The Autumn Colors of Ocean Beach and Point Loma

by on November 30, 2020 · 0 comments

in Ocean Beach


Autumn red leaves start to drop as weather cools.

By Kathy Blavatt

Autumn is the season when deciduous trees burst into rich hues from red to yellows. We don’t have the full fall colors that the East Coast is known for, but Ocean Beach and Point Loma have many lovely trees such as Sweetgum Tree, Liquid Amber Tree, Decorative Crabapple Tree, and others throughout the committees.

Autumn’s red and yellow leaves adorn local yards. All photos by Kathy Blavatt.

As Winter approaches, these colorful trees drop their colorful frock of leaves and stand bare and dormant through the Winter.

The colorful Autumn trees have competition for the Falls’ brilliant warm sunsets and silhouetted coastal palms as they dance into the night’s darkness.

Fall sunsets silhouettes trees.

Nature’s timing of this encompassing beauty comes to comfort us before the earth takes a long awaited nap. The branches are the protective mother’s arms that will spring forth life in later months as the skies rain and sun escort the new sprouts to a coming-out dance of renewing life.

In this year, more than all others, we need to appreciate the warm colors of fall, then like the dormant trees, have a restful sleep, hopefully, to awake to a healthy future when we can once again feel refreshed and spout up and extend our branches into the sky.

“Bee Kind” signs are showing up in local gardens.

“Bee Kind”

When I walk around the neighborhood looking at gardens, I look for signs of beauty, plant-life, and interesting items. Recently, the signs were literally “signs” that touch me. The message on these signs is a simple image and one, “Bee (a drawing)” and the word “Kind.” A dual statement so simple yet so pertinent, “Be kind to bees” and “Be Kind”!

Sometimes simpler is better, as I ran across a couple of subtle small image signs asking dog owners to respect their yards and plants when it comes to their dogs.

Besides walks during these crisp fall days, I tend to get into more elaborate cooking. Chutney is a favorite side-dish at this time of year. Spicing meals up with a side of spicy chutney made from Winter fruit helps warm the stomach and body as the weather cools.

This year I lucked out that my friends, who live in the wooded area of Point Loma, have an Asian Pear tree that bearded a lot of fruit and were happy to give me some.

Over a century ago, in this same area in Point Loma, the Theosophists farmed and were known to have successfully grown crops of Asian Pears.

I love these pears because they are a cool-weather fruit that tastes of pears and has a crunchiness similar to apples, which they maintain even after cooking.

When I cook chutney, I rarely follow a recipe and tend to throw many ingredients into the mix and keep adding until it tastes just right. I start with grounding my herbs, mainly curry spices, then roast them slightly in my cast iron skillet. Then, I throw in the fruit, onions, garlic, salt, white pepper and cook them with the herbs. Next, I put in vinegar, sweetener (this time a couple of spoon of blackstrap malaises), lemon juice, and a little apple cider and cook some more until they meld together.

This chutney combination is excellent as an addition to holiday meals, salads, on toast, or mixed with yogurt.

Speaking of spicy food, on Thanksgiving Day in front of my home, a half dozen Anise Swallowtail Caterpillars munched down on a Sweet Fennel Plant (Wild Anise), making quite a holiday meal of it.

These colorful caterpillars turn into beautiful Anise Swallowtails, Papilio Zelicaon, are one of my favorite butterfly species. These swallowtails are yellow and black with striking blue spots on the edge of the rear wing and have the swallowtails’ characteristic tails.

Swallowtail caterpillars feast on anise on Thanksgiving Day.

I was thrilled to have the caterpillars over for the holiday. They have an open invitation for next year!

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