Thursday, November 24, 2011


Rain hung in a band to the west this morning, holding off just long enough for the rising sun to etch a rainbow. Starting small, the arc of color expanded as the sun rose, ultimately becoming a vast double rainbow that served as portal for several large, loud flocks of sandhill cranes.

It was a jolting reminder to pause and reflect on all that we have to be thankful for, and I thought, among other things, of the sequence of wwoofers who have sequentially "occupied" Kingbird - singly and in pairs, and occasionally in 3's and 4's - throughout 2011. Amazing, wonderful people all of them, bringing a refreshing diversity of experience and outlook to our small enclave, and making possible much that would otherwise not happen. Typical was Lynne, above, energetic and cheerful, who proved indispensable in October, seen here weeding a winter onion crop, now thriving.

My thoughts turned in gratitude to all of the other "occupiers" as well, and their efforts to spark an awareness of just how far we've strayed as a nation from the fundamentals of justice and sanity.
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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hank makes a return visit

Mimicking the birds we love, Hank Lentfer flew down from Alaska and spent a few days at Kingbird this past week. It was a return trip; Hank was here in 2005 to better understand where cranes go and what challenges they face on their wintering range. That experience, and much more, formed the raw material for a very remarkable new book, The Faith of Cranes. Hank was here to keynote the annual Lodi Crane Festival and for book-signings at a couple of local shops.

The Faith of Cranes made me laugh and cry. It's been a while since a book has touched and challenged me so profoundly. Buy it. Read it. Gift it.

Alaskan cuisine has, per Frank, a profound seasonality, as in a riot of choice in the summer and venison and potatoes from October to May. It was fun walking the orchard with Hank and sampling the late-season offerings. We laughed at the contrast - I'm dancing with the risk of a hard frost and hoping to protect my citrus, while his Gustavus, Alaska landscape is in a deep freeze. The birds know where it's at.

Hank was a persimmon virgin, but we fixed that and I enjoyed watching him bite into a crisp fuyu and inhale a gooey, sweet hachiya. Carry-on baggage was a small sampling each of apples, asian pears, persimmons, quince, and pomegranates, which he promised to share with Anya and Linnea. Let's hope they got their fair share. A few transitory Kingbird molecules in Alaskan bodies. Read the book.