Ever since she saw -- but wasn't allowed to chase -- those coyotes last spring, the Tiny Labrador has been on high alert.
But here's the real news: Diesel Books is coming back to Malibu in October. Check out the full post, right here.
A tiny lizard, who has claimed the garden gate as his home, has been playing hide-and-seek with me up at the barn.
Yes, the 'dog days' of summer actually refer to Sirius, the Dog Star, visible in the night sky in August, but with the heat we've been getting these days, in our neck of the woods the dog days mean this:
We spent an afternoon on Sauvie Island while I was in Portland, where at the beach, there are just a few rules.
Meanwhile, look how pretty it was there:
Nature nerd -- that would be me. I am she. Have been since, well, forever. So it should come as no surprise that just as thrilling as seeing those five canoes that sailed 15,000 miles to the Cove from New Zealand last week was this magnificent swallowtail, browsing on the bluff.
See? Nature nerd.
Think of your favorite Beach Boys tune, something from the early days. (And btw, the cover photo of Surfin'Safari? Shot in Paradise Cove.)
So, the song. Got it?
Now play it in your head and slowly scroll:
So we're driving to the barn the other day, Maisie hanging out the back window, Jake more dignified, just his nose in the breeze, and I'm so taken with the flock of parrots screeching and careening above us that the hawk right there, just a few feet away, takes a moment to register.
I stop the car. The hawk turns his head. Gives me a look, the look, which if you've been eye level with a raptor, you know exactly what I mean.
I get one not-great photo and, in the time it takes the point-and-shoot to recover and be ready for another shot, the hawk has turned his back and oh-so-casually (thought bubble: foolish human) flown away.
I really, really, really have to start carrying my SLR.
Melissa loved the three-berry bbq. I had the strawberry-balsamic-black pepper. And, this being
Beerland Portland, is anyone surprised that the top selling flavor is the brown ale with bacon?
Yeah, didn't think so.
They started out in New Zealand four months and 15,000 miles ago, sailing wind- and sun-powered canoes. And here they are, the Pacific Voyagers, heading into Paradise Cove to be met by kayaks and paddlers, toasts and speeches, and a local troupe of hula dancers.
The canoes are replicas of the traditional vaka moana canoes Pacific people used to explore and settle the tropical islands of the Pacific and New Zealand centuries ago.
The canoes, each about 70 feet long, carry a crew of 16 sailors from some of the smallest countries in the world, including the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Vanuatu and Tonga.
They began their trip in April from New Zealand, and sailed on the first leg to Hilo, in the Hawaiian Islands, navigating by the stars, as their ancestors did. However, the modern voyagers have canoes with hulls made of fiberglass instead of wood, and equipped with solar panels to power onboard equipment.
Though the ancient mariners steered by the stars, their descendants communicate on the Internet. The expedition has a website - www.pacificvoyagers.org - and they are on Facebook and Twitter as well.
There's a beach barbeque for the sailors and public tonight here in Malibu, after which the South Seas visitors head south to Baja California via San Diego. And then, later this fall, it's back home to the Pacific Islands.
Get all the details at Pacific Voyagers.
There's been this swallowtail butterfly up at the barn for a few weeks now, shy and flighty. And though I've been trying to get a shot of it aloft -- it's unbelievably large and almost unbearably perfect -- it's onto me.
It lets me get close, then closer, then it takes off. So instead close enough, I've settled for (almost) good enough.
Because the new photos are stuck in the camera as I seem to have left the card reader back at the barn, and this guy in Portland was dressed up like a flower for no visible reason, and apparently you're not eligible to write for the New York Times unless you perpetuate the "wacky Portland" meme, I'm publishing the flower-dude photo.
Hello, Bill Keller? My work here is done.
My dear friend (and former Malibu neighbor) Melissa got married in Portland last weekend, and after
worrying wondering all day whether the sun would come out in time for the 5 p.m. ceremony, it did, emerging just as she and Tyler said their vows.
No matter how hot or dry it gets in the Malibu hills, the datura, with it's leathery skin and brightest shade of white, endures.
Even though I shot a bunch of pix while in Portland for a wedding, in some ways there's no better image to represent the last few days than these backyard hens, browsing for scraps among the rental furniture as the bride and groom and members of the wedding party basked in the sweet summer sun, and even sweeter memories of a lovely event.
Congratulations, Melissa and Tyler!
Someone added this little sign in front of their house on Kanan Road. I kept waiting for a break in traffic to get the best shot, then realized a photo with cars racing by is what really belongs here.
A neighbor and I went for a walk in the Point Dume headlands last week, and as the fog rolled out and the tide moved in, this California quail (see her topknot?) kept watch over her brood.
Quail, who are able to fly but prefer to walk, have a hard time of it in populated areas. This covey on this day, though, wandered the coastal scrub content and undisturbed.
It's the five-year anniversary of Here in Malibu today. What started out as a newsy kid sister to LA Observed has become, over time, an unabashed love letter to a landscape.
Thank you to Kevin for letting me have this space, and to all of you who visit. And to celebrate, a few favorites:
Summer sunrise in the Cove:
And, of course, the light:
Grocery stores come and go here in Malibu, kind of like the tides, and now it's HOWS' turn. Everything in the store is 35 percent off and shoppers (your faithful blogger included) are stocking up their pantries.
Sale goes on until the shelves are bare. Store clerks say that should be sometime tomorrow.
And who's the new owner of the Trancas shopping center? It's kind of complicated, shrouded in a maze of holding companies and LLPs, but at the end of the chain of names is Paige Dubbert, a member of the Walton -- as in Walmart, not John Boy -- clan.
The fog in Chicago may come in on little cat feet, but here in Malibu, it steamrolls.
I know I owe you a story about the bats but it's Sunday and the newspaper awaits (have I mentioned that at least half of my neighbors here get a paper delivered? For a journalist, a welcome sight) which means there's the Sunday crossword to slog through (yesterday's puzzle kicked my ass, btw) so here's a shot of the driveway that leads to the house, an oak-lined preview of the wild kingdom (bats! coyotes! racoons!) and stories to come.
One of my favorite signs in all of Malibu is for the RV park on PCH. It's above Malibu Seafood, so right away you've got some of the best room service in town. And the beach across the street is a great one for dolphin sightings.
Almost every time I've had to stop my car and be late for an appointment because dolphins were leaping out of the water and through the air in great flashing arcs, it was at this beach.
I worried for years that the sign would be taken down. I mean, it's perfect, right? And yet, 19 years later, here it still stands. Thank goodness for small miracles.
A friend of a friend, a gifted cook, is care-taking a house in the hills. She was generous enough to invite us over for dinner last week.
It was beautiful,
And Luna the adopted dog was very, very happy.
There's Jake, chillin' in the sand, and then there's Maisie, psycho dog, because that tiny Teacup Lab® body simply cannot contain so much joy.
So there are two things to tell you about this morning, one with pretty pictures and one with a narrative that makes my heart pound and my
spekk check (see?) spell check go berserk because I get freaked out all over again and can't type straight.
In the interest of mental health, shall we begin with today's sunrise?
There, that's better. It was misty this morning, shimmery and blue, kind of like waking up in Monet's paint box.
So, OK, that other thing that happened, which has been happening for about a month now? I'm hoping it'll happen for the last time tonight, when Jose comes over.
It's about bats, not aging killer chihuahuas, but in my (fevered and hysterical) mind's eye that bit of night sky that's been flying through the house looks a lot like this:
I've grown quite fond of trailer park life. As a natural nomad, I like a house that quakes beneath my feet. (I exaggerate, of course, but only a lot.)
The new house arrives the same way, trucked in piece by piece to be assembled on the spot.
Trailer park people are a different lot, quirkier than the stick-built crowd. There's good taste and bad taste and there's taste that defies description. And in honor of that we're introducing a new feature today at Here in Malibu -- Trailer Park Tuesday.
No judgement. I truly love it all. And really, what better place to kick things off than at home?
Oh the hanging lights, filigree balls that swing from golden chains:
Oh the molded plastic medicine chest, the faux oak paneling, the metallic gold-flocked wallpaper:
What's that? You'd like a closer look?
And now, as the Casa Mulholland remodel sails through its final week, I'm proud to live up to every stereotype you've ever had about who lives in a trailer park, and how.
Here's my front porch this morning:
Please, just call me Ellie Mae.
Up at the barn, it's lizard country. Whether it's the garden, the tractor or the stripped-down jeep, each micro-habitat has its own lizard king.
Here's the slab of slate in front of my office where lately a pair of lizards are having a fierce (precision pushups!) disagreement about who, exactly, rules this roost.