"Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?" - Anne Murray

Monday, February 27, 2012

Coachella Valley Wind Farm

Four thousand wind turbines in the San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm.  This link gives plenty of interesting factual information if you're interested in the facts. Interstate 10 between Palm Springs and Los Angeles goes right through them.  They come is several different sizes, from gigantic to mini, in order to best catch the most wind. 

They have so much personality. They stand there day in and day out, waiting patiently for the wind. Then when the wind comes they work fast, long and hard with no complaints, until the wind stops. There's just something so anthropomorphic about them. 

They also look kind of like an army of aliens, but I like the more human worker image better. They are in fact working very productively. I guess they provide enough electricity for the whole Palm Springs area. There is some controversy about their impact on birds, but I think they're great. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Temecula Farmer's Market

Every Saturday morning in old town Temecula there is a fantastic farmer's market. The real deal. Mostly produce and flowers, a few craftspeople, and a section of great food, from breads and pastries to fish tacos and falafel.  California is produce heaven. All of it incredibly fresh and much of it organic. Right now citrus is in abundance, but also fresh eggs, dates, lettuces, avocados, guavas, mangos, strawberries, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, peas, spinach, asparagus, brussel sprouts, carrots, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, and much more. Three weeks in a row now I've bought the best blueberries and blackberries I've ever had. I suspect they may be from Chile. And look at this selection of mushrooms!

New spring asparagus.

My first job as a teenager, and one I held for a couple of years in Berkeley, CA were in produce stores, so I know a lot about produce. But here's a totally new one for me as the produce queen. Remember jujube candy from childhood? Well, did you know there is a fruit called a jujube? It's dried, with kind of a reddish brown skin, about the size and taste of a cross between a date and a dried apple. I tasted one, but was not inspired to bring any home. I'll try to get a picture next week.

The flowers are unbelievable. Every kind of hot house flower imaginable, plus the tropicals like you see in Hawaii. Double tuberose, with the most heavenly smell on earth.

(Stocks above). 

Here is one vender who makes arrangements right in the market, and a sample of what she makes. $15 for the one she's working on, and $40 for the one in the next picture.  These would cost more than twice as much in a florist.

Most of the prices in the market are not necessarily cheaper than the grocery store. Especially for the organic produce. But the whole place makes me so happy, I have to hold myself back from buying much more than we can possibly eat in a week.

 I just read back through this, and found I had used the word heaven twice to describe the produce and the flowers. For sure, my heaven would definitely include a farmer's market.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Mission San Juan Capistrano

I've not seen anything else like this in the United States. It struck me as a cross between a European cathedral and the Getty in Los Angeles.  Like the partly ruined cathedrals all over Europe, it has classic grace, a sense of an ancient sacred aesthetic, and its own unique combination of Christian and pagan imagery. Like the Getty it captures the dramas of light and dark, wet and dry that is ever present in southern California with cool geometrically enclosed space and lush vegetation softening the bright sun.  The contrasts between inside and outside are everywhere with repeating arches serving as thresholds between these archetypal extremes.

Imagine transitioning between the heat of the sun and the cool of the dark inner spaces 
through these long arched porches.

Geometric shapes - arches, circles, columns, echoe throughout the Mission.

There are several fountains gushing with greenery.

Inside the chapel.

About half the mission is in ruins from an earthquake in the 1800's (I think).

This fountain is in the ruined area and is not gushing

As one of the oldest structures in the western United States, it seems to have served as a model for much of the southwestern architecture that has followed, from the Temecula city hall to Taco Bell.

To get to Capistrano we drove over the mountains on the Ortega Highway, which Rick was pretty excited about. It's been featured on a website called Oncars.com that reviews cars and takes them on drives to interesting places. It was a beautiful drive, with pretty spectacular views of Lake Elsinore and other points east.

Afterwards we stopped briefly at Dana Point before heading home. This is a picture of a little cove called the "baby beach," I assume because it's safe enough for babies. Next door is the Ocean Institute and a wildlife preserve on the rocky shoreline. The whole stretch from Capistrano to Dana Point is lovely.  But we couldn't find one darn place to take Kona swimming. Thank you Kona for being such a good traveler and being so patient with us.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Quiet Inside and Out

Wake up. Espresso and email. Walk Kona. Empty the black tank. Do a laundry. Grocery store or farmers market. Yoga. Lunch. Read in the sun. Watch the ducks. Bike ride. Hot tub. Walk Kona. Supper. Watch a little TV. Read. Go to bed.

Throw in a few local drives, planning for the next leg of our journey, an occasional gathering with neighbors, and you've got my life right now. Pretty quiet inside my head too.  Not thinking anything profound or witty. How does one blog about that?

I have to say the photography is more difficult around here. In Utah, you basically just have to point and shoot and you get something great. Around here, you point and shoot and get a lot of sky, a lot of beige earth and a lot of mist sandwiched in between.

We will be traveling to the Indio area for a few days any time now to have a satellite internet system installed. Just waiting for the parts to arrive. Other than that, no plans.

Thinking about Alaska this summer, or maybe just Oregon and Washington. I'd be happy either way. May boil down to a financial decision. Gas is pretty expensive in Alaska, and we're working on the budget.