Friday, March 28, 2008

Springtime Letterboxing

Who says you have to go to the desert to appreciate the wildflowers? Borrego Desert has nothing on us at the coast this year. After our firestorm last fall and the heavy rains in December and January, the blooms this year are phenomenal. Today was the last day of "spring break" so we decided to take the afternoon to go letterboxing. We took the neighbor's kids with us. We had the best time ever! We love Lindsay, Sophia and Justin. And really, if it hadn't been for Justin's 12 year old powers of observation, we would have missed out on a lot. Thanks to him we found a badger (and its hole,) about 15 lizards (probably more, but we lost count) some stink bugs, and, tied for most impressive,.... a toilet. Yup, a potty-half buried in the dirt. (Now THAT would be great place to hide a stamp...) Since the oldest kid on the hike was 12, and three out of five kids are boys, that got a ton of laughs. And I now have something stranger than a pair of panties I can claim under 'strangest discoveries while letterboxing.' OF COURSE we had to take pictures. Probably the most impressive find was an owl box. We didn't see a bird in it, even when I zoomed in with my camera. My camera eye did, though. I didn't even know that until coming home and downloading the pictures. (Double click on th e picture of the owl will find him.) But the owl most certainly spotted us. As we approached the tree, poking around for feathers and bones-clues to the owl's last meal-it swept down and away, with a wing span of at least three feet. It was a beautiful white barn owl and it came about 10 feet from me before banking hard left and flying away. We were all so impressed that even the girls and Jonah didn't have a chance to scream or be scared. We were most certainly startled as we thought the box was empty. We also climbed around some abandoned farm equipment, which made me nostalgic for Montana with memories of my Dad's implement dealership. (And for those of you who know me-nostalgia and Montana aren't two words I use in the same sentence. Montana and Pipe Bomb, maybe. Nostalgia-never!) I think having Justin, the 12 year old along, reminded me of the summers I spent playing in the prairie grasses, feeding the horses across the street from our house, and laying in grass with my dog watching the clouds change shape.
The spring grasses were long and sweet smelling and the children disappeared into them as they raced across the meadows. They played hide and seek by simply sitting down. Rocket decided that the stems from the grasses that stuck to his fur like velco were much too annoying to warrent a romp. He stayed on the trail trying desperately to keep his feet clean.
Our two mile 'hike' took two hours. (But it was two hours without whining or bribes to stop whining, mind you!) We had so much fun exploring every nook and cranny of the preserve. We did find the letterbox 'Always Aspiring' in Fallbrook at Los Jilgueros Preserve. Here is some info that I cut from the clues. If you want to find it yourself, go to:, or Happy Trails!

Acquired in 1990, the Los Jilgueros Preserve is a 46 acre preserve just north of Fallbrook High School on the east side of Mission Road. Los Jilgueros (pronounced "heel-gyer-os") is Spanish for "linnet" or house finch. The Preserve is open to the public for jogging, dog walking, or just relaxing.

The preserve has a stream, two ponds, a 1.5 mile level loop trail, 400 newly planted native oaks, sycamores and alders, and a demonstration garden. The name comes from an 1889 map identifying the stream as "Arroyo de los Jilgueros".

There are three entrances to the Preserve,the northern entrance is provided by a 6' easement parallel to the Fallbrook Village Condos from Peppertree Lane. The other entrances are from S. Mission Road. The north entrance is about halfway between Rockycrest Road, the entrance to the museums, and the entrance to the Airpark. This entrance is marked by a sign, but has only limited parking parallel to Mission Road. The south entrance is immediately north of the new construction for the Peppertree Homes, which leads to a parking area.

The Preserve was the farm of Arthur Anthony in the 1920s, who constructed the small dams along the stream to store water for irrigation. In 1990, the Fallbrook Real Estate Company donated the land to the Conservancy.

The ponds dry up during the summer. One is at the northeast corner, just to the northeast of the trail. The other pond is to the south, west of the east branch of the trail.

The north part of the preserve contains a bronze sculpture of an eagle on an 8' pole, titled "Always Aspiring", which commemorates the memory of Pamela Van Der Linden, the owner of the Fallbrook Real Estate Company. Just to the west is a firescape demonstration garden containing over 100 types of fire and drought resistant plants, with many plants identified by labels.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Along Came Poly..gamy

Dante is at the age where he talks about when he can 'marry me.' Telling him I am already married to Daddy doesn't sway him. Today he said "Mommy- I am going to marry you AND Elizabeth."


I prodded him for more info...

You mean Ethan's sister?

Yes, I sit next to her everyday.

You like her?

Yes. (he whispered this part in my ear) Because I am in love with her.

[What the?!]

Why do you like her?

Because she is beautiful and wears a ribbon in her hair.
She is Illuminating. [ that means beautiful, Mommy.]

Does she know you like her?

I dunno. I told Ethan. I'm gonna go play Wii now

Wow. I am thinking this is cute but also totally freaked out!!!
My son is only 6 and in kindergarten! AND it is a small catholic school....

I think I may need to start looking for an all boys school soon...

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Hey Batter, Batter!

What a great day! Opening day of PeeWee Baseball included the first pitch by Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood. Dante won 2nd prize in his age division for hitting the ball the farthest in the LL fundraiser, Hit-a-thon. Dante was so pleased with himself after his first 'real' game (one hour or three innings whichever comes first, no score-just an emphasis on sportsmanship, baseball rules and form)and winning his medal. I think he is sleeping with it.
The bleachers were packed with cheering parents and all the kids walked away with big smiles on their faces. Except for the few who were crying because they didn't want to go home. And the kid who had to pee during the game and cried because he wanted them to stop the game until he came back. Gee-that sounds like it could have been MY kid. This time, it wasn't Dante can't wait unitl his next game-March 10th, John Landes Park, Major Field, 5:30 pm Until then, it is practice twice a week. Go Owlz!!!

Mixed Metaphors

It is obvious by the following that 1) Dante is in Little League Baseball (t-ball), 2) we live in Southern California, and 3) He goes to Catholic school:

Sung with great gusto at school and baseball games:

...Babe Ruth through the night, that our flag was still there
Jose does that star tangled banner yet wave, and the
Lamb of the free, and the home of the the BRAAAAAAVE.

I think I like his version best.

He said to me in the car last week- "mommy, when we go fishing, we have to throw the small ones back. They aren't ripe yet."