‘As I look out my window…’

by on August 3, 2022 · 3 comments

in Ocean Beach

By Kathy Blavatt

All photos by Kathy

Darn, in a report, the news media figured out, “San Diego has the best weather in the country.” Then another article in the NY Times says San Diego has the fastest rising home prices in the country.

Looking at the country’s roasting weather reports, our constant coastal weather in the seventies stands out. Then on the last night of July, we had our first summer rain. Does this mean we are in for a muggy August with tropical-like flash floods like we have had in recent years?

Just talking about San Diego’s weather makes me afraid of jinxing these pleasant summer days. I feel guilty bringing this up because most of the world suffers from record-breaking heat, odd weather patterns, and disasters.

As I look out my window, the hothouse effect from the moisture  has set off my orange blooming orchid tree next to an array of purple blossoms that rival a good sunset. The sun has moved south just past my neighbor’s house, so we can see the sunsets over the ocean and silhouetted palms along Sunset Cliffs Boulevard.

In my front yard an apple tree that was started from roots of my old apple tree in my backyard is bursting with apples. Nearby in the corner of my yard sits my fig tree. Its summer crop of small but sweet-tasting fruit has arrived. I am hoping that the beetles and birds will share with me. The netting may have to go up soon.

The weather has been perfect for tomatoes. As the old plants die off, new ones quickly emerge in pots and the garden. Next to some of the tomatoes are asparagus I planted years ago . They recently sends up a few tasty spears. Like homegrown tomatoes, their flavor is so much better than store-bought asparagus.

While gardening, I spend time with my cats that follow me around the yard. They are a constant source of amusement.

In June, the State of California put out water restrictions. The main water restrictions focus on limiting or not watering lawns. San Diego is ahead in the curb according to the San Diego County Water Authority. San Diego has taken huge streps to improve its drought resilience. To see the Waterscaoe Rebate Program offered in San Diego Country see the San Diego County Department of Public Works site at Program Eligibility page.

Where were these offer when I took my front and backyard lawns in 2004- 2005 to make a low-water yard? In 2016, many of my neighbors go t substantial rebates when they took out their lawns. Maybe the government needs to look at past Google Earth Views and compensate the smart environmental homeowners that removed their lawns years ago because they knew that saving water was important! I could use the money for a couple of large rainwater tanks!

The Governor has put in place water ticketing program to go after people who have water running down the driveways and streets and other infractions. Websites and the press have been informing the public about water usage rules, celebrity water abusers, and water shortages.

Since I already have a system to catch rainwater, recycle parts of my indoor water, and keep my water usage down, I tried to think of what else I could do. So, we re-hook up the outdoor garden shower. It has been a very refreshing way to shower,  save water and keep my plants growing. My husband seems to enjoy a quick outdoor rinse after a bike ride, which I appreciate him rinsing off!

The shower sits next to my grapes. They have plumped up a lot since we reconnected the outdoor shower.

I freeze or juice grapes and use some of them in smoothies. The seedless green grape plants have wonderful leaves for making stuffed grape leaves.

This year I have let my trees and shrubs grow and fan out more than usual, so they can produce shade to lesson soil evaporation and create a larger shade canopy for smaller plants.

The moist coastal weather has made the Spanish Moss in my yard thrive, especially this season.

Spanish moss is in the bromeliads family and is an epiphyte. Epiphytes grow on other plants but do not rely on them for nutrients. They take nutrients from the air and particles that collect on the plant.

The humidity has created a plethora of Spanish Moss on my trees, causing branches to break. It is essential not to let the Spanish Moss touch the ground because it can get infested with bugs.

To lighten my tree’s branches, I’m turning the excess Spanish Moss into mulch or creating new hanging homes for other bromeliads. Also, I am replacing dried-out Spanish Moss with fresh healthier clumps.

In working with bromeliads, you should use gloves and wear long sleeves to keep from damaging your skin or becoming itchy.

Sadly, I hate to take out trees, but I  had to take out a Pomegranate tree that grew alongside one of my walkways. The tree had branches with many dangerous stems containing 4-inch thorns. These painful spikey thorns had gotten me one-to-many times. On top of that, the tree stopped producing fruit.

Once my husband and I removed the Pomegranate tree, it left a large hole, so I turned it into a new compost pile. I  will replant another type of fruit tree in the space.

Unfortunately, some trees are irreplaceable. Recently, I drove by a lone Torrey Pine at 4633 Long Branch and did a double take! As I  pulled my car over to see the tree, I could see the iconic Torrey had turned completely gray & brown.

This one was truly dead, unlike when it was green and lovely a decade earlier. (OB RAG articles give its history).

Many locals will remember the precious O.B. Torrey Pines that are gone. They are in our thoughts, history, and articles.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie August 3, 2022 at 10:49 am

Kathy, please tell us what you did to get the effects in those 2 photos.


Frank Gormlie August 3, 2022 at 10:50 am

Each of Kathy’s amazing photos is an expression of art.


Kathy Blavatt August 3, 2022 at 12:35 pm

Frank, Glad you like the photos. I used Photoshop, opened the “filter” went too “stylized” and applied “oil paint”. Very easy and effective if you have a good photo to start with. Photoshop has a lot of great ways to play with photo images. Years ago I taught and demoed at commuter shows such as MacWorld, Siggraph, Photoshop World, and others. I was great getting paid to for something you loved doing.


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