After the storms of January and February, the San Francisco Bay Area is drying out and getting ready for spring. Our first iris bloomed in late March. It’s a Douglas iris, iris douglasiana, a California native plant. Hardy, drought-tolerant, and disease-free, these irises are stars for a California garden, with beautiful flowers in the spring and green leaves year-round. They’re easy to divide and move to new places in our yard.
California’s reservoirs are full, and the mountain snowpack is very large, so there’s lots of water to distribute to farms and urban users. Future challenges will be whether the water conservation forced by the drought will persist and dealing with groundwater overdrafts.
Continue reading Los Altos Weather – Spring is in the Air
Eating local food is a great joy of travel. Lonely Planet instructs travelers How to eat like a local, telling us “A huge part of the travel experience is getting to know local traditions, history and culture.”
Last Friday we ate a Chinese dim sum lunch at a restaurant near home, and it felt like we were travelers eating like a local. Some of the food we ordered is shown above. Some keys for finding good ethnic food are whether the restaurant is run by people who know the food and whether the clientele knows what well-prepared food tastes like. The dim sum restaurant we patronized is staffed by Chinese, and the clientele was almost entirely Asian.
Continue reading Dim Sum in Cupertino
Earlier in the week, we saw a juvenile red-tailed hawk mobbed by crows. Two days later, my wife saw a hawk sitting in the same redwood tree. The hawk sat quietly at first.
Continue reading Young Hawk Returns — Mobbed Again
Before 6:00 this morning, I joined in line in front of a Tesla dealer in Palo Alto, California. At 10:00 Tesla would start taking orders for their Model 3, an electric vehicle that will sell for $35,000. The early people pitched tents. I brought a chair.
The dealer was well prepared for us. The manager provided coffee, and employees came through the line offering bottled water. But they didn’t open their restrooms until 10:00. Most of us declined the water, planning ahead.
Continue reading Waiting for a Tesla
Yesterday as my wife was going out, she came back in to tell me about a crow and a large bird down the street. A turkey vulture was picking at a dead squirrel, with a crow watching. Crows crowded the turkey vulture. A hawk circled. Excitement in a suburb near San Francisco.
Continue reading Roadkill and a Vulture
We visited the Sunset garden for the first time last week, just before it closed for good. The garden is part of the Sunset magazine, which advertises itself as “the premier resource for achieving the ultimate Western lifestyle”. It was a vibrant brand in the ’60s and ’70s, when the West was growing by leaps and bounds. But the magazine was sold to Time-Warner, which recently sold the garden and buildings to a developer. Located in Menlo Park, California, the 7-acre site is valuable, being less than two miles from the Stanford University and Facebook campuses. Continue reading Sunset Garden Fades in the West
As California’s drought continues through our dry summer, urban water users locally and throughout California have dramatically reduced water usage. Our local aquifer is looking good, but in the Central Valley, ground subsidence and fish are much worse.
Continue reading Los Altos Weather – August Dry As Usual