Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Aptos Love

hidden beach
So many things to love about living here besides the Ocean, brilliant farmer's markets and the fact that everything I want and need is 12 or less minutes away.  Loving my neighbors,  electric bike and lovely green spots to hike.  Mostly the cool clean fresh Ocean air.

Living in a little cabin in a stand of redwoods.  No phone or TV.  Go across the road for internet.  Deer in the yard and tame chickens.  One likes to hop on my shoulder.

12 minutes from hidden beach where dogs run free and dolphins and seals play near the shore and scout for sardines.
12 minutes the other way to our son who lives like a monk at the Zen Center.  Most things I need are within biking distance.

knife demo @ farmer's market
Gabriel near Zen Center
from the kitchen window

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Moon Dancer

This beautiful horse was given to me by my friend Chris Lange.  I had ridden him twice.  Two years ago on a cattle round up we went high into the hills with the old timers who knew how to flush out the cows and calves who had separated and hidden from the rest of the herd.  He was awesome.  So when I was told Chris wanted a new home for him because he was too energetic I thought that was perfect as I was looking for an energetic smaller horse.  I was not informed that head tossing was the real issue.  I believe in the two years since I had ridden him he received some rough handling and a severe bit which ulcerated his mouth.  Now he is living at Harmony Hill and receiving love and gentle handling and start doing some work at Liberty till we are sure he is safe to ride and happy to be ridden.

Mariann, Melisa and Moon Dancer


Egg Thief vs. Rattlesnake in the grass.

He slid under the hen and lifted her off her nest.  He swallowed an egg while slithering down the side of the wall.

I had read on line that one egg would satisfy a Gopher snake for a month so he would be unlikely to return.  I set up barricades to the nest while he crushed and engorged the egg.  

He wasn't sated.  He returned to the nest, past my insufficient blockcades.

So I gently removed him from the coop after making absolutely certain he was a GOPHER and not a RATTLE snake.  His head was rounded and not angular. He had no rattles though he tried to convince me he did by hissing and and shaking the tip of his naked tail.
 
He seemed indignant about his removal casting back a look of disdain before sliding away into the grass.   I secured then in a safer spot, put a big plastic owl in the coop and blocked  his entrance hole.

He is a lovely Gopher Snake. The snake in the grass shown below
looks the same but look closely and you may see six buttons on the end of his tail.  A six year old rattler...

Perhaps the two will meet.  It is likely the Gopher snake will devour the rattler.
sliding down the wall swallowing an egg




The Gopher snake lifted the hen from her nest and stole her egg.  I moved her to a safer spot and she lives with me now in Aptos with her two healthy chicks
Rattlesnake in the grass, look carefully to the far left and you can see six buttons, his rattles.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Love Letter to Harmony Hill, Drinking in the Green

First red bell like bud which becomes a juicy sweet pomegranate
Drinking in the green of what might be my last spring on Harmony Hill.
Cows, calves, horses, goats munching on the green grass bursting up from the last rain.

Yellow and purple iris explode in front of the house.  Hollyhock, crouching ready to lift pink, white and red puckered flower heads, poised for opening

The orange trees dripping with both fruit and blossoms.  Artichokes within the curtain of sharp edged elegant leaves, need just a bit more plumping.

Explosion of new figs and pomegranates darkening, sweetening for summer’s delight.
(written April 2014

Mama plus 10














ON THE SALE OF MY FARM
Robert Frost
Well-away and be it so,
To the stranger let them go.
Even cheerfully I yield
Pasture, orchard, mowing-field,
Yea and wish him all the gain
I required of them in vain.
Yea and I can yield him house,
Barn, and shed, with rat and mouse
To dispute possession of.
These I can unlearn to love.
Since I cannot help it? Good!
Only be it understood,
It shall be no trespassing
If I come again some spring
In the grey disguise of years,
Seeking ache of memory here.

{1911}

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

La Rose en Vie avec Lucile Melier

 Lucile spent 3 weeks with us.  She is a lovely, happy, easy going but hardworking girl of 20.

She is on a quest to find her joyful place after determining that Law School was not a good fit.
She is traveling and exploring. We were lucky to be one of her stops.  She took good care of the horses grooming, massaging, and riding.  She milked the goats and saved the day when we moved them to be bred and they broke out of the trailer.  She quickly rounded them up by their horns, avoiding a possible disaster.

She made wonderful sweet and savory wheat free Crepes.

She and Turkey were inseparable.  She carried him on her shoulder while she worked and he read books over her shoulder in her on her time off.

She attended a Bunko party, a Wedding, and  won over $23 thousand Derby Bucks at the Kentucky Derby Party, looking great in her feathered hat (below with Karina and Elena).

K
inseprable

She patiently taught me the lyrics to  Edith Piaf's Le Rose en Vie which we sang it together for Allen and at every opportunity.

She attended a lovely Tea Party/Goodbye Brunch at Vicki Riddle's beautiful home before Vicki jumped into her car  and sped off to meet President  Obama on Air Force One.

We then left for Aptos where she spent one night with me,  and traveled to Ikea.  I left her with a friend from Gleanings in Capitola near the Ocean.

Hope she is still having great adventures and finds what she is seeking.


rehabbing Cabbie

With Veronika
W/Allen & Elena

Dancing @Leela's Wedding

Friday, May 2, 2014

Veronika Frankel

riding with Lucile
I don't usually take short term visitors but something about Veronika made me say YES!

A ski patrol professional in winter and landscaper in summer, she was between the seasons looking for some California sunshine.  She emigrated from Russia when she was six and shared two of her grandmother's recipes for delicious meals.  Koteleti is a savory beef dish and Olivier is a delicious Russian style potato salad similar to the one made by Sasha last summer.  It had dill, carrots, ham, pickles cucumber, peas and eggs tossed in a dijon dressing.  So good.

Veronika was skilled with the horses and put her landscaping skills to use improving the front lawn and garden area as well as harvesting goat food.  One of a few who was able to milk the goats on her first try.  We wish her a safe and happy trip back to Colorado and hope to see her again.





Patricia et Jon

Patricia and Jon stand under the Rose Arch they repaired.
Although we started with misunderstandings re: date of arrival, length of stay, and time work begins,
I was very happy to host the beautiful couple from Barcelona, Patricia and Jon, for 2 days.

Jon is a Police Officer and Patricia a recent grad.

They are both cheerful hard workers who got a lot done in a short time, hauling and chopping the Poplar that blew down in the windstorm and creatively rebuildng the Rose Arch that was also blown over.

We wish them well on their continued discovery of California.