On the first of July, 2021

Five friends around the table of the cabin while three dogs rotated positions for occasional attention. There was incredible salmon that Brent brought down. More of Joe’s peanut butter cookies. And good music that flowed into the evening closing with a rousing game of cards.

Fresh salmon steaks
Incredibly good salmon that Brent picked up at The Fish Peddler in Ukiah
Rectangular peanut butter cookies
Will never tire: Joe’s 3 ingredient peanut butter cookies

Pizza, but the crust is also cheese

That crust is made of shredded mozzarella cheese with some vinegar, egg and almond flour. It’s cooked slowly in a skillet to meld and then flattened and baked in the oven for the first crisp. Then toppings are added and back in the oven it goes for a few minutes. Super tasty.

If I were to turn this into a food blog I would put those ingredients way at the end of the post. I’m annoyed as much as anyone by this pattern, but there is reasoning behind it…

I turned on some SEO plugin to adjust page descriptions on the site here and it ran a report and essentially said I was doing everything wrong. Every post should be x number of words and needed keywords and some other hoops.

That’s one metric how the web is indexed at the moment, by quantity of words.

#Lame

Treacherous

Taylor Swift’s Treacherous crops up every few days on Erik’s auto-generated playlist and I like to think about it in context of the path that connects the guesthouse to their cabin.

The first few passes found me with some nice scrapes and bruises from slipping due to a combination of bad shoes, not using hiking poles and me being used to ground that is flat.

Joe has been spending an hour or so many days going along the trail with a rake and pickaxe to make adjustments and already they’re making it easier.

In other news, Ninja the cat has grown to accept me and we had fried chicken for dinner.

A dirt path leading up and around a tree
This looks like an ordinary dirt path, but the angle is steep. Now it’s wider though and less angled.
A black cat occupies the lap of a man and looks toward the camera overhead
Ninja has accepted me.

The pink hour

We celebrated Joe’s birthday this evening with a dinner party at the guesthouse to watch the sunset reflected on the ridge just beyond the trees. They call it the pink hour up here. It’s fascinating to watch the colors cycle from golden to pink and then to a cool warm gray that feels like it’d be tough to match in a Pantone book.

refracted light creates a sunburst of rainbows on a laptop screen
Earlier capture of sunlight reflecting through trees on my laptop screen

From wizard to viking

Three points of mild interest this Saturday:

  • Joe braided Erik’s beard.
  • I fell asleep in an inner tube at the creek, on my back, slack-jawed and snoring.
  • The intention of selecting a record makes music sound better.
an inflatable inner tube on rippling creek waves
Zzzzzzzz
Har Mar Superstar vinyl record
Random record selection for dinner

Alternate accommodations

I’ve spent many nights sleeping in this yurt, always at the turn of the season when the rains start to begin. Weather patterns are shifting though.

Without those rains to feed the springs, the rationing is required year round. This adds a layer of austerity measures already in place on the mountain. Existence always requires a keen eye on resources — water, electricity, and the amount of megabytes squeezed through a small satellite dish.

This is my first extended trip in the summer and it is interesting to see firsthand this pendulum of variables — more sun in the summer means solar power, but it is limited. One must eye each appliance that draws a current and determine where to spend the energy. Me? I can be frugal with lights if that means I can run a fan while sleeping.

Luckily amid this heat there is respite. The creek is perfect for swimming and soaking this time of year, unlike the winter months when it’s frigid — when we’d stoke the wood stove to keep the yurt somewhat cozy at night.

Summer months also bring a variable I’ve not yet had to face — the threat of wildfires… So it’s an educated gamble, always.

Yet apart from these extremes, this way of being inspires a deep appreciation — of the land, the seasons, one’s needs, and how it all fits together.

Continually play-testing

We keep honing how we introduce folks to the card game we’ve been dreaming up. The real test will be when we hand off printed rules and a few pre-production decks to unknowing folks. Tonight we introduced Charlie to the fold and had our first round with 5 players, taking notes of how long rounds last and questions he had along the way.

Closed out the evening with dessert and a fine summer breeze flowing through the windows.

A man holds a dog while another man looks toward them
Brent, Bandit and Charlie
A lava lamp in front of a window
Special occasions warrant warming up the lava lamp
A pad of paper from the TWA Hotel in New York filled with scores for a card game
The final tally. I eked out a win.
Sugar free peanut butter cookies
Joe’s peanut butter cookies are ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Sunset reflected brilliantly on clouds
Clouds lit by sunset

Bear in the wild

A few extra characters showed up at the creek today. Brent popped down and for the first time I met his dog Bandit — a charming pup who loves gathering thrown sticks (the return mechanics of fetching are of no interest to him.)

I hadn’t seen Brent for years so there was much to catch up on. He’s starting a venture with guided tours of Bhutan and just got a pop-up a-frame camper to capture a few highlights.

Conversation turned quickly when he spotted a bear ambling down the ridge. It popped down to the creek up a few clicks to cool off. Everyone said this was the closest sighting yet, but we were pretty safe — once Erik’s dog Bodhi caught scent he immediately established a perimeter of barking.

The bear left after a few minutes and that was that.

Below, a few more random photos from earlier in the day.

Shadow of a man in a wide brimmed hat with hiking pole on a dirt path
After coffee, the next part of the day is the 15 minute hike to the cabin.
Tree covered hill and blue sky in Northern California
A view along the way
Double shower nozzles spray water in an outdoor shower
Outdoor shower before another cup of coffee to review emails and the day’s tasks
Ninja ensures I am operating the shower controls properly
Ninja lords over the bathing area
A dog lays in the sand at the side of a creek
Bandit rests after much stick collecting

The group who couldn’t say

Excerpt from the Grandaddy song The Group Who Couldn’t Say (from the excellent album Sumday):

Becky wondered why
She’d never noticed dragonflies
Her drag-and-click had never yielded anything as perfect as a dragonfly

And then the supervisor stood right in the creek and it felt really good
And that’s about the time he finally had realized the importance of this day

Hoping the clouds over the crest don’t produce lightning
The peeling brown barkl of a madrone tree reveals the green new bark below
A way-finding Pacific madrone – when I see this I’m almost home
A thistle of some sort
Still attempting to identify this plant