Nice day to do some work outside

For the first weekend in awhile, I was able to get some work done outside. It seems like mid-80s now feels ‘mild’ to me, so working today didn’t seem bad at all. Lisa and the pups are down in Lompoc CA at a big doggie show this weekend, so it was just me and the kitties today. Got some mowing done around the yard – not that there’s much green other than the lawn, but a bunch of the nasty weeds still grow in these dry conditions, so it was time to whack ’em down. We’ve got a bunch of this low growing sprawling weed that although it looks innocent enough, on the underside of it, hides hundreds of these thorny seed pods which when they dry out, will stick into everything – tires (actually punctured the tires on our lawn cart), shoes, feet and puppy paws. I managed to get most of it pulled and sprayed the rest of it with RoundUp. I really should spray it much earlier in the season before it grows this much.

Jack is happy – I cleaned up the barn today, restacked his hay and generally made his crib a nicer place for him to chill…

Tomorrow looks like it will be equally nice.

Finally cooling down

Ah – first day in awhile that it hasn’t been well into the 100s. Its a ‘mild’ 85+F right now … when did 99 become cool? Dunno, but I’m looking forward to the possibility of opening the windows tonite at midnite and not feeling a hot blast of air waft in.

A bunch of folks around the south and east bay seem to be having a tad bit of problem with their electric service due to the heat:

Deliver us from…..Redding.

Ugggg. Christ on a pony it’s hot. 115 today in Redding. Okay, that was actually in Fairfield. But in Redding, at 10:30 am, 102. And only getting hotter.

Art and I went to go see my sister and Jeff yesterday. We left late, and arrived after dark. But even after the sun went down it was still in the high 90s, pleahhhh. Here at the house in Sunol there is pretty much nil on the humidity scale. Redding….thats a different story. Stick-ay. Anyhow, let me just say, Laura and Jeff’s house is RAD! As in, AWESOME. Like, Totaly Tits! They have baseboards, I am jealous. They played it very smart when they closed escrow. They picked up the keys to the house and then piroueted 180 degrees and handed them off to a contractor. They contracted to have all the rank and stank carpet and linoleum ripped out and replace it with wood flooring and stone tile. All while they were off vacationing/RV-ing around Arizona and New Mexico for 2 weeks. Everything went perfectly, they came home to their new house with new floors. Check it….

The livingroom and dining room from the front door. Beyond the sliding glass door is a gigantic pit in the ground….the new pool! Dang I’m 3 shades of jealous! It is going to be SA-WEEEET…because my sister doesn’t cut corners on ANYTHING. Neither does Jeff. Everything they start turns out picture perfect. I can’t wait to see the finished product.

This is the “Master of the Universe Bedroom”. Clever. And freakin’ awesome. It’s huge, one half of the house. Funny, their house is laid out very similar to ours. Sort of a U shape. We plan on doing the very same thing with the “West Wing” of our house….someday. The mother in law side of our house will be come the Master Suite, complete with vaulted ceilings and hardwood or stone floors and a gi-normous bathroom with a sauna. It will happen, oh yes, it will happen.
So congratulations, Smarty Pants Seester!

(this is her “yeah, we rock and you’re so jealous of our awesomeness” look.) And she would be right. I want baseboards too!!!! I have a new goal; baseboards by September. Okay, the end of September. Dang, I want baseboards like she has!!!
Frankly, Art and I are tickled to have her finally FINALLY here. I’ve been nagging my sister to come to California and stay since, oh, I moved here back in 1999. I would call her and all but beg, and she would pooh pooh me and come up with every excuse in the book not to do it. I bought her plane tickets and flew her down here for vacations and would drag her around saying stuff like “isn’t the weather just PERFECT, think about it, you could wake up everyday to blue skies and a Fry’s on every other street corner” and “Geeeee, if you moved here you wouldn’t have to keep flying back and forth to visit” real subtle, huh? And then one day I off handedly nagged and she said “you know, I’ve been thinking about it. I just might do it”……and then…..she did. Just up and did it. And just like me, she ain’t lookin’ back. No way no how. And I’m SO HAPPY to have my sister here. I love my sister so much, more than almost anyone. And it’s awesome to have her just 4 hours away. Except in this heat. She can roast up there, I’m stayin’ home. I’ll visit again when it’s cooler. Love has it’s limits you know.
But now that she’s here we can do stuff. Like go to the City whenever we want to, go 4 wheeling if and when we want to, go to Napa to drink wine and go into debt at Dean and Delucas.

Oh man, Dean and Deluca. That place is…..Nirvana to me. And Laura. I LOVE everything from Dean and Deluca. Unfortunately they are a New York/east coast thing. They have stores in New York, North Carolina and D.C., and, uh, Kansas (???!?) And one, just one, sweet-ass store in California! Napa to be exact. So every chance I get, ANY time I’m up in Napa, I’m planting myself inside Dean and Deluca and I’m not coming out until I get that shakey nervous feeling that somehow, somewhere, our bank account may be overdrawn. Serious. Art gets all pale and edgy when he finds out I’m heading up to Napa. I call it the D.D. tremors. I could spend our mortgage payment in that place in under an hour. Easy.

Just joking, Art.


Not really.

Saturday morning is good for pancakes

With blueberries! That’s what Saturday morning is good for. It’s hotter than hell here. 100 degrees in the shade at 10:30am. Plehhhh. So we turned up the A/C and I made blueberry pancakes for breakie. Here, try it…they’re from scratch:
1.5 C flour
2TBSP sugar
2tsp baking powder
1/2tsp salt

1.5 C milk
2 eggs
3TBSP melted butter

Mix the dry and the wet independantly, then combine. Toss in a bunch of blueberries. That’s it. Cook em and eat em.

Art gives them the thumbs up. The dogs….ehhh, they’re not to hot on the berries. Needless to say, Beaker loves them. Birds love berries. Okay. Time to go stand over the A/C vent again. We’re sposed to go to see Laura today, but she ain’t called back yet and it’s sposed to get up to 115 in Redding today. Double plehhhhh.

We are but interlopers here

Okay. Fine. It has been made very clear to me that Art and I, along with all the other neighbors and tourists that drive through or visit the park, do not belong here. Even though we (Art and I, the neighbors) live here, it is not our HOME appearantly. Let me explain.

Over the past 8 months Art and I have been privilige to a multitude, nay, a daily showing, of wildlife snapshots. “A moment in the life of a _________ (fill in the blank)”, if you will. We have also, however, been subjected to several “wildlife incidents”. What I can only compare to the human “smile, you’re on candid camera” and “funniest videos”.

First, there’s the free range cow tumbling ass over teakettle down an embankment and into the creek. No real rush to get out of the way of the car involved, just a bovine inability to coordinate all four feet. Don’t worry, the cow was fine. A little wet, but okay.
Next, Art and I are driving home late at night and we come around a sharp turn in the road and what’s that?? Oh, how cute, look baby, two racoons in the middle of the road! Yeah. Two juvinile racoons scampering up the road ahead of the Jeep, sort of play boxing at each other, all happy and cute. And then they notice we’re there, they stop, turn around (and I swear at this point one of them smiled evily)….one of the racoons rushes at the other one and starts humping it furiously, I mean nasty rough racoon lovin’. Staring at us the entire time. “Oh aren’t they cu…..what are they do….oh my god, Art, stop looking…STOP LOOKING…oh jeez they’re….oh my god, honk the horn Art, WOULD YOU STOP LOOKING!?!”
It’s not unusual to see a bobcat or two meandering up the road day or night. The night before last I was driving home, late at night, and as I came around a corner I see a bobcat off to the side of the road. But not meandering,or even sauntering. Crapping. Copping a squat on the side of the road. And he didn’t stop because I was approaching. No…. he shot me a dirty look and continued to pinch a gigantic loaf off (HUGE TURD….there was no doubt that this was a cat with a very healthy digestive system from where I was sitting), then ducked into the ditch.
The final wildlife insult occured last night, as I crossed the cattle gate right before our driveway. My headlights suprised an opposum in the middle of the road, grooming himself. Not just preening, mind you, he must have known I was coming. He was giving a complete tongue bath to his junk. His crotch. His dangly boy parts. Right there, smack in the middle of the road. I had to STOP AND WAIT FOR HIM TO COMPOSE HIMSELF and then amble off into the bushes.
So, I give up. I’m going to start leaving the shades up in the bathroom when I’m in there. Give these little bastards a taste of their own medicine. I’m going to start scratching previously private areas and hitching up my shirt to pick at itchy spots while I’m outside…screw who sees me. I hope it’s one of the natives. See how they like it. I’m going to start carrying toilet paper with me when I go on walks in the park, screw waiting until I get home.

When in Rome.

Spooked horse

Hmmm – so in very un-Jack-like fashion when we wandered out last nite to bring Jack in, he was acting all spooky. Didn’t want to come over to us at the gate, sort of pranced around a bit, hiding behind the well head (like a big horse can hide behind something much shorter than him). We eventually got him calmed down a bit so we could get him to the barn, but even there, he kept looking out to the same area of the pasture and listening, in between chewing his hay. After a brief look and not finding anything obvious, we figured he either saw/smelled/heard something like a cougar or maybe a wild boar and got antsy. We’d seen both up in the hills, tho not on our property. I doubt they’d come thru or over the fencing, but even so, Jack wasn’t so sure… I figure if a cougar did wander into the pasture somehow, it would have a much easier time snagging a lamb than ever considering gnawing on Jack.


Sorry if the website has been slow/inaccessible on & off… our hosting provider has been having a slew of HW failures in the past couple days.

It was HOW hot???!?

Saturday was the dog show in Seaside. I left early, but even so, by the time I hit Gilroy at 9am, it was already 80 degrees. Pleh. But then going thru the hills and hitting the coast, it plunged back down to about 65 and all misty. Perfect weather for a dog show, no sweating involved! Art, however, chose to remain behind, sleeping in with plans of all sorts for the day. And then it hit, oh, 95? I think he was happy to comply when I called and suggested that he drive out and meet me after we were finished showing (noonish) and we could go to the beach. When the thermometer hit around 100 I think that sounded like a pretty damn fine idea.

So Art met me in Seaside and we went to Carmel by the Sea for the rest of the day. First stop…Forge in the Forest. They serve people…and dogs.

Perfect. We were all hungry (the dogs and I don’t eat before a show; I’ll throw up and they’ll not pay attention to the bait) This restaurant has an outdoor patio and even sports a dog menu. (don’t say anything…. we have dogs, not children…at least our sprogs don’t sit screaming and crying, throw food, or even better, tell loud stories about bodily functions that all the restaurant patrons can enjoy whilst trying to enjoy an overpriced meal)

So Art and I had salads and mojitos and the dogs had chicken strips and a quarter hounder, no cheese and a huge bowl of water.

(yeah yeah yeah, we know, this is going to spawn a whole new batch of bad table manners that will have to be broken)

Sunshine played on the table, and beach smells swirled around the patio. Not the nasty rotting seaweed smells, just good “Carmel Approved” beach smells. Dretti appreciated them, obviously.

Look…I married a man who wears Hawaiian print shirts, in public! Gosh I love him!!!

The weather was perfect for the patio, no misty beach weather, sunshine and mojitos, the dogs….just perfect.

Then we went to a fancy scmancy dog store (duh, we live dogs, so what would be more appropriate?) Dretti and D-Square were treated to new collars and a bunch of new toys (woot, like they NEEDED more toys).

And then……THE BEACH!!!!! The fog had rolled in, and everything was misty and sort of “summer dreary” (not too cold, sorta warm, but all misty and greyish). The beach was full of people, but we went to the far south end and found a little stretch with not too many kids or other dogs. Art made Dretti stay on the leash because he was being a party pooper (Art, not the dog), and Dee saw fit to tease the shit out of him.

And then they ran. And ran and ran and ran.

We played stick games

And laughed when the ocean bit Brown Dog in the butt

The kids posed for beach portraits;

(note the new collars, covered in sand now)

And then The Pants spent some time sitting, and just thinking about boats.

Art and I enjoyed ourselves completely today. We watched a wedding on the beach, it was small and pretty…complete with the brides poopy-drawered toddler and the obligatory hot blonde wedding guest in a partialy see through mini-dress (I seriously think she wasn’t wearing underwear, at least from where I was sitting it didn’t look like it) The drive home was long, and boring. But it was a good day at the beach. If any of you decide to come visiting, remind us to take y’all to Carmel by the Sea. You’ll love it.

It’s NOT ice cream

I was in Berkeley today, on business, and when said business was finished, I made a sidetrip thru Freak-Central….that is…Downtown Berkeley. For any of you who do not know it, have not SMELLED it, you simpley are not allowed to die yet. It is not that GREAT. It is just that weird. Come to California. Drive to Berekely. Visit Shattuck. Walk down Telegraph and College streets. It smells like incense, body odor, pot and urine. Everywhere. Blue and hot pink are the standard hair colors, blonde and brunette? What are those? Homeless and Pseudo-homeless (they play homeless during the day and go back to their shared co-op style loft or apartment at night) are almost equal in numbers to the tourists and legit residents. The sun shines, and it smells bad.

But that didn’t stop me from my goal….postcards to send to friends and….GELATO.

That’s right. Not icecream, Gelato. From Gelato Milano, the ONLY place to pick up decent gelato this side of SF, or Italy for that matter. Check it…Gelato Milano

I figured I would do something nice for Art, seeing as he stayed home today to keep an eyeball on the mutts since I had to be gone all day. So I picked up a pint of hazelnut rum (OMFG, so good) and a pint of white mint chocolate chip, and then I ran out of cash. Gelato is not cheap. Got my postcards at this stereotypical Berkeley kitch shop. Smells like ganga and incense, sells weird touristy stuff, but has an upstairs that is all postcards. Shattuck is good for tourists, UC Berkeley students and their parents, but College and Telegraph are better for tasting the real Berekely. And then there’s Ashby, good shopping there.

So that was Friday. I have a dog show to go to early early tomorrow morning, I suppose I should go get some sleep. The dogs are clean and ready to go, should be an easy one. It’s in Seaside, right next door to Monteray. So maybe we’ll go to the beach tomorrow after prancing around in a ring looking pretty. Art went to see a movie, so he won’t be home til much later. He never goes to the dogs shows anyway, so he won’t have to get up early tomorrow. Lucky!


Several wildfires broke out near us in the past week and the dry conditions with high winds are making things really bad.

The next two pics are from a large blaze out in the rangeland west of I-5 on the border of Santa Clara County. Its really whipping up now and we can see the huge plumes of smoke from my office:

Here’s some video footage of the fire.

This next fire started a few miles east of us and hopped over 6 lanes of I-580 as it continued to spread northward.

All the rain we had this spring created a lot more fuel in the rangelands for this summer’s fire season. I’m glad I spent more time this spring cutting back all the grasses around the house (unlike last year when we had 3ft tall dry grass right up to the edge of the lawn. Anyone who is having rain, please send it to us…