The new year is creeping right up on us! Since my last blog I've made a loop around California and then flew back to Ohio. Here's a look at the last month starting with another campfire jam in the desert with my friend Roger. Photo credit: Michelle Hamilton
Around Thanksgiving I took a drive up to the lovely redwoods in the Bay Area...
I got to spend Thanksgiving day with my cousins up in Burlingame, CA. Seeing these two cuties was refreshing. Their mom, Meghan, is an amazing fabric artist, crafter, preschool teacher, and entrepreneur. Check out her blog at https://meghanmakesdo.com
I also had a visit with my friends up in Sonoma County. They were close to the big fires up there, but thankfully none were in the direct path. Traveling through the area was pretty shocking. The massive amount land burned and people affected is hard to take in. This is a vineyard in Sebastopol that was untouched by the fire.
Out on the Sonoma Coast we caught one of those sunsets that just wouldn't stop. I'll go back to this evening on the beach in my mind when I need a little inspiration sometime.
Here's a view from a farm I use to WWOOF on years ago.
I headed back to The Ranch where there was plenty of wood to stack and restack. Being on The Ranch was a nice balance of catching up on next year's booking, doing some physical labor, and visiting with the revolving cast of characters that populate the unique place. Timbo found this chair on the side of the road and told me it could be my queen's chair. I asked him to put it on top of this years wood pile.
Inside the house, since there is no shortage of wood to burn, we burn it. I spent plenty of time here staring at the flames. I highly recommend this meditative activity.
Lancaster, CA is a high desert climate in the Antelope Valley. I loved daily hikes around the area. I'd see coyotes, ravens, Joshua Trees, and always Tumbleweeds. "See them them tumbling down, pledging their love to the ground..."
This Creosote Bush is over 800 years old. There's my friend Bird Bob for scale...
From here we could see the smoke from the L.A. fires on the horizon. The closest one was about 30 miles away and we watched the news daily to see the developments. It's a strange feeling to be so close to something to powerfully destructive and know that people there are having their lives threatened just over the mountain while you are cozy by a wood stove.
All of the particles in the air often made for some shockingly colorful sunsets.
The ravens in the west are so vocal and social. They rattle, call, and make percussive songs in the trees. Sometimes on a Sunday afternoon they gather their closest 50 friends together and just ride the thermals up to the atmosphere. Here's a little series of ravens in black and white...
Then I rode some of my own thermals from L.A. to Detroit.
I had a visit with my family and we explored the land of ice and snow along the shores of Lake Erie.
Then I headed to Athens, Ohio to play some gigs, see some friends, visit Blue Eagle Music, and housesit for the holidays.
Concert at Casa Nueva with my friend Chris Biester. Photo credit: Phil Lanning
Happy new year to everyone!