What a difference a month makes. Especially in Sonoma. Especially if that month is January. Especially, especially if it’s an El Nino January. Buckets of rain have been coming down for what seems like weeks. But Saturday offered a rare sunny break and a chance to corral the terriers and walk the back 40 to see how everything was holding up. The first thing we encountered was a lovely little sylan stream, complete with Hobbit-sized waterfalls, running along the back fence. Since this area is usually filled with trash that idiots throw over our fence and into our property, this change was a nice surprise. I got very excited and immediately went into naming mode — as every rock and wide spot in the road has a name here. I’d settled on Danthonia Creek, naming it after Danthonia californica or California Oatgrass, which happens to be one of the few natives I can reliably identify. Then John the Baptist came by to disabuse me of the notion that I’ve got a new creek. Yes, he and Louis cleaned it up and made it what it is, but apparently they can’t make it spring-fed, which he is insisting is the definition of a creek. What I’ve got, apparently, is a drainage ditch. But Danthonia Ditch just doesn’t have the same ring.

Well, no sense getting stuck in semantics. There was so much else to see.

The Goat Rocks are covered by this great multi-colored lichen. Perfect for Terrier King of the Hill posing..

Why are they called Goat Rocks? Because at one time we thought some goats that we might get would enjoy them. Then we changed our minds and decided to get burros. But by then the rocks were named.

Moving right along: ‘shrooms were popping up everywhere.

You won’t catch us harvesting these. As bad as I am identifying flowers, I’m taking no chances with a plant that might kill me.

Also blooming were these great little flowers.

Which someone will probably tell me is a weed. Flowers I like are always turning out to be weeds.

In the vineyards, the buds aren’t yet ready to break on the trimmed grape vines.

But the mustard is as high as a terriers eye.

Dead and dying branches have been trimmed from our Manzanita grove. And piled neatly as living space for small critters.

The coyotes had thoughtfully left some deer legs for Oscar to munch on.

Which it looked as if he might have to fight vultures to keep.

So our perambulations done, Oscar retired by the woodstove with an even better chewie.

His George Bush stuffed toy, which he’s not giving up no matter how many administrations come and go.

All the pictures from our foray, here.