Monday, December 25, 2017

alms for an old dog

after the christmas eve meal
leftovers gathered on a paper plate
alms for an old dog
who's been hanging about the neighborhood
the oldest boy has come with me
he's enchanted with the ancient husky's mismatched eyes
“like marbles”
one so pale blue it's nearly white
the other amber brown
as we say goodbyes to family in the front yard
the old dog slowly wanders over from across the street
a huge woolly mass on stiff legs
i interpret his effort as a gesture of thanks
i stroke his head
thank him for the gift he has given me
and wish him well

Thursday, December 21, 2017

winter solstice

winter is officially here and with it came our first frost.  up 'til now the weather has been very mild and mostly dry although we did have a mix of rain and wet snow come down for a little while yesterday morning.

frozen solid kale leaf sporting some neat ice crystals

the ducks' drink pans and pools were frozen over.

after i removed the ice i topped the pans off with a little warm water that i brought out in a bucket from the kitchen.  the ducks don't mind dipping their bills into frigid water first thing in the morning but it makes me feel better to warm things up a bit.

business as usual

i thought this would be it for the tomato plants but some of them seem to still be hanging on just fine.

meanwhile the little ones are still enjoying a cushy lifestyle.  little do they know i'm almost finished bobcat proofing their outdoor enclosure and in another day or two they'll be moving to their new digs.

may the lengthening days bring with them peace and happiness to all.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


snipped a few sprigs of toyon and manzanita and decorated the wreath today...

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

the trees

the trees stand in silent wisdom
hundreds of years
meticulously recorded
in the very fiber of their being
the chant of an endless, wordless mantra
circling round and round deep within
a secret told only to the passing wind
the breeze picks up
i stand below
and eavesdrop

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

the way home

took the ducklings out to the fig orchard with me today so they could have some outside time and i could get a little weeding done.  

when the sun and the temperature started dropping we called it a day.  staal led the way home,   walking backward and encouraging them to follow.

they raced after him and ran right up onto the front porch and into the house where we helped them back into the brooder for a well-deserved nap.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

making feathers

the little ones are starting to put out feathers (mostly on their bellies, wings, and tails).

here they are sporting little fawn bibs.  taken yesterday 12/2/2017 in the orchard garden

here's what they'll look like when they're completely feathered and a bit older... fawn and white runners

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


one of the ducklings is a much slower grower than the rest.  i was worried about her for a while because she was so tiny and didn't seem to be growing.  she's always been just as active (maybe more so) as the others and behaves like a normal runner duckling.   she doesn't let the bigger ducklings crowd her out from the feeder or bully her.  she's just small.  i'm happy to say she's had a bit of a growth spurt recently and has probably doubled in size since the picture below was taken 4 days ago. 

staal with "tiny" in hand 11/25/2017

she may never be as big as the rest but she's not lacking in enthusiasm and she has a wonderful, courageous spirit.   

taken today 11/29/2017 a much larger "tiny" (right, front)

Saturday, November 25, 2017

off to work

i've been doing a bit of fall cleanup and planting in the kitchen garden and i've been letting the ducklings out to help me.  

fuzzy little helpers

on their first time out they took to the new environment without any hesitation, immediately going to work rooting around in the clover and along the edges of the raised beds looking for bugs.

the first couple times i took them out with me i hauled them in a cardboard box from the brooder to the garden.  now i just lift them out of the brooder and they walk through the house and out to the garden.  

and when we're done working they walk back into the house and i lift them back into the brooder where they usually have a good snooze.

30 years

about 30 years separating these two pictures...

me and caleb in dad's garden with a fat little pekin duckling

me in the kitchen garden with 4-week-old fawn and white runner duckling

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Friday, November 17, 2017

field trip

took the duckies on a field trip to explore the greenhouse this afternoon.  they had a great time.

to make sure they grow up to be good foragers staal gave them a little rice and tossed some into the grass for them to hunt.  here's a short video of them rooting around in the greenhouse lawn...

Thursday, November 16, 2017

fall gardens

the weather has been very mild and dry so far this fall but today it's a little chilly and there's a little rain falling.  it hasn't gotten cold enough to kill the squash or tomato plants (that will probably happen with the temperature drop when this rainstorm clears out) but it has been just cool enough that some of the trees are starting to put on a good show.  took a wander around the gardens this afternoon and snapped a few pictures.

espaliered 'mission' fig still holding its leaves with an understory of sage, kales, and assorted asian greens

fruit trees on the west side of the orchard garden

looking southeast through pit-grown apricot

'stupice' tomato still looking happy despite it being mid-november at 3,000ft

'benning's green tint' squash still blossoming and fruiting

wonderful riot

assorted asian greens growing up from the fallen seeds of last year's crop

'ouachita' thornless blackberry brightening up the kitchen garden

espaliered 'fuyu' persimmon and 'kosmic' perennial kale foreground, potted snow peas background

the ducks enjoying the wet weather as they work the fig orchard

grateful for the rain and grateful to be able to enjoy it from inside a warm, dry house.

duck papa

Sunday, November 12, 2017

happy birthday, zane grey

today is zane's 6th birthday.  most of his toys have been reduced to horribly savaged bits so this year's birthday gift is a big box of all his favorites (and a new brush)...

  i helped him unwrap them and he carried them off one by one to a nest on the bed.

the rings and the balls are a couple of his favorites from his early puppyhood.  found a video of him playing as a pup...

he's not much different now, just bigger.  here he is playing with his new ball...

happy birthday to my wild, shaggy love.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

duckling adventure

we let the ducklings explore the house a little this morning.

that is love

i'd like to nestle deep
into the heart of you
into that place in you
that knows love
that is love
and there reside
by the perfect light
of love
my only purpose
to call you back
to that loving place deep within
each time you feel me stir

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Saturday, November 4, 2017

making friends with the fuzzballs

i've been getting the ducklings used to being around hands and being handled.  they seem to be taking a liking to me.  they come over to investigate and nibble my fingers and sleeves (and peck at the camera when i've got it in hand).  they'll climb into an open palm if one is offered.  i had both my hands in the brooder last night and ended up with a sleeping duckling in each palm and one more snuggled up with her bill buried between the two in my hands.  
they're way too active to get any still shots that actually come out in focus so here's some video:

Wednesday, November 1, 2017


new arrivals

this morning we drove down to the post office in mariposa to pick up our six new fawn and white runner ducklings.  they were starting to get a bit chilled after being in a cardboard box for 2 days so i popped them all down my shirt to keep them warm on the car ride home...

they're all doing well now, cozy in their 90 degree brooder, eating and drinking and running around like crazy. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

the persimmon tree

    the persimmon tree
    stands silently in the sunlight
    glowing the most brilliant, fiery orange
    like it's no big deal

six tiny travelers

six tiny travelers
huddled together in the dark
there will be light
and warmth
and love
your bellies will be full
so, be strong
be strong, little ones
soon there will be light
and warmth
and love

Thursday, October 19, 2017

oak titmouse

found this little one bouncing around in the greenhouse this morning.  must have come in through the open ridge vent.  feisty little bird and not happy about being handled but definitely needed a little help finding its way out.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


            the clean, resinous scent of tarweed
            bittersweet memories of a past life
            mingle with
            gratitude for the present
            a past-life's dream come true

Friday, October 6, 2017


found a bullfrog in the kitchen garden today while i was doing a little watering.  first one i've seen up here.  not sure what it's doing so far from water but maybe it's none of my business.  sure has some beautiful eyes though...

Monday, October 2, 2017

tumble into infinity

we hold each other
if only we could tumble
into infinity like this
you say
and i cry
because i know
deep down
that's the only thing i want
i could let go of everything
but you
i don't know how to let go of you

Monday, September 11, 2017

happy birthday...

to the man who brings out the better part of me.
you have all my love and gratitude.

Monday, September 4, 2017

current conditions...

smoke, ash, and feathers

today's sun and a view of buckingham mountain through the smoky haze

the front yard is a mix of molted duck feathers, bits of burnt vegetation, and ash

ash on muskmelon leaves

i don't mean for it to seem all doom and gloom.  it isn't.  amidst the smoke and ash and heat i find myself in a heartbreakingly beautiful existence with wonderful companions and i'm grateful that we are safe and well.

someone reminding me not to take things so seriously