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!