The Week in Bloom

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elegant windlass at each pair of posts, framing a gateway

The only sounds punctuating my bike ride to the coast along the quiet, eight mile stretch of Valley Ford-Franklin School Road were the sweet song of the meadowlark perched on fence posts and the eerily creaking eucalyptus in the wind. As I climbed the long inclines south, between Estero Americano and the mouth of Tomales Bay, I made pause at each crest to catch my breath and sit for a while, staring out at the vast grazing land to either side before descending. I noticed how the ranchers have made breaks in the fencing at the high points, gateways large enough for a truck, framed by paired posts, typically joined and made strong by an elegantly simple windlass. Each rancher has his own style, and it seems a point of pride to not copy your neighbor. I found myself drawn to the older styles, evidenced by the patina on the wood and barbed wire, and the general economy of material (see above) and skill of execution. Along the way, I made note of these new blooms by the road:

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black locust

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eucalyptus

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a typical ‘culvert bouquet’

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