Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Half Moon Bay Dog Sitting

The invisible web of interpersonal relationships led us to the beach in Half Moon Bay Saturday night to walk the dog of a friend of my son's who was out of town for the holiday weekend.  We spent the night with Juke Box and walked him again the next morning.  My son had lived here for a while and there were lots of favors traded back and forth, such as watching out for each other's dogs and other affairs.

"Historical records show that the Native American culture of the Ohlone lived in harmony with nature for many thousand years, the human population being limited by the availability of food. The way of life changed during the 18th century when the Spanish arrived on the San Mateo coast, in the search for Monterey Bay, the Spanish started the Portola expedition where they had spent two days resting near what is now the town of Half Moon Bay. They stopped here once again on their return trip and named the area the plain of "Los Ansares" or the plain of wild geese. WIth the founding of Mission Dolores (Mission San Francisco de Asís) in 1776, the San Mateo coast area came into use for grazing of mission livestock. Following secularization of the missions, in 1834 eight ranchos were granted along this section of the coast. Cattle ranching was primary agricultural activity, and San Mateo's hide and tallow trade thrived. The beach at Half Moon Bay was a gathering spot for trading and socializing between rancheros, sea captain and other visitors.
The first Americans arrived in this area in the 1850s. The Mexican settlement known as Spanishtown, a commercial center for the rancheros, was called "Halfmoon" by these Anglos; the bay itself was named "Halfmoon" due to its shape. In 1867 the local post office was identified as "Halfmoon Bay", and the spelling was changed to Half Moon Bay in 1905. Agriculture was big in Half Moon Bay at the turn of the 20th century and farm produce such as brussels sprouts, artichokes, and mushrooms along with dairy products presented quite a transportation problem. The Ocean Shore railroad was incorporated in 1905 and was serving Half Moon Bay by 1908 the tracks were laid over what is now much of Francis Beach. During the 1920s the gentle beaches of Half Moon Bay were ideally suited for the needs of the bootlegger. Rum Ships cruised off shore, unloading millions of dollars worth of illegal booze across Half Moon Bay where Francis Beach was a perfect spot for unloading the cargo. During World War II an army post was set up at the beach to protect from Japanese invasion and bombing raids, further north bunkers and long range cannons were built to support the coastline." [Wikipedia]

"Ice plant (Carpobrotus edulis) is a succulent native to South Africa, but common in chaparral habitats around the world. Though it was once grown in California, Australia, the Mediterranean, and similar areas as a decorative plant, it has become an invasive species and a threat to native vegetation. Ice plant is hardy and quick to reproduce, easily growing into a thick ground cover that chokes out other plant life and depletes soil nutrients. The only reliable way to control ice plant is to uproot it physically."[Wisegeek]

"In Japan, the mustard flower is celebrated as a simple symbol of the beginning of spring. It is also planted in the fields of Yokohama and crafted into large mazes. In the United States, mustard blossoms often grow wild. One piece of historic trivia indicates that this is due to Spanish soldiers marking their trail throughout the country by scattering the seeds of this particular flower. In Napa Valley a similar story is told of missionaries creating a trail of seeds between Missions so that when the winter ended and the mustard flower began to bloom, they could trace their way back to where they came from. Despite their interesting appearance and fascinating history, mustard flowers are, of course, best known for its edible qualities. In Roman times, mustard flowers were considered an aphrodisiac, and were frequently mixed into love potions. Today, however, the seeds of this flower are mostly crushed and mixed with vinegar to create the spicy, fragrant condiment used in a variety of dishes."[from FlowerInfo]

  These two hammerheads were really sand sharks someone created on the beach. 
"There are eight different species of Hammerhead shark. All the species have the remarkable projections on both sides of the head, which probably is they reason why these sharks can detect electronic signals of no more than half a billionth of a volt. The head is probably used during electrolocation. By separating the receptors, the Hammerhead shark can receive signals in stereo. The oddly shaped head also seem to act as a wing that the Hammerhead shark uses for close-quarters maneuverability. The head looks somewhat like a flattened hammer, which is the reason behind the name of the Hammerhead shark. The nostrils and eyes are located at the tip of the extensions. All Hammerhead shark species have proportionately small mouths. The size of the eight different Hammerhead sharks varies between 2 and 6 metres. The largest Hammerhead species, the Great Hammerhead shark, will typically weigh around 230 kg (500 pounds) but can reach a weight of 450 kg (1,000 pounds). Three Hammerhead species can be dangerous to humans: the Great Hammerhead shark, the Scalloped Hammerhead shark and the Smooth Hammerhead sharks."[from Aquatic Community]
 As we walked the trail and beach, all we heard were birds and surf.  And then we headed into town for a busy afternoon seeing old friends. 

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