XOXO! Sleepy! Julia
XOXO! Sleepy! Julia
moving to Montana and a baby! Our first granddaughter – Dylan Rose.
Here she is~
She came on her due date. Her mommy had the easiest pregnancy in history- and labor. We are so grateful and so very blessed. Dylan Rose A. 7′ 11″. We all forgot to ask how long she is. 🙂
The sale of our home and the move could have gone smoother but one can’t have everything, right? Some things must go wrong. That’s life.
We love our new home in Montana. It’s beautiful. It has amazing views on all sides. The dog loves his full half acre? Three quarters of an acre? Not entire sure. But he stays outside all day long, just enjoying his view through the invisible fence. He can watch sand hill cranes and cows and eagles and deer and super cute bunnies. In Napa Jake rarely wanted to be outside without us and he was territorial about his yard. Here, his yard is just part of the vast open countryside. He seldom barks for any reason. He’s in awe! (As are we!)
So friends, it’s been a challenging yet rewarding year thus far. I’ll try to be more available. (Ha!)
P.S. Do we miss California? Nah-uh. Not one bit.
I know I haven’t posted in a long time. Sorry. Been insanely busy re the upcoming move to Montana. But I have to say something about what happened today, and I’m including Ray because he’s a Midwesterner. Upper Midwest, but that’s okay.
I was chatting with this guy who had a real cute dog, a Scottie. I love Scotties, attitude and all. They are like little bearded hairy men. (Oh, by the way, when big ol’ Jake goes to puppy camp he’s greeted with, “Hello Sunshine!” He’s a happy camper!)
Anyways… I was chatting with this guy. He was here in Napa enjoying the sunshine. He’d driven down from Portland because he wanted a break from all the rain- which we happen to be having for a minute. Our weather has been beautiful.
We discussed the rain. We discussed my recent stop at PDX, landing in the midst of a horrific downpour. If you get off one of the little planes you have to walk through the downpour to get to the terminal. We were all soaked.
I mentioned my parents. Told him that they’d retired to Southern Oregon.
He asked, “Oh, did they move from California?”
I answered, “No, they moved from Iowa. We’re all from Iowa, I’m not a native Californian.” (‘Cuz yeah, I’m proud as heckfire to be from Iowa.)
He said, “Oh. Iowa. Bunch of illiterate evangelicals there.”
And I was like… “Um, what?”
He said, “Yeah, everyone is stupid religious. Nothing there but cornfields and ignorant racist white farmers.”
I asked, “Have you been to Iowa?”
He shrugged. He said, “I’ve read about it.”
Hey Tom, and Ray, I wanted to punch him in the face.
This is what I deal with on the West Coast. People who think they know the Midwest even though they’ve never been farther east than Vegas (or maybe they’ve flown to NYC). People like this dude, who was about as white as a slice of Wonderbread, who think everyone in the Midwest is a toothless dumbass church-goin’ snake-handling redneck filled with hate and vitriol; that we’re uneducated hicks who stupidly refuse to accept the superiority of the West Coast elites who should be in charge of EVERYTHING.
I don’t care if he had a nice dog. I wanted to kick the living shit out of him.
But I didn’t. I said, “You know nothing about Iowa. Have a safe drive back to Portland.” And I walked away.
Tom, you would have been proud of me.
The Loess Hills: I grew up here, played here. My ancestors lived and died here.
Did I mention the University of Iowa Writers Workshop???
Besides, Iowa is home to one of the best bugs in the world – Fireflies! If you watch the video you’ll discover that we’re not all toothless yahoos.
No, not leaving yet, but I’m about to close up shop temporarily.
We’re moving to Montana! I’ve dreamed of this for five years. Oscar saw the light… at last! As his job has become more and more untenable/onerous and California has become an increasingly challenging place to live.
All I can say is~ yes.
About damn time.
We recently returned from a ten day visit to the ranch. We babysat the cows, horses and dogs. Split and stacked two years worth of wood for our daughter and son-in-law, and met with a real estate agent in Bozeman. We put in an offer on a house and lo and behold… it was accepted right off! (Although my husband pulled a Chip Gaines and tried to fool me into thinking the offer had been rejected! Shiplap ho!)
Thus begins the hard work. I have to get our house on the market. Fingers crossed, it will sell ASAP. We had the hardwood floors refinished while we were away. Lookin’ good, I tells ya!
Yes, I do have two twenty-ish kids here, one of whom is pretty flummoxed at the idea of her parents moving. We are leaving the only home she’s ever known. Even though she doesn’t live with us, the idea of us gives her roots. I get it. My kids are the sole reason I’ve stayed.
But, all things must change. Seems like everyone I know is transitioning in one way or another. We wish us all the best!
In the meantime, enjoy the view from my new backyard! I know Jake will!
I wish I had photos but these days life is too busy for photos.
Jake and I went for a hike along the river. I chose a trail he loves. It’s a grassy trail that meanders through a flood plane. One one side is a slough, on the other side is the river. There are no roads. He can’t get killed chasing cars. There are no bicycles. There are only birds, the occasional fox, coyote, river otter, beaver and mountain lion. All good.
Oh, farther down the river, actually farther north along the river, is a place I’ve cristened Rabbitzville. Cuz there are like a million rabbits. But Jake and I headed south. There are fewer rabbits. Perhaps only a thousand rabbits as opposed to a million rabbits.
Jake and I crossed the slough via a makeshift bridge of boards and driftwood. Jake ran right through the water, while I picked my way across. When we reached the trail I let him off leash. I mean, c’mon, it was just us. There was nobody there but Jake, Julia and ducks.
We had a great time. He romped up and down and around, running in big circles like a puppy. It was a terrific hike. But then Jake scared up a rabbit. He scared up a jack rabbit by stepping right on him. The rabbit flew across the meadow, Jake in pursuit, because if there’s one creature he can’t resist, it’s a rabbit.
He chased that sucker for at least half a mile and then the rabbit dove into the slough, right into a huge patch of xanthium strumarium. Jake froze. When I saw him freeze I knew what had happened.
OMG. Those horrible horrible awful terrible cockleburs. They are the stuff of nightmares if you are a long-haired dog. He made his way back to me, walking like he was in absolute misery. Egg-shaped sharp stickers were matted into his hair, everywhere. His armpits, his belly, his chest, his legs, his tail.
We had a two mile hike back to the car. Once we got home I cut out as many of the stickers as I could. But I couldn’t shave his armpits or his belly. The stickers were matted right up against the skin.
He had to spend the entire day at the vet’s, sedated. They removed the remainder of the stickers, or so we thought. I’ve since found four more, had to cut them off his thighs. Yikes!
The same day his bestie, Hastur, was sprayed by a skunk right outside her front door.
Oh, California. Where the wild things are.
XOXO! Peace out. Julia
Ghost Peppers or Red Naga: Where the Ghost Pepper is From and Why It’s so Hot.
My son made me grow them. He has plans. I did warn him there would be no weaponizing of the Ghost Peppers. Merely harvesting them was scary enough. For the time being they are safely ensconced in my freezer. Along with these chilies- bought the seedlings from a corner vendor:
All he could say was~ “Chilies Diablo. Muy caliente.” So far I’ve harvested two quart bags and I’ve got at least another couple quarts still ripening on the plants. I too have plans!
I’ve very excited about this! Chrismukkah presents for all!
I’ve had a little time on my hands and a little produce left over from last year. Finally got around to dealing with it.
I added this year’s quince harvest to last year’s harvest (freezer) and made two pints of quince jam. The stuff is like gold! A gallon of quinces made a measly two pints.
I also dried my drunken figs. Yes, drunken. They’ve been soaking in rum for a year, I’ll have you know! I dried them with my new food dehydrator.
These are killer, man. Each one is like a shot of rum.
I thought I’d give a shout out to Jake- He treed a mountain lion last week. Dang! The thing was yowling at him like a kazoo! Jake went insane chasing the lion across the yard. It managed to scramble up into one of our redwoods. Seriously, the yowling sounded like a kazoo. My son said, “Mom, I don’t think there are any wild kazoos marauding around Napa.” Took me a long time to get the dog back in so the lion could be on his/her merry way. Hey, I don’t care about mountain lions. They snag the vicious marauding raccoons, so… (And yeah, it’s always me who has to go out and retrieve the dog. Oscar can sleep through an earthquake.)
Speaking of raccoons– Another shout out to my goldfish. Our little pond is a good example of survival of the fittest. This tough guy is two years old! He’s outlasted twelve other goldfish, all of whom have been eaten by raccoons and egrets. He’s super smart. Has a good hiding place. Only comes out for me even though I’ve never fed him. Occasionally I pull out some of the algae, otherwise the pond is a nice little ecosystem. Provides him with all the food he requires.
His name is Fishy-Fishy. If anyone has a better suggestion I’m sure he won’t mind.
Still recovering. More on that at a later time.
That’s about it for now. Peace out.
Potatoes. First harvest.