Phase One of Implementing Our Forest Management Plan

My friend Norma says the forest looks like a painting with its lithe, dark trunks of oak and madrone silhouetted against the sunlight. The crew has thinned out young bay laurel and the bushy, tall stands of poison oak and invasive Himalayan blackberries. Yes, I always thought of the forest as verdant, but the over-the-top… Read more »

His Last Song

Many years ago, my friend Karlyn gave Donald a saxophone that had been her father’s during the Big Band era. Her father had played with Spike Jones when they were in college. That beautiful instrument has a historical lineage, which I am sure Donald felt. Donald had it restored at a small shop in a… Read more »

We Protect What We Love

I have worked before with Dyane Sherwood, the publisher of Fruits of Eden: Napa Valley 1991-2021 (which is currently being typeset. Dancing Raven Press, an imprint of Analytical Psychology Press).  I know her propensity to mix visual imagery with the written word, a process quite different from the written word alone. “Take pictures of the… Read more »

Guardians

Mishewah Wappo descendent Alyx Howell said that his people call poison oak “guardian oak” and, as a result, have a better relationship with the plant. When you call it guardian oak, you are less likely to get an itchy rash. Alyx knows stories about the oaks that I have not heard from any other source. … Read more »

A Fantistical Opossum Story

The story starts with taking out the trash about 8:15 pm Wednesday, an unusual thing for me to do. In fact, when have I taken out the trash in the evening? It involves driving the 3/4 mile driveway to the trash cans at Dry Creek Road, and who in their right mind would do that… Read more »

Go-Bags and Exit Plans: Navigating the New Normal

The ranch is fresh green, the Mexican daisies and Spanish lavender in full bloom, and the birds courting. We’ve had a fraction of our average seasonal rainfall. I find it harder to enjoy the brilliance of April, one of the most verdant months here. The valley oak leaves are large and still that first green-gold…. Read more »

Arrival of the Beloved Dog, Bramble Berry

We picked up our labradoodle Bramble Berry three years ago this week, on April 16, 2018. He was just 8 weeks old. He arrived at a difficult time for us, with several challenges initiating me into overseeing everything my husband Donald used to do as his health declined. Donald and I drove to Fair Oaks,… Read more »

Lineage of the Christmas Stocking

My cousin, about the age of my mother, knitted the stockings for my younger sister Judy and me when we were very young, and I have knitted the same pattern stocking for each of my children, their wives, and their children. When my daughter-in-law Melissa, Grace’s aunt, reminded me that it was time to start… Read more »

Wind–and Fire

This latest round of fires began in the early hours Sunday. I wrote this that morning before the flames would spread over the mountains east and west. As I write, we are notified yet another red flag warning may be issued tomorrow.  We are all on alert. Yes, this is climate change, California style. It… Read more »

Art and Land-Use

Casey and I ran across the stone one late autumn day in 2016 as we were hiking the trails of Austin Park in Napa. We stopped in surprise, examining a   haiku pasted to its side. “grass greens bright/long slow drizzle/ flowers prepare to POP”.  We photographed the stone and continued down the trail. Just… Read more »