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Stoves & Pot

Canyon Road is just North of Geyserville. I had been contacted by an owner of a small older vineyard to inspect the vines for disease or insects. It turned out to be a typical older vineyard with what I suspect was a 1900’s house built upwards from the vines. As a protocol I have used for years I always check with the occupant of the house before I go snooping around the vines, especially when the house is occupied by a tenant.

A young man answered the door and we briefly introduced each other. From the elevated position of the house I could see a green circle in the middle of one of the blocks of vines. I assured him I would not wonder into that portion of the property. While talking I noticed an extraordinary wood stove, shiny fittings, brass doors. Like no other wood stove, I had ever seen. The young man then showed me a unique way of scraping the ash out of the stove into a container in the front of the stove. He made this stove by hand and it showed. I excused myself and inspected the vines and reported to the owner my findings.

I did not think about the stove for many years until I read an article in the Press Democrat about a shooting on Canyon Road in Geyserville. It seemed that two persons attempted to help themselves to a portion of Pot that was being grown in the middle of a vineyard. The owner saw the intruders and a gun fight followed. No names were used but I could put it all together. I saw no follow up article and again forgot about it for years

I built a tasting room sometime later in Hopland for McDowell Valley Winery. In the tasting room there was a corner space for a stove. After McDowell occupied the building I stopped by one day and right there in the corner was one of Mr. Canyon Roads shiny wood stoves. I asked the owner Bill Crawford about the stove and yes, he had purchased the stove from Mr. Canyon Road. 

Again, years went by and no thought was given to the unique stove. One day I was at the sheriff’s office in Ukiah. Right there in the parking lot was a unique pickup parked. The side racks were spotless and carved into the polished wood was an ad for wood stoves. By nature, I am curious if not a little nosey. I waited and sure enough the driver of the pickup appeared. I was able to say hello and that we had meet several years ago on Canyon Road. We traded small talk for a while and then I asked hm about the incident reported in the Press Democrat. He said, Well Bob, hear is the way it happened.

From the house I saw some movement in my pot patch. I grabbed my rifle and went down the stairs. As I got closer one of the robbers was attempting to raise his rifle towards me. He was having trouble raising it due to getting tangled up in the pot vines. I raised my rifle first and shot. I then proceeded with caution to the pot patch. Sure, enough I had hit the robber. He was not hit bad and I drug him back to the house and propped him up against a side of the house. He was conscious and we exchanged a few harsh words. I looked in the vineyard for a second robber and about that time I heard a car start down by the road. I spent a short time making sure that the second robber was gone. I then went back to the house to attend to the first robber. When I got to the house the first robber was dead, I panicked. I didn’t know just what to do so I put his body in the back of my pickup. I drove around for several days with the body and then to the old county dump above Cloverdale and dumped the body out I then came back to my home on Canyon Road. A short time later I was visited by a Deputy Sheriff. A person had gone into the Sheriff’s office and filed a report of a shooting on Canyon Road. And the report named me as the shooter. The Deputy took me to the Sheriff’s office for an extensive interview. I gave them my side of the incident. I was kept at the sheriff’s office for some time and released. That is how the article appeared in the Press Democrat. I was never arrested or charged. I never heard again from the sheriff or the District Attorney. I just went back to building beautiful wood stoves.

I think about the stove that McDowell Winery bought. They went out of business a few years later and we sold the building in Hopland to some people that converted it to a restaurant. 

I never saw the stove again.

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