Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…


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Transforming my frustration…

I have mentioned before how much I love the app Snapseed for processing my iPhone photos. For many, many years it has been my go-to, all-purpose, crop, clean-it-up and tweak app. So imagine my surprise when I opened it last week to find that there was an entirely new version. I am so set in my ways, I was immediately frustrated. That frustration grew and grew as I tried to do the things that I have always done, but couldn’t find the work flow as it had always been. hmmm, I said, why would you do that to me oh, favorite app…

Many YouTube videos later and a walk in the garden yesterday, I have made my peace…I at least know where things are now.

Fernald's Iris

Fernald’s Iris

lewisia - Version 2

Lewisia

Pink Monkeyflower

Pink Monkeyflower

Spicebush

Spicebush

New dwarf Butterflybush

New dwarf Butterflybush

Swallowtail looking for new dwarf Butterflybush!

Swallowtail looking for new dwarf Butterflybush!

California poppy

California poppy

California poppy

California poppy

So I say, people, take out your green grass lawns, install drip irrigation, put in native California plants…you will not regret it as you face the draught…spot through the garden a few non-natives, like a Cecile Brunner in a planter…you will have no end to willing photographic subjects…and you might get to liking Snapseed again as well as saving money on water fees!

Cecile Brunner

Cecile Brunner

And with great anticipation of getting to try a new feature of the Snapseed app (it now includes a function called Transform, which allows you to tweak perspective both vertical and horizontal…so all those tall buildings in a big city…no leaning towers except in Pisa! In a few short weeks we will be off to soak in the architecture of one of the most interesting cities…for now, from an old photo, here is what it can do…

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original…notice right hand edge of building

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now it is straight!

I really like Snapseed again!


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A walk with Priime…

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Took a morning walk with a new iPhone app I had just purchased. It is called Priime and it is free, but, of course, if want the full complement of filters and lenses, you would have to purchase them once you are in the app.  I liked what it did, so I did.

Here is a discussion of how the app works, in case you are interested: http://iphonephotographyschool.com/priime-app/

Our walk had a particularly nice sunrise…

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and I discovered that my neighborhood school has an answer to the “love-lock bridges” of Paris which are being crumbled by the weight of all the locks.

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Looks to me to be ceramic hearts by first graders…oh, the love…

I also used Priime on some new things in my garden…my new Meyer Lemon…

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and more colors of Douglas Iris that are popping out…

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What blooms there are…

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Pacific Coast Hybrid Douglas Iris (Iridaceae)

 

Sometime during the weeks of gate-painting, the garden went from dull winter-ness to lush spring green. I would not be able to pinpoint the exact day and time I noticed it, but there it was one morning and I could mutter, “Yeah, we’re back.” It could have been that I started noticing buds of flowers or tiny green leaves on bare branches and I was prepped for the full display. In any event, we are back and doing well, now…

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Pacific Coast Hybrid Douglas Iris

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Pacific Coast Hybrid Douglas Iris

 

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Pacific Coast Hybrid Douglas Iris

 

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Pacific Coast Hybrid Douglas Iris

 

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Oregon Grape (Berberis aquifolium)

Mahonia

Oregon Grape (Berberis aquifolium)

Redbud

Western Redbut (Cercis occidentalis)

Redbud

Western Redbud (Cercis occidentalis)

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Blue Witch (Solanum umbelliferum)

 

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Heuchera species (Saxifrage Family)

 

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Checkerbloom (Sidalcea malviflora)

Lewisia

Lewisia (Lewisia cotyledon)


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Under my canopy…

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The cherry tree is in bloom. Stand under it and be totally covered in a cloud of cotton-candy pink with sound effects. The number of bees that are buzzing is so loud that you think that your ears are exploding or you are ready for lift off into the great unknown. Must enjoy it at every opportunity because it only lasts for a couple of weeks before all the blossoms rain down in pink snow caused by an errant wind. Like anticipating the blood oranges or Chandler strawberries coming into the farmer’s market, the week of March 17 marks the blooming of the cherry tree. It is superior to the marking of a year by school vacations or holidays, in my humble opinion…

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I spent the last few weeks painting my gate…easier said than done it turns out.

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The paint had gotten chalky after nine years and there were rusty spots. After some research on the internet my process was this:

1. Sand the chalky paint and sand any rust away

2. Wash with a rag and a spray bottle filled with 50% water and 50% vinegar

3. Immediately spot prime with rustoleum oil based primer for metal

4. Paint with metal paint…since I wanted a color that was not standard I had to use an alkyd. (At least the clean-up was easier.) I am hoping that if it needs repainting in another nine years I will have moved to Rossmore and somebody else will get to paint it. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha…It was not the easiest painting job because every joint is soldered and needed pouncing with a small foam brush to get the crevices painted. Then, I could use a foam roller on the flat places but had to go over it another time with the brush to smooth any pooled paint. Oh, and also I did not want to totally cut back the Dutchman’s pipe vine and there were a few places I could not get paint underneath the vine that has such a vise-like grip. One of those jobs that the best thing about it is that it is done!

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Now the pipe vine has a beautiful purple background…and we are still waiting for those special butterflies that are supposed to be attracted to it.

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Dutchman’s Pipe Vine flower


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The Rock, the Tide, and Sea Friends on the Bay…

IMG_8917 After our sunrise and coffee on the beach, our last scheduled event of the 2015 Morro Bay Bird Festival was a cruise on the bay. You will notice in these photos, as our skipper pointed out, that it was a king tide. He mentioned how it gave a sense of what it will be like when the seas rise. No parking lot around the rock, evidently. We headed in the direction of the rock, spying sea friends and enjoying the sunshine. IMG_8928 IMG_8938_2 IMG_8942_2 IMG_8956_2 IMG_8959_2 The rock actually has two pairs of peregrine falcons that nest on it. One pair on each side and it is highly unusual for them to be so close to each other. However, when they fly off the rock for hunting they have very specific territories. We could see the ones on this side of the rock as we floated. IMG_1793IMG_8985_2IMG_8969_2 IMG_8982_2 IMG_8971_2IMG_8996_2 IMG_9004_2 IMG_8998_2 Once we got out toward the breakwater and the exit to the open sea, we turned around and went back down the channel through the marina. IMG_1855 and saw more wild-life friends. IMG_1813IMG_1871 IMG_1875 IMG_1873 Once we left the boat, our time in Morro Bay was finished and we packed up and headed south.  For lunch we stopped in Pismo Beach and then drove to Camarillo for a visit with my mother. Definitely going back to the Bird Festival next year. IMG_9020_2


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The Rock, the Gulls, and Fish from the Sea…

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We spent January’s MLK Weekend at the Morro Bay Bird Festival. We used to be faithful participants, but for the last two years we had not attended. This year we registered early, got all the workshops we wanted, and were set to enjoy beautiful weather (in the 70’s and clear as a bell…January, no less!). Friday we arrived in time for Terry’s 3:00 workshop on identifying seagulls…the whole weekend he kept showing me his knowledge (evidently, they are tricky to identify because there are so many different kinds of them.) Then we enjoyed a lovely dinner at the Bay Cafe soaking in the old sights, the smell of the sea, and having the first of many meals featuring fish. Oh, and there was a sunset.

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The next morning, Terry was off early to a field trip looking for Golden Eagles (successful) and I strolled through Morro Bay’s commercial district (about three blocks of that). After lunch, I went to my workshop on drawing birds while Terry went kayaking on the bay.

I walked into the Natural History Museum for my class and the sky looked like this:

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Drew for a few hours…

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and when I came out four hours later, the sky had turned to this…

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What a place! The next morning, we were both up and on field trips by 7:45. I don’t know what Terry saw, but I birded with a group that went toward Turri Road and over to parts of Los Osos. The Central Coast was looking so good…

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I met my old friend, Kathy, who lives in Atascadero, for lunch and we drove up to Cayucos for some fabulous salmon tacos. Couldn’t walk on the pier, though, as it is under construction.

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Ahh, the hours I spent on that beach in my youth… That evening we ate at The Galley (more fish) and had another spectacular sunset to enjoy…

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This is the Townsend’s Warbler that I drew in my class and the block print I made from it when I got home…

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I definitely would not mind looking at that kind of sky every day…


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October Bird Walk…

First Saturday in October we were on a bird walk for Terry’s master birding class. As luck would have it, the trip was to his old stomping grounds, Fort Chronkite and Hawk Hill in the Golden Gate National Seashore. Because of his involvement with the banding of hawks with GGRO we have been to this area many times and I have posted pictures from here often over the years. The difference this day was that it was 90° and crystal clear…no fabled San Francisco Fog to be seen. The first time I had seen this landscape with this bright light…

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The birders got to work…

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Some birds were particularly cooperative…

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After investigating Rodeo Lagoon and the headquarters buildings we ventured up to Hawk Hill…

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The blue patch on the right is Rodeo Lagoon from above…

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and we could see out to Lands End (I have posted pictures of those same rocks from a different angle here…)

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There was a lot of boat activity this day…

and raptor activity…

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I, however, started looking for shady spots to get out of the sun…no lack of antique battlements here…

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and no lack of killer views of the Golden Gate…

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This is possibly the best picnic spot in the Bay Area…or maybe the best picnic…I saw the food they brought in as they passed me on the path…

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The money shot…Golden Gate, Alcatraz, Yerba Buena Island with the Bay Bridge and Oakland behind it all…! On a clear day you really can see forever…

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