On the Sonoma Coast

We are just back from a long weekend at a beach house with Nanita, Markie, and Aunt Judy! The kids enjoyed hiking, tide-pool investigating, and a visit to historic Fort Ross. I enjoyed all those things as well, plus the luxury of having my extended family around to help out with the children. For once the adults actually had the kids outnumbered! There was always someone to rock a fussy baby to sleep, or read stories to the bigger kids, or just to keep a watchful eye out while they all ran around. I reflected (and not for the first time) that humans really aren’t meant to raise kids in these isolated nuclear-family units: my mother the anthropologist told me that in some societies the word for “mother” and “aunt” is the same, because traditionally all the women of the family would be living and raising their kids together. We love our home in Oakland, but the one enduring regret I have is that we weren’t able to arrange things so that we ended up living closer to our families.

It was a great vacation though. Robin befriended a seagull, who he named Dread Pirate Seagull. This is not the Dread Pirate Seagull, but sometimes he would come and perch on the carving:


The coast was rocky and the surf very cold, so there was no swimming, but the kids enjoyed the beach anyway:


And Sol took command of Fort Ross:


(Which is a very interesting place by the way, although its history is laced with pain. It was a Russian outpost until 1842, first as a base for sea otter hunting and fur trading, and then—after the otters had been hunted almost to extinction—as an agricultural base meant to supply the Russian colonies in Alaska. The Russians brought down Aleuts from Alaska to help with the otter hunting, and many of these ended up marrying Native Californian women: but the Indian laborers were cruelly exploited, a practice that continued even after the Russians sold the fort to John Sutter and the site was turned to a lumber operation.)


I took tons of pictures but most of them were of lichen or fenceposts or little wildflowers. Or all three:


Anyway, we had a great time and we’re glad to be home!

2 Responses to “On the Sonoma Coast”

  • Robert Cochran Says:

    Great post, nice pictures, love Sol in his Razorback outfit! Thanks for taking the time to get these things up. I don’t know how you (and Sam) manage to do as much as you do (the scout uniforms are my new icons for the two of you!).
    Love, Dad/Pops

    • Shannon Phillips Says:

      Thanks Dad! The Razorback gear has served us very well–I think Robin is wearing a razorback hoodie as well, although it should probably be handed down to Davy soon.

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