A Canyon in the Middle of the City – Tecolote Canyon

San Diego is a city in the south of California and located in a desert-like area but on the Pacific ocean shore. Coastal sage scrub is one of the most common plants here. The city with it’s more than a million people is streaked with canyons which are very often parks and natural areas. I hiked once in the Torrey Pines State Reserve north of the city. This time I explored the visitor center of the Tecolote Canyon Nature Park.

Originally in this area there lived the Kumeyaay Indians before the Europeans came and they found food and shelter here in the Tecolote Canyon. Since 1872 there was living one of the first settlers right in this canyon. Since 1978 the land is owned by the city and now a Natural Park of which City Park Rangers take care.

The name Tecolote comes from the middle and south American Spanish word for a small owl. The canyon has nearly 10.5 km/6.5 miles of hiking trails. Classes, workshops or special events are possible here.

The visitor center gives a wonderful overview on this big, wild area. It offers educational AND recreational opportunities for children and adults. The visitor center shows a map of the canyon, there are good explanations about the flora and fauna and there are also some snakes in terrariums which are interesting to see. It shows as well some objects of the original human inhabitants and their life before the European settlers arrived.

When reading of the work they do I was astonished that they actually go around in the canyon to see if there are plants growing that are not natural in this environment. They pull them out then. Very interesting, indeed. They offer to go around and explain the nature to children which I think is very important. They are also active in promoting to preserve the integrity of the canyon and the Tecolote Creek (to keep it free from pollution).

I visited the center around noon. It was sunny and warm, ideal for hiking but I had no time for an extended canyon inspection. The center itself is nice and has a lot of information. Right behind the building there is a kind of bigger closed area where many different shrubs, trees and flowers are explained. We had a kind of little guided tour talking to a Park Ranger and some people working in the visitor center. I hope one day I can go and hike also some trails, it looks very good to me.

Tecolote Canyon, California/USA:

For further information:
About the Tecolote Canyon Nature Parkvisitor center
Who wants to hike there, here is the Tecolote Canyon Nature Parks Trail map

Posted in California, ON TRAVEL, San Diego, USA | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Big Carlsbad Village Faire

I love flea markets and thrift stores where I can find props, old used kitchen utensils, candelabras and endless much more. For decoration, for shooting with them or very often just using what I buy.

I was thrilled when I read there is a street village fair in Carlsbad right when I was in San Diego. More than 850 vendors! Oh my goodness… lots to see, much ‘danger’ and hopefully not too overcrowded. I asked my better half if we could, maybe, if… we could go and eat at ‘TipTop Meats’ (a German restaurant and store he likes a lot). And yes, it was OK also for him and so with a lot of courage he ventured with me in the largest street fair I have ever been.

We walked up and down the streets, had same snacks somewhere and enjoyed the many stands with all sorts of products. Even real estate agents were there!

I was very much interested in the many photographers who used this place to sell their photography. I thought that is a great idea. Some were spectacular.. oftentimes also the pricing, I confess.

The fair was in the center of the city, near to the beach. There are two fairs a year, one in May and one in November, both the first Sunday of the month. It starts early in the morning at 8 am and ends in the afternoon at 4 pm. People are coming also from other states! Vendors, musicians, local businesses and handcrafted arts… also for children there is a lot to do. Hungry? We had something yummy to eat in the ‘International Food Court’. The only downer: parking is miserable. You have to drive around a little in the nearby neighborhood to find a spot right at the moment someone else leaves. Or you go to the nearby ‘The Shoppers’ or ‘Poinsettia Coaster Station’ and take a shuttle bus that is offered.

I enjoyed very much the fair, though I didn’t spend nearly anything, and my sweetie was alright, too. After the fair, there was still the stop at ‘Tip Top Meats’ restaurant…

Carlsbad, California/USA:

For further information:
Visit Carlsbad

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Puxa – (Photo)Goodness of Wilderness by Kenda & Peter Francis

Puxa is the name of the exhibition a friend in San Diego is currently doing in San Diego. It is a photo exhibition about her and her husband’s weeks in the Pantanal area in Brazil.

Pantanal is the largest inland wetland of the world and still pretty untouched. It is located at the borders to Paraguay and Bolivia and has a spread of nearly 200.000 km². It has a huge biodiversity and is flooded about 80 % during the rain season.

Kenda and Peter had a sponsored trip to the area and could shoot the many beautiful animals.

Wonderful photos of jaguars, hyacinth macaws, giant anteaters, several birds and monkeys and much more are shown in the exhibition which is also a fundraiser for the ‘Lions Tigers Bears of Alpine’, a sanctuary taking care of illegal animals. 60% of their sales of the Vernissage or Opening Day has been donated to the non-profit organization.

Both the photographers, Kenda and Peter, were at their opening to answer the many questions everyone had. We talked about the wetlands, the animal encounters they had and how some of the shots were done.

For me personally it was interesting to see how a professional exhibition looks like in the US. In the small gallery there are exposed around 30 photos of different sizes, all on sale of course and can be also ordered in different sizes.

I really enjoyed those photos and the many people that arrived during the one and a half hour I was there were the same way amazed like me. BTW: the snacks were good, too!

El Cajon, San Diego, California/USA:

For further information:
The exhibition adresse:
Studio C Gallery
128 East Main Street
El Cajon, California 92021

Exhebition: 4th of May to 25th of May 2019
opening hours: Thursday to Saturday 10 am to 2 pm, and by appointment

Kenda’s artwork homepage

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Sunset in the Yard

I am currently again in San Diego for a short visit. They had an unusual winter with a lot of rain and the nature was ‘feeling’ it. Flowers everywhere and maybe also for a longer time.

I am in San Diego for a couple of weeks and found that the yard of the house of the man of my life is full of flowers. I look out of the kitchen window and see a long colorful flower bed. Another is full of herbs and the every-year-tomato plants are already super high and wild with a few tomatoes on. In the early evening light they look wonderful!

In addition, there are seemingly a hundred of yogurt pots filled with dirt and little plants, waiting for being transferred into better and deeper soil.

His outside cat watched me doing photography yoga and was not at all amused when I wanted to ‘shoot’ her as well.

Enjoy some impressions!

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Simple Blueberry Lemon Cupcakes for a Special Friend’s Treat

I am currently in Germany where I have a very good and special friend. And as I like baking but not so much eating sweet treats, and she doesn’t like baking but loves eating sweets, I thought we could combine these preferences: I bake, and she eats 😀

So just to start with something quick and easy I prepared some blueberry lemon cupcakes, so yummy and so good for breakfast or just a momentary snack. I was nearly sorry to give them away… but after one I am already done for the next few weeks anyway.

Blueberry and/or lemon muffins are everywhere on the Internet and it seems they are super popular at least in the United States. I have never seen them before in bakeries but then in Europe muffins or cupcakes are a more recent outcome.

I had a topping on my cupcakes. I prepared a butter cream with ghee, coconut cream, vanilla, raw honey and a teaspoon of dried beetroot powder. As decoration I used more blueberries.

My friend of course was super happy about them and is very much looking forward to more baked goods coming from my side. Well, I will try to satisfy her as often as possible…


Blueberry Lemon Cupcakes
Blueberry Lemon Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
12 cupcakes 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 cupcakes 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Blueberry Lemon Cupcakes
Blueberry Lemon Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
12 cupcakes 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 cupcakes 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings: cupcakes
  1. Preheat the oven on 180°C/350°F.
  2. In a bowl mix all dry ingredients together. In a blender put all the wet ingredients but not the lemon or lime juice. Blend and transfer to the dry ingredients. Whisk well that all ingredients are well combined. Only now add the lemon juice and stir again.
  3. Grease a cupcake tin and put two tablespoons of batter in each mold.
  4. Bake for around 15 minutes and insert a toothpick to see if they are done. Be sure you don't 'get' a blueberry as the fruit will be juicy and doesn't give you an idea if the batter is OK.
  5. Take the cupcakes out of the oven, let them cool a little in the tin and then transfer them onto a cooling rack.
Recipe Notes

You can prepare the cupcakes with any other fruit of course. Berries are the best choice in my opinion as they go well with the lemon.

As topping, if you like any, you can put a butter cream like I did or only icing sugar. 

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Posted in CRUMBS, desserts, recipes | Tagged | 1 Comment