River Views

It’s June and I can see trees falling on the steep slope south of the Albion River, part of a Mendocino Redwood Co. timber harvest. Fir and redwood crash to the ground in McKay Gulch to my west as well. As close as a hundred feet from this house Anderson Logging, contracted by Mendocino Redwood Company, has placed flags around trees, indicating they will be used as cable tail holds.These cable corridors also run over the road I drive or walk on down to the river bottom. Apparently there are no current forest practice rules governing logging cable lines that travel directly above existing roads. Amendments are added to timber harvest plans as needed. Mendocino Redwood Company added no such amendment to this timber harvest plan until after I spoke by phone with a CalFire harvest inspector on June 5th. This is not the first time that Mendocino Redwood Co. has failed to include any sort of safety precautions regarding their cable logging along the Albion River. CalFire and the state forest practice rules seemingly have no printed regulations concerning the proximity of high tension logging cables to power lines and residences. This obvious safety issue seems to be dealt with only on a case by case basis and only when neighbors assert themselves enough to ask questions.

June also marks the end of most school years. Precisely one hundred years ago it marked the end of the existence for the first McKay School District site here on the Macdonald Ranch. In 1912, the old McKay schoolhouse was literally carried away on a flatcar to be used by the Albion Lumber Company elsewhere as either another school or for living quarters for the company’s employees in a logging camp. My Macdonald grandparents housed the local elementary teacher for several years in the 1890s then built a cottage for subsequent teachers next door to their own two-story home. The school itself sat in a clearing near the mouth of McKay Gulch, on the western portion of this ranch. The school registers from the 1890s are still in the possession of our family. The 1890s register was purchased from Eversole & Templeton of Ukiah. This forerunner of today’s Eversole Mortuary business once sold furniture as well as “school supplies of all kinds.”

The second McKay School was located a mile north on the Littleriver Prairie road. One of my aunts, Georgiana Hathaway Macdonald, taught there for many years. Lillian Canclini Drinkwater was the last 8th grade graduate in 1940.

There’s an item traveling the internet that appears to be an eighth grade final exam from Salina, Kansas in 1895. I can attest that exams such as these were required because the McKay School District used a similar, possibly more difficult, test in the late 1800s.

A small sample of the five hour long Kansas exam included describing the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the source of a river; giving nine rules for capitalization; marking ten words diacritically and dividing each into syllables; defining the parts of speech that have no modifications; writing a 150-word composition that demonstrates the practical uses of the rules of grammar.

Arithmetic problems included: A wagon box is two feet deep, ten feet long, and three feet wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold? Find the interest on $512.60 when held for eight months and sixteen days at seven percent interest. Students also wrote an essay relating the causes and results of the American Revolution.

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