Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fall Traditions

I'm sure most of you have fall traditions that are much better than mine. I always get sick in October. It's not that I plan it that way, it just happens. Death, taxes, getting sick in October.

Let me start with I love where I live. Escalon is a small town in central valley California. There is no traffic, it's quiet, and we are close to larger towns, like Modesto, if we want to go shopping or out to eat. I live in a track of homes with wide streets and nice neighbors. During the day there is usually no one around except for when the stay-at-home lady next door mows her lawn or the retired man across the street is working on something in his garage. We are in the city limits and just behind our fence is county property. We are surrounded on two sides by fields, horses, and orchards. This is an agricultural area with the main crops being almonds, walnuts with dairy farms thrown in as well.

The beauty of this area in the spring is beyond compare. Green, lush fields and beautiful almond blossoms are everywhere. That's not to say there isn't a down side. Everywhere you would want to live has a glitch. After the first of the year we can have days, months, when we don't see the sun because it's overcast. Then there is the fog. It will hang onto the ground and you cannot see the houses across the street or the cars driving towards you. It can be really scary if you are trying to commute to work. On those days now, I just stay home and wait for it to clear. The summer heat can be oppressing. My garden really starts to suffer by the end of summer so I always welcome the cool days of fall.

But with fall, comes the almond and walnut harvesting. I remember the first time I saw the huge piece of equipment that "knocks the nuts". It's like a tractor "thing" with huge claws on the front. The driver wraps the claws around the tree, flips a switch , and a "whole lot of shaking going on" happens. It was so funny looking the first time I saw it I almost ran my car off the road! Once the nuts are all shaken to the ground another piece of equipment comes along and scoops them up and they are off on their own little adventure.

This is where the story comes back to me being sick. Just imagine all those thousands of trees in those thousands of orchards that have not had any rain all summer (they get irrigated). Can you say dusty, dirty!?! Then imagine shaking all of that dust and dirt back into the air. The entire valley has a haze over it for weeks. Ergo, Jean gets a sinus infection. I don't care how much vitamin c or Airborne I take, I get sick. (We won't even talk about how dusty my house is - that's another post all of it's own!).

Do you remember watching I Love Lucy or The Dick Van Dyke Show when Lucy or Mary would be sick in bed and how glamorous they still looked? Well, that's not happening here. Pitiful, pitiful, pitiful! I get up in the morning and try not to look at myself in the mirror because, hey, I'm sick and vulnerable! I put on my bathrobe, make my tea and then I have to go get the paper in the driveway. I cautiously open the front door. If the neighbors are outside, I stay in. No need to frighten them and make them think Halloween is here early. Then when the coast is clear I make a mad dash out - drat, here comes a truck! Do not make eye contact and limp so the driver knows that I am sick and don't normally look like this.

So that's where I'm at right now. Drinking tea and looking at dust and waiting to feel better. But like the song goes, "I will survive!"

I hope you are all well and have a wonderful week ahead of you!!


Lindah said...

Oh, pooh! Not fun being sick in the bestest season of the whole year. Somehow, you made it all seem so funny, but I know better. I know it isn't funny in reality.

When my DH and I were in our last years at UC Chico (in the days before it was a Univ), we took care of a small almond orchard. We did not have a knocker machine. We had long poles and WE were the machine. We also were the picker-upper machine with large tarps that we dragged around to each tree to catch the almonds so we would not need to pick each nut up from the ground --although we did plenty of that because there were always some that dropped and rolled or otherwise missed the tarp. Ah, the good old days. Dusty, sweaty, achy.

Well, now that I've cheered you up (rolling my eyes now), let me say that I hope you are feeling better soon. The dust can be wiped up, but the sinuses, eh....

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

Oh.....get better soon! I don't like to hear that you are sick :-(

You did make me laugh though when I pictured you limping to the paper.....

Mumzie said...

Sorry to hear you are under the weather Miss Jean. Gosh! We sure have tons of dirt at our house too. It took one entire swiffer duster for the two small kitchen window shutters! Yikes! Oh, and the granite on the patio island is so thick you can't see the granite. Plus, last night some farmer was plowing his corn field at 2:30 in the morning...what's with that? Hope you get better soon, or I'll see you on Thursday, and you know where. Mumzie :)

The Green Pea said...

Hope that you are feeling better soon Jean. You sure hit all of the points of Escalon and its orchards in September and October! This year a snap a few photos of the dust when they are sweeping the orchards....bad
stuff! We need a good rain, that would help keep the dust down. I feel you pain Jean. hugs, sandi

Rocky Creek Scotties and Rocky Creek Ramblings said...

I hope you are feeling better soon. I can commiserate - when we lived in El Toro, CA, back in the days of orange groves, the orange blossoms did the same thing to me.


Thimbleanna said...

Oh dear! Well, I supposed you must have to pay some price for living in the perfect location. I do hope you get better soon though -- we can't have our Sweet Miss Jean being sick!

Anonymous said...

When almond harvesting starts, I get sick too. Dr. says it's a combo of allergens and mold spores in the dirt that's flung up into the air when they start "sweeping" the "floors" of the orchards. I've found hot tea with cinnamon (I use a cinnamon stick) helps clear the sinuses. Hope you feel better soon Jean. Take Care and get lots of rest. Patty E

Elizabeth and Gary said...

Dear Jean,
Oh no!. I have been feeling the change of weather too.
My eyes always seem to be affected.
I laughed when you were telling about the almond trees being shaken. The first time I saw that I just about ran off the road too looking to see what was going on..
I purchased a old quilt while I was in IL a few weeks ago. Gary just picked it up from the cleaners for me and Its so pretty I think, every stitch by hand. I will post a photo of it soon.
If ever want company while visiting the quilt shows (just let me know)I would love to come along..
I hope you feel better..very soon!
I don't live far from you, if you need anything at all that I can help you with, please call on me..
Big hugs, Elizabeth

ChaChaneen said...

Hope you are feeling better my friend! I understand your yearly illness... you are not alone. I THINK last year was the only year in the last 20 I haven't have a BAD cough so I'm hoping I'm on to something new! ha ha