Spring 2012.    ~mike gradziel.
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hiking into Pinnacles from the west side 1930s era reservoir 1930s era reservoir
hiking into the Pinnacles high peaks orange lichens lizard
Pinnacles National Monument spring wildflowers spring wildflowers
Pinnacles National Monument Pinnacles National Monument wildflowers
Pinnacles High Peaks Pinnacles High Peaks yellow flowers
Joy hiking wildflowers oak tree

a vineyard in Temecula with Dale and Anna San Diego sunset
umbrellas in Balboa Park fern San Diego at dusk
Joy at Chouinard; Roger playing juicing blood oranges

Most of California for most of the year is brown land beneath hazy sky, so I get very excited when I get to experience extremes in the opposite direction - things like fresh snow or a sky scrubbed clear blue by rain, or green plants and colorful flowers where usually there are none. It is the season for orchards to turn into clouds of blossoms over pillowy green grass, and there can be no better way to take this all in than to sit in the middle of Uncle Tom's almond orchard eating a fantastic pastrami sandwich from a cafe in Winters, watching the dogs run around at top speed making circles through the grass. I took hundreds of photos. That was the highlight of my weekend, visiting with family in such a beautiful place. Joy and I also did a little shopping at the outlets in Vacaville, and I got some work done on the house. Programmable thermostats are such a treat!
downtown Winters, California lunch in Tom's orchard sandwich from steady eddie's
reuben sandwich pits from years of fallen peaches peach and almond blossoms
almond grove in blossom Joy in the lift the view from on high
lift for tree work the orchard old almonds and new blossoms
almond grove in blossom joy with pruners cut branches to take home
peach blossoms peach blossoms windfall pommelos
collecting oranges plum blossoms plum blossoms
plum blossoms plum blossoms

Packing as much as possible into a three day weekend, Joy and I drove to Yosemite leaving home at 4:30am and then hiked eight miles through the snow, camped overnight, came home, and took a train into the city where we dressed in formal wear and partied past midnight at a Jewish-Korean wedding that included traditional ceremonies, cocktails, dinner, dancing, and then a full-blown rock concert by a band out of Chicago, all in the atmospheric old Great American Music Hall. In the morning we met friends for brunch, then packed up and went home to San Mateo to trim the grass, clean the house, and wash some laundry.
california cow country badger pass trailhead, yosemite tree with lichen
joy at the valley rim west of dewey point joanna at dewey point, yosemite dewey point, yosemite
lichen covered trees on the snowshoe trail walking into ice fog
foggy forest yosemite valley, wawona tunnel view evening sunlight
photographers at sundown yosemite valley at day's end stella, our pet for a weekend
old town pasadena dosa and potatoes at the getty villa, malibu
antiquities at the getty villa, malibu antiquities at the getty villa, malibu landscaping
landscaping at the getty villa, malibu antiquities at the getty villa, malibu the getty villa, malibu
Sophie, master of cable-chewing spring salad greens mmmm salad

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