I love this photo from the Malibu Times, shot by Jimy Tallal, who is one of their contributors. A family whose house burned in the fires last month decorated a Christmas tree in front of the ruins.
He popped up out of nowhere, gave Walt this stern look, then went back to his wading and (successful) fishing.
If you've ever listened to the terrific culinary podcast put together by the Good Food team, you know Laura Avery. She's the voice and the force behind the Santa Monica Farmers Market and she's retiring, "ending her 36-year run as market supervisor." Last week the Wednesday market turned into a de facto party.
Walt and Daisy received a 'treat tree' as a winter solstice gift from their dear friends Fred and Diane, and even though the treats have long since been removed, the little blue spruce remains bacon-scented and thus requires constant surveillance.
The shortest day, the longest night, and the true new year.
This is always the first ornament to go on the tree:
One night, I realized I wasn't the only one watching the sun set.
Throwback Thursday: coyote and the sunset, shot on Aug. 27, 2014.
'Tis the season where everyone has to look at my favorite vintage 'Christmas in California' postcards (sorry not sorry) YET AGAIN.
When it gets really cold around here (and yes, I can hear laughter from all of you who live with actual snow) the colors of the Pacific go dark. I love how the path just vanishes at the edge of the bluff.
Last season's Christmas tree grew (and grew and grew) during the year it spend in the courtyard garden. It's coming inside next week and I can't wait. It smells so good.
In the hour before sunset last night the winds here were howling, blowing birds and runners off course at ground level and, up in the stratosphere, rearranging the clouds.
When the rain began here on Wednesday it wasn't too bad, gentle and light. Long before dawn today though, a steady downpour began. It hasn't let up since. We're under official flash flood warnings, mudslide warnings, and PCH is closed in several places, as are other streets where flooding has become quite bad.
The fire, when it raced through, was burning so hot that it pushed waves of combustible gases down the canyons. Moments before the wall of wildfire actually reached us, the landscape was already exploding into flames.
Today that leaves tens of thousands of acres in the Santa Monica Mountains -- they're saying up to 100,000 acres burned -- utterly naked. The shrubs and scrub and grasses whose root systems anchored the hillsides, whose foliage spread and slowed the winter rain, helped funnel runoff into certain arroyos and specific gullies which, over the decades, formed a kind of hydro-logic, are gone. Now it's a free-for-all. On the hillsides, rain sheets down and gravity takes over, no undergrowth left to stop or even guide it. It's just mud and ash and debris and rocks and boulders, all mixed into a freight train of slurry.
We've been hiking through Solstice Canyon lately and even last week's rain, a storm that was weak and short, transformed the landscape. New streams appeared, surrounded by mud that was ankle-deep. Solstice Creek itself was a thick sludge of slow-moving muck.
You'd see lines of deer tracks and groups paw prints that were definitely not dog, the wild animals here navigating an environment that has been radically changed.
The whole point of this being don't take the flood and slide warnings lightly. Post-fire, it's a different world.
Dog in raincoats!
I got these a few years back for that El Nino that never really reached us and have used them ever since. Walt adapted well and likes wearing his. (He looks chic.) But Daisy still hasn't quite forgiven me.
Hundreds of wild parrots are flocking together in Solstice Canyon these days, ignoring the clan divisions or rivalries or whatever it was that kept them in separate groups pre-fire. Now they stick close to a cluster of trees, voices rising to a sheet metal screech each time a pair of patient hawks, endlessly circling, come too close.
It's just another sign until you walk into the store and employees welcome you back with a bear hug, know which customers' homes didn't make it, listen as tales of the fire get told (and re-told), of harrowing escapes, missing pets, the devastated landscape, bewilderment about what comes next, acts of kindness that give meaning to those hand-lettered.