"You have to have a passion to live long,"
... Rancho La Puerta owner/director Deborah Szekely (88 years young),
speaking to our gathering of invited bloggers.
First in a series of features on the Rancho's landscape, kitchen gardens & cooking school,
as RLP enters its 70th year of commitment to healthy living, protection of the environment,
& under the auspices of Fundacion La Puerta,
giving back to the area's school children and the community of Tecate, Mexico.
The landscape and guesthouses nestle in the foothills of Mount Kuchumaa.
Majestic evergreen live oaks offer shade and shelter throughout the gardens,
while succulents, countless native & Mediterranean species, and drought-tolerant
plants such as Grevilleas create inviting wildlife habitats.
Bird song enlivens every pathway & patio during daylight hours.
On a bird walk I encountered year-round residents - many breed at the Rancho:
Phainopepla, California quail, Anna's hummingbird, Cassin's Kingbird,
California thrasher (what a sight!), various finches and sparrows.
Winter visitors include Cedar waxwing & Hermit thrush.
Can anyone identify the bird pictured above in Aloe arborescens?
The jogging track encircles a field of grapevines.
Each dormant grapevine spoke to me:
Their aged, contorted forms demonstrating a unique sculptural bearing
...or anthropomorphic quality.