Desert does not smell like rain

Mtns open

For dozens of miles crossing the desert this morning, the air smelled to me vaguely like burning plastic, an odor backnote I found rather unpleasant. Miles.

Yellow desert shrub flower

The plants, however: unfazed. Unknown grey-green leaved low shrub with yellow fliers…

Yucca top

…and a towering yucca (I think).

Today’s title references one of my favorite books, Gary Paul Nabhan’s The Desert Smells Like Rain: A Naturalist in Papago Indian Country (1987). This desert perhaps should have smelled like rain today, as rain came through this area in the wee hours overnight. In fact, we think we’ve had rain at some point every day beginning on the 26th of December, for a run of 19 days so far. Tomorrow we may well not see rain, however.

Divided road

Lighthouse lowprofile

Isn’t that the cutest low-profile lighthouse? Cali-cute!

Mar pacifico

And there’s the Mar Pacifico—today not terribly pacifico. You can’t see the wind and blowing rain. Elegant, enduring seastacks….

Pacifico long swells

Love the marching swells cut below by the long shallow sea-edge profile.

Elk herd grazing

NoCal tourism touts the elk herds. Here’s one. Grazing and resting. Classic elk-life, when carnivores are not threatening.

Avenue giants trees

Coastal NoCal also hosts trees—not only the giant redwoods pictured here.

Cloud forest

During the rainy season, the trees and clouds may merge. This shot is from a high-elevation meadow called in these parts a prairie. [Note: this use of “prairie” is not a Boontling term.]

Redwood newbies

We took our walk in a section of the 🎶redwood forest🎶 we had not walked in before. I remember almost always seeing lone trees, or perhaps pairs. Here’s a circle of relative newbie trees. I did not find out if they are clones of the dead stump in the center, or if the rotting stump provided a hospitable microenvironment for whatever seeds were at its base to germinate.

Redwood bark CU

For contrast: lichen growth on twists of redwood bark at a tree base.

Post title refers to a Cali term we kept encountering on road signs…which seemed to have been a pet term by some transportation engineers, rather than a road situation of great distinction for drivers. The first we encountered had a small curb between the two lanes that otherwise seemed like a regular two-lane road; another had merely a marked off paved area about a foot wide between the two directions—no elevation change whatsoever—and two lanes each way. Diversity in them thar divided roads….

Caption exercise

Lichen shrub

Lichen threatens survival of shrub.

Road to nowhere

Road to nowhere.

Tree in glass box

Tree in glass box*.

* in an Apple store—open to the sky, so not a closed box.

Vegetative variants

Tamarack needles

There’s plain vegetation, the way it grows.


And, there’s vegetation with added decorations.

Yes: ghostly

Droplet pieris

After dawn, it was clear and lovely, and I found this droplet on a Pieris out front.

Fog here

Later…surprise!…the ground fog blanketed us. Nice to walk in, though. Ghostly, one fellow we encountered while walking called it.

Color equation?


This is certainly a hot pink camellia. Despite the overcast and rain, it cuts through the murk of the day.

Yellow butterfly

The rain, or just time, brought this one down. I spotted the bright yellow among the leaves and thought: that’s too yellow for a leaf!

Not quite bolognese

Hot pink plus brilliant yellow equals…? Best I can do is this bolognese-inspired sauce (aka gravy)…in the new cook pan/pot. Perfect size! [This swirl is right after I started to stir in the milk….]

Poinsettias and pansies

Poinsettia planting

We live in such a cool neighborhood! This planting decorates our combo gas station/convenience store.

Leaves and loaves

Longleaf and leaf

Despite it being rainy-rainy all day, I did get my daily thirty minutes in (current strategy). Enjoyed the juxtaposition of the straight, green needles (which are of course a kind of leaf) and the lumpy-shaped, brown leaf, with the emerging candles in the middle. Done.

Knead piece

This afternoon I went to a matinée play (rhymes!). The title: Knead…a personal history well told. The little stories were threaded together around Mom’s bread baking and unrecipe recipe…and the playwright/actress Mary Lynn Owen made bread as the stories unwound. And of course, afterward, we got a taste! Clever!


Crocus of Dec

Crocus. Blooming. IN DECEMBER (imagine a thundering announcer-voice). Climate change, folks? Huh? Huh?

Holiday at bank

Speaking of timely, in this age when Xmas decorations and advertising may appear weeks before Thanksgiving, I guess these soldiers are on point. Not sure how to interpret soldiers on a bank branch counter.


To vote

Yup, runoff day. Wished the governor’s race was on the list, but no. Instead, we did have the pleasure of voting again for Secretary of State—the position the governor-winner had when he ran the last election. Hrrumph.

Camellia white

Oh, the early camellias are inspiring!

Hi light

Loved how the sun was so bright, as we approach the shortest day of the year.