I lied. This isn’t a test. It isn’t even a pop quiz.

I just thought I’d ask you a question or two to see just how much you know about Southern California beyond moviemaking and beaches. I figure it’s probably about as much as I know about Wisconsin beyond cheese.

Okay, question number one: What is June Gloom?

Answer: It’s a weather phenomenon that causes native Californians to mutter under their breath and tourists to gripe about “I thought California was supposed to be sunny!” June Gloom, in fact, isn’t confined to that month at all, but it does show up each year just about the time kids get out of school and immediately head for the beach. Oops, we weren’t going to mention beaches. At any rate, this weather situation occurs when the marine layer offshore hangs around during the morning hours, holding the sun at bay. The result for those of us living anywhere near the beach (there’s that word again) is a few hours of not quite fog and not quite sun–just gloom.

One good thing about June Gloom is that it keeps things cool enough that lawn mowing and things like that can get done and out of the way rather comfortably. By the time the chores are taken care of the sun is out, the day is warm and we’re all on our way to Disneyland or Knott’s Berry Farm or the beach. Okay, around here you can’t keep the beach out of the conversation. Sorry.

Little yellow squash are hiding under there

What started all this meandering through the California weather scene? I peeked out my sunroom windows early this morning, and saw the Gloom. “It’s June,” I told myself. “What did you expect?” It feels today as if summer won’t ever get here. But I walked on out to the yard and picked a bowlful of strawberries. I poked at the yellow squash which have suddenly appeared and will be ready to eat in a couple of days. We ate the first turnips this week, and tomatoes are starting to hang heavy on the vines, although they haven’t yet begun the first blush of ripeness. My urban garden is feeling the summer, even if I’m not. Oh, well, in another month I’ll be paying the A/C bills and wishing the Gloom had stayed around a little longer.

I’ll see you again, after the commercial.