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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Kingdom of Plants

Bud has his old place on the market. It is the southernmost parcel on Lakeport's waterfront. The five acres abut an eighty acre piece outside city limits on which cattle graze. The structures on the place are being overtaken by the riotous growth of grasses.
Otter, mink, deer, turtles, egrets, ospreys and eagles frequent this lush habitat and its tule marshes. Access is via an easement off commercially zoned South Main Street. But once you are into the property, the sounds of commerce fade away. It is as if you are on the lake shore of old. This would be an ideal keystone property for the Lake County Land Trust to protect.

Prairie merges softly with marsh and lake here, obscured by grasses.

A sequoia, cedars, apples, and walnuts grow near the homestead. Willows, valley oaks and cottonwoods grow near the marsh.

July 2nd was a hot day. An ancient valley oak at Finca Castelero smoldered. The great tree had for many decades been hollow. A colony of honey bees had taken up residence. Organic matter, composting within the trunk, heated to the ignition point, a case of spontaneous combustion, which brought the whole tree to its knees. The well-charred inner surfaces were exposed when the trunk and massive limbs smashed to the ground. Larry sawed an escape route for the bee colony.

Pears in Big Valley are swelling. Harvest time is approaching.