When I need a break from reality, I go visit my buddy Jennifer. Jen and I have a lot in common: we both have teenagers that drive us crazy, we both have husbands who drive us crazy, and we both like to drink martinis, taking brief breaks only to shop and eat. We love the beach and the sun, but most of all we both love gardening. And, well…martinis.
We used to be neighbors. We started a friendship over mommy stuff. The friendship grew over gardening, and it really took off after the discovery of our mutual affinity for vodka.
Jen's putting green Jen's Pool.
Jen, Gandolf, and Pixie relaxing between martinis.
And then she and her family just up and moved to San Diego. All she left me was her worm composter, a cruel reminder of what once was.
Oh, but there is a bright side. Now every few months I get to go visit my home girl in the Beach hood, where we gossip, eat, drink and stumble around various nurseries.
If Moondoggie hadn’t gotten skunked the other night, I would not have been afraid to let her out into the backyard.
Moondoggie made it clear that there was another unwanted visitor in the back yard. She lifted her nose to the air and growled as if to say, “Let me at ‘em.
“Oh no you don’t, girlfriend. I am not spending half the night scrubbing you with lemon soap and hydrogen peroxide again. Just let Pepe le Pew be, and go to bed.”
While there was something a bit different about her behavior this time, I was not going down that road again. “Fool me twice….
So I made Moondoggie lie down and go to sleep, and I did the same, thinking my caution very wise.
And then I woke up.
I made my kids breakfast, I fixed myself a cup of coffee, and went out to peruse my garden. With my coffee cup in one hand and my rose clippers in the other, I ventured forth, eager to cut some fresh morning blooms. I love their beauty and their heady scent filling my house.
I strolled over to my rose garden and…
This is the first time Bmbi ate all the rose petals around the flower. He usually just bites off the whole thing
I haven’t posted on any of my blogs in about four weeks.
Sometimes life gets to be too much, and gets in the way of the things you love to do. Sometimes the only way back to happiness is to do the things you love despite that wall of sadness standing in the way.
Instead of writing about it, I have been gardening a lot the last four weeks. And guess what? I am beginning to feel human again.
I just wanted to thank all my friends who have been there for me over the last several weeks to help me through this tough time. I am convinced that I have the best group of caring, loving, understanding and empathetic friends in the world.
This is my idea of a winter break: Like most people I am understandably nervous about the lack of rain in our beautiful mountains but I say, “Make hay while the sun shines.”
I believe this means something like reap the hay while the sun is shining before it rains and gets moldy, sort of like my lawn.
While I don’t make hay, I am Jonesing for some Springtime, and since I am spending my holiday with twelve or so furry friends, I thought I would treat us all to some winter color.
And, yes, contrary to popular belief, dogs do see color. They just see it a bit different than we do.
The dogs have torn up my lower lawn so badly now that I have decided to perhaps slowly turn it in to something besides a lawn. I haven’t formulated a whole plan yet, so here is a preview of things to come.
I dug out a ring of lawn from around my giant urn and planted dahlia bulbs. On top of the bulbs I planted some winter flowers: primrose, Johnny jump ups, and snapdragons.
While I was working the dogs stole a bulb, two plastic pots, a glove and two rocks. You may ask, as I did, why would a dog take rocks?
The two rocks were taken by a golden puppy. Need I say more?
Now it’s just a waiting game to see which of the dogs I’m dog sitting will pee on the new flowers first.
Nurseries are like crack to me. Throw in some bluegrass music,
wonderful vending booths with native plants,
hand made soaps,
specialty plants, home made beauty products and jewelry, beautiful original paintings, and cool crafts then you have Poppy Fair Farm.
My friend Erin, who owns Native Revival Nursery in Aptos, put on her first annual Poppy Fair Farm last Saturday. I went over to be a part of the festivities, and they did not disappoint. There was something for everyone—and their five senses.
The bluegrass music—banjo, mandolin, guitar, and bass fiddle—was particularly good.
When Erin was asking for information from the lead in the bluegrass band, Jimmy Chickenpants, for the poster, this is what he said:
"Some people make the mistake of spelling Chickenpants as 2 words. That's just plain wrong"
I have been asked by several people, “what happened to the lions?”
Well, quite simply, they moved on.
Mountain lions will stick around usually for 2-3 days after they have made a kill and will feed periodically until the kill starts to get icky. That is my scientific term for it—icky. Then other creatures have their turn, like bobcats, skunks, vultures, and insects.
Before the lions left Alicia’s house, they moved the buck to another location. One that seemed more appropriate.Nature is so interesting and mysterious. I couldn’t help but come up with my own scientific theory as to why they dragged their kill to Alicia and Bernie’s picnic table.
I would like to believe they were trying to share. Perhaps to say “Hey, thanks for letting us stay in your front yard and scare the bejesus out of you these past few days.”
“Thanks for letting us slay a large deer in the middle of your driveway and pick at the carcass at our leisure.” “Thanks for not calling the sheriff so that we would become carcasses ourselves.” Above all Alicia and Bernie, thanks for being understanding—and not hysterical—humans.”
David from the Open Space Authority said it best: "The way Alicia and Bernie handled a couple of pumas in their front yard gives me hope that we have a chance to protect these animals."
The mountain lion left the carcass of the big buck at the base of Alicia’s backyard hill.
The buck seemed too big for the lioness to drag any further. Alicia woke up before dawn and looked to see if the buck was still there
She noticed that the carcass had been eaten further. She watched it and waited patiently to see if the lion would return.
She didn’t have to wait long. The lioness approached the carcass a few minutes later and Alicia almost snorted coffee out her nose when a second, smaller lion joined it.
Mama and teenager.
Holy Venison, Batman!
The day before, when Alicia first reported to me from her Wild Kingdom, she said the mountain lion looked so big she thought for sure it was a male. I said, ”Well at least it’s not a mama with cubs, that might be a real dangerous situation.”
The cub seemed older, more of an adolescent than a baby. It was nearly the same size as its mother, probably about a year old.
The female lion is wearing a radio collar.
The pair of lions started to feed on the carcass. According to Alicia the meal was cooperative and carried out in a very orderly manner, unlike dinners at my house.
Mountain lion doing the dishes
After the two mountain lions had finished their meal, they took turns burying the carcass, which, I guess, is the mountain lion’s version of the doing the dishes. My kids don’t do the dishes without a fight.
Maybe tomorrow night I’ll give them a choice between washing plates and burying a dead deer.
The Mid-Peninsula Open Space researchers came up in the afternoon and placed an infrared field camera near the carcass.
In the next couple of days it should record some great insight into the everyday life of a mother lion and her offspring.