Ode to Spring

By Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer

Photo by Emily Raab


pring has sprung in Ventura County — and what a season it has been! Heading north on the freeway, the hillsides are bright green and yellow with flowering mustard. Southbound, the Dudleya (a native succulent) is blooming on the cliffs of the Conejo Grade. Head for the hills and you’ll be rewarded with a rainbow of hues: purple lupine, bright orange California poppies, yellow goldfields and any number of vibrant blooms I can’t name — but sure enjoy seeing on a weekend hike. 

We have a good, wet winter to thank for this. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Oxnard has had over 21 inches of rain since October (the start of the “water year”) while Ojai got over 26 inches. The rest of the state got plenty of rain, too, resulting in what’s referred to as a “super bloom” in the California deserts. Locally, we seem to be having one of our own. So we couldn’t resist going wild for wildflowers this month. I think you’ll enjoy the beautiful pictures — almost all taken within the last few weeks — of local trails blooming with life and color. 

This is the Spring Home and Garden issue, of course, so there’s more inside than just hiking trails and blossoms. We have some beautiful homes and interesting people in the spotlight as well. 

We feature the colorful Ojai abode of Gay and Katie Hendricks, where the couple’s philosophy of “Conscious Loving” includes not just each other, but Mother Earth as well. Their commitment to ecological sustainability is carried throughout their home and garden, where every year the carbon footprint gets smaller. 

Darrick and Lana Rasmussen — woodworker and woodblock-print artist, respectively — bring a minimalist, naturally beautiful aesthetic to the handcrafted furniture and art they produce for their company, Killscrow. Working together, this husband and wife duo are attempting to say something new in art and design. 

Keith Repult wanted a fresh start, and decided that downsizing to a Pierpont beach house was the perfect way to do it. In his new home, every room is designed to capitalize on the ocean views, and invite friends and family to share the moment. 

Hopefully there will be many opportunities throughout the season for all of us to share the moments with loved ones — or, if you prefer, be in the moment in delicious solitude. It’s going to be a glorious spring no matter how you choose to enjoy it. The time is ripe to stop and smell the flowers. 


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