Tag Archives: Spring

A March Friday

It is comforting to see normal March weather for California again after the bone-dry months of January and February. Thank God we got some rain in the fall. What is typical beginning of March weather you ask? Green hills, yellow mustard blooming profusely on said same hills, many fruit trees professing their white, magenta, and pink blossoms. Most of all though it the sudden change of weather, where dark clouds pushed by a brisk wind arrive quickly, empty themselves of rain, only to give way to puffy white clouds with a blue sky and sunshine behind them. This frequent exchange of clouds delights our spring, and it is advisable for the nature enthusiast to carry an umbrella.

The first flower of an Iceland poppy I planted in a pot came up about a week ago. This particular one was a bright yellow-orange and radiated color. Sadly it has already lost it’s petals now due a merciless wind coming off the mountain. We are also supposed to get some more rain tomorrow, perhaps even a storm – or atmospheric river – the current buzzword favored by the meteorologists. We shall see. Rain here equals snow in the Sierras, so a win-win for this time of year, except for my poppy.

Having picked up an almond croissant from the bakery – a café au lait was already in my possession – I drove down to the pier in Benicia to look at the water and and enjoy the aforementioned items. The wind whipping outside, I thought it wise to remain in the car with the window cracked a bit to take advantage of the fresh air, and at the same time protecting my croissant from many hungry eyes and beaks outside. Indeed, the pier is frequented by a multitude of pigeons, flocks of seagulls, ducks, ravens, and sparrows, all hoping for something to eat with minimal effort. I have even seen pelicans on a small island nearby. Numerous signs advise not to feed the feathered pier dwellers – much to the annoyance of the birds no doubt.

There – that was one tasty croissant, and I even managed not to make a mess in the car. Taking a stroll along the pier I notice a woman dumping something on the ground. Unclear of what it might be, the question answers itself a moment later, when a mad rush among all things feathered erupts to eat what I presume is bird seed. Birds and humans unable or unwilling to read the sign make for this frenzied spectacle. It is over in a matter of minutes, with the last ones to hang out being the pigeons, in making sure not a single seed is left behind. I do hope your next meal will have more of a slow food pace to it, somewhat less competition, and with perhaps some better table manners too.

Have a blessed weekend

I Love Spring

It’s been a joy to finally see the rain during the past few weeks. The gray hills that looked so barren a month ago, are a lush bright green once again, as the sun kisses them, waking up the orange poppies to new life. It never ceases to amaze me, just how quickly this change happens after just a few heavy rains. Although I was able to capture some of the beautiful green hills in my photography (http://mleuephoto.wordpress.com/), the smell in the air just can’t be done justice to in a photo.

Speaking of green: my cat Calvin was sitting in my office window this morning — making sure that the gardener visible in the distance was doing a good job of cutting the grass (Calvin really does have a very nice vantage point on the window sill — one that he frequents often). Taking a cue from the feline supervisor, I decide on a walk, which leads me by the “supervised” lawn, which is trimmed to British standards (although a Brit might object to my hasty comparison). There is nothing like the smell of freshly cut grass — I stop to breathe in deeply. In the distance I see pink and white blossom filled trees competing with each other — or perhaps a better word would be complementing each other. I just love spring.

Have a blessed week

Ladybugs and elephants

I saw my first ladybug of Spring. She flew into the windshield (Thank God the car was parked), crawled up and down the glass investigating matters, decided the windshield wasn’t that interesting, and departed. I hope onto greener pastures, abundant with aphids. Such delightful bugs they are. Her visit reminded me of an amusing book I used to read to my sons when they were young — “The Grouchy Ladybug“.

The other night there were some fireworks after the baseball game (heard but not seen), which sent my cat Calvin racing under my photo supply table behind a basket into the furthest corner he could possibly squeeze into. As you may be able to deduct from this retreat, he is not fond of fireworks at all. However, this behavior is in stark contrast to when he sleeps on my legs while I’m watching a movie — when sometimes the sound can get loud. Go figure. I wonder what goes on in that little cat brain of his.

Having come from the Farmer’s Market with some home-made asparagus soup, and a batch of green onions, I went into my local supermarket to complete my grocery shopping. Putting the gathered items on the conveyor belt, I was questioned as to whether I had brought my own bag, or if I would like to purchase a paper one. I responded, that unlike an elephants’, my memory is rather faulty, and that I would like a paper one. The cashier then suggested that it might be of benefit to consume some peanuts. Triumphantly, I held up a can of peanuts at the end of the conveyor belt. “Well there you go”, she said surprised, and amused.

May a ladybug fly across your path this week, and some peanuts bring back good memories.

Apricot pie

Apricot blossoms

Apricot blossoms 

It is astounding what a few days of warm weather can do. The trees are in bloom everywhere now. In just one week, the magnolia in front of church has gone from buds to blossoms in all their beautiful splendor. A tree up the street has littered — if I may use that expression — its blossoms all over the sidewalk — a carpet of pinks, violets, and whites, one hesitates to step on. Yesterday the first blossom on my apricot tree opened up, and the photo I posted brought comments about apricot pie from a French friend, who is perhaps a bit impatient, I think. I recall a few years ago, the squirrels got all the apricots (there were only 6-7), and last year an unexpected cold front killed most of the blossoms, except one. And although I protected the lone remaining apricot with mesh, a squirrel beat me to it again! Today, many more blossoms opened up, so anticipation is high. Although apricot pie is good, my favorite is still apricot jam. I use it to cover a thin apple tart, a recipe I learned in a French cooking class a long time ago, that should be resurrected. So all you squirrels, back off, or I’m sending my cat Calvin after you for a tête-à-tête!