Category Archives: Ellys

#10 Blue Skies Smilin’ at Me…

By Ellys

In the three hours of the ‘storm from hell’, over two and a half inches of rain fell! A really cool, copper rain gage came with the property, so we don’t have to guess, or take the word of the local weather channel.rain gage

The short part of our road that is dirt and gravel, punctuated by larger rocks, turned into a river and the soft low place became a treacherous muddy slip and slide.

Given this was our first storm experience since moving here, we were relieved to hear from the locals that this was NOT a typical downpour.

Then again, with the whole El Niño predictions for this winter, it might become the norm!


And, yes—the storm did, indeed pass. The sun returned to warm our bones and dry the mud.

Within a few days, the pasture and the hillsides turned an emerald green. All those little seeds, fried in the 106-degree summer heat, wasted no time bursting out of their dried shells.

The turkeys seemed to like the menu change from hard hulls to a salad of sprouts!green pasture

And the song concludes: Blue days, all of them gone. Nothin’ but blue skies from now on.

I would like to say the rest of the song exemplifies our on-going experience at the homestead, but as we all know, ‘nothing but blue skies’ is unrealistic and frankly boring.

As unsettling as the storm can be, clouds are bound to gather, which is far more interesting than the clear, single hum of cerulean!

I say, enjoy the sky, however it presents itself!


PS: I just discovered how to make the photos bigger. Very excited. (I know–lame, right? But, hey, I’m easy. 🙂

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#7 OMG! Get Your Boots!

OMG!  Lynnie just came rushing in from the yard hollering to get my boots on–that a deer was caught in the fence down by the goat shed below the garage! We could hear it thrashing against the half wall of the shed. The poor thing (one of the adolescent fawns) was hanging by his back leg from the upper fenced part of the pen near the roof!! Cannot figure out HOW the hell he ended up like that!!

Lynnie went inside the pen and I caught hold of the little guy’s head from the outside. This seemed to calm him, or maybe it just scared the shit out of him–but either way he stopped thrashing.

“Lift him up so I can get his hoof out!” Lynnie said. We were so afraid that his leg was broken. I lifted him and with the pressure off, Lynnie was able to get his leg free. I righted him, set him down on his feet and he shot off down the hill –using all four legs!!

SOOOOO glad!  My heart is still pounding.

Thank god for our Raleigh boy! He’s the one that kept barking till Lynnie went to investigate.

Wow! Now this is country living!!

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#4 Calling 911!

By Ellys

Lynnie and I did a lot of unpacking and cleaning yesterday. We organized the projects room and hung more paintings on our walls. I did some editing of my next book and Lynnie did a computer job. By evening, we were both tired.

Full moon rising at sunset

Full moon rising over sunset

After dinner we relaxed with a Milk Stout, in front of some mindless TV.

Suddenly Reba and Raleigh leaped up and ran to the door. Headlights swung across the front windows and the dogs set to barking. Peering out, we could see a car stopped near the garage. I flipped on the outside lights and the car just sat there. No one got out.

Now, keep in mind we are on over ten acres, up a dirt road, with only two other houses above us. Our own driveway is long, ending at a closed gate.

“Who do you think it is?” I said. Lynnie didn’t answer, she just marched out the door and up to the gate to check it out. I stayed with the dogs.

The driver kept his window up and, as Lynnie approached, gee-hawed the car around, turning back up the driveway; but rather than go on to the road, he turned up the lane that dead ends at our big red barn.

I poked my head out the door. “What’s going on!” I called.

“Call 911!” Lynnie yelled.

“What?” I said, going out onto the front porch.

“Call 911!”

I ran into the house to get my phone, my heart in my throat. “What am I supposed to tell them?” I hollered back. “What’s going on?”

“Tell ’em someone is trespassing on our property, and they won’t leave,” she shouted. “And I’m gonna get my GUN!” She emphasized the last word.

Okay, Lynnie doesn’t really have a gun—well, we have a gun; it was left here inside a small, built-in safe in our closet, but we have never used it and there are no bullets. Of course the guy in the car didn’t know that…

By now, I was on the phone with the 911 operator who kept saying, ‘You’re breaking up—I can’t hear you.”

In between repeating the address, I’m screaming at Lynnie, “Get back here! Don’t be following them, for crying out loud!” Given there were no lights on at the barn, all I could see were the taillights of the car, way the hell up by the barn and hear Lynnie yelling she’s getting her gun.

When the 911 operator, finally could hear where we live, she kept asking me what I could see. I told her all I could see were the taillights of the car. I moved the phone away and yelled at Lynnie again to “Get back here!”

At this point, the guy in the car started to hollering, “Don’t shoot me, don’t shoot me. I’m lost!!”

“Well then, stop and back the hell up and I will show you how to get out of here!”  Lynnie hollers back.

Finally, the guy backed up to the drive. He told Lynnie he took a wrong turn—that he’s a car salesman delivering a car to an address on the next ridge over.

My thought? Sure—in the dead of night, without a follow car to take him back to town? Right.

The 911 Operator was calling into the phone, “Are you alright? Is everything OK?”

With the guy finally headed down the driveway and off the property, I replied. “We’re OK. They’re leaving.”

When Lynnie got back to the house, her face was spread with a big grin. “The kid in the car was scared to death. He really thought I was gonna shoot him!” She laughed. “That was fun!”

I imagine if that guy writes a blog entry about the events of the evening, it would probably be called, “I almost got shot tonight!”

Little does he know!


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By Ellys

So, here we are at Lofty View Homestead! I had hoped to keep a running account of the adventure that began in January, 2015, but OMG, the moment THE ADVENTURE BEGAN, it picked us up and carried us along on a wave of non-stop crazy and only now have I been able to breathe long enough to write anything down. And given the fires all up in these hills right now, breathing is not that easy to do!! We are not in the fire zone, thank goodness, but our hearts go out to those who are!! Thankfully, fire containment is increasing each day.


Let me go back and give you a bit of the history that brought us to Lofty View Homestead.

Sometimes, life unfolds in such a way to shift one’s direction completely. The well-thought-out plan morphs and the road that once seemed so very clear, reveals dips and curves –dead ends and washouts. Sure, we could ‘push the river’ and ignore the warnings. (Did you notice my segue into the river metaphor?) We could insist that ‘it’s still a good plan’ and continue driving through the rising flood while becoming more and more anxious and at risk of drowning; or we could pull over and regroup.

When this became our reality, we asked ourselves why we were living in one of the most expensive places in California. Ellys had retired and Lynnie continued to be self-employed and able to work from pretty much anywhere. Our conclusion: as much as we loved Sonoma County and the lovely folk we had come to know and care about, we did not need to continue to live there, particularly when there are so many other beautiful places where we can live and thrive.

This shift in paradigm required a plan that would create greater financial security and sustainability. A smaller house, on more land, in an area where property is more affordable would be ideal. Our initial exploration included the coastal area of Fort Bragg and the rich farmlands of Lake County. Finally, we settled on the foothills of the Gold County where 10+ acres, with a big house, and a pool and two barns cost $440,000, rather than the $1.5 million price tag of a comparable Sonoma County property. The decision was made!

After weeks of packing and pairing down, our home in Santa Rosa was ready to go on the market. We had high hopes, given it was a ‘seller’s market’. After months of disappointment and a grueling experience with realtors, we finally sold that property, making the way clear to buy our next home. Though we flirted with Amador County, we focused our search in El Dorado County, near Placerville, a charming gold county town and primary ‘urban’ area of the county.

Our must-have list included a decent internet connection (a challenge in the foothills) for Lynnie’s work, enough usable land for our garden, privacy without isolation and preferably a second unit, (so that maybe we could convince our kids to join us!) As the search continued, JD and Dusty, did agree to join the adventure and the idea of the Homestead was born.

We kissed several frogs, as Lynnie put it, before finding our new home, but it was worth the time and stress and fights and exhaustion and numerous trips from Santa Rosa to the foothills, to find it. Been here for almost two months now and Holy Moly what an challenge it has been…More about that part of the adventure to come!!



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