La Tortue and I spent several days along the central coast of California, where we visited family and friends. This reconnection with the oak savannah of my childhood has been splendid and serene. After Pismo Beach, I discovered Guadalupe, a broad valley along the coast that is ringed all around by mountain ranges that hold the temperate ocean air to hover over rich alluvial soil. Everywhere stretch the fields bringing that year-round strawberry experience to us all. The temperature swings on a short arc here between the 70s-80s f.; the sun is warm; the crops cycle over and over, with tightly managed raised beds covered in plastic to warm the soil further. During harvest, you can smell the broccoli in the air.
Look carefully here. In the distance, you will see a blue slice of the Pacific ocean.
On the ranch where my mother grew up in Pozo, California and I spent time as a child, my cousins have resurrected my grandfather’s cattle brand, the “G-lazy-A.” Cousin Mark grows oats for feed and Cousin Steve oversees grape vines he planted a few decades ago. His son Joey and daughter Michelle are producing some very delicious wine under the Vintage Cowboy label. I loved the latest merlot.
It’s not easy working in agriculture with a state seized by a prolonged drought. I am proud of my cousins for their grit and effort. They understandably spend a lot of time talking about rain. Annual ‘normal’ rainfall is 20 inches. Half-way through the year, they have measured 9, are hoping for 30 but would be happy with anything close to normal.
With my thanks to them all, including Aunt JoAnn, Aunt Barbara and cousins Susan and Joel for hospitality and the gift of many good memories.