Annual Hay Bale Sighting in Hidden Valley

Every year in the May/June time frame we are greeted by this display of hay bales on the farms lining Potrero Road in Hidden Valley. This annual sight reminds us that we are about to enter the summer months.

SWIMMING AND WATER PLAY IN VENTURA COUNTY

LOCAL AREA BEACHES IN MALIBU TO CARPINTERIA

SUMMER FAMILY MOVIES IN VENTURA COUNTY

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Annual Bloom of Matilija Poppies at Conejo Valley Botanic Garden in Thousand Oaks

The Conejo Valley Botanic Garden in Thousand Oaks is home to thousands of Matilija Poppies and they are blooming like crazy right now!

The Matilija Poppy bears the largest flowers of any California Native plant, up to 9" in diameter. They bloom in late spring to early summer.

The Chumash enjoyed this plant that was named after Chief Matilija and his tribe in the early 1800s. Matilija is pronounced ma-til-a-hah (not jah).

The genus of this plant is "Romneya," named after Irish astronomer John Thomas Romney Robinson. Romneya produce the largest flowers of any members of the poppy family.

Go check em out!

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Katy Perry's Latest Single "Never Really Over" Filmed at King Gillette Ranch in Calabasas

Katy Perry announced her new single, “Never Really Over,” yesterday at katyperry.com. Those of us that live here in the Conejo Valley and nearby areas in Ventura County may recognize the surrounding in that video.

Yes, this video was filmed at King Gillette Ranch in Calabasas. This 588 acre gem in the Santa Monica Mountains is maintained by the Mountains Recreation & Conservation Authority. The property was owned and developed by razor blade kingpin King C. Gillette. Also located here is the Anthony C. Beilenson Interagency Visitor Center - believe it or not, in what was formerly the horse stable for the Gillette Mansion.

Screenshot from video shows the entrance to King Gillette Ranch in Calabasas.

Screenshot from video shows the entrance to King Gillette Ranch in Calabasas.

King Gillette Ranch entrance on a recent spring day.

King Gillette Ranch entrance on a recent spring day.

Another snapshot from the video shows the actual Gillette mansion in the background, situated on King Gillette Ranch.

Another snapshot from the video shows the actual Gillette mansion in the background, situated on King Gillette Ranch.

A similar view from the expansive, beautiful lawn at King Gillette Ranch.

A similar view from the expansive, beautiful lawn at King Gillette Ranch.

Oakbrook Regional Park in Thousand Oaks Back Open to the Public Post-Woolsey Fire

Oakbrook Regional Park sustained quite a bit of burn damage from the Woolsey Fire of November 2018 and was closed to the public for a number of months. The popular replica Chumash village was destroyed by the fire.

The good news is that the park is now back open and most of the trees, many with visible blackened trunks, are recovering and showing distinct signs of regrowth.

Docents from the Chumash Indian Museum are organizing an effort to rebuild the popular replica village and are raising funds on a GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/chumash-indian-museum-wildfire-fund to support this effort. They are also seeking volunteers to help place the tule (plant used for Chumash house structures) on the aps (traditional Chumash houses).

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New Chumash houses (or “aps”)  in process of being built.

New Chumash houses (or “aps”) in process of being built.

Running with Painted Lady Butterflies on the Sandstone Peak Trail, Santa Monica Mountains

The Painted Ladies are back in a big way. Everywhere I look…in the backyard, driving, on the trails….I see them. I enjoyed running with them this morning on the Sandstone Peak Trail in the Santa Monica Mountains.

As we know, the Santa Monica Mountains were severely torched in the Woolsey Fire of November 2018.. The Sandstone Peak Trail gives you some perspective on the burn, while presenting plenty of regrowth and spring colors.

Other than the blackened trees and shrubs surrounding the trail, the only noticeable change is that the somewhat iconic “Sandstone Peak: Highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains - Elevation 3111 feet” sign at the base of the final ascent up to Sandstone Peak - is gone. Disintegrated. Perhaps it will be replaced.. The wooden staircase along the lower portion of that trail is also gone, and a new trail, just west of where the staircase used to be, has been cleared , leading to the top.

This is where the final ascent up Sandstone Peak began before the Woolsey Fire of 2018  destroyed the staircase and sign.

This is where the final ascent up Sandstone Peak began before the Woolsey Fire of 2018 destroyed the staircase and sign.

The iconic sign at the base of the staircase, before the Woolsey Fire destroyed it.

The iconic sign at the base of the staircase, before the Woolsey Fire destroyed it.

Fire or no fire…the views from Sandstone Peak have not changed.

Fire or no fire…the views from Sandstone Peak have not changed.

Point Mugu, Mugu Rock, Sycamore Cove Beach Featured in 2018 Russell Dickerson "Blue Tacoma" Video

It was pointed out on the CVG Facebook Page that Mugu Rock was prominently featured in the 2018 music video by country music singer Russell Dickerson “Blue Tacoma.” That indeed is the case. The song is the second single from his 2017 debut album Yours.

But there’s more than just the majestic Mugu Rock in this 3 1/2 minute video. I see the beach adjacent to Mugu Rock, Sycamore Cove Beach in the nighttime campfire scene and even Hueneme Beach Park in the eating-Chinese-food-out-of-the-cartons-on-the-beach-with-red-wine-in-plastic-blue-cups scene at 48 second into the video.

One last observation. The lyrics start with “Wheels rolling on an old Toyota. Twist top on a Sunkist soda.” For the record, the Toyota Tacoma in the video looked like a pretty late model to me. Not old at all. In the car’s cupholder appeared to be an iced coffee. No signs of a Sunkist soda.

Sycamore Cove Beach

Sycamore Cove Beach

Adjacent (southeast) to Mugu Rock.

Adjacent (southeast) to Mugu Rock.

This image was taken a number of years ago at a sand sculpture contest at the Hueneme Beach Festival, when they still held the festival.  Notice the palm trees in the background compared to the Chinese food eating on the beach scene at 48 seconds into the video.

This image was taken a number of years ago at a sand sculpture contest at the Hueneme Beach Festival, when they still held the festival. Notice the palm trees in the background compared to the Chinese food eating on the beach scene at 48 seconds into the video.

Hillcrest Open Space in Thousand Oaks is Abloom in Mustard and Lupine

The hilly Hillcrest Open Space Preserve is covered yellow and purple in a display worthy of view. In fact, I’ve never seen this much lupine in one place in my 25+ years in the Conejo Valley. The Hillcrest Open Space main trailhead is not the easiest place to access due to the lack of any parking on Hillcrest Drive in that area, but there’s also another entry point highlighted in THIS POST. You will also enjoy the colors just driving by.

Not particularly the best trail for young kids as it is one of the hillier trails in the area. But not a problem for some. (On that note family and stroller-friendly local area trails at THIS LINK.

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Lots of yellow going on around here (achoo!)

Lots of yellow going on around here (achoo!)

Just a small smattering of poppies in the Hillcrest Open Space.

Just a small smattering of poppies in the Hillcrest Open Space.