I used to be indecisive…

…but now I'm not so sure


Wordless Wednesday

Painted Lady, California




A flower power walk

Today we are taking a walk through the Flower Fields at Carlsbad, California.  There is no need for stout walking shoes, or a backpack with wet weather gear, walking sticks, and a bottle of water in it for this outing, just a hat and perhaps some sun cream.

Every spring, for about ten weeks,  over 50 acres of rolling hillside overlooking the Pacific coast are turned into a multi coloured spectacle with the beautiful shades of thousands of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus.

I don’t think you need me to guide you through this walk, as it is a simple case of meandering at will up and down and along the wide paths between the blocks of flowers, but you will need to be ready to marvel at the expanse of it all as we go.  There’s no time limit for how long we can spend here, so wander at will and stop and gaze.  There are one or two spots where you can go in amongst the flowers and take an Instagram-worthy photo (and there will be plenty of people doing that!), or you can just sit on the bench and admire them.  As you go round you might notice people working in the rows of flowers, cutting them and making them into bunches to be sold in the little shop as you leave.

Look up the slope.

Look down towards the ocean.


I hope you enjoyed our colourful, floral meander.  If you would like to join some more walks, Jo has plenty on offer at Jo’s Monday Walks.



In Search of an Oasis

The last walk I wrote about was a wintery one by Loch Achray in Scotland.  Today I am taking you for a slightly warmer walk in the Anzo-Borrego Desert State Park California.

From the excellent Borrego Springs Visitors Centre it is a short drive or, for those who perhaps have more energy, about half a mile’s walk, to the car park at the start of the 3 mile round trip Palm Canyon Trail.  Walking in February we were just too early to enjoy the full bloom of spring, but a few plants had already started to show some colour.

Without further ado, sturdy shoes on our feet,  hats on our heads and a couple of bottles of water in the backpack let’s set off on what is called a gentle trail with a little scrambling over boulders near the end.  There is a fairly well defined path to follow, but occasionally you just have to use your initiative about which is the best way to go to negotiate some boulders or a fallen tree trunk.

The flat bare area that we come to next is the desert wash where, after heavy rain, torrents of water pour down from the mountain and create a temporary stream.  Luckily today it is dry and we can cross easily.

Along the way we see a few signs of life, but sometimes you have to look really carefully to spot the small lizards that dart about or, as we saw, sun themselves on a stick  or rock.

This lizard had just caught something tasty…

Look carefully at the rocks and you might see signs of Borrego’s earlier residents.  Women ground seeds in the same place for centuries and created these holes in the rocks.  The Cahuilla Indians chose this canyon for a village site because of the flowing stream (which we will come to later).  The canyon walls provided shade from the late afternoon sun and shelter from winds.

As we walk along we see a variety of plants and bushes.  The desert lavender bush flowers from October until the end of May and attracts hundreds of bees.  When the soil is moist the plant grows larger, thinner leaves but just now, because it is dry, the leaves are smaller, thicker and hairy to prevent moisture loss.

There’s a selection of cacti too, which the information sheet we have been given warns that we should look at, but not touch!

As we walk along we can hear the sounds of birds and were very lucky that a few of them stayed in position long enough for me to catch a quick picture.

After about an hour of walking (and stopping to admire the view and take few photos) we start to see signs that there must be water nearby as things are greening up a little bit and in the distance we can make out some palm trees.

As we walk up these steps we can just hear the sound of trickling water, which gets a little louder the further on we go.

Now we can see the stream.

Round another bend and after a bit of clambering over boulders, we arrive at the small oasis of California Fan Palm trees.

I am surprised that the trees look so ‘untidy’ but, of course, these are in their natural state and the skirt of dead palm fronds protects the bark from water loss and insect predators.

Many groves of these palm trees grow along earthquake faults, where geological forces have created conditions that allow water to seep towards the surface.

After a few minutes’ rest in the cool shade, it’s time to set off again on the return journey to make sure we get back to the car park before it starts to get dark.  As we go we enjoy the wide, expansive view of the desert mountains.

Borrego is the Spanish word for big horned sheep, and the area is named after them.  Sadly we didn’t see any – they are supremely camouflaged and may well have been watching us, unseen, from the rocky canyon sides.

If you have the energy for some more walks, take yourself over to Jo’s Monday Walks where there will be quite a selection for you to try.



A wintery walk beside Loch Achray

Sitting here in California’s warm sunshine and blue skies, I finally find myself with enough time to write a post about a walk we went on one afternoon during the Christmas break, when the temperature was quite different from what I’m experiencing today, although the blue sky was the same.

Loch Achray is in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park and we approached it along a path accessible from The Byre Inn in the village of Brig o Turk.  The Byre is a great place for a fortifying drink before setting off on your walk, or for a tasty meal or warming drink by the log fire after your walk (or both!).

Following the path we walked across the bridge over Black Water and through the farm.  This chimney pot looks as little bit precarious!

Snow covered Ben Venue is in the distance as the loch comes into sight.

From the water’s edge we could see the small Trossachs Church on the other side of the loch.  The church was completed in 1849 and is still in use today.

We decided to turn back at this point as the light was soon going to start fading and we wanted to get back to our starting point before dark.

Nearly back at the Byre Inn again, some Highland cows wandered through the trees to get a closer look – maybe just curious, but perhaps they thought we’d brought them some dinner.

The sun was dropping lower and lower as we approached the 18th century Brig o Michael which would take us over Black Water and to the end of our walk.

I’m linking this with Jo’s Monday Walk where you can join in with other walks, short and long.


Mr Squirrel evades photographer once again

Unusual-Ears the squirrel (who I mentioned here) appeared in my garden again last week, enjoying some of the suet nibbles I had put down for the birds, and digging around in some flower tubs.  I rushed to get my camera for what I felt was the perfect opportunity to get a good photo of him.  Sadly, he was too quick and I failed to get a decent shot of his strange ears…

Another attempt …

And again…

Oh well – I tried.

I’m linking this post with Debbie’s Six Word Saturday.



Busy garden – return of the birds

It’s so nice to see lots of birds back in the garden again.  For many weeks it has been almost deserted but this morning they were there, in large numbers, so I topped up the feeders and removed the ice from the bird bath and I am hoping that this is the return to normality after a very quiet time in the feathered friends department.  The squirrels have been busy too and, as usual, their antics on the ‘squirrel proof’ bird feeders are amusing.

I was so busy watching them that I forgot to get my camera out, so here’s a few photos from earlier this year.

I’m linking this post to Debbie’s Six Word Saturday.