The Pleasures of Picture Postcards

I recently visited my neighborhood chain drug store to purchase picture postcards to send to friends. I purchased my previous batch there perhaps two years ago. After searching to no avail, I was informed by the clerk that the store no longer carried picture postcards. Apparently the space devoted to that one rack of postcards […]

Mendocino County Snapshot, 1950

One of the astonishing aspects of our internet-connected world is the ability to discover – and buy – stuff we never knew we wanted. Amazon and eBay have become great enablers, but almost every commercial website offers something that someone, somewhere, can’t live without, even if they have for decades.  My latest “can’t live without” […]

Odd Tree Out, Yet Again

Readers of the Anderson Valley Advertiser may remember my “Odd Tree Out” articles from earlier this year, chronicling my rediscovery – after 20 years – of California nutmeg in an area west of Philo.  With more than 60 years of rambling through various corners of Anderson Valley, finding that tree was an eye-opener. After a […]

Odd Tree Out – The Sequel

Readers of the Anderson Valley Advertiser may remember my “Odd Tree Out” article back in April, which detailed discovery of some young examples of the rare California nutmeg tree west of Philo. Several commented on the article and provided the locations of full-sized California nutmeg trees within Anderson Valley, though none near my discovery. At […]

Old Skills

Growing up in Anderson Valley in the late 1950s and 1960s meant learning a few skills, maybe not for everyone, but certainly for my siblings and me. We were living at my parent’s summer camp, El Rancho Navarro. When camp wasn’t in operation — essentially from September through May — it was mostly just us: […]

Odd Tree Out

Nature must love mysteries. Why else would it have so many? Some of them are huge, like how the earth evolved. Some are small, like how individual species adapt to a changing environment. Nature in Anderson Valley has contracted in recent centuries due to fire, logging, agriculture and mankind’s other activities, but still holds mysteries […]

Drought Bound?

It was a dry Anderson Valley day in late January this year. The morning temperature was crisp, the sun warming, and the light and shadows bright and deep in the forest where I was piling brush. However, as I worked, I realized a couple of things were missing from this winter’s day in Anderson Valley: […]

First People

History is long, but memory is short. Anderson Valley’s early settlers may have arrived in the 1850s, but the valley’s history began millennia earlier, with the coming of Native Americans. These First People left little to indicate their presence here, but they were here.

The Ties that Bind

Anderson Valley is a unique place. The valley’s tightly circumscribed terrain, redwoods-and-meadows landscape and temperate (compared to most of the world) climate are similar to a scattering of spots up and down the Northern California coast, but the element that sets it apart — even now, but especially in the past — is the region’s […]

Resting Places

Anderson Valley has five cemeteries, though only four are in general use. All are old, all are still active, all have rustic character befitting the valley – no manicured lawns here — and all abound with historic family names, many that still had a strong presence in the valley during the years of my youth there in the late 1950s and 1960s. A few of those families remain in the valley today, others have passed on or moved on. Still, the cemeteries are snapshots of the valley, past and present.

Highway 128: AV’s Main Street

One-Twenty-Eight. The highway. That $%&(@! road. However one refers to California State Highway 128, it is Anderson Valley’s main street and its main portal to the outside world. Highway 128 is also — in some ways — a wonder. Anderson Valley’s isolation comes in part from the seriously rugged surrounding terrain; tall ridges, deeply cut […]

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