Where the Wild Turkeys Roam

A wild turkey standing in a yard

In Sacramento – Our Sixth House Sit!

I spent a week in a beautiful home with a terrific dog, six hours north of Los Angeles, and Angela spent it mostly in hotels 500 miles away. We thought she would be able to come up as well, but we couldn’t make it work. 

A stream between housesMy new home was bordered on the north by a creek with running water and surrounded by a neighborhood of mature trees and gracious homes. Arden Oaks is one of the earlier developments outside Sacramento. Houses ranged from older, modest homes, to newer and massive, mini-mansions, familiar to my Los Angeles eyes – plopped down on lots meant for smaller, less intrusive homes.

a tree-lined street

Nearby streets followed creeks and wound around small hills: no grid layout there. I arrived in the dark, got North mixed up with East and never got straightened out. Stores and restaurants were close by on the main streets. I found most of them by backtracking as I always turned the wrong way. Even when walking I got mixed up, making for some very long walks with the dog.

a tree-lined street

What a Feast for the Senses!

Until this time, I had only seen one professional painter’s studio. The second one was on the upper level, windows on every side, above the treetops. I sat up there a couple of times to take in the view, and to see all the things in an artist’s studio; the paint, the brushes, the easels, and the paintings at various stages.

It was easy to understand why art filled the house. It was the most aesthetically pleasing and stimulating house I’ve ever been in, more like a gallery or a museum. I often sat and stared at paintings that caught my eye. It was the same in the backyard and garden; sculptures of all types in every direction.

A German shepherd close up

A wonderful girl – you can tell, right!

Man’s Best Friend

As you can see, my charge was a mature female German Shepherd with characteristics we find common to that breed: polite, and affectionate. She would always wait at the door looking for some sign of permission before going through. Except for meal time, she was reserved in that well-mannered way.

During the day, she would be close by, attentive but never intrusive. Our play included fetching balls in the backyard, which brought out an eccentricity.

She insisted on playing with two balls and would only give up one if she had another close at hand. Play with one ball and its fetch and keep. Play with two balls, and you could take part in the fun. 

A German shepherd licking a man's face

Jim’s first selfie!

I don’t recall ever needing to look for her. Inside she would be close by, outside, a soft call or whistle and she’s right with you. She was a pleasure to be with, what a great dog. As if she were trained in appreciation, she never took your care or attention for granted. 

I sincerely enjoyed my time with this delightful, lovely, polite and playful dog. Maybe I’m partial to German Shepherds since I was so taken with the one in Malibu as well.

Turkeys walking along a street

Just walking down the street

Wild Turkeys? Yes, Indeed!

During our walks, we would often see wild turkeys. One time we came home to more than 30 on the roof! That was a sight and a sound, actually a big racket! Mostly they would walk away from us, trotting a bit if we got too close. Come late afternoon they would make a roar flying up high in the trees to roost for the night.

I had never seen wild turkeys before and wondered why there were so many; I saw more turkeys than people around there. Apparently, for many years, there was a state program that captured turkeys in Texas and released them into the forests and fields of California. Why?

German Shepherd lying down

She was always relaxed

Another Small World Moment

I brought my bicycle but did not ride it at all, too cold and wet for me. It was the wettest place I had been in for a long time, well, except for the whole Pacific Ocean thing. I did take one side trip to visit the Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks. My last visit had been at least ten years earlier. It was great to see the campus again, so built up in the years since.

I remembered admiring the garden, actually more of a farm, with beautiful flow forms and a small pond in the middle. That’s where I was when I saw a head pop up between the rows of vegetables. It was the school’s gardener/farmer who also taught Bio-Dynamic Gardening

We chatted a while; then I asked if he had known Peter D. “Yes, of course! I learned lots from him, what a character; they don’t make many like him anymore. You knew him too?” “Yes, I married his daughter, well, just the one, Angela.” He asked after Angela’s mother and a few others and then we bid each other farewell.

Wild turkey on a house roof

Just make yourself at home

Another Visit to the Apple Store

I had headed out of Los Angeles with my one-day-old iPhone, and by day three I had managed to destroy it, or so I thought. I found the local Apple Store and headed out hoping any repair needed was under warranty. 

It took me about five minutes to describe the problem with the phone – it took the tech about three seconds to fix it. “It’s not broken. The keyboard was locked. You just press these two buttons.” “Oh,” That was lucky.

As an added service, he helped me save face by insisting he needed to run some diagnostic test to see if it was the phone. But no – it was user error. Despite his kindness, the sirens of stupid were ringing in my ears, something that seems to happen a lot lately.

On the way home I figured it was a good day to extend my lucky streak and buy a lottery ticket. It turns out it was a good day to fix my phone, not so much for winning the lottery! 

German Shepherd looking away

Such a beauty!

Time to Say Goodbye

Soon enough it was time to pack up my Mr. Coffee and head south to join Angela in Ojai. I expected to see the landscape drier than in Sacramento.

As I got closer to the Grapevine on Interstate 5 north of Los Angeles, a terrific storm came up over the mountains. Lightning strikes lit up the sky and rain drenched the highway. I was glad to bring back some rain with me – goodness knows Los Angeles needs it. 

Though my first solo house sit was entirely enjoyable, I was sorry Angela couldn’t join me and see the beautiful home and spend time with the wonderful dog.

What’s Next – How we separate

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