Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Baby Alligator Lizards

Alligator lizard eggs hatch in late summer and early fall and it is about this time each year that I see these young alligator lizards with their amazing tails.  

Unless eaten by a cat, hawk, snake or another lizard, these young alligators will grow to maturity in about 18 months and reach possibly 16-20 inches long including their tails.  They'll eat a lot of insects along the way and will develop markings on their back.  They will probably lose their tails, grow a new tail, and grow up to look like this:

So, there's my 2011 lizard post.  

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mother Moo Creamery Opens In Sierra Madre

A small crowd gathered Saturday afternoon for the grand opening of Mother Moo Creamery.   Located on Kersting Court in downtown Sierra Madre, Mother Moo Creamery is the latest effort of local gourmet and master canner, Kathy Klemens, who is better known as Mother Cluck.   The new store will be offering her ice creams, preserves and classes (this Saturday's class will be canning peaches).   

Here's the ice cream menu.   I had the fresh mint with chocolate flakes and the triple joe.  I sampled the cinnamon, ginger and salty chocolate.   All were incredible.  But, if I had to choose one, I'd probably go for the fresh mint and chocolate flake.   I've had mint ice cream before, but never mint ice cream made with fresh mint.  Wow, was it good!   We'll be back.


Now, here's the thing about Mother Moo Creamery -- in every sense of the word, this is a local effort.  Mother Moo-Cluck is a local talent who makes the gourmet products she sells and offers them at events around town, including the Altadena Urban Farmers Market.    She hires local folks --  my wife and son both knew people working behind the counter.    And, as much as possible, she's using locally produced ingredients.   On that score, the menu tells the story -- fresh mint and oranges from local farms and honey from Leona Valley in northern LA County.

Mother Moo has great ice cream.   And, they've got a strong Local Factor too.   I hope you'll check it out.     

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Oldest Existing In- N- Out Burger

The In-N-Out on East Foothill is the oldest existing In-N-Out restaurant.   This landmark neon In-N-Out sign was taken down a few weeks ago and apparently hauled off to HQ to be refurbished.   The refurbished sign was reinstalled this afternoon and tonight it looks pretty good. 

The compact red and white In-N-Out drive throughs, the palms and, of course, the signs have become classic southern California images. 

East Pasadena's In-N-Out was built in 1952.   There were a few In-N-Outs built before this one.  But, the earlier restaurants have been torn down and rebuilt leaving this East Foothill location as the oldest standing In-N-Out. 

Memo to In-N-Out corporate:    It is time to take the banner sign down from the roof..   

Monday, September 5, 2011

Pasadena Blogging and the Pasadena Sky

 The last two nights have given spectacular views in the Pasadena sky.   The photo above is of the international space station as it orbited over us Saturday night about 8 pm.  It was fascinating to watch. I was surprised at how fast it moved and how different it was from stars or planes or anything else in the sky.  Pretty amazing stuff when you think that there's a crew of six orbiting the earth and living up there.  The  NASA website has a nice little feature that allows you to find out when the space station passes over a particular town.   The station will pass over us again tonight (Monday) at 7:47 pm.

Because of the heavy cloud cover and rain, we could not see the space station last night. 

Which brings me to our weird weather.   The weather started changing late yesterday afternoon.  A few raindrops fell and I spotted this rainbow to the east.   We don't see a lot of rainbows around here, so I ran to grab my camera and got this shot before the rainbow was gone.  Within an hour, rain was falling and then came some good rounds of thunder and lightening.    Thunderstorms are forecast for today.  Strange weather for us.

With all this talk about sky, it seems an appropriate time to say thank you and best wishes to a departing Pasadena blogger -- Ben Wideman of the sky is big in pasadena.   I followed his daily photo blog for much of its four year run.  His blog frequently showed me aspects of my city that I hadn't seen or appreciated.  In particular, his photos of City Hall were spectacular as were his shots of the Colorado Street Bridge and, of course, the local sky..   In his blog's last month, he listed his top 20 positive and top 10 negative things about our fair city.  It was interesting to see the final perspective of this young Canadian who spent four years here preparing for the ministry.   Friends and City Hall were his top two positive things; disparity between rich and poor and smog were his top two negatives.  I'll miss Ben's photos and commentary and wish him and his family well.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Bears and the Bees

Every summer bears venture down from the mountains into our north-east Pasadena neighborhood.   They are looking for food and every year there are reports of trash cans overturned or fruit trees raided.   From what I've heard, few people in the neighborhood ever actually see a bear and even fewer seem concerned about the animals.  Until this summer, I had experienced only one real bear encounter.  Early one morning a couple of years ago, our dog surprised a bear who scrambled up a tree and then watched me while I took his picture.  It was a fascinating morning. 

Well, this summer I had another bear encounter.   Actually, our bees suffered the encounter and I just watched.   Last year we kept bees without any incident.  No such luck this year.   Above is a photo of our little five-box high bee hive.  The hive had been healthy and happy all summer buzzing along and making honey.   At about 2 am recently I heard our dog barking and watched out the window as a bear stood on its hind legs, put its paws against the top of the hive and knocked it over.   The frames spilled out and the bear gorged itself on honey.  It was a sad, sad sight.

Amazingly, though, the hive survived, was put back together and moved to a new home.