Meanwhile Back at the Ranch

I say that because we live on a ranch. Although it is being developed parcel-by-parcel for residential/commercial use, it is still a working ranch with cowboys and cattle. I could hear them mooing across the valley the other day. No lie. Mooing is a strange thing to hear in the burbs, so I got out the binoculars, and, sure enough, there were cattle grazing over there.
Image from Rancho Mission Viejo.

We’re only a couple miles from Mission San Juan Capistrano, the crown jewel of the missions. The missions were primarily designed to convert the natives to Christianity. Father Junipero Serra founded 21 missions in California in the mid 1700s. It’s a very long story, more than anyone has the time or attention span for.

This is what’s left of ours. It’s still very beautiful and you can go inside.

You may have heard about the swallows?

The miracle of the swallows of Capistrano takes place each year at Mission San Juan Capistrano, on March 19th, St. Joseph’s Day.

As the faithful little birds wing their way back to the most famous mission in California, the village of San Juan Capistrano takes on a fiesta air and the visitors from all parts of the world, and all walks of life, gather in great numbers to witness the “miracle” of the return of the swallows.

At dawn on St. Joseph’s Day, the little birds arrive and begin rebuilding their mud nests.

True? Sort of. They do come back each year, but they do not arrive en masse like the legend says. Or at least I’ve never seen it and I’ve lived in these parts for more than 20 years. We had more swallows on the central coast than we do here. So they are everywhere, not this one place, and not this one day. But it’s a nice story.

To celebrate, and bring in tourist dollars, we have an annual Fiesta de las Golondrinas, which translates to Swallows Festival. parade-2-2009

It was a very nice parade celebrating our Mexican and American heritages, and the spirit of the Wild/Old West, which is also a big part of who we are.

Okay, enough of that.

Next up are a couple of photos I took while golfing yesterday.

These are California Poppies, our state flower. They grow wild up and down the state, often turning whole hillsides alive with color. It’s something to see. And when you see them growing wild out of nowhere, it’s really neat. At least *I* think so.

We were looking for Danielle’s ball when I snapped the above photo. And then we saw this:

(color enhanced) It’s just a little guy, only about 18 inches long—it looked like a stick—but as we drove past it in the cart it coiled back. Our neighbor’s dog was bitten by a rattlesnake last week in their back yard. (He’s fine.) There are signs all over the place warning you about rattlesnakes and mountain lions, but until you see one you just don’t think about it. It’s wild out there!

I stole this image from Cheryl. She took it with her phone at lunch Sunday. It’s a great shot with the crab legs in the foreground.

That’s all for now. Very busy days (and nights) here on the ranch.


  1. Rian, you are disappearing - you look wonderful!


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