age is a state of mind

age is a state of mind

(picture taken yesterday from a hike with Chico Hiking Association…this hill was straight up….no stopping)

taken from an online article…see source at bottom

Last month, I took a 7.5-mile hike near Harper’s Ferry National Historical Park in West Virginia. Thanks to a nearly 1,900 foot-elevation gain, I definitely got a good cardiovascular workout. But hitting the trail may offer some additional health benefits, as I learned from Dr. Aaron L. Baggish, associate director of the Cardiovascular Performance Program at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

“The nice thing about hiking is that it exists along an entire continuum, from a gentle walk on a flat wooded path to mountain climbing,” says Dr. Baggish. Nearly everyone, regardless of age or athletic ability, can find a hike that offers the right level of personal challenge. And hiking may even offer some unique physical and mental benefits, he says.

More for the core

Like brisk walking, hiking is a good way to improve your cardiovascular fitness, particularly if your route includes some hills, which will force your heart to work harder. Hiking on the slightly uneven surface of a trail also provides a natural way to engage the core muscles in your torso and to hone your balance skills. “You usually don’t get that type of lateral motion from walking on a treadmill or riding a bike,” says Dr. Baggish.

However, if you have problems with stability or vision, using walking or trekking poles can give you an added level of security on uneven terrain. Use poles with a spiked metal tip when walking on dirt or grass. Plant the pole out in front of you as you walk to take a little pressure off your knee joints.

Natural stress relief?

Yet another advantage of hiking may be the restorative and stress-relieving powers of being outside in nature. A number of small studies hint that spending time in green space — nature preserves, woodlands, and even urban parks — may ease people’s stress levels. Giving the growing consensus that stress contributes to high blood pressure and heart disease risk, anything you can do to mitigate stress is likely helpful. In that realm, the benefits of hiking remain anecdotal, but outdoor enthusiasts tend to agree. “There’s a real sense of peace and composure you get from being outside and away from everything,” says Dr. Baggish, whose own passion is not hiking but running on trails in the rugged peaks of New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

Here are his tips for a safe and enjoyable hiking experience:

  • Bring a map and hike with a partner. A companion is good for both company and safety. If you go alone, let someone know when you plan to return.
  • Wear hiking boots. Choose well-fitting footwear with good ankle support. Make sure to break them in with shorter walks so you don’t get blisters when you’re miles from a trailhead.
  • Stay hydrated. Don’t forget to take plenty of water along, especially in warm, sunny weather.

Finding trails near you

Looking for hiking venues? Local, state, and national parks are a good place to start. American Trails is a national nonprofit organization that supports local, regional, and long-distance trails for hiking and other uses; check the “Trails” tab to search by state to find hikes in your area.


Snowdrops in Paradise

Snowdrops in Paradise

spring is coming 🙂

The lovely snowdrop is one of the first flowers to appear in the spring as it works its way through the snow to bloom. These tiny flowers grow 3- to 4-inches tall and make an excellent ground cover in the garden. They can also be grown in pots or containers and can even be forced into bloom during the winter from bulbs.

What Does the Snowdrop Flower Mean?

The snowdrop flower has several meanings depending on the context. The most common meanings are:

  • Purity
  • Hope
  • Rebirth
  • Consolation or Sympathy

Etymological Meaning of the Snowdrop Flower

Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis)  earned their name from the combination of two Greek and Latin words.  Galanthus, from the ancient Greek means milk white flower, while the Latin word nivalis means resembling snow. Carl Linnaeus classified the flower in 1753.

Symbolism of the Snowdrop Flower

The snowdrop flower has enjoyed a rich and varied history that includes several legends about how the flower came to be.

  • Garden of Eden: According to legend, Eve was distraught after God cast her out of the Garden of Eden. God sent forth continuous snow and the earth was cold and barren. As Eve sat weeping, an angel appeared to comfort her. The angel caught a snowflake and breathed upon it. The snowflake fluttered to the earth and gave birth to the snowdrop. This delicate bloom came to symbolize hope and rebirth.
  • German Legend: When God created snow, he gave it the task of visiting the flowers of the earth to gather colors. All the flowers refused, until the snow visited the gentle snowdrop. Seeing that the snowdrop was a kind and generous soul, the snow decided to make a deal. In exchange for her color, the snow agreed to allow the snowdrop to bloom first every spring. The delicate snowdrop agreed and cheerfully blooms amid the snow each spring.
  • Moldovan Legend: According to Moldovan legend, a fight between the Winter Witch and Lady Spring gave birth to the snowdrop. One year, the Winter Witch decided that she would not give up her reign of the earth when Lady Spring arrived. During the ensuing battle, Lady Spring pricked her finger and a drop of her blood fell to the earth. The blood drop melted the snow and up sprung a tiny snowdrop, a sign that Lady Spring had won the battle with the Winter Witch.
  • Romanian Legend: According to this legend, each year the sun took on the form of a young girl as it returned to warm the land in the spring. One year, Winter refused to let go of his stronghold on the earth and took the young girl hostage. A Hero soon appeared to rescue his love from the grips of winter. A battle ensued, and the girl was set free, but not before Hero was wounded. As the sun began to rise into the sky, Hero fell to the ground and drops of his blood stained the earth. Tiny snowdrops burst forth in celebration of the return of spring. Romanians continue to honor the snowdrop as a symbol of the return of spring.
  • Victorian Customs: Not all cultures view the snowdrop as a symbol of hope and rebirth. For the Victorians, the snowdrop represented death and  even considered it bad luck to bring snowdrops inside the home. The sight of a single snowdrop bloom was considered an omen of death.
  • United States: The snowdrop shares its symbolism with the carnation, as they are both the birth flower for the month of January.


trillion $ rain

trillion $ rain

Rain is liquid water in the form of droplets that have condensed from atmospheric water vapor and then becomes heavy enough to fall under gravity. Rain is a major component of the water cycle and is responsible for depositing most of the fresh water on the Earth. It provides suitable conditions for many types of ecosystems, as well as water for hydroelectric power plants and crop irrigation.

The major cause of rain production is moisture moving along three-dimensional zones of temperature and moisture contrasts known as weather fronts. If enough moisture and upward motion is present, precipitation falls from convective clouds (those with strong upward vertical motion) such as cumulonimbus (thunder clouds) which can organize into narrow rain bands. In mountainous areas, heavy precipitation is possible where upslope flow is maximized within windward sides of the terrain at elevation which forces moist air to condense and fall out as rainfall along the sides of mountains. On the leeward side of mountains, desert climates can exist due to the dry air caused by downslope flow which causes heating and drying of the air mass. The movement of the monsoon trough, or intertropical convergence zone, brings rainy seasons to savannah climes.

The urban heat island effect leads to increased rainfall, both in amounts and intensity, downwind of cities. Global warming is also causing changes in the precipitation pattern globally, including wetter conditions across eastern North America and drier conditions in the tropics. Antarctica is the driest continent. The globally averaged annual precipitation over land is 715 mm (28.1 in), but over the whole Earth it is much higher at 990 mm (39 in).  Climate classification systems such as the Köppen classification system use average annual rainfall to help differentiate between differing climate regimes. Rainfall is measured using rain gauges. Rainfall amounts can be estimated by weather radar.

Rain is also known or suspected on other planets, where it may be composed of methane, neon, sulfuric acid, or even iron rather than water.



flower power

flower power

Flower power was a slogan used during the late 1960s and early 1970s as a symbol of passive resistance and non-violence ideology.  It is rooted in the opposition movement to the Vietnam War. The expression was coined by the American beat poet Allen Ginsberg in 1965 as a means to transform war protests into peaceful affirmative spectacles. Hippies embraced the symbolism by dressing in clothing with embroidered flowers and vibrant colors, wearing flowers in their hair, and distributing flowers to the public, becoming known as flower children. The term later became generalized as a modern reference to the hippie movement and the so-called counterculture of drugs, psychedelic music, psychedelic art and social permissiveness.


just now from the backyard – Paradise fall 2017

just now from the backyard – Paradise fall 2017

CA has always struggled with water issues and rainfall…

but our experience in the last few years has been very encouraging…this will help with fires, farming and drinking water.

“Paradise is sometimes a state of mind”

#flyinghorsedesign #photography #getoutside

trail around Paradise

trail around Paradise

Whether your an avid fisherman or like just like the gentle nudge of the water against your boat. Paradise Lake is a wonderful place to visit. In addition the boating and fishing, there is a running/biking/walking path around a good portion of the lake. But don’t worry, there are a few benches along the way to rest and enjoy the views

on several visits to this trail we have witnessed deer just a few feet from the trail…bear and mountain lion may also be present


San Clemente blossoms

San Clemente blossoms

This was taken during a recent trail run in San Clemente in southern California…Everywhere you look you will see unbelievable colorful flowers and plants, that thrive in the “almost perfect climate”


Pipevine Swallowtail

Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)

This tailed beauty has a shiny blue body and white spots on the upper side of the hind wings. The blue underneath the hind wings encircle one row of orange colors. These swift fliers are usually low to the ground and do not stay at one flower for a long period of time. They enjoy open wooded areas and forest edges. The chrysalis resembles dried leaves so they are well camouflaged. They are either brown and tan or yellow and green depending on the location they pupate. They overwinter as pupa and are an amazing creature to welcome into your garden.

5 Petal Beauty

by Amour de Monet May 2014

“you cannot catch a wildflower”
he says.
“you are my wildflower.”

I am lost inside myself
my personal paradise
my own euphoric insanity
could i be as manic as I sometimes believe
to feel as if my soul lives in the earth beneath my feet
and stretches from the root of every tree to the tips of their leaves
exhaling me into the sky to float with the wind from meadow to meadow
I stand with arms stretched
spinning in circles like a tiny tornado
grazing the tips of each blade of grass with my fingertips
dancing with my pointed toes upon dewy petals
breathing in the heavens of the earth
feeling as if the sun was shining from within me
my world could not exist without this insatiable lust for life
you cannot hold me and shelter me under the dark roof you flourish in
I am a wildflower
I need the meadows, the sky, the sun, the air, the freedom

eclipse flowers



CLEMSON — Clemson University researchers say the public can help collect scientific information about the effect of Monday’s eclipse on plants for future generations.

This will be the first time since 1918 a total eclipse will cross the entire United States. Douglas Bielenberg, a Clemson plant physiologist, said because total solar eclipses are so rare, not many biological observations have been made on what takes place during totality.

“There is very little organized information related to what happens to plants, during a total solar eclipse,” Bielenberg said. “This will be a great opportunity for people to make and record observations.”

Because most of the obvious visible action will be taking place in the skies, Bielenberg said people will tend to “look up and not down.” But just as much action could be taking place on the ground as in the skies. Plant circadian rhythms could be affected and plants could attempt to get in their night positions even though night is still some hours away.

“People who have gardens can look for the leaves on the plants to droop, or get in their night positions,” Bielenberg said. “Because we don’t have much information from previous solar eclipses and because this solar eclipse will happen so quickly, we don’t know if plants will be affected. It will be great if people can check to see if their plants act as it was night.”

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