TRIP TO DAD'S -- PART FOUR
As I write this we are still hoping that dad's house has escaped harm from the fire. The focus of the media coverage is now on the Montecito/Santa Barbara area, so we don't have as many updates as we were getting. From what we can gather over the internet, the worst of it is done in Carpinteria. This is, of course, assuming that the wind doesn't change direction and blow it back up there. Nothing is a given with a fire like this. The firefighters did a lot of back-burning on Monday on the hillside right above dad's house, and it seems to have protected the buildings on the hill. The evacuation order is still in effect for that area, so we will not know absolutely for sure until dad and the family can get back in there. So, we are still keeping our fingers crossed. Since this fire is into its second week already, I have decided to go ahead and continue my post of our trip down to dad's in October.
TAKING A BREAK
Linda and I tried to get out and about in Carpinteria a couple of times during our two weeks as dad's caregivers. I would like to mention that Linda's son was there also during this time, as he lives with dad. He always takes the night shifts, being available in case dad needs help during the night. So when we wanted to take a break, we would ask him to stick around for a couple of hours. He was always accommodating, which helped us tremendously. On one of our breaks we decided to go out for lunch in Carpinteria. There is one particular restaurant that we really like in that town, Zookers, so we decided to go there (click here for their website).
We both decided to order their Stuffed Grape Leaves which are stuffed with ground lamb and rice. It was a nice meal and gave us an opportunity to get out and stretch our legs.
FLOWERS AROUND DAD'S HOUSE
My usual perch while at dad's was sitting outside on his deck, watching the birds. At every opportunity I was taking pictures and videos. Granted, my camera would not cooperate sometimes, but I did manage to get some pretty good shots. Here are some more pictures I took of the flowers around dad's house.
|Can you spot the Silver-Spotted Skipper?|
|A Sulphur butterfly on the bougainvillea plant|
|Hummingbird getting nectar from a Bottlebrush flower|
|Not sure what this is, but it was in a large pot on the deck|
One morning I was walking along the driveway from dad's house headed to the RV when I noticed a small flock of about 10 birds on the ground over near the hedge. I had my phone with me so I quickly took a few pictures and watched them walk across the street from dad's house. Then I went inside and got my camera so I could get better pictures. I found them in the bushes across the street and they didn't seem to be frightened of me. I took a few pictures which turned out pretty good even though it was still not very light outside. I had never seen these birds before, so you know I had to look them up after I got my pictures. It turns out they were Tennessee Red Quail. I knew they were some kind of quail from their body shape, but I had never heard of these. There was not a lot of information available on the internet, but it seems that they are a variation of the Bobwhite Quail and are mostly bred for hunting preserves. I can only guess that these either escaped from someone's farm, or they are a wild covey that migrated from a nearby hunting preserve. Wherever they came from, I was glad to see them as they were beautiful birds.
The weather when we first arrived in Carpinteria was rather warm, but we were glad of it since we had left Yakima in below freezing temperatures. However, after we were there a few days the weather ramped up and got downright HOT. We thought we were back in Yakima in August. An interesting note for my East Coast friends is that hardly anyone in the Carpinteria area has air conditioning in their homes. They simply do not need it on a regular basis because it usually doesn't get that hot. We certainly could have used it for a few days, though. Here was the weather forecast for the second week we were at dad's.
|The week's forecast|
|Actual temperature inside (top) and outside (bottom)|
ACTIVITIES FOR DAD
Linda's dad is a very active person, even though he uses a wheelchair to get around most of the time. He can still walk without one, and he takes at least one walk every day using his wheely-walker. He also does stretching exercises every day to keep his mobility up. I hope if I live to be 97 years old that I can be as active as he is. He also likes to exercise his mental faculties by playing cards and reading the LA Times newspaper every day. This is in addition to all of the "business" that he carries on by phoning his friends in the Lion's Club. Even though he doesn't get out very much, Dad still is very involved in the community of Carpinteria.
|Playing Solitaire...he wins a LOT|
Dad is also very much a sports aficionado and if there is a game on TV, he's there! I mentioned in a previous blog that the World Series playoffs and the World Series games were played while we were with dad. We watched all the games and, of course, we were pulling for the Dodgers all the way. Linda and Dad both got into the spirit of things by wearing their Dodgers t-shirts. Dad has been a life-long Dodgers fan and it was such a treat for us to be able to watch them playing in the World Series with him...even though they didn't win.
THE LITTLE HAB FAMILY
You already know what happened to the original little Hab when he got red, but I haven't told you about the fate of his brothers and sisters. I had a total of two habanero peppers turn completely red while we were down there. The original little Hab and his red brother both wound up on my plate at different times during our stay there. Quite tasty!
The remaining members of the Hab family did not turn completely red while we were down there, so I brought them home and after they finally turned red, I dried them in my dehydrator and ground them up. But they were pretty to look at while they were in the process of turning red.
ARTWORK AROUND THE DECK
I've talked a lot about Linda's dad, but I haven't mentioned her mom. She was a wonderful, funny, happy-go-lucky lady who, sadly, passed away in 2010. However, her presence is still very much felt at dad's house. Linda's mom collected stone statues of animals which were made by the artist Isabel Bloom, who used to have a ceramics factory in Santa Barbara. They are still scattered around the deck and remind me of her whenever we are down there.
Many of the beautiful plants and bushes that she planted and tended while she was alive are still there, too. A few years ago we brought home one of her rose bushes, a yellow one, and planted it in our yard in Yakima. We have named it the Mom Rose. Here is a picture of her lavender rose that is planted in a very large pot on the deck, as well as more of the plants and flowers around the house.
|A visitor to the deck|
|Side deck with flowers all around|
|Back of dad's house|
PARTING SHOT -- WORDS OF WISDOM
One thing that has always stayed in my mind, from the very first time I went to dad's house, is this little plaque that he has hanging on the wall. It's in a pretty prominent place, right beside the dining room table, so you can't miss it. I love the sentiment, which puts growing old into perspective. I think this is a nice parting shot for this edition of the blog.
Next week I will wrap up our visit to dad's so we can get back to the real world after Christmas. So check back in next week.