Ojai Today

We have spent the day in Ojai today, arriving early this morning to talk to a solar guy about what it would entail for us to put in a few panels so we could have electricity. We learned some encouraging information – government grants and low-interest loans for agricultural lands – and are going to check these out online over weekend. We also spent part of the day at a storage unit in town, where we are storing some of the antique items from one of the estates we’re handling. We stayed there several hours taking pictures and measurements to post those items on eBay. Then we ate lunch, visited our favorite junk store, stopped at the health food store for a Rice Dream ice cream bar, and then headed back over to the land. Mid-afternoon, we worked on tidying up our storage area at the very back of the land. We still have a way to go to get this spot organized, but we made some serious inroads. That was good enough for today. Now it is 5:39 and almost pitch black outside. I am writing this to candlelight. We are planning to head back to LA in a bit, but there’s no rush. If we go too early, we’ll only hit heavy traffic. So, here I sit in our Spartan with the dogs on the couch resting and Ray in the bedroom taking a snooze.

Well – we just all heard what sounded like the deep growl of a big cat and the dogs ran outside barking like crazy. I have herded them back inside and closed both doors. If that was a mountain lion, then the last thing we need is to have them outside. Ray and I now aren’t sure what we heard since we’ve never seen a mountain lion in the orange grove, but we definitely heard something. I have seen some regular sized cats around here lately – belonging to neighbors, I suppose – but we don’t usually see too many since coyotes are busy in these parts and cats are prime prey for them. Anyway, the dogs seem a bit keyed up after that so I’m not sure what we were hearing. Hm…I would prefer it not be a mountain lion.

I just hear turkeys gobbling over at our neighbor’s on the eastern edge of the grove. A normal gobble, not a distressed one. I have to imagine if a mountain lion were around, those turkeys wouldn’t be sounding so relaxed. Maybe it was just one of those house cats trying to sound bigger than it is.

The grove is located right on the edge of town with the national wilderness extending off into the distance due north of us. Also, we have a nature preserve to the southwest so there is plenty of land for animals to roam. We routinely see deer running through the grove, along with coyotes and rabbits, of course. We also have an abundance of ground squirrels, lizards and birds.

All is quiet now. It is not even 6 pm and it already looks like midnight here. Not a light in sight outside this little Spartan trailer. The night is very quiet. Even the turkeys aren’t gobbling anymore. I occasionally hear a car off in the distance or a donkey braying. The primary sound I hear is the tapping of my fingers on this keyboard.

I might enjoy the quiet at the grove more than anything. Living in the heart of the city comes with a price. We hear lots of city noises as a result.

I just heard Ray start to snore. He apparently isn’t too concerned about a mountain lion outside the door. The dogs don’t appear too worried either. They are both sound asleep as I write.

It is amazing that we can be 1½ hours from LA and be in such a rural environment. This, of course, is one of the reasons that Ojai is such a destination of choice for so many Angelenos. You don’t have to travel too far to feel as if you’re a long way from the city. Sometimes I feel as if spending one day in Ojai is the equivalent of spending a week anywhere else. No matter how hard we work while we’re here, we arrive home feeling as if we’ve been on a week’s vacation. I guess it’s just so different from the city that it feels like a completely separate experience. Also, the air is cleaner, which has to help with breathing a bit deeper.

I will close for now. I have nothing else to do but write, but I do realize there is a limit to how much I can say about this experience.

I hope you all are staying warm. I am bundled up in my warm sweater, but it’s not very chilly here so I feel cozy. I hope you are cozy, too.

Talk tomorrow.

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