Living on an oversized hillside lot is not without its challenges. But it presented the opportunity to create a rare convergence of different ecosystems. We have trees providing everything from deep to open shade. We planned for understory, forest opening, field and chaparral conditions. By providing food, water, nesting, and shelter: nature entertains, educates and fulfills.
I have come to observe that summer crosses the threshold of autumn when the large owls start return to roost in the neighborhood’s mature trees. When the sun turns in for the night, these avians equipped with night vision spread their giant wings and start patrolling the neighborhood to stop any mischief. When their hooting echoes in the dark, the mockingbirds understand they should not entertain with an all-night jam session. Besides quieting noisy mockingbirds, the owls like to eat mice and rats and snakes. But not pets. So I love owls. I wish they would do like the hummingbirds. Decide that the living here is easy, the food ample and free: why migrate?
We also have a very handsome coyote who has taken up residence nearby. Long legs, well-muscled, thick coat. Likes to show off his luxuriant coat on his morning jog. He’s quite the dandy. At least he’s not a vampire. Daylight does not seem to bother him at all.
Picked the first apple off my tree! Nan Sterman, the gal who wrote the recently released California Gardener’s Guide, Volume II, recommended I try Sundowner. This Western Australian variety crisps up nicely without much chill. Light texture, low acid, delicious right off the tree. You can’t imagine the thrill that went through me as I took that first bite. I was so happy to beat the squirrels to it. Thank you, Mr. Coyote.