The Hoppy Okapi

Occasional posts about hiking and other stuff

Bonus Zoo Baby! Somali Wild Ass January 21, 2010

At the Wild Animal Park last weekend to see the baby okapi, I also stopped by the Animal Care Center near the petting kraal, where some of the baby animals born at the park are cared for before being returned to their exhibits or sent to other zoos. There were a couple of cute babies in the nursery yard when I stopped by, including a mini Giant Eland, an oryx, and a super-cute baby Somali Wild Ass.

Somali Wild Ass peering into the petting kraal, oryx in the middle of pen

the young giant eland

Visiting the feed trough, look at the fuzzy mane!

Check out thos striped legs!


Two Minutes In The Life of a Warthog January 19, 2010

Filed under: animals,day trips,San Diego — Amanda @ 6:30
Tags: ,

“Nothing like a nap in the sun to while away the daylight hours”

Warthogs in the sun

“Hmmm, I think I hear a noise! Better check it out…”

Warthog, awoken from a nap

“Ah, just that weird white bird dancing around again!”

Warthog watching the white bird strut

“Nothing to see here!’

Warthog decides to ignore the bird


Warthog returns to her nap


Wild Animal Park – Baby Okapi! January 16, 2010

Baby okapi at the Wild Animal Park

In mid-November, one of the San Diego Zoo newsletters announced the October birth of Uche, the latest baby okapi at the Wild Animal Park. Today we finally had a chance to spend a morning in Escondido to go see him for ourselves. It was a chilly but clear morning- probably 60 degrees or so when we arrived at the park shortly after 9am.

We first headed up to Condor Ridge, where the desert plants were awash with blooms.

Desert plants on the hillside

Porcupines nibbling vegetables - so cute!

Porcupines nibbling vegetables - so cute!

Prarie Dog!

Unlike my trips to Anza-Borrego State Park, I can always count on seeing bighorn sheep at the Wild Animal Park:

Sheep at Condor Ridge

Sheep at Condor Ridge

California Condor

California Condor

Orange flowering plant, related to Ocotillo, perhaps?

Orange flowering plant, related to Ocotillo, perhaps?

On the path to Condor Ridge, we also saw super-cute owls and magpies, and I lamented the lack of a digital SLR  – without a manual focus function on my camera, I couldn’t focus past the wire cages to photograph animals well. I also considered getting a couple of owls for pets, but then decided they would probably nest in out sleeping bags on the top closet shelf, and try to hunt the probably not the best idea.

After Condor Ridge, we went to check out the elephants; I think the youngest one was born in Spring 2009, so it’s still pretty mini compared to the adults.

Elephant playing with food ball

Baby elephant headbutting the grownup

Then we saw two young tigers – they were still quite fuzzy and playful.  According to the WAP website, they’re just over a year old, born on my birthday in 2008!

Tiger cub


We then wandered into the Heart of Africa section of the park. The cheetahs were hiding somewhere, so we didn’t get to see them, but we did get to watch the warthogs basking in the sun:

Warthogs in the sun

And we admired more flowering plants:

Orange cone flowers

And then it was time for the okapis! The mother okapi was feeding in the center of the exihibit:

Adult okapi

And, once again, baby Uche! He was hiding away in the back of the exhibit, nestled behind a tree.

Baby okapi at Wild Animal Park


Cutest baby okapi ever?


Adventures In Sourdough VIII: San Diego Bay Sourdough Starter January 3, 2010

Filed under: baking,San Diego,sourdough — Amanda @ 19:37
Tags: , , ,

Number 20 on my semi-neglected 101 Things list: create a sourdough starter from scratch. Last month, with cool weather and nice breezes flowing in from the bay, I decided the timing was perfect. Eschewing the more complicated-sounding grape-containing starter in my Nancy Silverton book, I looked to The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum for guidance.

Mmmm, sourdough

Mmmm, sourdough

The recipe recommends organic rye or whole wheat flour to start off with, as those apparently have the most wild yeast cells already and the least chance of contamination. My supply of rye flour (organic? not sure – got it from the bulk bin at Henry’s) was running low, so I supplemented with some pumpernickel flour (whole-grain rye, essentially) to get up to four ounces flour. To this I added four ounces cold water, then took my measuring cup outside and covered it with plastic wrap.

After two days, I brought the proto-starter inside to start the feeding schedule. The starter did not smell very good at this point – sour and fermented, yes, but not good; in the absence of any visible signs of spoilage I simply blamed the odor on the rye flour and continued with the feeding schedule, throwing away half of the starter and adding 2 ounces each of bread flour and water. The next morning, I was happy to see air bubbles – it might actually be working!

After three days: air bubbles!

I fed it again, with 2 ounces each water and flour, and the next morning I was rewarded with more signs of life – the starter had more than doubled in size overnight, so I was pretty confident that it would soon be viable for baking.

Day four - more rising power!

I fed the starter for three more days, discarding part of the original each time to keep the volume manageable, then poured about 1 cup into a quart-sized jar for refrigerator storage and gave it an extra feeding.

San Diego Bay Starter - ready for refrigeration

I had about 1.5 cups of starter left, so I started a simple bread recipe based on the San Francisco Sourdough recipe in Ed Wood’s Classic Sourdoughs. I added 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup water to the starter, then let it rise for about 4 hours at room temperature, at which point it had doubled in size:

Bread dough after initial rise

I then dissolved 1.5 teaspoons salt in 1 cup water, added this to the dough, and then mixed in 3 cups of flour one at a time. I then kneaded in one more cup of flour, and formed two round boules:

Sourdough Boules, after kneading & shaping

I let the loaves rise for about two hours before slashing and baking at 400°F, spritzing the oven three times in the first five minutes of baking to help the crust formation. After about 45 minutes, success! The first loaves from my new sourdough culture were complete!

Sourdough bread from new starter



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