Tuesday, March 28, 2017


"I want to to tell you a story about Yellowstone National Park in United States to show just how vital undisturbed forests and woodlands are to the future of our planet and how our appreciation for trees affects the way we interact with the world around us.

It all starts with the wolves. Wolves disappeared from Yellowstone, the world's first national park, in the 1920s. When they left, the entire ecosystem changed. Elk herds in the park increased their numbers and began to make quite a meal of the aspens, willows, and cottonwoods that line the streams. Vegetation declined and animals that depended on the trees left. The wolves were absent for seventy years. When they returned, the elks' languorous browsing days were over. As the wolf packs kept the herds on the move, browsing diminished, and the trees sprang back. The roots of the cottonwoods and willow once again stabilized stream banks and slowed the flow of water. This, in turn, created space for animals such as beavers to return. These industrious builders could now find the materials they needed to construct their lodges and raise their families. The animals that depended on the riparian meadows came back, as well. The wolves turned out to be better stewards of the land than people, creating conditions that allowed the trees to grow and exert their influence on the landscape."

This quote is contained in the "Introduction to the English Edition" of The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate; Discoveries from a Secret World (2016) by Peter Wohlleben, a German forest manager in the Eiffel mountains. His story brings to the fore, for me, the wisdom of the natural world and all of her inhabitants who each have an integral role in the ecosystem in which they reside.
White flowering variety of Redwood Sorrel (Oxalis oregano)
which is joined by the Pink flowering variety as well.
In California's towering Redwood communities these plants
thrive as do Huckleberries (Vaccinium ovatum).
 These plants thrive together in their limited community diversity here at MuRefuge.

I know, Lynette, this photo would have been one
of beauty if taken beneath a white umbrella.
I haven't found one yet to purchase.
My very first sighting of an owl was potentiated by Shasta, MuRefuge's Guardian of the subtle energy web. Her early morning notification that a BEing not usually present was visiting was loud and attention getting as usual. The sun had not yet risen so it was pretty dark as we stepped out of the sliding glass door to the cement patio. Shasta looked up into the two oak trees and gave her usual loud, deep bark that an intruder was present. The Great Horned Owl spoke in its identifiable hoot. We walked around the West side of the house to the front and I could hear the quiet flutter of the Owl's wings. I flashed a beam of light from the flashlight I was carrying up to the utility poll. There atop the Owl perched. The sense of gratitude flooded my BEing for the presence of this majestic creature that is often heard in our area but has remained unseen. 

  "Owl is a messenger, a holder of secret knowledge, and welcomes its shadow self. Seeing through deception, Owl perceives what others miss. Owl leads us into the dark unknown, reminding us to open our eyes and attune our senses, teaching us to receive inner wisdom and follow its guidance....

Listen! Watch! Be patient! Discern! Owl teaches us to find and follow our inner council. By piercing illusions, Owl extracts secrets, nudging us to see behind the scenes, under the surface, in the dark, in the depths of our being. Owl offers accurate vision and clear navigation through dreams, fears, and repressed emotion. Owl teaches us to pay attention to our perceptions-this is how we gain wisdom."

This quote is from Dawn Brunke's Animal Teachings: Enhancing Our Lives Through the Wisdom of Animals (2012). And her writing about what the animals from the natural world have shared with her is a reminder to connect with my inner wisdom. At this time in my life, with chaotic energy both here at MuRefuge and about the planet, the Owl's presence one morning past reminds me to BE with my inner knowing, aka wisdom, and the path through the chaos will be less treacherous.

And the female Indian Runner ducklings are also offering a similar message about honoring inner wisdom. I am with them during their afternoon foray into the vegetable garden. Even in their three week old development they know and trust their instincts, aka wisdom. 

They forage, gathering ants from the soil and seeds from the European annual grass, and they munch on the tender new leaves of the clover. They trust me to carry them safely into the garden for their daily dose of warmth and sunshine. They run about freely and explore unhindered by fear of the unknown, demonstrating a natural curiosity. 

They stretch their miniature long necks that are the Indian Runner trait when a crow flies over as though knowing that particular bird would not swoop down and have one or both for a tasty snack. They teach me to trust my untainted natural instincts, aka wisdom, and "go with the flow" of the natural world rather than down the path created for and by humans.

As we each access our inner wisdom and become conscious of our human foibles, may we

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

One Week Old

Today, March 21, 2017, the babies aka Fawn and White Indian Runner ducklings are one week old. Here are pictures, as promised, taken by Dwight earlier this afternoon so you all can see how much they have grown in just one week.

This was taken while they were in
their home in the garage
waiting expectantly to be lifted up.

The one with her back to the camera
is attempting to eat
a blade of Red Fescue (Festuca rubra).

These two precious little BEings do bring a smile to my face. When crawl up into my hair, I

Monday, March 20, 2017

Spring: March 20, 2017

The afternoon before the arrival of Spring's zenith we are watching the USA team beat the Puerto Rico team in the World Baseball Classic. Of course, this was a taped version so we could bypass all the commercials and view at our leisure. As you notice in the picture below, it is Cathie watching and the babies are focusing on wriggling out of my top.

"It is the time of the equinox, when day and night 
are briefly equal. . . . . 
Of course, this day only represents 
a moment in time. 
Spring has long been returning, 
and we know that Summer will soon follow. 
The cycle of the seasons will continue in succession. 
There is no such thing as true stopping in time, 
for all is a continuum. 
Nature makes its own concordances 
as a mere outgrowth of its movement; 
it is we who see structure and give names to patterns." 
-Deng Ming-Dao.
Between Earth and Sky, sculpted by Dwight
looks towards the East and heralds
the awakening of sequestered energy
that is bursting forth.
With the record rainfall here in West Sonoma County, California, the native plants at MuRefuge that have been in survival mode are now are bursting forth in all their Spring time glory. Here are a few pictures taken yesterday.
MuRefuge's older planting of Pacific Wax Myrtle
(Myrica californica) in her most stunning Spring attire.
Sage napping amidst the Purple Needlegrass
that is decorated with full flowering
Buckbrush (Ceanothus cuneatus).

In the foreground are spears of asparagus ready for harvest.
Right behind the fence is the now spreading stand of
Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium) abuzz with pollinators.
Behind and to the left is a California Bay (Umbellularia californica)
and in the background are two Coast Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia).

Sprouting Cascadia peas growing in the greenhouse
protected from the possibility of a late frost.

As we each welcome Spring, may we

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Spring Offerings

Here at MuRefuge the humans aka "Two Leggeds" are aging; not a surprise as each BEing traverses this path. The male  is feeling especially "old" right now. To counterbalance this feeling the baby ducks' arrival offer a stupendous counterbalance for MuRefuge's humans, bringing palpable vibrant qi, aka wonderfully buoyant energy and filling us with joy.

These are the newest MuRefuge's inhabitants,
hatched Monday, March 13, 2017,
at Metzer's Farms
in California's Central Valley,
 just retrieved from beneath Cathie's top
where they rode from Rivertown Feed, in Petaluma.
In this picture they are two days old.
The two female Fawn and White Indian Runners
beneath the brooder light.
In the picture above you can see their home, a large cardboard box,
for the next few weeks in the upper left. 
Expect weekly updates so you will be able to follow the rapid growth of these amazing and treasured BEings. 

As the babies accompany me each morning beneath my top to let their big sisters out of their duck house, I

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Wind, Rain, Sun and Pleasant Weather

Thank you for the wind and rain
and sun and pleasant weather,
Thank you for this our food
and that we are together.
Mennonite Blessing

Here at MuRefuge we use this blessing as a grace frequently when we share a meal with friends gathered around the dining room table. This year with the erratic weather pattens brought on by climate change the blessing seems so appropriate on a daily basis.

These past few weeks here in West Sonoma County we have had wonderfully warm, sunny days with temperatures nearing 70 degrees. Then came frosty nights with day temperatures barely getting out of the 40's. And snow was seen on the Coastal Mountain tops. How beautiful to see the steam arising from the Geysers, from whence our electricity here at MuRefuge comes, and the contrast of the white snow. Then a  weekend with showers and some hail in some areas of the county followed. Now once again we are blessed with gorgeous sunshine days and night time temperatures remaining in the 40's.

This season's stream, filled by the recent "wind and rain,"  
flowing along MuRefuge's Southmost property line.

And during three different mornings this week past while walking with Shasta we were treated to the sight of migrating geese, huge flocks each time. These majestic birds were flying way too high to identify, but the honking told us they indeed were geese. 

During one of our recent "sun and pleasant weather" episodes our resident cat, Sage, was out cattin' around during the night time. Then several days later he developed a noticeable limp so he was shut into the garage for the night and the following day was visited by the mobile vet who identified numerous bites from another cat (the same one who several days later was returning from his vet after having an abscess drained?). She cleaned up all the bite wounds and gave him an injection of a long lasting antibiotic. His twice a day probiotic was double for several weeks

Here is Sage getting a warm compress
applied to his left leg and left side of his body,
one location of his numerous bite wounds.
The 'Howard McMinn' Manzanita
is flowering late this year; however both the
residential and migrating hummingbirds
are enjoying the nectar.
Other native bushes here at MuRefuge are abundant with flowers providing nectar for the native pollinators which hopefully will do their magic with early flowering fruit trees: Santa Rosa plum, peaches and apricots. A struggling Pink Pearl apple tree has been moved to a more desirable location. Four more kinds of apples in bare root form (Wealthy, Scarlet Sentinel, Cox Orange Pippin and Arkansas Black), from Burnt Ridge Nursery & Orchards located in a microclimate similar to that of MuRefuge's, have been planted and mulched.

The Pink Flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum var. glutinosum) 
featured here and the White form, as well, 
will later provide food for the birds
once the flowers have been
 pollinated and the berries ripen.
The California Wild Lilacs are beginning to flower as well.
This 'Snow Flurry' (Ceanothus thysiflorus) provides the
specific caterpillar food for the California Tortoise Shell butterfly.
In addition MuRefuge also sports the blue flowering version.
Other species of Ceanothus also here at MuRefuge are
caterpillar food for the Spring Azure and Hedgerow Hairstreak butterflies.
Whether where you are has the "wind and rain" or snow or "sun and pleasant weather," may you