City of Orange Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony

Christmas Holiday

19th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony and Candlelight Choir Procession

Each year the City of Orange has a Christmas tradition that brings thousands of people to the Orange Plaza. The north east corner is converted into a stage for the choir and one of the trees is decorated with lights. The Tree Lighting Ceremony is always a hit with the locals and many who come from outside of Orange as well.

It was a cold evening, which made it seem more appropriate to buy some coffee or food from the local vendors. My wife and I arrived just before the actual ceremony started, but the festivities had already been going on for several hours. The entire Orange Plaza is closed off and only foot traffic is allowed.

If you didn’t arrive early, finding a chair was difficult, it was a standing room (plaza) situation. The photo below was what most people were doing.

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Tomato or Tobacco Hornworm ate my Chile de árbol

This green caterpillar, either a tomato hornworm or tobacco hornworm, ate most of my chili plant.

For the past several months I’ve been growing a chili plant, known as Chile de árbol. It’s grown several nice red chili’s so I was looking forward to many more in the next several weeks.

However, yesterday I noticed something strange. One of the branches seemed to be missing some leaves, I didn’t think much of it, thought perhaps the wind blew them off or something. But the strange part wasn’t the leaves, but some small black pebbles that were on the base and around the planter.

First I thought they were dropping from some rodent, but we’ve never had any and it was strange how they were only around the chili planter. I left it alone and didn’t give it much thought. Then I woke up this morning to a surprise.

Today, the plant was missing 95% of it’s leaves and the black small pebble “droppings” were coming from the large green worm you see above. Overnight it had eaten most of the leaves and literally was munching on the last one on the branch!

Obviously the day before there were warning signs, the missing leaves and black droppings around the base of the planter. The green color of the worm also made it impossible for me to see it unless I was looking for it.

The green worm, according to Wikipedia is either a tomato hornworm or tobacco hornworm. I can’t tell the difference, if you know let me know below with a comment.

As for the chili plant, well I hope it recovers.

Water Walking Balls – fun or dangerous?

fun or dangerous

Water Walking Balls – fun or dangerous?

Yesterday my wife and I headed over to The Block in Orange to watch a movie. Arriving a little early we walked around the mall and found this “thing”. I call it a “thing” because I couldn’t tell if it was something you put your kids in for punishment or fun! Apparently the proper name is Water Walking Balls.

A long line of parents waiting to place their kids into one of these circled the “thing”. The balls are air tight so they can’t continuously supply fresh air for the kids to breathe if they use up all the oxygen. It seemed more dangerous than fun for people like me who were watching.

I kept waiting for one of the kids to faint from lack of oxygen, I’m really surprised a product like this is even legal. But I’m more surprised that parents allowing their kids to get into one of these, after all isn’t it the same like putting a plastic bag over your head? I guess the “ride” will last only as long as the oxygen does! Not good.

Like my previous post, again I must recommend – kids don’t try this one either at home!

Opuntia flower from the Nopal cactus

Opuntia flower

Opuntia flower from the nopal “paddle” cactus next to my home.

My wife and I take a daily walk after dinner around the neighborhood, but today I brought my camera to show you this large nopal or as some people call it “paddle” cactus plant. The main image above is a close up of the Opuntia flower growing from the cactus. Here is a wide angle view, showing the large area.

The nopal cactus is edible and found in many Mexican dishes. There’s also the Opuntia fruit, which instead of the flower is a prickly round edible fruit that is sometimes called a “prickly pear” or in Spanish “tuna”, go figure.

This group of nopal plants are hidden away in our neighborhood, they border the river in a common area, but are blocked by bushes and a fence. However, it seems a few people know about it’s location as I’ve seen a few people harvest the ripe nopales.

Neon Fountain Lunch sign at Watson’s Drug

Watson Drug & Soda Fountain in Orange

Carnation Ice Cream and neon “Fountain Lunch” sign at Watson’s Drug & Soda Fountain in Orange.

I live about 2 minutes from the Orange Plaza, which is more than just a traffic circle, it’s a place where movies and tv shows are filmed to get that old American small town feel. My wife and I travel through there everyday to and from work.

But on the weekends, we love to visit Watson’s Drug & Soda Fountain for an old fashion vanilla shake. This sign hangs over the side of the diner facing the street. It sort of reminds me of something I’ve seen in an old 1950’s movie.

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