John and I are always looking for fun things to do on the weekends since I’m cooped up at home for work during the week, so I was super excited when one of his friends gave us the fantastic idea to go berry picking.
There are a few pick-your-own fruit places in the bay area, but we decided on one that’s somewhere in between Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay. It advertised ollalieberries, which are a complicated cross between various combinations of raspberries and blackberries. I managed to get carsick on top of already being sick (forgot the ginger and it’s 1.5 hours along a windy road) but berry picking was a unique (hot, sweaty, dusty, fun) experience.
We picked $3.00 worth of ollalieberries and blackberries, which ended up being maybe 1.5 pints worth? Plenty for us. I wanted some tayberries too, but we didn’t end up finding them. I’m not sure why, but there were hardly any signs to direct people where to go, which thoroughly irritated my inner organizational freak.
We also stopped by to pick strawberries, but since they aren’t quite in season we just checked out the field and then bought some.
Afterwards we went to downtown Santa Cruz, and I’m not going to lie, that was easily my favorite part of the day. Shade! Shops! Food! Ice cream! We drove by an amazing beach filled with kite surfers along the way, which made me homesick for San Diego. Visiting the beach doesn’t seem like much of a thing in the bay area, so I’m a huge fan of Santa Cruz.
Sometimes the pictures that the iPhone takes amaze me. I didn’t have my big camera so I only had my phone, and while I got some decent pictures, I’m definitely taking a better camera next time. It really was that blue.
Because we only moved into this apartment a year ago, the backyard is full of mystery plants. Most of the unidentified plants are weeds, which have regrettably turned one side of the area into a wasteland despite my continuous efforts to uproot most of the plant life.
It hasn’t been hard removing the majority of the weeds since the yard is covered with a layer of wood chips that prevent them from rooting deeply, but there are a couple of tenacious weeds that have dug their roots in deep.
Two of the “weeds” are nearly two feet tall and refused to come out of the ground no matter how hard I pulled. When these plants flowered and then sprouted giant puffballs, I assumed they were some kind of enormous dandelion, but a little research has revealed that they aren’t dandelions at all, but salsify plants.
Apparently the salsify has edible but bitter roots that taste like parsnips. While I have no intention of eating them, I did appreciate the dandelion-like head of the plant, which photographs nicely.
As a side note, we saw the most bizarre behavior with a few little birds and these plants – the birds would hop onto the branch near the puffball and bounce up and down like it was some kind of fantastic salsify trampoline.
Not sure what they were doing, but since those seeds disperse just like dandelion seeds, I’m hoping we don’t end up with a yard full of birdie jungle gyms later this year.
John and I went on our first trip in the bay area. We visited the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in Half Moon Bay to see the tide pools and the seals.
The tide pools actually weren’t very impressive, without a lot to see, but there were some awesome tree-lined walking paths that were great for photographing.
There were definitely some amazing colors in the trees, though it was freezing cold. I didn’t dress warmly enough.
After we walked around here for a couple of hours we had lunch, then visited a farm, where they sold roses, vegetables, carnivorous plants, and orchids. I got a couple orchids, one yellow and one white which have survived so far.
It was a fun trip. I think we’ll visit Santa Cruz next, or maybe some other hiking trails.
Here’s the entire photo gallery: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pixelcat/sets/72157630850313526/