Saturday, March 21, 2015

Live from Santa Cruz

At Natural Bridges State Beach -- surf and sun.

Next destination on our California sojourn was Santa Cruz to spend the day with Doc Chemers Farhana Basha, and their son Zain. It was sunny, not too warm, and remarkably green. The drought is not showing yet, in the places that we've seen, perhaps because there's been just enough rain in the past few weeks for spring to arrive.

On Highway 17 to Santa Cruz -- green grasses and trees, blue sky.

We walked a block down the hill from Doc and Farhana's faculty home on the UC Santa Cruz campus to watch a "barn raising." The fields were recently-mowed alfalfa with the summer scent of drying hay.

California poppy, the state flower, growing wild in the hay fields.

This will be the Environmental Sciences building. Spectators came, as many of them as the workers. along with TV stations, dogs, and across the street, tables full of refreshments.

Not our grand-daddies' barns, nor their equipment.

Workers braver than me. Jim and I were part of a condo-building project in the early 1980s; I hated those heights, and admire these people greatly.

Spring -- iris in a garden.

The small Meyer lemon tree has both blossoms and fruit on it. Here one fruit  is small and green, the other turning yellow.  The long thorns discourage the local deer from nibbling.

Among Doc's many interests are masks, and monsters, and monster masks. This vampire (?werewolf?) is from Eastern Europe. The large beads below the fangs represent the adult victims, and the small beads on the cheek represent children.

Giraffe mask, from Africa.

No visit to Santa Cruz is complete without time at the beach. At Natural Bridges State Beach, in the trees to the right of the photo are picnic tables and grills, with dozens of people spreading out meals.

The most prominent bridge is home to hundreds of pelicans.

It was on the cool side (70 degrees) for swimming, but kids challenged the waves nonetheless.

A sand structure that didn't quite make it to castle status. The girl to the right is bringing a bucket full of kelp with which to festoon the ramparts.

Doc and Farhana.

Back in Doc and Farhana's neighborhood, three quail parading along a sidewalk.

Tasty Greek dinner at Vasili's downtown, followed by chocolates from deservedly famous Donnelly's around the corner.

Donnelly's is very small and informal, with a spicy hot truffle to dream about, and chocolate ganache cookies to rival any other ever made.

We wrapped up the evening with a crescent moon and Venus bright in the west (top photo). In the second photo, another star/planet appears just to the middle left of the tree; not sure which one that is.

An afternoon at the beach in Santa Cruz.

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