- Cooling Trend
- Lightning Fires
- Harris Quarry
- Linda Thompson
- Homeless Camp
- Helicopter Traffic
- Highway Fatality
- Ribs 'n' Reds
- PG&E Settlement
- Skunk Activity
- Last Train
- Reading Joyce
- Fine Dining
- Yesterday's Catch
- Organic California
- Barn Dance
- Parks Vision
- Dino Delivery
- Carbon Fee
- Dredging Up
- Meadow Farm
- All Gone
- Doc Exemption
- Virtual Reality
- Banana Peels
- Great Monsoon
- Oligarch 16
NOTHING BUT BLUE SKIES in the forecast for the next few days with inland temps in the 90s on Wednesday dropping into the 80s into the weekend.
LIGHTNING SPARKS WILDLAND FIRES IN YOLLA BOLLY WILDERNESS
June 18, 2019 - The Anthony Peak Lookout on the Mendocino National Forest reported several possible fires in the Yolla Bolly Wilderness June 17 at 4 p.m. The lightning-caused East Fire was confirmed Monday night, approximately 43 miles west of Red Bluff, Calif. It is estimated at 40 acres. Resources assigned to the East Fire include 10 smokejumpers and one 20-person crew. The fire is burning in snags and brush from the 2008 Yellow Fire scar. Another fire is located southeast of the East Fire. It is called the Haynes Fire and placed in monitor status.
Forest officials are evaluating many factors including firefighter safety and access to the fire, its location, potential areas of concern, likely growth over time and current and forecast weather to determine the strategy for managing this incident. The strategy will consist of resource and protection objectives that will help reduce exposure to firefighters, remove hazardous fuels and decrease the probability for high severity wildfires in the future.
YOLLA BOLLY WILDERNESS FIRE UPDATE - 10 am
WILLOWS, Calif. — June 19, 2019 — The East Fire located 43 miles west of Red Bluff in the Yolla Bolly Wilderness on the Mendocino National Forest is estimated at 125 acres. It was reported by Anthony Peak Lookout June 17 at 4 p.m.
Forest officials have chosen to use a confinement strategy for the East Fire. The factors that officials considered in making that determination include firefighter safety, access to the fire, its location, potential areas of concern, likely growth over time and current and forecast weather. The designated confinement area is between East Ridge, Buck Ridge and Wrights Ridge.
The objectives for this incident include reducing exposure to firefighters, removing hazardous fuels, protecting wilderness characteristics and decreasing the probability for high severity wildfires in the future. Approximately 100 resources are managing the East Fire including smokejumpers, hotshot crews and aircraft. Today, fire crews plan to remove brush and reinforce the confinement area boundary along the East Ridge.
There is another wildfire southeast of the East Fire called the Haynes Fire. Several crews are taking actions to suppress this 10-acre fire. Crews report minimal activity on this incident.
In order to protect wilderness characteristics, crews are using minimum impact suppression tactics or MIST. These tactics include using natural barriers, minimizing tree cutting, using aircraft and water drops to slow fire spread and constructing the minimum amount of fireline needed to maintain the confinement area. The use of chain saws in the wilderness is authorized when necessary.
More information can be found at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6394/
THE CONTROVERSIAL HARRIS QUARRY asphalt plant project was back on the Supes agenda Tuesday. The attorney for Harris Quarry wanted the Board to “take original jurisdiction” on the plant project so it could skip going back through the planning process (which the attorney said would be redundant since the project has been through the process before albeit unsuccessfully) after opponents to the plant successfully sued the County for having an inadequate Environmental Impact Report.
THE OPPONENTS (mostly neighbors of the quarry/proposed asphalt plant who live on or near Ridgewood Ranch, old home of the famed Seabiscuit racehorse) disagreed and insisted that the project be re-processed through the normal planning process, saying it will smell up the place, represent a fire hazard, create traffic problems, lower property values, is not an emergency and does not warrant expedited processing, and should be moved to a better location on Highway 20.
OPPONENTS also said that an existing asphalt plant in Ukiah is operating at only about 40% capacity and therefore there’s no pressing need for another asphalt plant. (The original application was made in the days leading up to the Willits Bypass, which may have been the plant’s intended customer, but that project is now history. It's up and bypassing, albeit very light traffic.) The opponents do not object to the existing rock quarry operation, but they think the addition of an asphalt plant in that location should be denied.
THE ASPHALT PLANT in the Ridgewood Ranch neighborhood (off Highway 101 between Willits and Ukiah) was first proposed 15 years ago and has undergone literally millions of dollars of litigation with thousands of public comments since then with the opponents eventually winning on appeal on grounds of an inadequate EIR which failed to adequately address alternative sites.
AT NOON, CEO Carmel Angelo told the Board that they had “attorneys on the phone” and they had to go into closed session.
THE PLANT’S ATTORNEY disagreed with opponents after the lunch break, saying that Mendo doesn’t have enough asphalt to meet existing road repair needs and that the proposal had already been through the process and there would be negative economic impacts if it wasn’t approved as soon as possible. She also claimed the existing quarry would be shut down in July if the asphalt plant wasn’t approved.
SUPERVISORS McCOWEN & BROWN obviously wanted to approve the plant’s application to skip the Planning Commission. Supervisor Williams didn’t see the urgency and wanted more data about the County’s total asphalt plant capacity before he decided.
INTERESTINGLY, the plant itself is in Supervisor Williams’ Fifth District under the County’s odd districting, which has the sparsely populated Fifth District reaching up to near the Willits City limits.
WILLIAMS MOTION to deny the plant’s request based on lack of evidence to support skipping the Planning Commission failed for lack of a second. McCowen then moved to approve skipping the Planning Commission and Brown and Gjerde agreed. So, the item will come back to the Board at a later date.
Linda A Thompson born September 14, 1959, deceased June 13, 2019. She was born and raised in La Crescenta, in between Burbank and Pasadena, until such time she graduated high school in 1977 and went off to college at Arizona State University. She graduated ASU in 1981 and went to Law School at the University of San Francisco in 1981.
In July of 1985 she started in criminal public defense in Madera, California, eventually becoming one of their contract defenders for six years and contracting out in Fresno, Madera, Merced, and Stanislaus Counties until July of 1998 when she started at the Mendocino County Public Defenders office. She started as extra help eventually becoming the Chief in 2009. She retired with the County July of 2018.
She is survived by her loving, strong, kind wife, Patricia Guntly, her parents Richard and Janet Thompson, her brother, Rick Thompson and sister-in-law Irma, their two kids Richard and Laura, and by a whole slew of family on the Guntly side of things whom she considers blood including all of her siblings, nieces and nephews, and their kids and greats. We have been blessed. Love who you love while you can love, and live everyday with that feeling in your hearts. Memorial Service shall be held at Eversole Mortuary in Ukiah on June 29, 2019 at 10 am, to be followed by a Celebration of life, (beer and food) at the Guntly Ranch located at 5010 Highway 20, Ukiah. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the following charities: 4Ocean; Phoenix Hospice Care (through Adventist Health); and American Cancer Society.
THE LINEAR homeless camp arrayed along Airport Blvd, Ukiah, had disappeared by Tuesday morning. I'd driven over the hill hoping to talk to some of the about-to-be displaced persons, but there wasn't a soul in sight at 10am. I learned from Justine Frederiksen of the Ukiah Daily Journal that County workers had picked up the mounds of residual trash as site prep before a crew from the County Jail cut the roadside grass. Ms. F's story on the camp quoted some helping professionals claiming they made other arrangements for the persons who were ordered to leave the camp. A homeless shelter is in the works for South State at the site I remember as a sports equipment sales office owned by Mr. and Mrs. Fitzgerald of Ukiah. The late Brad Shear, a prominent County-wide sports guy, was salesman for the Fitzgeralds. The in-the-works shelter, incidentally, was shoved down the opposed throats of adjoining businesses and property owners.
THE DEA, via your tax dollars of course, is funding all that helicopter traffic over the county lately. The feds are showing several local deputies and other agency trainees how to spot illegal activity from the air. Stand by, hill muffins, to get raided, just like the old days in Mendo.
WE GOT A BIG LAUGH, when the Supes discussed wasting $85k on a consultant to do a “needs assessment” of the County six or seven semi-abandoned parks. Supervisor Williams said he was for it based on staff’s assurance that the money would come back later via grants based on the assessment. To drive home the point Board Chair Carre Brown added: “We will hold their feet to the fire.”
Which would be the first time in County history that anything like that occurred. In fact, nobody will ever follow up on this subject, much less hold anybody’s “feet to the fire.”
The board voted 3-2 with Gjerde and Haschak dissenting to have the supposedly broke county spend the $85k.
MENDOCINO COUNTY AGREES TO COLLECTIVE MEDIATOR'S PROPOSAL OF $415 MILLION TO RESOLVE NORTH BAY FIRES CLAIMS
Today, Mendocino County, along with eight other counties and cities, announced that it and PG&E have accepted a mediator’s proposal of $415 million to resolve the collective cities’ and counties’ North Bay Fires claims. The Mediator’s proposal is exclusive of and does not affect the claims of any residents, individuals, or businesses. The collective amount of $415 million will be allocated among each of the nine public entities in an allocation process yet to take place.
The payment is to be incorporated in, and subject to confirmation by the Bankruptcy Court, a plan of reorganization to be filed by PG&E in its pending Chapter 11 case. The settlement is part of a total settlement of $1 billion to be paid to local government entities pursuant to the confirmed plan of reorganization.
JAMS Mediator Judge Jay Gandhi (Ret.) presided over several days of in-person mediation sessions held in San Francisco, California. Participants in the mediation included 14 public entities with various claims from the 2015 Butte Fire, the 2017 North Bay Fires, and the 2018 Camp Fire. Judge Gandhi’s global proposals included a total payment of $1 billion to be made pursuant to PG&E’s confirmed plan of reorganization. PG&E and all 14 public entities accepted the proposals.
“Mendocino County is looking forward towards rebuilding and recovery,” said Mendocino County Board of Supervisors Chair Carre Brown. “Recovering taxpayer dollars from PG&E in order to rebuild is an important step for our County and for the North Bay region as a whole.”
Mendocino County Counsel Katharine Elliott adds that “the County will receive the money only when PG&E emerges from Bankruptcy and upon approval by Judge Montali. The public entities cannot use this money to rebuild until PG&E emerges from bankruptcy.”
The County is represented by County Counsel Katharine Elliott, and outside counsel Scott Summy, John Fiske, and Britt Strottman of Baron & Budd.
For more information, please contact Baron & Budd Shareholder John Fiske at Fiske@BaronBudd.com.
—Presser from Mendocino County (written by the lawyers of course)
ELVIS PRESLEY on stage in Las Vegas 1969.
FORT BRAGG'S SKUNK TRAIN owner finalizes buy of 77-acre coastal tract from Georgia-Pacific
by Mary Callahan
Mendocino Railway, owner of Fort Bragg's popular Skunk Train, has acquired part of a vacant mill site from Georgia-Pacific, giving the company room to expand rail operations and providing it with significant influence over new development in the Mendocino Coast city.
The long-sought acquisition of 77 acres was finalized Friday, a key step in the evolution of the vacant site — a 320-acre swath of coastal land with the potential to revitalize the community, culturally and economically, nearly two decades after Georgia-Pacific's lumber saws fell silent and the last of what were once more than 2,000 well-paying mill jobs were eliminated.
"Of course, it's a huge relief because we have been working on this for 15 years, and it was only last year we were able to say something about it in public," Mendocino Railway Vice President Robert Pinoli said. "It's also a huge accomplishment. That property has sat vacant for so long and unused, and people are clamoring for something to be done."
Mendocino Railway now owns the northernmost end of the vacant property, where the city envisions a likely mix of medium- and high-density housing, light industry, retail, restaurants, hotels and other visitor-serving businesses.
City officials are still mapping land-use designations for the entire site, with an eye toward creating new employment, attracting tourists and exploiting views of the scenic 3½-mile coastline long hidden to the public behind sawmills, log piles and fencing.
While the new owners are dealing with a distinct level of uncertainty, they have been moving forward with plans that they hope to see fulfilled one day — plans that include extending Skunk Train passenger trips up along the coastline toward Glass Beach and a new station they hope to build in the vicinity, Mendocino Railway President Mike Hart said.
Railway executives also have been in talks with four different hotel groups about prospects for "an iconic hotel overlooking the Mendocino Coast" and have in mind a tourist attraction that would celebrate "this incredible history of Fort Bragg," from its Native American history to timber and steam railroads to whale migrations, Hart said.
The company also has talked extensively with Fort Bragg-based North Coast Brewing Co. about a possible partnership that might include putting new beer production space inside a 60,000-square-foot drying shed left behind by Georgia-Pacific, in addition to a beer garden and other amenities.
Doug Moody, senior vice president and co-owner of the 31-year-old brewery, said that his company is undergoing its own change, including the retirement last month of president and co-founder Mark Ruedrich and his own likely transition at the end of this year.
He also said that an expansion of existing production capacity is nearly completed, so the company was not prepared to discuss a decision about any future plans vis-a-vis the mill site.
"Right now, I don't have anything to say about any actual commitment about where we're going to go from here," Moody said.
But Hart said he remains committed to the process and hopes to work out arrangements that serve both parties' needs.
He said the company's first priority is to reclaim long-held territory cut off from it when the mill was shuttered and the grounds secured, blocking access to a large part of the railroad that had grown up with the mill when it was first opened by Union Lumber Co. in 1885.
"There are tracks criss-crossing that whole property," Hart said. "That's where our yard was. That's where we turned cars. All of that was on the Georgia-Pacific property. … So that's the first thing. That's the most important thing."
The city, meanwhile, has held more than 30 public meetings about how the mill site, equal to a third of the city's land base, should be used.
The city of Fort Bragg already has managed to acquire 107 acres of coastal property between Glass Beach and Mackerricher State Park on the north and the Noyo River on the south, creating a ribbon of open space that includes the Noyo Headlands Park and Coastal Trail, as well as what eventually will be the new home of the Noyo Center for Marine Science.
But the remainder of the land offers a rare opportunity to provide scarce housing and good-paying jobs that might take some time to develop but could be offset by more lower-paying hotel jobs that might be available earlier, Fort Bragg Community Development Director Marie Jones told City Council members during a special meeting Saturday.
Jones said she thought the city's proposal might be ready by December to turn in to the California Coastal Commission for its input. The coastal commission has final approval over last use on the coastal property.
"This is an exciting time," former longtime city councilman Dave Turner said at the meeting. "… The rubber's hitting the road."
ALMOST SIMULTANEOUSLY, THIS INTERESTING SKUNK TRAIN ITEM is on the Fort Bragg City Council Agenda for their June 24 meeting.
Receive Report and Provide Direction to Staff Regarding: 1) Submittal of a BUILD Grant (US Dept of Transporation’s “Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development”) on Behalf of the Skunk Train to Fund the Following Activities: Repair of the Tunnel, Repair of the Train Tracks, Installation of Tracks Along the Coastal Trail, Repair of the Engine House, and Various Maintenance and Safety Improvements; and 2) Adoption of a City Council Resolution for Some or All of the Project Components
In August of 2018, the City submitted an $8.5 Million BUILD grant on behalf of CWR (which was matched with $8.5 million from CWR) to repair the collapsed tunnel and to replace the bad ties. This grant was not funded. In a debrief with the granting agency, the Skunk Train was informed that the grant was well developed but that the grant amount was relatively high compared with the benefits afforded by the project.
The Skunk Train would like to submit a revised grant application with an expanded scope of work to include:
Tunnel Repair, $5.5 million
Replacement of 30,000 failing CCA Railroad Ties, $7.5 million
Installation of Tracks east of the Coastal Trail, $1 million
Engine House Repair, $1.2 million
Various Maintenance and Safety Improvements, $3 million
Total, $18.2 million
Repair of the Tunnel,
Replacement of CCA Railroad Ties,
Installation of New Railroad Tracks east of the Coastal Trail, Repair of the Engine House, and
Various Maintenance and Safety Improvements.
CWR consists of 40 miles of track connecting Fort Bragg and Willits. The line passes through two mountain tunnels and over 31 bridges. In 2015 Tunnel 1 collapsed, damaging the western portal and cutting the railroad in two. CWR commissioned an engineering analysis to identify a comprehensive fix for the tunnel. The engineering company developed a detailed $5.5 million plan to properly fix and secure the entire tunnel.
Total project costs are as follows:
CWR will contribute a 50% match of the combined $18 million in funds. The grant request will be for around $9 million.
Once Tunnel 1 is reopened and the deferred maintenance of the railroad line is addressed, CWR has indicated that they will be able to:
Haul logs from the forest via rail to the Willits sawmill;
Undertake freight operations including hauling goods from local manufacturers, automobile fuels and propane, and municipal solid waste (MSW). The project would result in a freight business of 20 MSW carloads per week.
Enter into an agreement with the Mendocino Transit Authority (MTA) to transport passengers on a “commute” basis from Willits to Fort Bragg and vice versa.
Restart the tourist passenger train. Forty-five percent of the Skunk’s 60,000 annual customers came to the region specifically to ride the train. Skunk Train customers have an average visitation of 2.4 days and spend roughly $30 million in the region.
AN OBVIOUS QUESTION REMAINS: Where is the Skunk Train getting $9 million on top of whatever they’re paying for the mill site property?
THE LAST LOGGING TRAIN on Union Lumber Company's Ten Mile Railroad ran on June 18, 1949, traveling the Pudding Creek Trestle.
(Guest House Museum / via MendocinoSportsPlus)
JEREMY CORBYN says, like many people, at first he found Joyce's Ulysses “incomprehensible”. But then “you stop trying to focus on the narrative and start just enjoying the vignettes. Read a little bit at a time and think about it and then move on, but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t understand it.”
EGGS-ACTLY. I bring it up because that's how I read it. I also bring it up because it's not surprising that a Brit politician reads books, but the habit is rare among ours. Biden, for instance, claims he's read it, but then he says lots of things, depending on who's listening. Lots of people try to plow straight ahead through ‘Ulysses’ like it's a regular novel, but they give up, and those defeated include none other than Philip Roth. I gave up, too, when I first tried, too young to have any idea of the context. But even in my primitive state I got some of the humor. Corbyn's advice is sound. Read around in it, and you'll have a heckuva good time. ‘Finnegan's Wake’? Absolutely impenetrable, but fun to read aloud just for the sound of it, as Joyceans gather to do every year in San Francisco.
A FRIEND WRITES: "How about dinner for you and the misses at the Harbor House restaurant in Elk? Dinner for two: $466.02, wine not included."
THESE FINE DINING anecdotes always remind of Katherine Hepburn's restaurant strategy. She said she brought a couple of hard boiled eggs to the table, refusing to pay the even-then inflated prices charged. My primary objection to eating out is its time-wasted factor, but I speak as strictly a food-as-fuel guy. The last time I ate out I thought I'd have to jump the kid reading the seemingly endless specials of the day to get him to stop.
CATCH OF THE DAY, JUNE 18, 2019
NICHOLAS BRITTON, Covelo. Concealed weapon, failure to appear, probation revocation.
KELLY CLARK, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
ADRIAN COLIN, Ukiah. Domestic abuse, false imprisonment.
ELIAS ENGLISH, Ukiah. Trespassing.
SHAUNA GATLIN, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. DUI, suspended license (for DUI), controlled substance, failure to appear.
JACOB HEATH, Ukiah. Under influence.
JOHN MAIERS, Whittier/Willits. First degree burglary.
ANDREW MAYNARD, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
DORIS MCCONNELL, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
NICKOLAS PEREZ, Laytonville. Failure to appear.
HARLEY WILSON, Santa Rosa/Covelo. Controlled substance, paraphernalia.
ORGANIC CALIFORNIA 2050: Bob Cannard’s Crusade for a Toxic Free State
by Jonah Raskin
Crops begin with seeds and so do ideas. To thrive, they both need friendly environments and human beings who nurture them. Bob Cannard has been planting seeds and harvesting crops for the last four decades. So, it ought not to be surprising that he’s planted the seed of an idea that would transform farming and agriculture in California, where it’s a multi-billionaire dollar a year industry dependent on toxic chemicals.
Cannard wants California to ban all chemical pesticides and herbicides by the year 2050. With help from Karen Lee and Nellie Praetzel, he has just launched an organization (https://organiccalifornia2050.org) and a movement to liberate the whole state from products like Roundup, which has been shown to cause cancer in human beings.
Over the past decade, over one million pounds of chemicals have been used in Sonoma County. During the same time period, about 86 million pounds of chemicals have been used in California. The whole state has been poisoned, to say nothing about the nation and the globe itself.
Robert Henry (Bob) Cannard, the man behind the movement for a toxic-free state, is eminently suited to serve as a leader. For decades, he taught thousands of students at Santa Rosa Junior College how to grow organic fruits and vegetables, not harm the earth and at the same time make money. He’s also grown vegetables for Alice Waters flagship Berkeley restaurant, Chez Panisse, ever since it opened, and, at Green String Farm on the edge of Petaluma, he has run a program for interns from all over the country who have learned his farming principles and fanned out across the country.
Foodies for all California shop at the Green String farm stand for olive oil, bread and preserves, as well as cabbages, potatoes, radishes and apples cultivated in soil free of toxic pesticides and herbicides.
Now, at the age of 66, Cannard might think about retiring to a rocking chair where he could watch the weeds grow tall in his own backyard. No one would fault him if he did that, and certainly not his son, Ross, who is beginning to assume more farming responsibilities and ease some of the pressures on his father. Bob Cannard could kick back and not grow another potato, tomato, grape, or olive.
But at 66, he’s ready to take on the giant corporations that manufacture deadly chemicals, such as glyphosate, though he also explains, “I’m not really an activist. I’m a farmer and a gardener who grows local food for local people.” No, he’s not a flaming activist, but he’s an engaged and enraged citizen, and he’s primed to mount a campaign to make California the first all-organic state in the U.S. “You’re goddamned right I’m angry,” he says. “I’m pissed off.” You can hear the anger in his voice.
There are citizens who share Cannard’s values and beliefs all across Sonoma, including the members of Preserve Rural Sonoma County (PRSC). Padi Selwyn from PRSC points out that tons of Roundup are used each year in Sonoma County. It adds up to approximately 1/3 of a cup for every man, woman and child! Selwyn says that “Research has tied this poison to a range of cancers, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Parkinson's, reproductive disorders and more, not to mention soil health degradation, harm to pollinator habitat and wildlife health problems.”
Selwyn asks, “Does Sonoma County really want to allow the continued use of this devastating pesticide?"
Bob Cannard comes to the world of politics from the very ground under his feet. Not surprisingly, his questions and his musings are down-to-earth and have a disarming frankness about them.
“I don’t understand why anyone would want to play baseball on a field sprayed with toxic chemicals,” he says. “I also don’t understand why anyone would want to sit under an oak tree on the junior college campus that was sprayed with chemicals to kill fungus. And why would anyone want to buy and eat vegetables grown in soils that have been poisoned by products like Roundup.”
Cannard envisions a campaign of epic proportions that will be waged from Oregon to the border with Mexico, and from the Pacific Ocean to the Sierras. It’s a battle between David on one side, and Goliath on the other. In Cannard’s scenario, the people of the State of California play David and companies like Bayer and Monsanto play Goliath.
To get the movement rolling, Cannard has written a ballot measure that directs “the duly elected governor of our state and subservient officers to develop protocols resulting in all commercial and domestic agricultural activities to conform within the parameters as set forth under the National Organic Program as executed by the USDA by the year 2050 in an annually progressive schedule.”
Cannard has been prompted to take action now in part because of the growing body of scientific evidence that has shown that there’s a dramatic link between the use of products like glyphosate and cancer rates among human beings. A jury in San Francisco recently awarded Sonoma County resident, Edwin Hardeman, $80,000,000 after a trial in which the evidence showed that Monsanto’s Roundup was a likely cause of his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Thousands of other American citizens with cancers have filed lawsuits against Monsanto, which was recently purchased by Bayer, the German-based multinational corporation, and one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. In 2018, Bayer’s revenue was $40 billion euros. No wonder the company has insisted, even after the verdict in the Hardeman case, that Roundup has no harmful impacts on human beings.
“Companies like Bayer must want to poison us,” Cannard says. “They won’t change unless and until they’re forced to change. Fortunately, we still have the freedom to speak and to act publicly. Speech is better than silence.”
Cannard holds the same core beliefs as Rachel Carson, who told a close friend not long before she wrote Silent Spring, “Knowing what I do, there would be no future peace for me if I kept silent.”
Cannard would like the Golden State to move away from products such as glyphosate well before 2050. He’d like all use of glyphosate to stop before it causes more harm than it has already caused. But he knows that grass roots democracy moves slowly, as does big government. He doesn’t expect change to take place anytime soon. Indeed, he knows that it will take time, energy and human will power to gather the 600,000 or so signatures that will be necessary to put the “Organic California 2050” measure on the ballot in 2020.
In the spring of 2019, Cannard tried to launch a petition drive in Sonoma County that would have placed on the ballot a measure banning glyphosate, locally. Bruce D. Goldstein, county council, told him in a letter dated May 30, that what he aimed to do went against state and federal law. If he accepted Cannard’s petition, Goldstein explained, “I would have to violate my oath to uphold the constitutions of the United States and the state of California.”
Cannard considered the option of taking the county to court and decided against it because it would have meant the expenditure of time and money. Instead, he’s upped the political ante. From the stage of Sonoma, he’s leapt to the stage of California.
He suspects that, even if his state wide measure wins on Election Day, corporate agriculture will fight it tooth and nail. After all, the petrochemical industry lambasted Rachel Carson after Silent Spring blew the lid on DDT, which killed birds and wild life.
A kind of evolutionary revolutionary, Cannard takes the long view, whether he looks forward or backward. Indeed, he knows that before the arrival of grapes and vineyards, and before the arrival of apples and raspberries, Sonoma County was covered with redwood forests and inhabited by all kinds of wild animals, including mountains lions and bears, that are now largely extinct.
If present farming practices go on, and if humans do nothing to stop climate change, Cannard envisions a time when Sonoma County will be a desert. Alarmist? Possibly. But these are alarming times. Cannard knows that green, fertile lands in what is now Iraq were turned into sand because human beings weren’t responsible stewards of land and water.
Years ago, Cannard launched a ballot measure in Sonoma County to require the labeling of foods with GMOS. “I didn’t succeed but I raised the issue and increased awareness. The State of Oregon has adopted GMO labeling.”
Now, he’s optimistic about “Organic California 2050.” “We will have petitions everywhere,” he says. “We’ll also be on social media. I have thousands of potential followers in the state, many of them students who took my classes or who worked as interns at Green String Farm. I’m getting older by the day and I’m nearly finished, but not quite, not yet. Bring it on.”
(Jonah Raskin is the author of Field Days: A Year of Farming, Eating and Drinking Wine in California.)
Preserve Rural Sonoma County will host an event titled “Pesticides in Paradise? Winning the battle for a safer and healthier community.” The event is scheduled for Monday, August 5, 201, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at the Sebastopol Grange. Guest speakers include Mitchel Cohen and Robin T. Falk Esser whose writings are featured in the new book, The Fight Against Monsanto’s Roundup: The Politics of Pesticides.
Tickets ($12) are available at Dailyacts.org. For more information call Padi Selwyn at 707-569-6876.
YOUNG GIRL BARELY MAKES IT across the border between East and West Berlin, 1955.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I spent the day with a poli sci major from UC Davis who was clueless about anything including how our government really functions. I was really sad to see she knew nothing while claiming to know everything. The only thing that popped out of her mouth obsessively was orange man bad, Hillary wonderful, toxic male masculinity and man spreading all said to her father on Fathers day. Not my kid thank god I would be pissed about spending that much to get so little in return.
Honor roll student straight a’s and clueless.
BARN DANCE in MENDOCINO!
with local band "the BARNSTORMERS"
CONTRAS, CIRCLES, SQUARES
Dances taught and prompted by Lea Smith
WEDNESDAY, JULY 3, 2019, 7:00 - 9:00 PM.
PRESTON HALL, 44831 Main St., Mendocino
$5 adults, 17 & under FREE!
A portion of the proceeds go to support the residents of Puerto Rico.
No partner or previous experience necessary.
Please wear smooth-soled shoes to protect our floor.
info at 964-7525
Next BARN DANCE AUGUST 7, 2019
Volunteer helpers needed before and after the dance, come early or stay late to help.
info at 964-7525
What Is Your Vision For Parks in Point Arena?
Parks, Trails & Open Space Survey
The City of Point Arena is in the process of creating a Parks, Trails and Open Space Plan to identify and plan for our parks, trails & open space needs. The plan will guide the City in applying for grant funding.
This survey is being conducted as part of the update in order to understand the needs and concerns of the residents of Point Arena and the South Coast regarding parks, trails and open space. It is a brief 10-question survey that will take no more than 3-5 minutes to complete.
Please access the survey at the following link:
You may also complete the survey at the City's website:
DELIVERY OF A DINOSAUR to the Museum of Science. (1984)
With the Fourth of July approaching, I find myself thinking of the revolutionary idea of government of, by and for the people. Today, I keep encountering folks too discouraged to get involved. Is political action a waste of time, given the present administration, or money politics, or the sheer size of our problems?
I don’t think so. I’m actually encouraged to learn that 60% of Americans of both parties are seriously concerned about our climate crisis. And HR 763, with bipartisan cosponsors, would act simply, immediately, fairly and effectively to reduce carbon emissions by 40% within 12 years. How? By putting a fee on carbon, so we would buy and burn less of it, like we did with cigarettes when we wanted to discourage smoking. The money from the carbon fee would be fully returned to American households as a monthly dividend check, so we’d have money for sustainable choices.
In the spirit of the Fourth of July, let’s let our representatives, Mike Thompson and Jared Huffman, know we want their names on HR 763.
A SOUTHWEST AIRLINES FLIGHT ATTENDANT, 1972
TRUMP CHOOSES ONLY THE BEST PEOPLE.
In the months that he has served as President Trump’s acting secretary of defense, Patrick Shanahan has worked to keep domestic violence incidents within his family private. His wife was arrested after punching him in the face, and his son was arrested after a separate incident in which he hit his mother with a baseball bat. Public disclosure of the nearly decade-old episodes would re-traumatize his young adult children, Shanahan said.
On Tuesday, Trump announced in a tweet that Shanahan would not be going through with the nomination process — which had been delayed by an unusually lengthy FBI background check — “so that he can devote more time to his family."
Shanahan spoke publicly about the incidents in interviews with The Washington Post on Monday and Tuesday.
“Bad things can happen to good families… and this is a tragedy, really,” Shanahan said. Dredging up the episode publicly, he said, “will ruin my son’s life.”
EUGENE V. DEBS
Charitable Garden Harvesters Needed
So much garden goodness awaits. Harvesting for the Redwood Coast Senior Center/Meals on Wheels/FB Food Bank and Hospitality House. Our produce is Abundantly ready to pick ASAP. We will start our harvesting with a blessing at 8:45 am on Wednesday, June 19th and plan to be finished by 10:30, depending on the numbers of our volunteer force! Meadow Farm is a non-profit with an ever-expanding organic garden, orchards and greenhouses growing a wide variety of food for our coastal community. We are located approximately 1.5 miles up Pudding Creek Road. We donate all of our produce (except what a few of us can eat) to bring healthy, fresh food to our local, low-income food services. Also for low-income families that values fresh, organic vegetables but find them too costly — please consider joining us and partaking of the harvest for your table or take to a family you know that will appreciate it. Please consider helping us to Harvest, be a Delivery Person (10:30 am), Garden Angel, or Donate funds (tax deductible) to keep our farm growing into the future for the stability, security and health of our local community.
Please call ((707) 813-9234) and let us know if we can count you in for this week’s Harvest. We will send you directions to the farm at that time. No long-term commitment needed. We will be doing this every week. (Gloves, hat, water bottle may be nice to have.) You will not go home empty handed. Please bring a box or bag for your own selection of fresh-picked veggies. With Gratitude for All and May All be Fed,
The Leadership Circle of Meadow Farm
THE MEDICAL BOARD OF CALIFORNIA is investigating whether the doctor 'is improperly issuing blanket medical exemptions from vaccinations.'
Santa Rosa doctor ordered to turn over records for kids he exempted from vaccinations
WILLY NILLY, MEET BECAUSE
Because, well, it's apparently been exposed as a pointless exercise in drawing is into the idea that we are each so very special that it has never witnessed our like before. That, of course, is not special. It is impossible.
My somewhat staggering walk would look like a stumbling drunk at 35. That, of course, has been oft-noted. Almost all of us geezers walk like this, although maybe 10% of remarkably tremor-free people move smoothly (mostly) among us. It is an observation which has no pretentions to being original but it is certainly germane in this context that we usually know more about the fearless length and width of life than our younger (and therefore less experienced) aquaintences.
Our experience of the world having its way with us follows the curvature of our lives. But if the end finds us irreverently laughing well, that inscrutable smile is a very special thing. So be as the Buddha. Toss a few banana peels out on the pavement. No matter how blue you've been, you are on track to keep winning. Like Buddha over there in front of the television set.
WOODSTOCK FESTIVAL, 1969
THE GREAT MONSOON OF '19
by Spec MacQuayde
The absence of pouring rain's steady pounding at this moment of writing is an anomaly worthy of mention. I can actually hear songbirds enjoying the brief pause between downpours in what is becoming the Great Monsoon of '19. A river has flowed through our Hoosier Homestead since early April, following the ditch carved out along the southern border of a half-acre garden, and by this point it probably should be added to the Indiana state map. From the garden it flows between the house and the barn, meaning that in order to feed the pigs we must wade across.
Our neighbors to the west, also produce farmers, have parked a johnboat and kayak on the shores of the lake that extends from their sweetcorn, through their tomatoes, to their front lawn. That body of water is broken only by the country road; otherwise it extends about six stone's throws to the shores about twenty-five feet from my bedroom window. A sump pump runs constantly from the basement floor which has been under between three inches and a foot of water for two months. In order to fetch a can of pickles or tomato juice I am forced to remove my boots, roll the bottoms of my jeans up to my knees, and wade into the pantry.
On Friday morning my cell phone on the bedside rang at precisely 9:04 a.m. It was my friend, Jacque Dawn, who had promised to telephone our house for a wake-up call, as the forecast called for one whole day of dry weather before the rains returned.
"Morning, Spec," she drawled in that southern Arkansas twang that sometimes gets on my nerves. "Was you guys up yet?"
"Ah--I just did. I doubt anyone else is."
"You guys stay up late playing music?"
"No. Maybe 2 or so. Heidi went to bed early. I'll go find them--hey! I got another call!"
"They say it's supposed to be clear all day, then we got red on the radar again tomorrow morning, Louisville says. Then rain all next week--"
"Hey, I got another call. See ya in an hour."
The other caller turned out to be the fellow from Plank's Septic, informing me that he was parked on the county road, awaiting entrance to the parking lot between the barn and house.
Fortunately I had gone to sleep in blue jeans and a T-shirt, and only had to slip on my boots before stumbling down the back steps, following the garden hose from the basement sump pump to the banks of the river flowing beside our parking lot, ducking behind the shop to take a leak quickly for a moment of peace. I gazed out at the garden on the other side of the river. Half of it was planted in sweet potatoes which seemed to be momentarilly tolerating the rice paddy conditions, the other in sweet corn which had turned out drowned in spite of the ditch and our hard work.
I met Mr. Plank and his elderly mother on the county road. We all knew one another from previous experiences when they had provided port-o-potties for our music festivals. Mr. Plank is a dwarf. His father ran a septic business and is too old and feeble to work, but his mother still rides the truck with him on missions such as this. "You havin' another festival?" she asked.
"Nope. Look at the stage over there. It's now a boat dock. Our septic's been under two feet of water for a month."
"Land's sakes, I've never seen a spring like this," she said. "Do you believe in that there Global Warming?"
"I think it's definitely climate change, which is nothing new. This valley was created by glaciers in the Ice Age."
"Where do you want us to set it?"
"Ah--I'm gonna have to move the van. Just a minute." I sprinted across the gravel and jumped into the driver's seat of the "Driftwood Organics" produce van, a brown '97 Chevy 2500. The ignition requires a flathead screwdriver or anything else that fits the slot. After firing up the motor and turning around I realized Hagan was sleeping on the sofa we were using in lieu of seats. He did not wake up as I backed around past Mild Bill's white minivan, Hagan's F150 truck, Heidi's black Jeep Cherokee, and parked between our old ranch Ranger and Belinda's limping sedan. Besides the manure spreader under the sugar maples along the road, that paints the picture.
Mrs. Plank chatted with me while her son backed the truck up to the sidewalk in front of our shop. "You have a lot of people staying out here?"
"Farm workers. We might actually get into the field today. Nice that it's white," I said, referring to the port-o-pottie. "It won't get so hot in there. I think we're gonna need it for at least a month."
"They say there's more rain on the way."
Jacque Dawn's red Jeep Cherokee slowed to ford the current of water crossing our county road, and parked next to the manure spreader. She stepped out, her straight hair still its natural color and dangling to the short bottoms of her overalls. At fifty-two years old she works out every day and emanates a youthful enthusiasm for life. "Mornin Spec!"
"I just do this work for free," said Mrs. Plank as we scooted the port-o-pottie towards its destination on the gravel at the edge of the sidewalk. "My husband is too sick to work. Can't get nobody to do this job no more."
"I really appreciate it."
Her dwarf son inspected the port-o-pottie thoroughly, wiping out the inside and replacing a seat before asking for the hundred dollars cash. We shook hands.
Jacque and I followed the faded red garden hose like a snake to the back door, up the kitchen steps where we ran into "Mild Bill" who was frying bacon and doing the dishes. Mild Bill served in the military and was nearly fatally decapitated by the oscillating cannon on a helicopter; the barrel caught under his shoulder though and ripped his arm off, slamming his shoulder into his skull. He woke up six days later, and ever since has lived off a limited income. A rocket scientist, literally, he has no need to work a job he hates, and enjoys the alternative lifestyle on our farm.
Belinda sat at the round dining room table, smoking a cigarette and watching Game of Thrones on her smart phone.
Heidi emerged from my son's old bedroom--she is twenty-two and was in his high school class. She took a seat next to Belinda, and immediately grabbed my phone to investigate texts from the previous night. With all the rain, we have had little work, and she had lost her phone one long night accompanying Hagan and I on adventures involving music and everything that goes with it, so she uses mine. "Jetta sent pictures of her and Aiden," she said. "Did you see them?"
"No. I just woke up. We got a port-o-pottie out there."
"Look." She scooted the phone across the table top. "They made it to Ukiah!"
In Mild Bill's minivan we had escorted Jetta and her son to the Indianapolis Greyhound station early on Monday morning. Over the past six years she has been my girlfriend, then ex, then back again. Once upon a time the two of us were notorious for rowdy behavior, but in the last 12 months Jetta has maintained complete sobriety, working at Applebees in Ukiah. The previous weekend she had flown out to Indiana to reunite with her seven year-old son, who had been in the custody of her parents, and they'd stayed at the Farmhouse for three beautiful if rainy days. Her visit, her radiant sobriety, had served as an inspiration to Heidi and I, who had abstained from alcohol out of respect for Jetta's tenacity. We shed tears of joy upon seeing the photos of Jetta's son playing with other kids at the Barra Vineyards tasting room while the Real Sarahs performed.
Belinda was going on about her latest ex who was now incarcerated in the county for driving his truck into his ex's washing and drying shed on a drunken endeavor.
Jacque Dawn gave us the gloomy weather forecast. That cajun accent combined with decades of night life as a dancer smoking Marlboros added a haunting tone to the foreboding prophecy: "Severe thunderstorms moving in at midnight. Tornado warnings. Hail. Nine inches."
"Are you sure they said 'warning?'" I asked. "Usually more than twelve hours in advance it's only a 'watch.'"
"No. Look right here, Spec." Jacque slid her smartphone across the table. "Tornado WARNING in effect for the following counties: Lawrence, Jackson, Orange, Washington."
"Where's Hagan?" asked Heidi.
"Sleeping in the van."
Mild Bill rolled several joints. I filled the water cooler at the kitchen sink and poured warm green tea into a quart mason jar, having determined to follow Jetta's guiding light of sobriety. Out in the unusually bright sunshine, Heidi and Belinda waded across the river to feed the pigs in the barn, then crossed an impromptu bridge to dump a sack of ground corn and soybeans for the chickens and the lone mallard duck, also the rabbits in the elm thicket "rabbitat." In the shop, I grabbed six "Unique" hoes, of which Driftwood Organics and our new roadside stand, "Driftwood Trading Post," are distributors. You can Google them online. They come in all colors of the rainbow, and would double as viable weapons in a zombie apocalypse. I loaded them in the back of the old Ford Ranger that bears the scars of rock and roll.
Belinda and Mild Bill jumped into the Driftwood Organics van where Hagan still slept on the sofa in the back. Heidi rode shotgun in the Ranger, and Jacque Dawn followed us in her Jeep Cherokee as we forded the stream on the county road and made our way the four mile stretch past unplanted fields intermixed with new ponds and lakes, wild flowers and weeds blooming unchecked by the annual dosing of Roundup and other herbicides. The bees, birds, insects, frogs, deer, rabbits, wild pigs, etc. have enjoyed the most abundant spring since Indiana became a state in 1813. In fact the rivers are by now running cleaner than they have since industrial chemicals and farm pesticides and fertilizers were invented, as if Mother Nature is flushing the landscape of pollutants.
Our other farm borders old Highway 135, and that particular stretch of road has not been graded or altered since Indiana became a state, partially due to the graveyards at Driftwood Christian church which haunt both sides of the road all the way to the white lines with limestone markers dating back to 1813 on the east side. The ninety-degree turn onto the gravel ramp leading to our eight acres of fields is tedious and dangerous due to the lack of vision, as the German Lutheran graveyard on a sand hill to the north obstructs view. The toes of those old Deutschers are sticking out close enough to be mutilated by passing farm implements.
We parked in the shade at the top of the sand knoll where we'd planted our potatoes, and passed a joint around before embarking on the endeavor. The day before I had used an implement to hill sand from the middles to the potato rows--the reason being two-fold; one, to remove and bury the unfortunately overgrown weeds after a month of incessant rain, two, to cover the future spuds and protect them from sunlight which renders the tubers a toxic green. Ideally we would have performed this activity already two weeks earlier, when the weeds remaining would be few and far between.
Hagan emerged from the back of the van and immediately filled a jar from the water cooler. "Goddam, I was having a crazy dream," he said, fingers stroking his curly locks. The guy is nearly always smiling. I met him in the front room at the Farmhouse in 2013, before our first Hoefest. He was 18 years old then, and had brought an acoustic Fender. "You guys ever heard of the Eagles?" he asked, before picking and strumming "Hotel California." His family has played music for millenia, and they put on the bluegrass festival at the Norman conservation club, near the land he inherited. The kid didn't even hear much rock music until becoming a teenager, having been schooled by his uncles, aunts, and grandparents, and actually thought there were other people in the world who had not yet discovered the Eagles. Now he plays a combination of his own compositions and songs by Garth Brooks, Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilates, Tool, Tyler Childers, and about four dozen other artists. "It's bright as fuck out here. Anybody got a cigarette?"
With a stiff breeze blowing from the northwest, and unusually low humidity, we grabbed our hoes and found our own rows. The top of the sand dune was fairly clean of weeds, while the lower portions were so riddled that it was difficult to distinguish the potatoes. Halfway down the row, Jacque Dawn removed her shirt, and almost on cue most of us except Mild Bill did the same. The women wore bras and booty shorts. Hagan sticks with boots and jeans.
"I never wear shorts," he says. He won't dance, either, no matter how bad the women beg. "I feel like my role is to play music for everyone else to dance."
The "hoer" puns started rolling, as our crew is composed of adults. Thanks to the Great Monsoon of '19, this was the first day of hoeing for the infamous hosts of "Hoefest." Hoe jokes have been floating around our unique valley for hundreds of years. Until the corporate takeovers of the '90's, most of the family farms grew watermelons, sweetcorn, tomatoes, cantaloupe, etc., and there were hundreds of roadside stands. In June, in the good old days, the whole community was out hoeing in the fields, and we saw hoers everywhere we looked, and could not ignore the connotation even before the word became shortened and immortalized by rap.
We put in a full morning, enjoying the wind and sun. At about one p.m. Belinda had to take her 17 year-old daughter to work up in Brownstown at the Dairy Queen, and Heidi needed a ride to the BMV in Seymour to register her jeep, so we returned to the house for sausage and vegetable stir fry. In the afternoon Hagan, Mild Bill, Jacque Dawn and I returned to the field, grateful for the strange cool breeze and increasing clouds.
I couldn't help noticing the way Jacque Dawn took the time to shake out every clump of crabgrass before tossing it in the sand between the rows, thinking maybe I should inform her that was a waste of time, then checking that thought and concluding with the predicted rain maybe it was prudent to rid the roots of soil. This year the plans of men, locally, have been foiled.
At three p.m. Hagan needed a ride to REMC to pay the electric bill for his trailer, so while Jacque Dawn rolled into town, the rocket scientist, Mild Bill, and I adjusted the potato hiller so the discs would run once again through the middles and rid them of the remaining streaks of weeds. This involved creative adjustment. By the time Hagan, Jacque Dawn, Heidi, and Belinda returned, the rows had been successfully hilled. We passed another joint before tackling the last potatoes, then the tomatoes and peppers which were thankfully climbing the sand dune and relatively free of troublesome plant species like morning glories, lambsquarters, and pigweeds.
"Your back is sunburnt," I told Heidi.
"Good. I needed tan. Your shoulders are, too."
"Look at Hagan!"
With Scotch and Irish heritage, the freckled Hagan's shoulders had turned bright red. This was the first sunny day in a month.
As increasing clouds dominated, about seven o'clock we finished the rows and everyone headed back to the Farmhouse. I followed on the Massey Fergueson tractor, hoping to cultivate the sweet potatoes before the oncoming storm. The other farmers were out baling hay or attempting to plant the higher ground, scurrying like squirrels in anticipation of winter's wrath.
The sweet potato field was nearly too wet to work, but I managed to run between the rows before sunset.
Jacque Dawn's red Cherokee splashed away, and Heidi was preparing spaghetti in the kitchen when I called it a day. Hagan was strumming electric guitar. Belinda was watching Game of Thrones.
After dinner we decided to make a run to the Bluebird Cafe in the nearby village of Vallonia, to shoot pool and socialize. Since Heidi and I had followed Jetta's shining example and were packing quart jars of green tea to drink in lieu of alcohol, I decided to act as the designated driver for the first time in about three decades. Mild Bill enjoyed whiskey with Belinda in the back seat.
"I'm not drinking tonight," said Heidi.
"With you there," I said. "Enjoying this clarity way too much. I really appreciate you staying sober with me."
The Bluebird Cafe has served as the cultural center for the village of Vallonia since the 1950's. They serve beer in cans, also wine coolers for the ladies, but no hard liquor. The clientel tend to be Germans, bikers, and fisherman over the age of 70, some of whom have been frequenting the place since streakers ran wild in the early '70's. The old men love watching the Driftwood Organics hoers shoot pool or dance. No woman under the age of 60 ever buys a drink in that place. The previous weekend, Jetta had run the table for nearly an hour on her return from California, a shining example of sobriety amidst yeasty dutchers.
Heidi fed dollars in the jukebox, and we heard Hank III, Tyler Childers, and John Prine while Hagan and I struggled on our first game of pool.
"Maybe it's the full moon," he said, as our balls seemed jinxed to bounce out of the corner pockets.
The game dragged on forever, to the chuckles of the old men perched on the rickety barstools. "Guess Jetta didn't school ya enough while she was here--"
Finally the sobriety started paying off, and I found my groove, thinking how great it was not to be sitting at the bar drinking. Instead I was actively engaged, mentally and physically. Time dragged on. By midnight everyone else was tired of playing pool. Heidi asked if I cared if she ordered a Miller Lite.
"You're 22 years old. You can do whatever you want. I'm driving."
Finally a young man affiliated with another local produce farm agreed to engage me in a game. The whole bar was watching. I've never been the strongest on the break, but managed to pull off a decent scattering of the balls without sinking one.
The bright-eyed gentleman in the seedcorn cap immediately sunk three stripes, leaving me with no clear shot.
I shot directly into a cluster of solids with a temporary case of nihilism.
The kid dropped three more before scratching.
"You can do it, Spec!" said Heidi.
Nope, that full moon jinx rattled one out of the pocket. By now I had three corners blocked, thinking that was maybe the strategy to go with until my luck changed. The kid missed, and I got on a roll, clearing four out of his way before missing so he could go ahead and reduce his problems to one eight ball.
Still, the game wasn't over. I managed to clear all but the fiver before leaving the kid a clear shot.
He didn't miss.
The next player was Heidi. The look in her eyes when she stuck the quarters in the slots and glanced at the kid told more than a thousand country songs could spell out in words.
Belinda sat on the stool beside me at the bar and took my hand. "Heidi really likes that guy. He's a good guy. He's a real good guy."
Several young men in Grateful Dead T-shirts approached me with smother hugs and strong beer breath. "We got to spread the love, Spec. Glad you made it."
"Made it? I'm sitting at the bar."
"Glad you made it, bro. Spread the love."
At 1:30 a.m. I turned to Preacher Bill, who has tended bar at the Bluebird since the 1970's. He doesn't drink. "Man, I'm plum out of green tea. I need a beer."
Our growing crowd closed the place down about 3 o'clock. Torrents of rain were soaking at a rate we later learned to be six inches per hour, so I sprinted across the village Main Street to Mild Bill's minivan which was parked in front of the old railroad hotel. At the back door, about eight or ten people filed quickly through the side doors and packed in, damp.
Water and sand were washing over the dips on historic State Road 135, but there was no traffic at that hour, so we splashed slowly, vision impaired as the windshield wipers could not keep pace. Turning off the highway, an irrelevant stop sign at a jog in the county road poked up out of the lake, reflecting in the headlight glare. Driving through water the number one rule is never to stop. Next we had to ford the river that runs between the Farmhouse and barn, flowing over the asphalt county road north of the hog lot. The current was strong, but the minivan's tires held their grip.
Splashing through the puddles in the parking lot, the van came to rest next to the port-o-pottie. Frogs were croaking in deafening tones. The well pump had been submerged and shorted out, so we had no tap water unless I removed the sump pump from the basement and stuck it in the pumphouse, an operation that would take at least half an hour. At 3:30 in the morning I was not interested in undertaking manual labor.
Hagan plugged in his amplifier and started playing '90's Seattle sound as the rain continued to pound the roof. Eventually we switched to country, played a few originals, and the house sang along if slurring, always fun. A guest pawed at Hagan's guitar neck, but otherwise we had a great time until the sun rose and Mild Bill awoke from a bunk bed in the back bedroom to give the Vallonia villagers a ride back home in his white minivan.
On Friday afternoon the "Driftwood Organics" crew hoed and weeded the half acre of potatoes that we managed to plant in early May on top of a sand dune. I had planned to stick the spuds in the aforementioned garden behind the house, but due to the Great Monsoon it has never dried out enough. This was our first chance in a month to cultivate the field, and in fact I had to abandon an implement on the lower end when the tractor tires sunk into quick sand.
KNOW YOUR OLIGARCHS (#16)
Know Your Progressive Oligarchs.
Diane Feinstein. Net worth $58.5 million; husband, Richard Blum, $1 billion, which means that’s her money too.
JEFF BEZOS makes the annual salary of his lowest-paid employees every 11.5 seconds.