Sunday, May 2, 2021

2021 Second Cross Quarter Day

May Day, or Beltane, is the halfway point between the Spring equinox and the Summer solstice. It marked the beginning of summer for the ancient Celts. It was a day for dance and song to honor the sown fields beginning to sprout. 

May Day when I was a child was celebrated by picking flowers and putting them in pretty hand made baskets. Then these baskets were delivered to neighbors by knocking on doors and running away . . . laughing.
To celebrate the second cross quarter day of 2021 and May Day, rather than delivering baskets of flowers, I am sending pictures taken on our morning walk with Shasta.

                                 Tidy Tips (Layia platyglossa) is one of my favorite wildflowers.

                                         California poppies (Eschscholzia californica)

Live Coastal Oak (Quercus agrifolia)

Apple blossoms with pollinator

As the seasons turn may we all enjoy a heartful

Saturday, April 3, 2021



1832 San Felipe Circle, Santa Fe, New Mexico

The day after "our" POD was delivered and picking up our 12 foot Penske truck, we packed up. Of course, we had the stellar help of Affordable Movers who filled both the POD and truck to the brim! When the house was empty on Wednesday, March 03, we drove to Albuquerque. Dwight in the truck and Cathie with Shasta in the Prius. Whew! Were we ever glad to sleep! The next day on to Las Vegas, Nevada where the smog was worse than any time we have been in Los Angeles.
Over the mountains and into Bishop, California, for another night of sleep. The entire next day was leisurely: our favorite hike along the Western edge of Mono Lake

Our view East looking across Mono Lake

Off leash Shasta's having great fun leaping in the snow
after being cooped up in the car  for three days.

and a picnic in the Lee Vining city park overlooking Mono Lake. Then we drove North on Highway 395 to Minden, Nevada, for our last night of sleeping "on the road". Sunday we checked into our short term, very small rental on the Northern edge of Sebastopol, California.

While on the road our Stamm home in Santa Fe sold and our realtor/friend did a stellar job of "making this happen" sooner than later. As I write this post the new owners have moved in are getting settled. 

35 Page Street, Cotati, California
picture taken by Michael Stoyka.

Our search for a Sonoma County home began in earnest the day after our arrival. We are ever so fortunate to have another outstanding realtor. We spent four days driving around Petaluma as this is where we imagined ourselves buying a house. In the area we desired to live no houses were for sale. And then this house pictured above appeared in Cotati. 

Our realtor, Dwight and I jumped on looking at it immediately. We have long time English friends who live in Cotati not far from this house so they are excited to have us nearby. Tanis came to see the house the day before offers were due. She said, "It is so you," and we discovered she had never been to Cotati before. We had a lovely lunch at the Redwood Cafe to celebrate finding our "perfect" house.

So now we are waiting to move in. As we orchestrate the move in we are enjoying a frequent

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Aaaaaaaaah Awesome

The above picture was taken from Auntie T's lovely
Pt. Reyes Station home's outside sitting area.  
Since the tide is out the area is pretty much dry.
When we first visited many years ago, 
this area was grasslands filled with cattle grazing.  
We watched the returning of the water to this area
during the Giacomini Wetland Restoration Project.
When the last levee was breached,
the water previously held back returned.
It was a pretty impressive event which we felt fortunate to view.
Now when the tide is "in" the area is filled with
all kinds of birds, large and small, feeding.

The dead tree has been purposely left for the herons,
both kinds of egrets, and Bald Eagles to roost in. 
While sitting in the sunshine turkey vultures like to spred out their wings to dry.

The very first time Shasta visited she walked onto the pond.
She was surprised when she fell into water.
Needless to say, she, BEing the very smart dog she is,
has not repeated her experience. She presently is walking
about the pond sniffing all the delicious smells left
by the myriad of critters who visit.

A stunning white flowering area

Another impressive flowering area. 
This one in shades of pink to lavender.

Pink flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum)

The tiny blue flowering plants are Bluebells. 
Tanis is not a native plant fanatic as I am.
She use to be a "professional" gardener using plants
of all variation, choosing the right plant for the right spot
in each and every garden she planted and cared for. 
In her own garden she has followed that path.
So I do not know the names of all the plants 
in her garden nor of the ones photographed for this post.
The bottom of this walkway leads
to the brick area featured in the very first picture above.

Beyond the gate sits Tanis' new hybrid Camry. 

One of the many different California Wild Lilacs (Ceanothus).
This particular one was chosen for this spot because of its vibrant purple color.

 Both buildings of this home have a sod roof.  
There is a bedroom and bathroom in one building
and in the other is a kitchen, living room,
meditation room, computer space
and TV room with a Murphy bed
+ another bathroom with a sauna adjoined.
Many of the kittie cats that have lived here
love to sleep on the luxurious roofs for their naps.

The hot tub is on left in this picture 

with table and chairs for eating outside slightly to its right. 

Apple trees have been planted below the bricked area.

Looking beyond the apple trees is the tidal area towards the West.

Behind the far ridge covered with trees is the Pacific Ocean. 

The area is known as the Point Reyes National Seashore.

The entire time we were all together in this Aaaaaaaaah Awesome setting, we shared many a

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Glorious Spring

Our arrival in Sonoma County was heralded by verdant green rolling hills, teeny tiny lambs gamboling together, cows and calves feasting on fields of lush green grass and fruit tree in glorious bloom.

Rosemary in full flower
near the Joe Rodota Trail

Wild plum tree in bloom along the Joe Rodota Trail
in Sebastopol. This trail was previously a railroad track . . .
now a wonderful biking, walking, running path
between Sebastopol and Santa Rosa.

Ahhhhhhhh . . . the very best is BEing at sea level where my heart is so happy because it does not have to work so hard and walking is pleasurably easy rather than a breath taking experience. Shasta is enjoying eating fresh green grass on our early morning stroll down the lane. She does miss her romps with Hobbs at Lopez Park however. 

The Spring or Vernal Equinox is March 20, 2021. It occurs when the Sun heading North in the sky crosses the equator line. This tilting more towards the Sun results in increasing daylight hours and warming temperatures here in the Northern Hemisphere. This shift brings about all the glorious signs of Spring that are so uplifting after Winter. 

We have recently come from the high mountainous desert of Santa Fe, New Mexico, where it was Winter when we departed. Thus we are especially joyful to BE experiencing the vibrancy of Spring here in Sonoma County. Rain has been falling a number of days we have been here. The rain feels so nourishing and many tell us that it is so needed. Auntie T in Point Reyes Station, California, tells us she has measured only 1/2 of her typical rainfall in her rain gauge.

Wild turkeys with the males strutting their stuff by fanning
out their tails and puffing up their feather to attract the females.

Mustard blooming in the foreground
Valley Oaks in the back ground.

This whole year plus of "lock down" has taken a toll on all of us. At this time of Spring when we see renewal all about us, may we feel the vitality of springtime and the regenerative energy. Ahold of the season's energy may we dig deep to tap into our own resilience for each day going forward during these trying times.

How strange and wonderful our home, our earth,
With its swirling vaporous atmosphere,
Its flowing and frozen climbing creatures,
The croaking things with wings that hang on rocks
And soar through fog, the furry grass, the scaly seas
How utterly rich and wild . . .
Yet some among us have the nerve,
The insolence, the brass, the gall to whine
About the limitations of our earthbound fate
And yearn for some more perfect world beyond the sky
We are none of us good enough
For the world we have.
         Edward Abbey

As we celebrate Spring in all her glory may we each have a joyful belly

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Climate Catastrophe


Photograph taken by Rosa Arroyo
near Villanueva, New Mexico:
two of her dogs romping in the snow.

We awakened to still more snow and it continued snowing for several hours after we were preparing breakfast. I am so aware this "unseasonal weather" here and across much of the United States is another reminder that the climate catastrophe is upon us. Our inadequate, and in some areas nonexistent, preparation for such events is bringing to "front and center" that altering these ways of going about our lives will determine our future. 

I receive regular posts from Susan Wittig Albert who lives in the Hill Country of Texas. In her recent one she wrote of their preparations on their property and about what she is learning. Included in this post were "comments" and in one of these the below appeared: 

Prayer for Texas

God, they are boiling water
and it is simply to drink,
except in places
where they is no power for boiling.
They are lighting candles
when the lights have gone out,
and there are fires.
They face frozen pipelines
and frost-bitten fingers,
icy highways,
desperate nursing homes,
hospitals, and dialysis centers,
waiting lines for propane,
blankets, shelter and food,
new guidelines
for using melted snow.
Mostly, there is this new fear
among the hurricane-wise,
drought-savvy, tornado-ready,
even, thanks to Harvey,
who are so blizzard-innocent.
As winds, snow, deep cold
endanger lives
across all the country,
and we grieve losses,
encourage those who restore power,
enable vaccine lines,
support those who offer shelter
with as much
pandemic-protection as possible,
we pray especially for those
across southern states,
who learn quickly,
but find themselves saying,
like folks in an old church hall –
“we’ve never done it this way.”
                              MAREN TIRABASSI, a New England pastor

Also early this morning during sitting I read an "Earth Prayer" that seems fitting for these catastrophic events many of us are experiencing now or have experienced during this year passed.

Let there be peace, welfare and righteousness
in every part of the world.

Let confidence and friendship prevail
for the good of the east and west
for the good of the needy south
for the good of all humanity.

Let the people inspire their leaders
helping them to seek peace by peaceful means
helping them and urging them
to build a better world
a world with a home for everybody
a world with food and work for everybody
a world with spiritual freedom 
for everybody.

Let those who have the power of money
be motivated by selfless compassion.
Let money become a tool
for the good of humankind.

Let those who have power
deal respectfully with resources of the planet.
Let them respect and maintain
the purity of the air, water, land and subsoil.
Let them co-operate to restore
the ecological soundness of Mother Earth.

Photograph taken by Rob Bartlett,
Santa Rosa, California:
California Pipevine in bloom,
February 18, 2021.

Let trees grow up by the billons
around the world.
Let green life invade the deserts.

Let industry serve humanity
and produce waste that serves nature.

Let technology respect 
the holiness of Mother Earth.

Let those who control the mass media
contribute to create mutual understanding
contribute to create optimism and confidence.

Let ordinary people
meet by the millions across the borders.
Let them create a universal network
of love and friendship.

Let billons of human beings
co-operate to create a good future
for their children and grandchildren.

Let us survive
in peace and harmony with Mother Earth.
                                         HAGEN HASSELBALCH

As we all experience the climate catastrophe, whether during wildfires or hurricanes or prolonged frigid weather, may we consider altering how we live our daily lives and 

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

3 year, 4 month Vacation

As most of you have now read, or heard from me directly, we are leaving Santa Fe, New Mexico, to return "home", as Shasta says, "and none too soon! Let's 'shake a leg' and do it . . . now!" Of course, we are not going back to MuRefuge, rather we are looking to buy a small house, i.e., bungalow, in Petaluma. I trust just the "perfect" one will have just posted for sale as we arrive at our short term rental in Sebastopol.

AND I am considering the wonderful time we have all spent in Santa Fe as an extended vacation of 3 years and 4 months. We have experienced the Pueblo native culture and visited stunningly beautiful sites that only New Mexico has. The entertainment before the pandemic was world class and only a few minutes drive from our home. The neighborhood in which we live is the very best that the city has to offer. And as Dwight says, "this is one of the top two homes I have ever lived in." We will sorely miss our Stamm home which will go on the market March 06, 2021.

And as my friend Rob said upon receiving the picture of our Prius under 7 1/2 inches of snow: "this is your farewell from Mother Nature."

The climate catastrophe has an Arctic Air Mass hovering over most of the Central United States including New Mexico. Record snow levels along with way below freezing temperatures is causing much distress . . . and has now for more than a week in some areas. There were 10 inches in the Seattle area, enough for Dwight's daughter to snowshoe out her front door over the weekend past.

The view from our front door at about 7 a.m. 
on Tuesday, February 16, 2021.

And the view from the sliding glass doors into the backyard.

Snow is continuing to fall on and off all day with again frigid temperatures predicted overnight. 

As we are essentially house bound let us all have a frequent, good belly

Thursday, February 4, 2021


View of a stunning sunset
from the back yard.

Upgrades to 1832 San Felipe Circle

prior to our January, 2018 purchase

  •  Major electrical upgrade with a new panel, grounded outlets, and recessed lighting 
  •  Wifi (in hall closet)
  •  Dual pane windows throughout, 
  •  New on demand hot water heater, 
  •  Remodeled kitchen with a utility room addition,
  •  Refinished hardwood floors with matching hardwood floors in the kitchen and utility room,
  •  Original fireplace redone as Kiva style fireplace,
  •  Small bathroom with shower immediately adjacent to master bedroom,
  •  Updated master bathroom,
  •  A single car finished, insulated garage with new garage door and storage shelving, 
  •  New elastomeric stucco on the entire outside of the house,
  •  And a new torch down roof which still has a full year left on its warranty. This warranty is transferrable and can be extended for $300/year

Upgrades to 1832 San Felipe Circle

after January, 2018

  •  Incandescent custom light fixtures throughout house,
  •  Whole house water filtration system (eliminates chlorine & fluoride) and includes outside watering as well,
  •  Spark arrestor installed atop chimney,
  •  Hunter Douglas honeycomb insulating window coverings throughout whole house,
  •  Two (2) 515 gallon water catchment tanks to collect roof water,
  •  Retractable clothes line,
  •  Shower outlet was lower 6 inches and hand held shower head installed in small bathroom off the master bedroom, 
  •  Landscaping: $16,000+ of organic fruit trees and native plants that use little to no additional water now that they are established. The native trees as they mature will provide shade to the West side of the house,
Evolution of the backyard:
The long raised bed on the left
and the shorter one against the
far adobe wall are covered.
  •  3 raised beds (two with plastic covering which functions better than shade cloth to create “hoop” houses) for vegetable growing,
  •  “Zen” curtains hung outside of the front windows to eliminate bird collisions and ensuing death,
  •  Entire inside of house repainted with Benjamin Moore low VOC paint,
  •  And new Trane high efficiency, very quiet furnace and air conditioning and better than HEPA whole house air filtration to reduce allergens and pollutants; all with extended warranties and  SMART thermostat.
  •  Immediately after installation of the above, all of the air vents in the house were thoroughly cleaned and new matching screws applied to all vent covers.

This entire property (grounds or home) has had no synthetic chemicals applied to or used in since January, 2018, thus is suitable for chemically sensitive individuals or those with autoimmune disorders that are triggered by toxic chemicals.