This week Kristen, Logan, Dominic, Tommy and I spent an afternoon playing at Leah’s new house. Leah is one of my oldest friends… oldest as in I’ve known her for a long time. Tommy affectionately calls her Eee-ah. She and her husband, Khari, just moved to a spacious two-bedroom house isolated inside a soon-to-be regional park in Hayward. The land was settled in the late 1800s by an Ukrainian immigrant and his wife fleeing persecution for writing about abolishing the Feudal state in the Russian empire. I have to go back and re-read the historical marker for the details.
Since the park isn’t open to the public yet, she and Khari are responsible for maintaining the security of the gates and keeping a group of seven or eight cows from getting through one gate. The grazing cows help keep the brush down and slightly lower the fire danger. It’s a perfect set up for them. Leah already has a bunch of tomato plants and herbs going (and is already fighting gophers). They have a little campfire area set up too. It’s like camping, but with a house to sleep in.
It was an absolutely gorgeous day too!
Logan collected some feathers that we found on the ground. Leah helped him identify where they came from; barn owls, red-tailed hawks, wild turkeys and a turkey buzzard. We also saw the wild turkeys, a deer and lots of lizards.
Leah said the cows usually just move out of the way. But they were simply staring us down… so we went around them.
I love the hills of the East Bay in the summer. Sure it can be hot and very dry, but whenever you have a “man, it’s hot!” moment, the wind picks up from the bay and cools you down. And I love the gold color.
We were good to stay on the fire roads and not veer off into the tall grass. We don’t need to meet any rattlesnakes.
In the shady parts near the little creek, the colors are greener with native creeping roses, moss on the trees and lots of lizards.
Logan and Leah at the historical markers. I find it a little funny that they are here and there’s no way for the public to see them yet.
We hiked along a narrow animal trail for a little bit and arrived at a little patch of cactus and a gorgeous view of the Bay Area. It was a little hazy, but we could still see across to the peninsula.
A little bit further and we arrived at a gorgeous, tall gray pine tree with a small fence around it. The Ukranian guy and his wife are buried here. Marking their graves were a couple of simple wooden crosses.
Not a bad view for a final resting place.
We sat down here to rest for a bit. Logan and Leah traipsed around looking for pine cones. Logan was collecting the seeds inside. Tommy kept trying to play with Kristen’s phone.
I’ll bet Kristen’s pocket had at least a dozen seeds. Now Logan can plant his own forest!
Tommy thought a fly had buzzed inside his shirt.
On the walk back Leah and Logan detoured down to the little creek as Kristen and I headed back to the house with Tommy and Dominic. Where they were going was not stroller-friendly, and I wanted some water. Leah showed Logan one of the newts that live at the creek and when they got back to the house, the looked up the newts’ name in a local field guide.
It was such a fun day! We plan to visit more often so Logan can collect more feathers and pine nuts and I can slowly teach Tommy to enjoy hiking a bit more.