Thursday, March 22, 2012
our trip to Orland
Rachael and I just got back from a trip to Orland, where we got to see Granddenny and Granni Di for the first time in five or six years. We were expecting the weather to be warmer in sunny California--after all, it was still snowing in Seattle, while the weather reports said that Orland was consistently at least five degrees warmer--but we ended up being chilly much of the time. I was sorry I hadn't brought my hat and mittens!
Right outside the kitchen window there's a quince bush which is always covered with birds. We saw hummingbirds, house finches, warblers, and lots and lots of sparrows. The sparrows like to eat the quince blossoms, which is probably why the bush has only borne one fruit in the thirty or so years Granddenny's lived there. Below are pictured a white crowned and golden crowned sparrow I saw while I was fixing dinner:
We got to meet Lolly, the cute new Kelpie. Granddenny and Granni Di kept telling us that she was a naughty girl, but Rachael and I saw no sign of it except that she kept trying to herd her big sister Genna. She was really pretty, with her big expressive eyes and giant bat-ears--Granddenny thinks she looks like Anubis. She was sweet and cuddly, too, and followed Rachael around the house to be petted.
We went to John Carter in Chico (Rachael's a big Michael Chabon fan and Granddenny liked the books when he was little), and afterwards took a tour of Bidwell Mansion. Granddenny and I had last gone there over thirty years ago, and neither of us remembered much except the case of stuffed birds in John Bidwell's office and the life-sized painting of him from which his eyes follow you all around the house. Unfortunately, budget cuts will close up Bidwell Mansion forever on May first unless its friends raise a bunch of money.
One of the high points of our trip was a visit to the Chico farmers' market. When we went to it in previous visits it was always summertime, and it was pretty similar to farmers' markets in Seattle except that the tomatoes and eggplants were cheaper. It was really different in March! We saw sugarcane,
My favorite rice farm had a booth,
and I got a real bargain on these unpasteurized almonds which were only $15 for five pounds.