Weekend Postcard: Sailboat on Clear Lake

A few weeks back we saw colorful sailboats on Clear Lake. (Clear Lake is in Lake County in northern California.) According to the Konocti Bay Sailing Club, 45 boats participated the 28th Konocti Cup (their route is here). We might see one or two sailboats in a month, to see so many at one time was marvelous.

To see more photos of the event, click here.

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Weekend Postcard: Redbud in bloom

The western redbud (Cercis occidentalis) has bloomed throughout Lake County, CA. With its cordate (heart-shaped) leaves and magenta flowers, it dazzles us during spring.

Flowers and nascent leaves of the redbud

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‘Twas the Night Before Deadline

I write a column called the Green Chain for the Lake County Record-Bee‘s environmental page, the Green Scene. The Record-Bee printed this yesterday.

‘Twas the night before the Record-Bee’s Green Chain deadline.
I had writer’s block, and not for the first time.

When up in the sky, riding the clouds like a boat,
I spotted a wonder, a flying Chevy Volt.

Driven by Kris Kringle without reindeer with hoof,
it nose-dived straight into my roof.

Catching fire in a wink.
I said, “I’m going to get water to put it out, right here from the sink.”

I thought better of it yet,
and grabbed the old fire extinguisher, filled with still useful, Carbon Tet.

When I ran back to the outside, he’d already beaten down the flames
with an old reindeer hide.

He dropped down to my lawn.
“Drat, I sure miss Dandruff and Sitzbath, who now are gone.”

“Donder and Blitzen,” I said.

He turned, looked at me, and arched an eyebrow.
“Hmmph. Not bad for a guy who’s got writer’s block, right now.”

It was my turn to arch an eyebrow like his.
“So tell me, how do you know any of this?”

He made a ref’s timeout sign with his hands and quick.
“Look Sport, can we stop the Clement Moore, Night Before Christmas shtick?”

“I prefer to think of it as an homage.”

“Uh huh. You’re kidding, right? Look, I know about your writer’s block because the elves keep track of such stuff on the web.”

“The elves hack into computers?”

“The elves? Hackers? Ho, ho, ho.” His great beard bounced about. “Nah. They just use Facebook and Twitter. You wouldn’t believe what people post.”

“Can I use your phone?” he said and pulled out a card. “I need a tow. Boy, could I use Vomit and Pooka-head right now.”

“Comet and Cupid.”


I took him to the phone in the kitchen. “You learned about my writer’s block from my status update on Twitter?”

“Bingo.” He dialed and then put his hand over the receiver. “So, d’ya think you could fix me a double-shot cappuccino? It’s going to be a long night.”

When he finished giving his information to the dispatcher he plopped onto my kitchen chair.

I set a plate of cookies and the cappuccino on the table. “So, how are things on the North Pole?”

“Cold.” He slurped at the cappuccino. “You know, with this global warming stuff, everybody had worried that the polar bears and the ice caps would be gone this year. Frankly, I was looking forward to catching a Russian freighter and moving to the Bahamas like we did in the 1920’s.”

“The arctic ice was nearly gone in the 20s?”

“Sure, don’t you know any history?” He bit into a cookie. “Not bad for store-bought.”

“Thank Pepperidge Farms.”

“As for polar bears, did you know we have five times the population of those four-legged eating machines than we had seventy years ago? Geez Louise, Mrs. Clause has to shoo more of them away from the clothesline every year.”

The phone rang and I answered it. “The tow truck will be here in ten minutes.”

“Thanks.” He set his empty cup down. “Man, I miss Dopey and Sneezy.”


“Nah, they were a couple of dwarfs that hung around this hot number named, ‘Snow White.’ Really lousy poker players. I miss them.”

“By the way,” I said. “What happened to your reindeer?”

“Probably in some hunter’s freezer now. Upper management said they had to go, said we needed a smaller carbon footprint, said those animals spewed too much methane into the upper atmosphere causing an increase in global warming, this according to the pointy headed engineers’ climate models.”

I nodded. “I bet you miss them.”

“The engineers?”

“The reindeer.”

“Well, right now, yeah. But, the new Volt has a heater and factory air. That’s nice. Though, I have to charge it for hours every 40 miles and there is a slight chance of fire in a crash.”

“So I noticed.”

“One of those fuel-efficient diesels would’ve been better; some of them get 50 miles to the gallon. Do you know how long it takes to go around the world, dropping off presents, when you have to stop every 40 miles to recharge a Volt’s battery?”

“A long time?”

“Darn right.”

A horn sounded outside.

Santa shook my hand. “Well, I gotta go.”

He turned and was gone. But I heard him shout as the Volt was towed out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to y’all, and to y’all a good night.”

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