It's raining in northern California. That's good since we haven't had rain in weeks! I took the picture of the Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) on the way to work. You can see in the background how dry the hills are. Now with the rain the hills will start to green up.
The Toyon seems to be putting on a great show this year. These native plants occur all through the chaparral and on up into the forest. It is sometimes called Christmas Berry, or California Holly. Some people believe the origin of the name Hollywood was derived from the Toyon growing in the hills.
The second picture is of David Girard Vineyards, well after harvest. They are nice enough to bring their wine to our Creekside festival in summer. I have watched this vineyard from the start, as I drive by it just about every day. Its amazing the amount of time it takes to get a place like this planted and up and running. I am glad to see these wineries going in as it preserves more space for agriculture, with the option being more homes. This is one of the fastest growing areas in the state and land is being swallowed up for subdivisions. Christmas tree farms , vineyards, olive oil production, and other small horticultural endeavors help maintain the agricultural feel that makes the foothills the last example of what old California was.