Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Releasing and Embracing

RELEASING: Today, Tuesday, November 07, 2017, Leslie Resnick becomes MuRefuge's steward. Sage and the ducks have relocated about a third of a mile North of MuRefuge where they are integrating into a wonderful space with humans that appreciated their BEingness.

On Tuesday, October 24, we began our transition from Northern California to Santa Fe, New Mexico. We chose to drive through the Sacramento Valley into the mountains, then South on Highway 395 through the Eastern Sierras we love and have frequently visited throughout our lives together.

The predominate Fall color was Arizona ash or "velvet ash"
(Fraxinus  velutina) in Bishop, California.
Mt. Whitney viewed from the Visitor's Center at the first turn off
from Hwy. 395 into Death Valley. We enjoyed a lovely picnic
lunch in the shade of a ubiquitous Chinese elm tree and
carried out business related to the selling of
MuRefuge before continuing onto our next
overnight stop in Barstow, California.

Stopping at this same location in March, 2017, we could
barely push open the car doors and stand. The
wind was fierce and the air filled with alkali
dust from the desiccated Owens Lake.
Mt. Whitney was barely visible. 
Tuckered out travelers from MuRefuge to Santa Fe, New Mexico.
EMBRACING: With the releasing of Sage and the seven female Indian Runner ducks, our pack is markedly smaller. Two two leggeds and one four legged are in Santa Fe, New Mexico residing in a HomeAway house a half a block from the Santa Fe River Trail.

Every morning our diminished in size pack heads for the Frank Ortiz Dog Park. Shasta exuberantly embraces the experience. It is a wonderful sight to see her connect with a welcome playmate: one day a Great Pyrenees, another a sight hound, yet another day a smallish medium sized "New Mexico mutt". Monday when she greeted and played with her special friend, Shanti. She zeroed in on him in September as a special and fun playmate, as the picture below shows!

The vegetation looks different from our September visit since most of the trees have shed their leaves and the native shrubs with their previously glorious yellow flowers are now dried to a stunning pale brown.

Chamisa (Spanish name ) or Rubber rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus nauseous)
The deep, vibrant green color is
Pinon pine ( Pinus edulis)
and Juniper (Juniperus species not identified)

Still a wonderful walk experience with abundant opportunities to connect with both local and transplanted humans who all so love dogs of any sort. All seem to enjoy Shasta, embracing her jumping up on them as not only a natural way of dogs but a a way to connect with her.

During our September Santa Fe exploration we found a house we wanted to make an offer on. The first buyers of MuRefuge did not work out so we were unable to do it then. Once we identified the next MuRefuge steward, we found that the house we wanted to buy was still on the market.

 Pueblo style Stamm home in Casa Alegre.
This house is considerably smaller, a bit over 1400 square feet, on a lot also considerably smaller, about one third of an acre. During the initial phase of online searching for a home in Santa Fe, I was drawn to the Stamm homes because they are a piece of the city's history. During our whirl wind survey of Stamm homes on the market, we found most "upgraded" in a manner we were not comfortable with or in total disrepair. This Stamm home was advertised as "a pristine Stamm . . . located in a superb cul de sac location." We were fortunate enough during our initial viewing to meet the delightful couple who live across the street. They shared that the neighborhood is composed primarily of professionals who are friendly and welcoming of transplants like us.

There is work to be done on the house but the roofers and contractors who have looked at the house with us, assure us it is sound. Our realtor emphasizes the enormous advantage of increased resale value. AND Shasta will have a large "back" yard, and she has already given her stamp of approval on her walkabouts of the property.

For those of you still living in Sonoma County, the property taxes will be about a quarter here in Santa Fe compared to what we paid on MuRefuge. The cost of living was one of the many reasons for our choice to embrace Santa Fe and release MuRefuge.

Hopefully we will enjoy a belated anniversary (which is on Thanksgiving) present with escrow closing on November 27.

Saturday past was the first cloudy day since our arrival.
The Farmers Market has considerably fewer
vendors than when we shopped here in September;
still many choices of seasonal, locally grown organic produce.
New Mexico is touted as the pepper capital. A vast array of peppers, both dried for decorative use and roasted for a tasty addition to any meal, are in evidence throughout the Farmers Market.

To maintain our equilibrium and discharge emotions, during our transition of releasing and embracing, which is fraught with glitches and annoying issues, we

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Minimizing Transplant Shock

Humans like plants are subject to transplant shock if care and consideration of community is not in the fore. We humans of MuRefuge, along with our four legged canine pack member, are in the midst of transplanting ourselves half way across the country: from Sebastopol, California, to Santa Fe, New Mexico. 
View from atop a ridge in the 130+ acre "dog park" in Santa Fe.
Another view from the expansive arroyo.
Shasta wasted NO time connecting with her kind
creating her own extended community  in which to thrive.
During her daily runs in this fabulous dog park,
she  picked out her friends and joyfully ran with
them at top speed!
Abundant opportunities to connect with like minds and old souls connected to Mother Earth presented themselves daily as we spent three weeks exploring Santa Fe during the month of September. After firing a frenetic realtor and hiring another stellar one, we looked at houses for sale exploring numerous and varied neighborhoods, found a short term rental into which we will move October 30 and a mailbox to which all all our mail can be forwarded. We joined the local co-op and shopped at the Farmer Market each day we could. What a treasure these Saturdays and Tuesday markets are with deliciously grown local food and knowledge farmers who were ever so helpful.
The sweet local airport reminded me of the El Paso, Texas airport of the 1960's
when I moved there just out of nurses' training.
Here Dwight is ready to welcome his daughter Leigh
flying in from Seattle via Phoenix.
So with connections in our soon to be new city, we are packing up our belongings for a late October trek to Santa Fe. Like plants that thrive when they are planted in a place mutually beneficial to each community, so humans thrive when transplanted into community that is beneficially synergistic for all members.

All of the arising emotions we are allowing to come forward are discharged with a frequent and hardy belly 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

YES! Remaining Rooted at MuRefuge

I offer this farewell to MuRefuge and all the wonderful memories I will take with me. Healing the land and myself has been an awesome journey of BE-ing Rooted: a Practice in Essential Living. May the next steward(s) enjoy the gifts that remain here and continue the process of "BEing one with Nature." 
A seasonal pond fed by an artisan well.
The birds and other wildlife use the water
for drinking and bathing.
Sage enjoying a "love/pet fest" in the sunshine one recent afternoon past,
Over the mound goes the ducks led by Ms. Blue
followed by the two Tootsie Rolls with
Coco between, then comes the two BE BEs
and Ms. Crone.

The duck flock of seven female Indian Runners near
their pond (a buried antique bathtub).

To discharge the sadness and grief that arises in leaving behind these awesome BEings, I

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

MuRefuge's Sentient BEings

I have come to terms with the future.
From this day onward I will walk
easy on the earth. Plant trees. Kill
no living things. Live in harmony with
all creatures. I will restore the earth
where I am. Use no more of its resources
than I need. And listen, listen to what 
it is tell me.
M.J. Slim Hooey

We have been honored in our time spent at MuRefuge to witness life beginning and life ending, for example, an old buck stopping in his tracks and dying in the field South of our property. We watched over the following days the Turkey vultures clean the carcass, leaving a stunningly beautiful rack atop the skeleton. 

Below are just a few pictures of the sentient BEings we have seen here at MuRefuge over the years. Of course there is a plethora of other beings not featured here in the pictures. Here's a smattering (but by no means an all inclusive list) of those we have seen over the years: weasel, possum, skunk, raccoon, bobcat & mountain lion (rear), mice, a variety of different kinds of rats, gopher & mole & vole, gopher snake, many insects and birds, both year round residents as well as migratory and seasonal birds.

While I was moving the last of the organic compost from
MuRefuge's driveway, this California Red-sided Gartersnake
did NOT want to give up its home."
When earlier on another day of moving the compost,
a shed snake skin was laying atop
of the pile as the tarp was removed.
June 04, 2014

June 02, 2014: Mom returned to feed her offspring.
February 24, 2013
May 21, 2012
We were filled with gratitude to see the litter of 8, yes, 8!
And the one in the right of this picture caught a meal.
June 21, 2012
Humans had an an opportunity to see interspecies sharing in the field just  to the South of MuRefuge.
February 05, 2012
January 17, 2012
A pair of foxes seen repeatedly in the early mornings.

A foggy Wintery morning in 2012

August 22, 2011
Both Pipevine caterpillar and chrysalis

Below is the awesome transformation of the Monarch caterpillar to butterfly we here at MuRefuge were ever so fortunate to witness over six weeks =/-

As we celebrate diversity and the wild sentient BEings of all sizes and forms, may we

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Stewardship of Native Ecology

To be of the Earth is to know
The restlessness of being a seed
The darkness of being planted
The struggle toward the light
The pain of growth into the light
The joy of bursting and bearing fruit
The love of being food for someone
The scattering of your seeds
The decay of the seasons
The mystery of death
The miracle of birth.    
John Soos

MuRefuge is an extraordinary merging of Permaculture concepts and native ecology. MuRefuge, she reflects the healing and learning of her original steward. The land possesses good Feng Shui due to her natural topography, ancient knowledge, and demonstrates remarkable adaptability.

My husband and I bought this West Sonoma County rural residential property in December, 1992, when we had been in relationship for just over four years. I was in ill health and Dwight was commuting to the Financial District in San Francisco. MuRefuge is 50 miles North of the Golden Gate Bridge. The house was move-in ready but the land had been scraped and begged for care.

"Sparkling New, Elegant Country Home"
was the caption on the advertisement of the home we bought.
Notice the utility lines coming to the house.
These were in violation of the neighborhood agreement
so the previous owner (and builder) put them underground
prior to our closing escrow .
The Fall before purchasing MuRefuge we acquired a Siberian Husky puppy and her two year old sister, a Black and Tan Hound/Chocolate Labrador mix. We moved three miles as the crow flies South to MuRefuge that lays just North of the "Petaluma Wind Gap." And we began our process of BE-ing Rooted.

Both of us, having spent more time here at MuRefuge than either of us have lived in one place previously, find we are being nudged to begin a new chapter of our lives. We are grateful for the time with MuRefuge, learning from the land and all the creatures smallest and large who also call MuRefuge "home" or those just passing through. Old souls have come to share their lives with us; presently Sage, the resident cat, 

Sage beneath ‘Skylark’ (Ceanothus thysiflorus)) with Purple Needlegrass in the left of the picture.
and one of the Tootsie Rolls, a 2 year old female Indian Runner duck. Old Soul Tootsie Roll is part of the resident flock of 7 female Indian Runner ducks that provide fresh, delicious eggs as well as fertilize the orchard and keep the snails and slugs in check.

In the far back of this picture are the two newest additions
of this small flock of female Indian Runner ducks, BE BES,
and in the foreground on the left are the two Tootsie Rolls,
the old soul the one with her head in the water bowl
and on their way to the pond, a sunken antique bathtub,
are Ms. Crone, Coco and Ms. Blue (from left to right).

Both the resident cat, Sage, and the Indian Runner flock will be remaining at MuRefuge with the next steward(s).

EVOLUTION of 3/4 acre we call MuRefuge (1992 to 2017):

  • 2001 Slate to floor of utility "closet" housing washer and dryer and to Master bathroom, carpet in Master bedroom and walk in closet replaced with red oak flooring, door to Great Room from garage moved to inside entryway
  • 2003 Slate to front outside entryway and path created with same. inside house painted
  • 2011 New furnace with air filtering for entire house with all new ducts, entire house siding replaced with "Hardee" plank and painted, Miele dishwasher for kitchen with removal of microwave and installation of Typhoon Range Hood, mirror "back splash" behind newly installed G.E. Range, red oak floors replaced carpet in remaining 2 bedrooms with metal blinds replaced with wooden Hunter Douglas blinds and same blinds installed in Library by Blindingly Clean, owner: Ernie Martin.
  • 2014 New Craftsman garage door opener installed by Michael Libby, 707-546-7954.
  • 2015 Japanese Takagi gas tankless hot water heater replacing traditional hot water heater. "bird tape" applied to windows to reduce bird collision.
  • 2016 septic pumped. all underground tanks resealed by Al & Eric of Analy Septic, 707-823-7340; kitchen cabinets refinished with Poland pottery pulls and installation of new 40 year, high dimensional composition shingles by Elk roof and 6" fascia seamless gutters, additional downspouts   
  • 2017 new smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

The healing of the scraped, unhealthy land towards a vibrant native ecology and certified Wildlife Habitat was informed by, but not limited to:
  • Introduction to Permaculture. (1991). Bill Mollison with Reny Mia Slay.
Summer, 1993, swales dug to catch and retain the rainfall
to replenish the underground water.

Fall, 1993 trees planted to provide wind breaks.
Spring, 1994, herb spiral outside of the Great Room sliding door.
  • Gardening with a Wild Heart: Restoring California's Native Landscape at Home (1999). Judith Larner Lowry
  • The Landscaping Ideas of Jays: a Natural History of the Backyard Restoration Garden. (2007) Judith Larner Lowry.
  • Designing California Native Gardens: the Plant Community Approach to Artful,Ecological Gardens. (2007). Glenn Keator and Alrie Middlebrook.
June, 2012, Native Twinberry Honeysuckle (Lonicera involucrata)
 flourishing in riparian community along MuRefuge's South property line. 
  • Bringing Nature Home. (2007). Douglas W. Tallamy.
  • The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times. (2010).  Carol Deppe.
October, 2016
Two of the Three Sisters (beans, corn, squash):
Hopi Blue Flour corn and Sweet Meat squash.
With the cool marine influence here at MuRefuge seeds do not readily germinate in the 13 raised (gopher proof) beds. Thus early on Dwight built a greenhouse, and later enlarged, to enable seeds to be germinated in a warm environment provided by an adjustable temperature "heat mattress".

The number of different kinds of birds that visit MuRefuge in a full cycle of the Seasons has gone from a mere 19 the first year to now over 125. The absence of any native plant species in 1992 to an extensive array presently is the likely explanation for this increase. The plant list may be accessed by clicking here. 

The diversity of MuRefuge's wildlife may be viewed by clicking here.

This picture of California Flannelbush ‘San Gabriel’ (Fremontodendr on californicum)
was taken in April, 2014. It is the bush in the lower left of the picture below.

August, 2017 
Anyone interested in purchasing and becoming the next stewards of MuRefuge
please contact:
Tim Johnson 
Coldwell Banker
Cellular: 707-477-2510 
BRE License # 00860167

As I have done during all these years of MuRefuge's stewardship, may we all