Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Angel of peace behind lathe plaster masque ?

4th C
Roman Emperor Constantine 
built The Church of the Nativity.  
Jesus's manger is here, 
not a stable, it's a cave.
A priceless lot 
A piece of land
A place of soul 

Samaritan rebels 
burn it to the ground

6th C
Emperor Justinian rebuilds. 
Survives earthquakes, bombing, 
bullets, and defacement.
A group comes in
A gang shoots out
A guy is in charge

Take my land 
steal my heart

7th C
Four-foot Door of Humility replaces 
high arching entry
 to keep out horsemen
A priest chants
A imam bows
A sage prays

Today C
No Visitors, walls too fragile.
Rumor is- there are frescoes
Restorers compare 
mosaics to art of Islam
I see
I will share
I dream with the angel

Caroline Gerardo copyright 2016

Caroline on Medium recent stories:

https://medium.com/@cgbarbeau/crank-macaroni-salad-and-stonewalling-ab18e8afba5e#.7hagso9c3Silent Treatment - Relationships - Love and an addictive Recipe for Macaroni Salad

https://medium.com/@cgbarbeau/police-encounter-please-advise-c5e9fc7bffe8#.iz09j1tt7 Police Brutality Story 2 minute read

Sepia Dust

Compost builds soil
Sepia tones in potted succulents
Earth structure

Rock sifter for road to ranch this machine is 30 feet tall and three trucks long

Dust to dust
 dust you shall become
Sepia tones cuddle fish grisalle 

Moved to the ranch.
debt free 
Life turn
No more $7568. monthly mortgage.
No more Homeowner Association. 
Arboreal lights in the sunset?

Painted a future.
can be
Hips burn
Now a cow bell announces guests.
Now miles pf dirt road driveway. 
Is Pinterest homesteading easy?

Buried beloved dog,
under tree.
Times turn
Today peanut butter rat traps.
Today haul huglekultur logs
I washed chicken baby butts?

Dust to dust
dust you shall become
Sepia tones cuddle fish grisalle 

horse shoes, antique iron

Ancient mortar pestle found in riverbed where I now live
Copyright June 20, 2016 Caroline Gerardo
Images taken on my iphone 4

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Slow Down On My Road

Traumatic Brain Injury 

5:00 AM Adelia drives Ortega Highway
 to work her shift in Mission Hospital Emergency.
Adelia Dias descendant of an explorer prays,
"Hail Mary no Road Kill today."

 Deer cross, doves rise and motorcycles roar.
No in passing solid double lines.
Island in the waves of the road.
Ignored, scoffed, hurried steal
family, future and fragile life. 

White foam board note in rear window:

" You Ricky Racer-
I've seen 3 no 4 dead on Ortega Highway.
Pass, cut off, wreck - less - tardy -
Fireworks spread your body parts on the Pacific.
Millions of your cells eaten by plankton.
Passing is your ticket to the deep. "

The number three crossed out in red pen, 
left in her pocket from the Triage of last night.

Copyright June 23 2016 Caroline Gerardo photograph of fireworks and story poem all rights reserved
October 6th 2016 another poor soul=== I pray drivers will slow down, be extra cautious turning in front of motorcycles and where it says do not pass, follow road signs. Hundreds of times I see reckless and angry drivers on Ortega 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Tree Roots File for V A Disability


V. A. promised. 
Papers stack, lost, found, scatter…
Over the years, trips to the library…
Libraries no longer hold book shelves.
He has no access to internet.
He lives by mountains that touch Riverside
(there is no river; but that's another story.)

Documents due.
“Three hundred eleven pages, count them twice,” Dan asks the boy at Kinko’s.
Pay for copies (machine at the public library is broken.)
Boy says, “It’s cheaper to mail U S Post than Fed Ex.”
“No car,” he shakes his head.
Dan doesn’t explain license was lost driving his wife
to the doctor with expired tags in an off road car.

Duplicates mailed.
It takes three bus transfers and five miles walking on a swollen knee.
His ear rings with cicadas. Spinning to locate the buzz; there are no bugs, flies sit on hamburger wrappers. A Carl’s Jr ad logan reads: " Support Veterans. " The space on each side of the letters aches his bad teeth, as when biting into the paper wrapper. Greasy paper lacks the meat of burger.

Decembers counted. At the office in Long Beach in the spring, he inquires about the package. Interview set in three months. A Veteran’s Affairs intern decides his life.

Deliriums repeated.
That day, he’s up at 3:00 AM to ride the bus again. A familiar track keeps ghosts from muttering about Vietnam. These thoughts he sunk in a muddy puddle of his mind.
Three chairs are filled in the lobby of the V A office. Twenty one men wait in line.
In the interview room at a wooden table, a young woman looks over her computer.
“Have a seat. Please get out two forms of I.D.”
He shuffles for his California ID as she types.
“There are one hundred questions. Answer promptly to get the interview closed on time.”
He nods. She asks questions about years of service, employment and familial status.
“What is the one incident you recall as being traumatic?”
He thinks of hundreds jumbled together. He cannot pull one into a brief story.
“There are so many.”
“One please.” She says not looking at him.
He summarizes Chu Lai. Operation Starlight sounds cheerful in battle history but being shot, pulling a buddy, finding him missing legs doesn’t make him smile towards the end of the tale.
“Why did you not file before?”
“Shame,” his answer is one word.
After forty minutes she announces, “Thank you, that is all.”

Dismissals granted. 
As he closes the door behind, he wonders about the men lined up in the lobby. Useless almond trees become firewood. The image uproots his emotions. Now outside, a hot rush of tears waters his cheeks.
“Should have let her see…” He clears his face with his sleeve.
On the walk home there is a mirror balloon, now missing the helium, caught near the bus stop. He examines it hoping for a sign. A birthday wish sent to heaven, now fallen in his way. Objects foretell events, this is a good omen. Perhaps he passed the test. 

Tree roots photograph and poetry copyright Caroline Gerardo June 20, 2016

I've been thinking about Lt Col Ben Pollard. This story is not about him. I wore his Vietnam MIA silver bracelet in my High School years. After years of captivity and torture he did come home. He now lives in California. I often keep him in my prayers. To all those who serve for our freedom, thank you. Did you wear one of those? I lost mine long ago, but not the memory

Friday, June 17, 2016


Magnolia in hidden coffee house stranger shares the bloom. He climbs a ladder?  She noticed the gentle perfume? Magnolia in my old house was a pest. She tossed burrs of red seed and shells into my swimming pool like scabs on knees. Ants trimmed  her back twice a year. The  tree rewarded me with peanut blooms. This stranger let her cultivar wild, now that I'm free of homeowner associations mean neighbors and keeping the lawn green as astro turf I'm going to plant a magnolia feed her aged chicken poop and let her go

Monday, June 13, 2016

San Juan Capistrano Local Guide Day

Local Meetup Google Guide
San Juan Capistrano
2:00 -4:00
Bring your Camera
Meet at the Mission Church
I'm springing for entrance fees
We will tour the garden, talk about
how this once was a working edible
place to nourish the community.
Then drive or walk to D and M
Color the wholesale nursery next to
the horse stables.
Last stop the fountains at Plant Depot
I'm a poet, master gardener and photographer.
I'm planning my next great garden on The Ranch. Interested in  sustainable, organic, home grown
and creative methods.
See you then!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Ranch Home Off Grid

Front yard BEFORE PHOTO Weed cutting

My new life on the ranch. Off grid.

Days roll along stealing time. Long lists on yellow pads flow as rivers. Try to limit daily chores to achievable ends. Lists reappear next day to be re-written. Good, keeping mind and body busy.
I grieve loss of Honey. Her presence at home for fourteen plus years was sweet. She’s the kindest soul in the universe. Because of moving and repairing new digs I'm home more often. The hours when she followed me about as our family Nanny ache in my back. I pretend I still have requirements to get up early to take her out to relieve herself. But she isn’t here on earth.

The lot below the house is cleared. Weed whacking the acre took two days. My hands hurt from the vibration. Running a mower over land untended would toss boulders into the blades and ruin the machine. This is gloves on hands shovel work. With the first course of cut, pile, and dig out roots now black tarps blanket the soil. On top of the inky river cardboard boxes from moving add weight. Cover the soil to kill seeds and make it uncomfortable for rabbits, voles, rats and snakes.

Next duty is securing the chain link fence. Before moving I toyed with cutting truck loads of willow branches and weaving waddle fences to hide the industrial appearance of metal wire. I have elaborate drawings of my gorgeous waddle fences as if I’m in a temperate Irish hillside. Those dreams are on hold. For now it is urgent to secure the fence from the National Forest and her critters. Small pests attract predators who pose real dangers. I’ve seen two rattlesnakes, a bobcat, and a mountain lion. Other creatures- couple male deer, coyotes, rabbits and raccoon s are visible but less ominous. On the yellow to do list is to dig an eight inch trench under the chain link fence, add fine gauge wire under and up in an L shape then bury with concrete and rocks.

Blair and I picked up pullets over the hill at Kohoots. She didn’t want to mail order baby chicks. She thought it cruel to ship them across the country in a cardboard box. I didn’t have the heart to tell her, and I don’t really know but I think the fuzz balls are born in a hatchery. Our main ranch has egg layers. We plan for a small flock of chicken pets who are interested in eating bugs up at the house. Daughter is set on raising Silkies and mild mannered Polish. She tells me as if reading from the Farmer’s Almanac, “Bantams means small home pet style chickens, it’s not a breed Mom.”
I Will post photographs of the baby chicks today.

I’m pleased with my make do clothes line. Again I researched then adapted plans to real life. Amazon has numerous upright cage clothes lines. Cost around two hundred dollars to four hundred. Forget it. I read a lovely blog post about Amish clothes lines. Ah, the aroma of summer in sheets and the music of children laughing as they hand their Momma pins. Stop. Okay so I had some 2 X 4’s left over from repairing the chicken coops. These long poles will stand in the rear of the house to hold up my three dollar Wallmart canvas line. Not as romantic as a pulley system from my kitchen window, but functional for now. Cost for clothes line -$3.00. I will make a rock step to access the hillside in coming months, for now there is the old ladder. (Reminds me about accidents on ladders…) Plenty of rocks here, perhaps this land was an ancient river bed?

After driving around abandoned lots across Ortega Highway looking for their office I contacted Sierra Compost. Her email says, “we closed the commercial lot, no longer have offices for cost savings.” Sierra Compost will deliver five yards when I'm done with the fence security next week.

Big on the list is to install phone reception. Cell phone isn’t working at home. I bought two different boosters (junk doesn't work.) Called ATT 17 times from my office. They say they will send me an operable micro something to boost the cell service. According to Public Utilities Commission since they are my only emergency phone possible they should provide access. It remains suspenseful IF the booster box shows up at Post Office Box.

What else shall I share on my list? Son comes home from college next week. Blair sorting her boxes emptied. Living room disorganized. Paintings wait to be hung. Plumbing issues ninety percent operational. Losing the war on critters.
BUT having fun! No electric bill, no so Cal Gas bill, no Cox cable bill and debt free.

Much love from my new home, the Rancho - Off Grid
Copyright 6/5/2016 Caroline Gerardo

Front yard before I moved in
Front yard organic solarizing the weeds and seeds

Black plastic tarps kill weeds

Simple clothes line
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