Monday, January 21, 2008

Things that go bump in the night...

I'm tending the "home fires" at our beloved "McCormick House", while my husband is home visiting family in Argentina...just me and the cat...and the host of critters inhabiting our garden after dark...

Last night I went outside to gather wood to make a fire and heard a noise behind me as I stood at the woodpile. I'm never particularly alarmed when I hear things "go bump in the night" in my rather wild backyard - this is Pescadero, afterall, as peaceful a rural idyll as they come. Generally, I'm just curious to see what creature I've disturbed.

A couple of times over the years, while foraging for kindling by moonlight, I've startled a skunk or two - and that is a bit unnerving, it's true - each time I turned tail and ran! I've come across foxes and bobcats and the occasional coyote, but those sightings were during the day, and they were more scared of me than the other way around.

Tonight there was just a slip of a moon, and I could barely make out the silhouette and faint mask of a racoon in the walnut tree behind me. By the time I got back with my camera, he was on his way down, but paused to consider his options, long enough for me to take a photo or two, before he headed for the shelter of the woods by the creek.

I awoke today to a steady rain, which I find particularly beautiful here on the coast...and now the skies have cleared and the sun is shining. It's going to be a glorious day, so hopefully folks, who find themselves free on this lovely holiday Monday in remembrance of Martin Luther King, will head for the beach and Pescadero.

Meanwhile, since, for some inexplicable reason, I've been playing "fast and loose" with laying in sufficient wood for the fire (and brrrrr it's a little chilly this morning), I'll be digging through the woodpile looking for the drier of the now rain-drenched firewood. I think most of the local Pescaderans still rely on their wood stoves for heat, which I find rather charming. I ran into a neighbor at the post office who had just received a heater she purchased from "QVC"...we talked about the joys and woes of wood stoves (which is also her primary source of heat) and agreed that having some kind of "back-up" on the days you've got soggy wood and want to be warm, a very good thing.

For those of you wishing to stay here in Pescadero at the McCormick House Inn, not to worry - we use the wood stove in our residence only - your rooms are heated with lovely and efficient convection-air units we purchased from Canada...I'm jealous!

Be warm...

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