Snowy Grapevine, Rainy Central Valley, Unappetizing Sagebrush (Shallow Thoughts)

Akkana's Musings on Open Source, Science, and Nature.

Tue, 04 Jan 2005

Snowy Grapevine, Rainy Central Valley, Unappetizing Sagebrush

The Grapevine, the pass through which Interstate 5 crosses the mountains north of LA, was covered in snow today. Gorman, near the highest point of the pass, was blanketed in white, not even bushes or grass poking through.

We'd hesitated before coming this way -- the Caltrans web site had listed the pass as closed until a scant half hour before we left. Signs on the highway at Castaic still said the pass was closed, but we put our trust in the web, and forged on. Happily, the road was open, clean of snow, and barely even wet, giving a lovely view of the snowy Transverse Ranges as we passed through this unexpected white christmas. Also fun was seeing a double semi trailer full of oranges passing through this wintry landscape.

Descending into the central valley, we saw the first "Food grows where water flows" sign at Buttonwillow, pinned to a trailer in a field of sagebrush and tumbleweed. Perhaps a goat would have found some food there. At least sage (which I do like in cooking) is closer to culinary than the cotton that all the farms here were growing for the last two years (presumably due to subsidies) the remnants of which still litter most of the empty fields along the I-5 corridor.

"Farm water feeds the nation", fifty miles farther north, also stood in a field of tumbleweed, but the California Aqueduct was nearby, so it was at least somewhat topical. The next "Food grows where water flows" adjoined a vinyard. Does wine count as food? Maybe they were table grapes.

The Buttonwillow rest stop features lovely woven hanging birds' nests, visible now when the trees are bare of leaves and looking like something out of an African weaverbird documentary. I didn't get a good look at the birds occupying those trees now; usually those I-5 rest stops are populated mostly by blackbirds and ravens, but I'll have to keep a sharp eye out next time I pass through in spring.

[ 18:33 Jan 04, 2005    More misc | permalink to this entry ]