December – Coastal Storm

December – Coastal Storm

It was a blustery and wet weekend on the coast. The “old timers” say they have never seen such foam on the beach.

Seaside Beach sea foam

Seaside Beach sea foam

What is sea foam (also called spume)? Dissolved organic matter, like protein, fats and a grab bag of other stuff is constantly being released by sources such as dead fish, seaweed and algal blooms, and it’s floating around in the ocean. Tides pull some of this stuff in closer to shoreline and as waves break, they agitate seawater, air and all this organic matter together.  likes the world’s grossest milkshake. The organic compounds can act as surfactants or foaming agents. As the seawater is churned by breaking waves in the surf zone, the presence of those surfactants under turbulent conditions traps air, forming persistent bubbles that stick to each other.

Sea foam

Sea foam

While sea foam is pretty gross even under normal conditions, it’s an important part of the coastal food web and acts a reservoir of recycled nutrients for some beach-dwelling animals. The menu even changes depending on the season. Researchers studying sea foam in South Carolina in the late 1980s discovered that the foam is composed mostly of macroalgae (seaweeds) in the fall, winter and early spring, and mostly phytoplankton (microscopic plant-like organisms) in the late spring and summer.

Sea foam Seaside beach

Sea foam Seaside beach

We were playing ball and frisbee with the dogs, almost lost the frisbee one time in a pile of foam. Because of rogue waves we stayed well away from the water.

Steve, Casey and Quin in the sea foam

Steve, Casey and Quin in the sea foam

Sea foam information from:

What the Heck is Sea Foam.

And,

Wikipedia.

June – Travels on the Northern California Coast

June – Travels on the Northern California Coast

Summer is almost here, yeah! I’ve had my warm weather beach experience in Key West, now it’s time for the cooler one on California’s northern coast. Remember Mark Twain said that the coldest winter he ever experienced was a summer in San Francisco? Well, it’s true. The warm central valley on the other side of the hills sucks in the coastal fog, our built in air conditioning. Visitors come from the hot weather center of the state to enjoy the cooler summer near the coast.

IMG_3261

I thought you might enjoy a few pictures of the beach nearest our cabin (my second kitchen) in Fort Bragg, CA. “Seaside Beach” should probably be called “Sand Dollar Beach” for all the sand dollars that wash up on the shore.

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Well behaved dogs are allowed off-leash, the perfect place for a romp.

On the way to the beach!

On the way to the beach!

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Whale Rock Seaside Beach

Whale Rock Seaside Beach

At low tide you can see the passageways through Whale Rock. They are now filled in with sand from winter storms, by summer you will be able to walk through.

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Sand dollars gathered over the last couple of years decorate the railing of our cabin.

IMG_3262If you get a chance, visit the northern California coast around Mendocino and Fort Bragg this summer. There are festivals almost every weekend.

January – in Review and Thank You

January – in Review and Thank You

Dear Reader,

I wanted to wish you a 2015 filled with joy, love, and many blessings.

I am a comparative newcomer in the blogging world; Spades, Spatulas, and Spoons will be four months old next week. During that time I have met many wonderful fellow bloggers and readers from around the world. I’d like to thank you for stopping by, for “liking”, sharing, commenting, and following my blog.

I’ve been on sabbatical for the last year and am looking forward to returning to full time work later this month. The blog will continue. I am having a wonderful time writing about my gardening and cooking adventures. And, I love reading your blogs and comments. The world is much smaller, more flavorful, more beautiful, and friendlier than I had imagined.

I thought you might enjoy a few photographs from the last year.

Happy New Year!

Liz