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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.