Sunday, March 22, 2015

California green - March 22,2015

Spring in California -- green hillsides, trees.

I started the day walking a 5K in Santa Cruz with our hostess, Farhana. Unfortunately, I left the SD card for the camera in the computer, and don't have a way to transfer the photos from the phone to the blog (there are probably half-a dozen ways to do that, but I don't know them yet).This is Farhana's photo (hope it shows up when the blog is published).

The weather was excellent -- cool and overcast. Better yet, during the last mile, a mist settled upon all 6,000+ women (from age one month to about 80) doing the race, and within the next hour or two developed into real rain making puddles in the street and forcing the use of windshield wipers.

Rain on the car window as we drove south from Santa Cruz.

For the moment, the parts of California that we've seen don't look like the middle of a serious drought. We drove from Santa Cruz to Santa Barbara along Highway 101 though the Salinas Valley -- hours of vineyards, green fields, and waving grasses along the roadsides. Fields of yellow mustard provided the color, with blue skies and white clouds much of the way.

Green hills of the Salinas Valley.

Around Castroville, we passed fruit stands offering oranges -- three pounds for $1; avocados, seven for $1, and artichokes by the dozens. Definitely California.

Irrigated fields in the Salinas Valley.

A stretch of ocean near Pismo Beach.

We are visiting cousin Paul and his wife Sandy who live in the Santa Barbara foothills, up near the state park areas at the top. Their home survived the fire a few years back (thanks to extraordinary preparation), and the demise of most of the plants gave them a chance to re-plant with mostly native, drought and fire-resistant shrubs and flowers.

Goldfish in a small pond.

Potted sedums, against a backdrop of drought-tolerant plants.

They have a small but intense rose garden, something of a tribute to our grandfather Rob Gibbens who loved roses and went from Kalamazoo, Michigan to Pasadena and Berkeley every winter to tend other people's roses.A large and lovely rose, with Paul's hand to give a sense of the size.

Yellow roses.

Kumquat tree. Paul and Sandy use all of their fruits (they have lemons and oranges as well), and grow a variety of veggies. For breakfast tomorrow -- strawberries from their plants that bear fruit the year around.

Looking northwest, across the bougainvillea hedge, to the houses on the next ridge over. The ocean is to the left of the picture; too hazy for good photos of it this evening.

Sunset -- the gray-blue band in the middle is the Pacific ocean, and a bank of clouds at the horizon.

Tonight's crescent, a bit broader than last night.

Santa Barbara lights this evening.

Another view of an idyllic California hillside.

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