Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Hayfever Haze

We have been having  absolutely beautiful weather here, in sad contrast to the rest of the country that seems to be inundated with floods and tornadoes.  Fortunately, we took a spur-of-the-moment trip out to the desert the last week in April, because temps there now are climbing fast. Every year we manage to get out several times, to see the wildflowers or to hike or to soak in the hots prings at Agua Caliente, or just to sit in the quiet and enjoy the sound of rocks baking in the sun.

This time there had been some recent cold weather on the mountain, and the normally-sad-looking dead pines on the flanks of Palomar were dusted with snow, making them look like something from a fairy tale.

The flowers in the back country were still out; if you could see this picture a bit better, you'd see the wild lilac still in bloom.   Puddles, ponds - even lakes - of tiny yellow flowers were every where.

However, the desert floor had pretty much moved on to an early-summer display of ocotillio and cactus blooms.   Nothing much out of the ordinary.

As luck would have it (?) we chose a weekend when the park was celebrating Archeology Week, and the opening of a new addition to the archeology lab.  There was quite a crowd at the museum center, with lectures, displays, and walks geared to the occasion.  They also were having a silent auction as a fund raiser.  One of the items really caught my eye: a small oil painting that reminded me of the flowers that we had just passed on the way down.   And not one, single bid on it!  I wrote down $20, and then forgot about it.  I knew it would be snapped up by someone in the crowd.

Pretty, Isn't it?  The artist was Betty Greer Rikansrud, and she lives in Julian, but no one knew anything else about her. 

We toured the little lab, poked around in the museum, and then went back to our camp to make dinner.  No one called about the auction, which closed at 5 PM.  Sniff.

The next morning we poked around a bit more, then took our time and headed home back over the mountain.  No snow this time.

Heard a covey of quail calling at one of our stops: chi-kee-ta, chi-kee-ta.  In just a few minutes they all came tumbling out of the brush, tottering down a big boulder with top-knots wagging.

The whole trip was less than 24 hours, but it was as restorative as a week's vacation.

ML was rejuvenated upon our return, and started in painting the water tank and - between coats - tearing apart the old metal truck body.

To celebrate, I made a  dutch baby,  covered with strawberries (soaked in Grand Marnier) and  a ton of mulberries  from our heavily laden tree.

As RR would say, Yummm-O!

At about noon the next day, I got a call from a docent at the park telling me that I had won the little painting.  "When can you come pick it up?" he innocently asked.