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Valley People (March 17, 2021)

SNOW FLURRIES at the higher elevations and encouraging blasts of heavy rain on the Valley floor as a meager winter limps into April which, the poet told us, “is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain.” The weather has sped up, it seems, with April's memory and desire now occurring in early March, although for us bolder olders desire is long gone and all we have is memory, which can be more cruel than April ever was.


Chloe Gans-Rugebregt, Anderson Valley Health Center Manager, doesn’t think so: “This event has put the entire county's supply at risk. California and our own county officials have said they will hold back supply if counties break phases/tiers, which this event has done. I really hope all the vulnerable folks in the rest of the county don't get sacrificed because the folks on the coast got lucky. And I am not a patient trying to get a vaccine, I am a healthcare provider who is dedicated to vaccinating my service area in Mendocino County according to county guidelines.”

ANDERSON VALLEY’S schools are slowly coming back to life.  Preschool, First, and Second grades resumed classes today, Monday the 15th of March. Superintendent Warych reports he expects a larger return after the spring break.

JUNE RANCH HISTORY as pieced together from press accounts and family memories:

Harwood James June owned and managed the H. J. June Ranch with his son Jack as assistant until Harwood died in 1967. Jack was expected to be the next manager when Harwood could no longer function. 

Alas, the estate trustee immediately attempted to solely operate the working part of the farm. In 1978 after years of steady decline, and deeply in debt, the working part of the ranch (farm) ceased to operate and was listed for sale. The timberland (827 acres) was reserved from the 950 acres when sold. 

The timberland remains in female hands, mostly family ownership today. 

When researching June Ranch property deeds it was discovered the ranch originally consisted of many separate parcels, some less than an acre. The first recorded deed was dated January 12, 1878 with J. J. Smalley deeding land to J. D. Ball; another parcel from J. J. Smalley to Joseph Rawles; two separate parcels recorded in 1889 from William Fry to Ida F. Ham (aka Ham Canyon). 

Some of the names on deeds, also included Quit Claim boundary adjustments are noted Anderson Valley pioneer families: J. J. Smalley, J. D. Ball, Joseph Rawles, Mary Jane Fry, Ida F. Ham, S. M. Ornbaun, Mary Estes, Henry Wightman, George Jeans, and Clarence L. St. John, plus other deeds from timber companies. (A few years ago, the original deeds were donated to the Anderson Valley Museum.)

The parcels that became the June Ranch, were individually purchased by Harwood and his wife Blossom through a five-year payback loan from John Edward Singley (Fly). 

Shortly before the five-year loan term was up John Edward Singley cancelled the last few payments remaining on the loan, Harwood and Blossom then owned all the parcels, free from debt; the combined acreage officially became H. J. June Ranch. It was a prosperous enterprise for many years and employed many local people during the summer months. 

The main ranch property in Boonville was sold to pay off debts incurred through the years after Harwood’s death. The working ranch land consisted of an estimated 120 plus or minus acres of mixed agriculture land, orchards, alfalfa pasture, large garden area, four homes, a large modern cold storage building that housed a packing facility, barn, old motel building, hop kiln dryer, farming equipment: tractors, loaders, hay bailer, and many other farm implements. Local Wasson family members currently own and operate the lower farm part of the ranch.

With the sale of the farm property, H. J. June Ranch legally ceased to be, its labeling rights were included in the sale. 

IT'S a welcome fact of life in Mendocino County that we're never more than a few minutes from wilderness, some of it so remote from the life all around us that we're mercifully removed from the industrial hum, so remote from the hum that we're enveloped in absolute silence. The Anderson Valley has a nice supply of these sanctuaries, one of them the old June Ranch northwest off Ornbaun Road. Here's hoping the buyer has some respect for this rare and historically significant property.

KEN HURST remembers Janie Morse: “Janie Harding Morse rode from Arkansas to the Anderson Valley with Mr. Fochea who constructed the Fochea sawmill at the end of the first flat plane on Mountain View Road. It was the first mill built by Arkansas-ers in the Valley. I don't know if she was married to Johnny Harding when she arrived in the valley or soon after. But he was a fine young man who died of cancer while still a young man. He drove a logging truck.

Janie married another wonderful man later named Howard Morse but he was usually called Mouse. He too was a wonderful man.

Janie and Mouse owned and ran the Philo Cafe and got great reviews from everyone who went to their cafe. I happily had a hamburger and Coke with fries so many times there I can still taste them.

Janie was the kindest, most generous person I have ever known.

When Mr. Fochea arrived in the Valley in about 1944 it was the beginning of the Arky arrival to the Anderson Valley.

So sorry to see Janie and those good times go.

THE APPENDED TWO COMMENTS appeared on the essential Redheaded Blackbelt website. Both reminded me that nighttime military air maneuvers were also common at the higher elevations of the Anderson Valley, often startling early rising hill people when large, silent planes appeared in the valleys beneath them. The Clow Ridge area was a popular training site. There was an incident where a piece of a plane fell onto the property of a local. A Korean War-era pilot told me that he often trained at night in Mendocino County because the terrain resembled Korea:

(1) “…. When working at Mattole School, there were jets LOWER than the school who were training to get under the radar at Centerville, coming in from the mouth of the river. I haven’t heard a sonic boom in years. Many folks were up in arms in those days. I did see one of those planes yesterday afternoon going north above Honeydew toward the mouth – seemed a little low, and wondered if it was taking photos, though I have no idea, and it was too high to see any numbers or even the color.

2) “Nothing new. They always do training flights over Mendo and Humboldt, especially at night. Also the KC-10’s are almost always doing fighter jet and transport refuels on a pattern similar to the one pictured. Most common I see are Stratotankers and Northrop T-38C Talon trainer jets. Hell, the navy owns all the airspace over Mendo to a certain altitude for training purposes. Occasionally you can track the Northrop Talons over us as well.

I watch them all the time on a few tracking websites, also listen to their comms. Did you know the navy seals and the marines use Lake Sonoma for training? Some nights you can see a few C-130s in line for crew drops into that lake. They use it since it's so straight and the aircraft can get a good run on it.

NORM CLOW: My mother's renewed teaching credential, Nov. 1942. 

“She was starting her third year at Anderson Valley Union High School. As I recall she was paid the grand sum of about $1,850 for 9 months when she started there in 1940. After a couple of modest raises, she jumped to Healdsburg in 1944 for the extra $125 a year they offered. According to her 1945 tax return she earned $2,879 there (plus $135 at Rosenberg & Bush department store during Christmas). A banner year. After one more year at Healdsburg she had to retire due to the retinal disease that robbed 95% of her sight. And that for someone who had a research paper she assembled in junior college placed in the Smithsonian Institute as well as numerous college and public libraries in the Bay Area, including her alma mater, UC Berkeley.”

INTERESTING NOTE from Jeff Burroughs on the worst aircraft disaster in Mendocino County, which occurred on January 21, 1943 when the Philippine Clipper, loaded with passengers from Hawaii, was diverted from the fog enshrouded Bay Area bases and told to land in Clear Lake, designated an auxiliary emergency landing zone. It was the proverbial dark and stormy night when the pilot came in too low over the foothills and crashed the plane about seven miles southwest of Ukiah at an elevation of about 2,500 feet. Which places the crash not far north from the “top of the hill” on the Boonville-Ukiah Road. The wreckage wasn't located for nearly two weeks, although Edna Wallach, an official Anderson Valley air warden and a long-time resident of Bell Valley, said she. heard the plane pass over her house and crash. Jeff remembers that the elementary school used to take kids up there for field trips. But after some of the students found some personal belongings of the people killed, the government came back and bulldozed the site out of existence and labeled it a place of honor and respect for the lives lost there. 

NO ONE believed Mrs. Wallach that she'd heard the plane and the crash until the wreckage was found in a totally inaccessible area to vehicles but on a straight path from the Wallach home. 19 dead, charred bodies had to be wrapped in canvas and slung over horses to be packed out to the Ukiah Road, at the time graveled and often closed for days at a time during the winter. After accident investigators were finished the site was dynamited to remove any traces of the accident and discourage visitors.

AMONG THE DEAD was Admiral Robert H. English, Submarine Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

PERSISTENT MYTH: Richard Tower writes: “The myth that the Pan Am Philippine Clipper was on its way to an alternate landing spot on Clear Lake when it crashed near Ukiah on Jan. 21, 1943 persists, but it’s not true. The Clear Lake alternate landing location was established by Pan Am in June 1943 according to the Lake County Bee.

The CAB accident investigation report explains the Philippine Clipper arrived over San Francisco Bay from Honolulu during bad weather in the early morning hours. Captain Elzey was told conditions prevented him landing in the bay and that he should consider proceeding to the alternate landing location in San Diego or holding near San Francisco until 9:00 AM when weather conditions were expected to improve. Since he still had 10 hours of fuel, he decided to hold west of the Golden Gate and if conditions were still bad at 9:00, he had sufficient fuel to continue to San Diego. Later, probably thinking he was still over ocean, he descended to a lower altitude. But extremely heavy winds had blown his aircraft northeast over Mendocino County. Elzey did not have a proper fix on his position, and this error led to the crash in the opinion of the CAB.

The Clear Lake facility was established after the accident to give flying boat captains a closer alternative landing location than San Diego. In addition, a radio beacon was installed on the Farallon Islands to give pilots a better fix on their position.”


Visitor Service Park Aides/Guides!

Valid license, basic reading/writing/English & Math.

Stop by and get an application at the Kiosk. More info: 895-3141. Thursday, Sunday 8-4

ON THE ROAD. “To the gentleman (or lady) that I followed into Boonville, from pretty much Flynn Creek; 1. I'm sorry you were so mad you gave me the “not” boont salute. And 2. There are MANY pull outs along the way, and if you need to go below the speed limit, that is TOTALLY cool; these roads are a little bit of a challenge for some (used to be for me.). Please, though, pull over so that others can drive and get where they need to go. I'm not the only one that needed to “go,” following behind you. You were passed as well. I unfortunately drive a box with no power to giddy up and go around you. 

I'm sorry that you were upset, but please be mindful of others. 

Thank you!” 

THAT ABANDONED motor home at the junction of 128 and 253, has been there for two weeks, ironically placed beneath the sign that says that stretch of road is the clean-up responsibility of Robert Mailer Anderson. A local guy happened to see the old man who towed it from over the hill in his ancient pick-up,  dumped it where it has rested ever since, then drove back over the hill. Why he chose Boonville as his drop site — in broad daylight yet — may not ever be known.


Homegrown rosemary sea salt blend as well as rosemary and jalapeño blended with sea salt is available at BoontBerry. Made by local sixth grader, Cian Bouch, the salts come in sweet little jars and are $5 for a pair of both flavors. Great as gifts, easy to send, and supports young entrepreneurship. 

Rosemary salt is great on toast or meats or veggies and potatoes. The jalapeño adds a nice kick. 

Larger amounts available by request. Contact his mom, for orders. 

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