Rainy Day Walk in the Avocado Grove: Fantastic!

rainy day

Rain clouds rolling into our hills

The song about it never raining in Southern California is simply not true.    During  winter months the possibility of rain is a major topic of conversation in our house,  because a rainy day is a treat.   If it’s raining, we don’t have to irrigate the trees, which saves us money.  That’s a very happy thing.   But it’s also a day when the Farmer can’t work outside…a day to rest!

Rain came unexpectedly on a Saturday a few weeks ago.   The day had already been planned for my friend Rachael,  who writes the blog  La Fuji Mama, to come take photographs of avocados.    We had looked forward to taking a walk through the grove and   I was  eager to show her some of my favorite places on the ranch.

We hoped to start early in the morning  so we would have the morning light on the trees.   When we discovered that there would be clouds and a gentle rain,  we decided to spend a little time in the house doing something important:  Breakfast!  I wanted to show her my new marbleware pan (see the post I wrote about that) so we cooked eggs and some bacon (which did not curl and did not stick on the pan).      Of course, we needed to slice some avocados too!   We were having plenty of fun in the kitchen.   I learned from Rachael that a food blogger never sits down to eat without a photograph first!

Rachael shoots breakfast

Rachael shoots our breakfast

The rain did not stop us from our walk in the grove.  Fortified with avocado, bacon and eggs,  we each took an umbrella and Rachael brought  her beautiful new camera.  We were Adventurers beginning our trek in the rain!  We congratulated ourselves on wearing appropriate footwear so we could get muddy and wet.   We started off to see what we could find, half expecting that we would be coming back empty-handed.

wet road for a walk

Beginning our walk in the rain


We discovered that the light was just right and the water on the trees presented a unique opportunity for photos that aren’t often seen.   The trees and the avocados were practically glowing.   Avocados just love rain!

avocados in the rain

Avocados love rain!

It was  easier to walk through the open fields than to stay on the muddy grove roads.  We looked at wild flowers and weeds,   spiders and pebbles.  We found the wild peonies and got some beautiful pictures of them!

wild peonies

A bud and a flower: Wild Peony!


Rachael was fascinated with the old farm machinery on the property…decorations left from Grandpa Holtz’s farming days in Huntington Beach where he grew beans and tomatoes.


old plow

An old plow


While Rachael took photos of the plow,  I was studying the gravel road.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.   I asked Rachael, “What’s that?”    She confirmed my first conclusion….it was a STARFISH!   A BABY STARFISH!


star fish found in an avocado grove

How did a star fish get into an avocado grove 18 miles from the ocean?

We’re still talking about that sea star …  how it could have ended up on a road in an avocado grove…was it a star that fell from the night sky, hoping to land in the ocean?   Or did a seagull carry the little guy all the way from the coast?   We’ll never know.  We can see the Pacific ocean from the ranch on a clear day, but we’ve never seen a star fish here!

After we found our miraculous  sea star, the avocado grove began to look like an enchanted forest!

enchanted avocado grove

There's magic in the grove!


It’s no wonder that the avocados were glowing in the rain!


avocado hanging in a tree on a rainy day

Aren’t Rachael’s photographs beautiful?   Be sure to visit her at La Fujimama …shes a great cook too!

My First Blog Post


The time has finally come to stop talking about it and just do it. 

I have been reading blogs, reading books about blogs, talking to bloggers, attending blogging conferences and generally lurking in the Blogosphere for a long time.  So far I have met intelligent, creative and generous people who have been nothing but supportive and encouraging, including Kristen of Dine and Dish and Rachael of La Fuji Mama.  I am in awe of their designs,  photographic skills, creative story-telling, culinary prowess, and hospitality online.   I want to do that too.

At first I wasn’t even planning to write my own blog at all.  I just wanted to learn about blogging.  Who are these bloggers?  Why are they so passionate about their blogs? I had met several top bloggers when they reviewed the avocado gift boxes from our new family business called California Avocados Direct.  I “liked” them on Facebook and “followed” them on Twitter.  They liked and followed me back…and soon I was chatting, commenting and feeling like one of the cool kids too. So I took a big step and signed up for the BlogHer ’11 conference in San Diego last August.  I found a roommate on Twitter.  I sat in large rooms listening to bloggers talk about the legal aspects of blogging, the business of blogging,  blog designs, managing communities through blogging, changing one’s life through blogging….well, you get the idea. I went to fabulous parties and had stimulating discussions with women about all kinds of exciting issues.  I felt more alive than I had felt in a long time.  I felt inspired!  I felt energized!

BlogHer’11 Voices of the Year Awards

And that’s when  I started stalling.

At first I was just looking for the perfect name for my blog.   All the experts and gurus say that a great blog name should be short, easy to spell, quirky and memorable.  Friends suggested some clever and cutesy names, but  I kept coming back to “Mimi Avocado”,  the name that my friend Karen uses on her e-mails to me.  At the TechMunch’11 conference, a food-bloggers meeting in Santa Monica in September, I announced that I was still looking for a name for my Unborn Blog.  Several professional PR people stepped up to coach me,  and one took it on as a personal challenge to make sure I had a name that same day.  Thank you to Beth of Carl’s Jr. restaurants for pushing me over the edge…”MImi Avocado” was officially selected and I was ready to buy the domain!

Another wonderful blogger took me under his wing and coached me through the selection of a host and the initial set-up of WordPress. (Thank-you Andrew of EatingRules.)

I had a another good excuse for not starting the blog though:  “I’m waiting to take a WordPress class.  Then I”ll start my blog and do it correctly!” (Do you notice the classic signs of perfectionism and procrastination?  Yep, I did too, but that’s another topic.) This is the Third Week of the WordPress class and I am now required to add at least 4 new posts to my Baby Blog.  No more “Unborn Blog”.  Now it’s real. So here it is. My first post.  And what is it about?  Nothing.  Just that this is my first blog post ever.  Can you tell I’m doing a happy dance?

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