Cdnpearly's Blog

Pearl's musings

Cape of Good Hope, 2 Oceans and Some Penguins! October 26, 2014

Long Beach, South Africa

Long Beach, South Africa

Hout Bay, South Africa

Hout Bay, South Africa

A full and complete day!

On our recent South Africa holiday, Tasha and I spent an entire day exploring points south of Cape Town.  And it was epic.

Sandra from Africa Dynamics set us up with a wonderful tour guide–Albert Pote.  Albert picked us up at our apartment and the day started with a stop at Hout Bay–a little fishing village with a lovely marina.  Lots of sea life makes this a popular spot to view seals.

From there we wandered down the coast and over some hills with incredible vistas including beautiful Long Beach.

 

 

 

Tasha and the ostrich!

Tasha and the ostrich!

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Cdnpearly and the ostriches

Albert stopped at an ostrich ranch.  He taught the finer points of feeding these HUGE birds!

 

Pincushion

Pincushion

From there we entered the Table Mountain National Park.  The pincushion flowers were spectacular.

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Two Oceans Restaurant

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Two Oceans Restaurant

Two Oceans Restaurant

Two Oceans Restaurant

Lunch was at the incredible Two Oceans restaurant at Cape Point.  Albert had arranged an amazing table overlooking False Bay.  The restaurant is open air and the views are as good as the food!  Birds and baboons also enjoy the Two Oceans, so squirt bottles are placed strategically along the railing–guests and staff “encourage” the creatures to move along with a well placed squirt of water!

 

 

 

 

Cape Point

Cape Point

Following our lunch, we took the Funicular (cable car) to the top of Cape Point.  It was bustling with tourists, but Albert expertly guided us to the best vantage points where we took photos and simply soaked in the location–the southern-most tip of Africa.  Also, we could see the delineation of the two oceans–Indian and Atlantic.

Cape of Good Hope

Cape of Good Hope

Well, actually, that’s not quite true–the oceans don’t seem to mind where they co-mingle!  However, tradition suggests that Cape Point is the meeting place of these 2 bodies of water.

Albert recommended hiking between Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope.  Since the weather was glorious (again!) and the views promised to be spectacular, we strolled along the well maintained board walk/path hugging the coast line high above the beach.  Tasha and I loved every moment of this hike.

 

 

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African Penguin

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African Penguins, Boulders Beach

From here we traveled north and stopped at Boulders Beach in Simonstown where the ever popular African Penguins hang out. These adorable creatures were formally known as Jack Ass Penguins due to their distinctive mating calls!  Everyone loves penguins!  So it was pretty busy here, however, once again, Albert knew the best place to view and take pictures.  A lovely boardwalk lead us through a wooded area where we saw the penguins’ burrows (nests).  As we approached the beach we were delighted by these sweet birds–waddling on the beach, swimming in the surf, falling/jumping off boulders in the water…mesmerizing!  Definitely worth stopping here for awhile!

Cape of Good Hope

Cape of Good Hope

And just like that, our very full day of sightseeing drew to a close!

If you have the chance to explore this remarkable area, I recommend a tour with Albert.  He immediately understood the type of activity we enjoyed and tailored the day to suit us.  Albert’s knowledge of the area, history, culture, sights etc. was impressive.  He also suggested some other activities to take in during the rest of our holiday–and offered to help us book reservations.  We took him up on his generous offer and in my next post, you’ll see how much we really enjoyed them!

 

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Feet on the Table! October 16, 2014

Table Mountain

Table Mountain

Lucky me!  I returned to Africa for 2 weeks recently with my good friend Tasha, including 6 days in beautiful Cape Town!

Having never been to Cape Town before (technically I have been to Cape Town before–so my mom says, when I was an infant…but that’s a story for another time) I wanted to make sure we hit all the well known spots…and Table Mountain towered above all the options–literally!

My research on Trip Advisor lead us to Hike Table Mountain and Riaan.  His hikes are currently ranked as the Number One activity to do in Cape Town.  After completing Riaan’s survey and some email back-and-forth, a route was selected:  Porcupine Ravine to Maclear’s Beacon, and across the top of Table Mountain where hopefully we would ride the Funicular (cable car) down to the parking lot.

Our path up the mountain...

Our path up the mountain…

Riaan picked us up at 6am and we were joined by a Canadian couple.  Within a few minutes we were ready to begin.

It is daunting to look up…waaaaaay up…to the top of Table Mountain and realize that we were going there!

I suspected that I might have been a little deluded over enthusiastic about my fitness level on Riaan’s survey when I was sweating like a pig winded on the approach to the trail head!  Riaan however, chatted easily as we walked along the path–pointing out beautiful and rare orchids, as well as many other plants.  He provided a thorough and riveting history of Table Mountain (it’s older than the Himalayas and it was 3 miles higher than its current elevation at its creation).

Porcupine Ravine Summit--view of Camp's Bay

Porcupine Ravine Summit–view of Camp’s Bay

Riaan immediately assessed the strengths and weaknesses of our group and offered the perfect combination of challenge and support for us all.  The Canadian couple were experienced hikers (the Rockies are their backyard) and I was at the other end of the spectrum–a “bag of hammers” struggling with a nagging shoulder injury and weak quads!

Despite my fitness deficit, Riaan patiently and expertly got us all up the Porcupine Ravine where we enjoyed an early lunch and a breathtaking view.

While we basked in the warm sun, gentle breeze and a 360 degree panorama, Riaan explained that we were very lucky to have the perfect day to climb Table Mountain.  It’s not uncommon for visitors to climb into full cloud, heavy wind–miserable conditions with no view!  And to add insult to injury:  the cable car shuts down in high winds, so the poor souls who have struggled to the top now have to hike down as well!  Fortunately for us, this was not the case!

Everlasting

Everlasting

Table Mountain Lakelet

Table Mountain Lakelet

Riaan lead us across the top of the Table to the highest point on the mountain–it’s a remarkable mesa (hence the “Table” moniker).  Beautiful spring flowers, lush green vegetation set against the ancient rock formations were stunning.  We didn’t encounter another soul on our trek–it felt like our own private mountain.  It was worth all the effort of climbing to experience this natural wonder.

A peaceful lakelet suddenly appeared and I took advantage of a small puddle to rest my weary feet on the “Table”.

Hiking towards the cable car structure we noted a couple of phenomena:

Table Cloth starting to descend

Table Cloth starting to descend

1.  The Table Cloth descending.  Table Mountain is known for changeable weather patterns.  One of these is a thick blanket of cloud that sweeps up the backside of the mountain and spills over the top and front.  It looks like a lovely white table cloth from a distance…not so lovely if you’re climbing in it!

Feet on the "Table"

Feet on the “Table”

2.  Crowds of tourists swarming the cable car/gift shop area.  After the quiet solitude of the 7 hour hike, the onslaught of people was jarring.

Our group braved the mob and took the quick and easy trip down to the parking lot where we met a taxi to return us to the car, and home.

Hike Table Mountain is, without a doubt, the only way I would recommend to experience this icon.  Riaan is the perfect guide and host–he knows these mountains like the back of his hand.

Next up:  The Tip of Africa and The Cape Of Good Hope

 

 

 

Olympic National Park August 2, 2014

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Marymere Falls

Crescent Lake

Crescent Lake

Recently I travelled to Olympic National Park in Washington State.  I’ve never explored Washington beyond working at a conference in Seattle years ago.

It is a beautiful spot in the world for sure.

cdnpearly on the ferry

cdnpearly on the ferry

We flew into Seattle and rented a vehicle to reach our destination.  The drive to the park included a ferry ride from Seattle to Bainbridge Island and then across several large bridges.

The weather was perfect–sunny and warm.IMG_2796

Arriving at the NatureBridge campus I was amazed at the lush greenery and the peaceful vibe.  Located on the shore of Crescent Lake, the historic property showcases many charming cottages and a dining hall that takes you back to bygone times.  I heard rumors that this location was a favorite of IMG_2840President Roosevelt!

Lake Crescent is unbelievably clear, with a teal blue color that reminded me of the Caribbean.  I actually looked forward to waking up early to enjoy tranquil mornings on the dock!

Our guide provided many opportunities to explore the area.

We canoed across the lake to hike The Spruce Railroad trail that was repurposed from an old train track. Wood from these forests was used in World War 1 for creating airplanes…to make it easier to get the lumber to the plane manufacturer, a rustic train track was constructed.

Tunnel on the Spruce Railroad trail

Tunnel on the Spruce Railroad trail

One of the most thrilling parts of the trail was through a tunnel.  Abandoned rail road ties littered the ground and made for challenging navigation.  I have some claustrophobic tendencies, so I was somewhat terrified reluctant to go through the gaping chasm that ended in the center of the earth tunnel.  Emerging on the other side was a relief!  It was a growth opportunity for me for sure!

Second Beach

Second Beach

Storm King Summit

Storm King Summit

One day we climbed Storm King.  This mountain overlooks Crescent Lake and provides a good burn for the quads as you ascend.  The views at the top were worth the effort, even on a misty day!

This region is also known for the Twilight movie(s).

Evidently Second Beach was the setting for some of the well known scenes (full disclosure:  I have never read the Twilight series or seen the movies).  We hiked along a beautiful trail that opened up onto the beach.  Interesting rock formations and the marine layer rolling in and out like the tides…well, I could definitely picture vampires, werewolves and whatnot cavorting here!

banana slug

banana slug

barred owl

barred owl

In addition to these “imaginary” creatures–we saw a number of other wildlife.  IMG_2871The ubiquitous banana slugs…a barred owl…a snake…ducks…crawfish…a deer…And the flowers were spectacular.

 

What an amazing experience.

Scottish Broom

Scottish Broom

 

Rachel the pig

Rachel the pig

We made a quick stop at the Pike Place Market in Seattle–saw  Rachel the pig and grabbed a tasty fresh salmon sandwich.  And then it was time to go home…IMG_0658

If you haven’t had the chance to explore Olympic National Park, I definitely recommend adding it to your list!

 

 

Outdoor Art? Yes please! June 25, 2014

Yarnbomb at Lizard's Mouth

Yarnbomb at Lizard’s Mouth

Living in the paradise that is Santa Barbara, I sometimes wonder, “How could this nirvana possibly be any better?”  And, then something like The Yarnbomb appears and magically, my beautiful adopted hometown exceeds even my own expectations!IMG_2747

Wait!  What?  Yarnbomb?IMG_0529

IMG_2744Yes!  Yarnbomb:  a permanent or temporary art installation created with fibre/yarn.  There are many wonderful examples all over the world–one of my favorites is a pink yarnbombed tank!  Recently however, Santa Barbara was graced with a fantastic yarnbomb at Lizard’s Mouth--a hiking destination in the mountains above Santa Barbara.  A local artist known as The Yarnbomber collaborated with international and American fibre artists and everyday folk who like to knit, crochet or “brochet” (aka: men who crochet) to create a spectacular collage of 19 boulder cozies.  We trekked up the mountains and were able to view it early in the morning.  Definitely worth getting up for!  My friend George snapped a couple close up shots so you can see the variety of work and patterns that contributed to the breathtaking mosaic.  If you have a hankering to go and check it out for yourself, you’ll be disappointed…the installation was fleeting and is now being repurposed into future projects or donated to charity.  Follow The Yarnbomber to learn about his interesting past and planned projects.10445594_10152404525544361_1317191361_o

I might even be inspired to attempt yarnbombing sometime!  Stand by…

 

 

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Chumash style chalk art

IMG_0547At the same time, the annual i Madonnari festival was underway at the Santa Barbara Mission.  This event features chalk artists creating images on the pavement surrounding the church.  IMG_0545It’s a popular event with lots of locals and tourists swarming wandering the grounds, so I waited a few days and browsed at my leisure.

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Do you know where this one is located?

While I was planning this blog post, I happened to notice a few other outdoor art installations in our beautiful city.

How about this one?

How about this one?

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Guesses where this one is?

 

 

Locals–can you identify where these pics were taken?

All in all, Santa Barbara is a wonderful place to experience art in the great outdoors!  Any alfresco art in your ‘hood?

 

 

 

Yosemite! May 23, 2014

Half Dome

Half Dome

Giant Sequoias

Giant Sequoia

Have you ever seen Half Dome?  Been astounded by El Capitan?  Breathed in the mist from Yosemite Falls?

Up until last month these names and places were just pictures in a book or dots on the map for me.

I had the opportunity to chaperone a 5 day expedition to Yosemite and it was, in a word, epic!

We started the 9 hour drive on a Monday morning.  It was my pleasure to have the company of 4 of the best children ever in my car.  I’m not going to lie to you, I was apprehensive about spending so many hours in a small space with 4 kids…however, my anxieties proved unfounded.  Believe it or not, we actually had a lot of fun!  Stimulating conversation, thought-provoking word games, cats in the cradle competitions (I didn’t participate in that activity since I was the driver!), many singalongs with Pharrell’s “Happy”…We also set some goals for our trip.  Amongst the list of things we wanted to see:  Caribou, Bald Eagles, Bears, Waterfalls.  Something I didn’t want to see:  Snakes.

And suddenly we arrived in the park!  As we rounded yet another curve in the windy, tree-canopied road, there was Half Dome!  “Impressive” “Awe-some” “Amazing”…none of these adequately does that first sight justice.  I felt like I could stare at it for hours…challenging since I was driving in a 4 car caravan!  We turned the next curve and Half Dome disappeared BUT a huge waterfall was revealed!  And then another!  Next a lovely meadow, followed

Dead Fred

Dead Fred

by a burned out area from recent wild fires.  The views were varied and non-stop.

Our first full day in Yosemite featured a hike through the Rim Fire burn area.  It was our guide’s first time back in the area since the fire.  It was sobering to see the devastation, and conversely inspiring to see nature’s regeneration underway.  Our destination was the Tuolumne Grove.  This area is home to many redwood giants.  I used a fish eye lens in an attempt to capture the grandeur of these ancient trees…

Tunnel Tree

Tunnel Tree

We had the opportunity to actually walk through 2 of the deceased redwoods.  Dead Fred was [somewhat] hollowed out through years of decomposition, and our guide invited us to walk  bear crawl through it.  For the most part, the children relished the chance to tunnel through the tree…I decided to rise above my claustrophobic tendencies and venture in.  It was dark, damp, cool, narrow, cramped, echo-y, and slightly unnerving, but I did it and I’m glad I did!

The famous Tunnel Tree is in this area as well.  In times past, it was part of a road running through the park–cars actually drove through it!  Examining the tunnel we saw carvings (graffiti)  that dated way way back.  Fascinating!

Spider Cave

Spider Cave

Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls

Spider Cave near Yosemite Falls provided another opportunity for me to confront my aversion to small spaces.  With the help of our guides and 3 flashlights, we crawled through a scary labyrinth  small cave.  It is believed to have been used by Native Americans for food storage–the inner reaches of the cave are quite cool, like a natural refrigerator.

El Capitan

El Capitan

As you can see, Yosemite Falls was spectacular.  Recent snow fall followed by warm sunny days meant that the waterfalls were all flowing well.

One memorable lunch was enjoyed in El Capitan Meadows.  Imagine my surprise  when I finally sat down after serving the children their food and looked around–there was  El Capitan directly behind me!  I hadn’t even noticed it!  It’s no lie when I say it took my breath away…

El Cap is considered the largest granite monolith in the world, being formed from a single chunk of granite (per climbing.about.com).  I felt like I could stare at it for a week and never really fully understand its scope.

Bridalveil Fall

Bridalveil Fall

Following a relaxing lunch we drove a short distance to another trail where we viewed Bridalveil Fall, Half Dome AND El Cap at the same time.  This hike definitely had a good return on investment!  Again, the few moments we lingered there really didn’t do the view justice.

Greatest Van Ever!

Greatest Van Ever!

Bear Paw Print

Bear Paw Print

Before we knew it the week had slipped away and it was time for the LONG drive back.  Despite a few character-building mishaps along the way, we arrived home safe and sound…maybe a titch stir crazy from the many hours in the car…

Circling back to our goals for the week, here’s where we stand:  No caribou, no bald eagles, no bears (we did see a bear paw print)…personally I felt challenged and restored–confronted some fears and consumed the beauty of this part of the world.  AND we saw many fantastic waterfalls!  All in all it was an epic adventure I highly recommend!

Have you been to Yosemite?  What’s your favorite spot?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Santa Cruz Island–the perfect day! April 24, 2012

“I wish I had a sock monkey hat”

“And then the foxes kissed!”

“Suddenly the day moved to a 12/10”

Seemingly random phrases that I will magically and impressively incorporate into a blog post…wait and see!  I will do it!

My sister Barb came out to Santa Barbara for a [long over due] visit.  Our time was limited–4 days–so careful planning went into creating an unforgettable holiday.

First we went to see the Hunger Games movie with Melissa.  We all loved it.  So gripping, so intense.  Acceptably true to the book.  Much discussion and debating ensued about the fine points of book vs. movie and casting choices…

We enjoyed a beautiful Easter brunch with Lisa and her family.  I brought a sausage brunch braid.  It was tasty!  And I’d make it again, for sure.  I recommend it for brunches or appetizers.  I swapped out the refrigerated crescent rolls for puff pastry–personal taste.  I made enough for 2 batches and we enjoyed the second one at home the rest of the week.

Debbie invited us to compete in her annual croquet tourney.  Entertaining!  ‘Nuff said!

Monday we shopped and then went to Saul’s for another glass blowing class.  My readers will likely recall that I took a class with Saul recently.  I just knew Barb would love it as much as I did…and I was right!  We both made 3 items.  Saul was wonderful, as usual. So patient and such a pro.  Thanks Saul!

Then, Tuesday we went to Santa Cruz Island! This excursion has been on my bucket list for some time.  What a thrill to be able to scratch it off, with my sister!

First, the weather forecast was iffy as the departure date drew closer.  However, we drove down the coast to Ventura with high hopes.  Traffic was a breeze, parking was easy.  We boarded the Island Packer boat and staked out the prime location:  bow (front of the boat for all you land lubbers!), main deck.  As I mentioned in my last post, Barb and I are hideously prone to seasickness.  We were pre-armed with homeopathic remedies, ginger, zip lock bags etc.  But, as it turned out we didn’t need any of our paraphernalia. The crew remarked on how unusually calm the channel was!!!  Lucky us!  Lucky fellow passengers!  We saw seal lions as we left the Ventura harbor.  And as we approached the open sea, the wind picked up.  But again,we were prepared…with cozy hats!  After donning our head-gear, a woman near us remarked: “I wish I had a sock monkey hat!”.  And we smiled–knowing how über cool we looked!

We approached the island after an hour or so.  There is a spectacular blow-hole near the Scorpion Ranch dock.  The captain pulled in close so we could have a good look at it.  Beautiful!

As we disembarked, all passengers enjoyed an orientation by a National Parks Guide (the Channel Islands is a national park, and the surrounding water is a national marine sanctuary).  We followed our guide to Cavern Point.  He shared interesting facts and kept the pace going at just the right speed.  He told us that it was the perfect day on the island–72 degrees, light wind and not a cloud in the sky.  We nailed the weather pocket!

Barb and I elected to follow the guide to Potato Harbor via the North Bluff Trail.  The views were epic–both out to sea (we were able to see the mainland) and the interior with spectacular native spring flowers including the blue dick–no, I’m not making that name up…2 guides confirmed it is in fact called blue dick.

Our delectable lunch at Potato Harbor was enhanced by the fact that sea lions were cavorting (yes, cavorting) in the shallow water far below us.  We watched as large pods of dolphins stirred up the water…birds flew over head…surreal–almost Disney movie-ish!

As we meandered back to Scorpion Ranch Anchorage, I said, “Barb, I’ll be disappointed if we don’t see any Island Fox“. Side bar:  Island Fox are ONLY found on these Channel Islands–and only 6 out of the 8 islands!

Barb scorned:  “Seriously?  Disappointed?  We’ve had the perfect day–no traffic, easy parking, no seasickness, warm sunny weather, cavorting sea lions…and you’re whining about Island foxes?”  And just then, a fox appeared!  OMG!  And then, another fox appeared!  And then (!) the foxes kissed!  I was no longer disappointed.

We lounged at the anchorage awaiting the boat to carry us home.  The water was COLD!  But, it felt good, since our dogs were tired from hiking for 5 hours…

After boarding the boat, we regained our strategic no-seasickness-position.  The boat headed back to the mainland.  Again, the crew remarked on the calmness of the channel.  Lucky us!  Again!

And then, the dolphins surrounded the boat!  Jumping and swimming around us…and suddenly the day moved to a 12/10…beyond perfection!

We arrived in Ventura harbor, escorted by dolphins and sea lions.  As we drove up the 101N, with NO traffic, we reveled in the day.

I recommend this adventure.  Book it, do it, don’t hesitate!  We loved it!

Barb left the next morning, and it was sad.  But, she has promised to come back again soon.  Can’t wait for the next adventure.

A few updates:

As promised, mentions to the wisteria spotters:  Erica–first comment in, and bringing attention to 2 new [to me] wisteria clusters; Melissa for identifying the exact location of the wisteria photo; and Thalia for noting the second wisteria location I envisioned!  Well done ladies!

I am now reading Snow Flower and the Secret Fan…a fascinating and sometimes disturbing novel about Chinese women and foot binding and matchmaking.

4 days till the Santa Barbara Vision Walk!  Meghan’s Posse is doing well, with some great local press recently.  If you’re in Santa Barbara on Saturday and would like to join us as we fundraise and draw attention to retinal disease, you are warmly welcome!  My next post will be about that experience.  Thank you to all my readers who have contributed in any form…all support is so very much appreciated!

So, I did it!  Random phrases worked into a blog post!  Mission accomplished!

 

Catching Up July 5, 2011

It’s been a month since I made the succulent wreath.  What?  How can that be?  I’m sure life is flying by in your world too.

So, let’s catch up!

Garden:  It’s doing well.  Check out the thistle and bee…so cool!  Up close it kinda looks like a sea creature.

I’ve enjoyed the first heirloom tomato of the season (black prince–a russian heirloom).  Very tasty!  We’ve also had a few beans.  Thanks to Lisa and Jim (I raided their garden while they were out-of-town–with their permission!) I had several wonderful meals of green beans and tomatoes–thank you!

I’m planting a third crop of green beans today in the hopes of extending the season into the fall.

The Easter Lily is finally blooming!  It’s simply beautiful, although it does seem confused as to what time of year it is.

Transitioning now into FOOD and Recipes:

Jam season was in full swing a couple of weeks ago…tapering off now till the peaches and passionfruit are ready.  I created a number of different combos using: organic blueberries, rhubarb, apricots and plums.  So far about 4 dozen are packed away.

I tried a new recipe: baked grapefruit (again thanks to Lisa and Jim’s bountiful garden).  I enjoyed this dish last fall at a B&B on Cape Breton Island.  Cut a grapefruit in half and pre-cut the sections for easy eating.  Mix together a dollop of butter, some brown sugar and a dash or 2 of cinnamon.  Place it on top of grapefruit.  Broil the grapefruit to caramelize the brown sugar mixture (about 5 minutes), garnish with fresh mint.  Bob’s Your Uncle–instant impressive tasty breakfast dish! Make sure you put the grapefruit in a pan while broiling–the juice spills over a bit.

Recently we ate at Pizza Mizza in the La Cumbre Mall.  We can all find something we REALLY like at this restaurant, including gluten-free crust for Dennis.  I personally choose the Santa Barbara Mixed Green featuring: Mixed greens topped with tomatoes, chopped pistachios, roasted red peppers, and goat cheese. Served with Balsamic Vinaigrette.  What’s not to love there, right?  My entrée of choice is the BBT (Bacon Basil Tomato): Crumbled bacon, tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella cheese,and our gorgonzola and rosemary white sauce.

Emily and I also checked out Simply Pies.  I’ve had their quiche before, and the strawberry/rhubarb pie was equally amazing.  Although the photo may suggest that I had an entire pie, I assure you, I only had a single slice! Have you tried any other flavors?  I need recommendations for my next visit!

Critters:  3 more lizards have found their way into the house.  All of them have full-grown tails. I’m not sure if it’s “our” lizard coming home to show off his new tail, or maybe he spread the word about our hospitality?  Or perhaps we’re lizard magnets…

Our neighbors have taken an interest in our growing rabbit situation.  The boys created this humane rabbit catcher (they will release the bunnies in a verdant field far far away).  To date, nobody has fallen for it…we live in hope however.  The boys are re-working the concept.  We eagerly await Bunny Trap II.

Books:  3 tomes completed since my last blog.  Agent Zigzag is a true story about a double agent.  It’s a fascinating tale, but I got bogged down in the details.  I believe it would be a great movie though.  Second, I read Unbroken.  Reviewers included words like staggering and mesmerizing.  I must agree with them.  I stayed up way too late reading this book–I just couldn’t put it down.  Finally, I finished Displacement.  It’s a young adult novel written in verse by one of my favorite authors EVER.  Simply put:  Thalia Chaltas rocks!  Can’t wait for her next book!

Other activities:  we enjoyed a guided hike up Rattlesnake Canyon with a small group and 2 docents from the Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens.  Our guides were Kiwis (love that accent).  One was a botany expert, while the other was into rocks and formations.  The perfect combo for our outing.  The garden is offering more community events like this.  Check out their website for future hikes/lectures etc.   This photo shows the old Chumash/Mission dam…beautiful!

Well, that’s it for now.  Next post will feature Lake Nacimiento.

Happy Summer everyone!