Wednesday, March 03, 2010
All About California
Driving through Arizona, then eastern California, was dry and a desert. But when we came over a mountain pass and it turned into full blown spring, I realized that spring has sprung. Shockingly green, colorful wildflowers and a big smile from me.
The almond trees were in full bloom too. Miles and miles and miles of almond trees.
and 'trees' of another sort. Miles of wind turbines.
I know there is controversy over wind turbines but I think we really do need alternative sources and why not use what we already have? I grew up with so much wind that I really hate it. But I still live with wind and if we had a small wind turbine in our back field, I think I wouldn't mind the wind so much.
When I sent out my last newsletter explaining that I would be closed for a couple weeks as I was traveling to California with a friend and her dog, I got an e-mail back from a customer of mine, JJ. She offered to take us to lunch at Harris Ranch. Well it was right on our way, so I took her up on it. We were too late for lunch so she treated us to yummy berry cobbler with home made ice cream. I had never met JJ, the only correspondence prior to this was to send her yarn. But when we met, we gave each other a hug then posed for a picture and another good bye hug. I told Ann that I couldn't see men doing this!
After a good night's sleep at Ann's home away from home in Davis, we wasted no time and on our first full day there we drove (yeah, didn't get enough miles in at 3200!) over the mountain to Napa Valley to sample wines.
We stopped at Paradux first, an offshoot (pun intended) of Duckhorn Vineyards.
It was pouring down rain so we hustled into the relative warmth and light of the tasting room.
Our wine server helped us 'stage' our samplings with their beautiful descriptive cards. Did I mention I LOVE wine!?
We visited Duckhorn Vineyard where Ann's daughter, Abi, works. It has beautiful grounds and the tasting rooms are housed in a lovely building with a very wide porch that takes in the lovely plantings.
Here's Abi, giving us the thumbs up at how great their wines are. She served us sample after sample of various wines and some delicious cheeses and crackers. I could have stayed for hours!
After visiting the wineries, we took in a bit of St. Helena, where Abi lives. Great shops, especially this one that was filled with whacky art, sculptures and adornments.
I couldn't resist taking a pic of this adorable bike. I called this bike Sherbet. (sure bet I could ride this bike around with a smile on my face!) Yeah, spring is in the air! At least in California it was.
We met Ann's husband, Ed at the Palms, an old theater in Winters, near Davis. The Trailerpark Troubadours entertained us for a few hours.
Their raucous rockabilly type music was funny and the lyrics were very amusing, very trailerparky.
Next day, off to Berkeley, to do a little window shopping and visit friends. This amazing 'bouquet' is in Anthropology, a hanging extravaganza of cut plastic bottles to form flowers and suspended from the ceiling. They have the most creative people doing their displays.
I got to see some old friends from the DC area. Jon, Finn and Jen, lovely as always. They live in a great neighborhood that I would have loved to just bike around and look at the architecture of the houses. I really like the fact that people there live in a much smaller home that is so totally charming. I love the Spanish style and the colors and the landscaping and everything!
I thought this was so clever too.
From there I took Bart to my brother and sister-in-laws place in Los Altos. I hadn't seen them in about 5 years so it was good to catch up. These are Jim and Pam's 2 dogs, Jeeves and Opal, who are the most well behaved dogs I've met. When we went walking in a large park on the Stanford campus, they were off leash the entire time, bounding through the tall grass and totally enjoying themselves. But with just a slight whistle, they were at Jim and Pam's sides, sitting at the curb watching traffic whiz by. A command of "Walk with me" got them walking across the busy street right in stride with us, not too fast, not too slow. Pam said with just a few month's training as puppies, you have an entire life of obedient dogs.
We walked through an extensive cactus garden, enjoying the variety of succulents, even when the paths had huge puddles of rain water. It needs to dry out a bit more for these arid loving plants to survive.
I especially liked this one, although I'm not sure what type it is. It has the most remarkable offset patterning on the backside of the leaves or petals or whatever they are.