careful watch over his new wife.
Later, at the bluff's farthest edge we found footprints, the smooth soles of the groom's polished shoes, the photographer's boots, the spikey imprint of the bride's stiletto, a tiny lizard peering in, already exploring the newest place to hide.
Not only does the
viscious rodent ground squirrel blithely tunnel through the garden, laying waste to all hopes of a harvest, he then perches on the picnic bench next to it and has a little sun bath, singing "Neener neener neener" under his breath.
Or is it Fauxgust? Either way, we're still with the foggy at the beach here this morning, though it'll burn off. Eventually