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Showing posts from September, 2007


I remember the movie from my childhood, probably from a Saturday afternoon sprawled on the criss-cross brown & beige carpeted floor in the TV room: Giant Ants! In black and white! They were mutated from atomic testing somewhere in the southwest, and were attacking people. And who could blame them--if I got myself mutated I'd probably bite someone too. It comes to mind as we prep the house for the market here, because we're having a lot of conversations about "Them." Not the ants, but those mystical future buyers of the house, a nebulous "Them,' with preferences and predilictions that we're trying to imagine and cater too without much evidence based in anything but hearsay. "They" clearly wouldn't like our downstairs bathroom with the rich dark blue paint: so it becomes beige. "They" certainly wouldn't put up with a master bath as cluttered as ours was, not to mention the (ok, I'll admit it--not our best color ch

Santa Cruz Mountains Ecology

The Santa Cruz Mountains are a region of large biological diversity, encompassing cool, moist coastal ecosystems as well as warm, dry chaparral. In valleys and moist ocean-facing slopes some of the southernmost coast redwoods grow, along with Douglas fir, coast live oak, Pacific madrone, wax myrtle, and California bay laurel. There do exist several small and isolated stands of old growth forest, most notably at Big Basin, Henry Cowell Redwoods and Portola Redwoods State Parks. At higher elevations and on sunny south slopes a more drought-resistant chaparral vegetation dominates: manzanita, California scrub oak, chamise, and chaparral pea. Spring wildflowers are also widespread throughout the range. The area welcomes a tremendous number of species of birds. (see: bird list). California Mule Deer are common, as are gray squirrels, chipmunks and raccoons. Foxes, coyotes, bobcats, and mountain lions also inhabit the region but are rarely seen. Rattlesnakes are also habitants, mostly in th

Packing up

I was down at the apartment we own tonight, taking keys from one set of tenants and passing them on to the next ones, and I was thinking about how strange it is right now: we'll be moving out of the house we own, to go and rent someone elses house, all the while owning another piece of property that *we* rent out to someone else. It feels somehow like a constantly running shell game, where the ball under a shell keeps moving and you never know exactly where it calls its home. Here's a picture of the rental property, featuring the One Dead Bush out front. The bush is gone now, but for awhile it was the only way for me to identify the place from it's neighbors when I drove by it. Strange, too: to own a place you will never know well. The new tenants seemed nice--two younger guys striking out in an apartment, a UHaul they were struggling to find a place to park (since there's no good place to do it--in the alley, you have to walk the stuf around to the front since the