Category Archives: Ranch Life

Vernal Pool

We saw it from a long distance, glistening blue in sunlight, a sapphire set in the green. It’s a vernal pool, an ephemeral pond, an evanescent wetland offering habitat to plant and animal species that can flourish nowhere else. Nobody knows how many … Continue reading

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‘Tis A Season

My father-in-law at ninety sits in his La-Z-Boy playing rousing music on his iPad, a newfangled device he has grown fond of. It’s vintage Czechoslovakian polka music, he says, and it makes him happy, so it becomes the soundtrack for the … Continue reading

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Brief Companionship

The day was like this: a muted white sky morning, almost raining. As my friend and I walked up the canyon together, a dog wandered from the yard of his house and began to follow us. “Go home!” we shouted, to … Continue reading

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Re-Play

I posted the following on this day seven years ago, and I’m re-posting it now because it’s pretty much exactly still true. That’s how life is around here, especially in summer. Timeless. Seamless. As Jane Hollister Wheelwright once told me, “There’s no … Continue reading

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In Pursuit of Perseids

It’s just the way I am. If there’s going to be a meteor shower, I want to watch. And so last night I hauled a sleeping bag, pad, and pillow out onto the deck. My original plan had been to … Continue reading

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Remember Me? Still Here

We went to visit friends in northern California recently, where we walked in a misty redwood forest and one day along a narrow trail that went on and on with nothing to see but the trees and brush on either … Continue reading

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Fire

We experience a distinctive kind of vulnerability living here in drought conditions at the edge of the brush and chaparral. I snapped the above ominous-looking photo on Thursday afternoon while we were driving north on Highway 101 near El Capitan. The fire had not yet reached … Continue reading

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The Lion Oak

Jeanne calls it the lion oak because once at dusk when she was driving up the road she saw a mountain lion on one of its thick lower limbs. But the tree is a lion in its own right too: … Continue reading

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Incident

I woke up this morning to a loud thump on the sliding glass door of the deck outside our bedroom. A Western scrub jay had flown directly into it and was sitting on the ground stunned. It was a hard … Continue reading

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Windy Days

As we drove out of the ranch to go into town the other day, we noticed a man with wind-tousled white hair standing on the bluff facing the sea and playing a shiny brass trumpet. He wore a pullover sweater…for some … Continue reading

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