For Spring Break, we went to Whittier, CA, where my in-laws live. Despite my father-in-law's insistence that it is paradise, Southern California is just a strange place. In the morning, we'd go walking around in the neighborhood, and it didn't seem right. Everyone had perfectly manicured lawns and beautifully tended plants. Everything was green or in gorgeous bloom. Occasionally fall would have come for one tree on the block, and it would have lost its leaves to the grass below. The sidewalks would still be wet from the lawn sprinklers, and the mockingbirds would be singing their strange little song. Then midday would come and the sun would be unnaturally high and hot and bright for March. If you ventured into the hills beyond the trimmed lawns, you'd actually see a weed or two and an abundance of succulent plants. Then you'd realize, it is all pretend. For Midwesterner skin and eyes, the sun is brutal. For most fruits and vegetables and lawn plants, it is the same. They'd be parched in a day. But with enough water, anything can grow with all of that solar energy. And it will grow worse than a weed. Your shrub will need constant grooming so it won't take over your house. It seems like a precarious battle between dehydration or being swallowed in the jungle of house vines.
The redeeming thing about visiting California in the spring, is citrus. As a person that eats local food and freezes or cans for the winter, an orange tree in the backyard is something magical. I almost cried when I tasted how fabulous an orange right off the tree could be. It really was that delicious. Here is the tree in Ben's parents' backyard:
if you look closely, you can see one of the avocados from their other tree at the top of the picture
Here are some citrus pictures from the Whittier Farmer's Market.
there were plenty of other vegetables and some humongous strawberries at the market, too, but fresh citrus was all that these Midwestern eyes could see
I took a ton of photos, but I already shared the traffic and knitting photos. (That seemed like the majority of the vacation.) We went to Little Tokyo, but I forgot to take pictures. The pictures of the mammoths at the tar pits are a little sad.
poor mommy mammoth
The other ones that struck me enough to share them are from the Huntington Library gardens.
a woman and cherub
my favorite photo of Ben and I on this trip,
in the Terrace of the Jade Mirror building in the Garden of Flowing Fragrance (Chinese Garden)