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Monday, June 27, 2016


Grass management at the ranch.

Riding through the valley.

The present day Big Valley and Clear Lake are extensions of one another,
the valley occupying the historic footprint of the formerly much larger lake.
Feeder creeks, lined with cottonwoods and Valley Oaks, snake across the valley forming tule sloughs and willow deltas at the lake.  

At this time of year the black-crowned night heron rookery in Library Park, Lakeport, is a symphony of squawks and croaks.

From Library Park.

A turkey vulture glides over the riparian zone.

Kelsey Creek still flows lightly in June. For its thousands of polliwogs and fish fry, it is a race against the relentless clock of subsidence of the surface water into the gravel bed.

Beneath the Valley Oak canopy at the ranch.

Ten months into the aftermath of the Valley Fire, plants and trees are doing their utmost to shoot forth new growth. A charred Valley Oak sapling puts oomph into it.

Hummingbird - a vibrant candle burned out.

Monday, May 2, 2016


Alligator lizard does not scuttle fence lizard-like, but propels himself by undulations through the grass like a quick garter snake. 

His resemblance to a short-bodied snake may be an evolved strategy to cause would be predators a second thought.
He has an unsettling presence, a double soul at once lizard and prototypical snake. He seems to be on his way to becoming something else - perhaps a member of that strange tribe- the legless lizards.
There is an uncanniness of affect like that of a shape-shifting inter-gender being. Could he have been recognized as a two spirit by the local Indian berdache?

I mowed hay on April 30.

Two of Kelseyville's antique objects - a Model T hotrod outside the venerable Brick Tavern.

Scenes from the meadow in Springtime.

Perennially listed among the top ten best bass fishing lakes in North America, ancient Clear Lake is sometimes called Number One. But don't eat your catch! Tailings from an old mercury mine were pushed into the lake, where the gyre of the waters has universally distributed the toxin throughout the sediments. Here it enters the food chain at it's foundation, to be taken upwards into the tissue of invertebrates and vertebrates alike. 

English (originating in Persia) walnut grafted onto California black walnut, a common sight in the commercial groves of Lake County. 

Monday, March 28, 2016


The trail made by jackrabbits, ground squirrels, guinea fowl, and cats became more evident with the greening.

A mountain ash put forth lacy new foliage.

Creek flow along Rte 175.

Red breasted sapsucker, victim of a car.



Trillium (purple).

Trillium (white).

Oaks and pines on boulder field by Boggs Lake.

Boggs Lake, a very big vernal pool, frequented by Pacific pond turtles, bald eagles and Canada geese.

Tules at Boggs Lake.

The aftermath of the Valley Fire along Dry Creek Cutoff in Middletown. The road was formerly embowered by big Valley Oaks, making it one of the prettier drives in the county. The fire was so intense that the oaks, and surrounding forests were charred to death. On the hillsides, the soil itself looks to have been sterilized. Huge areas show no evidence of recovery. But flat meadows have again turned green. Some of the monarch Valley Oaks, standing well out on open terrain, have survived.

Many of the charred roadside oaks have now been cut down.

The area of incinerated forests in the mountains, canyons, and valleys is so vast that only moving through it, mile after mile, gives a sense of its extent. From some vantage points, mountains from horizon to horizon are thoroughly blackened. There is little trace now of the 1600 houses and other structures that were consumed.

Acorn woodpecker granary in a Ponderosa Pine.

Saturday, March 5, 2016


The guardian spirits of Lake County's western gate, two feral billy goats live on the denuded hill at the crest of the Hopland Grade. They ambled over in hopes of a handout.

Does the highway department expect goat-caused landslides?

Chaparral forest reaches to the horizon in the Mayacamas Range, not yet within range of the billy goat duo, but crawling with feral swine, and ganja (from Sanskrit) farmers.

Manzanitas are in full bloom by mid-February. Genus: Arctostaphylos.

Honey bees and a few bumble bees attended them.

New shoots of marah oregonus/ coastal manroot/western wild cucumber/ old man in the ground.
The marah genus, characterized by extreme bitterness, is named for Marah in Exodus, a place of bitter water. Various indigenous peoples used it to treat aching hands, venereal disease, sores, and kidney trouble.

Uncannily concealed in the heart of a quince bush, the four foot tall lodge of dusky footed woodrats, is manufactured from nipped stems.

The southwest cornerstone of Two Buck Ranch.

Blossoms of February. Daffodils and plums.

Puddles in the pear and walnut packing yard.

The red line shows the boundaries of the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument, designated in the summer of 2015. This swathe of the inner Coast Range is a hundred miles long.

California is an Oak Island. Oaks are intrinsic to our regional identity, both ecologically and culturally. The delicate tracery of green on the map indicates just how limited is the range of our several oak species.

This is the range map of the king of oaks: The California Valley Oak, Quercus Lobata.
All but wiped from the map of it's preferred habitat, the Central Valley, it survives in vestige pockets.