Ripples and waves of peachy color-brushed fog flows downcoast at sunset, cloud tops at 400 feet elevation, well below the Farm. As darkness sets in, it is one of the rare handful of warm night opportunities to immerse in outdoor sounds. There’s a fullness to the cricket chorus, with windows wide open all through the night. The crescent moon barely shines, a dull orange from high altitude smoke once again blanketing the West. There’s no wind tonight and it won’t get below 70F. Hooot Hoot hoot-hoot hoot hoot calls the great horned owls. Tiny animals make small curious noises as they scurry through dry leaves. All the night noises filter clearly indoors tonight.
Maw and Caw the raven pair hop and pant, beaks wide open midday. They are trying to scare up grasshoppers around the farm fields, patiently pacing. Big black birds have a particularly hard time with heat waves.
Today was the first of a predicted weeklong heat wave. We hope for the sometimes unpredicted fog to roll in and provide relief. Already, near mature apples have burned-bleached skins on the sunniest of fruit sides.
Grass and weeds have turned the dusty, tired gray-brown tint that is typical of late summer. Early bearing stone fruit – apricots prunes, and plums – have leaves that are turning fall color (yellow, orange).
In the wildscape, poison oak fall creates bright red patches on the hillsides, its early fall with big leaf maple coloring creeksides yellow. The last flowers of summer have reached peak: silver-gray foliaged sagebrush holds up spires of tiny nodding green flower clusters…female coyote brush is also displaying – furry flowers buzz with flies and bees, flutter with buckeye butterflies.
Momma deer still has her two small adolescent offspring. They are well fed plump but in good muscular form. She teaches her young not to panic when I walk by, sauntering relaxedly. ears alert, nibbling and walking to keep a little distance. There’s a long dark straight scar down her belly. The whole family has dark brown-gray fur, summer coats grayer than the blonde-tawny winter coat…or maybe they’re just dusty dirty- the color closely matches Molino Creek Farm’s soil.
The One Fox has become at least two…each time encountered on the uphill edge of our property, mostly with late night driving. Lower the headlight beams, give them time to find a way off the road that isn’t in the stickers. We beckon them to migrate further in…closer to our gardens and farm fields where their rabbit and mouse eating might help us with our plight. It is a Big Year for gnawing damage, crops and ornamental plants suffering.
Two Dog Farm workers draped rows of bird netting over their Chardonnay this week. The vines and their first dime-sized fruit hanging in sporadic thick clusters are now obscured by green netting, but birds still cheep and flit among the open rows, between the netted vines.
We won’t have to net the avocado trees, but they will be a few years before they bear much fruit. Nevertheless, the young trees look healthy and are putting on their second wave of growth.
-this post originally from Molino Creek Farm’s web and facebook pages.