Saturday, April 18, 2009

Have I Got the Dirt

Pardon my weeds. I'm being soil-ly tested.

When I blogged about Tim Wheeler's free Irrigation Workshop last week (sponsored by Pasadena Water and Power), I mentioned I'd learned how to test my soil type. Some of you asked how it's done. It's called the jar test. Let's play along.

In the first photo, we put two cups of dirt into a common jar.

Well--it's kind of a nice jar, but if yours is common don't worry.

The next thing we do is fill the jar most of the way with water. Then we shake it all up. Shake it real good. Don't be shy, you gotta mix that dirt and water like it's a mud margarita.

Then leave it. Yes. Just leave it alone for a whole 24 hours. I said so, don't mess with it. Let the dirt settle. It's not an actual margarita.

What's supposedly going to happen is your dirt's going to stratify into three layers. That's what they told me, anyway. It's going to layer itself according to particle size. The biggest particles, sand, will form the bottom layer. The middle layer will be silt (medium-sized particles). On top will be your lightest particles, or clay. When you see what percentages you have of each of these soil types, you can compare your soil to a soil triangle and figure out your soil type.

What do you think? How many layers do you see? Is that sand on the bottom or silt? Is that silt on the top? Clay? What kind of soil have I got in my back yard?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Explore Hahamongna

If you've wondered why Boz and I love Hahamongna Watershed Park so much, now's your chance to find out. As part of Arroyo Seco Discovery Days sponsored by the City of Pasadena, you can Explore Hahamongna Watershed Park tomorrow morning with the experts. (Scroll to page 2 of the .pdf for info on the event, and to page 3 for directions.)

I'm not sure I should tell you about it. Boz and I were there yesterday for an hour and we saw no one except a single city employee. (Well, I assume he was single.) That kind of solitude in the middle of town is heaven. If I tell you about it you might go there, and our solitude might be interrupted.

But if you don't know about Hahamongna, you might not care to preserve it. So I encourage you to go tomorrow, April 18th, from 8am to noon, and find out from the experts what a treasure it is.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Service Welcome Service

This could almost be a Zen Monday shot. I don't have much to say about it. Maybe that's because I'm tired. You know how long a day can get.

I like the picture, though. It doesn't have to be about hard times, a failed business. It could be about the future when the chaos we're going through is behind us and we don't need cars anymore because we're all wearing non-polluting jet-packs for transportation.

Because it's just change. We will get through it. And when it's behind us, things will look very different.

Or maybe it's just been a long day.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Norma at Liberty

Today is Norma's last day at Liberty Tax Service on Colorado Blvd. at Sierra Madre Villa/Madre St. Liberty's a franchise business, with 288 offices in California alone.

Norma's wearing her company's uniform, as are hundreds of people like her around the country. Norma, however, is no office drone. With her hip-hop moves and her big smile, she literally stopped traffic (she stopped me, that's for sure).

Her job ends today. Need help bringing in business at your place? I know someone with experience.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


A lot of terrific photographers are out there blogging. Today I'd like to turn you on to -K-, aka Kevin McCollister, of The Jimson Weed Gazette.

Check out the Gazette and browse K's brooding, beautiful pictures. I'll link you to one, my favorite for reasons I'll attempt to articulate. See, I'm trying to learn to do more than just take a picture of a thing. I'm trying to learn how to evoke a feeling, to tell a story in a photo. Kevin is a master storyteller. Here's my favorite of his stories: it's called Old Man, Abandoned Building.

I recommend you tour Kevin's blog as well as his website and enjoy his stories.

The reason I'm thinking of Kevin today is because I'm a little jealous. It's not his talent I covet. Talent is individual. He has his, I have mine. I'm a beginner and I'll develop in my own way as I practice and learn. No, no, no, I'm jealous because I'm too chicken to take my camera and tripod into dark alleys and scary neighborhoods at night and photograph abandoned buildings and sad old men.

Which brings me to today's photograph. A dark alley in daylight doesn't scare me. Ha! (Good thing there was no one there.)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Zen Monday: #44

Zen Monday is the day you experience the photo and give us your thoughts rather than me telling you what the photo's about.

As I post each new Zen photo, I'll add a label to last week's to identify it if necessary (and if I know what it is).

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Sweet Buzz of Spring

The clementine tree in our back yard is blossoming. The sweet, fresh smell fills our back yard.

The tree is also buzzing with bees. If Wikipedia's article is correct and the cross-pollination of bees might make my clementines lose their "desirable seedless characteristic, so "bee" it. I've been worried about bees since I started seeing their poor, logy little selves dying on the sidewalks a couple years ago (I've even posted about Colony Collapse Disorder before), and I don't mind a few seeds if it means healthy bees.

In my yard, there's no collapse. The bees are resurrected. We don't have a hive (which is good), just a lot of happy bees who don't seem to mind sharing the blossoms with me.

This is one of those posts I wish you could smell. I wish you could hear it, too. Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....