Giving It Another Go.

So the initial shock of the tarantula sighting has dulled and faded. Since then, there have been no other critters larger than a quarter spotted for over a week now. This is progress, folks.

We have decided to give Milagro Ranch another go.

You see, our morning romp in the valley last week viewing dark, dreary and drab pre-fabs was depressing to say the least. These over priced shoe boxes left much to be desired--the first was a tiny guest house sans stove (what? a family of foodies with no roasting, broiling, or baking capabilities--si par impossible!) and the second was carpeted, small, dark and downright depressing. Even if there were such things as apartments--or affordable housing--in Malibu, I still don't think we'd take the apartment leap. Unless we were able to find the exquisite 1920's French Normandy-esque chateau that we had in the city, we just can't bring ourselves to inhabit an apartment building--even if in Malibu--ever. Which brings us to our current debacle--our wild and wily existence in an eclectic guest house on a 20 acre horse ranch.

It's beautiful--it's so breathtakingly beautiful and peaceful and recharging and inspiring and natural and Noah is over the moon for the place. It's a crazy little ranch--it's so very different than anywhere that we have ever lived before. It's creaky and cranky and expensive and really inconvenient (for example, we have to have special propane deliveries every other month because there are no gas lines run this far out and not to mention the incredibly winding, narrow and vulture-lined roads to get down the mountain to semi-civilization). And while half of the time those are all of the reasons that we were ready to throw in the beach towel last week, the other half of the time it's all part of its charm, its splendor, its appeal, its unmistakable character.

Reminding myself--ourselves--that it's an adventure, helps. Reminding ourselves that it's temporary, helps. Standing beneath the pepper trees as the late afternoon sun trickles through the wispy leaves in tiny drops on Noah's hand as he feeds the horses, helps. Bunny watching from the hammock with my morning coffee, helps. Watching our vegetable and herb garden (even if through galvanized steel meshing) finally take root and begin to flourish and anticipating its harvest, helps. Listening to Noah mimic the songs of the quail and road runner in his sleep, helps. Spending each and every day as we please on the sandy shores of the Pacific watching dolphins and seals frolic and play, helps.

This is a good thing. It's a great thing. It's a character building, make hair grow on your teeth kind of thing. It's a make your marriage stronger while learning all of the nitty gritty, raw, unedited facets of nature while your wee tot experiences life naked and barefoot beneath citrus trees kind of place. It's the kind of place we call home.

So, really. Really? Were we really going to let rattlesnakes, rats, scorpions, centipedes, mice and tarantulas drive us away from ol' purple haze ranch? We don't scare that easily.

But, then, ask me about it all again tomorrow.


Second Thoughts: Milagro Ranch, You're So Mean.

(At the Long Beach Aquarium with my mommy group)

Life looks peachy, right? Time spent away from home has been peachy. Noah and I have been making tons of new mama and baby friends in our new hood thanks to the mommy group that I started here called the "Malibu Mamas". Since I last wrote, we have been flipping our fins at swim lessons, tank-gazing at the Aquarium of the Pacific and produce picking and farm animal petting at a local family pick-your-own. With Daddy, we have been attending storytime on the Bluffs and two weekend concerts (one was apparently with an all-star in the family indie music scene--I didn't know that there was a "family indie music scene"--go figure).

But at home, well, home is another story all together. Our efforts at varmint proofing our garden have been in vain. It turns out that it was squirrels, not rabbits, decimating every speck of green above our $100 worth of organic dirt (and free horse manure). We've spent well over $500 now on this garden bed from hell and well, while we are not ones to give in and give up easily, we're ready to throw in the shovel. The garden, you see, is very telling of our time here on Milagro Ranch here so far. We've sunk dollars and time into making it a home but nature just won't allow us to settle in. Despite our sage smudging ceremony, performed by Chieftain Dean on Saturday, we found a tarantula upon waking Sunday morning. Luckily, the cats got to it before it found its way to us as vulnerable and easy prey in our slumber.

Perhaps Dean and I had far too romantic notions about living remotely, rurally, down a dirt road in a desert canyon, with rattlesnakes, scorpions, rats, centipedes and now our newest dear friend, tarantula, to fight over territory with. Aside from the creepy critters, everything has been and continues to be a chore. From driving the garbage and recycling down the mile long dirt road to keeping the brick patio surrounded by dirt swept clean to washing clothes in outdoor machines to rat and bug roofing to waiting for the septic to be fixed to sleeping with the lights on to ensuring the pipes that empty all of our used water (except for the toilet, of course) out onto the property are kept clear of weeds and animals to to to . . . it all sounds petty, I know. But this is only the half of it. When it's all piled up on the dark purple carpet thrown in there with our recent kitchen ant infestation, it just amounts to being too much for this mama and family to handle. We spend much of our time working, working to keep things status quo here at the Ranch at the sacrifice of real, enjoyable, relaxing moments together as a family. Really, Dean works 60 hours a week every single week--is cleaning rat poop from the brick ledge and walking the dead rat that we trapped under the car the prior night out to the field to dump its lifeless body really worth it?

We are asking ourselves that very question. Today, tonight, now. We are seriously throwing around the idea of moving. Yes, I know it's crazy. But what's more crazy? Waking up with a tarantula at your toes or admitting to yourself that the suburbs aren't so bad after all. Seriously, I, who would never even look twice at an apartment complex without losing my lunch is currently finding the convenience and safety of a gated complex with a pool and fitness center a droolingly appealing option. I know, I know--the desperation is so thick you can cut it with a knife.

We have been humbled by Milagro Ranch--we are no longer the city snobs we once were. And we were before Noah, I admit it. But we have a year or less before Beck finishes working on his latest album and Dean is able to move on. And then we can move on--away from L.A. after 10 years and hopefully north--into the comfortable embrace of a cozy craftsman in green, clean, Portland. What to do until then is the question that will keep me up tonight--that and my incurable phobia of all things that move in the night.

We have two appointments tomorrow to look at places just over the hill from here--the valley, yes, the valley. We'll still be only 16 miles from Malibu--the beach--the bugs--but 100 leaps closer to keeping our sanity. Who knows, maybe we'll tour some drab, mini-blinded, generic box and go running back to the ranch faster than a vulture can sniff out roadkill.


Panic Mode.

(Taken by friend, Rebecca, with her camera yesterday at Topanga Beach)

I am still without a camera. I am now in full-on panic mode. My inability to capture every wince and grin and drool and stumble and smirk made by Noah over the last two weeks has truly tortured me. No camera means that we are without pictures and without a video camera and I swear that my little tot toddles even cuter when he knows that there is no chance it will all be documented for future tortured family screenings. Yes, we have a film camera and yes, we have a video camera, but by golly our Canon was both in one small portable great picture taking package.

Anywho, we have been busy. Super busy. This ranch living leaves no time for resting on one's laurels. There's always something to do, plant, fix, hang, paint and nail. The raised garden bed we planted two weekends ago was flourishing until the recent rabbit rampages--tomatoes, squash, watermelon, cucumbers-all ravaged. I should have known that we'd have to wage war against our floppy-eared foe. Every and any thing that I planted in pots after we first moved in was nibbled to nothing more than nubs over night. Even stuff they shouldn't like--peppermint, succulents, lily of the nile, Mexican primrose and lavender, salvia--all native SoCal vegetation that in most cases is already growing on the property. But, yet they still dine on mine. So, this garden business I knew was going to require a diligent and constant effort to dissuade these little cottontails from snacking on our produce. I headed out to our local hardware store after our swim lesson today and picked up some hopeful deterrents--I'll have to report back on their effectiveness.

Other than that, the days have passed with trips to the Oxnard DMV to renew my license that expired back in April (oops!), unsuccessfully trying to treat my sister to a picnic and cupcake for her 22nd birthday (excess traffic and a cranky car-bound toddler thwarted my efforts), attending Beck's 40th birthday bash and hiring our first real-live non family or friend sitter for Noah. All went well.

This week has been heating up and chasing away the gloom that haunted our June. The coastal fog has lifted to unveil 80-90 degree days and we have been seeking out refuge at the beach with some of our new Malibu friends. Tomorrow it's a trip to the acclaimed Long Beach Aquarium (Noah's first time) followed by two super fun family concert events this weekend.

Did I mention how it pains me to be sans camera for these past, present and soon-to-be amazing moments that are going un-captured--lost to my "too many heavy drinking episodes in college" damaged memory?

I am going to try and send the camera to Canon this week and see if we can't get answers. Our family vacation back east is in just 4.5 weeks and I can't bear to miss another smile!


Poo, Poo, And Double Poo: Pictureless Along The Pacific.

Poo. Poo. And double poo.

Our camera broke--last week--while Noah and I were exploring the wild and wily west. While taking snapshots of my little cowboy sweltering in the hot heat of Calabasas in the afternoon, my camera just up and died.

No pictures of the classic western ranch house of the historic Leonis Adobe or its barnyard full of petting animals.

No pictures of our 4th, at the home of the Producer of "The Bachelor" and other seedy reality TV shows, perched upon the cliffs of Malibu.

No pictures of the teal painted 4x8 raised garden bed we built over the holiday weekend--chock full of lettuce, carrots, herbs, pumpkins, squash, berries, tomatoes, okra...and so many more soon-to-be-table goodies that we should have built another.

No pictures of the low lying sea clouds filling our beachside canyon lately with thick dreamy fog that drifts between the leaves of the olive tree leaves and wraps itself around every succulent.

No pictures of Noah and Kai frolicking at the new neighborhood park today or chasing chickens and bunnies on our local nursery's lawn.

And, well, no pictures of my sister tomorrow on her 22nd birthday while Noey and I treat her to a picnic on the immaculately manicured lawn of a Beverly Hills' park hotspot followed by Sprinkles' (the best cupcakes in L.A.) finest.

Poo. Poo. And, double poo.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin