Almost two months again, my dad’s cousin’s daughter moved in to Tailfeather Ranch with her three kids. If that sounds complicated, don’t worry. It is.
The official familial relationships are as follows: Keli (the Mom) is my 2nd Cousin; her kids are my 2nd Cousins Once Removed.
Keli came here from Costa Rica where she was slowly spiralling into the dark abyss of depression, loneliness, and a general lack of purpose. Whatever the reasons, when she and the kids visited us here in California in July she saw a glimmer of hope. That mere glimmer quickly turned into a major branch of new possibilities. And here they are, 2 months later, just in time for the kids to start the new year at school.
The kids are Gabriel (16), Gloria (14), and Peter (6), and they’re great. Witty, funny, caring, kind. Say what you want, the life they were leading in Costa Rica has sure formed them all into some pretty awesome people. Gabriel plays the guitar better than me and is slowly growing into his reinvention of himself. Gloria loves the Beatles, has a wicked sense of humor, and watches out for Peter. Who, incidentally, goes by Captain Scallywag when he’s wielding his sword, jacket, hat, and PJs — all thrift-store buys, by the way.
They’re here to stay. My dad is effectively signing over the house for the foreseeable future, contingent only on a small contribution to the mortgage, and a promise of working toward a common vision for this beautiful 10 acre spread.
Keli and I have been spending a lot of time together, sharing visions of the future of this valley and this land, gleaning pine nuts and almonds out on Road 36, and moving horse shit with Petey. We’ve laid the ground for guild planting several trees in the small orchard to the North-East of the house — a cherry and an apricot tree. We’ve gathered and started the process of rendering-edible 20 lbs of acorns from one of the many Valley Oak trees at Tailfeather Ranch. We’re planning the conversion of the front yard into a permaculture garden, lined with river rock and mushroom logs. With Keli’s consistent enthusiasm and her children’s help, we’ve managed to do more than I’ve managed to get done in the last 2 years being in and out of this place.
And we’re just getting started. There’s much more to come. Wanna help?