Saturday, March 17, 2007

Vernal Jeep-quinox

The San Lorenzo Valley in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California during the rainy season. Ft. Harrington is in the middle of the frame but, like tens of thousands of other residences, it cannot be seen because of the engulfing forest of Sequoia Sempervirens.

Please click on any image to see a significantly higher-resolution version.

Ft. Harrington is in the Santa Cruz Mountains of central California, a little bump pushed up by a kink in the San Andreas Fault. That little kink provides a barrier to the prevailing flow of air from the Pacific, and wrings out about six feet of rain on an annual basis, almost all of that falling in the five months from November through March. The redwood forest here is, officially and actually, a rain forest.

One of the surest signs that our long drenching is just about over is when this:

turns into this:

Putting up and taking down a Jeep's ragtop is more like tent building than convertible-top operation, so mine tends to stay securely in place all winter. The transformation this afternoon took about ten minutes, and the quick changes in light and shadow here in the deep woods can be noted by comparing the areas of light and shadow (and reflections in the driver's door panel) in those two frames. Trees like this will tend to do that to spots of daylight on the ground:

(The tallest group in this picture, taken this afternoon, is on our property; the other one in the background is on a neighbor's. Both sets are rings of second-growth redwood, offshoots from the roots of giant trees that used to be in their centers, harvested a century ago.)

Spring is the Wrangler's season, it seems. It's a toy, and a joy, that doesn't have any real purpose but to entertain (unlike Diane's red '92 Cherokee -- which can be glimpsed in the background of the above photos -- or our workhorse Dodge pickup.) It marks happy times in our past seven springs. A few examples:

Spring, 2000

My sons Doug and Adam happily investigate their dad's new toy. The popped hood was Doug's doing -- I don't think he had any clue about details of how modern power plants work, but, being an alpha male, he had to appear to seriously ponder it, anyway.

Doug took this picture of his brother Adam, his wife Adrianne, and his dad (no, that's not Jerry Garcia, thank you very much). This was before Doug and Adrianne graced us with Grace-the-Granddaughter.

Spring, 2003

The Wrangler doesn't go too far afield. This is about as far as it gets: a little park just across the state (the narrow way) from us.

Spring, 2004

Grace-the-Granddaughter practices her California-Girl-in-a-Convertible pose. She's doing pretty well here, don't you think?

Kesley-the-dog is in heaven when the Wragtop's down.

March, 2006

Not all springs are as mild as this one has been here on the West Coast. Last March was the wettest, most wintry of the rainy months that season -- and included a pretty good dusting of snow on the 12th, almost exactly a year ago.

(Above) Part of the rambling central house in Ft. Harrington, early in the morning of the snow. (Below) Looking toward the kitchen entrance later in the snowy morning.

We get a little snowfall about once or twice a year. It doesn't stick around long, but the animals (humans included) get a kick out of it. Here, Alnitak appreciates the phenomenon:


Mike said...

Sherwood, you're not going to get a lot of feedback if the only thing you leave us to say is "Wow."

However, I'll try ...

"Wow. Cool pics. 'Specially the second shot of Ft. Harrington in the snow. No, cancel that. Specially most of them"

But that's really just an extension of "wow."

Zooomabooma said...

Some very nice pics there! Truly brings to the forefront of my mind the question - Why, oh why, do people wanna live where it's flat and doesn't snow?

P.S. I think that is Jerry Garcia!

Sherwood Harrington said...

Interesting that the two comments so far have come from Maine and Alaska -- places where snow is a fact of life for months, not an occasional freak of odd weather.

Mike, "wow" is just fine with me, and thanks!

Chris, hey, nice to meet you! Given your musical tastes on your Profile, I'll take the Jerry Garcia thing as a compliment!

Also, given your musical proclivities, you might be amused by what's on the Wrangler's 1-disk CD player right now.

Keep running!