Monday, March 3, 2014

We hugged our neighbors, exchanged contact information, and left the Fountain of Youth at 9:00 (more precisely, for those travel-mates who are precise: 8:57am) I began my end of the wrap-up, pack-up, and get ready to go about a week and a half ago.  When I finished my Craft Show entries, I began putting away my large collection of craft and sewing supplies.  For all you who are curious: I used some of every single thing I packed.  And, I brought MANY things, which were very obviously necessary to my artistic pursuits.  I am grateful for the large storage space below Dad’s queen-sized bed.  It is full, as is my half of the closet.  I am already making plans for what I am taking next year.  And, God willing, there will be a next year at FOY, with perhaps a week in Palm Springs to see the sights and shop…..at somewhere in addition to a grocery store.  My neighbor announced that WE would be going thrift store shopping next year, and also to Mexico, so I had better bring my passport.  I will bring my passport again next year.  I am up for an adventure.

Of all the drives, the journey from FOY to Bakersfield (or vice versa) is my least favorite.  The first half involves a LOT of traffic, and this is never the most pleasant way to travel.   Many drivers operate their cars in a way that would make their mothers afraid.  I know about these things first hand…..but those days are over so I need not dwell on the stuff from whence nightmares come.  The second half of the trip wanders through vast nothingness.

This is what nothingness looks like.

This is what nothingness looks like.

In between these two stretches of the trip, we stopped for lunch at the ever delicious, fatty, and yet wonderful “In-N-Out Burgers,” in Hesperia, California.  It is the beauty of a restaurant.  We each ate what we wanted to eat.  Dad had a plain burger, Craig had a cheeseburger, and I had a cheese sandwich…..(a cheeseburger sans burger) with grilled onions.  My heart may hate me, but my brain thanks me.  I’m going with the brain, just for today.

Lunch......It was really good.

Lunch……It was really good.

We pulled into the Orange Grove RV Park around 4:00, tired and ready to stop.  The first order of business was, of course, martini making for Dad, neighbor-visiting (and dog walking) for Craig, and orange picking for me.  I went to the office to pick up our orange-picking gadget, and by the time I got back to the Hag, Dad was finished with his task and ready to pick.  You can’t hold a farmer back at harvest time.

It has been two months since our last stay and picking at the Orange Grove.  The once loaded with oranges trees looked to be mostly devoid of fruit, and as we wandered through the park we quickly realized the pickings were slim at best.  At this point, one of the parks maintenance crew happened by on his golf cart.  I asked him where we should go to pick.  He said, “Come with me. You have five minutes.”  With that said, he unlocked a gate, and let us into the maintenance yard, which sported several trees loaded with very large oranges.  One tree had easy to reach fruit and another had oranges at the upper most reaches.  I used my picker on those, and Dad happily picked the low hanging fruit.  We filled our bag, and asked our traditional farming questions (where does your water come from – 3 wells, the most recent one drilled last year and it’s 700 feet deep.  It’s been warmer and drier than usual, and the trees are budded and ready to bloom.  They’re VERY concerned as this is so early.  A dip in the temperature – as low as 45 degrees could seriously harm next years crop.  The presence of buds and last season’s fruit at the same time is not a problem, apparently.  And, yes, the fragrance when the trees are in full bloom is truly heaven.)  We thanked him profusely and headed back to the Hag for martinis and dinner.

Highlight of the day:  Being a farmer again, if only for a few short moments

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