Posted by: facetothewind | July 29, 2012

Obsessed with oats

To amuse myself at times when I might otherwise become bored, I engage my idling mind with little photographic mini-obsessions. And sometimes it’s not even to stave off boredom, it’s just because I enjoy a good visual obsession. I find it opens my eyes up, sharpens my mind and I begin to just melt into the visual feast of the moment. In the Czech Republic with Sebastian it was photographing the bad fashion. In Burma it was photographing people’s shadows from a 5th floor balcony. My obsession du jour here at the Grandview Ranch is capturing the beauty of oats.

These oats are an invasive plant that covers much of California’s hills throughout the whole state. It’s a terrible fire hazard and absolutely beyond eradication now.

Since the gold rush is over, the golden oat-covered hills are what I think of when I think of The Golden State’s namesake.

And in spite of their successful invasion of the state, I love them. They blanket the whole state in a gorgeous, huggably velveteen, gold blanket. Gorgeous that is until you get them lodged in your sock or sweaters or your ranch burns down because someone parks their car on them and they ignite.

Ah well. It is my philosophy that once you can’t change things in your favor, you might just as well try to enjoy them. And so in the afternoons I feast my eyes on the panoramas of golden oats, in my sockless sandals with wool sweaters hiked up so as not to bring any oats home with me.

And with this last visual obsession I say goodbye to Charlie & Lark’s ranch as I head Tuesday by bus and Wednesday by train southward toward San Luis Obispo where the hills are covered with guess what?

So goodbye Charlie. Goodbye Lark. Goodnight Grandview Ranch. Hello oats!



  1. I am so ashamed–lived among this beautiful golden treasure for most of my life and never knew it was oats! I guess it is not the type used in cooking? Thanks for the beautiful photos of invasive gold.

  2. Lovely, lovely.

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