Archive for the 'The Grounds' Category

An owl joins us for dinner

At sunset tonight an owl landed on the tree right outside our dining room. It was there for ten minutes before swooping after some prey below. A good omen as we prepare for a weekend of Halloween prep.

Into the Hills

After years of searching for a new home and headquarters for the Derringdos, we finally discovered it this winter in the Berkeley Hills. Peabody and Nettie now have their own rooms. Annabelle has studio with a swing chair. And I have an office with a display case for relics and mementos from our adventures. Our neighborhood’s “sidewalks” are paths that take us by waterfalls and deer. From our home, we have an incredible view of Berkeley and the Bay. Flying outside our windows are turkey vultures, falcons, and the America’s only working zeppelin. Even though we’ve only been here a couple months, it already feels like home.

Spider observation

We’re in the midst of an arachnid invasion. It seems every bush in town is covered with webs. One little spider is living behind our car’s review mirror. Every morning she weaves a new web across the frame. A big European Garden Spider has taken up residence in the doorway between our kitchen and backyard. We’ve given up using the door to watch her spin circular webs and catch little insects. Orb spiders, like the European Garden, are said to eat their webs each night along with the small bugs stuck to it. At least some of us are looking forward to seeing that!

Hatched Ladybug Larvae

Before our Spring break, Peabody’s nest of ladybug eggs hatched in the bottle he was keeping them in. We released most of the larvae into the rose bush in front of our house. Ladybugs are quite ugly in the larval stage. Hopefully we’ll see them as aphid eating adults in a few weeks.

Emergency water

This week a pipe broke down the street and we were without water for most of the day. Annabel and the kids survived on bottles of Calistoga. But we’re prepared for something bigger. We have 80 gallons of water stored in case of emergency. According to FEMA, that’s enough for about 10 days for a family of four.

We call the lumberjacks

Several days of rain sogged our backyard and eventually caused our Italian Stone Pine to fall. They’re usually found sticking out of mountain sides. It was here when we moved in, planted by the previous owner, providing shade to the back. It fell slowly, so there was not much damage. But there is a big hole in the skyline and our hearts.

Indian Corn Crunchers

Annabel is being driven crazy by the sound of squirrels munching Indian corn. Peabody had the idea of taking what is left of his gift and hiding it around the yard “to see how smart the squirrels are.” Annabel will be happy.

Sand People in our Backyard

Nettie and Peabody enjoy their new sandbox.

For the past couple weeks, I would arrive home to see Peabody digging near our back patio. He was using the large shovel and had removed a couple cubic feet of soil. He brought me out to see his work and told me he was building a sandbox. My instinct was to help him by moving the project to a shadier spot and building a proper structure. But Annabel suggested asking Peabody what he wanted to do. He said that we needed sand of course. So this weekend we framed the hole with paving stones and filled it with 150 pounds of play sand. Peabody (and Nettie) couldn’t be happier with it.