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Posts Tagged ‘santa barbara’

Lemon festival happened practically in our backyard so we went to see what its all about. The first thing we saw was kids jumping on bouncers, their heads popping out of the grass surrounding Girsh Park.

There were too many sponsors and  there was struggle to catch sight of lemons. The real ones, not the pictures. There were plenty of pictures and posters. The lemon meringue pie was definitely worth mentions, and we would have bought one too, had our fridge not been clogged with delicious chocolate cake(s).

Every three years I have to eat cotton candy to remind myself that I don’t like cotton candy. The lemon candy was good in spite of my dislike for candies. I could even taste the lemon (flavor), sidelined by overwhelming amount of sugar.

The live music was pretty good too. I apologize for the cheesy title. The festival indeed turned out to be a lemon compared to other festivals in SB.  However, I can see why its great for kids. The avocado festival which happened same day also, is much bigger, I am told.

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I love going to the farmer’s market in Goleta. This is what I bought on Thursday:

red white and golden

Farmers markets in SB remind me a lot of Indian markets. Really, the only thing these two have in common is that they are open air.

Up close. A friend though the flowers were fake. That’s a good thing, right?

Talking of shopping in India, I grew up thinking that bargaining is the thing you do when you shop, by default. Even in a shop which has a notice saying

‘FIXED PRICE’

As a child I would look in awe, as my mother would buy things from street vendors for half their price. I learnt as I went along. I haggled with rickshaw-wallahs in Chennai.

I bargained even when I was in Rio de Janeiro; two Portuguese girls in tow. That was indeed taxing. Especially since I couldn’t count in Portuguese and didn’t know if the vendor was cursing me or calling me back as I prepared to leave, acting all devastated by his asking price.

Anyway, living in Santa Barbara for a year without bargaining has made me rusty. Also, my attitude has changed. While earlier, I would usually try to buy as much as I could in as little as possible, these days, I ask myself more philosophical questions like ‘how much is something worth to me?’ and ‘what would be a fair price to pay for it?’. Don’t they say,

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

And I like it this way. It makes so much sense to buy something I really want for a fair price; Not more, not less.

The other day, I bought a microwave via Craigslist. The microwave obviously has issues, as I discovered only later. It just dies in the middle of things and smells weird. No wonder the owner wanted to get rid of it. Want to guess how much I paid for it?

In full.

I guess my shopping philosophy is definitely up for some shift again. I am thinking of following the Iron Rule

Do unto others before they do unto you.

The yellow buds by the way, bloomed into beautiful orange flowers.

An odd shot. Regardless of the angle I used, the flower looked like a shy kid not wanting to show her face.

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After seeing ApronheadL‘s pictures from the SB orchid estate, I was motivated enough to visit. I was tempted to buy an orchid, but was too scared thinking I might kill it. Especially since the first question we were asked when we entered was

So have your orchids died or have they stopped flowering?

We were not asked if we had ever bought an orchid before. We weren’t asked if we have even bought a plant in our life, let alone an orchid. Well, B who was with me has, but I haven’t.

I think I am going to train myself by growing a spider plant first, which I am told, is really difficult to kill. Not only is it impossible to kill, it’s impossible to keep it from reproducing, I am told. Now, for the orchids..

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Last week I went to the Coal Oil Point Reserve which is right next to the UCSB campus, past Isla Vista. This place is so close to my home, its embarrassing to not have been here before.

The reserve is one of the 35 reserves owned by the UC system and the only one open to the public. The staff offers free tours every month; they have a two hour version and a shorter version too. The oil rig in the ocean near the coal oil point:

Oil is stored in these white structures nearby:

In the tour, S, our gracious and highly knowledgeable tour guide walked us through the native plants and showed us countless species of birds. For someone like me, who can’t differentiate between coconut trees and palms (I know, and I live in California), this was indeed a learning experience. I can identify palms now thanks to S.

The tour was extremely informative. If you are asking, “why do I want to know names of all these birds and plants?”, then you might be me, a while ago. Surprisingly, this time, I didn’t have to make an effort to stay interested. Sometimes, you don’t know you like something until you do it, with an open mind. We saw the Coyote bush, which is native to California, and also the California sunflower.

Flowering and non-flowering Coyote bush

California sunflower

A friend asked me what’s so special about a California sunflower. I guess it looks different from other species in the Sunflower genus.

S explained, that while planting trees is a good thing to do, doing it in such a way as to not disturb the native species is important. Nonnative plants frequently take over the native plants thus endangering them; for example, the ice plant was brought in to be planted along highways to reduce soil erosion. But this is an invasive species and endangers natives. Just weeding out the ice plant has evidently restored many native species in the reserve.

An interesting way to get rid of the ice plant is to cover it with plastic sheets, so it dies off and gets converted into mulch. 

Ice plant along the road.

The beautiful views and nice trails in the reserve, topped with the beach, are a perfect place to run.

 

Dry eucalyptus tree in the Devereux slough and some much needed shade.

The tour ended with a walk along the beach to spot the the snowy plover. Some other birds we met on the way, which I can’t identify yet:

They could be any of the 295 species the reserve houses. There is also a docent program which one can volunteer with. 

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The other day I visited the museum of natural history in Santa Barbara because I had nothing else to do. I wasn’t expecting much at all. I am not a big fan of animals and plants. But I went anyway, because like I said, I didn’t have anything else to do. Turns out the place is quite pleasant after all ! Here are some pictures.

The museum has quite a few short trails, a lot of crows cawing in the background. After spending more than a year without crows in the vicinity, this was music to the ears. Unbelievable. The butterfly garden had many varieties but only a few butterflies. I didn’t have to cover my face and ears and run through the enclosure, like I was so prepared to do. It was so peaceful and serene, reminded me of all the creatures I have stomped on because I was too scared of them. I feel like I am beginning to like plants and insects. What just happened?

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