Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Summer Scenes along New York Drive

There is a short stretch of fairly wild hillside land that runs along the east side of New York Drive directly across the street from Earthlink and the Eaton Wash Reservoir.   I am often surprised at what I see there.  I've seen deer enough times that I am always on the lookout for more.  And I regularly see interesting and colorful plants and trees.  Above is a cluster of Matilija Poppies pictured above.   

 Buckwheat. 

Dodder or Witch's Hair - a colorful but destructive parasite that is draping parts of the hillside..  

Elder tree with yellow-white flowers.  There are a number of Elder trees growing wild along New York Drive.  I'll have more on Elders in my next post.  

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Spider and a Lizard Tail

I'll save the lizard tail until the end.  Some might not think it as cool as a spider. (Is this a great post or what?)

First to the spider.   I don't go looking for spiders. But, sometimes they find me -- or their webs find me to be more exact.   And, when I run into them, after picking off the web, I can't help but think they are pretty amazing little creatures.

 
One of the spiders I see around here is an orb-weaver -- meaning the spider builds a circular or wheel shaped web.  The spiders seem to hang in mid-air with no conceivable support around them.  The spider pictured above is hanging on a web secured on a tree about six feet to one side and a post about six feet to the other.
  
 It is hard to get a good picture of a spider web.  This is a pretty good one.   

Here's our spider.  She's hanging out in the middle of her web waiting for breakfast.

OK.  Now for the alligator lizard tail.  

Last night I saw the dog "playing" with an alligator lizard and went to check it out.  Now the "play" here was all from the dog's perspective.   The lizard had not chosen to play and, no doubt, did not want that instant to play.   Anyway, the lizard so did not want to play, that it dropped its tail and scampered away.   The dog, being a dog, was captivated by the flopping tail and allowed its playmate to escape.  

I reached the scene in time to take this short clip of the lizard tail wiggling around.      

video
I've found lizard tails and seen lizards with regenerated tails but I had not seen a newly detached tail still wiggling.  Whether due to teenage whatever or lots of experience with detached lizard tails, my 13 year old was unimpressed.   But, I thought it interesting and was glad to have my camera with me.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Independence Day - Fireworks and Thunder

We celebrated Independence Day in the traditional fashion -- BBQ and fireworks.  What seemed odd, though, was the weather.   July heat is not news.  But, it sure seems that we are getting a lot more humidity than we used to.   It was hot and cloudy last night out in Chino (where fireworks are legal and sold on nearly every corner).   As we waited for the sun to set, it looked like someone to the west was getting rain.   

Monday, July 4, 2011

Letting Go

Watching my little girl scooter down the street to sleep over at her friend's house.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

New East Pasadena Vons Hits Homerun

 
 Today I went to the new Vons on Sierra Madre and Colorado.  I like the store. I like it a lot.

For openers, samples are important in a grocery store.   That's one reason why Trader Joes on Rosemead has been a favorite.  In fact, around our house, TJ's is called "Samples."    But, frankly TJ's samples have gotten a bit tired.  Well, they had better take note -- the new Vons knows how to do samples!  I had eight different samples including New York steak, sushi, chicken enchiladas, fresh pineapple, chips and salsa, jambalaya and more.   My recommendation is to find the meat department for the steak -- it was really good.  

But, most of all, I like the design.   I like the respect paid to our most dominant scenic asset -- the San Gabriel Mountains.    The main Vons building is set back from Colorado and has as a central design feature a see-through arch that highlights the mountain views.  This building was very plainly designed with the mountains in mind. 

Care to preserve and emphasize mountain views should be a signature design element for any new East Pasadena development.  Too often building design ignores mountain views.   For example, just east of the new Vons on Colorado is a hulking multi-story storage/office building that was built-to-the-street and obliterates mountain views.  And the Sierra Madre Villa metro station seems to go out of its way to block mountain views.

Hopefully any new building in East Pasadena will follow Von's example and give due respect to our mountain views. Great job Vons!      

Above is a little reminder that the mountain views from Sierra Madre Blvd. can be spectacular.   The photo above is a winter-time shot taken a few blocks north of the new Vons.

Now, the new Vons has rooftop parking, which is convenient.   But it also provides unimpeded mountain vistas.  In the short time I was in the parking lot I saw one photographer shooting toward the San Gabriels.

I'm sure I'll be back to this store.