Cat Days of Summer: Ocean Beach 2021

by on August 24, 2021 · 1 comment

in Ocean Beach

By Kathy Blavatt

[All photographs by Blavatt]

Will we remember Ocean Beach’s tropical warm, humid days months from now? Will we remember the juxtaposed unusual summer water temperatures in July and August that dipped into the fifties as the surfers wore full wetsuits?

I remember my garden emulating a giant hothouse where my sleepy cats couldn’t bother moving for hours.

While the cats sleep their days away, caterpillars build their cocoons and metamorphizes; then, burst out with fluttering wings butterflies feasting on the flower nectar of their favorite blossoms.

My tropical plants are growing as they live in Hawaii. Unfortunately, the weeds have also thrived during the muggy weather.

Speaking of Hawaii, I had to cut my Hawaiian sugar cane twice this summer because it started falling over from growing tall so quickly. Unfortunately, not having a sugar cane press and limited watering has made the inside stringy and hard to chew.

I enjoy the sugar cane as it catches the breeze and creates a dancelike swaying beauty accompanied by rhythmic rustling.  When this whispering motion joins with a wispy cloudy sky, or lovely sunset, a peaceful serenity envelops the garden.

The growth of my trees and plants are prolific. Unfortunately, limiting my water stunted the size and/or the amount of fruit production.

Due to less water and more humid heat, my second summer crop of figs are slightly smaller and tastes more like sweet, dried figs.

The passion fruit vine I planted in my front yard last year is taking off, but no fruit so far.

The front and back yard resembles a mini-forest as I trimmed less during the hot months to provide a canopy for cooling and shading smaller plants.

Many of my trees have become deep-rooted, sustainable, and use minimal water with an eco-system that welcomes many butterflies, bees, hummingbirds, and a variety of other critters.

A welcome surprise of heavy rain came on one summer night. That rainfall broke the record of summer rainfall in one night in San Diego.

Amazingly, after the rain stopped, an orchestra of crickets came to life in my yard, then performed nightly concerts.  The sweet sound reminds me of childhood camping trips in the mountains.

Sadly, speaking of mountains and childhood memories, my heart is breaking over the small centuries-old northern California town of Greenville in Plumas County burned down by the Dixie Fire. This scenic mountain town was destroyed by what is now the largest wildfire in California history.

“Greenville,” an apropos name, was a pictorial paradise surround by greenery, forests, mountains, and a snaking creek. It was home to roughly 1,000 residents.

Since I was a child, I had the opportunity to spend time in this nature-rich Greenville community where my aunt and her family lived in several homes over decades.

My uncle and aunt were very proud of their Greenville rustic old wood home located in the valley along the river and surrounded by meadows, trees, and views of the nearby mountains. The large property was complete with an old apple orchard, woodburning stoves, and beavers in the creek near the home.

Unfortunately, before the fire, the lovely property did have some previous difficulties, such as beavers damming the creek and causing flooding, winter snowstorms occasionally made the property inaccessible, and rainstorms and high water damaged the bridge over the to the home. Life in a rural environment is full of challenges. My relatives sold the property, but I remember the beauty of the area, my favorite memories were the coziness of the unusual cabin-style structure with its loft, dark wood walls, and ceilings. Fresh air and flowers scents came through windows. The living room had a view of the pines and a huge comfy couch that made me feel like curling up and taking a nap when I nestled into it.

The home was within pleasant walking distance into the little downtown strip of  Greenville, which had a few businesses and included some of the oldest buildings in the area, reaching back to the 1800s.  These historic buildings and surrounding structures burned in the fire.

Sadly, I wish I had more photos of my trips to Greenville, but in my memory, I remember the beauty of the place, the smells of the pines and meadows, and how peaceful I felt when I was there.

As OBceans know, unique communities with a long history, and a small-town feel, are becoming rare. I hope local mom-and-pop businesses can make a comeback. I pray mother nature does her magic and brings back the beautiful trees and animals, so come back into “Greenville” can once again be “green.”

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Frances O'Neill Zimmerman August 24, 2021 at 6:08 pm

I appreciate Kathy Blavatt’s fond recollection of the now-incinerated northern California hamlet of Greenville. The fires this year are astounding.
I also love knowing what’s up in her wonderful lush garden during this monsoonal summer.


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