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February 26, 2021

Marine layer skirts the coast

marine layer lies offshore

It's been hot and windy for days now, not a drop of rain in sight, and even the marine layer, once a reliable winter companion, stays defiantly offshore.

February 25, 2021

Taking inventory

two years after the fire

fallen oak in solstice canyon

goodbye to the magnificent oak

mutual aid

Fire-scarred trees are falling in Solstice Canyon, dozens of them, blocking trails, clogging the stream bed, tipping and teetering, balanced against each other until just the right gust of winter wind comes along. So many favorites gone.

February 24, 2021

Golden hour at Legacy Park

evening light at Legacy Park

This was almost two weeks ago, when that rainstorm did a bit of flirting and then ditched us for points north.

February 22, 2021

Winter color

winter bloom

These aloes are in bloom all around the grounds of Casa de LOUD! and the hummingbirds love them. This one, because of the crumbling, white-washed shed, is one of my favorites.

February 21, 2021

I miss the Pepperdine pond


The campus is closed and although some dog walkers are ignoring the bristle of No Trespassing signs around the perimeter, we are not among them. (Yet.) I wish I knew whether the ponds were still full. Pepperdine's watering system relies on treated gray water harvested from campus use, and with the place now a ghost town, the supply must be down to a trickle.

February 20, 2021

About face

serious puppy

Sometimes, at certain angles, the baby Labrador's face loses it's puppy contours and you can see the adult dog she's going to become.

February 19, 2021


this oak didn't survive the fire

Two years after the Woolsey Fire, we're seeing which trees survived the blaze and which ones, like this beautiful oak, did not. This is in Solstice Canyon, one of the wild puppy's favorite walks. I can't wait until the next rain when the creek is running. It will rock her world.

February 18, 2021

15 seconds of a fuzzy hawk video *

15 seconds of a fuzzy hawk video with a dirty lens

This was in Solstice Canyon the other day, a hawk cruising the sycamores where the wild parrots make a home. It's short and out-of-focus and -- bonus! -- there's a puppy nose print on the lens.

*Well rats, videos seem to have stopped playing on the site again. If you're interested, click through to flickr and you can watch them there.

February 17, 2021

Handsome duck

strike a pose

There's a bit of competition for the prime real estate of the round-topped rocks in the Legacy Park lagoon and the winner always seems to savor the moment.

February 16, 2021

Red-winged blackbirds at Legacy Park*

redwing blackbirds gather every night

We go on a lot of walks these days as we work to socialize the wild puppy. Legacy Park, which has enough winding and intersecting paths that it's easy to take a different route each time, and plenty of kind and understanding dog-friendly people, has become a favorite. Sometimes the baby Labrador interacts, and sometimes she prefers to just walk on by, but the good news is she's gradually growing less fearful.

One of my favorite things has been learning that the same group of red-winged blackbirds gather in the same pair of sycamore saplings each evening, singing and chatting and jostling for position. I wish I spoke blackbird because you just know that every sound and movement and wingbeat they make is laden with meaning, who's in charge, who had a good day, who's misbehaving, who's moving up in the avian world. At the very least, it sounds and looks beautiful.

* Well rats, videos have stopped playing on the site again. If you're interested, click through to flickr and you can watch them there.

February 15, 2021

Wait what? A week since the last post?

Teddy isn't really standing on Walt's back

What happens is there's a wild puppy in the house so even the basics, like work or a shower or a trip to the mailbox, feel like epic victories. And yes, the camera is always in hand but the photos pile up and it turns out that decision fatigue is a real thing. By the time you've made the thousands of choices it takes to get a final draft of a writing assignment, talked Godzilla with the 10-year-old, debated fart sounds with the 8-year-old, and weighed which of the wild puppy's transgressions you're going to correct (bringing home a neighbor's sandal) and which you'll just laugh at (dashing around the lawn with a pair of underwear on her head) choosing photos is a bridge too far. All of which is a long, long way to say that good grief, a week has gone by and the photos are still in the camera and the puppy just lost two teeth and it feels like a miracle that this paragraph even got written, let alone makes sense. So here's a photo of the dogs at Bluffs Park where it kind of looks like Teddy is standing on Walt's back.

February 7, 2021


Teddy's world expands to include ducks

ducks in Legacy Park

teddy sees her first ducks

The tiny Labrador is on a steep learning curve. It's another aspect of the pandemic. Unlike her late sister Daisy, who was raised in a busy household with the hustle and bustle of multiple people coming and going, family and trainers and a steady stream of visitors, Teddy was raised in the quiet of quarantine. These days you're not supposed to bring your puppy out in public until they get their final shots at 16 weeks, another layer of isolation. Add in the fact that the new people she meets have no faces because they're all wearing masks, and we have a timid puppy on our hands.

We've been taking her for multiple walks each day to busy places. She's doing well, willing to meet little kids because of the children she lives with here. Some adults she's OK with, and with others she just panics. It's hard and a little heartbreaking, but we're working on it. She's valiant and brave and trying hard to learn about the wider world.

This is Teddy seeing her first ducks the other day. She was fascinated, sat there for long minutes, sniffing and listening and looking. And yes, she had to be persuaded not to jump into the pond.

February 6, 2021

Walt is such a great guy *

Walt and Teddy share a drink

Teddy loves to drink when Walt drinks, including the over-the-head dribble.

* Well rats, videos have stopped playing on the site again. If you're interested, click through to flickr and you can watch them there.

February 5, 2021

Another winter sunset

winter sunset

Now that Teddy can go for walks, we get to see a lot more sunsets.

February 3, 2021

The sunset skies*

There's a lot going on at Bluffs Park at sunset. It has become a destination, parking lot filling at 5 pm, picnic tables at the point quickly occupied. Kids bike and skate and play hide-and-go-seek, adults bring picnics, sometimes complete with tablecloths and place settings. And every night a flock of geese flies laps, back and forth and back again from the Pepperdine pond, their calls a nightly commentary.

geese in flight

*Well rats, videos have stopped playing on the site again. If you're interested, click through to flickr and you can watch them there.

February 1, 2021

It felt as though this day would never come

Teddy waiting for her 16-week shots

The wild puppy got her 16-week vaccinations today, which means that in a couple more days she's free to move about the country. The Teddy quarantine on top of a Covid quarantine has been rough, especially on Walt, who has already raised one puppy. He's been a hero. But tomorrow the wild puppy goes with her trainer for a few hours, and then on Wednesday it's her first visit to doggie daycare. She'll be in the little dog yard at first, and then graduate to play with the bigger dogs. And Walt and I will head home for a puppy-free day of walks and naps and not being nibbled.

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