Friends of Fire Mountain

Protect, Preserve, and Improve Fire Mountain

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Harbor Days Favorites

Screen Shot 2013-09-28 at 1.09.48 PMIf you’ve been staying away from Harbor Days  because the crowds make you crazy, here are a few tips for joining in on the fun without stressing out.

Go Early!  The Fire Dept. Pancake breakfast starts at 7:00  am both days and the Tiki Swim is at 8:00 tomorrow (who doesn’t want to watch other people freeze their tikis off?!) and the craft & activity booths open at 9:00 am.

Getting in and out can be easy – here are some tips from Fire Mountain locals on how to get there and where to park:

  • There is FREE parking in downtown Oceanside at the Oceanside Transit Center Parking Garage (located at Cleveland St. and Seagaze Dr.) with free shuttle service from the North County Transit Center.  Just look for the double decker busses for a free ride Saturday 8am – 7pm and Sunday 8am to 6 pm.
  • Look for parking by the Jolly Roger restaurant – first row is for slip renters only, but the second row is public parking (check signs for time limits, etc.)
  • Ride your bike! If you aren’t in Fire Mountain you can take the San Luis Rey bike trail all the way to the coast – with tons of access points, it’s easy! Fire Mountain can be difficult to bike with young kids, so If you aren’t close to a trail or bike access point, you may want to but the bikes in your car and get closer to the coast.  Follow the  bike paths and ride all the way to the harbor! (If you’re there late, one local FM resident suggested keeping a nice friend with a truck on standby to come get you –  seems like a good idea after an afternoon in the beer garden!)

If you have more suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Be safe and have fun!

——- A quick update for those wondering about the Nail and Sail 2013 Judging and Race times:

Judging for best Craftsmanship and Best Costume is 1:00 – 1:30 pm * First Heat 2:00 p.m. * Second Heat 2:20 p.m. * Third Heat 2:40 p.m. * Fourth Heat 3:00 p.m. * Championship 3:20 p.m. *


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Resources for Water Smart Gardening

Winter is coming and we’re starting to feel a tiny chill in the air (OK, only a little bit…in the evening, but still!). In Oceanside, winter is an ideal time to start planting and we at FOFM like to encourage our neighbors to plant water-wise or food-producing plants.  I hear people say “I just don’t like cactus” quite a bit, but water-wise does not necessarily mean pokey plants.

Screen Shot 2013-09-25 at 1.16.57 PM shows water-wise plants with details

There are lots of great, free resources out there to help you find what you need and make it look great. Here are just a few:

The SD County Water Authority is giving free classes on Water Smart Gardening, the next one in Oceanside isn’t until January, but keep checking back. If you can’t wait or don’t need to attend a class, maybe you have a bit of knowledge and want to dive into more detail the Web-based Gardening Tool has a ton of resources. We were excited to find links to different types of plants based on what you’re trying to achieve, from fire-wise grasses to succulents that do well in shade they include really good photos of what the plants look like all grown up.

Our local nursery, Evergreen, also has regular classes on vegetable gardens, landscaping with natives, landscape maintenance and more. Just check their site for dates and times.

The Buena Vista Audubon Society has a Native Plant Club as well as information about how to choose, plant and maintain natives on their site.

For monthly planting advice, we also like the Briggs Tree Company newsletter and web site, which of course, comes with a handy 10% off coupon.

Lastly, don’t forget there are the archives from Mr. Charles Ledgerwood’s planting suggestions on the FOFM Garden Exchange blog.

We would love to see pictures of your garden – send them to and we will post them next month!

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Oceanside City Council to Consider Ban on Retail Puppies

Following in the footsteps of Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, Dana Point, Chula Vista, San Diego and many others, the City of Oceanside will consider a ban on the retail sale of puppies, kittens, and bunnies.

The ordinance went into effect in San Diego in August and with only one exception was implemented by all pet stores. The City of Carlsbad also passed a similar ordinance last week.

While the ban allows pet stores that sell some puppies and kittens obtained from shelters and rescues to continue to do business, it specifically targets those stores that do not obtain pets through local or humane sources.

The vote will take place Wednesday, Sept. 25 at 5:00 pm at the regularly scheduled City Council meeting.


This is a follow-up to an earlier story.


Oceanside Harbor Days, September 28-29, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 8.52.29 PMThe perfect summer ender for us is the annual Oceanside Harbor Days. Yes, it’s September 28-29, which may seem a bit late to call it summer, but here in Oceanside, CA, as you may have noticed, summer comes late.

Every year, we swear we’re going to do the Nail ‘n’ Sail…every year we chicken out and just watch so we can “create a strategy” for the next year.  This year Oceanside Harbor Days includes a Sand Castle building contest in addition to the Fire Dept. Pancake Breakfast, Oside Yacht Club Boat Parade, Tiki Swim and other live entertainment – it’s a total mix of old fashioned fun and even has it’s own Facebook page  so you can follow the fun. Hope to see you there and  we’ll meet you in the Prohibition Brewing beer garden!

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Tripadvisor’s Highest Rated Hotels in Oceanside

When the entire family comes to visit us in Oceanside, we always seem to have a hard time deciding where they should stay. We want them close, but the best accommodations close to Fire Mountain and the beach tend to be in Carlsbad. Previously this dilemma was due the overwhelmingly poor quality of hotel options. But in recent years there have been a few decent possibilities popping up.

Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 2.37.09 PMAccording to the most recent reviews on Trip Advisor, the Courtyard by Mariott is the #1 rated hotel in Oceanside. Of course way back in June it was the Holiday Inn Oceanside Marina. The newest Wyndam hotel at the Oceanside Pier seems like a great option, but if you read the reviews you’ll notice there is a concern about homeless milling about at night and the major issue for some – train noise.  Regardless, all of those hotels mentioned earned the 2013 Trip Advisor Certificate of excellence.

Another option to consider is  Along with the time share condos and nice beach front apartments there are a few adorable historic cottages listed that will sleep 6 for under $300 a night!

One last alternative to consider – we have done house trades with our neighbors – which has turned out to be the best option of all. Their family stayed at our house Thanksgiving when we were out of town and then we traded off the next holiday and our family stayed at theirs when they were out of town. We’re very lucky to have some truly fantastic, generous and trustworthy neighbors here in Fire Mountain (who just happen to need their pets looked after while they’re gone). The bonus? We usually come home to a house more clean than we left it and dogs spoiled from all the walks and extra attention!

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Arbor Day Celebration to Take Place at Buddy Todd Park

The City of Oceanside will be hosting an Arbor Day Ceremony and Environmental Resource Fair on Thursday, September 12th from 10am-2pm at Buddy Todd Park. Students from Mira Costa College and Ocean Shores High School will be planting over a dozen trees to beautify the park and it looks like there will be plenty of booths for the environmental resource fair.

The fact that it’s on a Thursday at 10am might make it difficult for working folks and children to attend, so be sure to plant a tree on your own time!

– See more at:


Oceanside Residents Protest Puppy Mills


Last weekend Oceanside residents and animal lovers protested in front of a newly opened puppy store on Oceanside Blvd.

Protesters stated that the puppies are trucked in from puppy mills in Missouri instead of coming from local shelters and their goal is to rally support in the city of Oceanside to create a ban on the sale of puppies, kittens, and bunnies at retail storefronts.

Over a dozen cities in California including Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, Dana Point, Chula Vista, and San Diego have adopted ordinances placing restrictions on the sale of animals from commercial breeders. The ban was created to stop the flow of puppy-mill puppies into those cities, which increases the number of  dogs left languishing in shelters, effectively increasing the number of animals euthanized each year and costing cities money.

As one of the protesters put it, “We want them to be here. We love the business. We just don’t want them to sell puppy-mill dogs. It would be wonderful if they would take puppies from our shelters because we have hundreds of them.”

Follow the link for the full story in the Union Tribune: Oceanside-pet-store-protest