Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Eastside View

YES, I KNOW: the little Milhaud survey is to be completed. I'll probably get back to that in a few days. It's been a busy time, partly with the trip to Los Angeles last week, partly with the sudden arrival of Spring, followed, apparently, by an early Summer. Here's what it looks like, from our ridge, where I walked this afternoon with my 30-pound backpack (I'm in training).

In spite of a very slight rain a few days back, the hills have turned brown — we Californians prefer to call it "golden." The vineyard beyond our house is irrigated, of course; and so is Lindsey's garden, within our hedge. The field this side the hedge is mown and green; it's below our leach-field, which keeps it green.

My own little vineyard over on the left hasn't really been irrigated yet; I always want to let it go dry, but usually give in out of sympathy by midsummer — though this time I won't be here to watch it fry.

On Monday we watched a specialist take down the dead stone pine that used to stand beyond the workshop, at the right of the house; and now I'm worrying about the corkscrew willow to the left of the driveway gate. You can see the left half is far behind the right, downhill half: I think that's the result of ground squirrels, of all things; they've turned that field into Swiss cheese, and the willow's roots are getting mostly air rather than nutrients and water. Well: a willow doesn't belong there.

Today we saw a hawk carrying a snake, always a good omen, though hard on snakes. We like snakes: they eat ground squirrels. We like our foxes, bobcats, owls, coyotes, for the same reason. There aren't enough of them. And now that we're surrounded by vineyards the damn squirrels have probably all moved over here onto our place, safe from irrigation, discing, spraying, and all that.

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