Gambol of the Lambs

May 17th, 2024

Sheep and Schubert

Lambs born Mother’s Day 2014.  Franz Schubert born 1797

Mother’s Day

May 15th, 2024

I was looking forward to the regular Sunday Creek Freak work party at the Restoration and Enhancement project.  In addition to the four steady College Corps Fellows–including Kennedy, whom I’d seen in a fine performance of a bizarre play at the Spanos theatre the night before, plus grandson Lucas–two new volunteers had signed up.

Late in the previous week the unfinished tasks of moving tree trunks into position together with Josh and his Skid Steer and starting the contracted maintenance program of weeding the plantings, along with testing the irrigation system, were completed.


Earlier in the week the first field trip along the creek project led by Creek Lands Conservation took place, involving 60 fifth graders bussed in for three hours.



I’d been anxiously working toward these outcomes for months.

After 7:00 AM shopping for dinner groceries and snacks for the Fellows, I drove to the main gate under overcast skies to carry out Sunday chores– watering starts, feeding the barn cat, opening the hoop house, and putting out alfalfa for the sheep in the pen.  When I got to the feed shed, there they were, two baby lambs, their umbilical chords still wet and hanging, one bloodstained mother and her still pregnant sister..

An unwilled Hallelujah! sprang from my lungs. Mother’s Day!  I pulled out the phone and took pictures to send to staff and family.

Inside the enclosure I lowered myself creakily to the ground but soon felt as if I was floating in the still atmosphere around mother and babies.

The quiet was broken by notification of a text message from Lana, the new volunteer who was waiting at the assembly point by the bridge.  I drove out to meet her and the others and told them we’d go to the sheep shed before work.  There we were joined by Teresa and her group who had earlier heard my shout.

20 minutes later we gathered tools and wheelbarrows and returned to the Creek path.  I sent six of the helpers to load wood chips from the pile into orange buckets and spread them for mulch around the new plants.  Michael joined me to load the seven heavy stumps I’d cut earlier in the week and unloaded them at the Outlook and Water Shed.

By 10:30 the mulch job was done and we met for snacks and chat at the picnic table by the shed. Afterwards the whole crew teamed up to roll a log Michael and I couldn’t budge into its rightful spot.

Then they resumed last week’s work on the staircase to the creek bank while Lucas helped me clear brush and logs for an adjoing future single-track trail loop.

Following the  conclusion of the work party at noon, I dropped him off at Orcutt and went home to remind the grandsons about the holiday dinner by text, phone and email.

After my midday nap, I biked back to the farm to revisit the lambs. There I met Shane, Candace and their baby August enjoying the occasion in the afternoon sunshine.

Back home again, I chewed half a gummy, opened a beer, studied the recipe and got the garlic stuffed City Farm-raised leg of lamb into the oven. Ian and Ethan arrived at 6, Lucas and Claire at 6:30. Mothers Jan and Claire were honored at the feast.

I can still feel the hard hugs from those three strong  young men I used to hold as babies.


April 2 2024

April 7th, 2024

April 2 2024

Jan’s Lavra Talk February 24 2024

February 24th, 2024

Activist or Official

College Corps Showcase at City Farm SLO

January 19th, 2024

Flyer layout

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Paris–August 10

December 24th, 2023

Our intention this morning was to stray from the cliche tourism of the Bateau Mouche and ride a City bus at the quai to the end of the line and back as we’d done in London.  We walked a new way toward the river and came upon a tiny corner sculpture park centered on a travertine marble box behind which a large red circle was painted on the blank wall of a building.

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A sign indicated that the box was used as a base for temporary art installations, this one entitled “Pandora’s Box.” A young woman walked up to the pedestal and pressed  a button causing the plastic assemblage to revolve and look like a discharge of steam. Read the rest of this entry »

Paris–August 9

December 20th, 2023

We traveled to the eastern edge of the Marais to attend “Eternal Mucha,” a show about the life and work of the early 20th designer whose posters are familiar icons of Art Nouveau.  A cycling 40-minute slideshow was presented on a huge screen with surround-sound music intended to overwhelm the  audience reclining on couch seats in a theatre housed in the modern opera house at the Place Bastille. But after the previous night’s experience in the Sainte Chappelle its effort to create a contemporary spiritual aesthetic experience fell flat.


After a tiring walk across the huge Place de Bastille, the site of the start of the Revolution in 1789, we recharged at a cafe with shots of espresso Read the rest of this entry »

Paris–August 8

December 18th, 2023

We began the day with the practical task of doing laundry, which, not surprisingly, turned into a memorable adventure.  Morning sunshine reflected from the recently cleaned old buildings turned routine urban activities into paintings.


Ancient architectural monuments  adorned the way to  the laundromat up the block.


Apartment buildings appeared as architectural marvels. Read the rest of this entry »

Paris–August 7

December 13th, 2023

On a walk around the neighborhood, before our scheduled train departure for Paris, we happened upon a building fronting a large square where booths, stages and grandstands left from previous days’ Pride celebrations were being dismantled.  It  was the Royal Palace of Amsterdam, originally built as a City Hall in 1655, later converted to a Royal Palace by the conqueror Napoleon’s brother Louis Napoleon in 1806 and eventually appropriated by the Dutch Royal Family who retain control of it today.


We arrived at the grandiose Paris Gare du Nord in the early afternoon Read the rest of this entry »

Amsterdam–August 6

December 10th, 2023

Next morning was rainy, and we decided to return to the Hermitage complex to explore some of the galleries we’d noticed the day before, none requiring reservations or as crowded the Rijksmuseum.  The City Museum provided a graphic history of the town which helped make sense of the  technological achievement of reclamation of swamp and seawater that started in the thirteenth century.  It provided a system of defensive moats, a transportation grid allowing easy movement of goods and people and access to river and ocean trade routes that led to the 17th century Dutch Golden Age. It also made the city, like Venice, an attraction for tourists.


Rather than glorifying the Dutch cultural heritage, most of the exhibits emphasized the brutality and injustice suffered by the victims of empire and their efforts to survive, witness and protest. Read the rest of this entry »