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8: from Dorland Mountain

Updated: Feb 27

Dear Friend,

Wherever you happen to be, I hope that you are enjoying your day. I appreciate the time it takes you to seek out this letter each week; thank you for reading and thank you for thinking of us!

The past couple of weeks we’ve been working on projects in the desert foothills, 65 miles north of San Diego and 100 miles southeast of Los Angeles at Dorland Mountain Arts.

Established in 1979, and rebuilt after destruction by wildfire in 2004, Dorland is surrounded entirely by nature and creatures. (We’ve seen owls, hawks, eagles, frogs, coyotes, bunnies, snakes and mountain lion tracks. And growing all around are plants and trees, big and small, like yucca, black sage, white sage, red oak, poison oak, poppies, ferns, ceanothus, alder leaf mountain mahogany, hideseeds, wild cucumber…). There are two ponds and several well-maintained trails on the property near the cottages. Yay, hiking!

Dorland was founded by Ellen Dorland, concert pianist, and Barbara Horton, environmentalist, to provide a unique working retreat for Artists, Writers, Musicians and Composers - a quiet place to create in nature. What a wonderful place for us to be!

The cottages here are set a good distance apart for privacy, and all are outfitted with a comfy bed, a stove, a sink with hot and cold running water, a refrigerator, full bathroom, and space to work.

Since we are only a few miles from our friend’s home in Temecula, we’ve enjoyed several visits, meals and hikes with her, and I have to tell you: we are very grateful to her for connecting us with this gift of time at Dorland!!

Temecula has grown and spread out in all directions since 1979, and is now wine country with hot air balloons and countless wedding venues. But the Dorland property is still secluded. We’ve explored some of the trails on the 300-acre property and participated in several get togethers where we’ve shared our art and processes with other artists (mostly writers and painters). Frank’s photography (especially the Egg Series) has been really fun to share.

Some of the artists here are working on commissioned pieces or beginning their next Novel. Some are at Dorland to create a masterpiece, and even though we know that there are people nearby, we can go days without seeing a single person. Art takes time and focus… that’s what everyone is doing here and there is an understanding that it is a quiet place for creating - serenity is respected.

We have been very fortunate to have had the time to create (and live in-doors) and we’ve met some amazingly talented and kind people. There is internet available so I've also been able to work for my clients' on their websites, too. I've continued practicing (flute, guitar and narration), and I’ve spent time interviewing and writing for Dorland’s Newsletter. Frank has had time to write and is at this moment, finishing up a collection of photos and videos to be used for Dorland’s social media.

We will soon be back on the road, just a few more hours here at Dorland. We’ll take the experience with us, of course, and again, we are so very grateful to have had this time to work and to be in nature!

We’re heading toward Anza-Borrego tomorrow to camp. We’re pretty sure we won’t try to pitch the tent. As storms approach, (expected mid-week), the winds become incredible, (strong, gusty and constant), it will be too much for our tent, (and the rain will be cold and wet)… so we’ll find whatever available camping place that works the best as we continue our adventure, and we’ll stay dry in the truck when the rains come.

You’ll know how it all goes when I write about it next week, meanwhile, we’ll be fine, and we certainly hope the same for YOU! Thank you again for your thoughts and care. We are very grateful to know that you’re there!

Please don’t hesitate to write, we’d love to know how YOU are doing!

Gently Be,


PS: Here are a few pics of plants and other friends that we've seen during our stay at Dorland.

Alder Leaf Mountain Mahogany


Visiting Coyote pack

Giant Chain Fern

Gopher Snake

Stork’s Bill

White Sage

Wild Cucumber


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