GUEST BLOG: TOM FOLLIS’S NATURE ADVENTURES
I am going to tell you about a lovely, unique, remote area, the location of which shall remain unknown except to say that it is approximately 70 miles Northwest of Central Los Angeles and about 10 miles inland from the sunny surfer’s beaches in Ventura County. For about 34 years I lived with my wife and a dozen other residents, who were the only people fortunate enough to live in this valley. A valley surrounded by hills, oak trees and in the winter, meadows with knee high wild oats— where no one was ever seen except the occasional hiker. There are no trails, only dense brush, chaparral and rough steep hills. My granddaughter when she would visit would ask, “Where are all the people?” Because there were no cars or people who she’d seen that morning!
Every species of animals and many kinds of birds that normally inhabit California have at one time or other passed through our 3 acre homestead. Two of these 3 acres were thickly covered by oak trees. I remember some coyotes yipping and howling around at night — sounding like there were hundreds out there in the total darkness (but probably only 3 or 4 were really out there). During the day sometimes a coyote would sneak into the yard and we could see them from the kitchen climbing up the apple trees. They would climb up, seize an apple and trot off to devour it in peace.
During one hot summer time blackheaded grossbeaks and other birds took great delight in pigging out on fresh apricots, peaches, plums, pears and figs from a small orchard. The deer (sometimes as many as six) would also enjoy the fruit. Even a large wood rat had a nest in a high corner of the small barn in the back of our yard. But this wood rat was very secretive and would quickly disappear through a small hole in the wall whenever I would open the door. Every morning when I would walk down the
deserted street, there would be thousands of spider webs in the bushes. For as far as one could see, the webs were adorned with many, many drops of dew which would sparkle in the bright morning sunlight. All of Solomon’s fine and costly jewels could never matched the stunning breath-taking glory and beauty of these gem-like dew drops.
Every morning and every day presented a new adventure in our incredible home in the middle of the beautiful wilderness. I hope you too can experience similar wonderful sounds and views of wildlife during a hike in the wilderness