It’s Holiday Time in Ojai!
Isn’t that a sweet visual? I saw this tree out in the middle of nowhere and had to get a photo. Someone came out there and put bulbs all over a random tree. When we walked Ojai’s main drag, we saw it was all decked out for the holidays, tool In case you’re wondering, Southern California is a pleasant place in the winter as it’s almost always warm and sunny.
We were here to do a house sit for a couple we’d done quite a few stays for over the past two years. They had departed before we arrived since we all knew the drill and had called about an hour out of town, confirming we were close.
When we arrived, there was no place to park in front of their house. Right – it must be Sunday – Farmer’s Market day and only two blocks down from the house!
Just before our arrival, we found out that the house was up for sale, so this was our last time here. Even so, a for-sale sign in the front yard was a surprise. Another surprise – there were no visitors scheduled for the back house during our stay. (They had an Airbnb-type setup.)
Here are the two sweet girls in our care for the holidays. We’re headed out for a walk, girls! As you can see, initially they weren’t all that excited at the prospect.
When we began writing about the dogs, we realized the difficulty of doing four house sits in the same place. We’ve already shared all about the pets and don’t want to keep repeating the same information to our readers. What to do?
Suffice it to say, these two girls were sweet, gentle, easy-going and loved sleeping. If you want to read more about them, you can click here. I think they win the prize – the easiest dogs we’ve cared for since we began house sitting. There is never any drama with these two!
Even though they both preferred sleep to most other things, once in a while, we got to see more activity. The video below is one such example. I know it’s dark, but she just started her thing, and I grabbed the phone and pushed the record button.
Here’s a photo of the girls in their favorite place, doing their favorite thing: a long nap after the morning walk. With maybe one exception, these are the smallest dogs we’ve cared for and it shows in this photo, right?
A Few Tidbits
We got adventurous one day during our stay and drove around the east side of the Ojai Valley. Among other things, we found the Krishnamurti Foundation up on a hill. It’s in a prominent spot with a glorious view of the valley, extensive gardens and orchards. It’s one of many such centers in the area.
Have a few orange trees, right! If you’re ever in Ojai, take a drive up there, it’s beautiful.
Near the start of our stay, I went to visit a work colleague and dear friend who now lived in Ojai. We are both retired from our teaching days and had a wonderful time catching up with each other face-to-face. It was hours and hours of chatting and reminiscing – what fun!
Since our stay here was during the holidays, Jim spent two days with his family in Los Angeles. For the most part, our house sitting takes us away from sunny Southern California, far away. We don’t get back to this area very often anymore, so that was a treat!
Searching for Butterflies
One day, I happened to read about a butterfly colony in Goleta, which is about an hour north up the coast. Since we were relatively close and loved going out that way, we decided to go out in search of butterflies!
After turning in to the driveway, the signs said you had to go about a mile through the woods before you get to the butterfly grove. Okay, let’s go.
It was quite a warm day and as you can tell the scenery was typical California coastal style, pleasant if not exactly breathtaking. It was a nice walk under the shade of trees, but it just went on and on. We did see one or two butterflies here and there, but not many.
When we finally arrived at the area where you are supposed to find thousands of butterflies – we found absolutely none! Is this some joke? Are we in the right place? Maybe we arrived at the wrong time of day. Wow, what a waste of time if the point was seeing butterflies. Luckily for us, it wasn’t. We were in search of adventures or at least diversions.
Okay, back to the car – what should we do now? Since the Pacific Ocean is close let’s go to the beach, that’s always fun!
On the walk down to the water, I saw this colorful flower, among others. Colors in winter! Mighty fine.
Who doesn’t enjoy staring out at the ocean – I know I do; him too. Neither of us likes to swim or be in the water for that matter, but we do love watching the waves crash on the shore over and over again. It is such a peaceful experience and we do miss it during our travels inland!
As we drove back towards Ojai we had another surprise: we passed the turnoff to our first house sit, in Goleta. Then we looked at each other – “Hey, isn’t it the 22nd of December?” “Yes, I think so.” Whoa! It had been exactly two years to the day since we started our house sitting adventure.
That was one of those moments when things get clear all of a sudden. We knew it was coming up but didn’t know it would hit us like that. And there you have it.
We began some serious pondering and reflection when we got back to Ojai. It had been a year since we were in Southern California. That alone was surprising. We’ve all read adventure stories where people, sailors, explorers, etc. spend a year away from home, maybe longer. Not to make too much of it, but here we were away from Los Angeles for over a year, with a few stops in the area the year before that.
For two homebodies, the last two years have been quite the wild ride. Our next post picks up on the anniversary theme, our second year. We hope you’ll join us for that.
Before we knew it, our time in Ojai had come to an end, and it was time to say goodbye to the girls and head to the desert for a house sit near Palm Springs!
What’s Next – Our anniversary
You’ll get every post!