Two ravens have begun defending my pasture, often sitting atop pine trees and croaking out loud “cr-r-ruck” warnings. Whenever I wander down my driveway, they circle low overhead, creating quite a din. The easiest way to distinguish ravens from crows, by the way, is by their tails. Raven tails are tapered like the bottom of a man’s tie while the ends of crow tails are squared off. In this photo, a downward flap of the wings leaves a ghost image above them.


A blacktail fawn nibbles on a blackberry vine outside my kitchen window.

Whether one finds entertainment in music, wildlife, or the cosmos, Marin County can be a pretty good place to live. The wildlife alone is more entertaining than television, and enjoying it merely requires keeping your eyes and ears open. In West Marin where light pollution is minimal, the cosmos is on display every night that isn’t foggy. And as for Marin’s music scene, the venues may be small, but the performers are typically top notch.


Moonrise at the Station House Café. The arms of light extending to the right and left are part of a small cloud in front of the moon. In the foreground, a woman in the shadows reads a map by the light of the café sign as a car drives by.


Meanwhile inside the Station House, Si Perkoff on piano, Daniel Fabricant on standup bass, and Dale Polissar on clarinet perform a dazzling set of melodic jazz.

Last Friday a friend and I attended an impressive performance of Hawaiian slack-key-guitar music at the Dance Palace, and on Saturday another friend and I went to the venerable No Name Bar in Sausalito to listen to jazz. The No Name is virtually the last establishment around here surviving from the Beat Era, and the music we called “modern jazz” in the 1950s and 60s can still be heard in the bar every Friday and Saturday night.

Shortly after we found a table, three couples showed up and took a pair of tables next to us. One nut-brown-complected woman in the group was speaking French, and before long she stood up and began dancing all by herself. Now it’s not unusual for a couple or two to dance in the narrow straits between the No Name’s bandstand and bar, but in my years of going to the place, I had never before seen a dancer quite like this one.

The woman must have been a French stripper, for she started doing bumps and grinds in front of the band, giggling all the while. Her dance routine included flirting with men at the bar and periodically raising her a leg over her head as if she were flashing. (In fact, she was wearing long pants.) At other times, she passionately kissed her rakishly coifed husband, and in general kept both men and women in the bar wondering what she would do next.

When the band at her request played a bossa nova number, she and a tall blonde from her group started to dance only to have a somewhat tipsy guy, who’d been on a stool at the bar, cut in and start dancing with her. The blonde then convinced a more-than-hefty black woman from another table to dance with her. Rhythmically swaying to the beat, the third woman’s grace was as impressive as her size. The French woman meanwhile danced holding the tipsy man’s hands on her butt or alternately holding her own arms around his neck; her husband just laughed.

When the three couples finally left the bar, the waitress quipped: “Show’s over.” My friend and I chuckled, but the tipsy guy on his stool at the bar looked forlorn.

The rest of the world may going to hell in a handbasket, I thought to myself, but here in Marin County, folks are still finding ways to have fun.

More entertainment: With a droplet of water still on its chin, a roof rat prepares to climb down a lattice after taking a drink from the birdbath on my deck. In the late 1340s, roof rats’ fleas spread bubonic plague throughout Europe, but the main danger from the timid, little roof rats now in West Marin is to dishwashers. Please see Posting No. 13 for that story.