Our bedroom windows face the eastern sky and as such the room lightens every morning with the dawn. Even before that the birds who call the eastern oak forest home begin their morning calls. Even in my half sleep state I can hear the song begin softly and grow. I haven’t compelled myself to begin rising before the sun but I do rise with it often making my morning tea and sitting on the porch watching as the diffuse dawn light ripples through the oak leaves. There is often a soft breeze around dawn that eases its way up the hillside and through the trees. Dappled oranges dance on the white siding of the house and railing in a morning ritual missed by most.
It is during this time that I also often see our little family of deer. The three of them seem to bed down in a heap of juniper where the driveway makes its final turn before reaching the house. As I sit on the porch they often make their way out of the shelter of the juniper and timidly nibble at the grasses under the easter oaks. My small movements receive pauses and long looks from the deer as they warily mow down the grasses, a service I appreciate.
Our relationship with the deer has been mixed to date. While I appreciate the excitement the boys feel when they seem them either eating or bounding away, their multiple assaults on my heritage roses, the grazing of the existing grape vines and the fire hazard their den represents has me less enthused. While this is now our home it has obviously been theirs even longer. Creating that balance of space that allows them to still be here while also allowing for us to create our gardens and protect ourselves is part of the challenge we are working on right now.
Where there isn’t a question of balance however is in relation to fire. I was recently back down in Sonoma County for a quick visit where the green hillsides of winter have given way to dry golden ones. The blackened scar of burnt trees which was hidden through the winter months has regained its prominence and stands as a not so subtle reminder that fire season is here. A good part of the work that we have done this month has been around fire mitigation. I have found a certain state of meditation in walking the property with the weed whacker knocking down the tall grasses and creating our defensible space. We also had the grand oaks that surround our home limbed back away from the house. The next step is the clear the fence line and create a break around the base of the oak forest. A pole saw is also in our future to keep the trees limbed up and any potential grassfire on the ground. As we plan our next steps for the property fire is and will always be a huge part of how we plan.
The boys have quickly adapted to life here. Benny rises shortly after I do while Rylan stays up until the twilight fades. They do in many senses stand in opposition to each other, while Rylan is often the quite reader hiding away in a corner with a book, Benton must be the center of attention. They both however have a deep love for being outside and whether it is six o’clock in the morning, listening to the deep echoing rumble of thunder from the porch swing, or just a warm spring afternoon we generally find ourselves outside. Days are filled with exploration, discovery and a a joy from living simply. While Rylan often asks where the sidewalks are as we drive into town I don’t believe he would want live in the center of town anymore, his farm is now the center of his world. And Benton wont know anything else, his childhood will be this property and the grand adventures he an his brother scheme.
We’ve been here almost two months now. The excitement hasn’t worn off, the enthusiasm is still there even as the list of things to do continues to grow. The opportunity to create is so exciting even faced with the reality of maintaining what we already have. Balance is going to be the key to all of it. Finding that point between overload of work and ability to have fun, the ability to create our gardens and balancing the needs of those already here, and most importantly finding time to be a family.
The birds have settled and the family of deer have hopped the fence on up into the neighbors property. It’s time to greet the day and get to work. There is much to explore and do on the Lazy Moon Farm.