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The Turkey is Dead, the Belly Button is Gone, and Other News from Yosemitebear Mountain Farm

These California days have been bright and sunny with billowy clouds like children draw.  Where is the winter?  More worrisome, where is the rain?

Mariposa, California

Mariposa, California

The turkey, spared from the Thanksgiving butcher block because of her cuteness, is dead.  I was painting the bathroom when I heard her screams, catching only a glimpse of her flapping wings as she was dragged into the bush.  The mysterious attacker was gone by the time I arrived.  Her chest was torn open and glistening like a wet ruby.  WIth a heavy heart, I grabbed a lost striped feather from the grass and headed back to the house forlorn.  When I returned an hour later the dogs, part dingo, were feasting on their un-earned prize.  Feathers protruded from the sides of their mouths causing them to appear like characters in a Mardi Gras parade; a macabre scene.

Turkey eater.

She looks so innocent but she’s a turkey eater.

Bear had a hernia operation that went smoothly.  Except for the fact that his belly button was stolen in the process  I found this to be tragedy but Bear was happy to see it go.  Where once there was an umbilicus, there is now an incision sealed with hospital-grade crazy-glue which resembles the mouth of a sad clown.  Hernia repaired.  But where do all those belly buttons go?

Surgery is no fun.

Surgery is no fun for anyone.

In other excitement, I painted the bathroom.  Again.  When I arrived the room looked like it had been decorated by the Manson family.  With poetry finger-painted on the walls and smears of color that looked like a seizure occurred mid-stroke, something had to be done.  I acquired bright pink and orange paints and went to town while listening to several episodes of This American Life which is my auditory companion for any tedious job.

A few hours later, I stood back to assess my labors only to discover that I’d created a color nightmare that only a diabolical clown could love.  Demoralized and tired, I walked away.  And so we lived with this wretched combination of hostile color, its cloying pinkness like talons piercing my emotional skin, for weeks.  And then one day I snapped and faced the job again.  With my budget of $5, and a return to the finger-painting I originally covered, the deed was done.  Sort of correctly-ish.  And it’s pretty damn cute.  I mean…for a bathroom in a thirty-five year-old trailer home.

The bathroom and the feather of the deceased turkey.

The bathroom and the feather of the deceased turkey.

I bought a car with 158,000 miles under it’s hood.  I like to call it experienced, rather than old.  I’ve now acquired the freedom to pay for gas, pay insurance premiums and move my body 60 miles per hour down roads while seated.  A crazy luxury.  Given my remote location, the car was a necessity in order to maintain my sanity find work.

And find work I did.  I started working for a 100-year old man who still lives on his own and listens to big band music so loud you can probably hear it no matter your location in the world.

Once a week I help him out with odd jobs.  He’s especially fond of having me blow leaves from one place to another with an electric leaf blower.  My first use of said instrument convinced me that it would be easier to herd cats.  Honestly, I don’t understand it.  If you don’t like leaves in your yard, why build your house under oak trees?  Why not just accept the leaves?  Needless to say, this leaf-blowing has caused me to have an existential crisis but other than that, the “pocket money” is helpful.  Also it’s fun to talk with an antique person.

Leaves are my nemesis.

Leaves are my nemesis and the cause of my latest existential crisis.

The manzanita bushes are blooming and buzzing with bees.  The sweet soft-pink blooms smell like honey and make a mild tea that’s soothing like chamomile.

Manzanita flowers

Manzanita flowers

The first daffodils bloomed in the first days of February.  Their cheerful faces can make an optimist out of anyone.  At least momentarily.



And the almond tree has blossomed which just has to be one of the most delicate and feminine displays in nature.  It delights me to no end.

Almond blossoms

Almond blossoms

The chickens have resumed their egg-laying after a long strike when they demanded more sun and more grain.  After plenty of stalling and plucky (sorry, I had to) negotiations, I came to the table with a deal they would accept.

Chickens are pretty tough negotiators.

Chickens are pretty tough negotiators.

Chickens are no longer on strike.

Chickens are no longer on strike.

The rooster, whose only competitor was made into a soup, has taken on a new gleam.  His rust-colored feathers are now positively shiny like he’s been coated in oil.  Bear says the ladies like this.  I must say I do find it very attractive.  Although I think he was talking about the hens.

Shiny rooster

Hey good lookin!

We have lettuce and cilantro ready to pick. Sweet peas, carrots, chard and cabbage are on the way.  I love watching these plants grow.  

Stinging nettles are growing wild and we’ve been juicing them for the potent health benefits.

Lettuce is growing!

Lettuce is growing!  Stinging nettles on the bottom right.

Time keeps marching on and I’ve found myself in a conundrum about traveling.  Amazingly, I’ve seen almost all the “must-sees” that were on my list when I started traveling in February of 2013 (which is fortunate and incredible) and I’m having analysis-paralysis trying to choose the “right” next place.  Additionally, I’ve lost my momentum.  My sword has become dull.  But the voice that nags at me, the call to journey, has not quieted.

It’s time for an adventure.


  1. So nice to hear about your days and the small things that make days beautiful, sad, good, and health-improving depending.

  2. I love your writimg. It is absolutely pure enjoyment to read#!!

    • Thank you Dianna! Thanks for reading.

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