Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Dogtown Chronicles

If I am the landlord of October, by virtue of my birthday, then my sister Doris owns the neighboring realm of November. Her meander through the month to her birthday doesn't go quite as far into the serious twenties as mine. She arrived there yesterday, the 21st.

Happy birthday, Dotch!

Somehow, the days of our respective birthdays remind me of the wallpaper in our respective bedrooms as kids. Oct. 27 corresponds to my galloping cowboys thundering across plain and gully, whooping browns and greens and reds. Nov. 21 seems to go with her white and gold cool chic wallpaper. She was also Seventeen magazine to my Mad.

Nowadays she oversees November from a redwood aerie in Dogtown, California, overlooking vulture-cruised, coyote-echoing, Olema Valley in West Marin County. It's dense with live oaks and eucalyptus trees, persimmons and passionflowers, and over the years it has also been home to San Clemente goats, Jacob sheep, a pair of Scottish Highland steer, llamas, chickens, geese, cats, dogs, one remarkable horse, and a great variety of wild animals, including predators ranging from raccoons to mountain lions.

The stories that emerge from her days have made for some extraordinary emails and phone conversations over the years. Luckily, the world can now hear those stories too. She has written a wonderful book entitled The Dogtown Chronicles: Our Life and Times with Sheep, Goats, Llamas, and Other Creatures. It contains all the accounts in an enthralling narrative, with fine line-drawing illustrations by Connie Mery and brilliant photographs by Dory's husband and mayor of Dogtown, Richard Kirschman.

You can follow this link to the book's website:

It's as good as going to Dogtown, almost.


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  2. Hey Dory's birthday is the same day a Zoe Druick's! Remember little Zoe, Hank? She turned FORTY this week and is a professor at SFU. Cheryl and Don were at the party. And Martha and lots of people I didn't know. But very festive. If Zoe's FORTY, Dory must be ancient! Hah! (I should talk, having just turned 65...)