So.....off we go.
Our woods are still relatively untouched since our arrival almost twenty years ago. Monterey County would perhaps disagree. My friend Richard Taylor put his gorgeous Garrapata Canyon house on the market and moved to Texas after being red-tagged on a remodel for "illegal development". He was confronted on his morning walk on his twelve acres by a County official. It seems walking on your property creates paths, which is development.
I follow the original developers of our property.....no, not Mike Marquard....though he did a great job. The deer and the wild pigs have paths cut all through our property that Grandpuppy has.....well, amplified by racing 30mph in pure, unbridled joy twice a day.
Our woods are pretty stressed. Dry, dry, dry. The little taste of rain last Saturday did not even penetrate to the ground. Lots of the mature oaks have fallen.....and it looks like their friends are not far behind. One violent storm this winter will change everything.
The poison oak ground cover is so dry it is like walking on cornflakes.....close your eyes and it almost sounds like bacon frying in the Kitchen on Sunday mornings. Twenty years ago we did some judicious burning.....Esalen Indian-style and cleared out the big poison oak vines. It looks like time for another round this winter.
Our rich neighbors on the other hand have a large crew of gardeners who actually rake and sweep their woods. Every Tuesday morning at 8am the machines start up....after five hours sleep on my only day off.
Fire will not bother them when it comes.....ain't nothing to burn, and they pour thousands of gallons of water a day onto the place. We can't shower in the morning because there is no water pressure.....since they are uphill of us on the system and closer to the tanks.
Fire will bother us....and we will pay for our enjoyment of the brush and bushes and all Amanda's birds who live in there. We stocked up on fire gel....like our friends in Big Sur....but we also light candles at the church.
Still, this morning's walk in the woods was magic.....and therapeutic. Despite all the money on gas and tires, the wear and tear on your brain for trying to organize town trips to the minimum.....not everyone gets to walk quietly in the woods alone before work.
Wait.....what is that smell? It smells like hair burning....or an electrical fire. Ahhhh, dammit.
I immediately called the Good Neighbors to warn them and get them to walk around their house....and started scuttling back down the mountain. The morning was crystal clear and I could not see any smoke anywhere.
Then I heard the gardener's dog barking and saw a cloud....not of smoke, but mist. Pesticides for the fake vineyard, no doubt. If fallen leaves are a threat....bugs must be really bad. No wonder we have so many birds over here......
Great.....no wonder also that Amanda's hippy doctor keeps insisting she has heavy metals in her system....despite all the organic stuff we stock.
What to do?
Ultimate revenge. I will take my new Obama/Biden lawn sign down to the corner of the property by the neighbor's gate. It will look nice next to their giant American flag......