Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Last Friday, the temperature at Yosemite (4,000 ft. level) was 78 degrees, with just enough breeze to set the leaves shimmering in the sunlight.  Today, the forecast is for snow showers and a high of 41 degrees.  What a difference three days can make at this time of year. 

The first storm of the season rolled in on Sunday night.  Here, we didn't get much rain out of it (a little over a tenth of an inch), but it did wash off a lot of the last six months of dust.  In preparation for the change in weather, this weekend I picked most of our pomegranates...

...and probably the last harvest of tomatoes.

The most fun crop picked was the olives.  Bruce and I went over to my teacher-friend Gloria's house on Saturday where I picked green olives for about two hours.  Up a ladder, laughing and talking with everyone, while plinking fat green olives into a bucket -- bliss!  Afterwards we sat in the garden for a lunch of sourdough bread, egg salad, homemade olives and grapes.  Such a day!

Gloria and her husband, Gilbert, live even further out than we do.  Every day Gloria drives to school from beyond the tiny town of Hickman, which is south of us about 30 miles as the crow flies.  Out in the rolling grasslands, they live in an old two-story ranch house that's been in the family for generations.  Gilbert used to run cattle and Gloria (besides teaching) until recently had a thriving side-business selling eggs and flowers at the local farmer's market.  They're gradually slowing things down, as time passes.  Gloria plans to retire next year...or the year after that.  She still travels to France every summer and teaches English after school to Hispanic women.  That's how Gloria is.  We've been friends and teachers together for over twenty years.  Without knowing it, Gloria has been my inspiration and changed how I live my life.  She's a do-er and is utterly fearless when it comes to launching into projects, helping people or enjoying herself.  Me -- I've always tended to hang back and doubt myself.  It took several decades of absorbing lessons, watching how Gloria lives her life, but these past few years I've finally become more fearless myself.  I suppose that battling cancer helped with this process, but it definitely helped having her as a role model.  Isn't that what friends are for?

Now, the olives are in crocks, slowly leaching out their bitterness.  More on that next time.

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