Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Santa Barbara Christmas

The best thing you can do at Christmas is to spend it with family, which we did, in Santa Barbara.  We had last- hour shopping, stockings, cookies for Santa, and kids waiting at the top of the stairs for the signal to come down to see what Santa had left for everyone.  After, it is always the best breakfast of the year.

You may know some about Santa Barbara....the Mission, State Street, and the Fig Tree.  But you may not know about the beaches, especially the beaches north of town around Goleta and Isla Vista.  On a clear day you can walk miles and miles glimpsing Santa Cruz Island across the channel dotted with oil rig platforms.  Today the off shore breeze steadily pushed us downwind until we turned around bending our heads into the bluster.  Seaweed, sea foam, and sea debris found repose on the seashore along with the palm-sized rocks, sand, and occasional mussel shell.

We had been here once before, but that was a tragic day.  Then, someone, shrouded and carried up the cliff by orange-coated rescuers, had not woken up from a night spent in the beach dune at the foot of the cliff.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thanksgiving at Panoche

Colorful Lichen
Due to unforeseen circumstances, we trekked to Panoche with our delightful neighbors in tow for Thanksgiving 2010.  There were two of us, five of them, and one neighbor for the traditional feast of roast turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes with gravy, cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, and the ubiquitous pumpkin pie.  (Actually this made our 5th pie since roasting the Halloween pumpkins the last few weeks.)

It was a cold but sunny three days, about 50 degrees.  With the sauna that Boyo built into the rocks as his first project on the property, we all managed to have a refuge of warmth each morning.  The boys were led to the cave where they discovered a huge icicle.  Hiking along the old cow paths, taking sheltered meadow naps in the sunshine, tracking birds by their calls, shooting Austin's pellet gun, and fixing the fixins kept everyone busy.  At night we watched movies in between viewing Jupiter and three of its moons through the telescope.

The photo is of a different trip to the property.  Usually there are no low clouds so you can see down nearly 3000 feet to the Panoche Valley below.