Updating Mental Pictures

These are the signs at the entrance to Woodcutters Road. Neighbors put the top two up years ago, and Andy added the red one last year:


It used to be a through road, eventually (after 7 to 8 miles) ending at the main highway, and Andy wanted to warn people that is no longer true — the Forest Service now prevents people from going past the end of Woodcutters Road (at the north end of our property). Andy used to travel the rest of the road once a year to remove trees, rocks, etc. to keep it open as a fire exit, but now it’s undriveable.

Unfortunately Sunday a fellow either didn’t see the sign or else chose to trust his memory/mental picture of how it used to be. He drove with his wife up Woodcutters Road until he was stopped by a tree across the road and had trouble backing up.

Andy met the couple as he was driving up from the Sunday walk in the Valles Caldera Preserve. The couple had already walked about four miles and had been trying to phone for help using their cell phones. Lots of luck with that! Anyway, Andy was happy to help but could take only one passenger in his Jeep.

Fortunately a neighbor came by with a passenger car, so all four of them drove back to the stuck car to see if Andy could pull it out with a winch. No way! So they continued up Woodcutters Road to the fallen tree, Andy got out his saw and cleared the road, then they drove up to a good turnaround place. Andy went on to the house and the neighbor took the couple to the Valles visitor center where they could phone a friend with equipment to pull their car back on the road.

Just another example of how we can’t always believe what we think and that it’s a good idea to update our mental pictures of the world from time to time. Reality keeps changing on us!


Posted in Life As a Shared Adventure | 14 Comments

Sunny Day Walks

I’m writing this on Sunday, while Beate, Tim and Andy are taking another walk in the Valle Grande. When Beate told me about it I said, “Better you than me.” I’m sure they will have a great time, but I have trouble with heat and prefer walking in the shade. So does Tempi:

Torben took these pictures when he, Kaitlin, Tempi and I took a walk Thursday. Andy suggested we go in the morning so it wouldn’t be too hot, and it started off fine. But the sun was beating down and we soon got warm.

Tempi was happy to go exploring in the bushes at first, but when it came to walking on the road she would trot ahead, lie in the shade of a bush and wait for us to catch up. When it was time to move on she would again trot ahead and wait in the shade.

After we had walked only about 2.2 miles Kaitlin looked at me and told me to wait in the shade, she would walk up (another 0.4 miles) and get the car. Okay, it did make sense. I looked at Tempi panting in the shade and decided if she wanted to go farther I would too. But she was content to lie there, so we and Torben waited until Andy drove down and picked us up. As Kaitlin said in the beginning, one nice thing about walking on the road, we can always get a ride.

Thank you all for the walk, the pictures and the ride!


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Obstacle or Shred Toy?

Apparently there was a crisis at The Thundering Herd. Cheoah/Cheezewhiz wanted to take a nap and there was a shirt on her favorite ottoman. She couldn’t lie down until Hu-dad removed it.

Can anyone imagine Tempi doing that?

Fortunately (hopefully?) her folks have learned not to leave good clothing out as shred toys.


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Power Causes Brain Damage

The historian Henry Adams was being metaphorical, not medical, when he described power as “a sort of tumor that ends by killing the victim’s sympathies.” But that’s not far from where Dacher Keltner, a psychology professor at UC Berkeley, ended up after years of lab and field experiments. Subjects under the influence of power, he found in studies spanning two decades, acted as if they had suffered a traumatic brain injury—becoming more impulsive, less risk-aware, and, crucially, less adept at seeing things from other people’s point of view.

Sukhvinder Obhi, a neuroscientist at McMaster University, in Ontario, recently described something similar. Unlike Keltner, who studies behaviors, Obhi studies brains. And when he put the heads of the powerful and the not-so-powerful under a transcranial-magnetic-stimulation machine, he found that power, in fact, impairs a specific neural process, “mirroring,” that may be a cornerstone of empathy. Which gives a neurological basis to what Keltner has termed the “power paradox”: Once we have power, we lose some of the capacities we needed to gain it in the first place.
—-Power Causes Brain Damage — How leaders lose mental capacities—most notably for reading other people—that were essential to their rise

There is a lot more in the article, of course. I found it fascinating.


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Watering the Sequoia

Water your trees! These trees originated at a time when the earth was warmer and wetter than it is today. Once the soil surrounding the roots of the giant sequoias totally dries out these trees are dead. They are not at all forgiving to those who forget to water, like most landscape trees are. On hot summer days your newly planted giant sequoias will consume all available water within twenty four hours. The roots of the container grown trees are confined into a relatively small area. Initially you must water directly into the root ball because the roots have not spread wide enough to consume water from the surrounding soil. You must be diligent with your watering at least until the roots have grown out to where they can pick up enough rainwater and subsurface water on their own. When irrigating think consistently moist soil and not consistently muddy. For the best results continue to irrigate your trees for their entire lifetime (about 3000 years). If this isn’t possible, ask someone to water them in your absence or put in an automatic irrigation system. Remember that water is critical!
Giant Sequoias in the Landscape Garden

Andy has his work cut out for him.


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Sammy, Tweeter-in-Chief?

Yesterday morning I received this message from Sammy up on the land:

Do you think I could sneak into the white house and take over the oval office without anyone noticing?

I can learn to tweet

(The picture was taken in their kitchen a while back — that’s Montana, not Tempi.)

Would you vote for him?


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More Pup Pictures

They clearly don’t hate one another. 🙂


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They’re Here!

We had a good trip up to the land with Kaitlin, Torben and the pups yesterday. They’ll be staying up there until Thursday evening.

I was hoping to write this post up there, but my laptop wouldn’t work right. Kaitlin searched the web with her iPhone and found some things for me to try, so I eventually got it restored. Patience and persistence, plenty of chances to practice. So I wrote this post when I got back home.

Here are some pictures Kaitlin sent when they were on their way. The funny thing is it looks as if the pups were crowded together in the back seat. In fact, they were in the Tesla and there was plenty of room to spread out. Presumably they liked it that way and they got along fine.

Happy Fourth of July, everyone!


Posted in Life As a Shared Adventure | 6 Comments

New Redwood

Beate, Tim and Andy planted a new redwood Saturday. Notice the beautiful fence Beate and Tim made. 🙂

As usual, fingers crossed.


Posted in Life As a Shared Adventure | 9 Comments



Posted in Life As a Shared Adventure | 6 Comments