Wednesday, October 18, 2017


A lot of October Happy Birthdays going out to friends, family, and mentors!  You know who you are!

We've had a beautiful year for foliage despite the drought.  You can see both in this post's photo taken ten days ago.

I think we have had 3/4 inch of rain since then, but the water level is even lower.  Go figure.  It's dry dry dry.

I had a chance to spend some time in the harvest fields-butter nut squash and green peppers.  I assumed the first picker I met was hispanic and started talking to him in Spanish .  Later he was insulted that I thought he was Mexican and told me he was from Albania.  Oops. (and they speak Albanian)

I wondered why I couldn't understand the other guys and gals and then I learned they were speaking Portugeuse- because they are from Brazil.  How cool is that?

All of them are here as interns.  One specializes in Dairy, one is training to be a food inspector, another in plant genetics.

We spent time discussing all manner of things from culture, perceptions, politics, farming and personal life. My head rang in deep Porteguese accented voices for days.

One of the hardest workers hails from Columbia, but his English is very good.  We occasionally exchanged niceties across languages-to his "Thank you," I would reply, "De Nada," to an eyeblinding flash of white teeth over the shoulder in appreciation. All of those I met from South America had the most perfect dazzling white teeth.

This property finally saw frost two nights ago.  Got the summer squash, zuccini, impatiens, marigolds and finished off the coleus which were already protesting the temperatures.

Yes folks, it's chilly.  Got a fire going a little bit ago, but I sit up here in the eyrie with the window open.  Freezing, I just went down to check the stove and it was out.  It was 55F in the kitchen brr.

I know the Brazilians will be glad to head home the end of the month.  One of them has never seen snow-if this keeps up, that might change.

Sunday, September 24, 2017


I dream a lot, every night.  I am not sure what is meant by different sleep cycles, because as soon as I drift off I am dreaming.

I dream in color.  I usually don't remember my dreams and the best I can do is feel them at the fringes of my awake state.  The more I try and grab them and bring them closer for inspection, the faster they fade.

It's like trying to pick a piece of eggshell out of the bowl of eggs.  Some unseen force just keeps pushing it further away.

The other night I had a dream I remembered.  Just a very short one.  The dreams that seem to be easiest to recall are the ones that suprise me enough to shock me to wakefulness.

I was on the banks of a shallow rock strewm river, looking diagonally across.  On the other side there was a grassy patch under some large trees, and a man and woman sat there on a blanket, perhaps having a picnic or sharing a bottle of wine.

The man became aware of my presence and stood up and starting walking towards me.  I say walking, but it was a loose, swinging dipping gait.  The epitome of cool.  He was familair to me, and I thought in my dream that only he could move like that and still look amazing.

He entered the water and waded directly towards me, splashing his arms and dipping his head like an otter or dolphin.

I was some kind of observer-I was watching through a lens, or perhaps I was a lens, because I had no feeling of an actual body.  But somehow he had recognized my presence, and made straight towards me, perhaps showing off in his movement like a water loving dog expressing his joy in the cool water.

His smiling face came extremely close, like someone peering into a camera lens, and I woke up.

Saturday, March 18, 2017


The coyotes were sad last night.  I have lived here twenty years, with goats on the back acre for ten.  Usually once or twice during the winter, the coyotes will come to the back line.  This year, the pack was to the left, the right, and outback, all times of night and evening.  What was going on?

I found out that coyote hunters  had put three bait dumps within 1000 feet of my goats, encircling my pasture.  The bait consisted of slaughterhouse offal, and yes, it included goat and sheep bits.  Because when I confronted the hunter-actually, he stopped to talk to me on the road-he was suprised that I had never had a trouble with my goats, since coyotes picked the goat bits out of the piles first.  Nice.

Then he went on to say that he had taken 7 coyotes out from behind me.  Groups of pickups speeding up and down the gravel road everyday, hunting dogs showing up in my back yard....

Yesterday I went out the long way just because I didn't want to pass the hunters, and I'll be damed but four trucks where down the road and I had to pass them anyhow.  Later Peko and I walked down the road after they had left and followed their trail into the woods.

I have permission from the landowner to be on that they?  Who knows, since my neighbor told me she had found a bait pile on her property and the hunter, a retired game warden, had told her he could put it there because she didn't have her name on her posted signs!

The property they had gone on is also posted, but the name is faded.  The owner lives out of state, but you can be sure the next time he comes up I am going to ask him if they have permission.

Part of this same gang was caught by my other neighbor on her land last fall herding deer!  And she posted her land for the first time in twenty five years because of them.  The whole road is lterally posted-but, as the retired game warden told me "Dogs can't read posted signs"

So they put their dogs in there and stand on the gravel road and wait for the dogs to drive the coyote into the road where they shoot it.  The dogs have gps collars so you typically see these guys lined up with handheld screens tracking the dogs progress through the (posted) woods.  That's why they speed up and down the road trying to keep ahead of the coyote.

If the dogs go to bay in the woods, they go in after the dogs-having the right to trespass to retrieve the dog.  You'd have to catch them and tell them not to shoot the coyote so good luck with that.

Anyhow, we followed the trail and ended up finding blood-whether from a coyote, injured dog, or the dead deer one of the yahoos had in the back of their truck yesterday morning that looked like coyote bait to me (the deer didn't have a mark on it, but orange tape around it's leg.  I think it had been hit by a car).

I was sure they must have shot the last coyote-but last night I stepped on the deck and heard one out back-there may have been two.  The call was so sad, not the usual happy one.  I cupped my hands to my mouth and mimicked the call.  Then I shouted, "I'm sorry,. they're assholes"

I have done a bunch of research on coyotes the last week.  Don't believe the hunters.  You're more likely to lose a cat to a fox than a coyote.  They will go after sheep, but good fencing, guard dogs, llamas, or burros will protect them.

All those years the big goat farm never lost one to coyotes.  AND she had found a bait dump 20 feet from her back fence as well.  It's like the hunters WANT them to go after your livestock so they can justify tearing through posted land with dogs during the season everything is pregnant.

Damn, don't get me going....

Saturday, January 21, 2017