Deciphering Lumberjack Lingo

My father-in-law Andrew Tahja started his working life as a whistle punk. What does that mean? On a logging show often workers cannot see each other and someone off to the side, who can see everything, used loud mechanical whistles to start actions. He was called a whistle punk. A book called “Lumberjack Lingo” by […]

Mendocino County Schools In 1880

As an author in the midst of researching a new book on Mendocino County history I found myself perusing the “History of Mendocino County, California.” Written in 1880 by Allen, Bowen & Co. it’s an 800-page tome with 300 pages given to “Early & Prominent Settlers and Representative Men.” My sarcastic and feminine mind thinks…representative […]

Lost In The Mendocino National Forest

Like all misadventures this one started simply enough. In the process of research on the 150-year history of Mendocino County I am writing I decided I should visit the four geographic corners of the county. The northwestern corner is in the Kings Peak Recreation Area off Chemise Mountain Road, which is north of Usal Road […]

Mendocino Mineral Madness

While researching Mendocino County’s geology as I prepare to write a 150-year history of Mendocino County I was re-reading “Mineral Commodities Of California” published in 1957. It’s a 736-page treasure with charts, maps and photos and I paid a whopping $1.00 for it at a yard sale. Hey, you get research books wherever you can […]

The Oldest Guy At Burning Man 2017

Mobility Camp at Burning Man exists to get folks out on the Black Rock playa to see art and bright sparkly things when they can’t walk or bicycle long distances in extreme heat. We also get asked lots of questions…which is how we met the oldest guy at Burning Man. There are about 70,000 people […]

3,768 Miles Of Backroad America

I’m weird. I admit it. I go on a 3,768-mile car ride through Eastern and Midwestern back roads and I find the strangest darn things to get excited about, or question. After two weeks on secondary highways and trains what do I carry away with me as my #1 best memory? Collecting petrified wood in […]

The Kate Wolf Festival

Surrounded by depressing news on health care and a non-functional president and congress I decided to escape the real world and treat myself to a weekend away from the media and go listen to great music. About 4,000 other people had the same idea. We went to the Kate Wolf Music Festival at Black Oak […]

Shipwrecks On The Mendocino Coast

As a historian I’ve always been fascinated by shipwrecks, but not in the conventional manner. Yes, there is drama in the ship crashing on the rocks and the exciting rescue of the crew and passengers, but what I like to read about is what washed up on shore. The story of the Mendocino Coast and […]

When Loggers Meet…

Last month the 79th annual Redwood Region Logging Conference (RRLC) in Eureka was attended by thousands of folks of all ages celebrating everything related to logging on the North Coast. The show had everything you’d expect…historical exhibits and equipment from the Timber Heritage Association, Roots of Motive Power, Early Day Gas Engine & Tractor Association, […]

In Search Of Hambone, California

Why, you might ask, would anyone try to get to Hambone, California? Where the heck is it anyway? And what’s there when you get there? If you are married to a railroad fanatic who loves abandoned railroad grades you might find yourself just about anyplace in California…like rural eastern Siskiyou County. The combination for me […]

Accidents In Local Coast History—With Octopus

Historians doing research are always coming up with interesting tidbits that deserve sharing, like a file full of gruesome accidents reported to the local newspaper. I must say, Mendocino Coast residents in days gone by found some unusual ways to maim and kill themselves and these events got excellent newspaper coverage. Good old-fashioned transit accidents, […]