General Custer and My Dad
Apr10

General Custer and My Dad

My late father was the living embodiment of the adage: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” It didn’t take long for everyone in his family and all his acquaintances to learn that when he said, “Well, I don’t really know him very well”, he meant, “I can’t say anything nice.” I think in all my life, I only ever heard him speak harshly about two...

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Native Wisdom
Mar20

Native Wisdom

In our great conversion from thirsty Bluegrass lawn to appropriate drought-tolerant California native garden, it’s all over but the tweaking. That’s not an insignificant thing. But first allow me to let you in on a little secret: the whole process isn’t that hard. Now I may be oversimplifying out of ignorance, because of the people involved in this project, I know the least. Well, I did research sheet mulching which...

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We Walk the Line
Mar07

We Walk the Line

We continue the slow progress of building our home in Sonoma — well, besides the living loft above the barn that we stay in now. So far, we have completed a cabana and a very large retaining wall. These structures went up relatively quickly because they aren’t in what Sonoma County considers a “scenic view area”. Basically, the county doesn’t want houses perched up on ridge lines of the rolling Sonoma...

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Project Lawn Be Gone: PROGRESS!
Feb20

Project Lawn Be Gone: PROGRESS!

Now the fun begins! We went through the arduous task of sheet mulching, then we spent weeks planning, rounding up plants and, finally, shopping for decorative elements and doing last minute prep work. When I say “we”, I basically mean “Ranch Manager Louis” who was the mastermind here with his right hand man, DJ. But I rode around in the truck on several trips and took pictures, so I guess I made a contribution....

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Feeling All Dakota
Feb03

Feeling All Dakota

Thanks to an upbringing as a Military Brat, plus an insatiable wanderlust, I’ve visited or lived in all but four of the fifty states. And when I say “visited”, I only count a state when I’ve traveled at least 100 miles in it, had a meal there or stayed at least one night. So my upcoming roadtrip, planned for August, is designed to knock some of the remaining four off the list. For the record, those four states...

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Farming is Hell
Jan22

Farming is Hell

Well, actually, it isn’t. It’s very pleasant and rewarding. But it does involve a lot of killing. At least if you are trying to farm crops organically in a native plant ecosystem. Anyone who reads this blog knows that we’ve spent years defending this little patch of original Sonoma ecology from the ravages of invasive, non-native plants. So far, our greatest line of defense has been minimal to no irrigation, except...

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Start as You Mean to Go On
Jan01

Start as You Mean to Go On

I love the feeling of January 1st, with a crisp, shiny new year ahead of me. Time to make those resolutions and tick some items off the Bucket List. Just because I haven’t been that good about keeping resolutions doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try it again. Hope springs eternal and this time, this time, I really believe I’ll make it happen. I know you are supposed to make small incremental goals like “put on...

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A Blogged Grab Bag
Nov10

A Blogged Grab Bag

My preferred format for blogging is the essay. Which means I usually try to find a topic and more or less stick with it for an entire post. But every now and then miscellaneous things happen, which I think might be interesting, but that even I can’t spin up into an entire post. And usually I can spin most anything into a post. So, in no particular order, a few things that happened this week: Remember I said there was a big...

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Managing My Mid-Life Crisis
Nov05

Managing My Mid-Life Crisis

And I do think I’m having one. I definitely need a new car — in fact a whole new category of car — for all the reasons outlined here. But I’m realizing my decision-making is not about the car. My decision is being informed by the vision of myself that I suddenly want to be. It’s just getting expressed through the car. Let me backtrack. For all of my driving life, I’ve had safe cars —...

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Hell on Wheels
Oct29

Hell on Wheels

By now, most people know I’m on Team Prius. I’ve had three so far, starting from when they first rolled out in the U.S. in the Year 2000. I’m always looking for ways to be more eco-friendly, but the big impetus was the election of George W. Bush. I was so furious and so concerned that this would set us back environmentally that I went out looking for an electric car. They were just being pulled off the market, so I...

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