Yes, I’m still here! But I’ve also been away for a bit – which explains the recent silence on this weblog: I was visiting Germany for a 30-year school reunion. Needless to say, I combined the trip with visiting family, friends, and favorite places that I wanted to see and photograph again.
A developer (Cisterra) is trying to get a private piece of land that is surrounded on three sides by the Del Mar Mesa Preserve re-zoned to “industrial” in order to built a 450000 square feet office complex with 4/5/6 story buildings and parking garage on it. The thought that such a monster would intrude into the precious and unique Del Mar Mesa Preserve, which is home to vernal pools, old-growth chaparral, and rare plants, is simply horrible.
On a recent walk at one of our local trails, I saw that someone had attempted to pull Dodder (Cuscuta californica) from some Buckwheat bushes it was growing on. Now Dodder is a parasitic plant and I get it – from the looks of it, one might think that it “strangles” or suffocates its host plant. But that isn’t the case.
During a recent conversation with writer, fellow oak lover & weather geek Robert Krier I realized that, in the few years (well, it’s more than eight already now) that I live in San Diego, I have already seen multiple beloved oaks that I’ve photographed wither and die. I don’t know whether they reached the end of their life span – Coast Live Oaks (Quercus agrifolia) can get up to 250 years old – or if the prolonged drought and dryness that plagues Southern California is to blame for the demise of these particular trees. Perhaps it’s a bit of both – and then add climate change, and the dreaded goldspotted oak borer (if you leave “gold” away you end up with the most fitting initials “SOB”).
We don’t have a lot of fireworks in Southern California but nature puts on its own fireworks show – like this big, beautiful Ocotillo in bloom at Hellhole Canyon in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, photographed just yesterday on a hike with our friend Peter.
Here’s to a happy, prosperous and healthy 2019!