Cambrian: Opinion

The many blessings of the Fiscalini Ranch

It’s the season for counting our blessings and the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve gives us so much to be thankful for. This time of year gives us special perks to enjoy on the preserve and my favorites are:

  • Clear air with cloud shows for interest — the coastal fog has lifted! From the high points of the Ranch you can see for miles up and down the coast — all the way to the Lighthouse on a good day.
  • Glorious sunsets and looking for the Green Flash! Evening is a great time to walk to your favorite bench to watch; one made by Bob Bell, Will Scroggins, the Gil Eastman/Richard Lee team or Jay Burbank. All of them and Aaron Appel deserve our thanks, along with the people who donated the purchase and endowment funds to provide those wonderful resting spots.
  • Community members coming together to plant Monterey pine seedlings on the Sunday after Thanksgiving! This year 30 people planted 250 trees east of the Ridge Trail, helping Mother Nature replenish her rare and endangered Monterey pine forest. Brad Seek planted and grew the seedlings from seeds collected on the Ranch or nearby.
  • The Burrowing Owls appear once again to spend the winter with us! The first sighting has already been reported this year. These cute little owls live in ground squirrel burrows on the Ranch and grace us with their presence each year from sometime in November until about May. It’s always exciting to discover them, but please give them a little distance so they may go about their business undisturbed by curious onlookers.
  • Colorful Coastal poppies still in bloom! After most of the blossoms on the Ranch have faded, these perky little yellow and orange flowers just keep on blooming all through the year.
  • Rain showers that wash away summer’s dust! And then little by little you begin to notice brand new shoots of tender, bright green grass pushing up through last year’s golden thatch. The brown hills begin to vibrate with new color, causing us to dream of the glorious wildflowers we hope to see in spring.
  • The chill in the air — except of course when we have some of our hottest days! What exactly is winter anyway? November, December and January give us a hint of winter but also, surprisingly, provide us with plenty of warm sunny days. Both kinds of weather are perfect for a walk on the Ranch. Isn’t that a part of why we moved here?
  • Walks with family and friends visiting for the holidays! Some of our best memories are shared in the quiet moments when we take the time to enjoy nature with those who are closest to us. Sometimes those friends are made along the trails, too.

According to the Land Trust Alliance, we lose more than 5,000 acres a day to development in the United States. They are predicting that the amount of land covered by housing, roads, shopping malls and office parks will nearly triple by 2050. The places we have counted on for clean air and water, recreation and natural beauty are disappearing at an alarming rate. But here in Cambria we have 437 acres of open space that our small but mighty community has preserved for future generations — the Ranch! Please take the time to enjoy it. Even though we live in a small, beautiful community, it is easy to get caught up in the demands of work, seasonal expectations and other concerns, but some time in nature can be the perfect antidote.

Upcoming Events: Please mark your calendars

Songs for the Season, Saturday, Dec. 15, from 2 to 4:30 p.m.; Fog’s End Barn, 2735 Main Street, Cambria. Please join us for an afternoon of seasonal music by Mary Schwalbe and Ron Perry, including some favorites to sing along with. Enjoy fantastic appetizers by Alese Bell and Becky Kincaid, paired with an assortment of festive beverages. We will have a variety of wonderful raffle items suitable for gift giving. For more information please e-mail or call 927-2856.

Mushrooms on the Ranch, Saturday, Jan. 25, 10 a.m. to noon. Experts from the Native Plant Society will lead this mushroom identification walk. Due to limited space on most walks, reservations are required, by e-mail, or by phone, 927-2202.