“Oak gall ink? What’s that doing here?”

Heya! I know – you’re probably thinking – “Why is there an oak gall ink recipe on Jesse’s real estate website? Isn’t this a place to talk about interest rates and rental returns and stuff like that?”

Sure it is, but, you know – I do other stuff, too, and I can’t think of a better place than right here to tell you about something I love doing – steeping myself in a medieval art process and making it my own… what is that process, you say? Why, oak gall ink making & oak gall ink drawing, of course.

Oak gall ink runs the gamut from a brownish-purple-black to walnut tones to warm caramel in color and I love the way it reveals itself over time (the colors can darken or shift hues over days and even years). 17th…

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Bodysurfing Trek Dana to Newps, August 27th, 2022 // Pt. II // The Wedge

Picking up where the last blog post left off,  we finally got up to The Wedge in Newport. For those of you who haven't been, it is a must-see when the surf is breaking... it is a breathtaking front row experience to big surf that you won't find anywhere else around here... I bodysurf, but I won't do The Wedge. I'm just not that crazy... I've taken enough poundings in my lifetime in much smaller surf to know better... but - I hail all the lunatics who paddle in there and drop into those grizzly beasts looking for glory... I hope the crowds' shouts reach you!

It wasn't the biggest day I've seen break there, but it had some moments, for sure. Here are some snaps:

PS - if you…

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Bodysurfing Trek Dana to Newps, August 27th, 2022 // Pt. I // The Brooks Street Surf Classic - 56th Annual

I woke up the other day and my youngest ran in and said "Dad. Salt Creek. It's breaking. Fresh glass. You know you wanna go because I wanna to go and you shouldn't be working today when, you know, the surf is this good. So -PLEEEEEEEZEEEE PLEEEEEEAASSSEEEEE!? Lets-go-ok-please??" My oldest walked in and said "What're you guys cooking up??" to which Little Brossa said "Dad's taking us to Salt Creek to bodysurf; get your fins!" It doesn't always work that way, but I couldn't argue the logic - the weather was primo, the surf report looked good and I hadn't been out for some time... I brokered a deal - "Alright. We'll go hit Creek, but then we're…

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Dirt! Bushes! Trees! Shade! Smellies in the air! Hills up! Hills down! Happy humans! Other happy dogs!! Hooray!  

Dogs know ‘em when they see ‘em – dirt trails. None of that sissy paved stuff, but good old-fashioned dirt. The earth. Raw material to scratch in, dig up, pee on and scuffle with. Hey – what’s that?! A dead thing?!! YESSSSSSS!! Get it ON me.  

For the dogs out there who love the trail and the awesome owners who get them there, there are few places of greater happiness. On the other hand, if your dog is the kind that prefers riding in a large purse whilst mama whisks him between window shopping stops at Fashion Island, that’s cool too, but this might not be for you. Maybe I’ll write that post later. For now, this is for the dogs who keep…

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Visitors and residents of Orange County can’t help but feel the pull of the ocean – the vast undulating blue and green expanse sings its siren song year round. Whether you are a longtime local or are just visiting, the experience of surfing is something not to be missed. If you are a beginner or haven’t felt the free glide in some time – don’t worry – there are plenty of great beaches that are ideal for learning and re-learning the art of surfing.

Finding the right beach for a new surfer is crucial – a good experience will bring you back time and time again, but paddle out into surf that is unforgiving and you may not want to come back for some time. Beginners should look for waves under three feet, avoid surfing during Santa Ana winds (too choppy) &…

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I was watching a documentary on uranium last week and the host spent a segment in Chernobyl, wandering through the notoriously ruined city. It has a terrible beauty - birds flew through the air, trees and grass grew up through the empty streets and all the while, building windows stared back, devoid of life. It's a cue the set designers for "I Am Legend" surely were inspired by - the post-apocalyptic urban space with nature returned; man spurned. I've always wondered what it would be like to walk in a place like that - architecture and infrastructure sprawling out in all directions with no one around.

In a recent late afternoon visit to the new township of Esencia in Rancho Mission Viejo, I got my wish in a slightly surreal parallel universe version…

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My wife woke me up in the wee hours - "Jesse. Smoke. It smells close." I mumbled that it wasn't and not to worry about it, though it was pungent and did smell... close ... but... we hear the sirens when they zoom past at the bottom of the hill and all had been quiet... there couldn't be anything... plus, it was 3 or 4 in the morning... soooo... I got up around 6:30AM and the Mrs. had gone to the gym... sure enough the hillsides were covered in a blue haze and a brown funk was settling across the horizon.

Holy Jim fire Cleveland National Forest August 31 2016

Hm. Maybe there was something burning out by Lake Elsinore or something. I grabbed a cuppa and sat out back. A helicopter suddenly roared overhead, heading down the mountain... helicopters are not unusual in our area... we probably have one or…

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On a lark, Dave and I decided to attend the Laguna Beach Garden Club's "Gate and Garden Tour 2016" last week.

I walked into the office with tickets in hand and blurted out to Dave - "The garden zeitgeist, Dave. It's what we're missing in our bag of kung fu. Our judo is strong in many areas, but weak in 'gates' and 'gardens'. We need this." Dave's eyebrows shot up. "Wait, what? A garden tour? Do we have to? They probably won't even let me in. Don't you have to be a gardener or something to go on that?"

To be honest, this was a little zany. As agents, we see lovely gardens and gates and flooring and ceilings and kitchens and walls and paths and everything possibly home-related every other day. It's what we do, but apparently that wasn't enough for me.…

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Grading & New Home Construction in Portola Springs, Irvine, CA Entry tower construction in Portola Springs neighborhood in Irvine, CA

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You can hear it between the crunch of your taco at the Spectrum. The sound is audible over the waves as you lay on the golden sand at Crystal Cove State Park; your ride on the Great Park Big Orange Balloon sways in time to the rhythm of it.

Throughout the county, excavators are rumbling, nails are flying, stucco is being sprayed, and freshly minted driveways being poured as the slow tsunami surge of new home construction pushes over hill and up canyon wall.

I’m talking production homes, of course. The new tract home market. Brand name stuff. CalAtlantic Homes née Standard Pacific. Lennar. The New Home Company. Taylor Morrison. Shea Homes. California Pacific. TriPointe Homes. Those guys.

The marketing emails pour in at a steady pace. “New Homes in…

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