Thursday, February 28, 2008

Spring is Here

No, these trees are not covered in frost, snow, or ice.
Spring has officially arrived here in Bakersfield, and the almond groves are blooming.

This almond grove is about 8 blocks to the north of our apartment complex. The smell from the trees is sometimes almost overpowering. It is one of those flower smells that is nice faint but almost suffocating when in strength.

As I was driving home from taking pictures of the almonds I saw this tree branch hanging over a brick fence. I stopped and took some shots and was pleasantly surprised by how nice they turned out. Our cheap camera once in awhile really takes nice pictures.

Spring in Bakersfield also brings rain storms. The storms don't seem to put much water down and rarely have lightning and thunder (big disappointment compared to the Vegas rain storms). It also is really windy and LOTS of dirt blows around. The other night Natalie and I went to a surprise birthday party of our friend Shelly Carter (Happy 50th), and there was so much dirt blowing that it was drifting and visibility was reduced almost as much as a blizzard. One of the great things about blowing dirt in Bakersfield is Valley Fever. So now whenever one of us has any sort of ailment (fever, cough, sore leg, cut finger, etc.) we blame it on Valley Fever.

Monday, February 18, 2008

New Year's 2008

Happy New Year!!! Our dear friends the Van Meters invited us over to Morro Bay (a very cute quiet beach town about 2 hrs from Bakersfield to the west) to spend New Year's with them and our buddies the Johnsons. The party was THUMPIN' the night of New Year's Eve. We played Pit (one of the funnest card games ever) til about 8:30 pm. We then played Apples to Apples (one of the other funnest card games ever) until 9:30 when the Johnsons went home. the rest of the party evening was filled with milling about mixed with this and that. At 11:58 we woke ourselves back up enough to open some Martinellis and say Happy New Year. At 12:02 am we all promptly went back to bed. New Year's day was spent playing in tide pools harassing the star fish, sea anemonis, and hermit crabs (Nat's disclaimer--"I did none of the above." She didn't want nature to get on her hands).

And to our friends/family in the north, Yes, this is January 1st.

There is a very nice nature trail that runs along the top of the sea cliff where you can see California Sea Otters and birds of all sorts.

"Ya just never know what yer missing, something could be just right there."--Janet Smith's famous Yellowstone quote

It was so nice and beautiful to spend time at the ocean. It is amazing how big and powerful it is, it makes you feel small and insignifigant and inspires great thoughts.

Natalie, Burt and Kate Van Meter, and Jessica climbing down the cliffs to the waters edge.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Happy Groundhog Day

Well today is February 2nd. That means it is Groundhog Day, my dad's favorite holiday. I am not really sure why, I think it is because it means winter is almost over and you don't really do anything for it.
It is tradition is that if a hybernating animal sees it's shadow on Candlemas (the catholic holiday of candles) there are 6 more weeks of winter. If it does not see it's shadow then it means it will be a short winter. How much shorter is not revealed. The tourism department in Punxsutawney, Penn. decided that they need a reason to have people come to their town and spend money. So they decided that they would have the "Official" groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil. Every year they pull the poor sleeping animal from it's warm bed in to the frigid air so we can know how much winter is left. We have mastered space flight, but we rely on a large rodent to tell us what a calendar could.

(Poor Phil)

What ever the reason, I love holidays and I love my dad so I have been helping him celebrate. I wrote him this song and called him up and sang it to him.

It is Groundhog Day, shout hurray!
I'd like to sing to you today,
Springs around the corner and summer too.
Happy Groundhog Day to you!