Mendocino Geology for $1

You never know what you’ll turn up at a book sale. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. While working on the Mendocino County history I’m writing I was thrilled to pick up “Mineral Commodities of California” (1957) for $1. In it were 736 slightly musty pages of geology and geography and references to Mendocino […]

Sunday Drive Around Sutter Buttes

Spend 40 years driving by the same interesting-looking place along Highway 20 and saying “…Some year we should check that out…” and finally we got it together and took time to check out Sutter Buttes. Nicknamed the “World’s Smallest Mountain Range” the Buttes rise 2,000’ over the Central Valley and you wonder what the heck […]

Another Roadside Attraction

Anyone living in Anderson Valley or on the coast has driven by this location a gazillion times and probably noticed a small sturdy stucco building

What? Another AV Newspaper?

Don’t panic. We’re talking almost ancient history here. As I sorted through research materials acquired while writing a 150-year history of Mendocino County I look at some of it and think “Where the heck did I find this?” In this case it was a competitor publication called the Anderson Valley Advocate, from the early 1970s. […]

Making Money Writing a Century Ago

As an historian nearing the end of writing my first draft of a history of Mendocino County from 1852-2002 I can’t help but being intrigued by some of the people I’ve researched — like Aurelius O. Carpenter of Ukiah. First, let me say that anyone wanting to know more about this person can go to […]

Finding A Home For History

Primary resources, in a historian’s world, are original materials upon which researchers can study to begin writing books or articles about any person or subject. If someone collected my handwritten draft of this newspaper story and saved it they’d have a primary resource. Once the Anderson Valley Advertiser printed it that article would become a […]

Saying You’re Sorry at Burning Man 2018

Sometimes at Burning Man you just really screw up. You say something to someone, or do something that is really inexcusable and you’re mortified. But Wait! There’s a classy solution! Go to Camp Playapology!  What? In the thousands of camps at the Burning Man event in Nevada north of Reno there is a single camp […]

A Solution For Homelessness?

Did you ever have that neighbor you’ve known for years offer a proposal for solving a societal problem that just blows you away? Practical or not, this person looked at the problem of homelessness and gave serious thought about what to do and how to do it. My praise, for what it’s worth, goes out […]

Prohibition Shenanigans

Ever heard of a wine block or a grape brick? While working on the history of Mendocino County I’m writing I was trying to establish if any wineries in this county tried producing these objects. It does not seem so but they were made in Sonoma and Napa counties and their story is fascinating.  Prohibition […]

Elders Wandering Ireland

If we’re lucky in our lives we get those few very precious days when Everything. Is. Perfect. You couldn’t ask for more. It could be a combination of location and travel companions and weather and your inner spirit, but everything clicks together for an unforgettable few hours. For perhaps the second time in my life […]

The Climates Of Mendocino County

As a historian in the midst of writing a 150 year history of Mendocino County I spend a lot of time reading the first county history printed in 1880. In this tome there is nothing in this county that is NOT worth lavish praise, including the weather, no matter how extreme it is. When this […]