Country living requires many things, but one essen­tial is a dog. With plenty of room to roam and the isola­tion of Anderson Valley during my years — the late 1950s to the late 1980s — there, a dog provided many things: among them help, security and companionship. We had a few dogs during my Anderson […]

Poison Oak

In my articles chronicling Anderson Valley from the late 1950s through the late 1980s, I have detailed a variety of native flora and fauna; from redwood and Douglas fir to deer and snail. Anderson Valley’s bountiful natural environment probably deserves more articles than any sane person would care to write or read, but I would […]

Creatures Great & Not So Great

In my years in Anderson Valley, from the late 1950s to the late 1980s, I experienced plenty of local wildlife: a sea of baby toads on every sandbank along lower Rancheria Creek in early summer, occasional turtles in the Navarro River, rarely seen foxes and (back then) coyotes, the sounds and paw prints (though never […]

Forces Of Nature

In my previous article on the three major, unpredictable forces of nature — wildfire, wind and earthquake — in Anderson Valley, I focused on wildfire and wind and my experiences during my valley years, from the late 1950s to the late 1980s. As promised, this article will delve into the valley’s other force of nature: […]

Forces Of Nature

As regular readers of my occasional articles have probably realized by now, I find nature — in all its forms — fascinating. Maybe we lived closer to nature during my time in Anderson Valley from the late 1950s to the late 1980s because it often dictated daily life back then. Annual rainfall in Anderson Valley […]


In recent weeks, my thoughts have turned to neighbors. During our years in Anderson Valley, from the late 1950s to the late 1980s, the Newman family was — with perhaps one exception — blessed with good neighbors. Neighbors that helped in remarkable ways; from offering advice and loaning tools to pitching in on projects and […]

Off The Map

Memory is a curious thing. For me, pure memory (one without emotion) is like a photograph or moving picture, with a main element in crisp focus and peripheral elements out of focus – either slightly fuzzy or very blurry. I was reminded just how curious memory can be during my last visit to Anderson Valley […]

Rod & Gun

During my years in Anderson Valley, which began in the late 1950s and continued to the late 1980s, the most popular local outdoor recreation was fishing and hunting. Camping and backpacking were my primary outdoor passions in those years, but local pleasures can’t be denied, so the rod and gun also found their way into […]

Phone, Power & Water

Change is inevitable, even in Anderson Valley. Some aspects of the valley have changed markedly from when I first arrived in the late 1950s and some hardly at all. Back in November, in my article “That’s Entertainment,” I detailed how – with the rise of television dishes, computers and homegrown options, and the disappearance of […]

Split Stuff

As noted in my earlier article “Big Timber,” logging was a major commercial activity in Anderson Valley for more than a century and had two distinct eras; the 1850s to 1920s, and the late 1940s to early 1960s. Most of the trees cut during these eras went straight to local mills to be turned into […]

The Beauty Of Nature

Soon after we arrived in Anderson Valley in 1957, my father nailed a couple of elk horns onto the trunk of an oak tree in front of our house. As elk weren’t part of the natural landscape then (though maybe they were in the 19th century), the rack must have been left behind by the […]