post by Mary Whealen
Oh not ALL of California, just that "other" CA, you know the part of it away from the coast and well-known population centers..... the part of it where most of us could afford to live. (Because real estate in CA is insanely expensive, but this is not a blog post about that.)
Most of it has to do with my dog, but a lot of it is cultural as well. Where I live right now is the California outside that desirable coastal range where most of the iconic locations are; the inland valleys of desert, farmland, ranches, former gold rush country, small towns and mid-size cities, rural, conservative, with flora and fauna that takes itself very seriously.
Now, when most of the northern hemisphere is blossoming with springtime optimism, here in the other California it is blossoming poison oak. Everywhere!
For most people nighttime temps above 55 degrees are a welcome antithesis to winter's icy grip, here, where winter is so mild it reminds me of Seattle's summers, it means mosquitoes carrying heartworms and a new monthly drug to give my dog. It means burs of every conceivable shape and design, all with murderous intent toward all dogs but especially long-haired breeds. (There is one with a viciously barbed point atop a twisted shaft, with a semi-circular hoop at the other end that looks likes like a piece of miniaturized mining equipment.)
These developments are followed by the beginning of rattle snake season, and minor annoyance of scorpions. Which is followed by daytime temperatures in the high 90's, sometimes 100's so that one must be up and out at the crack of dawn to get the dog walked before temp's top 80 degrees. The sun shines down relentlessly, day after day after day without respite, making me long for the grey skies and drizzle of Seattle!
Months of heat and sunshine bring fire season! A danger made all too real when last September we had to evacuate for 5 days because of the Butte wildfire that burned 70 thousand acres and destroyed 500 homes. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butte_Fire
On the upside, the ticks go away for the summer! (Winter and spring they are horrible.)
And I don't know if it's a climate thing or what, but outside of major metropolitan areas, there is no decent coffee to be had in California!
And no one here seems to know the difference! They just don't have coffee in their souls. Which for someone from Seattle, gourmet coffee heaven, is cruel and unusual punishment.
Three different individuals have had a go at running a coffee shop here in town-- mostly the coffee was not good but at least it gave one the option not to have to drive 10 miles to a Starbucks-- but apparently there is just no market for it and the space has languished empty since the last owner's girlfriend left him and absconded with the espresso machine. Payment for services rendered I guess. In any comparable-sized town in Washington there would be at least 2 flourishing espresso stands!
And that, dear reader, all of the above, is why I hate California!