Pause on Pulling a Vineyard

Pause on Pulling a Vineyard The last of the vines were ripped from the earth this week, the vines that were planted the same year Donald and I were married 24 years ago. We both feel sadness in their departure. Piles of vines and trellises punctuate the middle of the vineyard. The earth is disturbed… Read more »

Measure C: the Next Steps

Measure C: the Next Steps The aftermath of the loss of Measure C (the watershed initiative that would have offered some protection for oak woodlands and water supply) by 641 votes out of the 35,700 votes cast, has the quality of the quiet just before dark clouds rumble on the horizon. Soon the winds pick… Read more »

What Big Decisions Are Being Made in the Oak Woodlands?

What Big Decisions Are Being Made in the Oak Woodlands? There is a difference in crowds when the immediacy of the issue will impact them profoundly. James Conaway, author of the trilogy on Napa County agriculture and particularly the impact of the wine industry on the community, has been reading from his book to standing… Read more »

Grace in a Flock of Goldfinches

Grace in a Flock of Goldfinches This morning: a flock of American goldfinches chattering in a still dormant valley oak by Casey and Melissa’s house. Fresh feathers bright yellow against blue, blue sky. Over two inches of rain the last two days, and everything sparkles, air as crispy as goldfinch chatter. It’s been almost 10… Read more »

Mother’s Day Memories: Sweet and Bittersweet

Mother’s Day Memories: Sweet, Bittersweet Every year Mother’s Day brings two big memories, both when I was a preteen, one sweet, one bittersweet. Both were formative in becoming a mom myself. The “sweet” one first: My younger sister Judy and I decided to bake our mother a cake to celebrate Mother’s Day. Although not experienced in baking… Read more »

Eulogy for Bethel : Light that Endures

Eulogy for Bethel: Light That Endures Two weeks ago I received a letter from the district superintendent of Bethel United Methodist Church, in whose congregation I grew up. The country church is being closed January 1, 2017, and I was asked where I would move my membership. I was given a few choices.  My Irish great grandfather Richard Damery was… Read more »

Path of Man and Path of Salmon

Path of Man and Path of Salmon Fern Creek rose in the night with the punishing rain. The log jams are now dams pouring water, bruising, but still navigable— for a coho salmon. Walking along the trail that traces Fern Creek, I watch for the iron fish, each with a number. I have seen as… Read more »

Deforestation Storm in Napa County: Denied Appeal of Walt Ranch

Deforestation Storm in Napa County: Denied Appeal of Walt Ranch. We are in a deforestation storm in Napa County, and it has only begun. And yet, the sun rose at 7:15 this morning, the trees in the west glowing orange against the storm clouds moving in. It was one of those moments of grace when… Read more »

The Sacred and Land Use Issues:Remembering The Whole

The Sacred and Land Use Issues:Remembering The Whole When we exited the Napa County Administration Building for the noon break of the Walt Ranch appeal hearings, I was surprised. Upwards of a hundred people rallied on the lawns holding signs of protest. Walt Ranch is an ambitious project seeking to cut almost 15,000 mature trees for 35 lifestyle… Read more »

Water, Trees, Mistakes: Watershed Health

Water, Trees, Mistakes: Watershed Health Napping was not only from exhaustion; it was also defense to the weight of what I was reading, Alice Outwater’s Water: A Natural History, not nap time reading! I knew discrete facts of the history. How early 18th century explorers skilled off many fur-bearing animals, especially the beaver, important to watershed health throughout our country…. Read more »