January 23, Chinese Year of the Water Dragon
Within the last few days the Water Dragon has arrived in waves of rain. Beginning last Thursday, we were jolted out of the limbo of warm, sunny days and nights of hard frost, back into the reality of functioning in the downpours of a more normal Northern California winter. Even though all of last years annuals have frozen and died, the froggie's unified chorus sing out the return of fecundity.
Thankfully, there was a brief, 3 hour parting of the waters on Saturday when blue sky and sun allowed for a mid day foray 10 miles south of Boonville to a little olive oil ranch in Yorkville where Ron, the owner, graciously allowed us to use his log splitter. Sharon and Cookie (her sweet old dog) and I climbed into good old Warren (my '66 Ford pickup) and we rendezvoused with Eric and Christina where we all worked to load up two trucks full of wood. Probably enough to last through the cold season.
Sunday, the day of our Pruning Party arrived with slanting rain and we embraced it, knowing that if we couldn't prune we could still party. The first to arrive was Charlie, our Save Hendy Woods Activist/Organizer, and capable arborist who just last month felled the old acacia that wanted to take over the back yard. Odd feeling, how even tree huggers can agree to cut down a tree sometimes. After Christina cooked some breakfast she and Charlie worked on pruning two apple trees, Eric and Margie worked stacking more wood and then they all situated some pallets for our new compost system as the welcome rain deeply blessed them right through their jackets.
In the meantime, the Barbara Vindis had arrived. Her soft spoken helpful assistant, Richard drove them all the way over scenic hwy 253 in the downpour. Nothing stops Barbara...at the age of 86 she can outwork and out produce anyone I know. She is the topiary lady who has transformed her shrubs into elephants, ballerinas and rabbits and will return on a sunny day to help us coax our shrubs into hearts, dragons or whatever lies hidden within them. But today we mainly eat. Here is what she brought with her....a huge bowl of potato salad, deviled eggs and pickles, a mountain of chicken breast schnitzel, Plum Schlivovitz and Grape Brandy home brewed in a homemade still, and to top it all off homemade cream puff horns and vanilla merinque cookies. All this, as well as the food we had prepared, made for a feasting overflow.
It was apropos to raise our glasses in a toast of gratitude. We're grateful for our dear friends and housemates and all they offer, and we're grateful to have finally signed the papers and closed the escrow for purchasing the MendoDragon house and property. It is now in our hands. We begin in earnest to work together to transform it into a place of beauty with abundant gardens and charming tiny house personal pods, a place where people can work to co- create, celebrate and encourage in each other the best of being human.