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Perhaps this recent flurry of blog posts — three days in a row is highly unusual for me, eh? — can be attributed to the fact that part of us is reluctant to leave The Woods for The Big City. Our appreciation for this place is always present, but it feels stronger and more poignant now on the eve of departure.
We had originally planned to leave today, but when James found out that my first rehearsal on Monday in San Francisco is not until 7 p.m., we decided to wait until tomorrow morning.
This has given James more time to attend to the Airstream trailer, inside and out. He secured everything that we had brought into it yesterday in “travel mode”, hitched the trailer to our trusty red Chevy truck and towed it out of the barn this afternoon.
He washed the barn dust off and it looks much better. Now it is parked in front of the barn, hooked back up with electricity and water, and I’m writing this blog post in it as I did yesterday.
Home is wherever we have our computers, we’ve concluded with a laugh.
Earlier today, on this morning’s walk, we took yet another route. James has been wonderfully resourceful with suggestions lately!
We went up to the point which joins the main dirt road into town, but turned left instead of right, which we had done yesterday.
This takes us on a slight incline towards the postmaster’s house, but we before we reached his driveway, we turned left again on a little logging road heading back towards our place.
I brought my camera along again, but didn’t see any photo-ops until we reached this logging path.
There are two very large stumps on each side of the road at the top, where in olden times a large, heavy chain had stretched between the trees as a barrier. Here’s the stump on the left:
And here is the one on the right, with James extending the chain:
The chain “au naturel”:
Another old stump further down the hill:
James speculated that this tree must have been over two hundred years old when it was cut; maybe older. We fantasized that it had sprouted from the ground before the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock. It was probably cut in the early mine-dredging days in the mid-1800s.
This logging road leads back to the intersection where we usually turn off to walk by our nearest neighbors’ house. To the left are two discarded Franklin stoves, grown rusty with time:
In the exact middle of the intersection is this section of dredging pipe:
And to the right of this pipe is an assemblage of other mining debris:
We walked to the left, going slightly downhill, where the path leads into our driveway. I captured the tail-end of the Fall colors on a couple of trees:
I snapped a quick shot of James and Ringo, who had reached the end of the driveway near our place. (Ringo can barely be seen to James’ left.)
Cat Rupert was there to greet us when we arrived, as he’s done when we’ve returned from our past three walks.
Since we’ve been spending most of our time in the Airstream these past couple of days, Rupert doesn’t quite know what to make of our absence. He’s been staying in the Music Room alone for much of the day, except when I’ve been there to practice horn. James and I have continued to sleep in the Music Room, and will spend our final night there this evening.
My next post will be from the beach in Pacifica!
P.S. I’ve been having trouble formatting photos and text in posts lately; I create space between them in “visual” mode but they do not SAVE that way in the actual post. Everything gets crunched together. Do any of you have any suggestions? 🙂
On this morning’s walk, James suggested that we head in a different direction than usual.
So we turned right at the fork at the top of our driveway instead of left. This secondary path brings us to the main dirt road which goes downhill for a mile to town.
“Look at that!” James exclaimed as he pointed to a log at the side of the path. It was a multi-colored blob of fungus growing on the sawed end of a tree trunk.
The camera’s flash captured the richness of the colors in this closeup:
Further up the path, James called my attention to this hanging fungus and moss:
Breathing a little heavily at the top of the secondary path — great exercise! — we went up the main road past the gate and then sharply to the right down our neighbor’s driveway. (When I say “driveway”, I actually mean a dirt road.)
There was more of the same variety of fungus, but hanging more dramatically from the side of the path:
And just a bit farther downhill, more mushrooms! These are quite different than the ones I took shots of yesterday:
A side shot:
Nearing the neighbor’s compound, we passed two water tanks which had been used regularly years ago, when the neighbors had tapped into a spring — the same spring that our property had also utilized “back in the day”. Each neighbor has his own well now.
The first of these tanks reminds me of the one in Petticoat Junction (but a much smaller version):
The second tank has an interesting camo effect:
At this point, the path turns abruptly to the left, leading down to the neighbor’s group of buildings. I captured an affectionate moment between James and Ringo:
The neighbors have an interesting array of old artifacts from long-ago mining days:
Their property is almost entirely covered with trees, so the ground is blanketed with pine needles and the light is rather gloomy, and mosquitoes love hanging out there during the summer.
I am glad that a good deal of the land we inhabit is open meadow. It’s a different world, less than a half-mile away.
I write this post from our 1976 Airstream travel trailer, still parked in the barn. James has just finished this phase of his design project and it is fabulous as promised!
At this moment, we are in the process of loading the stuff we want to bring along for our six-week sojourn in the Bay area, and trying out our new “office space” for size. The space is very cozy and already feels like it’s always been this way.
We will leave either tomorrow or early Sunday morning. New adventures await!
Now that we have a dog, we need to walk Ringo several times a day.
It is a good opportunity to be propelled outdoors and get out of our computer chairs for a change! I am thankful that dogs keep their owners somewhat active.
It’s funny, I’ve never considered myself to be a “dog person”, but I can’t imagine not having a dog now.
Our favorite walk is up our driveway to a fork in the dirt road which leads up to our nearest neighbor’s house, a quarter-mile away. We continue along a path carpeted with a thick blanket of pine needles, an evergreen arbor stretching over our heads. It is quiet and hushed like a cathedral; a perfect manifestation of the higher power of Mother Nature, or whatever you want to call it. I always feel reverent when I walk through this part of the Woods.
Another neighbor, Mike, often comes up from the Bay area for a few days at a time to do some controlled burning in the forest. He clears out tangled underbrush and trims the low branches from the pines, and monitors his little burn-piles. Now that we have seen some rain and the Woods are moist, it is safe to burn on designated days.
In fact, the US Forest Service is doing some controlled burning in the area this week.
We saw a small pile burning as we walked along the pine-needled path. Dog Ringo raised his nose and sniffed the pungent odor of smoke. Mike was nowhere to be seen, but we could see his car parked in front of his cabin near the river.
The house next to Mike is owned by Mr. H., who also lives in the Bay area, and comes up to the Woods even less frequently than the other neighbors. Here he was, burning a few piles of his own on his property this morning.
James has seen him on the rare occasions he comes up here, but I have not seen him in many years. It was nice to experience Mr. H’s positive energy again. I had forgotten what a warm, pleasant man he is.
Mr. H asked if we liked plum jam, and of course we said yes. His wife had made quite a few jars of it last summer and he’s been sharing it with friends. He gave us the last two jars, for which we thanked him profusely.
Mr. H’s wife had insisted that he bring their Scottie mix dog up with him, so “Scruffy” and Ringo got to visit. I am always amazed at how well Ringo behaves with other dogs; he never loses his cool even when the other animal gets excited.
We bid Mr. H goodbye and thank-you and continued on our walk. We passed Mike’s house, but didn’t see him — he’s probably out in the woods burning another pile. He so loves doing that!
As we approached our barn and outbuildings, we were treated with the brilliance of the liquid amber tree which is still showing its vivid Fall colors. There are more yellows than reds or purples this year, as it hasn’t been as cold as it was last Autumn.
We were on a point of the path which afforded a perfect view of the liquid amber surrounded by evergreens, with mountains and blue sky in the background. I went back to fetch my camera and captured the moment:
A couple of days ago, we took what we call the “river walk”, down through the meadow to L.’s cabin, then along the high banks of the Yuba River and back through the Woods to the north of us, accessing the meadow from the other side and then home. (This walk was documented in two videos here and here in a previous post last May.)
Just past the gully leading down to the ladder to the river, we came across the shredded remains of a raccoon. Bits and pieces of fur were spread out over the ground, the tail almost intact. A pile of entrails was not quite steaming, but obviously the kill had occurred recently. Later when I described the scene to L., she said that a bobcat had probably done it.
This is why we bring cat Rupert indoors at dusk!
Perhaps you are thankful that I did not have my camera with me.
However, further up the path was a good photo-op. Several large mushrooms sprang up in a group. I had never seen this kind of mushroom before, and reminded myself to take pictures of them before they disappeared.
So today after taking a shot of the liquid amber, I returned down this path where the mushrooms were still in evidence, and took the following pictures:
… the same two mushrooms taken from the top:
What an interesting size and shape this mushroom has:
Altogether a very nice display:
Near the top of the path leading down to the mushrooms was this clump of dead, browned flowers. I would rather enjoy this dried Autumn flower arrangement in the wild than on my diningroom table:
James and I are savoring our last two days in The Woods before going down to the Bay area for six weeks, where I will play the Phantom show in San Francisco. We are taking the Airstream down to an RV park in Pacifica, right on the beach. So for a while this blog could be called “Living on the Beach”.
James has been busy remodeling the middle space of the trailer, which will make it much more useful for our needs. He recently removed the sofa-bed and is putting in a counter and shelves for our computers and little piano keyboards. He has also upholstered the walls in (guess what?) several types of black&white fabric. I will take pictures when it is done — it’s going to be fabulous!