Cavalcade of Critters

The golden glow of the sun had just spread across the hilltop, and I was opening up the curtains in the bedroom. A flash of movement caught my eye and I watched a large, handsome jackrabbit loping along the gravel road which circles the hill and then scamper down the side. Jackrabbits are fascinating creatures, visually. They look like hunched over old men with long ears, and when they run the effect is both magnified and very creepy. It’s like watching your grandfather scabbling across the ground on all fours. Brr.

Anyway, I was charmed and wondered where the rabbit was scampering off to.

A few minutes later, I had my answer. There was a coyote standing in the back yard, looking off in the direction the rabbit’d gone. A very beautiful, elegant looking creature, I grabbed the camera and snapped off pictures while it crossed the back yard and went down the other side of the hill.


Off he went and that was that.

But when I looked out the front window in the kitchen, there was his mate and a young pup loping through the trees along the edge of the front yard.


The coyote’s mate was also beautiful. The pup was a gray color but too low to the ground to capture with the camera.



Zero complaints.


And the wind blew and the rain fell

It rained for three days straight, and the wind blew in gusts and sustained driving rushes. In the middle of a pelting wet blow, I see a small bird perched nonchalantly at the top of a waving pine tree. It’s always a marvel at how something so small and lightweight can exist in the sky at all, much less in such a tempest, while even the trees are bent and in some cases cast down.

creek3 Boy did a lot of rain fall. All the creeks were flowing like mad.

All the low places were filled with water in puddles and small shallow ponds.

There are a number of oaks in the meadow at the bottom of the hill which are old, but stunted and twisted. After some pondering, it was decided they were victims of a low water table in the meadow, drowning victims.

And yup, each of them were sitting in large bodies of water fed by multiple creeks. In some places at the base of the hill, gopher holes were gushing water, unwitting parts of the land’s drainage system.

snowIt stopped raining yesterday morning, so this morning I went out to burn some brush piles near the cabin.

I was working on a pile of old dead wet manzanita when the temperature started to drop, around 10 degrees in half an hour, and then suddenly it started to snow.

This has been a weird, wet winter.



Dramatic Lighting

California is looking plump and green and pleased with itself. On the way up to the cabin, the San Joaquin, Fresno and Merced Rivers had water in them, and every passing lake, pond, creek and reservoir was either full or overflowing.

The creeks are certainly running up here, and sadly, the road up to the cabin needs repair and attention to drainage before the next storm.


It was late afternoon by the time I arrived, and the sky was filled with some of the darkest, most foreboding clouds I’ve seen up here. The slanting sun broke through for a while and illuminated a fantastical, dramatic scene.

Then the rainbow happened.


I laughed out loud when I saw it so unexpected and perfect towards the end of the day.  And then, as evening started to fall and the light to drain from the sky, Youngest Daughter’s hummingbird ornaments started to glow.


Zero complaints.

Stirrings of Spring

I was walking around outside the cabin this morning with the first cuppa, marveling at how warm it was, (38 degrees!) noticed the abundance of sprouting grass and other growth from the recent rains.

The eight petaled sprouts look like our old buddy lupines grayi  and it sure looks like there is a lot of it coming up this year.

If it keeps raining off and on into spring, this is going to be a famous year for California poppy and purple lupine up here.

Can’t wait.

Cedar sure is beautiful. And I got lots.

It rained all last night and the creek is swollen down by the burn pile. One reason it only took all day and all night to burn is that as I was going through the debris pile, I was pulling out all the larger cedar logs and loping off the branches and piling it up to save for later. Had I not set aside the logs, the fire would have been slow cooking for a week (and smoking out the neighbors…)

cedar1Among the advantages of cedar versus, say, pine, is that the log of a young cedar tree does not taper like a pine. The logs are a pretty uniform diameter on both ends.

The other thing about cedar is the wood itself is beautiful. I couldn’t help but admire the fresh stumps as works of art.

I’m going to be salvaging as much of the larger pieces of cedar as possible for future art or landscaping projects.

It also looks like firewood won’t be an issue for several years to come.

As always, the problem up here is how to move the volume and weight of material for working with, storing and burning.

Meanwhile, there is a lot more debris and dropped trees to clean up.