lulu, hillsider companion

lulu, hillsider companion

Friday, April 22, 2016

We're back and we have a ghost (a good one, we think); spectacular springtime on The Hill; Redding Farmers' Market opens; and the likelihood of a hutchinsongolf Fall wine tour...

As some of you noticed, we've been absent for the past several weeks. Other responsibilities and obligations diverted our attention from this letter and refocused it on the ongoing effort at trying to make a living, but we're back now, at least for the present, and trying to catch up.

Interestingly, and unusually, there's been a lot going on here since our return. For one thing, we've finally come to terms with the fact that we do, indeed, have a ghost sharing our house.  We've suspected it for a number of years, probably from the first year. Occasional crashing noises in various parts of the house at odd hours of both day and night (as if someone had dropped a stack of books on the floor, maybe), but no evidence of anything being out of place when investigated; on a few occasions, usually at night, the sound of running feet that seemed to come from upstairs if the listener was downstairs, and vice-versa at other times; and sometimes hearing bits and pieces of what sounded like conversations coming from areas where there there was no one. After a while we sort of accepted these as just quirks of an old mountain house, and none of us, my wife or myself or the dogs, ever felt any discomfort with it. However, the house has seemed to be a good deal more active over the last several weeks, the highlight of which occurred two weeks ago. Catherine, my wife, had fallen asleep on the sofa while watching tv upstairs, and I was downstairs in my office working. Sometime around 1 am I called it a night and fell asleep after reading for a short time; I thought she was still watching tv, so I remained in my office, turning in on the small bed there. According to her, she awoke sometime between 3 and 4 am, she thought due to a noise, but not certain. She sat up, thinking her cat had probably wanted to go out, and saw the figure of a man standing directly behind the sofa she had been sleeping on, which is positioned in the middle of the room beside a large picture window looking onto the deck. She says that the figure spoke to her: she believes that he asked her "Is there anything I can do?", but it might have been "anything we can do?" or "anything you can do?" Then he vanished. She is of the impression that he was dressed in casual clothing that appeared to be from an earlier era, maybe the 40's or 50's, and wore glasses. Beyond that, she remembers nothing more, except that he was completely non-threatening. So much so, in fact, that she didn't bother to tell me about the experience until the next morning, going back to sleep a short time later.

So we're accepting our ghost, or ghosts if he's not alone, and going on with things just as before. However many there are, as long as we're all happy and comfortable with each other, we'll all be fine.

Beyond that, we're experiencing a spectacular spring here on our little mountain. Everything is already in full bloom and blossom, including wildflowers we've never seen before in the entire nine years we've been here. The abundant rain and mild temperatures have spurred growth in unexpected ways: the valley oaks' leaves are already fully formed and are almost neon-bright in their lime green color; the honeysuckle vines in those oaks are ripe and already so heavily perfumed that by late afternoon they can almost overpower you, and the little honeybees are trying hard to keep up. The native grasses are coming knee-high for the second time, having already been knocked down once this season, and our resident gray fox has (I think) a litter working somewhere here on the property; she's awfully busy, at least, and seems to be staying really close to a particular brushy area just a hundred feet or so to the north of the house. Lulu has expressed some curiosity about it, but has stayed respectfully clear of the thickest part, so I'm assuming that's where the den is located. We'll know pretty shortly, I would think; in the past she has begun parading her kits around as soon as they're able to navigate without falling on their faces every few steps. We'll see.

Another great benefit of spring's arrival is the opening of our local farmers' market, which took place a couple of weeks ago, although pickings are still pretty sparse. What there is, though, particularly the strawberries and early peas, is beautiful to behold, and is a pretty great predictor for all that's yet to arrive. The food vendors are already out in force, including our old friends the Colimas with their tamales. Thank you, Lord. As usual, more on the market as the season goes along.

There seems to be some interest building among some of our old friends regarding the possibility of our putting together a new Fall Wine Country Golf Tour for 2016; so, maybe we'll do it. As before, if we do go ahead with it, we'll begin organizing and scheduling in early June, and we;ll poist details here as things develop. If we do go this year I'd really like to move a bit into the Sierra winegrowing areas and take the opportunity to play several of the great old courses that are tucked away in the foothills. it'll be a trip worth doing, I promise. Stay tuned.

Okay, that's all for now. Back much sooner this time.