Daily Archives: March 31, 2008

On Food Patrol – Smoothie King

The Smoothie King and His Assistant

One of my favorite food/beverage spots in Santee is the Smoothie King located in the Albertson’s center across from Santana High School.  The shop, which is a franchise, is owned and operated by Greg Hagen, who is a great supporter of community activities.  Greg was an underwriter for many years, but wanted to be his own boss (I can understand that).  He says he was attracted to Smoothie King because it is more than just a fast-food type of establishment.  He liked that there is a nutritional focus to the drinks, including various types of supplements, and that they carry healthy snacks along with the drinks.  He also likes that it is a simple business – not a lot of bells and whistles like some places.

As I said, Greg is very involved in the community.  He provides smoothies for special lunches at the high schools, and he’s always at community activities like the Santree Fest, and he will be at the Santee Business and Craft Fair in June.  Add to that, he’s just a great guy.  Oh, did I mention he caters functions as well?

Is this just shameless promotion of a local business?  No!  I’m not ashamed at all.  Honestly, it’s a good product and a good place to go, owned by a good man.  Check them out and see if you don’t agree with me.

Courtney Case Whips up a Smoothie

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Dead Owl Society

Okay, some of you might not like this post or the picture, but I’m putting them both up anyway.  Here’s the story: my wife and I decided Sunday to take a nice bike ride around Santee Lakes.  Talk about a wonderful place to ride – but I’ll write about that another time.  What I want to write about now is what happened as we were riding back to our car (we had decided to park outside and ride to the Lakes for a little extra exercise and to skip the car fee for the day).

We were heading north on Fanita Parkway, past Lake Canyon Road, when I saw something out of the corner of my eye.  I called to my wife, who was ahead of me, that I thought I had seen a dead owl in the grass.  We went back to check, and sure enough, there was a great horned owl lying there.  If you have never been up close to one of these birds, living or dead, then you are missing something amazing.  Even in death this bird was awsome – from the curved beak to the huge talons, this is a bird that was made for successful hunting.  Our best guess was that it had been hit by a car, because the neck appeared to be broken.  What was surprising was the fact that this was 4:30 in the afternoon, normally too early for these birds to be out and about.  Maybe it had happened early in the morning, but there was no sign of insects on it – not even ants.

Somehow we just couldn’t let this beautiful bird rot by the side of the road, so we thought of the Mission Trails Regional Park.  My wife just happened to have a flyer from there in her waist pack, so we called them up.  They already have a great horned owl on display, but one of their volunteers does grad work with SDSU at a center up in North County, and he is collecting native wildlife specimens for display there.  So, without further ado, we got the car, bagged the bird, and drove over to the Kumeyaay Campground.  The three staff members at the ranger station were just as impressed as we were with the bird.  My wife, being a huge owl-lover, couldn’t resist touching it and feeling the soft feathers and sharp claws.  Of course, being a nurse she made sure to disinfect her hands properly afterwards.

So what is the point of this post?  Well, probably several.  First, Santee is blessed with an abundance of wildlife, if we will just take the time to go out and look for it.  (I’ll be writing about Santee Lakes soon, and will include a number of pictures.)  Second, I think is the point that we couldn’t just leave it there.  If this had been a more secluded area, maybe in the woods, we probably would have left nature to take its course; but this was out in the open and we were concerned that someone might do something to the owl.  Even a dead animal deserves some respect.  Finally, here was an opportunity to provide others with the chance to see one of these maginficent birds up close, as part of an educational program.

I hope maybe some of you will take the time to get out and enjoy the natural world that surrounds us – even in your own backyard.

Great Horned Owl Great Horned Owl - Close Up Owl Talons

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Filed under Nature