It's Spring on the North Coast
I wish I could tell you what kind of flowers these are, but there sure are a lot of them, for the flower-deprived, they were heaven.
Citrus blooms very early in those parts of California where there is no threat of freezing, and this dwarf grapefruit tree was only one of many heavily-laden citrus trees we passed as we strolled around Sonoma on Friday.
We toured the historic San Francisco Solano mission; the California missions are a very unique part of our history and culture, and there are few other places with such an intriguing and controversial background. They were built to be a day's walk (as in ALL day at a brisk pace) from each other, which is amazing in itself. They also led to the demise of the native culture and the early introduction of a long-lasting distinct Spanish influence. The link I posted is just one of many if you are curious.
I took this photo to capture the detail of the adobe wall.
We also toured General Vallejo's home,Lachryma Montis. The good General was in charge of the Spanish territory at the time it capitulated to the United States in 1846, and lived another 35 years or more in the area, where he left a lasting impression on the wine industry and community endeavors.
This is a much more ornate version of the same Carpenter Gothic style that our Camptonville house I featured a few weeks ago represents.
Our last stop in Sonoma before heading to Glenn's sister's for the night was the Depot Museum, where we had a excellent visit with curator, Diane Smith. We always love to chat with fellow history lovers.
This canvas was at the Depot museum, and is an early form of advertising art.
We also liked these boots, which were actual grizzly bear feet once, back before the griz was driven to extinction here in California by miners during the Gold Rush.
Glenn's sister and her husband had left for the night by the time we arrived in Santa Rosa, but we all planned to meet in Fort Bragg Saturday afternoon, to surprise Grandpa Jim. We had a leisurely drive through the Anderson Valley and past Mendocino, before spending a few hours strolling around downtown Fort Bragg. I found a great LYS, Navarro River Knits, but unfortunately, the picture didn't "take"... my DH even asked if I was planning to write a review for my blog (I'm getting him trained!). I did find much there I liked, and a visitor to the North Coast could easily find all the ingredients for a new sweater or other project and lug them back to their hotel room, with a big picture window overlooking the surf of course, and while away a stormy afternoon ocean-watching.
Five of us did manage to totally surprise Grandpa at his gear shed (he is a not-really-retired commercial fisherman) in the afternoon, with Grandma's help at the other end of the phone. We found out he was on his way out to use one of his table saws, beat him there, and sat around in a circle of chairs, totally catching him off gaurd when he unlocked the door... "Hey, what are you guys doing in here?!"
We had a large and rowdy family dinner in his honor at The Wharf, and toasts and good cheer and seafood abounded, as well as cake and ice cream when we got back to their house. Several of us stayed with Mom and Dad, including all but two of their grandchildren, and got to have a leisurely Sunday morning breakfast together.
Don't they look like kids who never grew up? Diana gave each of her three children these shirts last year (in case you can't tell, they read "Mom likes ME best") but only the boys insist on wearing them when we get together - Erika says she is confident where she stands and doesn't need a shirt to prove it!
Then, we took a family stroll along the beach before we all had to depart to our separate homes...
The surf was a bit rough at MacKerricher Beach, but the day was glorious.
It might be a bit hard to tell, but those light brown big blobs are sea lions, basking in the sun. It is pupping season and we could view them from behind a cable higher up on the beach, but not get too close.