green hills after rains

Avocado Ranch Anniversary After Winter Rains


Chicken Tortilla Soup with Avocado

When I first moved to Southern California in 1977 I felt guilty.  How would we deserve the beauty of springtime if we hadn’t endured the long hard winters of snow shoveling and difficult driving that I grew up with in Vermont?  I don’t worry about winter-guilt anymore because I’ve seen what winter weather can do in California!   If we don’t get rains,  we have drought.  If we do get rains,  we have flooding.   But after the rains,  we have those crisp, clear days  when a big bowl of soup topped with sliced Fuerte avocados is well deserved!  This week I made Chicken Tortilla Soup — perfect for avocado slices–and today the sun is shining so I took a walk outside. San Diego county turns green after rains

Take a good look at the gorgeous green fields!  After it rains,  everything grows and turns green in San Diego county. Up come the wild flower plants!  (The Farmer calls them ‘weeds’ but I call them wild flowers!)   Within a few weeks this area will be a mass of yellow and orange blooms!   The buds are already beginning to appear!  It’s fun to walk around and look for animal tracks after days of rainy weather.   Can you guess what animals made these tracks?

animal tracks after the rains on the avocado ranch

Thirty-five years ago The Farmer and I chose a January wedding date because of the rainy winter weather.  We had a pretty good idea that there wouldn’t be much work to do at that time of year, so we would be able to get away on a honeymoon trip.  The weather has changed though, and we can no longer count on rainy winters.  This year we had  lots of reason to celebrate because the rains have returned!  I even found a pretty lilac bloom on my little hybrid lilac bush on our anniversary this year.

35th Wedding anniversary and a lilac bloomed!

We had our first date at The Brigantine Restaurant in Escondido, CA  in 1980 when I was working in a piano and organ store in the shopping center nearby.  The next year The Farmer asked me to marry him at the same restaurant,  and we’re happy that the place is still there so we can celebrate often!   We miss the cozy decor of the old days,  but the remodeled restaurant still serves a wonderful menu.   It was fun to be there on a rainy day this week — as everyone had their rain gear on — and we even ran into some cousins who were also there that afternoon!   If you are ever in the Escondido area,  we highly recommend The Brigantine Restaurant for a meal –either in the dining room or in the bar/patio area.  There are other locations all over San Diego county too — well worth a visit!

celebration at The Brigantine in Escondido, CA

We love ordering small plates, especially on Wednesdays when bottle of wine are half price! Taco Tuesday is also a great time to go to The Brigantine!

Raw Manuka Honey from Wedderspoon

While we’re talking about our anniversary,  I want to mention this amazing Raw Manuka Honey from Wedderspoon.   The Farmer and I honeymooned in New Zealand all those years ago,  so it was natural that I would want to try this boldly flavored honey from New Zealand that smells like fresh rain and caramelized sugar.

“In addition to the bold flavor profile; world renowned Manuka honey has naturally occurring live enzymes and is taken daily by many consumers including nutritionists and athletes. Wedderspoon Manuka is raw, Non-GMO verified and every jar is sourced, packed and sealed in New Zealand for the ultimate in authentic quality.”  ~Wedderspoon

This jar was a gift from Wedderspoon — and I have to tell you that I never dreamed I would enjoy each spoonful of honey as much as I did.  I used it in my tea while I had a sore throat and bad cold — and it seemed to me that the cold just never got any worse.  I’m not a doctor and I’m not telling you that this honey is a cure-all for bad colds,  but this is the first time in a very long time that my cold just went away without morphing into something awful.   And now that I’m well,  I am craving this honey still!   Stay tuned – I plan to be using this honey more often in my kitchen!

avocado ranch after the rains

We are thrilled to have the rains this year,  and the gorgeous green hillsides!  I’m looking forward to a very special wild flower season and the avocado trees should be getting ready to bloom in a few months too.   Rain does more than just fill the reservoirs and help the weeds to grow —  we need the winter rains to leach the salts that have accumulated in the soil so that the trees can get nutrients without the damaging salts.   When you see brown tips on the leaves of the avocado trees,  it’s because the tree tried so hard to get water during the hottest weather that the salts also were taken up into the tree.  Now we can look forward to beautiful clean new growth on the trees.

But first — there is more rain on the way!  If we want avocados for our soup next week we need to pick a few today!

Note: If you would like to try some Fuerte avocados from our family farm,  check out our son’s website at 



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