Morning Surprise

I made a gruesome discovery in the cat’s water bowl when I got up this morning. At first I thought it was some sort of dead animal that I was going to have to deal with.

Mousie toy in water

But on closer inspection, I realized it was one of the cat’s mousie toys.

Mousie toy in water

Now who do you suppose would do that?

Mousie toy in water

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Ventura Art and Street Painting Festival

I went to the Ventura Art and Street Painting Festival today. It’s a two-day event held at Harbor Village, which is a gorgeous location sandwiched between the ocean and the boat harbor.

Fifty artists had booths displaying their work, and some of them were painting live. Look at these beautiful drinking glasses I bought, created from recycled wine bottles that are cut, sanded, and etched by UnWine’d Glass.

Unwine'd Glass

I’m not a big fan of jewelry, but these simple bead and cord bracelets were calling to me.

Leather Bracelets

There were also about 25 street artists creating temporary works of art on the sidewalk using colored chalk and pastels.

Ventura Art and Street Painting Festival

Ventura Art and Street Painting Festival

Ventura Art and Street Painting Festival

The annual event is organized by the lovely Barbara Hinton, seen on left below with one of the artists at the event.  A portion of the proceeds from the event are donated to Food Share, a nonprofit group that provides food and support to the hungry in Ventura County.

Barbara Hinton Ventura

Across the street at the beach was the children’s surfing competition for Surf Rodeo. Lots going on here this weekend!

Ventura Surf Rodeo

Ventura Surf Rodeo

I love these birds that scurry out onto the wet sand as the waves recede and stick their long bills into the sand looking for . . . something. Maybe small sand crabs?

Ventura Harbor Beach

The Art and Street Painting Festival continues tomorrow, September 14th, from 10am – 5pm at Ventura Harbor Village. You’ll be able to see the finished sidewalk art as well as the many artists displaying and selling their work. It’s worth your time to check it out!

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Day Trip to Carpinteria

I had a free day today, and I decided to go check out Carpinteria, which is about 15 miles north of Ventura. It’s a lovely place right on the ocean with a very small town feel.

First I went to Bluffs Nature Preserve, an area that is maintained as open space to be held in perpetuity. The trail is beautiful, with the ocean on one side and the mountains on the other.

Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve

Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve

Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve

There’s an amazing eucalyptus tree that evidently fell over, but continues to grow on its side.

Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve

The Bluffs Preserve is home to a seal sanctuary, where seals come to bear and raise their young in December through May.

Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve

No seals on the beach today, but I did spot this vulture circling above me, and three other vultures picking at something on the beach below. I had never seen vultures on the beach before.

Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve

Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve

Next I headed south to Padaro Beach Village, which is a cute little street of upscale home design stores and surf shops.

Padaro Beach

Also home to the Padaro Beach Grill, which has the most beautiful park-like outdoor seating right on the ocean.

Padaro Beach

It looks like it was roadster day at Padaro Beach! There were about five or six of these parked in front of the restaurant. What a fun place for a drive!

Padaro Beach

Padaro Beach

Padaro Beach

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Fall Sunset and Full Moonrise

We had a beautiful fall sunset this evening — the first one I’ve seen from my new house in Ventura.

Ventura Fall Sunset

At the same time the nearly full moon was rising through the clouds. Gorgeous! Both as seen from my back porch.

Ventura Full Moonrise

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Prickly Plant

Look at this amazing cactus that’s growing in my front yard. It’s huge!

Cactus Plant Ventura

It’s starting to get beautiful pink flowers, that I guess will turn into cactus fruit.

Cactus Plant Ventura

Cactus Plant Ventura

You definitely do not want to bump into this plant. Look at the size of the needles! Ouch!

Cactus Plant Ventura

Does anyone know what type of cactus it is?

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Archaeological Dig

The tractors were here again today, grading the backyard to make it level. After they were done for the day, I went out to see what they uncovered. Here’s the odd assortment of items that I found in the dirt.

Archaeological Dig

Did the people who lived here before over the past 85 years just toss their broken dishes and glass bottles in the backyard? It seems odd, but maybe trash was collected in the back and burned.

This small square glass bottle is especially intriguing. There’s a raised mark on the bottom, but it doesn’t look like anything identifiable, or at least not identifiable by me.

Archaeological Dig

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Finished Scarf

Here’s the finished scarf I’ve been weaving on my new Ashford SampleIt loom. It’s a blend of fibers. The warp is Crystal Palace Aria yarn — rayon, wool, polyester and nylon — and the weft is Crystal Palace Sausalito — merino wool and nylon. It was fun to work with the bright colors and textures — so different from the more subtle colors of the yarns I dye with plant dyes.

Woven scarf

Woven scarf

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Making Waves

I wanted to go see the huge ocean waves we’ve been getting, caused by Hurricane Marie off the coast of Mexico. I decided it was an opportunity to check out some of the local beaches.

I started at Port Hueneme, just south of Oxnard along the coast. It’s a charming little town and also a small shipping port — nowhere near the size of the Port of Los Angeles at San Pedro. When I was there today, there were just two large ships in the port, loading and unloading shipping containers.

Port Hueneme

As you enter Port Hueneme, there’s a lovely park with a stream running through it and lots of ducks and sea gulls.

Port Hueneme Park

And here are the waves as they looked at Port Hueneme today. The were indeed huge!

Port Hueneme Ocean Waves

Port Hueneme Ocean Waves

Port Hueneme Ocean Waves

Next I headed to Mandalay Beach, an exclusive community in Oxnard. Mandalay has the wide-sand beaches that I’m used to seeing in Santa Monica, and big houses right on the sand, like Manhattan Beach.

Mandalay Beach

Here’s how the waves looked at Mandalay.

Mandalay Beach

On the way back home, I drove past the Oxnard Marina, and decided to stop and have a look around. It’s quite beautiful there, with homes right on the edge of the water.

Oxnard Marina

Oxnard Marina

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Making Peace With the Dirt

Now that the grass is gone, my backyard is dirt, and it’s going to be like this for quite a while — until my studio is done.

Backyard dirt

It’s messy and it’s not pretty. but there are some interesting patterns in the dirt, like the tractor tracks.

Backyard dirt

And look at this — the footprints of a large bird next to my own footprints. Maybe a crow or a hawk?

Backyard dirt

Here’s what will eventually be the meandering path through the yard. I’m going to recycle the concrete that was removed and use it for stepping stones.

Backyard dirt

It’s time to dream up what I want this to become. I’m going to put in California natives and dye plants — hopefully an improvement over the water-thirsty grass that was there before.

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Banana Update

The second set of bananas fell off, but the first set is still going strong. Maybe not enough water? Not enough heat? Or the plant needs some sort of fertilizer?

Now there’s a third set of bananas starting to emerge, but I don’t know if these will make it, either. It looks like I may only get a few bananas this year.

Banana Plant

Banana Plant

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