Summer LotusFest! 2018

There is no better place for a party than Lotusland! A wine and beer tasting festival in Santa Barbara’s most exquisite setting. Join the Santa Barbara community for an extraordinary afternoon of libations, live music and delectable hors d’oeuvres as we celebrate the spectacular flower that is Lotusland’s namesake. 

One of Lotus Land's exquisite gardens | Image: www.lotusland.org

One of Lotus Land's exquisite gardens | Image: www.lotusland.org

This is a unique opportunity to spend an afternoon exploring the garden while sampling some of the area’s finest wines and beers. The celebration will take place on July 8th from 2:00pm to 6:00pm. The event includes musical guests Tom Ball and Kenny Sultan. Tickets are $100 for members and $115 non-members.

Image: Paradise Retreats 

Image: Paradise Retreats 

Image: Hej Doll

Image: Hej Doll

Enjoy Tastings from These Very Fine Wineries and Breweries

BEER
Santa Barbara Brew Co
The BrewHouse
Draughtsmen Ale Works
Figueroa Mountain
Firestone Walker

WINE
Santa Barbara Winery
RiverBench
Municipal Winemakers
Lumen
Jaffurs Wine Celars
Brewer-Clifton & Hilliard Bruce
Clemintine Carter
Whitcraft Winery
Potek Winery
Brander
SB Wine Collective
The Hilt, The Pairing, Jonata, Fess Parker, Babcock, Brewer Clifton
Carr Winery
Cypher Winery
Ficklin

Lotus Pond | Image:  KCSB - Dreamhosters

Lotus Pond | Image: KCSB - Dreamhosters

Madame Ganna Walska, a well-known Polish opera singer and socialite, purchased the Montecito, California estate in 1941 and spent the next 43 years creating Lotusland, which is now recognized as one of the ten best gardens in the world. The spectacular collections of exotic plants throughout the 37-acre property are a very personal expression of Walska’s penchant for the dramatic, the unexpected, and the whimsical. Lotusland is home to several extraordinary plant collections and around each corner there is the unexpected – a surprise of unique garden design and plant species. After her death in 1984, Lotusland became a nonprofit botanic garden and opened to the public in 1993. Our educational programs serve the Santa Barbara community and our innovative horticultural practices are shared with botanic gardens and garden-lovers around the world.

Click here for article details

Santa Barbara’s Adobe Construction History

With the arrival of the Spanish colonists, Santa Barbara came to be built with the oldest-known construction material: mud. Santa Barbara’s oldest buildings were made from adobe brick, the word “adobe” deriving from the Spanish adobar, “to plaster.” These early settlers found a landscape largely devoid of trees that could yield lumber suitable for building. An alternative building material had to be found: adobe brick.

casa_de_la_guerra.jpg

The central ingredient in adobe brick is clay-like soil. The physically arduous task of making adobe bricks began by digging a pit into which soil was thrown and water added. Once these materials were blended into a smooth mixture, straw and sand were added, serving to bind and strengthen the adobe. The sand also aided in the even drying of the adobe bricks so they would not warp or curl. Hitting upon the correct proportions of soil, water, straw, and sand was vital; otherwise, the bricks might crumble or be too soft. Trial and error was often necessary until just the right formula was achieved.

The adobe was then poured into wooden forms to create the bricks. Once removed from the forms, the bricks were set aside to dry. Depending on the size of the bricks, which generally averaged anywhere from 50 to 60 pounds, they could take as much as a month to completely dry. Once the bricks had achieved a consistent color throughout, they were ready for use. A surprising number of bricks was needed to build even small structures; a one-room home could take as many as 5,000 bricks.

Water is both a key ingredient and the great enemy of adobe; untreated bricks can dissolve. Construction of a proper foundation was very important, for the foundation not only gave a building a firm base upon which to rest but also protected the adobe walls from groundwater. Each wall had beneath it a trench filled with rounded stones covered with mud.

1417018507.png
adobe_workers_1935.jpg

Adobe walls were thick by modern standards, around two feet for smaller buildings. Two-story adobes were fairly rare. To give the walls greater strength, they were covered with a coating of sand and mud. Window openings were usually small, and these often were fitted with wooden bars or covered with a steer hide or blanket. Glass was virtually unknown. Wooden floors were atypical. Most floors were packed earth with a coating of steer’s blood to make them hard and smooth. New coatings were periodically reapplied.

The next step was construction of the pitched roof. A ridgepole ran the length of the building and was connected to the side walls of the adobe by rafters. Saplings were placed perpendicular to the rafters to create a crosshatch effect. Atop this was placed thatch, and atop that, curved tiles of kiln-fired adobe, laid in an overlapping fashion.

Finally, the adobe walls were sealed with a plaster made of lime, which was produced by firing seashells. The lime was mixed with sand and water, and the mixture applied to the walls with bare hands. As the mixture dried, it would harden, forming a protective coating. This coating tended to flake and so was periodically reapplied. The finished adobe was cool in the summer and warm in winter and proved to be quite durable. Santa Barbara’s historic adobes have survived any number of earthquakes over the decades.

Adobe.jpg

The increasing influx of Americans to Santa Barbara after 1850 caused a decline in the popularity of adobe construction; the newcomers wanted houses that reminded them of home. In some cases, adobes were covered with wood siding, sometimes for aesthetic purposes or as protection from the elements. Construction of Stearns Wharf in 1872 allowed for increased imports of lumber and hastened the arrival of Victorian architecture. Many adobes succumbed to development. For example, the imposition of the grid pattern of streets in the early 1850s led to the razing of any number of adobes.

Yet the architecture of modern-day Santa Barbara, with its white walls and red-tile roofs, very much harks back to the city’s adobe days. Outstanding examples of Santa Barbara’s Spanish Colonial style and its variants include the El Paseo complex, City Hall, The Arlington Theatre, and any number of commercial buildings and private residences that dot the city landscape.

In many ways, Santa Barbara’s adobe days live on, but how many of us know of the toil and trouble it took to construct Santa Barbara way back when?

Click here for article details

Do you know anyone who is looking to sell or buy a home on the American Riviera? 

Beverly Palmer, Santa Barbara

Wildflowers, Effective All-Natural Pesticide!

Spring is here, which means now is the perfect time to make plans for your garden. And if there's one thing you should be thinking about adding into the mix this year, it's wildflowers.

Spring Wildflower :: Santa Barbara

Spring Wildflower :: Santa Barbara

Wildflowers aren't just pretty — they're good for your garden, too. Flowers like oxeye daisies, red clovers, poppies, and wild carrots can serve as all-natural pesticides by attracting useful insects to your garden, according to Modern Farmer. These "good" bugs then protect your beautiful blooms and veggies by preying on destructive pests.

Wildflowers are a "secret" that farmers have relied on for years, planting the pesticide alternative on the perimeters of their farms to protect crops. But more recently, many farmers have begun experimenting with a new method: planting strips of wildflowers right alongside their crops and vegetation.

Santa Barbara Coastline :: Spring flowers

Santa Barbara Coastline :: Spring flowers

Botanic Gardens Meadow :: Spring

Botanic Gardens Meadow :: Spring

Fifteen farms in England have been testing the strategy over the past five years, and they found that the wildflowers attracted all the right kinds of bugs to the right areas, according to The Guardian. While more research is needed to understand how beneficial the practice is for large-scale farms, a previous study published by Proceedings of the Royal Society B found the method to be effective at reducing pesticide use and plant damage caused by insects.

What's more, wildflowers are also a natural way to enhance your soil's health and increase your garden's yield, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). They're also low-maintenance and tend to need less water. So whether you're growing veggies, crops, bulbs, or flowers in your backyard this year, consider skipping the toxic stuff and opting for this organic pesticide instead.

Article & More info

Do you know anyone who is looking to sell or buy a home on the American Riviera? 

Beverly Palmer, Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara Awarded $10 Million Desalination Grant

The city of Santa Barbara has been awarded a $10 million grant by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) to offset the $72 million cost of reactivating the Charles E. Meyer Desalination Plant.

Santa Barbara Desalination Plant Aerial

Santa Barbara Desalination Plant Aerial

The desalination plant has been a permanent part of the city’s water supply portfolio since 1994, and in its reactivated state has been supplying water to city water customers since May 2017.

The plant serves a key role in providing a high-quality, local, drought-proof supply that is available for health and safety needs despite rainfall conditions.

During reactivation, state-of-the-art technology and design practices were incorporated to minimize electrical demand and environmental impacts. The plant currently produces 3 million gallons of drinking water per day.

This is equivalent to 3,125 acre-feet of water annually or about 30 percent of the city’s demand.

Santa Barbara Desalination Plant

Santa Barbara Desalination Plant

Charles Meyer Desalination Facility Sign

Charles Meyer Desalination Facility Sign

“This grant provides a direct financial benefit to our customers,” said Joshua Haggmark, city water resources manager.

“Now in the seventh year of drought, the cost of providing water service has risen dramatically to ensure sufficient water is available to meet the needs of the community," he said.

"This grant will go a long way in helping to minimize the need for a large rate increase in the near future while providing much needed funding for water infrastructure,” he said.

DWR’s Round 4 Water Desalination Grant Program is funded by Proposition 1 which was passed by California voters as part of the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014.

Proposition 1 provided $7.5 billion in funding to improve California’s water reliability through increased water supplies, protection and restoration of watersheds, water quality improvement, and increased flood protection.

Of that funding, $100 million in grants were set aside for brackish or seawater desalination projects.  

The city would like to acknowledge and thank State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson for her support of Prop. 1 and her support of Santa Barbara’s work toward drought resiliency and desalination.

Jackson was instrumental in making it possible for the city to compete for the grant funds given the accelerated scheduled for reactivation of the desal plant.

“As we work to address our region’s ongoing drought, it is critical that we invest in maintaining a reliable and safe water supply. I am proud that I was able to assist the city of Santa Barbara with securing this grant, as it helps ensure the city has a diverse and drought-resilient water system,” Jackson said.

For more information on the desal plant, visit www.SantaBarbaraCA.gov/Desal or call the water resources division, 564-5378.

— Madeline Wood for city of Santa Barbara.

Article & More info

Do you know anyone who is looking to sell or buy a home on the American Riviera? 

 

Beverly Palmer, Santa Barbara