Posts Tagged ‘Report from the Front’


Yoipes, Yorick is all I can say right now.  But we are watching that really terrific..we might say vintage? -movie, LOCAL HERO.  It’s wonderful.  Also? The wind is blowing the daylights out of our new greenhouse.  The ever escalating level of difficulty.


I’ve woken up a few mornings lately with Joni Mitchell’s song “If” running through my head.  Feeling somewhat flattened by just about everything it was nice to have that note of Positive appear.

Sometimes I think I should switch to writing fiction.  That way I could just use everything that happens around here with some name changes, because frankly? On every level things are just terribly surreal.  Also, of course, I’m confusing myself with too many facts. and both supply interesting commentary about the condition we find ourselves in.  For example, I didn’t know that Clarence Thomas was formerly an attorney for none other than MONSANTO.  Talk about evil empires.  Or that the food production in this country is controlled by four corporate entities,  managed by four corporate boards with about 200 people overall making the decisions for the whole shebang .  (Which includes farming (” “), let’s say agribusiness instead, operations that are found to be holding their labor force in conditions of slavery.  Ever wonder about where your tomatoes come from?  Or if they’re even really tomatoes?)  Or that 20% or so of the children in this country live in poverty.  Or that, by our calculations, close to 40% of the population here is out of commission, being either in prison or unemployed.  Meanwhile people are having the usual personal upheavals, eye wateringly horrid reversals and just downright weird shite rain down like monsoons.

So, as I pondered my own most recent personal philosophical quandary, I realized that the personal is, indeed, political, and of course vice versa.  I always believed that opposing viewpoints could come together and reach accord, but now I realize that belief is fading from my view.  While you do have to be the change you want to see in the world, at times others in your life don’t want to see that same change.  Then you have to decide how to proceed, what to do.  It gets complicated when the people on the other side, shall we say, are close to you, and you find they hold views perilously and diametrically opposed to yours.  At one point last week I actually figured out logically that non-violence really is the only way- sadly, I didn’t write that brilliant realization down, and now I can’t remember a thing.  So for now, the two opposing things in my chest are a deep sense of the connection everything on this earth has to every other thing, and the awareness that I am finally unwilling to live in fear any more and pretend I don’t see what I see.  It is to be hoped that these two things will intertwine and show me some light on the way.  Because something has to be done to shift the direction this country, and the world, is headed in and time seems so short.  It seems so overwhelming for anyone to hope to accomplish anything that serves the larger good in any meaningful way.  However, everything starts with a single step, right?  The Dalai Lama once said, when asked what people could do to make things better: Smile.  We’ll begin there.

198 Degrees

You know you’re screwed, Gentle Reader, when the NOAA weather site has an orange picture for the day’s weather, and simply says HOT.  None of those fluffy clouds against a blue background pictures that give you hope (however ill founded) that you might make it through the day without boiling over.

So, yes, summer’s here.  The insulation and shade cloth structures that The Partner set up are working but.  But.  With no shade, their effectiveness is greatly lessened.  So once again, happy yurt people: If you’re building where it gets hot? Station your yurt under shade.  Insulate.  Get the dome opener- I was really surprised to see that this is listed as optional.  It is really a must.

Meanwhile, the lizards are getting fat.  There was a sensational blue belly out last night, and we gave him rousing encouragement to keep eating ants.  A few days ago, while I was in the laundromat being treated to an hour of the Star Spangled Banner being whistled, along with the assertive attempt (repelled, in my case- you have to draw the line at times) at distribution of Important Baptist Tracts, the Partner had his own, somewhat biblical episode.  Ants, marching about two inches abreast, heading right toward the front door in a moving line with no end in immediate sight.  No fooling, no messing around, those guys meant business.   Think of the coordination involved.  Really, it is impressive, even if not anything you want to see heading toward you.  Fortunately, last year we did, as you may recall, buy a lifetime supply of diatomacious earth, which came to the rescue once more.  The exchange the Partner and I had when I returned from my own set of the labors of Hercules was typical:

Partner: Wow. It’s been fun around here since you left! (heavy inflection of sarcasm)

Me: Oh? Did it rain?

Partner: (Looking at me squintily as though I’d lost what few wits I had left-) NO.  NO IT DIDN’T RAIN ARE YOU NUTS? IT’S 90 DEGREES AROUND HERE.  NO.  BUT I ALMOST GOT EATEN BY ANTS.

Me:  How dreadful! It rained in town- really, it did.  It did too!!! Just in time to get the laundry wet while I put it in the car!  But it was hot enough in the car to dry everything out by the time I got here!  DID YOU REALLY ALMOST GET EATEN BY ANTS???

Partner: YES.  IT WAS AWFUL.

He then proceeded to tell me the story of how he foiled this dastardly expedition of, probably, millions of ants each one of whom are about half an inch long- and these are the stinky ones too which is totally awesome on top of everything else.  I was, as  usual, very impressed- he is, of course, much more logical than I’ll EVER, EVER be, so he tracked the source of the outpouring and diatomacious earthed it.  Ants deterred without too much loss on their part.  I made him eat the chocolate bar I’d been going to save as a surprise for later, just because.  Winning a battle in the Ant Wars is Big.  Combining that with yesterday’s triumph of taking garbage to the dump and none of it leaking at all not even a little bit? Priceless. It doesn’t exactly fill me with giddy optimism but for today it will have to do.


Carry On

Well.  Lots has happened.  Nothing has happened.  As per usual, really.  It’s been pouring rain and hailing off and on for a few days.  The rabbits and birds and squirrels pop out onto our driveway in between storms to drink water and eat.  I saw another brand new horse: What an amazing thing that is.  There were also lambs and goats and small donkeys.  The dried grasses look almost flourescent under these gray skies.  The rice fields along 5 shimmer right now, with the brilliant green tips of the plants coming up above the deep blue water with the distant mountains and clouds reflected and floating on top.

Meanwhile, the philosophical slalom course continues.  A very dear and long time friend, who does not live “in-country” any more, was visiting in the bay area.  Last year I missed seeing her because of the PLANT FIASCO, and this year I was determined to get down there come hell or high water.  Both of which arrived, but there it is.  It was as though no time or distance had been between us at all, really.  I realized that she’s always looked out for me and this time, in spite of everything, she was approving of the new and improved state of grounded being I was able to pull off.  Nothing caught on fire, no trips and falls, that sort of thing.  The astonishing thing was having actual conversations, to get right down to it.  Conversations with no maneuvering, posturing, rampant all-about-mee-ness.  It was like floating free in a wonderful sea of ideas and it made me ravenous for more.  Books! Ideas! Simple civility.  Meeting of minds and all that.  I mean, the Partner and I talk endlessly of course, about everything, all the time.  It’s pretty much all there is to do besides work.  But an in depth discussion of yeasted bread making, and knitting, and Monsanto with a dear woman friend is a fantastic treat.  Afterward, I visited another dear friend and altogether those two days were restorative and left me feeling….almost……human.

BUT THEN OF COURSE I GOT HOME.  Which I was ecstatic about, seriously.  Except that the situation around here makes limbo look like concrete stability.  One of the more special things that’s happened is this.  Our across the road a piece neighbors? Have a double wide which they rent (it is, indeed,  fixed up wonderfully- it has a stellar bathtub and a delightful water fountain in the back- ).  In keeping with the apparent Country Tradition of Never Ever Telling Anything Close to the Truth Just In Case, they’d told us they’d decided NOT to rent it to the young woman who was being stalked.  Good, we thought. There’s more than enough shooting to go around up here.  We’ll rent it to a retired person, they said.  Someone stable.  Which turned out to be?  Three very large young men.  Perfectly nice guys, I’m sure!  And even though the Lady of the Manor told us  she “could get a feeling about a person” it appeared to us that she’d missed the entire barn on this one.  Some things are, after all, consistent from place to place and it isn’t so much a feeling you get about someone as an accretion of clear signals and actual obvious information amounting to MAYBE NOT THIS ONE.  After consulting the quantum field, we’ve decided not to worry about it (after all there are more serious things afoot, like the electric water pump next door that’s about to die) but nonetheless.    Just like homey!  Don’t you know me?

Anyway, these guys? Have two very cute indeed puppies.  One’s a Heeler, and one is a Jack Russell sort.  The other day we were going plant hunting and at the bottom of the driveway saw the two puppies and Mr. Handsome sitting expectantly, like, we’ve been waiting for you FOREVER.  Come ON.  Let’s go for a walk.  And they all fully intended to follow us, too.  Instead the dogs settled for a lengthy stummy rub session, Mr. Handsome enjoyed a bit of Intelligent Conversation.  As we walked off the Jack Russell sort was chasing her tail happily.  All was, for the moment, well.

Rooster Wars

There is a progression here, oft times, Gentle Reader, of bad to worse.  Still, seen in certain lights it is amusing.  I’m not sure what those lights are but the search is on.

We figured out or I should say the Partner figured out, on a positive note, that our little bear friend has moved on west, toward the coast, to safer and higher ground.  I was relieved given the number of people with guns and active trigger fingers around here.  But, hibernating in a very clever spot indeed, our friend woke up, made a couple of forays, and decided the smart thing was to head west toward higher mountains and rivers.  In fact, the footprints were headed west, as if to say, I am So Out Of Here.  So, no more bear.  But the pigs seem to have decided to stay in this area for the season and there have been some interesting vehicular encounters I hear tell.  The neighbor who rides around on a quad with a rifle was somewhat perked up by the news of the porcine posse, because of course they’re good to eat.  I found myself thinking about making ham.  Buoyed along guiltily on that thought, and having another batch of sourdough bread come out very well (recipe in TARTINE BREAD, starter made from Nancy Silverton’s recipe back when dinosaurs roamed the earth) even though needing a bit of tweaking on the bench rest, AND realizing I could go no further on the flying anvil of doing my taxes until Monday when I can spend another unfathomable length of time on the phone waiting for an IRS person to answer some questions, I felt pretty bucked up last night, which was also Friday night.  Hoo Haw.

And so it was, Gentle Reader, that my unreasonable fantasy of a livable life was brought to a crashing and cacophonous halt at, oh, 3:45 a.m. today.

When we got here, there was one rooster and about eight hens.  Manageable.  Until it turned into forty plus chickens of whom ten are roosters.  All of whom are, as a woman remarked pityingly to me in the post office as she was picking up a box of chicks (because SHE keeps her roosters separate thank you very much),”free range”.  In this case it means they go wherever they want all the time so there is chicken shit thickly spread over perhaps a good mile of area.  Among other things.  It also means there are intense fights every day, hens vs. hens, roosters vs. roosters, hens vs. roosters.  There are sounds like Chinese opera whenever one of the many hawks does a flyover, as well as when the dog (who kills the chickens weekly, by the way) comes out.  And, most specially, there are TEN ROOSTERS CROWING EVERY MORNING starting at about , yes, 3:45 a.m.  The poor things haven’t mastered the proper crowing technique even so it is a rather indescribable set of vocalizations but, to be clear, it is ear splittingly loud.  You can hear these chickens all the way at the top of the hill coming down toward Happy Acres.  Interestingly everybody around here has chickens, and lots of ’em.  But you never hear them.  Also, it is pitch dark at 3:45 am.  Pitch dark. There is no sign of sun or light, period.   I’ve lived in the country before, and lots of people had chickens in the city where we previously lived .  The Partner grew up with chickens in the back yard.  This is just to say that we are not Chicken Ignorami, in short.  I expect vocalizing as the sun comes up, and usually it’s really nice to hear.  Plus then you know what time it is.  Roosters crow at dawn.  Maybe a half dozen times, then that’s it.  But not these babies, ohhhh no.  They start crowing and yowling at 3a.m.-ish and continue en masse, competing as it were to be the loudest, until past 8 a.m.   You would be right in thinking: whoa! that must wake you up!   it might even make you crazy! Indeed it does. And it has been mentioned to the proper authorities.  However, this morning, what with all the cosmic vibrations colliding all over the place and the world blowing up and whatnot, the whole thing got completely out of control.  I now have to go buy a new shovel for the landlord to replace the one that…in the attempt to quiet the roosters.  No roosters were harmed in this episode I should point out, although even I was ready to strangle them all.  At this point, I’d have to say the score is Roosters 1, Us 0.  I shudder to think what tonight may bring as the response we got by 6 a.m. was not…terribly responsive.

It’s a puzzle, really, how things get so ballsed up, even if it is not surprising.  But here is one more place to make peace. I hope.

we found it

At the very last minute, almost 11:59:59, we have found a place to relocate Rancho Boozilla.  In the country.  We’re building a yurt in April.  Pictures to follow.   Phew, sort of.


The Bay Area is spitting us out, Gentle Readers.  


I was born here, actually.  I’m a native.  Thus, subject to…well anyway.  I’ve lived many places, but back here for the past several years.  During that time I think I’ve had actually more than my fair share of actual Problems and Disasters, so really the following tale is, while taxing, not all bad.  This place is beautiful.  But it has extremely weird energy.  Chi wild, the acupuncturists call it.


Disasters, natural and unnatural.   This current one really is in the Unnatural category.   Because it has been caused by someone having money as their total motivation.  To wit, my landlord.  Who has given us Notice.  I guess the lure of making $250,000 off the top of their taxes when they sell this– spot– was just too much to resist.  Having lived a parasitic life all this time and done as they wished, now they want to cash out and of course, get all of it.   So they are moving into this place, which includes The Driveway From Hell, Mr. I Have a Hammer, and Mr. I Never Put Water In My Tile Saw, along with the entire cast of I’ll Just Be Here A Few Minutes.  That, of course, is their right.  It is a very large step down for them.  Naturally I wish them the best.  However.  I happen to think that when you have people paying you for shelter, i.e. their “homes”, you have some responsibility not to be an asshat to them just for your own perceived benefit.  Of course I realize how outre this concept is.  So, net net, we are resonating Rancho Boozilla outta here.  Excitingly? We know not where.  Just that it is to be Soon. As in very.  So, it’s interesting.  So far there are 45 boxes of books, and some half dozen more of…well.   I found I have alot of rocks and small dieties.  More to come!