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The month of August slipped by without an entry and I’m thinking back on what happened during that period of time to share here.
I finished the Midsummer Mozart festival on the 4th and came home. It was wonderful to see James again after an unprecedented three-week separation, and it was certainly a relief to be back in The Woods, basking in the peace, quiet and beauty of this place.
August was mostly very hot. This discouraged any real activity for most of the daytimes; James and I ended up going to the river to cool off, then took naps every day during the height of the afternoon’s heat.
I spent many hours at the computer but didn’t feel like writing words. Writing music took up much of my time. I worked on an arrangement of three tarantellas (Italian dances) for recorder orchestra which we will read through at the September 6th rehearsal in Berkeley. I just finished it last week. Hooray! What a relief.
James worked even harder on his arrangement for recorder orchestra, a medley of popular Italian songs. It is a masterpiece!
We drove down to Nevada City every couple of days, where James took care of our friends’ yard and garden while they were away in Ireland.
Another dear friend and her husband are now visiting us from England for ten days! I met Caroline at the MacJams music site several years ago. We quickly became close “on chat”, emails and telephone calls. Then we met in person last summer when she came to visit us in Arizona, and the three of us got on so well that Caroline has made a return appearance, bringing her husband Peter along. The two of them are delightful guests and are enjoying the serenity and “gorgeousness” (Caroline’s word) here.
If you look at this blog’s earliest entries, you can read about Caroline’s previous visit last year.
James and I now have a DOG! Ringo belonged to our former next door neighbor (“Cowboy”, in Arizona) which he reluctantly decided to give up now that he’s taking a job on an offshore oil rig in Texas. A mutual friend brought Ringo to California a week ago Thursday, and we picked him up at her sister’s house in Oakland.
Ringo immediately recognized us and wagged his whole body furiously in greeting. We were extremely pleased that he remembered us.
He’s the most intelligent dog James and I have ever encountered. Ringo is a mix of border collie and wolf, and began his life “cutting cattle” on a ranch in Oregon with Cowboy. Over the years, the dog has been trampled on by horses and cows and run over several times at Cowboy’s car shop, and has a slight limp. But this doesn’t slow Ringo down when he fetches the ball!
He understands and obeys every command. James is keeping him close to his side for the next two months, to ensure that Ringo bonds with his new owner effectively.
He’s about seven years old now — the same as our cat Rupert, in fact.
Rupert’s first greeting to Ringo was a growl and a hiss. As with all dogs, the cat stood his ground; he’s fearless. Ringo respects Rupert’s claws and is very laid-back around the cat, which is helping Rupert accept Ringo into our family. Although Rupert is still very protective of his “personal space”, the two of them occasionally sit close together, as in this shot:
I’ve always been more of a cat person but I really, really like this dog! Ringo is so smart that he’s no trouble around the house, and he’s a lot fun to play with.
He seems to be loving it out here in The Woods, and would be very tempted to explore on his own. But James keeps him close with either leash or commands at this early bonding stage.
This hot phase of late summer has minimized the variety of wildflowers in the area, but I did take this shot of chicory growing in front of the barn:
Caroline just showed me pictures of a couple of different red wildflowers that she recently took (that I will research and identify later). They are growing along the north side of the house:
In fact, Caroline has been taking LOTS of wonderful pictures of the visit, so I’ve been particularly lazy about using my own camera. (All of this post’s shots were taken by Caroline except for the cat/dog and chicory pics.)
By the way, James and I got married last Wednesday at two o’clock.
We took Caroline and Peter to “Trailer Trash” potluck on Saturday night. Caroline has had dreams of mashed potatoes every night since, and pines for more. The locals embraced both Brits with their “interesting attempts at a British accent” (Peter’s phrase). I found Don’s Aussie accent the most amusing. He apparently got it from watching too much of Crocodile Dundee.
Having guests relax in our environment makes it easier for James and I to do so. These past few days are passing by in a pleasant blur, as the four of us sit outside at the picnic table under the shady cedar tree, or kick back on lounge chairs under another cedar at the opposite side of the barn, or hang out on the back porch facing the meadow.
It cooled off enough on Sunday night to light a fire in the Franklin stove on the cement patio. The sky was clear and moonless and sprinkled with stars. It was like camping out. I love moments like these!
Caroline and Peter will be with us until Saturday morning, when we take them to the Sacramento airport for their flight to the East Coast. They will visit family and friends in the Philadelphia area for a week before flying back to England.
The day stretches ahead without any real agenda. Delicious slothfulness. I will feel that I have accomplished at least something by finally posting to my blog!