Get some old recipes

Get some old recipes

The new exhibit at the Los Altos History Museum is called: Seaweed, Salmon and Manzanita Cider. Until April 16, 2017 you can learn how the Native Americans prepared their food and valued their relationship with nature.

Recipe collection from the exhibit 'Seaweed, Salmon, and Manzanita Cider' at the Los Alto History Museum, Los AltosRight at the beginning they offer some recipes to take home. I came back with inspirations on  Rose Hip or Elderberry Syrup and how to cook Salmon on Redwood Sticks.

Thanks to a wonderful volunteer, I was also shown around the J. Gilbert Smith House.

The upstairs is currently home of the Raggedy Ann and Andy exhibit. Raggedy Ann and Andy collection at the J. Gilbert Smith House, Los AltosThe whole home has been outfitted with things from the early 1900s. The cupboards are stuffed with the packaging of this time. The sleeping quarters are upstairs, with toys and cloth to imagine the life of the former inhabitants.

You can find  the permanent exhibit: Crown of the Peninsula back in the museum on the second floor. This shows the usage of the land from the Ohlone Indians, to the Mexicans, to the early American settlers and orchard growers. What makes this collection most appealing for little children is the First St. model railroad or the signs that invite ‘Try us on’ or ‘Open me’.

Admission is free (donations are appreciated)

Opening hours are: Thursday – Sunday noon to 4

What is your favorite time period in history?

Walk the trails between Bay and posts

Walk the trails between Bay and posts

The BYXBEE Park in Palo Alto is named after John Fletcher Byxbee, a local engineer, who first recommended developing the Baylands as a public park.

The park lies behind the Palo Alto airport and is part of the Baylands Nature Preserve, one of the largest areas of undisturbed marshland remaining in the San Francisco Bay.

People here appreciate the long, flat trails for a nice walking, running or biking workout. The unique mixture of tidal and freshwater habitats makes this a welcoming terrain for birds of all kinds.

Art installation in Byxbee Park, Palo AltoThe art that is displayed might make some people wonder: Posts that start small but grow in height, lining a small path up a hill.

These 72 posts made from concrete highway barriers symbolize the mesh between former landfill and new nature sanctuary.  Art installation in Byxbee Park, Palo Alto

 

The artists Peter Richards and Michael Oppenheimer in a collaboration with the landscape architects Hargreaves Associates, developed this 29 acre park and won the national ASAL Honer Award in 1993.

Have you ever pondered about the posts at Byxbee Park?

See petrified in wine country

See petrified in wine country

We went to Calistoga as kind of a pre-Christmas treat. One thing I know is that I have to come back! First, I did not get to try out the famous mud bath, (maybe I wasn’t ready for it?), the wine tasting rooms looked cosy and the lunch we had at the Culinary Institute was divine!

What we did do was go and see the Petrified Forest.

Over 3 million years ago a volcano erupted and covered the nearby redwoods in ash. Mineral rich water seeped down and the silica replaced the cells and made huge trees into fossils.

Petrified tree with concentric splits (parallel beaks along the trunk) at the Petrified Forest in Calistoga.We did the self-guided tour that showed us not only the petrified woods, but also some other current trees, like the beautiful red barked manzanita.

This was a fun excursion, and I would recommend it to anyone visiting the wine country. Admission was a bit pricy, adults $12, Juniors $8, but we did have fun outdoors.

If you are looking for an interesting stay they also offer a vacation rental.

Have you ever seen petrified wood?

Welcome the long-distance travelers

Welcome the long-distance travelers

The migration path of the monarch butterflies is quite amazing. They are the only insects that migrate to places that are 3,000 miles away. From October to January the monarchs visit the Bay Area. Last week I named Ardenwood, the historic farm in Fremont, as one of the places you can see monarchs.

 

Boardwalk at the Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa CruzAnother special place to see them is the Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz. They created a boardwalk for people to observe and learn about the butterflies. For some reason the clusters are at Lighthouse Field State Beach, two miles away from the Natural Bridge State Beach.

 

In an eucalyptus tree hundreds of them bundle together and warm each other. Cluster of monarch butterflies at the Lighthouse Field State BeachThey look like brown leaves, but when it gets warmer they start flying off. The monarchs need a temperature of over 55F to be able to fly.

 

Graphic illustrating the flight path of four generations of monarch butterfliesSome monarchs live for only four to six weeks, while others live six to eight months and have to fly really far to escape the cold weather. What is amazing is that the fourth generation returns to the places the first generation came from.

 

 

Have you seen a cluster of monarchs before?

See a historic farm

See a historic farm

Sometimes I feel it’s worth to remember that we have an easy life. We can go to the store and buy whatever we feel like – even fruit and vegetables that are not in season.

If we just step back in time about 150 years, we can see that it was actually hard work to get food on the table.

The Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont is a great exhibit of early farm life, livestock and local history.

"Mary had a little _ and her _ was white as snow" sign in front of a stall at Ardenwood Historic Farm, FremontThey have cute signs in front of the coops and stalls to teach and engage the little "What came first the chicken or the egg" sign in front of a stall in Ardenwood Historic Farm, Fremontones about the animals inhabiting them. There are a few varieties of chicken, little piggies and some unusual birds. This is a great place to bird watch, over 99 different species have been recorded.  A Guide to the Birds of Ardenwood Historic Farm

 

Monarch butterfly at Ardenwood Historic Farm, FremontDuring the winter month, from December to mid-February monarch butterflies overwinter here. In the summer they offer tractor rides and the train operates between the Ardenwood station and the Deer park station. You can also see an original Victorian garden and visit the Patterson Victorian house.

There is a lot to see and to do, especially for little kids.

 

Entry fee is between $3 and $6, for special events $8.

 

What is your favorite time period?

 

You decide: Rodin vs. Papua New Guinea

You decide: Rodin vs. Papua New Guinea

Stanford is famous for their large Rodin collection. In fact the bronze collection with over 200 pieces is amongst the largest in the world. Two of the best known sculptures are  ‘The Gates of Hell’ and ‘The Thinker’. You can admire them inside and outside the Cantor Arts Center. They also offer docent lead tours Wednesdays at 2 pm, Saturdays at 11:30 am, and Sundays at 3 pm, rain or shine. Meet in the main lobby. Learn more

https://museum.stanford.edu/view/rodin.html

The two gates of hell at Stanford University

A different display of art is the New Guinea Sculpture Garden. As a modern / tribal collaboration project they mixed traditional stories with modern ideas. When they learned about the famous Rodin sculptures one of the artist proclaimed: ‘”I can do this – even better!’ Their versions of ‘The Gates of Hell” and ‘The Thinker’ can be found among a multitude of other sculptures.

Which is the better version will be in the eye of the beholder.  If you are willing to judge or explore you can find the garden on the corner of Lomita and Santa Teresa.  They also do a tour every third Sunday at 2 pm.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papua_New_Guinea_Sculpture_Garden
Which artist do you prefer?

Wander around the weaved Whiplash

Wander around the weaved Whiplash

The latest public art installation in Palo Alto is a willow weaved whiplash from artist Patrick Dougherty.

Patrick Dougherty's whiplash at the Palo Alto Art CenterThis is his second work, the first one, also made from natural materials was dismantled in June. This new one, called Whiplash, stands in front of the Palo Alto Art Center facing Embarcadero Rd. and is an impressive construction, with multiple rooms and windows, that lead you into a courtyard.

It is made out of only natural materials and a very enchanting place. The smell of the willow was very strong on my visit, maybe because it rained? This definitely added to the experience.

I can see little kids run thru the crafted arches, or play hide and seek. (I’m sure kids will be even more inventive!)

If you still need to satisfy your art hunger you can check out the sculpture garden and the current exhibits in the Art CenterAt the sculpture garden at the Palo Alto Art Center

Have you seen Patrick Dougherty and over 60 volunteers work on this for three weeks in November?

Learn that physics is fun

Learn that physics is fun

It’s the time of the year again when most of us like to give gifts, not only for friends and family but also for a good cause.

One of these gift ideas that meet both criteria is The Physics Show at Foothill College.

We saw this show in September. Though my 7th grader said it was something he learned in 6th grade, we all enjoyed this spectacular display of physic experiments. Behind us was a family that had been to a previous show. They agreed that even though some of this had been in the earlier showing, it was still a lot of fun.

So, no matter if you are a returning visitor or a new spectator, this will be entertaining.

But let’s talk about the giving side of this event. The Physics Show also does weekday programs for title one schools. Not only do the children get to see the show, they provide transportation, a tour of the campus, and get a T-Shirt! Last year 3200 kids saw the show.

See the Mercury New article for further reading:

http://www.mercurynews.com/2016/09/15/physics-show-a-smashing-success-with-students/

Weekend shows are only $5 per person and this includes parking in lot 1. Tickets for the January events go on sale December 6th and you have to preorder them (only a few seats left at the door) at The Physics Show web site.

Saturday Jan 7, 2017

Sunday   Jan 8, 2017             

Saturday Jan 21, 2017

Sunday   Jan 22, 2017

Have you enjoyed physics before?

*official logo for The Physics Show courtesy of The Physics Show

Eat local produce

Eat local produce

One of many things I am thankful for living in such a beautiful area are the farmers markets. Mountain View has an especially large market located near the Caltrain station, on Sunday mornings from 9 to 1. Lots of stands that grow what they sell.

Mandarin oranges at Mountain View farmers marketA few bakers and butchers and the olive guy. Someone that will sharpen your knives while you shop. You can also buy some lunch or coffee and sit down for a while. The kids usually like the entertainment, the balloon guy and the music.

I especially like the vibe. People coming together enjoying fresh fruits and vegetables, getting their flower bouquet for the week, sampling some new fruits or old varieties. The sellers proud of their offerings are very knowledgeable. Cucumbers at Mountain View  farmers market

Here is a list of all the farmers markets in the area:

http://www.cafarmersmkts.com/

http://www.mercurynews.com/2007/05/08/farmers-market-list/

What is your favorite farmers market?

Happy Thanksgiving!

See which way the wind blows

See which way the wind blows

“When hot air rises, cooler air rushes in to fill the space it leaves, thus making wind at the land’s surface.” This quote is from an educational sign at San Mateo’s Seal Point Park ‘Wind Walk’.

This park is located next to the bay. I started the walk at the top, where you can also park your car.

Wind rose sculpture by Reed-Madden DesignsThe first sculpture there is a wind rose with multiple layers that spin. Next to it are three interestingly shaped sculptures.

One looks like two giant cymbals, one an organ and one a tree-like piece. Wind sculpture at Seal Point Park

If you follow the lower path you will walk by three groups of three wind structures. Only one of the nine was moving when I was there. It might be that the wind was not very strong.

Windstruments by Reed-Madden DesignsThis is all build on a landfill. So, I congratulate the city of San Mateo to create a great retreat out of some rubbish. I’m not quite sure the sculptures work as proof of wind, but they are interesting to look at nonetheless.

Do you know of any wind sculptures?