January Friday 25 1895 Beautiful continuous sunshine. This is the third day of it & we are thankful. The children enjoy it with perfect enthusiasm. The papers bring plenty of storm news. The trains on the Sierra still held in the [drifts]: Went over to the old place. It begins to look strange, so long I have been away from it in mind as well as body - have been writing Alaska until I forget I’m in California [concentration] on a subject I like is easy. Saw a song sparrow feeding on the ground in old cherry orchard. It pushed its way through wet [Portulaeca] nibbling seeds. Sat. 26 Sent 3 pencil & India ink sketches of tributaries of the Muir Glacier & a photograph of the front from our [Hill] painting to Mr. Drake for the Century. I am sure they would make fine illustrations. They were copied from my notebook sketches made from mtn tops in perfectly clear weather. None of the tributaries have been photographed. They lie so far from the ways accessible to the ordinary artist. Now I must make haste with the M.S. to introduce the changes they demand, that I may get on with new work. Here [hath] been dawning another blue day Not a cloud - all sunshine - the regular gold weather of California Walked over to the old ranch & called on David. He is busy pruning. - The ground is very wet & the weeds are rejoicing -in safety no plowing being now possible. Frost this morning. Saw ice back of a hedge at 3 PM 1/16 of inch thick. Larks - saw a large flock on our alfalfa field 100 or so.
January Monday 28 1895 Here has been dawning another blue day & a golden. Charming weather. Leaves opening rapidly on the buckeyes -even the buds make a fine show, so large they are & so fine a purple tinges makes petals- like the scales. Began pruning the Rodgers vineyard. Sunday 27 Barometer fell last night & was quite low this morning but after fog cleared the sky was cloudless & calm. A heavy norther began to blow about 10 AM. At 9 PM still howling the ground of course drying rapidly. Worked on M.S. AM. Made some progress. Walked to Maggie’s . She is wonderfully well, wonderful the grip feeble women have on life. The little hairy terrier pup caught a hare in the vineyard. Strange things happen. Caught him by the tail & held on until the black dog came to his help when they killed it. I caught a small screech owl (scops asio) this morning - a handsome horned yellow with gold eyes. He flew about my room & bumped his head against the window & soon seemed to regret that he had so easily allowed himself to be captured. Sitting on a doortop of outhouse blinking dreamily get quietly allowed me to take him in my hand - Fine day - sharp frost in the morning - the frozen mud in the shade bore my weight at 3 PM. Larks in flock of 50 seen in lower vineyard. Walked to old home. Made poor days head work.
Original journal dimensions: 20 x 27 cm.
Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library
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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist