Tag Archives: family

Dear Tom, Which is it?

An eagle or a hawk?

Eagle one

He was born in my backyard. Eating something in the yard across the street.

Eagle two

Which is he, an eagle or a hawk? Anyone?

Or maybe just a handsome guy? His favorite perch is the crest of my roof. (He rips meadow voles in half and drops the heads onto my deck for me to sweep up.)

And here’s a pick of Dylan checking out the world…

Dylan Rose 26

Dylan Rose 2 months.

XOXO! Julia

P.S. Just got this one–

Dylan Rose 41

She’s a pixie!

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Dear Tom, it’s been a helluva ride!

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!

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The Bridgers from our new backyard!

XOXO! Julia

 

Dear Tom, my son promised he wouldn’t weaponize the ghost peppers.

Ghost Peppers or Red Naga: Where the Ghost Pepper is From and Why It’s so Hot.

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The (dreaded) Red Naga.

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:

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Chilies Diablo.

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!

Sambal Oelek!

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.

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Quince Jam.

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.

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Dried Drunken Figs.

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.

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The Goldfish.

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.

Julia

 

Dear Tom, We’ll call this past week The Week of Loss. Oh yeah, tomorrow is the 4th…

Not a fitting post for the Fourth of July but what the hey… I’m not feeling all that festive.

Mr. Robin vanished. Oh, I know well enough what happened to him. The neighbor’s cat happened to him, that’s what. Now his wife is left alone with four mouths to feed. Yes, nature (and cats) can be cruel, but still I am sad. Mr. Robin and his wife have been living in my yard for four years now. He was unique. Determined. Single-minded. I always recognized him with his silly macho Mohawk head-feathers. He was our alarm clock, welcoming the sun from the top of our highest redwood tree every single morning. The saddest part? The mournful chirps from his wife– two days of crying. I could hear every single chirp. She cried as she cared for the babies. Broke my heart.

Mr. Robin

Mr. Robin

Dear Mr. Robin, you are missed.

In one week, three people died– two of my childhood friends- one from previously undiagnosed cancer, one from a heart attack, and just yesterday my husband’s cousin died. All three died young, but due to lifestyle they’d aged well before their time. I mean, in one case when I heard the news I said, “Wait a sec… I thought he was already dead. I thought he died of a heroin overdose twenty years ago.” As you can see I hadn’t kept in touch, but my cousin had– She’d remained friends with both gentlemen. (This is what I get for avoiding Facebook. Never know who’s dead and who’s alive.)

My husband has a small family. There are only six cousins on his mother’s side of the family so to lose one of them is a huge deal. But it was not unexpected. The last time I saw his cousin was at a wedding eighteen months ago. To claim the man was in ill health would be an understatement.

He said to me, “I’m waiting for the big one. My life is shit. I am miserable. I’m in pain. I just want to die.”

My husband asked if his cousin seemed depressed. I said, “No, more like resigned, frustrated, unhappy. But no, not depressed.”

Well, he had the big one, a cardiac arrest in the field. Unfortunately he had no advance directive and when the paramedics arrived on the scene they resuscitated him. He was without oxygen for fifteen minutes before CPR. He never regained consciousness. Was on a ventilator. Again, unfortunately, the doctor treating him was very aggressive. Despite the fact that the man was DEAD he took him to surgery to unblock his coronary arteries, then he took him back into surgery to graft some vessels into his legs because there was no circulation (DEAD), and he wanted to begin dialysis because, obviously, if you’re DEAD, your kidneys aren’t functioning. Thank God he suffered another cardiac arrest twelve hours after the first and his son overruled the doctor and said, “Don’t do anything. Let him go.”

It was a difficult death because he was not a nice man and he’d been pretty much estranged from his son and from most of the rest of the family for years. But, you know better than I, death is the great equalizer. Happens to good and bad alike. We are very close with his son– my kids think of him as a big brother, so my husband and son are heading to the funeral tomorrow. They’ll mourn his cousin and celebrate the Fourth of July with family down in Orange County. I’ll stay home with the two dogs and keep an eye on Mrs. Robin.

Last week was a blur– we canceled a trip at the very last minute due to family insanity. My family. We were supposed to fly to Colorado for a family reunion but the hostess of said reunion had a major meltdown and I decided a cooling off period was required. Sometimes words/actions have consequences. The consequence in this case was a canceled trip. However, it was for the best as our youngest needed help making some life-altering decisions. She was supposed to fly to Colorado with us. Instead we spent five days dealing with some pretty emotional stuff.

Isn’t that always the way it is with kids? I can’t remember ever being drama-free. I know you know this, Tom. You too have three children. But I’m good with it. You know the poor young woman who was gunned down on the waterfront in San Francisco? Exactly one week ago my husband and our daughter were standing in that exact spot. They stopped there on the way to a San Francisco Giant’s game. This is why I say I’m good with it. I can accept drama.

Really bad things happen in this world, Tom. Oscar is pretty upset. It takes a lot to upset him, but the thought of a father losing his daughter like that? And knowing it could have been him? He’s not himself today. I’ll tell him you called me a ‘git’ and maybe that will cheer him up!

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Anyway, since it is the Fourth of July, or will be tomorrow, and since you’re English and I’m American, I shall stick it to you and quote some of the Declaration of Independence:

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.

Words to live by, Tom. Words to live by. Love you! Julia