Wednesday, September 28, 2016

National Drink Beer Day

Drink Local: photo by Cliff Hutson
Drink Local: photo by Cliff Hutson

It seems that September 28th is National Drink Beer Day here in the US of A,  marking the closing of the Oktoberfest season. Many people apparently will enjoy it by having a glass of their favorite beer at a local tavern; and will use #DrinkBeerDay to post the occasion on social media.

I am truly puzzled that something called Oktoberfest takes place in September. But, it is what it is, any excuse to drink beer is a good excuse to drink beer. Is it not?

My late wife and I first partook of the festivities in the mid-1970s at a place called Alpine Village. It was a lot of fun then. And, a lot more low key that it seems to be today.

Last Name Brewing: photo by Cliff Hutson
Last Name Brewing: photo by Cliff Hutson
These days, I am loathe to travel so far afield. Close to home, I am torn between Last Name Brewing (originally called Dale Brothers) and Claremont Craft Ales.

Claremont Craft Ales: photo by Cliff Hutson
Claremont Craft Ales: photo by Cliff Hutson

My favorite brew at the former is Runway IPA; at the later it is Jacaranda Rye India Pale Ale.
SaveSave

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sunflowers

Coast Sunflower: photo by Cliff Hutson
Coast Sunflower (Encelia californica): photo by Cliff Hutson

The drought in California over the past five some odd years, and the resulting restrictions on watering, have been rough on home gardens, public plantings, and native plants. However, one plant that has been holding its own, at the botanic garden where I work, is one of the sunflowers.

Helianthus annuus 

Helianthus annuus, the common sunflower, is an annual herb that is native to California and is also found elsewhere in North America .  Sunflowers belong to the what is probably the largest family of flowering plants  - the Asteraceae (or Compositae). The name sunflower may derive from the impression that the blooming plant appears to slowly turn its flower towards the sun as the it moves across the sky, or from the shape of the flower which resembles a child’s drawing of the sun.

Sunflowers do display heliotropism in the bud stage. The motion is created by special cells in a flexible segment of the stem just below the bud. However, mature sunflowers become fixed in an easterly direction, with only their leaves continuing to track the sun. This motion, from east to west, is believed to increase photosynthesis.

The term Compositae, i.e., composite, comes from the fact that the “flower”’ is actually composed of many flowers. The flowers on the outer margin are ray flowers. The flowers at the center of the head are the disc flowers, which will mature into seeds. Many sunflowers are beautiful ornamental flowers in an annual bed or a mixed border. They attract bees and are also a good choice for butterfly gardens; monarch butterflies are especially attracted to sunflowers.

“Claremont Sunshine” Sunflower

Claremont Sunshine: photo by Cliff Hutson
Claremont Sunshine: photo by Cliff Hutson

RSABG is home to a cultivar of  Helianthus annuus, “Claremont Sunshine”, the plant that is doing pretty well.  Cultivars are bred from exceptional plants of an existing variety because they possess a desired attribute. I read that Bart O’Brien was driving on I-5 and spotted some wild sunflowers that were a very pale yellow, instead of the golden color. So he marked the spot, came back and harvested the seeds, then cultivated them. 

The Fall Planting Festival at Grow Native Nursery will showcase this and thousands of other California native and water efficient plants on October 1, 2016, 10 am - 4:30 pm - Members only, 8 -10 am. 

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden has been selling California native plants since 1978. So, , if your are in Southern California, don’t miss this ideal opportunity to purchase hard-to-find, one-of-a-kind natives and to get your gardening questions answered by friendly, experienced botanic garden professionals and volunteers.

SaveSaveSaveSave
SaveSave

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Dessert and Sex

Carrot Cake: photo by Cliff Hutson
Carrot Cake: photo by Cliff Hutson

Most men my age probably do not follow posts on BuzzFeed as much as I do. We are not their target demographic. My excuse is that my granddaughter works for them as a Social Media Strategist. And, it can be greatly amusing.

Cookies: photo by Cliff Hutson
Cookies: photo by Cliff Hutson

Dessert Test Will Determine How Sexy You Are


Last night I took a quiz that is supposed to determine one's sex appeal based on their choice of a cake, cookie, candy, and pie.

Candy Bar: photo by Cliff Hutson
Candy Bar: photo by Cliff Hutson

I can say that never before have been likened to a molten lava cake. It seems my choice of desserts outstrips my actual life, by far. Why not try it and see how you do.


Pie: photo by Cliff Hutson
Pie: photo by Cliff Hutson

By the way, as to my age, let's just say that I am no longer a sexagenarian. (See what I did there.)
SaveSaveSaveSave

Wednesday, September 7, 2016