Sunday, June 1, 2008

Favorite things

Part of my daily routine is taking the furries out for their morning constitutional. We have an easily accessible walking path just two blocks from the house where we can meander freely, off leash, with plenty to smell and admire.

The ground is a hard mixture of sand and gravel which means we can walk even after a long rain and not have to worry too much about mud. All the moisture seems to drain right off into the creek making it a 365 day a year opportunity for exercise with the beasts.

Across the creek {to the right of the image} is the most beautiful More Mesa open space. I understand that it is privately owned by a man in Utah, who at some point over the years tried to sell it to Donald Trump, who in turn had hoped to build a huge resort there. Thank goodness for Santa Barbara zoning and he was unable to realize his big dreams and those of us who grew up enjoying this wonderland still get to run through it's grasses all the way out to the sea.

I will say that having Border Collies is awesome. They are a pleasure to be around, always wanting to please, ever attentive and never too far from you. To wander too far ahead would mean risking losing some of the flock, so they are ever circling back and checking in. Our 3 year old {aka "the puppy"} is always ahead urging us to hurry so that she can run. The 12 year old is content to stick close to the parents and take time smelling everything.

One of my personal favorite things about this daily walk is visiting this tree that lives at the neighbors. The color is absolutely jaw dropping amazing. It took me a long time to find out what the heck it was, at first I thought it was some form of wisteria. The white flowers have a similar structure to wisteria and a strong sent but they last longer than most wisteria blooms.

The botanical name of the tree is Robinia pseudoacacia 'Frisia'

Here is what I found online at THIS website: 'Frisia' ~ 'Frisia' is a bushy, large, deciduous tree with pinnate leaves, golden-yellow when young turning greenish-yellow later in summer, and often orange-yellow in autumn. Racemes of white, fragrant flowers in summer are followed by dark brown seed pods in autumn.

I understand that it's the electric yellow green through spring and early summer, then darker green leaves and flowers late summer and possible orange leaves in the fall. I do think that our neighbor's tree is somewhat neglected and watered little. I couldn't say for sure that it follows any of these timelines. Regardless, I just love being near it, the color is ever inspiring and the delicate leaves and structure of the branch are absolutely lovely.

The only thing keeping me from having several of these specimens in my yard is that every possible part of this tree, bark, branches, leaves, flowers, and pods contain enough toxicity that if eaten can be harmful to animals {people too but I don't think I would be tasting my tree}. I suppose it wouldn't be a problem if I had one of those kinds of animals that really wasn't interested in whatever lays about on the ground. For some reason, our border collies feel the need to lick everything, at least once, and take a bite? why not?! Even dirt clods, dead bugs, broken pottery, grass, trash, anything is worth tasting.

I must be content to admire my neighbors beautiful specimen. Seeing it once a day is almost like having one of my own. I still get to monitor the change of the seasons through the blooming of the flowers, the dropping of leaves, the budding of new leaves and the blazing color. I don't think the dogs care one way or another but it sure makes my day, every day.

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