Friday, August 01, 2008

Travelogue: San Diego day 6

Wednesday July 23, 2008
Laura and I had spent the night at my in-laws; after a family breakfast, Laura scampered off to work, leaving my MIL Barbara and I to consider our options for the day. I made the suggestion that we go out to Summer's Past Farms, if it wasn't too far away.
The farm was but eight miles, according to Google maps, out in Flinn Springs. Very do-able.

So away we went, leaving my FIL Hal to his own devices for the day.

Barbara had never been to Summer's Past Farms before. I hadn't been in years and years.

In fact, the first time I went it was just lots of fields growing statice flowers. The couple who were starting the business had had the land in the family for years. They took a horticultural program at the local community college, drew up a business plan and started in.

Upon my first visit (fifteen?) years ago, all they were doing were raising flowers to sell to local flower shops and markets.

By the next visit they had added a barn and few other buildings. Then I never visited them again. I did remember that on the last visit I had first encountered chocolate mint, and variegated nasturtiums and had started on a scented foliage/variegated foliage collecting spree for my own garden.
Today I was in for a pleasant surprise.

The grounds had grown up considerably.

There were lovely gardens everywhere.

There were paths everywhere between walls draped with beautiful flowers.

At the front of the property was a bean and corn maze in the making. The farm has a yearly pumpkin festival; the maze features into the some of the fun of that event.

The grounds still sell some plants, but the mostly the fields have been turned into English style flower gardens. Just perfect for two ladies with itchy camera trigger fingers.

A friendly cat served as our escort.

The reddish pink flowers in the foreground: I always called them Joe Pye weed.

They smell vaguely like vanilla and are very bountiful bloomers.

The sunflowers weren't doing too bad either. There were sunflower heads bigger than my own head drying hooked over fences about the place.

A now spent hollyhock had grown to dazzling heights. I wonder what color it had been, and envy the fact that it's seeds would scatter nicely about for next year's display.

Some garden areas were nearly overrun with lavender.
The bees were enjoying the lavender too; I couldn't help but wonder how tasty their honey must bee.

(Oops, I guess that should be spelled "be".)

There were secret hidden gardens too, just waiting for us to find as we wandered deeper into the gardens.

We discovered fairy gardens tucked away in the center of the gardens.

I think putting a fairy garden together would be more fun than making a doll house. But then again, I would rather garden than do housework any day!

One (theologically unsound) theory about the origins of fairies:

When the war in heaven broke out between the angels, the bad angels were cast to earth as demons. The good angels stay in heaven as angels. But there was a third group of angels that refused to take sides: They didn't want to get involved; they preferred to sing and play while the battle raged.

Later the neutral angels were cast to earth as fairies...since they didn't side with either side, they couldn't really be classified as either good or bad, but still enjoy singing and playing in gardens today.

At least that's how one legend goes.

Looks like a flower a fairy would enjoy visiting...

The barn of my memories has become a gift shop/class room. The statice flowers hang drying in bunches from the rafters. So many lovely pastel shades, such a lovely way to decorate overhead.

Inside the gift shop was lots of fairy related merchandise. I gave in and bought a book of flower fairy poetry. Each flower I have ever heard of has a poem dedicated to it, and a drawing from 1910-1920 of a fairy garbed as the flower.

(They will likely be featured on later posts....)

The fairy garden accessories: If I had a wee lass in my life, I would have been buying up the merchandise big time.

The little arbor arch was about 8 inches tall. I could really get my imagination going with these pieces. Especially the tiny wheelbarrows!

Summer's Past Farm's is making a bit of a name for itself with an annual Fairy Garden Festival in early June. People bring their fairy gardens there for judging and fairy winged children frolic through the garden alive with imaginary fairies.

It turned out that there were two Siamese cats on staff: Amber and Autumn. I forget which one this was, but clearly this cat is more comfortable helping out at the shop. Very friendly cats they were; we were escorted everywhere by a cat with brown stocking and sky blue eyes.

Barbara and I wandered about the grounds for almost an hour, seeing more and more details as we went along.

I'm not sure if small succulent dish gardens would work to lure fairies, but they as plants are so enjoyable for their sculptural shapes and dusty pastel shades.

In the middle of the grounds there was a shade cloth covered area where you can sit for a bit. A tea and coffee bar is to the side; Barbara and I just sipped our bottled water and enjoyed visiting for a bit.

One of Lovella's chicken's stopped by to visit with us too.

(Hey of your layers flew the coop to San Diego!)

The garden had lots of places to sit and visit in picturesque settings, a good thing as Flinn Springs is quite a bit inland; it tends to get rather hot there in summer.

Probably my favorite view, with the typical brown California hills in the background.

An artist apparently agreed with me; he was creating an oil painting of that exact scene.

The happy chaos of English gardening style is so nice to stroll amongst.

Having finished ohh-ing and ahh-ing, and with the temperature heating up, we decided to head back to La Mesa, and to try to find a place for lunch.

Barbara asked if I had any suggestions as to where we should eat. I had no idea...a tea room, or a sandwich shop? We drove down the main street of little La Mesa village, where Barbara has lived for the past 51 years, and where I lived for nineteen years, and we were both quite surprised to see that what used to be a shop (we don't remember what kind of shop..) has now become a tea room. The sign over the front door was visible as we drove along:

Abrey Rose Tea Room.

Now La Mesa does have a lot of antique shops now, but it really isn't a la dee dah kind of place. Just nice and friendly like, with a 1950's town feel about it.

Barbara said she had never noticed the tea room before, but decided we should give it a try.

We parked around the corner and trooped in, me in shorts and a top, and she like wise casually attired.

Oh MY! This looked mighty fancy...but a mannequin dress in an old English tea gown held a sign noting that we should relax as the Queen would not be in today.

So we did relax, and we did stay for SUCH a treat!

We asked how long the tea room had been in operation.
Five years!
Barbara couldn't believe she had missed knowing about this place for so long!

Our table centerpiece consisted of two home grown heritage roses!

First course: A cold zucchini soup with red peppers, a goat cheese pastry boat, and a Swiss wafer.
The tiny rose looked good enough to eat too.

Second course: Delightful cheese tarts and cucumber sandwiches and fresh fruit and three kinds of desserts.

We were offered quite an extensive tea menu, and could have chose two kinds of teas, but we agreed on an herbal tea that was just delicious. I wish I could remember what was in it.
While we sipped and sampled, lovely soft Christian music played in the back ground. The waitress was a young woman dressed in a black dress and white apron.

Perfect, perfect, perfect!

The final course consisted of two lemon scones with lavender flower icing. It was so nice to have such a delicate scone, and another beautiful rose to enjoy.

There were two other "parties" while we were there, but each table is situated in a nook so it feels quite intimate. Don't you just love the water goblet covers? The waitress whipped ours off before I got a chance to snap a picture.
The tea shop also sold tea (of course) and English china, and doll tea sets, and HATS!
Wonderful, wonderful hats from an English milliner. They were very reasonably price too, around $65-110, not bad for a hand made hat with beautiful millinery trims.
I just could not believe that I was in a lovely tea room and I didn't have on a hat!

After we finished our luxurious tea time (and I later read a review that said Abrey Rose is booked solid on weekends; happy was I that we stumble upon it on a Wednesday afternoon!) we went headed out to Home Depot. Home Depot is a hardware/garden center chain, and the one in La Mesa at the foot of Massachusettes Ave. has one of the best nurseries in town.
I used to live up the street from it, and learned a lot by attending their free Saturday morning gardening classes. It was fun to see that it is still a great resource, especially since the Home Depots in Texas are rather disappointing nursery wise. Too much heat for the poor flowers to bear.
I was on the prowl for more fuchias for my parents garden; I wanted to get them several different kinds, one for Father's Day, one for Mother's Day, and one for my Mom's birthday, all of which events had happened during the past few weeks.

I could not believer that there were only THREE kinds of fuchias available!
And that there were riots of impatients; annoyingly Texas had almost no impatients available this year.

Yup, it was just as I remembered. I used to go and just drool over the plants and plan only to spend a dollar or two...and would instead come home with a trunk full of plants.

My MIL is a such a good sport: This time I wound up buying two eight inch pots of fuchias, and also a four foot tall fuchia tree. Which had to be squeezed into the front seat leaning back over me with the pot wedged between my feet.

Did I mention that I was riding in Barbara's brand new Camry?
Yeah...she is a REALLY good sport. But I was careful, and no dirt was spilled inside the car. Whew.

Back at her house I took a quick dip in their swimming pool to cool off before she drove me back to La Jolla.

It felt so lonely swimming there without Bernie. We had swam there while we dated, later when we lived in the house with our little ones (Jeff was "born" in that house) we swam with babies, and tossed them about as they learned to jump into the water. We would swim under the moonlight in the summer months, the black bottom pool reflecting the sky so it was impossible to tell where the pool ended and the night sky began.

Good memories...

We moved into the house when Laura was 9 months old. Fearful of her safety, we build a fence around the pool to prevent her from accidently entering the pool unseen. It wasn't a very pretty fence, but it served it purpose and made family gatherings a bit safer after we moved out and Barbara and Hal moved back in.

Eventually there were four more grand babies born in the family after Laura, and later five great grandchildren learned to splash and play in that pool as well.

Barbara has grown an interesting vine through the fencing. The pink flowers don't even look real.

Whoever would imagine hard plastic like things like these would be the buds of such a flower?
Such buds, like today, are full of surprises!
Update: This is a Hoya vine.

(Tomorrow: the last day in La Jolla. And Rufus brings us a surprise!)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Travelogue: San Diego day 5

Tuesday July 22, 2008.
An absolutely SPECTACULAR day!!!!!
Bernie called me the night before, feeling quite down with an awful cold and loneliness.

Being out of work, with your wife out of town, alone on the eve of your daughter's 30th birthday...well, it was hard. We are both believing God has a job for Bernie. He had already interviewed twice with a company in SLC, and they had said they would be in touch with him on Friday.

That Friday had come and passed four days ago. Hard to keep hoping and waiting.

The very next morning on July 22nd I get another call: Bernie has gotten the long awaited call, and received a job offer!


Salt Lake City, here we come!

(I had already found a job a few weeks back, and had received my job offer before I left for San Diego. But that is another story for another post....)

So Mom and Dad and I all did the Praise the Lord Happy Dance!

Of course I will be blogging about the details of our future, but for now, I just want to report the details of that day as it happened.

Like I said before, it was spectacular!

Mom had noticed that there was a showing of Georgia O'Keeffe art at the San Diego Museum of Art down in Balboa Park. Would I be interested in going to see it?
Of course.

I am always up for art, and definitely always up for a day in the lovely park.

The park was mostly built in 1915 for a Pan American Exposition, later 1935 there was more added to the park for the California Pacific Exposition.
My dad's dad raised most of the money for that event; my dad and his twin sisters attended the Exposition frequent. Lots of interesting stories and pictures from then, so the park has a special place in my family history.
I do admire the Moorish style architecture!
Mom invited her friend June to join us. The two Junes came out to visit me a awhile back; they are great long time friends (over thirty years now.) I always enjoy getting together with June.

I dropped them off at a restaurant in the park and found parking, no easy task but once again I lucked out and found something nearby. I dawdled a bit shooting flower pictures as I walked to rejoin them, getting handsy with the flowers and enjoying examining the stamen.

As we eat lunch, we watch cranes putting together a new sculpture in the park.
We are not happy about this.
The two buildings behind the red "thing" are the signature buildings of the park; I do not think red bits and pieces add anything to the view.
In fact, I think it is distracting.
Oh well.
(Nobody asked me what I thought about it anyway.)

In one of the gardens in the park there are lovely tiled fountains. Sara posted about these same fountains awhile ago, I thought of her as I enjoyed seeing them again in real life.

Back lit flowers: Now there's a new photography trick. These sunflowers look so amazing with the sun lighting them from behind.

The canna lily leaves take on a stained glass with back lighting. I totally dig this picture!

Now technically the art show we were at the park to see was not just about O'Keeffe.
She was just one of several women artists "discovered" and mentored by a male photographer named Stieglitz.

I was about to learn a few things, and to finally figure out something else.

The exhibit not only had the art of all the women and the photography of Stieglitz, it also had the photographic portraits of each of the women by Stieglitz. I loved this photo. What a sweet face and graceful costume.

Most of the women began showing their works between 1900 and 1920. (The Twenties theme continued...maybe I should of worn my costume.)

As it turned out, I liked the art work of Katharine Rhoades better than Georgia O'Keeffe
I learned that Stieglitz not only promoted the art of each of the women, he also seduced each of them as well.
Each of them save Katharine.
Atta girl Kate
Just say no to the old leach.

One of Rhoades paintings that I liked very much.

Now Stieglitz was quite taken by O'Keeffe work, and when a friend showed some of her paintings to him, he immediately put them in a gallery on display in 1916.
This horrified O'Keeffe, she had not been informed that this was to happen.
Within a year however she was quite comfortable being an acclaimed artist.
Stieglitz was enthralled by her, and considered her to be his artistic muse. There were several photographic portraits of O'Keeffe by Stieglitz, most of which focused on her hands. Generally she had an almost hurt/angry/uncomfortable expression upon her face.
One photo caught every one's attention: O'Keeffe was wearing a white kimono robe, and had exposed one breast, which she held with both hands, using her finger tips like she was not happy about having to touch herself.
Almost everyone viewing the picture had the same comment:
"Don't forget your mammogram!"

Stieglitz, (23 years older than O'Keeffe,) married O'Keeffe in 1924; they continued in their marriage until his death in 1946, she lived until 1986, at age 99.
A few months back I had come across a photography book of Stieglitz's photo, and had been astonished to find multiple nude photos of O'Keeffe amongst his works.
Now I (sort of) understand how they came to be.
What I still don't get is why she always looked so sad/tired/unhappy in all her photos, like this one just before she bared her breast.

Here's one of her paintings that was on display.

I rather liked this one of seaweed by O'Keeffe.

In the next gallery I found this painting, also by a woman artist.
I think the lady in the painting, (Mildred is her name...) must have been a very interesting person.
Just get a load of her fabulous hat!

Librarian me: must have picture of this picture.

Back outside the I am still admiring the architecture. I wish I could take tour with a historian who could tell me about all the details on the buildings.

A horticulturist to tell me the names of the flowers would be nice too.

The trees in the park are just HUGE!

I smiled to see Columbine, a very untypical San Diego flower.
They grow well in SLC, don't they?

This floral oddity...have you every imagined a flower like this?

The feeling in the park is so vast. Navy helicopters often dot the sky, reminding one that indeed, San Diego is a Navy town.

I don't know why I didn't get better pictures of Mom and June.
Wished I had had them pose! They are both so lovely and they deserve a better picture than this one!

We left the park and headed to Laura's work to drop me off. I was to go with Laura out to La Mesa, to Bernie's childhood home for her OFFICIAL birthday celebration.
Traffic was bad, as usual, as we headed towards Mt. Helix, which overshadows the little town.

There was a surprise waiting at my in-laws home: A bouquet of thirty white roses for the newly minted 30 year old from her daddy!

And TWO cards from her brother, along with a gift.
(Everyone was really into cards this year...)

We headed out for a Birthday dinner at Mario's.

Everyone had their usual favorite Mexican dish.

Then back to the old homestead for more cards and gifts.

My BGF Gail knows Laura a bit too well...three boxes of HOT TAMALES!
Not so much because Laura likes HOT TAMALES!! but that she ACTS like a HOT TAMALE!!!!!
all the time.
So Gail actually sent her THREE boxes, one for each decade.

Laura is always on the wonder I got a blurry shot!

Grampa S. and Laura bantered while she opened gifts.

And when the subject of fish came up....
Best fish impersonation in town!
That's my girl!
(And she swears she is going to start acting her age starting tomorrow...)

Grandma got Laura a cake with a Little Mermaid candle, because Laura is actually a mermaid you know.

Would you believe 30 cards?
And three boxes of HOT TAMALES!!!!

Thirty white roses....

Every one of them was a beauty....

Just like my girl.

And yes, Laura, you really, really are thirty now!
And we really really are going to SLC!!!!