Sunday, October 25, 2009

More From the Garden Volunteers

Here is the latest statement from the former volunteers at the S.B. Botanic Garden.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

St. Joan

She walks in sunlight, reflecting Truth. St. Catherine and the Archangel Michael speak to her, Honesty and Loyalty are her constant companions. Her strength is her simplicity. Asked at her trial if she knew she was in God's grace, she answered: "If I am not, may God put me there; and if I am, may God so keep me." The question was a subtle trap; the answer, according to a witness, stupefied her interrogators.

Walk upright in the sunlight and keep Honesty and Loyalty with you always and you will never fail.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ashes to Art

I attended the "Ashes to Art" show at the Botanic Garden. Sadly, my batteries failed, and my spare batteries turned out to be dead also. So these are all the photos I was able to take. The show was nice, though...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Canyon AVA formed

Wes Hagen has done it again! He's the winemaker from Clos Pepe who wrote the petition that got the Sta Rita Hills AVA formed. Now he's succeeded with the Happy Canyon AVA! You can read all about it here. I'll just excerpt this small section of the article:

"Presently, six vineyards dot the Happy Canyon landscape: Cimarone, Grassini, Happy Canyon, McGinley (formerly Westerly), Star Lane and Vogelzang. While they make wines under their own labels, their effect is wide ranging because many sell grapes to well known wineries such as Rusack, Ojai, Margerum, Fiddlehead, Brander, Carhartt and Babcock."

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Visit to Foxen

Foxen has opened their new production facility...a three-building complex which includes a warehouse, a barrel room, and a tasting room. I had a chance to take a little tour with Dick and Jenny.

It all looks lovely. You can find more photos here.

Monday, September 28, 2009


The whole point of the period from Rosh Hashana to Yom Kippur is to
engage in teshuva. Usually translated as "repentance", teshuva really
means "turn" (or "return"). Repentance is just one part of the process.

Teshuva is tied up with the concept of sin, or het. Het is a term from
archery, and it literally means "missing the mark".

When you see that you have missed the mark, you must turn yourself so
that you aim can be true again. Teshuva is a five-step process: you
must confess the sin; if the sin was committed against another person
you must ask that person's forgiveness; you must cease to commit the
sin; you must regret the sin (and make restitution if possible); you
must resolve never to commit the sin again.

The mark of true teshuva is that you actually do change your behavior.
This is not ultimately about how you feel about your actions -- it is
about the actions themselves.

Rabbi Eliezer said: "Repent one day before your death." His disciples
asked him, "Does then one know on what day he will die?" "All the more
reason he should repent today, lest he die tomorrow" (Shabbat 153a).

Sunday, September 20, 2009

SB Hort Society Plant Sale

Here are a few photos of the Hort Society sale:

You can see more here.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

L'Shana Tova!

We had a lovely round challah for our Erev Rosh Ha'shanah dinner last night...

...and a delicious bottle of Ambullneo 2005 "Bulldog" Pinot Noir from the Santa Maria Valley.

It was served with roast duck in a pinot noir/cherry reduction sauce, with (not pictured) baked stuffed acorn squash, sauteed Italian squash, and a peach cobbler. Hope you all are having a sweet new year!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fog at the Harbor

A high tide and a dense fog shrouded the harbor in an air of mystery this morning. Here are a few photos. You can find more here.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Road to Nowhere

Well we know where were goin
But we dont know where weve been
And we know what were knowin
But we cant say what weve seen
And were not little children
And we know what we want
And the future is certain
Give us time to work it out

--Talking Heads

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Stroll Through the Botanic Garden

I took a brief walk through the Botanic Garden this morning. There were some turtles out:

I saw the "Maze" that has been erected. Frankly, I can't figure out what it is doing there or what it is supposed to be.

From the inside it looks like a cage...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Love Is a Rose

Love is a rose but you better not pick it
Only grows when it's on the vine
Handful of thorns and you'll know you've missed it
Lose your love when you say the word mine

-- Neil Young

Sunday, August 30, 2009


In a time of ancient Gods, Warlords, and Kings
A land in turmoil cried out for a hero
She was Xena, a mighty princess forged in the heat of battle
The power
The passion
The danger
Her courage will change the world

Magen David

A Brief Meditation on the Magen David

This interesting image combines the Magen David with the yin/yang symbol.

The Magen David (Shield of David) is one of the world's oldest and most powerful symbols. Composed of two equilateral triangles welded together and covered with bull's hide, the shield was (comparatively) light and extremely strong. It protected against sword blows from any direction. It also could be mass-produced easily from iron rods, thus enabling an entire army to be equipped quickly and inexpensively.

The term "Magen David" appears in the prayerbook in the blessings following the Haftorah reading. The term refers to G-d, who shielded David in battle; it may be a reference to Psalm 18, in which David compares G-d to a shield.

The Magen David can also represent the number seven -- the six points plus the center (where the shield would be held). In Eschol Ha-kofer Judah Hadassi writes: "Seven names of angels precede the mezuzah: Michael, Gabriel, etc. ... Tetragrammaton protect you! And likewise the
sign, called the 'Shield of David', is placed beside the name of each angel."

Kabalists maintain that the six points of the shield plus the center represent the seven directions (Up, Down, East, West, South, North, and Center). In the Zohar it is said to represent the six sephirot of the male united with the seven sephirot of the female.

Many have noted that the two triangles can be seen as uniting heaven and earth. The warrior's feet are planted on the ground while his spirit aims at the heavens; the warrior's spirit is grounded above but aimed at earthly victory.

The triangle of course is the strongest geometric figure. To meditate on the double triangle of the Magen David at the start of an enterprise is to invoke spiritual and physical strength to one's service.

To Boudicea

Once more you go into battle
For your honor
For your freedom
For your life

But where is your enemy to be found?
There is one who had claims on you
Who swore vows of loyalty
Of love everlasting
And now although those vows are broken
Still wants your allegiance

But that one is but a trifle
A moment's trouble
An illusion

Your true enemy is within
Find your own way
Fight your own battle
Make your own world
And love will find you once again

Saturday, August 29, 2009

New Photos of the Kitties

The kittens are growing bigger every day. Here are a couple of new photos:

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Visit to Beylik Family Farm

The Beylik Family Farm in Fillmore grows tomatoes and cucumbers hydroponically. They also have heirloom tomatoes and peppers which are field grown. They sell exclusively at Farmers' Markets. We visited them at their annual open house last weekend.

Above is a row of young tomato plants. As the vines grow longer the strings are extended, and the vines are clipped onto them. The "rails" down the center of the row are heating pipes, used in the winter. They also serve to carry an electric cart that can be used to harvest tomatoes or to maintain the strings.

Here are mature vines with tomatoes ready for picking. These vines are 20-30' in length at this point.

Here are finished tomatoes ready for sale. Not your everyday supermarket product!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Measure B Opposition Grows

Here is an interesting video created by Peikert Group Architects regarding the proposed 40' height limit:

Botanic Garden Management Goes Hardline

Here is a letter from the Botanic Garden Management to the volunteers. Pretty strange stuff, if you ask me...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Winegrowers and the La Brea Fire

People are wondering what effect the La Brea fire will have on winegrowers. For those vineyards in the Sta Rita Hills, or in the Santa Ynez Valley, I would not expect any effect other than ash on the vines. The real issue is for those in the western area of the Santa Maria Valley -- especially in Colson Canyon, the Byron Vineyards (including the historic Nielson Vineyard), and the plantings at Rancho Sisquoc. We'll be watching these areas closely.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Tepusquet Canyon Evacuated

All of Tepusquest Canyon from SM Mesa Road to Highway 166 is under mandatory evacuation order, although the fire remains several miles away. I certainly feel for my former neighbors up there. The latest Inciweb story is posted here.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fire Map

With the La Brea Fire (shown here in orange) dropping ash on Santa Barbara, it's instructive to see all the recent fires brought together here in one map. The Zaca Fire is the large red area; the Gap Fire is in blue; the Tea Fire is the smaller red area to the lower right; and the Jesusita Fire is in purple.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Wine Cask to Reopen

As reported here in June, Doug Margerum will be working with a partner to reopen the Wine Cask Restaurant along with the Intermezzo Wine Bar. According to this posting today by "The Restaurant Guy, Doug's partner in the venture is Mitchell Sjerven, owner of Santa Barbara restaurants Bouchon and Seagrass. Clearly the duo know a think or two about the Santa Barbara dining scene. I wish them luck, and I'm already saving my dimes so I can be there!

From "For a Rocker"

I'm gonna tell you something I found out
Whatever you think your life is about
Whatever life may hold in store
Things will happen that you wont be ready for

-- Jackson Browne

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Fiesta Parade

The Fiesta Parade began with the colors and a flyby by a US Navy C-130 aircraft. There were dancing horses, carriages, and floats. One pair of horses pulling a carriage got spooked, and a spectator was injured. Everyone else seemed to have a good time. You can find more pictures here.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"Stuck in the Middle With You"

Well I don't know why I came here tonight,
I got the feeling that something ain't right,
I'm so scared in case I fall off my chair,
And I'm wondering how I'll get down the stairs,
Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right, here I am,
Stuck in the middle with you,
Yes I'm stuck in the middle with you,
Stuck in the middle with you.


Friday, July 31, 2009

Gold Dust Women

Did she make you cry
Make you break down
Shatter your illusions of love
Is it over now- do you know how
Pick up the pieces and go home?

-- Stevie Nicks

Thursday, July 30, 2009

New Farmers Market at Harding School

The Farmers Market opened at Harding School yesterday, and I was on hand to take some pictures. Candidates David Pritchett and Helene Schneider were on hand gathering petition signatures. There was a pretty good crowd, and everyone seemed happy. We all hope this will be a successful market.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Tour de France 2009

Well the Tour is over, and we can all go back to our everyday lives without worrying about the drama between Lance and Alberto, or whether Mark was robbed, or how Mont Ventoux will affect the ride. As always it was a great race, and we're looking forward to what 2010 will bring.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Kittie Report

We let the kittens out of the cage overnight, and by morning they were hiding under the bed. It seems easier to leave them there than to try to get them out...they'll come out when they get hungry. So there are no new photos today!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are

...That would be my house! These kittens are definitely wild!

So we had them confined in a wire cage, and bedded them down for the night with a warm towel, food & water, and a mini litter box. Some time in the night I was awakened by a loud crash. I got out of bed to investigate, and the kittens were out of the cage! Apparently they had been able to bend the wire door and escape.

There were bits of furniture upholstery all over the house. In the guest bedroom the pillows were disarranged and a few things knocked over. One of the cats had thrown up on the bedspread. In the office half the items on the desk were on the floor, and some things that had been leaning against the wall were flat on the floor with them -- surely that was the crash I had heard.

We found one cat huddling in a bookcase in the dining room. She ran from us -- around the dining room and out through the kitchen into the bedroom -- zooming like a crazy cat. We closed the bedroom door to block her escape, and she ran into the bathroom. Even better! We closed the bathroom door. She zoomed into the shower, then up onto the sink top where finally we captured her.

She seemed happy enough to be held in my arms. I petted her and comforted her a little, and then we carried her back to the cage. She acted willing to go in, until she was right at the door where suddenly she bolted again! She ran into the office and disappeared; we closed the office door.

There are lots of lovely places in this office for a little kitten to hide, and we had to search pretty carefully. But we found them -- yes, them! Both kittens were huddled together under the futon. We pulled them out one at a time, calmed them down, and put them back into the cage. This time we made sure the door was secure.

This is going to be an adventure for all of us.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


We have acquired two new kittens...sisters born to a feral cat. These two kittens were captured three or four weeks ago, and now through a complicated series of events they are ours. Right now they are in a cage in our house, but they'll be running free just as soon as they get used to us.