Sitting here at the Sedgwick Reserve, night has just fallen on our first full day here and I am starting to feel like a real person again. The lead up to leaving was so stressful that I was exhausted for two days after the drive down from Washington to SoCal. I hadn't realized how tense I had been, with everything that I had to get done especially after I decided to leave a week early! This is definitely the start of a new phase in my life...and it feels good! A bit scary at times, but so much better than being stuck and isolated in the house in the gray, damp cold of Washington.
Sedgwick is just as advertised. The ranch house is old and shabby or, in real estate terms, rustic, but absolutely charming. There are plans to renovate it which is a shame but I guess it has to be done. Besides Oscar, a young research scientist from Spain, we are the only ones here so we each have room, each room has numerous beds - mine three and Betsy has four - so the first thing we did was rearrange things so we have our desks/work spaces in front of the windows and have gorgeous views. It is sooo quiet and the nights are pitch black, with barely a light to be seen anywhere. We did hear the coyotes early this morning, at dawn but that was just about the only sound.
The buildings are surrounded by big, old, knarly pepper trees and California oaks and the bird life is tremendous. Mick and Debbie would be in heaven! The woodpecker was very busy this morning, attempting to drill a hole in the side of the house and was very noisy about it. I wish I had a bird book to check out what some of the other varieties are. There is quite a selection of books in the living room so I might find one there.
It was frosty this morning, but as soon as the sun came up, it melted away to a gorgeous day. How I love the sun!
Knowing we would be sitting a lot of the day working, we went for a wonderful walk. Of course, we had be warned not to walk alone and stay on the (dirt) roads as this is a reserve with mountain lions, etc. But we saw something that most of the people here have never seen!
We were ambling along the road, gazing around and noticed a beaten-down thick patch of crispy grass. Wondering what might have caused it, Betsy said she had seen something like when there were bears around. I said, "Are there bears here," and she said, "There probably are!" Within two minutes, she said "Look!" pointing at a large moving object emerging from behind the brush a long way off. Too big for a mountain lion and wrong shape for a deer - damned if it wasn't a bear!
He must have heard us and slowly wandered away up the hill and into the arroyo nearby. Snapping pictures (Betsy's are better than mine) we couldn't believe what we had seen and from then on, we kept looking over our shoulders, hoping nobody was appearing behind and too close to us!
When we talked to the people who work here, they were stunned saying that even though they had been on the reserve for years, they had never seen a bear! They had seen them on camera traps and seen the scat, but never in person so we are considering ourselves very lucky!
I've been trying out the new Chromebook. I thought I would make it my main work computer while here and see if it will do everything I need it to do. Mostly it is great - light weight, quick, etc. But it is a pain trying to manage images. And with two different operating systems, it won't talk to my Mac products - my big laptop seems to do a lot better talking to my iPhone and iPad but the Chromebook doesn't so I have decided to return it and save up to get a Mac Air so all the devices talk to each other. I just don't want to waste my time transferring pix from one program to another and another until I can get them where they are easily accessible.
So...it was a nice idea...
Tomorrow Betsy has to go to Santa Barbara to work and I am hoping to hear back from old friends who live not far from here, friends I haven't seen for years and maybe swing by to see them. If not I will go into Santa Ynes, a quaint little town and see what's there.
It will be another mini-adventure.