Monday, September 06, 2010

Inbetween Days

It's Labor Day weekend and that's supposed to mean cooler temperatures and the unofficial beginning of the fabulousness of fall--crisp, cool mornings, the woodsy aroma of leaves changing color and crunching under your kicky new fall shoes, and the warm sugary smell of apple pie baking in the oven. Right? I know I'm not making that shit up. At least that's what I always knew growing up in New England. I have a picture of me starting first grade, which had to be right around Labor day, and I'm wearing a dress, tights, mary-janes, a cardigan and my long hair down over my neck. So either my mother was a sadist (highly doubtful) or it was cool enough in the autumns of my childhood to rock some serious fall fashion right after Labor day.

Here in Northern California? This is not autumn. Not even close. In land, where we live, we are stewing in 90+ degree heat today and wondering when it will cool off*. Today, I tried on a t-shirt, a gauzy scarf & a cardigan, stepped outside and almost melted into an angry puddle of TOODAMNHOT! and had to go in remove the scarf & sweater. We're lucky that we've got dewy mornings and cool breezy evenings, but mid-day continues to rake us over the surface of the sun, kicking and screaming the whole way.

So what do you do? You head to the coast, where you can count on a good 20 degree temperature drop. Saturday, we treated ourselves to a day of friends-from-home bonding in Santa Cruz with our friends Danny & Sally; Dan was the best man in our wedding and they moved out to Nor Cal the same time we moved to LA. It is a seriously fabulous situation to have some of your closest friends from home living 45 minutes from you--in a beach town.

First they fed us some super amazing brunch-y foods

Then, Sophie, the coolest dog ever, smiled at me:

Ethan, of course, in a room with all those delicious food choices, opted for an apple:

And in keeping with the food theme, we made an Ethan burrito out of Sally's yoga mat.

After we were sufficiently stuffed, we headed to the beach:

Ethan has turned into quite the little wave jumper. I guess, in some ways, having an extended summer is actually a really good thing. In a sand-in-all-our-parts-exhausted-at-the-end-of-the-day-drunk-from-the-sun kind of way.

Today, I had hoped we would make a 90-degree turn from summer to autumn and go apple picking. But in yet another reminder that I am Mother Nature's bitch, we discovered that it's not quite apple season here (and mind you, when I say "apple season" I am not referring to the same kind of flannel shirt and sweater wearing, hot apple cider drinking type of apple season I would be referring to back East. We'll be gathering our Halloween pumpkins in short-sleeves, I'm pretty sure). But the farm we wanted to go to informed me that they still had a bumper crop of strawberries. In September.

So we went. Out to Watsonville, to this place . I know. Weirdest name for a farm ever. And I have to point out the irony of the fact that all kinds of workers were out there ON LABOR DAY, picking the crops as we drove through the country side on our way to the pick-your-own place. Um. Hello. The Man didn't get the memo, I guess.

I didn't do a lot of apple picking or farm hopping growing up. I started that mostly in the DC area, out in rural Northern Virginia. And I was so spoiled. I'm not sure any place in California will be able to live up to the idyllic beauty of the rolling orchard hills and the hay rides. But this place was pretty good, even if we were sweating.

Ethan pretended to ride the BIG. RED. TRACTOR.

And tunneled through some bales of hay to save this random apple, that was lying on the ground. That I swear we did not pick. Because it's not apple-picking season yet.

Look. Another random apple. But don't pick 'em! It's not apple picking season yet. Grrrr...

Sometimes the cute just leaves me speechless. Is it okay to say that about your own kid?

Then we headed out into the pick-your-own strawberry fields.

We had a bit of a time explaining to Ethan that you don't chuck the strawberries into the bucket, or you will bruise them. Apparently, to him, "strawberry picking" sounded an awful lot like "practicing our slam dunks." This made for a whole lot of "sampling" as we weeded the mauled-by-Ethan berries from our buckets.

Dude! Gently.

Husband and Ethan stuck to their chosen row like good little worker bees. I, however, kept being hit with row envy, and any time I saw what looked like a juicy berry on the next row over, I had to jump the row and pick in a new spot. I wound up several rows away from them at one point. If I were a migrant worker, I would have so been fired for my erratic behavior in the fields and my inferior berry-picking skillz.

Ethan and Husband finally decided to join me in my final row of choice, lest we be separated forever by the sea of strawberries between us. My berry picking ADD was fierce.

The spelling here? Makes me twitch, people.

Someone may have gotten into the berries a bit...

Tomorrow, instead of whipping up apple pies and baked apples, and apple crumbles and apple-cinammon muffins, we'll be figuring out what to do with strawberries, so for the love of G-d, people, send me some recipes!

(also? I just checked the weather report and it's supposed to be 69 tomorrow for the high!! sweetbabyjeebus, please let that be true!)


Sue said...

So funny that you have strawbs now. We have them here in FL in Feb!

The BEST way to have them is sliced and add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of sugar (depending on how sweet they are) and let them "stew in their juices" for an hour or so. Serve over pound or angel food cake. Yummmmmm!

Crafty is the new black said...

Welcome to NorCal, my dear! We are planning a huge OUTDOOR Halloween Party...It's rarely cold much before Thanksgiving here (sorry to tell ya :) )

Corinne said...

Looks like it was a fabulous weekend, even without the apple picking :)

Becca said...

Looks pretty great! I do love strawberries. But yes, I am also ready for fall. I am wearing a cardigan over my tank top now and refusing to take it off even though it is eighty something. You hear that summer, you bitch? GET OUT! It's fall's turn!!