Sunday, April 23, 2006

Poppies will put them to...wait, where the hell are the poppies?

Those of you outside the State of California may or may not know that our State flower is the California Poppy. The flowers are protected (maybe all State flowers are?), and you are not allowed to pick or damage any California poppies. So, it would make sense that the State would set up a reserve for this special flower.

I've wanted to go to see the poppy reserve for years now. I usually forget about them until July or so when they are no longer blooming, but April really is their best month. My calendar at work has a picture of the poppy reserve this month, so I had a daily reminder that we just had to go see them this year. I cajoled BT into making the long drive up to the Antelope Valley in northern Los Angeles County. I figured we could also stop at the Poppy Festival, and visit BT's brother and our little niecies. The perfect day, in my book...

On the way up, we stopped at The Apple Pan. Supposedly this is one of the top ten burgers in Los Angeles, and I believe it. I had a hankering for the tangy barbecue sauce that they put on the hickory burger - yummers. BT gets a kick out of the gruff counter staff guys, but that's just their schtick, and The Apple Pan wouldn't be the same without them.

On to the poppies. I was really quite excited, I guess 'cause I had built it up as something I felt I just had to do, and had forgotten about it so many years in a row.

Here is a picture of what the poppy reserve normally looks like (sorry to borrow the pic, but I had to for comparison purposes)

(Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve)

...and here is what the reserve looked like yesterday

The poppies were just...gone!! It was very windy, but it wasn't like you could see all the blooms curled up on the plants. There was hardly any evidence of poppies anywhere, no blooms or their distinctive greenery. No poppies as far as the eye could see

Wait, what's that?

Just a blanketing of Goldfields. Pretty, but they are not our State flower.

The wind was fierce - I mean, knock you off your feet/earache inducing intensity

So, we took a picture of one lone poppy (there is an R-rated version of this picture, but in this one BT is holding up his index finger to represent the one darn poppy we saw),

and headed off for the Poppy Festival. I forgot to bring my camera into the fair, but really there wasn't anything too memorable to show you. Whip Up had an article recently about The International Quilt Festival, and how there were so few booths that reflected the author's tastes in fabric and quilt design. I would say the same for craft fairs and the like. I mean, unless the fair is oriented towards modern crafts, like Bizarre Bazaar, you can get pretty overwhelmed by cutting boards shaped like bears and lacey frilly cover-ups designed to hide every single thing in your kitchen (including said teddy-bear shaped cutting board).

I challenged myself at some point to pretend I had $50 to spend at the fair and that I had to buy something for myself (not gifts - I could see buying some wooden toys for our nieces and nephews, perhaps, or food - I could easily spend $50 on sausages and deep fried Twinkies) - but what lasting mementoes would I buy for me? I settled on a windchime made with silverware (though it was a little more glitzy than one I would fashion myself), handmade soap (nice smelling and pretty to look at, but I never actually use the pretty bars I've received as gifts), and a California poppy plant (given my hit and miss gardening skills, I would not want to be responsible for killing our State flower). I didn't actually buy any of this stuff, but that's what I would have bought if I had to. I thought the fair could use some more art and information exhibits about the poppy and other State treasures. And there were no craft competitions or livestock displays like a County fair would have - can you really call it a fair if there are no cows?

After sharing a funnel cake, we headed off to visit the fam. We have a horrible habit of not always calling before we show up someplace (I know - we're rotten), so not too big of a surprise that no one was home. We left the girls' little Easter pressies on the doorstep. We got a thank you call later, and a promise to send me a pic of the girls in their little bonnets.

Driving home, BT was good to not totally rub it in that my big day was a total bust. I asked if he wanted to do anything on the way home, to make up for a lackluster day. He said he had a few places in mind. So, we stopped at Soap Plant/Wacko/La Luz de Jesus, Meltdown Comics (the location of Felt Club, which starts next month - I want to meet Jenny really badly, but don't want to come off like creepy blogger stalker type), and Gallery 1988 for a really awesome classic Nintendo-inspired art exhibit and artist book signing, i am 8-bit. It was hard to just choose just one, but here was my favorite piece (The Golden Age of Mega Man by Elizabeth Ito)

...and just a reminder of our mutual love for video games, and how it's not what we do, but that we do things together.


telfair said...

I'm sorry your day was a bust, but sometimes it's just fun to be in the car with your hubby for awhile, chitchatting and road-tripping. It sounds like you managed to have a good time, anyway, and found lots of other activities to make up for the one poppy (GB laughed hard at the picture of BT with the ONE poppy -- imagining, perhaps, the R-rated version of the picture.)

chanadaal said...

I'm sorry about your poppy experience too! I love California poppies. When I'm lucky enough to have a garden I always plant them. Up here they flower from mid-summer right into October. Everything else gets frosted but the poppies are still happy and orange. Somewhat different climate here than California! :-)

ballookey said...

I've also been meaning for the past couple of years to get up to Antelope Valley to see the poppies. Last year I put it off just a couple of weeks too long. This year I was set to go, but when I checked the website they said there wasn't anything to see because of the rains this year. Also, there's a hotline you can call to time the trip to the height of the display (assuming there is one). Maybe next year!

Archimedes24 said...

Hey FM,

Loved the link to IM8BIT. That was fantastic. Some of the artwork was really incredible! (My personal fav was the giant steel pacman ghost & crossbones.)

Did you guys end up getting anything?

Oh, and as Red mentioned, I did laugh my ass off when I saw the pics of BT's response to the barren wasteland that was to be full of poppies....He sort of looks like he's out of an Edvard Munch painting...with an Angels hat on...

shyviolets said...
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shyviolets said...

oops... deleted last comment...
we are near glendale... have those poppies growing in with the weeds! they are everywhere :) That link to the video game art... it makes me so super happy! thank you! I think I may have to make 1up mushrooms and those red/white make-you-bigger or shoot mushrooms for necklaces! Yay, nostalgia! My absolute favorite was the ode to edward gorey zelda. The one you got is amazing too!!!!