Archive for the ‘nature’ Category

Schooner Gulch State Beach is my favorite beach in the world. It’s so otherworldly. There are two locations that have this geological formation of perfectly rounded boulders: New Zealand and Mendocino County.


I was so excited to show this amazing spot to my god daughter when she visited in December. Unfortunately, the minus tide was really late in the day and it was getting dark, so we didn’t have a chance to walk the whole beach, but we climbed up to the bluffs and looked north and down on the beach. With a passing winter storm, this was a breathtaking yet somewhat ominous view. I love how the coast offers different perspectives every time you visit.


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Point Arena has some of the best rockfish fishing anywhere! On Sunday, we were lucky enough to be invited by Captain Kane to prospect for some salmon and rockfish on his Farallon. Unlike other harbors, there is no ramp at Arena Cove. Instead, the boats are lowered into the water by a hoist. This is a little unnerving to watch the first time you see it.

boat launch.JPG

The salmon fishing wasn’t very successful, but the rockfish did their part. With five people, we came back with a nice box of fish

box.JPGincluding some big lingcod.

John lingcod

Thank you Captain Kane!

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Naked Lady 1

Every August, clusters of pink, funnel-shaped flowers on erect, naked stems fill the air with a sweet bubble gum smell. The leafless stems give this gorgeous flower its common name: Naked Lady. The botanical name is Amaryllis belladonna and the plant is native to South Africa, yet widely cultivated in California and other parts of the world. We only have a handful of them scattered on the hillside, but I look forward to their beauty and fragrance every year.

Naked Lady 2

Early Girls.JPG

The Early Girl tomatoes are the smallest specimen I’ve ever seen, but they are super flavorful. I guess it’s just too dry, even though the drip irrigation is on every day. The cherry tomatoes are doing OK and also very flavorful and sweet. We got a decent plate full of tomatoes


which turned into a great tomato salad for dinner.



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IMG_1603I was suffering from Enchanted Meadows withdrawal after not having been there in over a month. As always, it lived up to its name: 80 degrees in the shade, blue skies, quiet except for the sounds of nature. One of my favorite sounds on the hillside will always be the buzzing and chirping of the hummingbirds. Our big Knifophia, their equivalent of catnip, was blooming in its orange glory and the Anna’s and Allen’s hummingbirds were making a racket battling over the nectar.

The tomato and squash plants in the pots are doing great. In fact, we harvested the first three squash already.



The cherry tomatoes in the ground are doing OK, but not nearly as well as the plants in the pots with the primo soil. I have to admit that, but am still reluctant to give up gardening in the ground. Call me old-fashioned!


It rained about half an inch late last week, so the soil was still fairly moist and had that wonderful earthy smell. The moisture also left condensation on an upside down garbage can covered with its lid that apparently made a perfect hiding place for two Pacific tree frogs that John discovered when he lifted the lid. He decided to use another garbage can for his project and leave the frogs be. There is room for everybody at Enchanted Meadows.


I’m feeling rested and recharged after a short infusion of magic, but can’t wait to return. I will never tire of the beauty, tranquility and peace this amazing place has to offer.



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The drought has been brutal on every level in California. We are losing salmon, crab, other fisheries. Water is scarce, so scarce that I have not dared to use any surplus water. Our drip irrigation system in Anchor Bay has been off for two years. I barely remembered how to garden! This weekend we arrived to lush and green grounds and we decided we needed to do at least a little growing, just get our hands dirty. I dug up two boxes and they are ready for planting.

IMG_0609We will do minimal planting, just enough to produce some food and spread some drought resistant – and deer resistant – plants. The Irises are just stating to do their beautiful, fragrant magic.


Thank you Anchor Bay for being such an inspiration!

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I never thought I could get this excited about rain. I guess four years of drought contributed to it. There is something magical about water drops embracing the forest: it dampens the sound and light, but heightens the smell. It’s like a calming yet invigorating hug.


One of my favorite side effects of rain are the mushrooms that pop up everywhere. I used to pick them with my mom when I was little, but she always made sure I didn’t pick anything poisonous. It’s beyond time that I learn my mushrooms so that I can pick them on my own…maybe this year.

Here are some specimen I found on our hill:






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AB 11.21.15Anchor Bay just is the perfect place to get away. Saturday and Sunday offered balmy days in the mid 60s, I could see the fog out over the ocean, but it never came in. Sunday, I watched and listened to a pair of hawks, I think red shouldered hawks, having a conversation across the forest. It was remarkable. One of them dove down at high speed making a racket and landed in a tree very close to me. It proceeded singing an elaborate song which was repeated by the other bird quite a distance away.They went back and forth with the same song for about half an hour.

I also watched a quiet critter, a praying mantis. This fascinating and beneficial insect hung around one of the sliding doors for two days; I saw it on the screen door and then under a window. Look how perfectly it blends in.



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