Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

tia annie

the life of the party
always a story or a joke to tell
with one of those faces
that bear the signs of past suffering
and shine anyway
with some brilliant and undeniable light from within
100 years of light
of celebration
now time to leave the party
to leave it up to the rest of us
to remember the punchlines
and go on shining

Thursday, December 15, 2016

tumble and fall

leaves slip
from december trees
i watch them
tumble and fall
to the ground
more gracefully
than others

web tension and life trajectory

standing under the hot spray of the shower
looking up at a spider web
strung between the curtain rod and the wall
to what degree
the tension of the web
the course of events of this experience i know as my life
and whether or not the attendant spider
ponders such things also

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

happiest tree

we went to the nursery yesterday to look for a christmas tree.  when we found the happiest one we brought it home.

potted shore pine

still awaiting trim but makes things feel christmas-y even without and radiates a joy and pleasantness.

we'll plant it somewhere on the property after christmas.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

the boy who drove a model A

to know the boy who
drove a model A
and chased butterflies across the hillsides

Friday, December 9, 2016

oak gall christmas balls

about a week ago i noticed a lot of galls had dropped from the oaks.  i picked one up and admired all the interesting knobby protrusions it had and thought it could somehow make a really neat christmas ornament.  i collected a couple dozen and today i did a little experimenting with some spray paint...

the paint is still a little tacky so i've got them hanging in the mill office to finish drying.  once they're dry i'll make some hooks for hanging them.

fun stuff.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

sharp-tailed snake

made the acquaintance of the tiny and beautiful sharp-tailed snake today...

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

duck sculpture

months ago i thought it would be fun to do a duck sculpture and i've finally gotten around to starting it.  part of the inspiration came while i was helping staal stucco the barn.  whether i'm building something or preparing a meal, i like to work with whatever is on hand.  we always have scraps of wood and chicken wire and all kinds of other bits and pieces leftover from building projects.  we now have some leftover stucco in that inventory.  so, of course, stucco duck.
i've been working on a wire armature (i think it's very close to the actual size of our ducks) that will support the stucco.  today i put the feet together and it's looking quite ducky.  i've got a little tweaking to do for shape but it's pretty much ready for stucco at this point.

the wire was difficult to photograph but here goes anyway...

it's been a lot of fun so far.  next comes stucco.  or maybe i'll leave it as it is.  it's not a bad wire sculpture.  we shall see.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

happy birthday, zane grey (5 years of learning and unlearning)

today is zane's 5th birthday.  i'm grateful for the time we've had together so far and selfishly wish for many more years of his companionship.  he's not an easy dog.  he sometimes gets labeled as "crazy" (i'm guilty of calling him "nuts" on occasion) but it's not really accurate and it isn't constructive.  there is a definite wildness within him that is, for better or for worse, sometimes irrepressible.  at its worst it can manifest as fearful reactivity and at its best it is the most amazing and delightful exuberance i've ever seen expressed.  
my gift to zane this year is to be more diligent in helping him through the fearful times.  i've done a lot of reading about canine behavior and positive reinforcement training techniques (mostly clicker training) and have used those techniques with zane since the day i brought him home.  i think all of it has helped zane to get along better in our strange human world.  it has helped me to be more open to his communications and made for a good bond between us.  along with everything i've learned i've also done a lot of unlearning of conventional training techniques and of the conventional/mainstream cultural beliefs of what dogs are and how they are to be treated.  as i've let go of what our culture has told me i've been more able to understand and act on what i've always felt in my heart.  i can see and treat dogs and other nonhuman animals as fellow beings who are very different than humans in many ways but in no way less deserving of the kindness, respect, and understanding that we (hopefully) try to cultivate in our human to human relationships. sometimes i fall short of the mark but i'm still learning and unlearning and trying.

some new books for zane

so, zane, here's my birthday promise to you...
i'll try my hardest to be the human you deserve and to help you through the scary, confusing, and frustrating times.  i'll try to listen to and understand what you are telling me.  i'll try to give you the same loving and devoted companionship that you give to me.  and i'll try to make it all as much fun as i can.  happy birthday, zane grey.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

the stories we live

the stories we live
or painful
recorded in flesh
a wrinkle
a scar
seem so real
so permanent
but when we look again
we find they've changed
the face in the mirror
hauntingly familiar yet undeniably strange
the stories told now by some voice
not quite our own
whispering in the distant echo of a dream
and we are free
to believe them
or not
to wake
and write something new

Monday, October 31, 2016

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

oak galls

found lots of different oak galls (all of them on valley oak, Quercus lobata) this morning while i was out walking with zane.  galls are caused by tiny cynipid wasps.  the wasps lay their eggs on the oak trees' leaves or stems and in doing so trigger a reaction that causes the tree to create a gall around the egg where the larva will then develop.  

here are some links with more photos and information:

and here is what zane and i found this morning...

neat.  very.

garter snake

Monday, October 3, 2016

hornitos flea market

yesterday was the annual flea market in hornitos.  it's kind of the ultimate yard sale around these parts.  staal and i have gone to it every year since we met and always have a lot of fun spending a few hours poking around for treasures. 

a happy (and handsome) market goer

there's always a lot to see...

some things looked very familiar...

pretty sure caleb and i scooted around in this when we were kids

i resisted the pumpkins but i did bring home a little bag of assorted pumpkin seed the pumpkin folk were selling.

 and a few more creatures for the greenhouse.

worst ever picture of the best ever toolbox

there are always several food trucks/carts but the place that makes the indian tacos always smells the best (the smell of indian fry bread in hot oil is pretty amazing) and staal gave them a try this year.  the tacos are really popular and they were out of meat by the time staal got to the head of the line but it was still a very enjoyable treat.

staal loves old sewing machines so this pretty little thing followed us home.  the guy selling it had stripped it out of its cabinet and turned the iron base with the treadle into a table with a marble top.  we saw more than one "treadle table" there this year.  the vendors can make more money selling them that way than they can as sewing machines.  even without the cabinet and treadle it's quite a treasure and lucky to have come home with someone who will enjoy it and take good care of it.

singer 27 with sphinx from 1900

no dogs allowed this year so zane spent most of his time waiting for us to come back to the truck (usually there are too many dogs and he ends up having to stay in the truck anyway) but he did have fun sniffing around the end of town and watching a herd of goats before we headed back home.

two smiley guys outside the little market at the edge of town

it was a great day spent with my two most favorite fellers.