It was Snowing in the Central Valley in Spring….

It was Snowing in the Central Valley in Spring…. Or at least that’s how it looked. I was “Somewhere near Paterson”* on a photoshoot and driving along Interstate 5 to a ranch not far from Mercy Hot Springs. The photoshoot is not relevant to Silicon Valley Stock, but I did have a bit of time to take a few photos along the way back.

Trees in Bloom
Trees in Bloom

The weather here in California has been a bit unusual. There’s been tons of rain, and our drought is finally over. I don’t know if that has influenced the time of year the almond trees are blooming, but it’s made the scenery gorgeous! The sky is blue with puffy white clouds, the grass is green. And the blossoms of the almond trees are so prevalent as to coat the dirt below with enough white to look almost like snow.

Blossoming trees and boxes of bees
Blossoming trees and boxes of bees

Knowing almost nothing about agriculture, I figure it must make sense – but beneath the unending rows of trees and their falling white blossoms where colorful boxes. Those boxes, as I found out as I came closer were full of honey bees. Guess it’s pollination time in The Valley.

Trees in Bloom
Trees in Bloom

For the stock photo shtick, I got a few photos of “our” Northern California water being sent south via the California Aqueduct. I usually find the farmer’s signs bemoaning the “Congress Created Dust Bowl” ironic, given that I think generally speaking these folks claim to be against big government, yet somehow don’t notice the contradiction that their fortunes are rooted in several giant “big government” programs including the delivery of subsidized water. The big irony (and I wish I got a few photos of it) was that they signs decrying the “dust bowl” were soaked and soon to be covered in high green grass!

California Aqueduct
California Aqueduct

Cornerstone Sonoma

We were on a recon mission for VeryHighDPI.com looking for sweeping Wine Country scenes for Gigapixel photos we’re making. But first there was a pit stop at Cornerstone in Sonoma.

Sonoma, California (Michael Halberstadt)
Stock Photo: Sunset Test Garden, Cornerstone, Sonoma, California (Michael Halberstadt)

Cornerstone is one of those cutesy Whine Country places. There’s a bunch of shops and restaurants and some beautifully manicured landscape architecture. There are also a number of interesting sculptures and the like.

Sonoma, California (Michael Halberstadt)
Stock Photo: Sunset Test Garden, Cornerstone, Sonoma, California (Michael Halberstadt)

More recently, Sunset Magazine moved their test kitchen and Garden to Cornerstone. They used to be headquartered in Menlo Park, but I’m assuming the dot-con craziness got to them. Or at least it’s hard to justify sticking around in a building that’s worth $50 million when you could more easily work out of a $2 million office two hours away.

Sonoma, California (Michael Halberstadt)
Stock Photo: Sunset Test Garden, Cornerstone, Sonoma, California (Michael Halberstadt)

In writing this I remembered that my grandfather had a recipe for salad dressing in one of the Sunset cookbooks or magazines or something back in the 1950’s. So I thought it would be fun if I could find it via Google Books. No luck regarding the recipe, but a couple of hits came up for photo credits. Unfortunately they are in snippet view, so I have no idea what the photos were.

Sonoma, California (Michael Halberstadt)
Stock Photo: Sunset Test Garden, Cornerstone, Sonoma, California (Michael Halberstadt)

The next stop was Point Reyes and I’ll add another entry for that part of the trip as soon as I can!

 

Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

Japanese Gardens, Hayward, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
Japanese Gardens, Hayward, CA (Michael Halberstadt)

Spring has sprung….or at least that’s what I thought. The cherry blossoms are blooming in my neighborhood. So I figured it was a good time to go and get some photos in Japantowns and Japanese gardens in the Bay Area.

Japanese Gardens, Hayward, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
Japanese Gardens, Hayward, CA (Michael Halberstadt)

I’ve been meaning to visit Hayward’s Japanese Garden for a while. So it was first on my list for today. What a surprise! Hayward’s Japanese garden was delightful. You’ll have to forgive me that I am so surprised…. It’s just Hayward isn’t high on any list of must visit sites. The garden was pretty large and quite pleasant indeed.

Japanese Gardens, Hayward, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
Japanese Gardens, Hayward, CA (Michael Halberstadt)

In addition to the koi fish I expected to see there were also plenty of turtles too. Unfortunately the cherry trees weren’t in bloom there. The bonsai trees were numerous and well groomed, I don’t regret having gone.

Japanese Gardens, Hayward, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
Japanese Gardens, Hayward, CA (Michael Halberstadt)

Next I drove on to Japantown in San Jose, the third remaining Japantown in the US. And once again, no blooming cherry blossoms. Ok, well I’ll visit San Jose’s Japanese Friendship Garden in Kelley Park. I drove into the parking lot and strike three….I’m out.

Japanese Gardens, Hayward, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
Japanese Gardens, Hayward, CA (Michael Halberstadt)

Guess I’ll try again in a couple weeks.

(on another note)

Intel Santa Clara (Michael Halberstadt)
Intel Santa Clara (Michael Halberstadt)

Some other business brought me to Sunnyvale. Returning to my car I noticed a street sign that read: Altair. For those not familiar with computer history, Altair is generally considered to be the first personal computer (PC.) The Altair was assembled by the purchaser and was extraordinarily primitive by today’s standards, inputs were made by switches and outputs were displayed on LED lights (if memory serves).

Altair Way Sign (Michael Halberstadt)
Altair Way Sign (Michael Halberstadt)

Since I actively seek out computer related signs for my photo library, I assumed that the street sign was honoring the historic computer- until I noticed the cross street sign is Aries. Bummer.

Farmland in Silicon Valley- Sunnyvale (Michael Halberstadt)
Farmland in Silicon Valley- Sunnyvale (Michael Halberstadt)

I also stumbled upon a tiny orchard in Sunnyvale, complete with old farm hardware. I remember when much of Silicon Valley was orchards and greenhouses, until about the 1990’s.