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Caspar & Mendonesia 10 July 2017

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Always the days before a big trip take on the sense of wonder about the place where we live. The last few weeks have been a time for clan gathering  ...most recently, a visit from our Wisconsin daughter Allicia and her sweet family. A couple of weekends before, in preparation for the upcoming trip, a visit from son Chad and his three ladies.

We celebrate the Spring and early summer with abundant family and food, especially home-grown greens.

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<p><span style="font-size: 16px; text-indent: 24px;"> Zoe and Mia playing in a pool on Jughandle Beach</span></p>

 Zoe and Mia playing in a pool on Jughandle Beach

Chad and Lindsay came to Caspar for a cool weekend; inland temperatures have been in the hundreds, pulling in the foggy marine layer, giving us fewer sunny days. These four are our companions on  our upcoming expedition to Kauai ...a sentimental journey for Chad, who vividly remembers a stay on Anini Beach when he was nine.

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While mourning the loss of long-time guardian and companion, our grand-dog Pippin the Lab, we notice an uptick in the local animal population. Pi the cat mostly birdwatches while keeping the vole community on their toes. A bumper year for skunks; the parade at left was one of two in our meadow one evening, for a total of 11 stripéd kitties. Wild turkeys, and a pair of Swallows nested in an impossibly small hole in our house. 

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<p>Sienna clicked this native Grey...

Sienna clicked this native Grey Fox in Pippin's backyard right beside her back step. We saw the dragonfly, newly emerged and sunning, on a walk to Jughandle. The Matilija Poppies dazzle right outside our front door.

Of course we still have so many deer it's not worth taking pictures, asnd our Raccoons are crepuscular (look it up! I had to ask Rochelle to remind me) and so avoid getting their mugs shot.

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We have been traveling around Mendonesia more than usual, with several trips inland. It has been a glorious Spring, due in part to the 52+ inches of rain (125% of normal). An April trip found us on a warming day under a brilliant blue sky passing Montgomery Woods State Park, a small sliver of ancient Redwoods on an untraveled road halfway between Caspar and Ukiah. The paths were soggy, and down trees caused some detouring, but these woods were in spectacular shape.

One splendid Sunday we walked with Sienna along the trail from Horse Camp down past the waterfall and out to the coast along Russian Gulch State Park -- more steep canyons covered with tall trees, ferns, berries, and a sparkling stream all at their springtime peak (below).

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Another trip south led us down the Russian River to the coast at Jenner, and thence to Gualala at Mendocino's lower right corner, and up to Point Arena, the point on the US mainland closest to Hawaii, where we climbed 155 steps to the top of the lighthouse for the panoramic view of our coast.

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<p>To finish the day, a delicious...

To finish the day, a delicious dinner at Uneda Eat in Point Arena. Brilliant Caesar, onion rings crisp and plump at once, Rochelle's too-much southern fried chicken (yummy lunch the next day!), and Michael's roast squab. 

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Mendocino Farmers’ Market

And the very next day, the Friday Market in Mendocino hits its stride, with one of our favorite farmers, Bebing, returning with her wonderful selection of berries. We came home with this amazing haul. 

Especially in Summer and Autumn we live in a basket of amazing abundance, and can hardly eat a disappointing meal. Our seven weeks in France in 2016 may have helped us refine our appreciation for freshness, preparation, and presentation, but here on our sliver of western North America, with many local mindful farmers and two markets a week, and a stellar megamart (Harvest), we eat very, very well. 

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Big change for Rochelle and me: traveling with a family of four including a daring 5-year-old. (Reminds us of her Dad at that age.) We two are so used to, and comfortable with, each others' company. That, along with all of the above, will certainly call us back gratefully to our native terroir after this adventure.

Here's Rochelle taking her ease at Rustic, surrounded by Francis Ford Coppola's vineyards, awaiting a delicious shared lunch on our last trip to Santa Rosa (but one) before departure for Oakland and Kauai.

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