Sunday, October 24, 2010

We found our dream home in Gaviota...and now we can't leave

October 24, 2010
Arroyo Quemada Lane
From a sub-tropical fruit farm to the cozy beachfront cottage where we now reside, the honeymoon of our dreams continues to unfold in marvelous ways. For almost a week now, we have been nestled into the cliffside dwelling of the Smith family home, north of Santa Barbara. Here we find inspiration for our future home, enjoy savory warm meals prepared by Linda, and commune with the dolphins...
Posing in Pismo Beach, Kati smiles alongside her friend from the sea.
After our longest day riding of more than 50 miles, Pete is all smiles as we prepare for our final descent on 101 from the mountain passes to the coastal flats of Santa Barbara County. Days of unusual monsoon weather patterns have brought high winds, hail, flash flooding and spectacular cloud formations to the impressive beauty of central California's coast.
With thunder and lightening electrifying the air and winds blasting past us on the road, we finally made it to our destination, the Sanctuary at Arroyo Quemada. More of Kati Greaney's remarkable photographic portfolio can be view at www.katigreaneyphotography. com The last time I had visited the Sanctuary was more than five years ago on a solo bike trip, and the family took me in from the winds of highway 101. On this visit, Linda welcomes us with joyful arms, as we watch the lightening storm from the round windows and drink tea, listening to the waves crash and winds howl, protected and warm and cozy, so cozy.
Under the instruction of Linda, we make ourselves at home, spending the days on the water, surfing waves, dolphin searching and soaking in the beach vista bath tub.
With plenty of time to contemplate, we spend hours writing letters of thankfulness. The momentum of love which we feel each day from our wedding celebration continues to build as the days go on. We wonder if the love cloud of positivity which has carried over so strongly from Costanoa one month ago will continue forever.

As pastel colors burn with beauty to the west, a marble purple stripe allium sativum ophisoscorodon garlic bulb comes into focus. Its satiny bulb wrappers are wrapped in a gentle purple stripe and the curvacious cloves are held tightly to the central stem. Raw the garlic is invigoratingly hot, with a peppery finish and lingering heat. Roasted, the garlic is smooth and creamy, delicious and earthy. The Garlic is Siberian, available online beginning March 1, 2011 at
Guardian of Gaviota, this ocean momma knows her place upon this glowing, lively, magical land.
Headstands and acroyoga practice continue during the low tides of the full moon. 
Kati Greaney, Turquoise Queen, lounges in the sun of late October, along this Mediterranean climate stretch of coastal California.With an assortment of ocean toys readily accessible, we take turns following bottle-nosed dolphins with stand-up paddle boards and riding peeling waves on the boogie board.

On the morning of October 22, while we were paddling slowly through kelp forests just offshore from our kitchen patio, a great white shark attacked a body surfer at Surf Beach, less than 20 miles up the coast. This attack marked the 12th fatal shark attack in California waters since 1950. In 1994 off the shores of San Miguel Island (one of California's Channel Islands and visible from the deck where I now type) a friend of the Smith's was also fatally attacked by a white shark while diving for sea urchins. Ten years prior to this, on September 15, 1984, a kayaker was attacked by a great white shark just two miles north of Ano Nuevo's Cove Beach. These powerful creatures, predators of the sea, make mistakes now and again, confusing humans for their preferred meals of seals. In the photo above, Pete catches a boogie board wave, joyful for the opportunity to ride the swells, asking the Ocean for protection each moment.
 Out for an afternoon paddle. Dear friends Tyler Reid and Katie Garmina-ed their way to find us at our secluded honeymoon cottage by the Sea. We took to the waters on a gloriously clear, warm day along the coast.
 The Three Amigos roll up and down over a building west by northwest swell, with the mighty Coast Range mountains to the north and open ocean to the south.
 In addition to all the smiles, calm ocean condition and sweet autumn sunshine, we had a little shark-factor fear which kept us paddling close together.
 Here we are, the one-handed group photo a success, Ty, Katie, Pete and Kati, friends bonded by the beauty of the ocean.
The HoneyMooners walking back up the beach after successfully riding a Pacific Swell on a precision watercraft, the Floaty.
 Tyler paddles toward the arcing fin of a bottle-nosed dolphin. Also on the morning of October 22, Pete and Kati were surrounded by a pod of ten dolphins. One dolphin jumped out of the water and looked Kati in the eye. Another dolphin swam directly underneath Pete's board and looked up through the waters making eye contact and sharing a glance of curiosity.
 Adventure friends and DareDevils from the beginning of time, Ty and Pete scan the horizon for the perfect set as the sun lowers and casts golden shadows upon the smooth sea.
 Watching the waves after many hours at sea. Ty and Katie will continue their wave quest into the Baja Peninsula for several months between their work seasons guiding clients through the mountains of the western hemisphere.
 The sun sets and we await a brand new day of our lives in tandem.
With four weeks of married life behind us, we cherish the moments together and look forward with joy to a life of double happiness. All our love, Kati and Pete

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sub-tropical Fruits and Coyotes on Bear Creek Ranch

October 17, 2010
Bear Creek Ranch, Los Osos, CA
Greetings dear family of friends,
This husband and wife traveling team has found refuge and friendship amongst the fruit orchards and oak trees at Bear Creek Ranch. Nestled deep in a coastal canyon south of Morro Bay, Bear Creek Ranch is a sub-tropical exotic fruit farm and grass-fed longhorn cattle ranch. The land is homesteaded by a cast of great people and dear friends including Tom, Sonya, JJ, Goat, Ottie the Coyote Chaser, The Cattle Crew and Chiansaw the Cat.
We stretch above the coastline at Ragged Point, La Luna Crescente stunning in the purple hued sky. Waiving goodbye to the Big Sur for now, our travels will soon take us to hidden canyons in lands to the south.
The bike route beyond Ragged Point is leisurely, with only rolling hills and gentle breezes to contend with as our TT operates smoothly on open road. We pass by elephant seals on the ocean side, and the Zebras of William Randolph Hearst graze in the mountains. We pedal through Morro Bay and into agricultural lands of San Luis Obispo's fertile fields. Peas and garbonzo beans, broccoli and lettuce mix, the land is a patchwork of greens, elegant in the soft light of a foggy morning.
We arrive in mid-day sun at the Ranch, greeted first by Ottie the farmdog, Kati's long-lost friend. Tom is waiting at the cattle gaurd, all smiles and a welcoming presence. Tom is a coyote-hunting, permaculturalist; a seed-saving, experimental biologist; a true ecologically farming, visionary head-dress Artists.

The tour begins by climbing onto the Kubota FarmCart and zooming around on gravel roads in search of coyotes caught in snares.Then we inspect the maturation of Pineapple Guavas (aka Feijoas) and head to the packing shed where we get our first opportunity to view a rare melon some call the Jelly Melon. The famed Swift Sub-tropicals freshly harvested "Horned Melon". This rare fruit has its origins with farmers of the Kalahari desert in Africa. The melon is harvested delicately and placed into specialty packaging after an intricate quality assesment. They are sent out to exotic fruit distributors who will wheel and deal these thirst-quenching treats to customers throughout California.
Samples anyone? This is a Pepino Dulce Melon, freshly harvested from the fields. Farmer Tom has coined the term "Heart of Gold" Melon for this gorgeous fruit. Native to the sub-tropical regions of the Andean foothills, Pepinos were cultivated by the Incas and are grown today througout South America.
Farmer Tom and Farmer Pete discuss the subtlies of the fruit's flavors, as well as unique ideas for increasing customer demand and appreciation of this "Lost Crop of the Incas."
As our farm tour continues, we notice some of the pollinators who make all this flavor possible. Give thanks to the winged magicians.

Passion Fruit is the third exotic sub-tropical fruit of the season. We walk along hundreds of feet of vining, trellissed plants, their star shaped flowers so perfect, with deep purple inner-petals and frizzy tendrils to lure in pollinators. Ripe fruits hang like jewels, ready to be picked and sorted, and sent to lands both near and far...
Farmer Jim shows us how to separate the fruits for quality. Passion fruit is in high demand in Japan. So the best fruits are loaded onto pallets bound for markets across the mighty Pacific. The Dogs of Bear Creek Ranch carry big sticks.
Next our welcome tour of Bear Creek Ranch takes us to the Sky House, perched above this mystic fog wave as seen during sunset on October 13. Colorful vistas extend in all directions, and the summits of the Seven Sisters - volcanic, granite peaks leading from inland valleys to beneath the waves of Morro Bay - seem to glow golden in the setting sun.
From Left to Right: Goat, Pete and Tom breath deep and take in the sights as another day turns to night and the mountains glow in peaceful calm.

October 15th is Garlic Planting Day at BCR. A misty mountain morning cleared to brilliant sun by the time we were ready to plant. Row 1 was planted in Covelo Mystery Softneck from Ali in Covelo, CA. Row two was planted in ten pounds of Siberian Marbled Purple Stripe and the final row received forty pounds of Inchelium Red from Sandhill Farms in Eden, UT.
This joyous Garlic Planting celebration marked Pete and Kati's very first clove planting as a married couple. The ceremony also fulfilled part of a lifelong dream of Pete to spread the Blessed Bulb's seeds from mountains to the Sea. The 1,200 row feet of garlic planted now rests in a bed of fertile soil. It is a mystery when the first signs of green sprouting life will emerge into the maritime air currents. It is a mystery how the roots will grow and how the bulbs will form, but the seeds are planted deeply and with loving care. Boardered by a row of Pineapple Guava, the Garlic will grow and be close to the Waves
Today the Mighty Sky rumbles and cracks, thundering high above the Passion friut vines and Cherimoya trees of the Ranch. A tropical storm swirling off the coast of Baja has spun northward up the Californian shore, unleashing moisture and thunder on this lazy, beauiful mid October day. Three years ago today these lovebird honeymooners were recovering in the ICU after a roll-over car accident in the west desert. Today we live our life with such thankfuless, enjoying each moment to its fullest, surrounding ourselves with family, dear friends and all the plants and people we love.                                                                                   Alissa, Yaliya, Goat and the Honeymooners peel garlic left over from Friday's planting celebration. The Oak trees drip with mist, and the lone Redwood towers towards this rare Pacific Thunderstorm. The eco-Lagoon adult Pool near the barn bubbles as it circulates water through the gravel and plant filtration system.
We rest in pure comfort after a successful end-of the week harvest and market. Our beautiful Turquoise Tandem is packed and ready to ride, as we wait out the weather, drink honey tea and eat hearty food, including the many Fruits from Bear Creek Ranch.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

OK, OK...we still haven't made it out of Big Sur

 It is our 10th day on the road and the adventure continues in incredible ways.  I'm sure that no one is surprised to see that we have not yet made it out of Big Sur.  The beauty is just too hard to leave and also I (Kati) have a cold.....Perhaps this was from the other night when we visited Esalen and participated in their spastic dance class and then soaked in the hotsprings until the whee hours of the morning when we stealthily snuck away on our tandem and slept on the side of highway 1......or I guess it could have been from the other day at Lime Kiln State park when I insisted on reenacting our momentous walk down the creek to the ocean only to find ourselves surrounded by poison oak, which caused us to run to the ocean and scrub ourselves off in the freezing water for an extended amount of time....But whatever the case may be...I have a cold.....and however I got it was undoubtedly worth it!      

Good, Good, Good, Good Vibrations... as Al Jardine of the Beach Boys rocked away beneath the Redwood trees, we began our journey deep into Big Sur Country - a Magic Place where the Sea and the Mountains merge together with force, grace and grandure. Trying to describe el pais grande del sur
"Big Sur", is like trying to describe a fascinating dream.

 Clear spring waters cascade and tumble, bubbles, whitewater and waterfalls, lined with glowing moss. The shark-tooth, craggy granite massif of Cone Peak rises proudly in the clear blue sky. Mighty mountain's steep ravines and narrow canyons craddle mysteries and quiet beauty, hidden and still in their remoteness.
 Lush with ferns that drip with dew by sunrise, and shimmer by afternoon, when beams of light cast shadows, and the forest glows with green. Burnt deeply by cycles of seasonal fires, Redwood Trees are still thriving, towering from creek to sky.

 Dwarfing us in size, these ancient trees are true survivors, resilient and majestic, symbols of regeneration. The forest floor is a treasure chest of soft surprises, where green clover carpets the understory.

 Wind whisks down canyon, past rocky dens where rattlesnakes coil for the night and mountain lions keep hidden from dawn 'till dusk. The wind is sweet with the dry autumn scents of Redwood bark basking in the sun.
 The creek finds its flowing way from forest to sea, where giant boulders are strewn upon soft sand. Evening Sun catches the mermaid hair seaweed, revealing subtle hues of reds and orange.
 An Ocean so cobalt blue and refreshing, home to sea otters who lounge in fields of bull kelp, noble Pelagic Cormorants, wings outstretched toward the setting sun, perched upon urchin and barnacle covered sea pinnacles.

 Black Oystercatcher seabirds feed in the convergence zone, where fresh water and Ocean mix. Just offshore, a pod of nine Orca whales patrols the kelp forest, dorsal fins tall and proud, just like the high slopes of the Santa Lucia Mountains.

The first signs of October's waxing moon, a delicate crescent that seems to hover above the glow of a Pacific Coast Sunset. Big Sur is a special place, and we're doing our best to absorb this section of the wave.
Big Sur is a living, changing LandSeaScape. When we finally roll on south, past Salmon Creek Falls and onto the barking elephant seals and flats of Cayucos, we'll close our eyes, breath deep and remember Big Sur, from the granite cliffs, steep ravines, ancient forests of Redwood Trees, lions, owls and ferns, to the sweet smells of the beach, a clean, pure Ocean, where a night sky of stars twinkles off the Sea that always sings.

By the way...check out our first publicity from The Captains Inn in Moss Landing: