I live on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada mountains, north central California. Near Sacramento but far enough away that I can tell people I live ” in the Sierra foothills” or perhaps the more historically exotic-sounding “near Coloma, you know, Sutter’s Mill, where the California Gold Rush got started.”
It is the beginning of October, which means Autumn is just around the corner. But not here. Here, it could be four more weeks of Too Freaking Hot Still, followed by Skipping Autumn Altogether, directly to the Mother Of All Storms that will launch our Winter (aka Just Rain), leaving me without power and water for a few days and having me daydreaming about living in a tidy little condo with a garage and prefab landscaping maintained by someone not named Carol, that has year round electricity and running water, and fewer opportunities for field rodent corpse pieces to find their way into my shoes. And fewer games of lizard soccer played in my kitchen by some of my outdoor barn cats who sneak indoors somehow during the wee hours with a soon-to-be-soccer-ball lizard buddy (scratch scramble scramble *thud* scratch scramble scramble *thud*). And fewer skunks following my barn cats into the kitchen to watch the game and help themselves to the inside cats’ leftovers.
I kid you not. Meet Flower.
Which brings me to my upcoming annual one week Autumn (or not) vacation from my day job. This vacation will be spent cleaning house (scrubbing the kitchen floor of lizard remains-stains), doing farm prep for winter, riding a lot, working on The Book, and of course, working incognito at my day job, since I have to take vacation to get time away from work so that I can caught up on my work.