Peacocks and turtles in a work week surprise!

On the way to work Monday morning I was caught off guard by a small party of peacocks hurriedly crossing the road right in front of me! Yikes!

This busy thoroughfare connects to a popular freeway onramp. What were they thinking?

But traffic didn’t seem to bother them much at all! A few flapped their stubby wings and lifted off the ground in modified flight; others sauntered without a care in the world, confident they weren’t in any danger.

Should I stop and take photos? I was concerned that if I interfered in any way I might cause a panic and they’d be hurt. So I kept going, but I took it as encouragement that if parked in the office, I would still pay attention and find as many interesting and natural curiosities as I could find in my everyday travels.

I wasn’t disappointed!

balcony of geraniums

Today I stepped out the door of my office to take a quick peek at the mountains. I was eager to notice the moisture collecting in the foothills–we’re expecting rain–and instead saw this gorgeous balcony of flowers.

It was noon, and time for a walk!


Closer inspection revealed a beautiful strand of hanging geraniums. How long have they been there and I hadn’t noticed?

What else have I missed?

Cactus Garden

I’ve previously spied the cactus from one of the parking lots, but I’d never walked down into this particular subterranean area. You know I like cactus, but there was so much more!

Here’s a surprise!

Do you recall my infatuation with the Cup of Gold vine I talked about last week?

Do you mean to tell me that there’s been one on our campus all this time?

The flowers aren’t quite as perky as the Santa Barbara blooms in January, but I’ll be able to very closely observe how the vine handles the seasons. Now I don’t have to have one in my own yard…I can visit this one every day if I choose.

But I’ve saved the best for last!

How did I NOT know about these little guys! I often go to a local independent nursery to watch the turtles sunbathe, and here they are!

What a gift! I know now where I’ll be having my lunch on a regular basis. And since spring is just getting underway, I can’t wait to see how the view will develop and change. Some of the turtles were obviously very young. I’m so sorry I didn’t see them when they were hatchlings but I’ll keep my eye on them.

I’ll leave you with just a few more photos for now. But…

Now the only question left for me to consider is whether or not to share this marvelous place with my coworkers. Hmmm–quiet and very private–perfect for midweek exhales and feeding my personal sense of well-being?

What do you think I’m going to do?


57 thoughts on “Peacocks and turtles in a work week surprise!

  1. I also ran into a cup of gold vine near my office…in pretty much a similar shape as that in your photos…! And another question… that magenta-y flowering tree in the last set of photos… I have that in the backyard, top, blooming in the same fashion. What is it?

    1. Isn’t it funny to see so many Cup of Gold vines now, Koji? You may have discovered them long before I did, but to find one at work was such a surprise to me! I think the tree is probably a flowering plum, not fruit bearing, but still called “plum.” The one at work wasn’t labeled, but I’m also curious and intend to verify it’s name. If you find out sooner, too, let me know! 🙂

      1. Oh, no, no, no… I’m no botanist. I can tell the difference between a weed and grass but that’s about it. After I saw your wonderful photos from Santa Barbara, it dawned on me I had seen them around here, too. I have no idea what the plant’s name is!

  2. I love all of these photos, Debra. How lucky you are to work near such a lovely place. I would eat outdoors every day I could. It would never “get old.”
    Have you ever watched the CBS Sunday Morning News program? It is a 90 minute program that begins at 8:00 am, CST. It ends every show with a 60 to 90 second video of Nature. It could be scenes from Yellowstone in Winter; birds of the Everglades or Louisiana marshes; turtles in Missouri; cranes in The Plains; cacti in bloom in Arizona; etc. I record the full 90 minutes weekly and I may not watch the program. I will always make sure I see that segment, though, before I delete the rest. It’s my weekly exhale. 🙂

    1. I am very excited about getting to know CBS Sunday Morning, John. I would love to see the nature video each week. I do exult in the variety within our wonderful country, not to mention the world. I will enjoy that! I had more fun sharing my unexpected surprise with my blogging friends. I wasn’t in any way exaggerating how surprised, almost shocked, I was. I came upon the turtles first, and sat for fifteen minutes just staring at them, then nearly laughed out loud when I looked up and saw the Cup of Gold. I really feel I was given a gift to have this spot for a break in my day. Thanks for sharing in my delight!

  3. No! Don’t tell anybody- it is such a joyful discovery you should let them find it for themselves. Eventually.
    You are fortunate indeed to have such beauty around your workplace 🙂

    *decides to print some of Debra’s fab pics and stick to my ‘office’ drawers*
    Thank you!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the photos, Fiona. Everywhere I look I can find at least one object of beauty right now. Many of the trees are still bare, but the ones that are flowering are just overwhelmingly beautiful! It’s funny, but knowing that I can visit this little spot has made me even more enthusiastic about going to work. So funny how it has lifted my sprites! 🙂 I’m glad I could share with you!

  4. I’d keep it quiet and all to yourself. I think it’s a great place for you to be where you can just chill out and have nothing to interrupt you bar your own thoughts. I love the images of the turtles xx

  5. Hi Debra, there must be a few people who have already discovered this place. I can’t imagine that nobody would know about it if it is this close to your workplace! Your photos are very beautiful. You must be overjoyed to have discovered this wonderful place.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos, Uta. I think many of the students know where the garden is, but it’s below street level and I don’t think many staff and faculty members, other than the ones who work directly in the shadow of one particular building, would have found it yet. I’ll be nice and share, though! I just may have to schedule some private time once in a while! 🙂

  6. Thanks for the wonderful walk and congrats on your discovery. Sure … go ahead and tell them because the odds favor many not taking advantage of it. Love the pics of Darwin’s cousins.

    1. I will definitely share my garden with my friends at work! I am not good at keeping secrets if it’s about something nice! I’m excellent at keeping bad news to myself…and I’ll go to my grave with a secret if someone asks me to hold something confidential. But other than that, I’m such an open book I can’t imagine really being secretive about anything. LOL! I’ve thought that I’d love to have a water turtle for our pond, but I was thinking it might concern Darwin. It’s probably easier to visit the little guys at work! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by today, Frank.

  7. Don’t tell a soul. We can keep a secret and won’t tell them either.
    We are in a sea of white; snow, snow everywhere. A winter wonderland. As much as I love the beauty, I gasped when I saw the geraniums, clapped at the turtles, especially the mom and her kids riding piggyback, and I turned green with envy at the closeness of your discovery. How exciting, Debra. I think the real cup of gold is you, drinking in this discovery. Enjoy, dear one. Enjoy!

    1. Thank you so much for the shared enthusiasm, Penny! More snow! I have been meaning to ask you what you know about the deer? Do you ever see them in this weather? Where do they go? I really don’t know. It’s funny, but I really have no idea how the natural world responds in these cycles. Tell you what–don’t feel you need to respond to my questions, as I have quite a few! LOL! But that would make a very interesting post for the many of us who don’t know what it’s like to be blanketed in snow for weeks at a time. I’m so thrilled with my new little ‘secret garden’ and I’ll be sharing in the summer, too…it might look quite different! 🙂

  8. This sounds like a perfect place to exhale mid-week! I love it!!! And I love that you can see mountains. I love mountains. Thank you for this lovely breath of fresh air for my mid-week. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much, Kristy, for the lovely comment! I can hardly wait to see what those turtles are going to do as they all get larger. I’m wondering if there will come a time there are too many and they’ll need new homes! I have a pond in my own backyard and I’m wondering…but that might pose a problem for Darwin, I don’t know! We do have a lovely view of the mountains, and from my office I can watch the foothills change from fall to spring and then in a short time the green will be completely gone and they’ll be dry brush. But it’s very true that if I place my focus on observing the changes I find a great deal of relaxation! I’ll be supplying as many photos as I can justify sharing! I could get very carried away. Thank you being so encouraging to that end!

    1. I like the idea of thinking of my new little “find” as a secret garden! Watching those turtles just thrilled me, Nancy. Watching them climb all over each other and jockey for space was very entertaining. 🙂

    1. I didn’t in any way exaggerate my surprise at finding that beautiful pond, the turtles and the garden at work, Meg. The turtles are going to be so much fun to watch. The flower gardens are really starting to “spring forth” and I am sure your spring flowers will be coming along soon, and you’ll be sharing the colors! 🙂

    1. I was so eager to share those pictures from the workplace garden, Kate! I almost danced through the rest of the day. I didn’t in any way exaggerate my surprise and almost bewilderment that all the beauty could be within reach while at work. You are going to do your own “happy dance” when the rainy season lifts, aren’t you!!

    1. I’m most curious to find out who among my coworker friends already knew about this spot! They may not be willing to admit it now that they know how much I would have liked to enjoy it before now. 🙂 I can’t wait to see how the environment changes over the seasons. I’ll have fun sharing that with you, too! You’ll see that we really do have “seasons”–just very subtle ones! Thank you, Dee.

  9. how fantastic, a little world of joy and smiles right within walking distance, i am very envious of those turtles, what a treat, and what a treat for us too .. your photos are just lovely.. have a nice lunchtime tomorrow!.. c

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed photos of my “secret garden,” Celi. You were so buried in responsibility last week I’m sure you didn’t notice my note to you about “my” peacocks. Not really mine. LOL! I just like to pretend. But if you’d like to see a few photos of Kupa’s distant relatives that came and stayed with us a while, I’ll send the link. It was such a sweet time for a while. Thanks for stopping by, my friend.

  10. Everyone needs a secret garden, Debra, and you have definitely found yours……and mine, when I click on this post. It’s great that I can visit it any time without disturbing you. Thank you for sharing this place here. I especially love the photo of the turtle, looking to the left.

  11. Keep quiet .. don’t share.. let them find it for themselves… it is actually quite surprising what one misses for so many years… we returned today from an un planned flight to my son in the outback… and took my Mother out for her birthday.. we took her to a special place we visit often and her being almost blind we drove around slowly so that she could see everything…blimey if she didn’t point out something to us we had never seen before and we’ve been going there for ages… just shows…

  12. Oh my gosh! There you have a picture that looks just like our turtle, Gus, who lived in our pond for a few years in Southern California!!! He’d come up and sun himself on a rock like that.

  13. Pics are beautiful as always! Love seeing your posts. They always brighten my days. Waiting for our sunny days, we’ve had nothing but rain I mean seriously we had a nor’easter again last night dumping flooding rains and sleet. Ready for warm sunny days and I always get them with your posts!! XOX

  14. Great shots (really like the golden cup vine and the turtles). As for peacocks, a bunch escaped from their owners up here and now we have a feral population. Pretty, but very, very noisy…they even scare the coyotes!

    1. Oh my goodness, you have feral peacocks! Funny, or not, about the coyotes. When ours disappeared we were concerned that perhaps the coyotes had found them! They are noisy. I hope they don’t get into the farm and take full advantage of a good meal? They probably don’t eat fruit or vegetables, but they can make a mess! There is some thought that most of the peacocks in the country come from either Baldwin or Wrigley on Catalina Island. I don’t know if that’s really true, but it could be. I hadn’t heard of any up your way, so it kind of thrills me to think of their population being secure. That could be a very naïve comment if one day we have to work on population control. LOL!

      1. They like the redwoods better than the chaparral (where we are in town)-so they tend to be about a mile away. A number of families used to have them as “pets”…then a bunch got free and suddenly we have another “non-native” species. But it seems that the noise is the only big impact. There is so much crazy livestock around here, what is one more species? Besides, they are beautiful.

    1. Thank you, Claire. I do have a nose for finding little spots that are pretty and peaceful…which is in stark contrast to the fact I can trip over a pile of something right in the middle of a room and never even see it! hahaha! That’s the truth. 🙂

  15. Time With Thea

    Really? It is March and this is what you get to enjoy outdoors? I am so missing warmth, green and colour. thank you for sharing the beauty that you have at you front door! Love it! ~Thea

  16. A couple of entertaining posts with gorgeous photos, Debra. Sorry to be so late commenting, but it’s been such a busy week and you’ve been posting faster than I can read. 🙂

    1. I’m always glad to see you in my inbox, Perpetua! I don’t ever feel that anyone needs to feel badly if they can’t keep up with commenting. It could be a full time job! LOL! I fall behind all the time and then occasionally play catch up! But when it’s just too much, I also just have to let it be! 🙂 It’s lovely when you come around! 🙂

  17. aw shucks Debra I wanted to see a photo of the peacocks 😀
    Glad you went outside for lunch and thought to take us with you. My gosh what a beautiful garden! How perfect to watch those turtles laying in the sun while munching your sandwich.

    1. I shared all the peacock photos in a previous post. I shared about the time they came to stay at our house for a while! 🙂 But on the road, I get a little afraid I’ll contribute to a peacock panic! 🙂

  18. I used to like to keep turtles, small ones , and release as they got bigger. But the upkeep, they are very messy and you must change the water every day. I think I’ll try cactus – seems less maintenance.

    1. Cactus is very low maintenance, Carl, that’s for sure. But watching those turtles sunbathe was fascinating. Just one tortoise is enough for us, although I’m not always practical about maintenance. I think I’ll take your warning about the turtles, though!

  19. Another LA blogger did a post today called ‘Do You Miss New York?’ I miss the *idea* of New York. But I love life in LA. Do I need the ever-present possibility of peacocks in the road, turtles sun bathing or Cup of Gold vines blooming in January? No. (Maybe.) But you have captured a glimpse of the magic of living here. The second-largest metropolis in America is so shot through with nature that it reclaims your weary soul at the most unexpected moments. (I would like a real subway system… Can’t have everything.)

    1. I really love your comment, Steve. You captured what it is that I feel so strongly about, too, regarding urban nature! There is so much beauty in Southern California and in Los Angeles, but it is more accessible if you pay attention–stay alert. One of my good friends has only lived in Los Angeles for a few years and has lived in some wonderful east coast cities. She delights me all the time with little bursts of enthusiasm and exuberance, frequently saying, “Oh! I just love Los Angeles,” and she often comments that she just doesn’t understand why so many people don’t appreciate it here. It seems to be about perspective! I do enjoy sharing some of what delights me, too! 🙂

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