Monday, March 23, 2015

Me and My Clown Bike

Panorama of Bay Trail (Shoreline Mountain View) – Looking EastPanorama of Bay Trail

I like to ride my clown bike every morning. Today I rode to the Shoreline at Mountain View. I like this area in the Spring when the grass is green. It’s better than the brown, dry grass of summer (see Life in the Snail Lane). I ride carefully to avoid running over the snails. Sometimes, I hear a crunch. Oops.

This morning, my bike and I learned about:

  • “The Wild & Wonderful Wetlands.” Slough is a funny word.
  • “The Burrowing Owls of Shoreline.” Athene cunicularia is what the scientists call it. We also saw the yellow-eyed owl in the Imperial Valley (see Imperial Valley Miscellany). Maybe the Shoreline owls work at Google?
  • The “Community” – of the wetlands that is – is all about living with salt (and no pepper). Plants that can grow in conditions of high salinity (lots of salt) are called halophytes. Here are some of them:
    • Sea Lavender – Limonium in the Plumbago family.
    • Australian Saltbush – Atriplex in the Amaranth family.
    • Saltgrass – Distichlis in the Grass family (what did you expect?)
    • Pickleweed – Salicornia also in the Amaranth family.
    • Cordgrass – Spartina foliosa also in the Grass family.
    • Salt Marsh Dodder – Cuscuta salina in the Morning Glory family. Dodders are parasitic plants: it lives off other plants. You know, like the uncle or nephew in your family that never moves out.
  • “Limits & Controls.” Plants growing here have to work darn hard to get rid of the salt inside them. Cordgrass sweats it out. Pickleweed concentrate the salt in one part and then gets rid of that part. To each his own.
  • “The Spirit of the Times – Wild Marshes, Handy Scows & Mr. Henry Rengstorff.” A scow is a type of flat-bottomed boat. Useful for the sloughs perhaps. Too many strange words this morning.  Mr. Rengstorff – who was born in 1829 and died in 1906  – had a nice house. Today is house is appropriately called the Rengstorff House.
  • “Wind & Water Bring Life to the Farm.” Mrs. Rengstorff was one lucky housewife because her house was plumbed for indoor water thanks to their windmill. With all the time she saved, she could pursue her passion for hunting burrowing owls (just kidding).

Now, on to work.

Top Row. Left: The Burrowing Owls of Shoreline; Center: Community. Right: Limits & Controls’';
Bottom Row. Left: The Wild & Wonderful Wetlands; Center: Wind & Water Bring Life to the Farm; Right: The Spirit of the Times.

The Burrowing Owls of ShorelineCommunityLimits & ControlsThe Wild & Wonderful WetlandsWind & Water Bring Life to the FarmThe Spirit of the Times

Left: Bay Trail Joggers – Looking East; Center: Bay Trail; Right: Mountain View Slough – Looking South.
Bay Trail Joggers – Looking EastBay TraMountain View Slough – Looking South

Left: Bike on the Bay Trail; Center: Bike in front of the Rengstorff House; Right: Bike and Windmill.
Bike on the Bay TrailBike in front of the Rengstorff HouseBike and Windmill

Left: Shoreline Lake Aquatic Center; Right: A Snail on the Bay Trail – Life in the Fast Lane.
Shoreline Lake Aquatic CenterA Snail on the Bay Trail – Life in the Fast Lane

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