Inventory

At some point every January for the last ten years, I’ve taken an inventory of my books — the books I’ve written — for tax purposes. This is a little random, as I have boxes of my first poetry book in my shed from when the publisher closed its imprint, and I never count those. […]

Gardening: Plum Season

I didn’t know that fruit grows in cycles until I moved to this house 19 years ago and started a long-term relationship with fruit trees. Some years are stone fruit years (plums, in my case, but elsewhere peaches, nectarines, apricots, cherries) and some are not. Here, it’s an every-other-year pattern, and this year is an […]

yuba river

River as Anti-Depressant

Yesterday, I was feeling pretty punk. There are many good reasons, none of which I will bore you with here. Ordinary stuff that on other days wouldn’t have made me think twice had gathered together and weighed me down. Luckily I had an appointment with my life coach, Nancy. She said to me the same […]

garden

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary…

Last year, right around this time, county road crews were finishing up some extensive and dramatic widening of the street in front of my house. I’ve written elsewhere about different ways that I made my peace with the project and managed to stay as emotionally steady as possible during the construction. I stopped saying much […]

coffee and flowers

How to Write an Occasional Poem

If you’re a poet, you already know how to write a poem. There are about two thousand methods, and you’ve been using at least five of them. There’s the wake-up-at-3-a.m. method, when either a poem pulls you right out of bed or some bodily function wakes you and then the poem attacks. There’s the pull-over-into-the-next-gas […]

greenhouse

While the Cat’s Away

I’d like to remind you that the very best time to sneak into your friends’ houses and take photographs is when they are out of town. It’s also helpful when their house-sitter is a friend and will both let you in and tidy up a bit, so laptops, nightgowns, and stray wine glasses from the […]

yuba river in winter

The Weight of Water

As many of you know, we’ve been wrestling with drought in California for the past several years — I think officially the number is five years. Here in the foothills, our usual natural disaster is wildfire, and drought makes fires more likely, more dangerous, and harder to fight because water reserves are low. This means […]

plants

Sourcing Plant Starts Locally

I am not a farmer. I’m not even much of a gardener. My skills relate to hiring smart people and then agreeing with their ideas, which is how I come to have any sort of garden at all. But for the last few years, water has been in short supply in California. The combination of […]

sierra coffee roasters

Where to Find Me: Sierra Mountain Coffee Roasters

Every morning for the last several years I have jumped out of bed, raced into some clothes, and driven on automatic pilot over to my favorite café for breakfast. “Breakfast” =  coffee, some sort of protein, and a whole wheat bagel or equivalent. “Coffee” = a latte. The food plan I follow asks me to […]

sewing

Handwork: Craft Day

For about ten years I’ve been doing something fun with a few of my friends. It has the utilitarian name of “Craft Day.” Four or five of us get together, usually on a weekend afternoon, and do whatever hand-work types of chores have been piling up in our lives. We started out focused on repairs: […]