Saturday, September 12, 2009

Date Farming Rocks!

San Francisco ended up being amazing! We walked all over, stopping in shops, and exploring the mission and Haight street. Very cool. After cheap burritos and great bluegrass, we were definitely exhausted!
After San Fran we drove to Santa Cruz to stay with another friend that Harriet and Ted hooked us up with: Jim. A marine bio contractor and avid musician, we spent the evening playing old time tunes and being introduced to instruments from all over the world. We took a walk on the beach which is really popular for skim boarding and dog walks, and watched the sunset over monterrey bay, very cool. The next morning we spent relaxing on the beach where we saw seals, shore birds, sea otters, and two dolphins that came up about 10 feet from shore. We then went to the southern end of the bay to explore some tide pools before heading down big sur!
We drove most of it in the dark, it was almost impossible to find a campsite under 35 dollars, and we ended up staying past big sur. so what did we do the next day? we got up and drove it back north! it was amazing, twisting roads, cliffs, and the pacific ocean's energy with us the whole way.
That night we stopped in Atascadero to hang out with some more family of Harriet and Teds (thank you thank you thank you!) and it was our first glimpse of the desert. Pizza and Beer night was great! And watching TV for the first time in FOREVER was a real treat.
we headed out the next day and spent a night camping in the national forest...nice to find a place for labor day weekend but WAY too many bugs, it was pretty unbearable. But we got to chat (a LOT) with the campground host, a nearly toothless man who had lived in the forest for years followed around by a little chihuahua. He loooved to tell us stories, easy to imagine it getting lonely up there. But he brought us firewood and kept us up on the news (haha) and was very nice!
The next day we headed out for Joshua Tree! We camped right outside the park where we were convinced the apocolypse was about to happen because of the way the clouds looked in the sky, lit up bright red by the sunset and looking like tsunami waves about to engulf us, the wind blowing so hard we could barely boil water or get the tent set up, but everything worked out ok and in the morning we were at Joshua Tree. A good friend of Em B's Brett came and stayed with us that night and it was fun to sit around, play tunes, and get some familiarity from home and college days. He took us rock climbing the next day, much harder than it looks especially in the desert heat, without proper shoes, and a low water supply. I think both of us decided it wasnt much our thing, but we had fun none the less. We spent our last night on the road sitting around a fire and reminiscing about the past 5 and 1/2 weeks on the road! We impressed ourselves!
The next morning we drove to the farm wondering what was in store for us. We drove in and were kind of shocked at the initial picture of the place, but soon found it to be a small paradise (read on...). Robert and Christina greeted us, very warmly I might add, and took us on a little tour. The main house isnt much more than a converted double wide, but walk out back and youll find two bungalows (our bedrooms), a greenhouse, and another room built along a walkway. Out front is a pool fit with another bungalow, a walk in cooler, and 11 acres of date palms and citrus trees. We got our first taste at picking dates that night, had a really nice dinner, and went to bed early so that we could get up the next morning and join Christina and Robert at the Santa Monica farmers market. Yes, we got up at 2:30am. Weird....
But the market was amazing, blocks and blocks of fresh veggies, fruit, meat, milk, and everything you can imagine. Blew east coast markets out of the water.
For the past few days we've just been sorting and picking dates. The work isnt hard, but its Hot Hot Hot...115 degrees at the hottest part of the day. We've beent aking advantage of the pool and mid day siestas, and looking forward to exploring the valley soon!
I (Em S) also wanted to leave a very happy birthday for my nana. I hope its great, I know Scott is there with you!!! and I love you very much! Hopefully I will get to see you during these holidays and talk to you soon!