On the Trail: Muddy Hollow

One of the first things riders mention when they talk about Limantour Beach is the steep downhill part of the drive out there. They are not exaggerating, and no matter which trail you ride, you will have to go down that hill. On the way home, you have to pull back up that grade. It is not a road for half-hearted hauling vehicles.

The only warning I would add to that is that the Muddy Hollow trail involves crossing at least one bridge. Getting to the beach means crossing another, much bigger one. Both appear to be in very good condition. At the beach parking area there are bathrooms but we did not encounter water for horses. This is probably just as well with the diseases out there these days. It is best to always carry water for your horses.

Maps for Point Reyes trails can be found here. Continue reading

Garden Party: In my Absence

I had to leave the garden for five days and returned to find some interesting developments. Most obvious, there was some damage, probably done by an injured turkey that was trapped in the backyard:


Squashed squash plants.

The zucchini bed also took a beating but it bounced back nicely with a heavy watering. I am hoping that the yellow squash will survive. The damage to the plants did not seem to hurt squash production. Evidently, five days is much too long to leave squash unpicked, even if it is brutalized by large birds: Continue reading

Garden Party: Body Swap?

Last week I noticed that my lemon cucumbers were not turning out to be lemon cucumbers, at least in the case of one plant. This week, I noticed that some of my squash are also behaving strangely. The problem seems to be confined to one corner of the garden:

A: zucchini (?) plants. B: Cucumber labelled lemon but producing long green cucumbers. C: Runt lemon cucumber from two for one sale. D: Yellow scalloped squash.

A: zucchini (?) plants. B: Cucumber labelled lemon but producing long green cucumbers. C: Runt lemon cucumber from two for one sale, producing nothing yet. D: Yellow scalloped squash.

The zucchini’s behavior is the most bizarre. These are what I expect to find inside a zucchini plant: Continue reading

Garden Party: Still Water

Apple tree front, scrub oak back.

Apple tree front, scrub oak back.

Oddly, all that grief with the drip system made me want to try something more ambitious: a hose-less drip system. One, I would like to know exactly how much water I am giving to the peppers, and two, I would rather not have a hose running across the driveway to be abused by passing car tires. The plan would make use of a sad little apple tree that has mysteriously survived despite being overwhelmed by a sun-greedy scrub oak. I would hang a container of water on the tree and have gravity propel the water through cleverly arranged hoses to its proper destination.

The plan never came to fruition. The tree, upon closer inspection, seemed unlikely to be able to hold up more than a couple soda cans full of water. Then I realized that there is a perfectly good faucet in a stall at the back of the barn that would work for a drip system without the hose being run over every day. I went out and got a new drip timer, a fancy one with multiple settings and a digital readout. Then I realized I would have to work with the big hoses to set up a new system. I have not done that before. Valves and joints and things like that seemed daunting. Continue reading

Garden Party: Water

In light of California’s water problems, I decided to update the garden’s drip system to avoid the accidental lawn I created last year.

August 2014's accidental lawn

August 2014’s accidental lawn

The plan was simple enough: replace any drip hoses with drip nozzles targeting large plants like squash, peppers and cucumbers. Actually that is all of them. Had I known what a torment drip system work can be, I would have been in less of a hurry shopping for the new nozzles. Continue reading

Garden Party 2015

It is ironic that I am late to start blogging about the garden this season, since I started planting so much earlier. Actually, it makes perfect sense. I am feeling lazy. Not so lazy that I would not do a garden– I want to eat it, I just don’t want to spend so much time on it.

2015 garden. In the foreground, a volunteer plum tree that plopped itself down right in the middle of things. How can I say no to a plum tree?

2015 garden on May 30. In the foreground, a volunteer plum tree that plopped itself down right in the middle of things. How can I say no to a plum tree?

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Two Red Horses

(Photo Gallery) I neglected to post these photos when I took them last November. These guys are not brothers, but they could be. They share a similar feisty approach to play as well as being the same color.  Ever since Ned arrived, I have marveled at his likeness to my old gelding, and here he is with my old horse’s brother, Gus. From the way the geldings accepted Ned, I think I am not the only one to see his similarity to the old boss horse. Continue reading


(Photo Gallery) The old ladies got their hair done and had a frolic. The bay mare was putting on such a show that I wished I had my camera. She kept it up until I ran and got my camera, and even as I came running back, I could see she was still strutting around with her tail in the air. As soon as I arrived and aimed the camera, however, she stopped and only gave me a very modest performance to shoot.
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