Cort Cottage Bed and Breakfast a private guest cottage near Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park

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Almanac Archive 2007

Dateline: Saturday, October 13, 2007,
Elsah reporting in for this week

The memory of summer days is fading as autumn is taking hold of the mountain and sky. The buckeye trees are becoming silvery etchings with golden balls hanging from their boughs.

The old hot tub has been stripped of its deck and trim, awaiting a new home with a friend of my sister who has said he wants it. I am sad to see it leave, but............I have ordered another one, the new version of the same one with an onyx interior that will be like a hollowed out stone, ground down to softness for soaking and simmering of body and soul. The new hot tub will be shipped from Washington state in the next three weeks or so. It is made for two persons, a kind of watery recliner so we can lean back and watch the stars move across the sky reflecting our own turning and turning on this tiny globe of ours.

I am up to 1155 songs now loaded on my iMac and I am inward bound with music to lead me and follow me. And I look down on the floor under my desk and a gray/green leaf from the oak tree is resting.

all for now..................................................................

Dateline: Sunday, September 22, 2007,
Elsah reporting in for this week

We have had our first Autumn rain, soaking the very thirsty ground during the night. I can smell the forest in the air, coming down from the Giant Trees 5000 feet above me in the Park. The air is cool and clean and crisp and so wonderful.

The seasons change suddenly here, noticed mostly in the air temperature, hot to cool, dry to moist. Now the ground will immediately begin to push up green shoots that must be just waiting at the threshold below the earth's surface to shout their presence to the world again. This plant memory may be more persistent than ours, to make sure they show up and do what they do best--grow and bloom and give us the oxygen we breathe.

I am reminded of hope and new beginnings. Feels like I am writing a Spring almanac report, not an Autumn one. I am making new beginnings for me, leaving my half time home health nursing job for one that will give me more time at home...........the place I love so dearly and wish to share with you.

I say, "Let it rain...........and rain again." I want to become soaked, weeding and digging in the earth, while the cleansing rain showers me with the promise of Spring. Oh, and I think I will visit the higher elevations to see the beautiful red and pink hues of the native dogwood trees in Giant Forest.

all for now..................................................................

Dateline:Sunday, May 13, 2007,
Elsah reporting in for this week

I just found a flower blooming in my back meadow that I have never seen growing there. It is not a rare flower as it washes a purple-red haze over the pale brown grass fields all around the lake. It is a rare flower for me to find here. It is called farewell-to-spring or herald-to- summer, or as my dear friend and wildflower teacher of thirty years ago, Marion Gray, called it "wine cup" because it is shaped like a tiny cup of soft red wine. What a wine that would be to swallow.

I am touched that this single plant has greeted me on the way to the compost pile that does not make compost due to the persistence and regular visits by the faithful raven pair and their babies who are indistinguishable to me, but call loudly to me from the oak tree.

Summer is coming, and I think the river swimming will start early because we have had only 29% of normal rainfall and snow pack. It will seem strange in late July and August to see the river as a wading stream.

The buckeye trees are in bloom and are scenting the air with faint but perfuse sweetness.

There is a new TV in the cottage and a combo CD/DVD player with a docking for an iPod. I challenge you to come to the cottage and use no electronic devices for at least 24 hours and listen to the birds and your own breath and slow down and think nothing and sleep and smile to the inside of yourself as if all is well because it is.

all for now..................................................................

Dateline: Monday, April 23, 2007,
Elsah reporting in for this week

Wildflowers are still wonderful here. We had a good down pour yesterday, with the sun showing up for a few hours in the afternoon. As I weeded the path to the compost pile (which does not make compost because the ravens clean it out first) I watched the light show on the hills. The slanted afternoon sun rays that pierced the clouds from the west seemed to drape the hills with gold. I love the days with "weather" here. Everything changes by the minute and rainbows surprise me and some times stay for a very long time.

I am continuing to visualize the cottage as a retreat, a place to come and stay for a while so you can actually step off the treadmill of a busy life. I want to become brave enough to require a four night minimum, but I have not done so yet. I keep the bed and breakfast going after twenty years to share this beauty with people who don't ordinarily get to spend much time in a natural place. I even see the creeping in of the urban life into Three Rivers which is disturbing to me. People are moving here and completely stripping their land of natural vegetation and wildflowers. We seem to have such a fear of nature and wildness. We want to tame everything, and in the process destroy that which our souls and hearts crave for living a rich life.

Yet, I do weed. I weed the European grasses, and now the invasive thistle that wants to blanket the earth's soil so that native bulbs have no chance to push up their delicate blossoms of fairy lanterns, golden stars, Ithuriel's spears, blue dicks, and climbing brodaeias, and the annual madia's, yellow daisy-like blossoms which open and close throughout the day with the movement of sun and cloud. When I am weeding with the feel and the smell of the dark dirt in my hands, I realize that many people in this country don't do this any more. They never sit on the earth or actually feel the dirt. I have thought of offering weeding retreats, with special instruction for how to recognize weeds and what are the best tools to assist is getting out stubborn root-bound weeds. I am not sure there is a big market for weed therapy.......but just in case you have even the slightest interest in experiencing weeding, let me know. It is amazing to me that I am often asked, "so what is there to do there?" I don't think weeding would be the expected answer to this question, but it is what I am up to these days.

all for now..................................................................

Dateline: Monday, March 12, 2007,
Elsah reporting in for this week

Wildflowers are showing up everywhere now, so early this year. Again I write to tell you this is THE best time of year to be here. The ceonothus, wild lilac, bushes that enfold this land are in bloom and the scent is so wonderful and intoxicating. The blossoms are small and white, but gather together like small posies all over the branches. Around the lake, as you drive into Three Rivers, bush lupine and poppies are popping out in brilliant color.

I see massive weeding ahead for me, and I have already begun by transplanting about thirty "weeded" poppy plants from the cottage foot path. They really love to grow where they are not wanted some times. I just can't leave them in the path because they would be down trodden by all my guests' enthusiastic feet. You are welcome to come and volunteer for weeding, it is very healing to have your hands in the dirt.

We do hope for some cooler weather to come in a week or so, just to slow down the gorgeous onslaught of bloom for a while.

It is an incredible force, this natural explosion of seed, leaf and blossom. I marvel at it each and every year. It is wonderful to live in the midst of this change, season after season.


all for now..................................................................

Dateline: Sunday, February 4, 2007,
Elsah reporting in for this week

The sun feels so crisp and bright in February, perhaps it is the new brilliant green that is slowly appearing on the hillsides. There is anticipation in the air for me as I know what is to come soon. I am a Spring lover, which I have written about many times if you read past almanac entries. It just does not get old, this wonderful embracing of what the earth lifts up from beneath its softening soil each year. How can all these wildflowers just wait like they do for so many months, hidden and quiet and finally so abundant in their bursting forth?

What have we lying dormant within us, just waiting for a movement within our hearts and a shifting in our minds, to change our lives and change our world? Are you doing what you came here to do?

all for now..................................................................

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