Thursday, January 28, 2010

Monday, March 30, 2009

Strange "Cocoon"!

A few days ago we found this "pod" in our garden, I don't know what else to call it.  We found it the morning after we saw the bright "shooting star".
Today, Ann and I poked it with a stick and it wiggled; we then heard an odd humming noise as if a large swarm of bees was passing overhead (No one is going to believe this, they'll start to doubt everything I've said).
Ann has seemed a little quiet lately and I have a feeling this "larvae" is somehow involved.  If this is my last posting it is because of that..."thing", whatever it is.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Fire at Las Palmas

On Thursday there was a big fire at one of our favorite beaches, Las Palmas, sweeping through the tall grass and palm trees that are in that canyon. 
It isn't known how the fire started; everything is very dry here and it is easy to imagine how a blaze could get out of control.
There is a history of fire among those palm groves as is evident by the blackened trunks, and it is unclear how regular fire is or if fire is used to keep underbrush  cleared out.
The grass will all grow back and the palms are charred but still green on top.
This punctuated the end of a week for me in which two good people died, my dear old uncle, Bill Brant, and an old friend I've known since my college days, Zeb Stewart.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Se Vende

--All of the Todos Santos area, and especially the area near the beach or with a view of the ocean, is divided up into lots.   Everything is for sale, and if already sold, then sprouting a dwelling of some kind, some still in the cement block and rebar stage.  The houses here vary in size and tastefulness, but since there doesn't seem to be any effective form of zoning, there are all manners of eyesores to offend your sensibilities (and also some great houses with beautiful gardens that will have you reaching for your checkbook). My pet peeves are building too close to the beach (where the dunes actually begin is disputable) and  tall houses, which I think people want so they can see farther, but end up looking conspicuous and disrespectful.
--Furthermore, most of the desert lots on the hill (where we are) were bulldozed at the time all the dividing took place, presumably to allure potential buyers (already cleared!), causing all kinds of erosion and destruction of the landscape.   If you drive north past the area of development you can see how beautiful the desert is without houses and all it's vegetation intact.  
--The Mexicans here seem happy about getting some money for their land, but I'm afraid much of the land was sold at giveaway prices (later resold at a profit by crafty gringos) and that the beauty that makes this a great place may be slowly replaced by a dusty, bumpy version of a San Diego suburb.
--Except for a week in February, Ann and I have not caught the "shopping for a lot" bug.  Land and homes are not much cheaper, if at all, than the U.S., and though it is very nice here, one of the things that we find enjoyable is freedom from any worries and hassles that come from home ownership.   

Monday, March 23, 2009

Todos Santos Turtles

Ori at Olive Ridley release.

Baby Leatherback

--As many know, Ann has been involved with the turtle projects here in Todos Santos.  She has helped the group Todos Tortugas with fundraising by publishing an informative brochure to be handed out at turtle releases.  Also she has taken many shifts keeping post at the invernadero (greenhouse), and by helping to collect eggs from nesting turtles.
--The group is patrolling 36km of beach every night on a 4 wheeler  looking for turtle nests (Olive Ridley or Leatherback).  If a nest is found, the eggs are dug out and reburied in the sand inside a greenhouse on the beach north of town.  The sand is too cold for turtle eggs to incubate in the winter, and the greenhouse keeps the sand nice and warm.
--This year was a milestone for the the group.  Not only did they save many Olive Ridley eggs (endangered, but a relatively common turtle), they also rescued eggs from 4 different Leatherbacks (critically endangered), 12 nests for a total of almost a thousand eggs, many of which have already hatched and been released.  Statistically, one hatchling in a thousand survive to make it back in 15 to 20 years to nest.
--The Leatherback, and all sea turtles, have a lot going against them in their struggle to maintain a viable population (fishing practices: nets and longlines, eating plastic garbage, beach habitat degradation) and the efforts these people have made is a small but significant step in the right direction.
--The sea turtle (especially the Leatherback) is an ancient and strange creature, bridging our world with the time of the dinosaurs.  Whether it is instinct or wisdom, they operate with a hundred million years of evolutionary experience, and though we may have leapfrogged past them in some regards (internet, cell phones), there is something basic and steadfast about them that is humbling.
--Click on the link up on my "links of note" section, or go to to learn more about the group and the turtles.   These people are all volunteers and operate on a shoestring budget so it would be very helpful to them to make a donation; what is your money for if not to try to do something good in the world?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Finishing Touches

--I've been busy putting all the final glimmers on lichens and getting the expressions of the sparrows in the branches just so (puzzled, surprised, maybe completely oblivious,each one different), and the light, I want to make sure the angles from the setting sun are all correct and working their hardest to create the mood I want in order to express all my feelings (not to mention my ideas) about what it's like to grow up in this (that) country, the excitement, the confusion, the dreams, the disillusionment.    

Catch a Wave!

--Ann has been taking surfing lessons from Mario at Cerritos Beach.  She has been doing great since she decided to be a goofy footer (right foot forward). 
--Mario is a very good teacher and thinks Ann is almost ready to start going out on her own.
--Ori and I are happy remaining on shore to provide moral support, towels...
--Note shorty wetsuit: the water temperature has gone down recently as some Northern Pacific current has come in, typical for this time of year.  Perhaps coincidentally, the whales are all gone now, migrating back to Alaska.  It's a little lonely here without them.