Charlie Brown

I hope it never gets old.  I hope I always appreciate the circle of life and seeing the young black tail deer make their first visit to The Golden K.  The male yearlings, the young does, and the fawns.  I was surprised to see it today because it is a little early in the year.  The deer seem so regulated by instinct and seasons so I was surprised that well in advance of Spring the deer appeared in large numbers today.

One of our regular mature bucks, Linus, came down to forage around our patio this afternoon as he usually does.   He is always solo, although during the summer and early fall he was regularly accompanied by another larger buck we call Charlie Brown.  Today was no different.  Linus showed up around 4:30, foraged, and went on his way after about 20 minutes.  This has been his winter routine.  I haven’t seen Charlie Brown in several weeks and I’ve been worrying that something bad had happened to him.

Charlie Brown:  Charlie Brown and I connected during the summer.   We shared long stares from no more than 15 feet looking into each other’s eyes.  He rarely became skittish when I moved in to get a closer look at him in his natural glory, his coat of beautiful brown and white fur, and sturdy antlers.   I have great respect for the creatures that grace the Golden K and am always mindful that they are wild, as tame as they may seem at times.   But I also have a great desire to connect with all aspects of the Golden K at a personal level.   To be able to share a few moments in close proximity with the wildlife adds to my romantic perspective of life at 3100 feet.  Charlie Brown generously afforded me that privilege during the summer.   We connected.  So I’ve been worried that he may have succumbed to illness or a hunters gun.  But a few days ago as I opened the kitchen doors to let the dogs out I was unaware that a deer was nearby.   Out of the corner of my eye as the deer ran away upon seeing the dogs it appeared to be Charlie Brown.   I’m not sure but I’m hopeful.

Shortly after Linus left this afternoon several yearlings, does and fawns came down together.   It seems a little early for the official “return of the black tail deer” to the Golden K but maybe the warm and dry weather has accelerated their interest and confidence to come out of hiding during the day to forage near humans.   I really don’t know the reason for the early appearance but it brought me great happiness today to see the newbies.    The young bucks with their itty bitty antlers not yet shed.   The does who are usually shooed away during Summer by the older bucks.  And especially the fawns, spots still evident, and probably still nursing.  I pray they will all continue to grace the Golden K through Spring and Summer.

And I hope to see Charlie Brown again soon.



Let It Shine

Saturday was a work day at The Golden K.

There is always something to do when you live on five acres amongst hundreds of pines, cedars and oaks.   Especially during winter and spring.  There’s dead wood to clean up,  leaves and pine needles to blow or rake, irrigation to protect from freezing, wood piles to  secure, tree trimming, etc. etc etc….

I’ve been asked by several people who live up here “on the hill” and also by those that I left behind in suburbia if living in the foothills is more work than I thought it would be.  I say, “Yes it is but it’s a labor of love”.

As a male I cannot speak to the physical act of giving birth.  But I can speak from experience of  raising, loving, and being loved by three children.

I’ve often told young first time parents-to-be that raising children is 10 times harder than you think but 100 times more wonderful than you can ever imagine.  It’s hard work and challenging.  There is so much responsibility you can never be prepared for.   The stakes are high.   The consequence of failure can be devastating.  But the rewards, satisfaction and love experienced are immeasurable.

And that’s how it is with The Golden K.  It is a labor, so to speak, of love.  A lot more effort and work than I had imagined but an immeasurable amount of satisfaction, gratitude, and pride to go along with the work.

And so it was this past Saturday.  A day in “the field” clearing brush, trimming cedars, and staging aforementioned vegetation for burning or hauling off to the green waste site.  Hard work and sweat fr sure.  There is a lot of satisfaction in knowing the my small piece of the planet is maintained, aesthetically pleasing and – importantly – safe.  But mostly satisfaction of knowing I’ve done my very best to let The Golden K shine.

That little light.  My little light I call the Golden K.  Yes, I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

And this is my romantic perspective of life at 3100 feet.

A Gifted Artist

A competent artist can change the mood of the scene or highlight an intended subject with a simple brush stroke or dab of different colors from their palette.   And a gifted artist, like Mother Nature, can do so much more simply by adding moisture followed by a few dabs of sunlight.  And so it has been this week when the Foothills finally received some much needed rain.

This time of year the yellow and red colors from the oak trees that were so appreciated during Autumn now lay on the ground in the form of brown leaves.  The limbs of the dogwoods and maples are barren and sit dormant conserving energy for when they are called to center stage later this year.  The ephemerals and wildflowers from last year are turning to mulch as they wait for rebirth in the next few months.

I was reminded earlier this week of that gifted artist who never rests.  She works around the clock often in the darkness of night.  Sometimes when we wake up the next morning the scene -the colors, tones, and brushstrokes- have changed just enough to influence our perspective and outlook on life.

So it was earlier this week, after a few days of rain, that Kloe and I went for a walk up and down the roads that border the Golden K.   Often times Kloe’s version of stopping to smell the roses on our walks is to stop and watch the horses that graze in the front of a neighbor’s property.  Horses grazing are a peaceful site and Kloe and I both appreciate and understand.  As we approach in silence, that silence is momentarily broken by the screech of a red tailed hawk flying overhead.  The sound of the hawk adds to the artistry of the scene.  The green grasses that seemingly emerged overnight are beautiful.  The color of my Kloe’s red hair contrasted against the background of the green grass is beautiful.  The blue sky overhead is brilliant.

And these colletive moments in time, on this day, is my romantic perspective of life at 3100 feet.




Evolution of a suburbanite

It’s that time of year.   Damp and cold…and beautiful.

I’ve never been a fan of winter, or rain, or cold, or wind.    But somehow up here in the Sierra Nevada Foothills it’s much less of an annoyance and burden and so much more the wonderful fabric of life in the foothills.

The ground is still wet from the rain a couple of days ago and the wind is blowing the final dead oak leaves and pine needles from the trees.  The air is bitingly crisp in the mornings only warming  up in the late afternoon, just in time for the sun to go down to repeat that daily cycle.

Once an opponent and vocal critic of cold, wet, and winter  in suburbia I’ve turned into a lover of winter here at the Golden K.  It’s interesting. but not surprising, how a major life change (like packing up 25 years of suburbia and moving to the mountains) can alter  one’s perspective.   Over the past two years I’ve learned to appreciate all the seasons as I sit back in awe of  Mother Nature and all the artistry she so willingly and boldly displays.

I’ve come to know that life is too short to waste six months waiting for Summer to return as I once did as a suburbanite.

So I embrace this season as I will the next, and the next after that.  At a point in life one becomes retrospective more often than when younger.  Perhaps now is one of those times for me.   I want to appreciate all the days, all the hours, and all the minutes.  Many will be far from perfect, some will be sad, and some will be glorious.  One thing that can be said for all of those minutes is they will pass by in just 60 seconds and then the next will come and go, and so on and so on.   If I sit through all those hundreds of thousands of minutes just waiting for the one’s I perceive as ideal I will wish my life away, not to mention missing so many wonderful things.

The Golden K has helped me to evolve personally and to appreciate even the smallest things that life has to offer.  Like 120 foot pines swaying in the wind.  Or seeing the joy and excitement in my oldest Golden Retriever’s eyes when I start up the tractor.  Or a family of turkeys walking nearby.  And other things like my dogs going out to do their business first thing in the morning and watching them with their noses pointed high and low to smell where all the nocturnal critters were the previous night.  Hearing my neighbors horses whinny, looking out to the night sky and full moon with my bride of 35 years in the freezing cold.  Waiting for the return of the black tail deer.

It’s times like these that I recall what Jonathan Larson pointed out so insightfully in the lyrics of a song from Rent, the iconic musical from the nineties:

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles
In laughter, in strife
In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure a year in the life
So yeah – at this moment in time this is my romantic perspective of life at 3100 feet.
A moment at the Golden K

The Golden K Shines

The Golden K is named in honor of our two Golden Retrievers Kali and Kloe.  But today the Golden K stood alone in it’s own “goldeness”.   On this beautiful fall the day changing of seasons was strikingly evident.  The Pines and Cedars willingly gave way to the majestic Oaks who stole the day with their version of the Mother Lode. Gold in them thar’ hills?   You bet!

So today, as a spectator, I sit back and enjoy the golden beauty around me.  And this is one of the of the oh so many reasons I have  a romantic perspective of life at 3100 feet.



The hot summer days only left us a few weeks ago.   Winter rain and snow is on the way soon.  Today, sandwiched between those two extremes of hot and cold, we sat in awe.  In awe of Mother Nature who, with occasional whisks of her breath, sent colored leaves falling from the majestic and plentiful oak trees around the Golden K.

And how easy it is, on a day like today, to have a romantic perspective of life at 3100 feet.



Fall could be my favorite season if it wasn’t that Winter came right after. I’ve never been much of a fan of rain and cold which forces me to put on shoes and long pants.  Although I must say that last winter, our first at The Golden K, was magical with all the snow we received that transformed the red clay and mud into a winter wonderland.   So this Fall, as I walk around and enjoy this fabulous Indian Summer Northern California is getting,  I am truly enjoying Mother Nature’s display of the the Fall season.

So yes I’m learning to enjoy Fall.  The still and cooler air is a welcome change from  the hot dry summer air.  I smell the occasional waft of a wood fire in the early evenings when we are still outside.   The occasional sighting of a fawn venturing down from the hill with it’s mother doe onto our property puts a smile on my face. As I look about I have the satisfaction that my sweat during the Spring and Summer made the GK safe while maintaining it’s beauty.

But above all I have my romantic perspective of life at 3100 feet.

The Golden K in early Fall