A technician told me the other day that he didn’t mind driving home 35 minutes from work. When he had lived 2 minutes from work, he always took a drive out into the country to relax before he went home. His story inspired me to take you on a drive with me as I relax on my way home from work.
You are seeing rural California at its best. The temperature is a perfect 80 degrees. The air smells fresh and clean. You can open your car windows, forget about air conditioning, and let the wind mess up your hair because you are going home.
I stopped along the way to take these pictures, and walked out into the middle of the street. I could take my time snapping pictures because there is only evidence of human habitation here – telephone poles, garbage can, and, of course, groves and groves of trees, not so many real humans.
The foremost crop in this part of Tulare County is citrus. Oranges have just been picked for the most part, and although there are still a few in the trees, they are small.
Without irrigation, this area is very arid. I took this picture on May 22, 2012, and the hills are already brown, and there are not even any weeds growing along the side of the road.
This is one of my favorite turns in the road. It changes season by season, but is always beautiful. Dark clouds, sometimes a heavy downpour, come occasionally from December until maybe as late as April and create a dramatic skyscape for the snow-capped peaks. In early spring the white peaks of the Sierra Nevada contrast with a bluer sky. On a windless mid-summer day dusty air hides the mountains, and in the fall the few deciduous trees turn orange and yellow.
Coming from the Midwest, and later the Northwest I had to develop an appreciation for the color brown. In the Central Valley of California water comes from wells, reservoirs, and we also import water from the north. A few years ago many, many trees died because farmers couldn’t get enough water. Now those groves have been replanted.
You can see the drip irrigation hose wrapped around the first tree and stretches to all the trees in the row. Some types of groves are flood irrigated periodically instead, but this is the most common method of watering citrus trees that I have seen in this area.
I grew up in cities. I love them, the activities, the lights, the people, but my technician friend was right. When I lived there, my family and I always took drives into the country to relax before or after going home. Now I relax by going home, but have to go to cities so I don’t turn into a vegetable. I am blessed to have both in my life.