September 12, 2018

I am coming back to the blog after a long hiatus  We should be beyond what I call the trough of summer, the mirror image of the trough of winter in New England. Two and a half to three months of intense heat routinely into triple digits and not a drop of water from the sky.  I applied supplemental water to most of the plants each morning that I was at the ranch.  With three or four exceptions the plants all survived.

Last week I discovered the wonders of the Delta breeze.  Ocean air funnels through the Golden Gate and down the Central Valley  With lower temperatures and a fresh breeze I could work most hours of the day   Gerry’s bench is rebuilt and repainted and has its place under a valley oak at the far end of the back yard.  I will need to shim it for more stability.  Last week I applied two coats of stain and sealer to the gazebo, mostly working over my head with a nod to Michelangelo.  A fresh breeze made it all workable.

I am researching rain barrels in earnest.  A priority for this fall is to clear the gutters and install the barrels at the points where I know water collects during the winter rains.  After spending three months chasing precious water, I will take all the help I can get.

My day begins with a few crackers or thins for Spots.  He loves his bread, and his eager face and lips are outside the fence as soon as he sees me.  Fortunately his horns grow out to the side, and Spots can not force his head into the fence.  That everyday deep hunger for bread reminds me why I became a communion minister.

The birds on the property are an infinite source of delight.  Twice this summer I saw a great blue heron rise from the fire protection pond in front of the house.  That pond is now almost completely dry now, with the intake pipe stranded in midair.  Maybe the herons will return when the pond begins to fill in October or November.  A hummingbird stopped for a brief moment on the deep red rose just out the breakfast window.  The salvia are also a must see attraction.  A pair of birds that I believe are sparrows alternate from the tree to the cultivated beds pecking away for I don’t know what.  The quail travel in dense packs down the driveway, all top knots a-quiver.

All three roses are blooming profusely.  I fed them in mid-August, and  they responded predictably to fresh food and water.  I expect to feed them again in the second week of October.

We are at about a twelve and a half hour day, closing in on equal days and nights as is appropriate to the equinox.  Tonight at 7.15 I shut off the political news to watch a spectacular sunset with low cloud cover.  That sight and this blog remind me how special a place the ranch is.

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