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Outdoor Report

    SCV Outdoor Report Best Of: Juniper Berries

    Earlier this year, my husband and I took a drive out to the eastern edge of the Santa Clarita valley.  It was a sunny morning, so we bundled up in our jackets and took the top down. 

    As we drove along Agua Dulce Canyon road, the junipers caught my eye - they were chock full of plump, greyish-blue berries.  But, according to botanists, they’re not really berries.

    Santa Clarita Outdoor Report: “Raspberry Red, Lemon Yellow and Orange Orange”

    As we move into the beginnings of the rainy season, our sunsets are becoming more colorful.  They remind me of the early Twix cereal commercials, the ones with the “silly rabbit” singing “Raspberry red, lemon yellow and orange orange”?  As a child, I was drawn to those colorful Trix packages in the cereal aisle.  But as an adult, I’m much more impressed by the fiery reds I see at twilight.  And I love how those nuggets of lemon yellow and orange orange have magically transformed into blazing yellow and flaming orange.

    Santa Clarita Outdoor Report, Best Of: Collecting Dust

    Thanksgiving is in two weeks...but for many people... the preparation has already begun. Inviting family & friends, menu planning, grocery shopping, cooking and CLEANING.  At our house, it’s time to do a bit of dusting.  It’s amazing how quickly dust can collect on the furniture.

    SCV Outdoor Report Best Of: Twitter Principles

    It was the pun that first caught my attention - “Twitter Principles of Social Networking Increase Family Success in Nesting Birds”.  OK, so it wasn’t a great pun.  But it does illustrate that since the first “tweet” was sent on March 21, 2006, tweeting (among humans, not just birds) has become so popular that now even scientists are making puns about it.  I decided to read further.

    Santa Clarita Valley Outdoor Report: Contrarian Wildflower

    “Hoary Fuchsia” is a contrarian wildflower.  For starters, it’s a contradiction in terms - a combination of words whose meanings are in conflict with one another.  The word hoary means “having grey or white hair”, while fuchsia means “a bright reddish-purple color”.   What were those botanists thinking when they named that flower?

    Best Of SCV Outdoor Report: Sniff Sniff

    For those of you who remember the pre-cellphone era: have you ever scanned a crowd to find someone?  Perhaps a friend you were supposed to meet.  Perhaps a child who wandered away from your group? 

    Can you remember how your eyes transitioned from a “wide area scan” to a narrow focus when you thought you’d found them?  Well, it turns out that animals have this skill too.  Not only can they focus their sight, they can also focus their nose.

    Santa Clarita Valley Outdoor Report: Moving Too Fast...

    We don’t always see what’s going on around us, especially if it’s moving too fast.  For example, if you’re reading this on a computer screen, what you are seeing is being redrawn at a rate of 60-75 times per second (60-75 Hz).  Yet we perceive a constant image; why don’t we see the screen flickering? 

    Best Of SCV Outdoor Report: You CAN Be Too Rich

    Remember the old saying, “You can never be too rich or too thin”?  Well you can be.  Too nutrient rich, that is.  Especially if you’re a salt-water marsh.  Scientists working at Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory recently reported “that nutrients—such as nitrogen and phosphorus from septic and sewer systems and lawn fertilizers—can cause salt-marsh loss.”

    Santa Clarita Valley Outdoor Report: Must Go Faster....

    When being chased by predators, it’s best to move quickly.  I remember a scene in the movie, “Jurassic Park”, where the characters were being chased by a Tyrannosaurus Rex.  As the jeep sped down a dirt road, Jeff Goldblum kept repeating, “Must go faster”.  And then there was a scene in the movie, “Independence Day”, where Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum were fleeing from the bowels of the alien mother ship.  Jeff’s words of advice to Will Smith:  “Must go faster.”

    SCV Outdoor Report: Flash Versus Substance

    It’s a peaceful August night in Wisconsin.  I’m sitting in a cozy chair, talking with my Dad, when suddenly I see a tiny speck of light glowing through the window.  It was a brief flash, less than a second, but my face lit up with a smile in response.  It was a firefly - also known as a lightning bug.  This firefly was looking for romance and trying to make a flashy first impression.