Friday, December 30, 2016

Elfin forest and the Morro Bay sand spit

On Sept 13 we went for a couple of hikes.  The first was a short one through the Elfin forest, a reserve of coastal scrub just south of Morro Bay.

The main feature of this reserve are the stands of twisted oak trees, they are pretty cool:

They have lots of black sage, also very cool looking:

There are also good views of tidal mud flats where a river meets the bay:

The sand spit hike was in Morro Bay state park, although you get to it through the Montana de Oro state park.  You hike down from the dunes to get to the sand spit:

I love beach walking.  I'll spare you too many photos as they're pretty similar to each other, but I liked this one of the birds waiting to see what the next wave would wash in.  The sand spit was almost empty of other humans, it was very quiet out there.

These dunes are huge, the photo doesn't do them justice.  They're closed to hikers for a few months over the summer (including September, so we couldn't hike into them) for shore bird nesting.

Seaweed sometimes looks like a carrot:

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Point Buchon hike

When I checked on the internet before our trip to Morro Bay, to see what hikes were the best in the area, this one kept coming up.  It's on private land, owned by the power company, and you had to reserve a spot (or so they said) and sign in at the trailhead.  Sounded complicated, but I did it, and on Sept. 12 off we went.

It's a hike along the sea cliffs of the central coast:

There were many freestanding pieces of the old cliffs left in the water as they had eroded away:

The formations reminded me of elephants:

Towards the end of the trail, what's that?  Why ... it's a nuclear reactor!  Now it's more obvious to us why we had to sign in at the staffed trailhead:

We hadn't noticed this sign before the hike, we did on the way back though:

Just a couple more photos from the day, it really is a beautiful place:

A view of Morro Bay, taken from a lookout as we drove back into town:

Monday, December 26, 2016

Morro Bay trip

OK, I am really behind on my blogging.  Back in September, we did a short trip to the San Luis Obispo area in the central coast area of California, basically to make sure we didn't want to move there instead of back to Canada.  We decided living there wasn't for us, but we had a great time making sure about that.  In the next few days I'll post some photos from our trip.

Here are some from Sept. 11, when we walked out just before sunset to Morro rock.  This sculpture below had me going, at first I thought someone really had left some garbage behind at the harbour:

Me with the iconic rock in the background:

This bird hopes you are some kind of scofflaw:

Saturday, November 5, 2016

M&Ms: Coffee Nut

I don't know if this is an official Halloween flavour, but it came out shortly after BOOtterscotch.  Supposedly "Coffee Nut" is an award-winner, but I never heard about the contest.

I have to admit this one is a bit of a disappointment.  The coffee flavour is so faint that you really only sense it as a bit of an aftertaste.  They're pretty much a peanut M&M, which however is my favourite standard flavour, so it's not exactly a crushing disappointment.  Still, I had been hoping for a bit more of a mocha hit.  I still recommend them, just don't expect too much coffee.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

M&M review: BOOtterscotch

The chocolate holidays often come with special M&M flavours.  This Halloween brought us BOOtterscotch, a white chocolate butterscotch flavour.

These were really good!  I don't think they've produced a white-chocolate flavour yet that has been a dud.  They've very flavourful and boo-tterscotchy.  Recommended.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The front forty

I took this one October 13.  Someone is making good use of his city easement / verge on Gardner St.:

He even has a scarecrow, but the corn has grown so tall you can't see him from this angle.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

One way to avoid traffic

This was seen on a bike ride on Sept. 13 along the Ballona Creek bike path.  Just a garbage truck driving in the creek.  We saw him twice, he was covering a fairly large territory!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Scary sidewalk

I've been very negligent in keeping my blog updated, so I'll try to catch up on a few things from the past couple of months.

Here's a photo I took on Sept. 2 of one of the local sidewalks, the photo doesn't do it justice as to how heaved it is.  If you're in a wheelchair, a scooter or a stroller, it would be like something from a horror movie:

I'm glad they don't remove trees though when this happens like they would in Ottawa.  It looks like they have tried to smooth it out a bit periodically with some asphalt patching.  This one is on Sierra Bonita, between Melrose and Santa Monica Blvd.

Friday, July 29, 2016

S'Mores and Mega M&Ms

I was gone so long from Los Angeles this time, that when I came back, the universe had provided THREE new varieties of M&Ms to try.


The red-white-and-blue theme gave away these as being leftovers from the Fourth of July, but I was completely happy to test them on July 27.  I really liked these!  They are smaller than most M&Ms, and consist of a graham cracker core, coated in chocolate and then candy.  Nice texture and flavour, these are recommended.

Mega Milk Chocolate M&Ms

I should have put something in the photo for scale, as these came out looking like regular M&Ms, but they're not, they are huge.  They seem to be around 2.5 X the diameter of a regular M&M, and thicker but proportionally flatter.  They were OK.  Nothing bad about them, but not as special as I was hoping.  I was hoping they'd be like a peanut M&M where sometimes the peanut gets forgotten and you have a large round blob of unexpected chocolate, but the shape of these doesn't give you that.  I weakly recommend them; there's nothing wrong with a giant M&M, but nothing terribly exciting about it either.  If they could make them the same shape as the peanut or peanut butter M&Ms, then they might be on to something.

Mega Peanut M&Ms

These had been waiting for me when I got off the plane, so I admit I scarfed them down before I remembered to take pictures, or even that I ever had a blog.  They were OK too, but no more satisfying than a regular peanut M&M.  Well, maybe a bit more satisfying, but since the peanut to chocolate ratio is lowered, you can't pretend as easily that they are good for you.  Still, I recommend them, but if you like a bit of nutrition built into your candy, then the regular peanut variety is the way to go.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Friendly neighbourhood concrete factory

Los Angeles has the most interesting things sitting right where you wouldn't expect them.

This is the Hollywood Cemex Plant, handily located across the street from Best Buy and Target, and the Sprouts Farmers Market.  It's only a few blocks from our house, and we don't live in a bad part of town, either.  It's right in the city, and not in an industrial area.

I hear rumours of it closing now and then, but it's still plugging away at making concrete (or maybe just grinding up components), on La Brea Avenue, between Melrose and Santa Monica.

Smoke from the Santa Clarita fire

Here are some photos Ed took from the roof deck last Saturday, July 23, as an apocalyptic cloud came at us lazily from over the Hollywood hills.  The fire was around 30 miles north of us, and had been burning for a day when the wind shifted and brought the smoke our way.

A bit later the whole sky was quite dark, and the sun was like a red stop light in the sky - the camera compensated and brought out the yellow though:

The sky was like one of those science fiction movies for most of the day.  It was a relief to wake up to blue on Sunday.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Bumper crop of oranges

We've had William, our orange tree, for several years now.  Most years we get an orange from him, one year as many as three.   This year, we moved to the house with the roof deck, and living four stories closer to the sun seems to be agreeing with him.  Plus, we tried watering him more this year.

Here's William in April 2015, on the right, a few months after the move, and before blossoming:

William grew a lot up on the roof deck, and filled out considerably.  I forgot to take pictures while in blossom, but he was covered with them.  Of all the little fetal oranges, nine started to grow, and seven remained on to grow to full size.  Here he is in November, with oranges.  You can see that they are full size, even on a small potted orange tree:

Here he is on December 31, with the oranges ready to pick:

Here are the slices from one of them:

We ate them while my brother and sister-in-law were visiting.  They were the best oranges we'd ever had.

I hope we get a good crop next year, too.  They were delicious.