Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Pets’ Category

I spent almost a week with Fred & Judy in their Penn Valley home. What a place and space! What wonderful friends. Kayo and Mira, two huge German shepards shared the grounds with Horace and Bing, the cats. Wildlife abounded, with special note of the African guineas that traipsed by the front deck daily. Wide, open decks surrounded the home, affording both sunshine and shade throughout the day. We ate well. The dogs provided a daily wake-up call, usually around 5:00 a.m., but that’s par for the countryfied course. Judy had to work (she’s a midwife) some days, and Fred continues to write in his office. We had wide ranging talks, took trips into town, and visited the Empire Mine State Park. This is, after all, gold country. I took a solo day trip to Shingle Springs in El Dorado County, wondering if I could find any clues about George Duke, my great, great grandfather. I expect to fill in more details about this week as time allows, but for now, pictures need to be uploaded.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Read Full Post »

I’m sitting in the yurt, the guest house, up in the mountains above Boulder Creek. Getting here was a thrill, finding one hidden road – track really – after another. Tys directions were superb, and the skull-on-a-stick was the clincher. I wish I had mounted my camera on the roof rails, so you could see the narrowness, the rutted-ness, the twists and turns of the track. The Subie was so much fun, being in her real element (outside of the snow and ice mode) for the first time. I didn’t even need the skid plates as she did her version of goat-on-hillside. On indicator of the climb was my mileage: 10.4 mpg! I just made one wrong turn towards the end, and was lucky to find a neighbor who told me how to backtrack to the skull thingy. And then I was there, May 31. Melissa saw me first, waving and smiling. Correction, Jack, their dog saw/heard me first and gave me a good once over almost jumping into the car.

To say I was in another world is an understatement. After five years of constant work and effort and design choices, they had their housewarming party just two weeks before. Their house is almost finished. And what a house it is. I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking, but adobe walls play a big part of keeping the house cool/warm as needed. It was in the high 80’s that day, and going inside was a palatable relief. And they are off the grid, using solar for their electrical needs. No big screen TV (no TV at all) and no microwave, but in this Eden of theirs, who needs them? I will fill in more of the details later, but for now, these people have created, and live, in the real deal.

‘Later” is now. July 6

The five years of home building goes like this:

  • The “Year of Stone”
  • The “Year of Wood”
  • The “Year of Mud”
  • The “Year of Inside Finishing”
  • …and The “Year (plus) that IS”
If you would like to see more details (photos with text) you can visit his wonderful blog at: http://ideamountain.com/

All our meals have included fruits and veggies from their gardens. Gray water drains to some of the veggies that can use it. Their well, 340′ deep is pumped to a water reservoir. The 3/4 ton diesel pickup runs on waste vegetable oil, which an on-prem machine converts. Tys does his work remotely, connecting to the web from his phone’s modem. My phone showed “no service” but my Kindle got five bars. Go figure. When Tys and I go into town, I’ll upload the text and show pictures, but in the meantime I am incommunicado.

Their ten acres is natures cathedral, redwoods reaching for the sky far above. Sun glinting through here and there, birds, lizards and other critters unseen sharing the habitat. Melissa and I took a walk to their neighbors and from there, the Pacific was visible to the west. This is my second host family for US Servas. I am so glad that this volunteer organization exists, and doubly so for the great people I have met, and their unconditional hospitality. I am blessed.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Read Full Post »

Winter Photography

Among the other perks about my homestead, is the location. A bit of wilderness surrounds me on all sides. So, weather it’s early morning (the sunrise shots), or afternoon (snow patterns on the ground, or a winter’s night with a full moon high above, I try to give it my best shot. Here’s some humble examples.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Read Full Post »

Two cats & a boy…

Lily Pig (aka Pig) and Alley Cat (aka AC) look like they should be mother and daughter. Nothing could be further from the truth. Lily is a spoiled brat, a bully to the other three cats in residence. Talk about an Alpha Female! She’s Brad’s cat, and she too is 15 years old. No, Brad is older than that, but by how much…never mind. Softest fur of any cat I’ve ever petted. And then there’s just a random shot of my son…I was trying out a new lens for the Nikon I think.

Read Full Post »

Although Hilltop Diner is now under new management, the food is still the same, especially the burgers (more on that in a bit). My family, now a three-pack, visits Hilltop on the date of her birthday. It was Jay’s fave family restaurant, and she always ordered – drum roll please – a burger. (It will serve everyone well to know that Jay considered a well-rounded meal to be, what else – Spaghettios!) For the past seven years we would show up, and set a plate for her: burger, plain, fries, and Diet Coke. After removing all the condiments that we requested be removed in the first place, we would then draw straws to see “who got The Job.” Bradley did The Job this year, and expertly spread the catsup edge-to-edge over one side of a bun. It was then up to me to “steal” one french fry, which I did with relish – pun intended. The past few years found Spencer in NYC of all places, and he bought her a bag of Peanut M&M’s. May has been our wait staff for most of these years, and -red faces here – she was the one who remembered the Diet Coke. Lord almighty, we would have never lived that down if we had forgotten.

I love my beautiful bride, no matter what her address is…and so it goes.

One of Jay’s legacies is her almost mystical recreation of dolls, into lifelike babies, called Reborns. Many women and girls in our extended family were given one to remember Jan by.

WeeBit at 15 years of age

WeeBit, when Jay brought her home, I considered a “dead kitten walking” although she didn’t walk much. Dehydrated, emaciated, small beyond belief, Jay sat with her in her arms at the bottom of the stairs for two weeks. She nursed her from a sure demise, into the wonderful cat she is. After WeeBit’s mom moved on, the cat-that-would-not-die, began following me, and she continues to do so today.

Read Full Post »

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Bit and the Butterfly

Read Full Post »

Subaru & bicycles

Brad & Anika helped me mount a bike rack on the back of the Outback. They test drove it and it works great.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »