A taste of the Farmers’ Market in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara Farmer's Market Rocking Chair Farm Markets fruit stand.
I bought white peaches and yellow nectarines here. They are so delicious, they are beyond words.
Bright red tomatoes at the Santa Barbara Farmer's Market.
Gorgeous tomatoes.
rainbow of colors of eggplants and peppers
The colors of peppers and eggplants are worth painting.
Avocado stand in the Santa Barbara Farmer's Market.
An abundance of avocados. I took them for granted in California. They are not so available in Arizona.
bright orange dragonfruit
My dear friend from Singapore introduced me to dragonfruit. I’ve never seen it in a market before.
The didgeridoo is a sacred Australian Aborigine instrument. Our friends say this woman has been playing at the Santa Barbara Farmer’s Market for years.
The Farmers Market in Santa Barbara.

Do you have a farmer’s market near you? I do in Arizona and had one in Palm Springs. But the Santa Barbara one is by far the best. Well, second best to the Pike Place Market in Seattle. What are your favorite things about Farmer’s Markets? What do you like to buy?

Morning walk views

Ripe prickly pears.

This is my last desert walk for a few weeks. I’ll be walking along a beach instead. I took a few pictures of things that caught my eye, including prickly pears and bunnies. Then it was time to take Olive in to board

This bright green ocotillo was bare and dead looking when we moved in.
The wild lilac in our yard is blooming. It’s also known as purple sage according to my plant ID app.
A few of the dozens of bunnies I saw this morning. We’ve been hearing the bobcat at night climbing up a tree out or window and on our roof.

We’ve made the first leg of our journey to visit my dad. Then it will be another day before we head to Summerland. The weather today is 104 degrees with flash flood warnings. Can’t wait for the beach!

More Spring blooms

Every week I get a new treat for my senses. Since this is my first Spring in Arizona, I keep seeing more plants bust out with flowers. I took these photos this morning in our back yard and around our neighborhood. I’m trying to learn the names of the native flora so I downloaded an app where I can snap a photo and it gives me the Latin and common name. But it’s hit and miss and many times the information is obviously wrong.

On a hike this weekend at the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy we picked up a book called “Wildflowers, Butterflies and More.” It’s a flora photo ID guide by photographer Marianne Skov Jensen for the conservancy. She has it organized by color, so you can flip through the white, yellow, blue or pink or red flowers for easy identification.

I think this is a prickly pear cactus.
The is a type of geranium that began blooming a month ago.
My plant app calls this Erthrostemon gilliesii.
Aloe plants in bloom.
I’m not sure of the type of cactus, but I love the white and pink flowers.

If anyone can help identify these plants, cactus and flowers, I’d love the help!

Another good reason to walk: a longer life

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The Wellness Park

I’m big on walking. I’ve walked everyday for the past five or six years — except when I had a ski accident and knee surgery. But everyday — except for those months — I walk at least 10,000 steps a say.

It’s a great way to start my day. It gets oxygen flowing through my brain and stiff joints. It helps me manage stress. I am impressed by the beauty I see and hear, like the singing birds, clouds, blue skies, flowers, mountains — whatever lies in my path is a sheer delight.

So, when I saw a tweet that said, “Steps For Longer Life: The More You Walk, The Less Likely You’ll Die, Study Finds” I had to click on it. 

Here’s the entire article to read by John Anderer from StudyFinds.com. The study is published in JAMA. 

BETHESDA, Md. — Get up and start walking. The more you do it, the longer you may live. That’s the main piece of advice from a new study that found a higher daily step count is associated with a lower mortality risk from all causes. Who needs the couch anyway?

Even better, the study also noted that it’s not about intensity; you don’t have to run or even jog all day to enjoy a longer life. Just put one foot in front of the other.

The study was conducted by researchers from the National Cancer Institute, National Institute on Aging, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“While we knew physical activity is good for you, we didn’t know how many steps per day you need to take to lower your mortality risk or whether stepping at a higher intensity makes a difference,” says Pedro Saint-Maurice, Ph.D., of NCI’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, first author of the study, in a release. “We wanted to investigate this question to provide new insights that could help people better understand the health implications of the step counts they get from fitness trackers and phone apps.”

There have been other studies performed in the past on walking and lifespan, but those projects focused heavily on the elderly and people with chronic medical conditions. This study, however, examined a sample of roughly 4,800 U.S. adults aged 40 and over who wore tracking devices for up to seven days between 2003-2006. After that, each person’s lifespan was tracked up until 2015 using the National Death Index.

After accounting for a range of potentially contributing demographic and behavioral factors, they found a significant connection between steps taken daily and mortality risk.

Generally speaking, 4,000 steps per day is thought to be low for adults. Participants who walked 8,000 steps per day had a 51% lower risk of dying from any cause than those who only walked 4,000 steps per day. Moreover, 12,000 steps per day was linked to a 65% lower mortality risk than 4,000 daily steps. Again, there was no connection found between step intensity and mortality risk.

My husband and I wear Fitbits and we love to get that little celebratory vibration and animated fireworks when we hit 10,000 steps each day. In today’s Coronavirus world, walking to and around the park is one of the only things we’re allowed to enjoy. However, I did return to bike riding and that is another exciting thing to do, too.

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Sunrise on a morning walk.

Do you walk everyday? If, so how many steps are in your daily goal?

Happy May Day Everyone!

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HAPPY MAY DAY 2015! Yes, my kids remembered May Day and sent me texts of emoji flowers this morning. Both of them remembered me while battling midterms and finals. I sent my mom a basket of flowers today, too. I’m waiting for her call. Here’re my reflections of May Days past.

In first grade, my teacher Mrs. Iverson showed us how to make May Day baskets from pink and yellow construction paper. We drew ivy and flowers on the paper baskets with our thick crayons before going up one-by-one to our teacher to get the handle stapled on.

On the way home from school, we walked together picking dandelions and soft lavender-colored clover to fill our baskets.

images-6We took turns “May Daying” the neighbors.

I climbed the steps to Mrs. Fixie’s front door. She was the grandmotherly lady with the neat white bun on top of her head who often gave me home-made oatmeal cookies.

I hung the basket on her doorknob. Then, I rang her doorbell and ran as far as my first-grade legs would take me. I hid behind a hedge and watched her open the front door and scan the neighborhood.

images-9Then, she looked at her doorknob at the paper basket filled with flowering weeds.  A big smile broke across her face.

“Happy May Day!” I yelled jumping up behind the shrubs.

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Where did this fun tradition begin? But, more importantly, where did it go?

Do your kids make May Day baskets in school? Do they surprise your elderly neighbors with baskets of flowers and sunshine on May 1st?images-8

My mom is in an assisted living home two states away. She’ll be getting a delivery from FTD today of a little basket of flowers. The card will read “Happy May Day! Love, ?”

She’ll call and thank me and I’ll say, “I don’t have any idea what you’re talking about!”

She’ll say, “Really? I could have sworn it was you! I wonder who sent me these flowers?”images-7

That’s how we keep our May Day tradition alive. My son sent me a text to wish me “Happy May Day” first thing this morning. My daughter may pick some snap dragons and roses from our back yard and pound on the door tonight after school and her swim meet.

I’ll run outside and won’t be able to contain the smile on my face as I race around the yard trying to catch her.

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Happy May Day, everyone! How do you celebrate May Day? Do your kids make baskets?

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