Tag Archives: Bodega Bay

Botanical with Familial

GL Tilden succulents 9-15

This weekend I had the unusual experience of having separate visits back-to-back with the families of two of my children: one on Friday midday, the other Friday night and Saturday. First Soldier and Joy invited me to meet them at Tilden Park in the Berkeley hills, a place I’ve been a few times in my life, most notably as a Brownie attending day camp there in ages past.

GL Tilden Bot Grdn path 9-15
Tilden Park Botanic Garden
GL rabbitbrush Tilden 9-15
Rabbit Brush

This park covers more than 2,000 acres, which makes it twice as vast as Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, which already is 20% larger than New York’s Central Park. Within its boundaries you can find wilderness areas, a lake and a golf course; ride the merry-go-round or horses, and feast on great views of San Francisco Bay. We only had time to focus on three pleasures.

GL No Calif Fuschia Tilden 9-15
Northern California Fuschia

Our firsP1000830crp G w Liamt fun was riding the little steam train that winds around among the oaks and conifers. Liam took careful note with a serious countenance of the scenery going past, but Laddie has little patience for sitting still, so he was glad to get off again and run. We soon were picnicking on pasties and lemon cake that Joy had brought, and then decided to look at the botanical gardens.

These gardens were founded in 1940 and have well established and extensive paths and plantings. Even though it is late summer, we found many flowers and things to look at, but we all imagined coming back in the spring to see it when it is not so dry.

GL Tilden sign 9-15

It showcases California native plants, from all over the state, which are often grouped in habitats imitating their natural homes, such as a redwood forest and a mountainous granite slope.

GL Tilden Bot. Gardens redwood grove 9-4-15
redwood grove

GL Bodega Coast from Head 9-5-15

Since a couple of our party were people who need their naps, and I had the nasty three o’clock rush hour traffic ahead of me, we weren’t able to ramble long enough to feel completely satisfied in our explorations, so I think we all want to return another time. Hugs good-bye, and home I went.

A couple of hours after I arrived home, Pearl’s family came to visit, all but one. The oldest is in the process of flying out of the coop, so their numbers are diminished. We had a relaxed visit, especially for the first twelve hours or so, and then we drove out to Bodega Bay for lunch and hiking.

GL crp bayshore shallows
bayshore shallows

We also couldn’t do everything we’d have liked. The Marine Lab is closed on Saturdays, and we had hoped to visit there. But we did go out on Bodega Head and hike up to the bluffs – what a gorgeous day we had for it! The Northern Coast is foggy a lot in the summer, until August and especially September when you can hit more pleasant weather. Today was not too warm, and the breeze didn’t turn into wind. We could do without our sweaters most of the time.

GL crp lotus
GL crp yellow lupine pods
yellow lupine with seed pods

Out here nothing is getting watered, and the hills were a dull brown. I kept thinking of the sign from the park yesterday. But as usual, I found many specimens of plants that interested me, mostly old friends. Because I’m planting a new garden, and hope to have a greenhouse in it, I broke off some of the crackly seed pods from the big yellow lupine bushes, and dropped them into a pocket of my purse. Maybe I can get them to grow at home.

Pearl and Maggie and everyone departed in the afternoon, and I went to Vespers, which is always a blessing; but on a day when I’ve been out in nature it is especially lovely to hear Psalm 104 which always opens the service, with its mention of the watery depths, the birds and mountains, trees and grasses, and how God lovingly provides for all of us.

GL cormorant rock Bodega Head
Cormorants on rock

All creatures wait on thee to give them their food in due season.

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Bodega Bay from the Head

When thou givest to them, they gather it up;

When thou openest thy hand, they are filled with good things.


How manifold are thy works, O Lord!

In wisdom hast thou made them all…

Yes, this has been my experience.

Bodega and Stories of Horror

This week we tripped over to the coast with Mr. and Mrs. C. A walk along the shore north of the town of Bodega Bay was first on the leisurely agenda. Schoolhouse Beach was closed, so we drove a little farther north to Portuguese Beach. It’s steep where the waves break on the sand, and signs warn you not to turn your back to the surf or to go on the down side of the slope, where an undertow can get you in its grip.

The View Landward

We strolled the length of the beach and back, admiring the view landward and seaward, and then sat on a log. Mr. and Mrs. C didn’t have their frisky Yellow Lab with them, but we’ve seen how she loves to romp in the water at Lake Tahoe or at nearby Salmon Creek Lagoon.

As we were climbing back up the cliff to the car, we met a couple coming down with four dogs, no matter that pets are not allowed on that beach. A tall great dane, two medium dogs with long hair, a tiny dog, and their owner carrying colorful beach ball.

Drowning at Portuguese Beach in 2011

We stopped at the top for a while and watched the Dane canter around joyfully. The mid-sized dogs pushed the beach ball into the waves and along the ocean’s edge — all right at that steep part that is so dangerous. Mrs. C. commented about how many people go into the ocean to rescue their dogs; the people often drown, but if they only had known that dogs almost always manage to get back on their own….

When I was researching for this post I discovered a news story and photo depicting a case of that very thing: a dog owner having drowned when she went after her dog and got caught in the surf. That time the dog did drown also, and it was at just this time of year. These accidents, though not always involving dogs, happen so often on the Northern California coast that the multiplied effect has turned them into horror stories for me.

“Birds” children running downhill from schoolhouse.

A bit inland from Bodega Bay, we came to the town of Bodega. Confusing, isn’t it? Both are famous for the Alfred Hitchcock movie “The Birds” being filmed here in the early 1960’s.

I saw it in my teens, and can still recall sitting on the living room floor, self-consciously and silently terrified. Ever since then, when I see crows looking down from telephone wires, I know from the experience of that movie that they have a sinister intent.

The schoolhouse today, a private residence.

Hitchcock mixed up scenes from the two towns for the film, and we checked out two of the landmarks that remain in Bodega: the schoolhouse and the church, which stand very close to one another on a hill. Within the last year we Glads and the C. couple watched “The Birds” together. It wasn’t as scary as I remembered, but I still don’t like it. I do like the buildings in Bodega.

On our way back from the beach we first stopped at a historic watering hole in the town; the Casino’s bar was built a hundred years ago by the bartender’s great-uncle. His grandmother still manages the place, opening the doors and closing up every day even in her 80’s.

The dining room (the sign said “Dinning Room”) was most appealing to me. It was fresh and clean and empty that afternoon, tables, chairs and floor of bare weathered wood as old as the bar. A dozen or more deer and elk heads decorated the walls around. I drank an Ace Peary Hard Cider, brewed locally.

After our refreshment we walked along a muddy little track through the grass along the bank above the road, to see the church and the school.

The church is St. Teresa of Avila. Services have been held there weekly since its dedication in 1861. From the church you can look down on the little artsy town of Bodega, as in the photo below.

When we had set out from our house that morning, I decided not to bother with a camera. Then of course I regretted it many times! I was lucky to find all of these pictures on the Web.

I’m happy to say there was nothing horrific about our meandering day. That’s a good thing about enjoying the present moment: one doesn’t have to be subject to artists’ imaginations, to old news articles, or to one’s own memories of bad things. “Sufficient to the day is the evil thereof,” and as there wasn’t any of that sort of thing on our outing, it provided sufficient R&R for my weary soul. Thanks be to God!

Town of Bodega