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crevices of the earth, and start immediately after the first rains in November. In February, March, April, May, and June, the whole country, hill-sides and valleys, seem to be covered with grass and clover, and for miles present a charming scene of shades and ridges of yellow, red, white, and variegated flowers.

The wild oats, which seem to grow everywhere, is a staple article of pasturage, and is cut in great quantities for hay. Its growth is very luxuriant, in many places as dense and tall as the best fields of cultivated oats. In seventeen years residence on the Pacific coast, the author has never seen a spear of timothy grown in California: the dry seasons kill the roots. I do not believe there is a spear of it growing in the State, unless in some small valleys in the Sierras, or where it is constantly irrigated during the summer months. Wild oats, oats, and barley, cut green, form the staple “hay” of California; and, strange to say, barley throughout the State is given to horses generally in preference to oats. Through Oregon and Washington Territory, timothy grows well; some fields along the Columbia surpassing the finest growth of the Atlantic States.

CHAPTER XV.

Valleys–Trees, vegetables, fruits, flowers, grain, and grasses

Lakes-Alkaline and borax lakes—Dry lakes-Death valley.

VALLEYS. The vast and fertile valleys of California, stretching over a length of country of seven hundred miles, form the richest and most variegated agricultural district in the world, produce almost every species of tropical and semi-tropical trees, fruits, nuts, herbs, flowers, and grasses, and yield most abundantly of wheat, barley, potatoes, fruit, and vegetables.

Nearly all the valleys of the State run parallel with the coast. The three chief are the San Joaquin, Sacramento, and Santa Clara ; but the two last, in which are numerous others divided and subdivided within their general area of about five hundred miles in length by sixty in width, form the great agricultural field of California, completely enclosed between the Sierra Nevada and the Coast Range of mountains; these, running almost north and south for five hundred miles, nearly join by curving toward each other in Siskiyou county at the north, near the southern line of Oregon, and joining at the south in Los Angeles county, at Mount Pinos, leaving to the south and east of the Sierras the vast deserts and valleys of San Bernardino and San Diego counties, stretching east and south to the western line of Arizona, the river Colorado, and Lower California. A fuller description of the soil, area, &c., of these valleys will be found in the chapter descriptive LAKE TAIIOE, SIERRA NEVADA MOUNTAINS. (5,220 feet above the sc?—21 miles long and 12 miles broac..)

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of the several counties and of the agricultural resources of the State.

LAKES. There are twenty-two principal lakes in California, with an area of 29,641 square miles; besides innumerable small ones, some of very respectable size, of considerable depth, and of great natural beauty. Some, elevated high in the Sierras, contain crystal water, with abundance of fish, while others, low in the alkaline flats, are so acrid and bitter that no animal life can be found within their waters, floating on their surface, or partaking of their pungent fluid.

TULARE LAKE.-This lake is situated in Tulare county, its southern line being the western boundary of a portion of Kern county. It is about seventy miles directly east from the town of San Louis Obispo, which lies close to the Pacific ocean, in the county of that name, and one hundred and eighty miles south from San Francisco. This is the largest lake in the State, being thirtythree miles in length by twenty in width. The Sierra Nevada mountains being directly on the east of it, send down innumerable streams; many of which, such as Kings, Kern, and Elk, are of considerable size, and

pour their floods into this lake, which forms the common receptacle of all the waters of a vast area of country. Strange as it may seem, there is no visible outlet to this great sheet of water. In the rainy season, the land upon the west and east sides, being low, is overflowed to a great extent, forming tule and swamp. It is supposed that there must be some subterranean outlet to this sheet of water.

GOOSE LAKE.—This is second in size of all the lakes

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