walked out into the yard last night to escape the heat inside the house. was looking at the moon and mars. didn’t see that one of the black cats had planted his bottom just in front of my feet in the dark. took a step forward and nearly fell on my face. he cried to be picked up so i obeyed. a moment later i heard rustling just behind me and thought it was the other of the black beasts. without looking i knelt down and stretched my hand out. but there was no familiar head bumping my palm, just a very wary juvenile opossum scuttling by a few feet from me.

went for a night walk tonight. haven’t done that in a spell. too hot indoors. outside albizia is blooming. and honeysuckle. datura by the train tracks. all beautifully fragrant. walked into the woods. stood in the moonlight and listened to a barn owl screech down from the darkness and grab up its furry intended. then the sounds of death. when i walked back through town a very talkative black cat jumped from its porch and accompanied me a ways until i consented to scratch behind its ears. a man on a moped nearly ran me over. i ate plums in the dark. stole a bundle of sweet marjoram stalks frowzy with spent flowers. listened to cicadas and crickets. murmured conversation coming from a candlelit porch, “your best move is to say no. stop giving in.” and then guarded silence as i passed.

went with a friend i hadn’t seen in ages to a beach i hadn’t visited in ages. ate fish and talked about art. laughed harder than i have laughed in a very long time while at the same time wanting to cry for him.

installed a new window in my dad’s cabin. it was hot as hell and the wasps wouldn’t stop trying to drink my sweat. saw a bobcat. buried my nose in vanilla-scented milkweed blossoms. sucked some sumac berries. there are more of them this year than i’ve ever seen. so sour that just thinking of them makes my tongue tingle and my mouth flood. i love them even if they have an aftertaste of odor of boxelder bug.









been spending some time on the carrizo. last sunday morning one of the ewes dropped twin lambs. white as milk. i had to cross the paddock she shares with a ram and another sheep to get to the paddock on the far side where yet another ewe and her three young lambs reside. i slipped on an amniotic sac and nearly landed on my crown. i have no regrets.


it was really cold on the plain. kept a fire in the wood stove and spent my evenings toasting my haunches in front of it, reading a book. it was lovely even if i did feel a twinge of guilt every time the barn cats came and scratched at the window to be let in.

tracing a shirt pattern on swedish paper. new pinking shears to replace the old ones. soft flannel. box of notions. my grandmother’s iron.

today i scattered desert bluebell, clarkia, and bird’s eye gilia seeds all around the homestead. supposed to have a storm this weekend. get them watered in. my young red baron peach had six flower buds last week and today two of them had opened. the deer will probably eat them before they set fruit even though i have the trunk girded with a wire cage. crafty beasts. the quince is unfurling leaves. the elderberry too. apple buds swelling. young peony leaves pushing up pink. tomorrow i’ll plant bababerries which are a cross between cultivated raspberry and the wild raspberry of the coast ranges. they’re my perfect fruit. and who doesn’t love raspberries? the thought of them turns me quite boneless. pure jelly.

finally able to read halldor laxness’ salka valka thanks to the amazingly kind efforts of a friend who drove all the way to ucsb library and hand digitized it for me. i very much enjoyed the read. so good. incidentally, discovered that salka is a diminutive of salom√© which was my great-grandmother’s name. i think i like that.

wrote a poem. working on a story. retelling of a baba yaga tale. thank heavens for the gentle persistence of my best pal and his unorthodox methods of persuasion. what a dear.

wellidy. catching cold, i think. must attend. ginger tea. and so.


standing in line at the market i overheard an older woman talking to the people in front of her — a woman of about my same age with a fidgeting young son. the older woman says, “oh, are you impatient? you know, it’s very important to learn patience. it’s a wonderful lesson to learn. it builds character. just imagine how long your mother had to wait for you to come into this world!” a moment later another cashier came and opened a second line. immediately it was filled with shoppers eager to check out. the older woman turned and, without the least hint of irony, screamed, “i’ve been waiting here for AGES AND AGES! i can’t believe you just let all of those people cut in line!” on the way home passed a very genteel bicyclist who tipped his nonexistent hat at me.

asters are blooming along the railroad tracks still. i keep meaning to pluck a bunch. i do love the wild ones. coral mums and giant, lavender, chinese mums still gracing the garden. never was a fan of them growing up, but now can’t get enough of them. i met a little lady who is offloading a great quantity of the things. apparently, she moved in with her mother to care for her during her final years. her mum was a fan of mums. (sorry.) growing and breeding them was something they could enjoy together. but now the woman doesn’t have time to tend them properly. she sold me two for an absurdly cheap price on the condition that i return for a visit soon and take more. i’ll add them to the ones in the garden that i planted last year.

i really miss having a dog. like, a lot. i adore ferdie and he is such a dear little bundle of cat flesh. but he’s not good on a leash. not much of a hiking fan either. excellent snuggler though.

it’s turned chilly. bundled under the duvet and quilt. enjoying some devishly good reading sent to me by a devilishly handsome fella. drinking smoky caravan tea. fervently hoping this gathering storm will deliver some thunder with its rain.




spent a few days on the edge of the carrizo. played babysitter to sheep and horses and chickens. hank the collie (the only boy of the bunch) nipped at my heels and attempted to herd me across the farmyard every morning. i bid him lie down, and he stayed, eyes fixed on the back of me until i’d crossed to the gated enclosure where he spends his off days. turned. “hank, come!” and he was at my feet like a shot. tippy is the elder collie and the most put upon. thinks she’s a lap dog.

the carrizo has a dearth of trees, so every one surrounding my aunt’s ranch is
chock-full of nests. water is also scarce. beetles and bees and birds come to drink or puddle in every bit of standing water. jackrabbits and foxes, too. each morning the sound of birds is deafening. the rest of the day is quiet except for the wind and the soft crooling of chickens. nights are coyote chorus and scent of junipers. i stood under the harvest moon yellow as a yolk. i see the moon, the moon sees me/ the moon sees someone i want to see.





went for a walk around the lake after my return from the ranch. greeted five tarantulas who’d gone a-courting. found a barn owl feather. delighted in running it across my cheeks. nibbled rosehips. tried to capture a photo of the last of the goldenrod, but the wind was blowing, so they were uncooperative.




discovered a parcel in my mailbox today. a thoughtful biped sent to me a splendiferous book. unfortunate that i can’t now send hugs and kisses via return post. ah wellidy.

planting red shallots and yellow potato onions. babington leeks. cabbages and neeps. the purple tree collards are several years old now and taller than i am. after the frost comes they’ll go in the soup pot.

went for some nice hikes and walks on the lakeshore. saw a tree fox one morning with the most magnificent tail. he just stood in the road, staring. this evening i saw five tarantulas. they’re looking for love this time of year. one had met his demise. a flattened, hairy wreck in truck treads at the side of the dirt road.




applied for yet another library job. i saw that there’s an italian sausage seller looking for holiday help. i’ve never hawked sausages before. maybe i’ll give it a shot.

there are asters in bloom along the creek. the lake ringed with goldenrod. in the high gullies the poison oak has turned red and pink. wild rosehips and urchin galls also incarnadine. acorns are piling on the valley floor. looking very autumnal hereabouts.


a few books came by mail. their unexpected arrival was most welcome. a british YA writer with whom i was not familiar. apparently she wrote a lot about chalk downlands and moors. and orphans. dowie and wae.

took to the trail. hiked the headlands. enjoyed the briny air and owl feathers strewn beneath gum trees. peered far out into green water looking for whales. alas, no pelagic beasties. just a woman creeping up behind me and then shouting, “this is AMAZING! i can’t believe it’s real!” before revealing that she was visiting from missouri and had never clapped eyes on the pacific. she was sort of wonderful to behold. the marsh hawks were also lovely. i stopped at a tiny smokehouse on the beach and nabbed some fish for my supper. the cooks were listening to captain beefheart. it did make me to smile.


had a wisdom toof yanked a few days back. my phantom tooth itches and all i want to do is grind and gnash it against the others to relieve the sensation. maddening. but i’m glad to be rid of it. it was a son of a bitch. an empty house is better than a bad tenant.

applied for another library job. extremely low pay compared to my previous positions. oh wellidy. better than a poke in the eye, i reckon. at least i’ll have the summers free if i should net this one. perhaps i’ll even get a bit of traveling done.

saying adios to the wisdom toofs tomorrow morn. a little nervous. (a lot nervous.)

picking lutz winter keeper beets and galapagos tomatoes from the garden. fending off the beetle hordes. longing for a lucia trip. maybe next month if the big sur backcountry roads are passable.

rereading some oyeyemi, wendy walker, and james branch cabell. happy for the cooler weather. looking forward to firing up the wood stove.

strange dream. a sort of fairy queen appears and we argue over veils in a steamer trunk. her capricious affections reverse track and i have to flee for my life. on a bus. i’m so frightened that i can’t sit still, staring out of the window in agitation, flinching at every creak of the bus. pull the cord. scream at the driver to let me off. he’s sympathetic and stops in an undesignated unloading zone which happens to be directly in front of a gunsmith’s shop. i hop out and the gunsmith is one i know in real life. i keep trying to buy something from him, though it isn’t a gun. he becomes increasingly frustrated because every time i hand him a bill it shrinks into shriveled counterfeit. he makes a joke, but i know he’s annoyed. i offer to pay with my debit card but it keeps warping. finally, after a long angry line has formed behind me, and all of the shop boys are on the verge of tears, the transaction is complete. everyone cheers. i’m nearly crying. i say, “thanks, sykes.” and he says, “no problem, kid.” he pats my arm and i climb back onto the bus. the driver also pats my arm. we start to drive away again and a fight breaks out between a bunch of men over guns and politics. i want to get away. i make a noise, a quiet but unearthly noise, and for a moment the men stop bickering. the bus stops. several of the men behind me stand to debus. as they file by they’re carrying AK-47s. i shrink in my seat. the last of their group is a woman. she points the muzzle of her gun at me and hisses. suddenly i sit up straight and glare at her defiantly. she laughs that it isn’t loaded and departs. i wait a moment and start to depart also. on the last step of the bus stairs i pause and survey the town i’ve landed in. on the sidewalk stands the fairy queen. suddenly i hear the word “spinnet” in my head. the queen’s lips don’t move, but i hear the word. the language is deformed somehow so that i’m not entirely sure i’ve heard right. then it’s tenpins. pinnets. spindrift. yes, spindrift. that’s the word. she flashes white and i wake up.

haven’t been able to get spindrift out of my head all day. i knew the meaning of the word, but decided to google it to see if there existed an alternative meaning. nope. but interestingly, i did discover that leucothea is the goddess associated with spindrifts. her oracle takes the form of dreams. in the odyssey she offers mr. o a veil to protect him and keep him afloat, and counsels him to let go of his broken raft, his torn cloak. neat-o.

in other news…

had a lovely hike with a lovely fella. (dignum memoria: those people whom you encounter that from the jump put you at ease — hang onto those.) found monardella and giant nettle-leaf hyssop and hummingbird sage along the trail. stood in the shade jointly huffing the scent of crushed leaves. still haven’t broken the nervous habit of talking incessantly about myself in the presence of someone new-ish. (fie!) in spite of that it was an incredibly nice time with a charming, witty, thoughtful biped. and a sexy one to boot.

it’s muggy now, but i think the rain forecast for today isn’t going to make an appearance. the corn and tomatoes need a sip. and so.