Here in Malibu
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January 31, 2014

'We've never seen anything like this'


We've hit another first with this epic drought -- the Department of Water Resources announced that for the first time in its 54-year history, the State Water Project will stop deliveries to the local agencies that supply 25 million customers, and to 750,000 acres of farmland.

It's called "zero water allocation", and if that sounds awfully academic, then check out this recent Market Report from Good Food, KCRW's great food show. The farmers talk to Laura Avery about running out of water, not being able to grow food, about losing crops to the wildlife being starved out of the barren hills. It starts at the 18-minute mark, and is followed by a discussion of the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge, the 13-month dry weather pattern Grace Peng has been writing about here on LAO.

"We've never seen anything like this," says Dawn Kantor of Flora Bella Farms in Three Rivers, just east of Visalia. "If we don't get rain, we don't know how we're going to grow food."

Nothing academic about that at all.

You can find Good Food podcasts on iTunes, and listen at their web site here.

January 30, 2014



foggy day




wet dogs

January 29, 2014

We had some weather at the beach

A bit of cold and a lot of fog, which is about as wintry as things are going to get here this year, or so it seems.

the weather here today

January 28, 2014

Walt at the barn

Walt up at the barn

I can't believe it took this long to get Walt's official portrait up at the barn.

January 27, 2014

This didn't happen today


This is from last week, when the moon rose at sunrise, but pretty enough that I still wanted to share.

January 26, 2014

It rained!

It rained here today. For 90 seconds. It was so thrilling and rare I shot a photo through the windshield (just the iphone handy, which wouldn't focus in the raindrops) as proof. Now the clouds have thinned and the sun has poked through and I guess that's that for our winter storm.

it rained! for 90 seconds. sigh.

January 25, 2014

Signs of Saturday: Danger

extreme fire danger in malibu

I can't recall the last time "extreme" made an appearance in our local fire sign. And alarming as that is, even more worrisome is the lack of public conversation about what's going on with our weather patterns.

If you agree, then check out Grace Peng's post here on LA Observed about the ridge of high pressure that has deflected rain from California for going on 13 months now. Also informative, Aquafornia; Jon Christensen and Mark Gold on LA Observed; and Emily Green's blog (be sure to browse her excellent links lists) Chance of Rain.

January 24, 2014

Not a moment's peace

Why are there so few solo photos of Maisie these days?

That's why:

not a moment's peace

January 23, 2014

Once upon a time

Once upon a time it used to rain in Southern California. We called it winter. This being January and the 10-day forecast offering only the slimmest prospect of rain, I thought I'd dip into the archives.

Rain in the city:

downtown LA during saturday's storm

Rain at the beach:

winter storm dec. 11 2009

Rain in the hills:

more rain

Rain on this very day in January five years ago.

rainy saturday

I love this one -- Jake's still alive, Maisie's wearing a raincoat, and it's just flat-out pouring.

rainy day dogs

Also? After the rain.


January 22, 2014

Change of venue

From the beach we move into the mountains (I just had a fight with auto-correct which, for some reason, wants it to be moutons) where the Santa Monicas say good morning.


January 21, 2014

Small favors

it was actually cloudy today

In this hottest, driest and strangest of winters, it's come down to being grateful for a skim of cloud cover. (And would you weathercasters please stop talking about our "beautiful" 82-degrees-in-January weather? It's terribly, freakishly wrong.)

January 20, 2014

Last night's sunset


Everything everywhere turned pink for a few minutes, including Walt's white feet.

January 19, 2014

Happy Sunday

These two are always happy.

happy dogs

Also, Walt and Maisie look forward to meeting their new little cousin, Luna, who was just adopted by some friends in New Mexico. Road trip!


January 18, 2014

Signs of Saturday: Punishable

In case something about the views from the courthouse in Santa Barbara moves you to mischief:

courthouse view

courthouse courtyard

courthouse roof

palm shadow

There are rules.

spit at your own risk

January 17, 2014

Dearly beloved

Not only is the Santa Barbara courthouse home to a most beautiful mermaid:

the mermaid

It's a lovely place...

santa barbara courthouse

To watch your friends...

tile roof


Get married.




January 16, 2014

Heat exhaustion

Hot in the mountains, hotter at the beach. At home, at the barn, on our walk and in the car, the dogs panted. And then Walt (no, he's not supposed to be on the couch) crashed.

oh walter...

January 15, 2014

Hawk in the oak

What I really like here--

hawk and oak how the hawk--

the hawk

...turns to see who's watching him.


January 14, 2014

This crazy weather

Still 82 degrees at sunset in Malibu and my god, the wind. Had to tie up the wind chimes, tie down the hummingbird feeders.

santana wind sunset

Ocean empty. No birds, no boats, no rain in the forecast.

82 degrees at 5 p.m.

Moonrise at sunset. Neat trick.

moonrise during sunset

January 13, 2014

Stuff we saw yesterday

The (dry, dry) oaks:

january afternoon

The path:

winter in malibu

The (dry, dry) peaks:

santa monica mountains

The puppy in flight:


The puppy at rest:

let's take a break

The Muffinhead, hoping PETA is still on her speed dial.

maisie says HELP.

January 12, 2014

Walt as Plan B


The final details in the remodel, the small stuff, wind up taking as much attention as some of the larger projects so Walt has agreed to make things easier and pose for you.

January 11, 2014

Signs of Saturday: Room at the top

It's the Surfrider Room, on the top level of the Malibu Pier. Walk to the end, climb a staircase and voila.


One of the best views in Malibu -- that's Surfrider beach through those windows -- used for storage these days.


January 10, 2014

Bait and switch

It started out pink...



Then the fog...


...rolled in.

colors all gone

You know who didn't care?

ima gonna getcha

Good guess.

i warned you

January 9, 2014

Sooooo close...

We are days away from being done with the house and by days, I mean a month or so because the guys work here just on weekends. Still, when you think about where it all started, it's amazing.

Let's review.

The kitchen before:

Basically, it was in a box. On an angle.

kitchen in a box

So we took down the wall, filled in the doorway, and added a support post.


The original kitchen had that fab dropped ceiling, fluorescent lights, and a huge gold window and a gold sliding glass door.

There was also an enormous amount of wasted space. The spot I was standing when I took this shot is now a third bedroom.

dropped ceiling


We turned the slider into a French door (we haven't scraped the paint from the door yet after painting it) and replaced the golden window with something smaller so there could be a backsplash against the countertop.



oh. ugh.

Is now this:


And this:

all that weird wasted space

Is this:


It's a really pretty space now -- the guys did (ok, are doing) such a great job.

January 8, 2014

And may I just say...

Coming to you from the Santa Monica mountains...brrr.


the lake


January 7, 2014

The beach here this morning

The Cove. Again.

beach morning

Beautiful. Again.

January 6, 2014

Such a winter's day

Taking a break from my annual weather envy as the snow storms I long for give way to crushing, killing cold. So here's to our Southern California way of winter:



sycamore grove




california winter


January 5, 2014

Happy dog

Maisie on a Walt-less walk -- she actually got to catch the ball.

play ball!

January 4, 2014

Signs of Saturday: Like a prayer


Someone added a string Tibetan prayer flags to the bridge at the Cove where the creek meets the sand. It's the coldest spot on the beach, particularly on winter mornings when the creek bed funnels frigid air down from the mountain.

Once I'd covered world peace, abolishing poverty and the NSA, I'd reserve a prayer for remembering to wear gloves.

January 3, 2014

New in the new year


New ducks at the lake, a pair of pairs, with reddish feathers and white stripes on their heads. They keep to themselves, cruising and exploring the new surroundings. I'm browsing the bird sites, hoping to find a name.


January 2, 2014

Oh Walter...

Look -- a New Year's resolution (learn to make a gif) already completed.

Is it 2015 yet?

January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

First light of the first day of 2014:


The sun rose. (The sun, rose.)

sunrise jan 1 2014

The pups played:

happy new year!

And played:

the pups

The tide moved higher:


And the pups played some more.

good morning!


Happy 2014!

morning in the cove

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