Sunday, February 22, 2009

Eucalyptus globulus and others

I'm currently reading a novel called "Eucalyptus". Yes, it's Australian. I've learned this much about Eucalypts: the more you learn about them, the more impossible they are to identify. The tree in front of my house may be a Silver Dollar Gum (E. polyanthemos), but who the hell knows? It would seem that the most common in California is the Blue Gum (E. globulus), used for wind breaks such as the one above. These trees are tall, but the tallest Eucalypt, which is the tallest flowering plant, is E. regnans, a.k.a. Mountain Ash -- Australia's answer to the Redwood and the Sequoia. Australia: is it surprising that a land so detached would produce such distinct trees?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Old Town Lompoc, home of the coffee grinder

For years on end -- it turns out to be over seven -- I intended to return to this independent coffee shop in Old Town Lompoc where I bought the hand-cranking coffee grinder that I still use to this day. What remained lodged in my memory was that they had the best selection of hand-cranking coffee grinders I've ever seen. Yesterday I went there with Ted. The Old Town was steeped in a benevolent time warp. The buildings were aging and taking on character like a fine wine. There were murals everywhere. But the interior of South Side Coffee was different. The grinders were gone, and instead the same shelves had a few teapots. The guy at the counter confirmed that they did have a fine selection of grinders (I wasn't imagining it), and that they could some day return if the demand was there. The other major change from July 2001 seemed to be a wall separating the coffee shop from the adjacent independent book store. It was fascinating to superimpose a seven-year-old memory on what I saw. I'm glad this place is still in business.

Monday, February 02, 2009

eccentric house plants

Sometimes it's good to let a house plant do its own thing, like this lopsided aloe becoming increasingly octopus-like with age, its arms flopping and flailing and slipping through the slats.