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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Living Things Head For The Shade

There were a couple of hot days in late June including a day when the thermometer at the ranch reached 100 degrees.
Some cattle retired to the dense shade of a fig tree in the midst of a walnut grove.

The St. John's wort does not bloom for long. It is at its best for St. John's Day, which roughly coincides with the Summer Solstice. Ten years ago on June 24 I arrived unwittingly on the very night of St. John's Day on the island of Itaparica, Bahia, Brazil. Large bonfires blazed in the middle of the narrow roads. Silhouetted and shiny-skinned figures danced, tossed firecrackers and drank beer from liter bottles. Singers and musicians filled the night with Samba. I joined the islanders in celebrating the Festa of Sao Joa, corresponding to their Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere.

Hollyhocks reseed themselves returning in slightly different configurations from year to year. They seem to be appropriate companions to the 88-year-old ranch house.

Nineteen friends from the city came up to Two Bucks Ranch for the Fourth of July Weekend. They mostly laid around, talked, read and napped in the shade. Al's brain needed frequent rest from his readings in philosophy. Later he emailed me a link to an article about the fad in Japan for "forest bathing", which is not unlike our weekends in the country in its healthful effect.
It seems that being in close proximity to trees has many measurable health benefits.

During the night the ranch house collects cool air. In the morning we close the windows, doors and curtains to capture the relative coolness as the outside temperature climbs.