Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Big Trees

 Our cabin sits near a grove of centuries old sierra redwoods. I often walk up an old road with my dog and when I get to a place as that road narrows, I am surrounded by some of the "younger" redwoods.  I will stand there, just the dog and I and close my eyes and listen to the silence. It is deafening. It is magnificent.  I will look up, I am surrounded. I am happy.

This is a walk we took with our dog, who runs and runs and smells the earth and life renewing itself with each passing moment.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

From Farm to Table...A Bucket Full of Blueberries

My last stop on my most recent road trip to Malibu, was Santa Barbara Blueberry Farm right on Hwy 101 in Gaviota. This is my second visit to this charming U-pick, with 22 acres of plump, juicy blueberry's literally right at your finger tips for the picking. An absolute gem, the farm has a season that runs from Memorial Day until the berry bush's have been picked clean. So with pail in hand, we were instructed by the young gal working the stand to walk about a 1/4 mile up the road to the yellow flag and start your picking there, and off we went. We stopped to say hi and coo at the cutest baby piglet we've ever seen, a couple of sweet as can be goats, and chickens pecking in the dirt. Past a lovely pond under an ancient giant oak and well worn picnic table and on to the row of bushes with the yellow flag.  I wandered up rows of bushes chock full of berries, and easily finding perfectly ripe and ready for picking berries in no time...lost in thought on this perfect warm summer day, the only sounds I heard were my own humming and the hungry moo of the cows in the barns behind us.  An hour and half later, our buckets were full (just about 3 pounds) and back down the little dirt road we walked in happy silence.  Forking over $15 for each pail (an amazing bargain for these no spray blue's) we were on the road again way too soon.

Find out what I came out of the oven on my other blog...love to cook love to bake...


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"Load Up, Brown Dog"

Brody's our dog.  He's three now..a chocolate lab that sometimes chases his tail, the squirrel on the fence and anything we throw past him. You would think that since he's a labrador retriever, he'd bring those balls, sticks and (the occasional) pinecone back to us so we could fling it past him again and again.  But Brody loves to go get it... he just won't bring it back to us. Sure, he comes running back at full speed, so proud that he's got whatever we threw to him in his mouth, but give it up? No sir. 

But despite Big Brown's lack of retrieving skills (or our lack of teaching him), he's turned out to be a darn good dog.  He's a great traveler, and in his three years , Brody's gone on the road with us whenever we've been able to load him up in the truck.  In Ireland, "Brody" means "from the muddy place", and little did I know that when we brought him home, he would do his best to find and tromp through any mud everywhere he goes. During the rainy season, which has gone on and on, I see him from the kitchen window trotting to the back door after roaming our small hillside... mud caked on his big old paws.  With all the rain we've had this year, here and in our mountain cabin, I taught Big Brown (just as I did my children on entering the house) to wipe his feet.  Yes, he does. On command, before as I open the door, I say "wipe your feet"...he turns in a circle on the outside mat, then comes in, turns another circle and waits patiently for his favorite treat in the world, an apple. Not bad for a dog, I'd say. 

Some in our family call him a "kitchen dog". Hey, he's a lab. He knows where the goods are. He'll hang out with me as I cook and bake, hoping for a morsel to fall from grace.  If he's lucky enough, I keep him busy as I tell him, "get it!" 

I thought I'd feature our dog because not only is he a good dog, but he's also a good lookin' boy, and since I write about our traveling adventures, I thought he deserved some notice. So here he is in some old and new adventures.  Our good dog Brody.

Official name?  Sonic's Red Brody 

Lover of water and balls

...and did I mention running and running and running....

How's that for "expressive"? 

Running in snow gets him good and tired
A favorite frisbee he claimed in the lake
Snow dog

"Oh boy, another adventure"!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

England on my mind..

I know it sounds strange to a fellow Californian, especially in light of our very wet  spring, but I love these days of cool weather, rain, and an occasional peek from the sun. The bright blue of the hidden sky, shown only between breaks from endless puffs of clouds. It reminds me of England, and my days spent scouring the countryside and tiny villages~long walks in Wellies on farm trails, tea in tiny little shops, blazing fires in fireplaces centuries old, and miles and miles of winding country roads, tiny spring lambs hopping about, dotting the hillsides and fields. Doors of cottages, told me stories of past inhabitants, graveyards, lovely in the shadows of a 1000 year old church, pubs offering up a friendly pint and local conversation. 

My daughter and I traveled to the countryside of England in early summer.  We discovered the truth of what we had not remembered about each other on this lovely trip. We are the same.. both searching for meaning and beauty and adventure.  She let me go meandering, patiently waiting ..stopping on corners just looking at what was around me..so familiar it was..all those places our eyes and heart gathered up as we moved through the countryside and on to the beating pulse of London.   She came along with me, as I fell back in love with this place, this England..and I watched her, my girl, find a small bit of herself she had thought she had lost along the way of adolescence.  It ended all to soon, our adventure. But I know we'll be back..this place across the sea..this England.

Oh, how often I visit these memories...here in my mind...



"Know your own happiness. Want for nothing but patience -- or give it a more fascinating name: Call it hope." 
                                                                                                     — Jane Austen (Sense and Sensibility)