Sudden Oak Death.....
A week back.....native fire was still burning in Clover Basin, but gently.
In the area of responsibility of the Cachagua Volunteers.......only 25% burned, either by God or Man (or Woman).
The other 75% is both grateful.....and clueless.
Typically....the grateful folk are the little people with small funds.
The clueless seem to be well-funded.....
Today I got a phone call from my Favorite Neighbor.....who has been haunting these hills for thirty years or so.
The Rich Neighbor Above had lost a little puppy from the litter and had called. TRNA will not call me direct, but channels things through Favorite Neighbor. Having only lived on our mountain for 20 years, I am new and therefore........well, new.
Favorite Neighbor and I are crazy dog lovers.....so I downed tools (tools like billing clients for the last three months so I can cover the $15k overdraft my bank seems upset about) and set off up the Mountain with my dogs to look for the lost puppy.
I could relate.....
Last Monday, Xabi the Grand Puppy disappeared up on the Durney/Heller ranch.....and I cancelled Monday Night Dinner to search for him.
In Cachagua, dogs are royalty.
We got boned by the Health Inspector last week for "Dogs in Store". Our health inspector is a really sweet guy......who grew up in the restaurant business. I explained to him that "Dog in Store" was lucky. At any given moment there could have been "Chickens in Store" or "Peacocks in Store"........
Jack Swanson's dog Tess is royalty. Lyle and Joannie's dog Patch is royalty. Vicki's dog Lucy is royalty.
Xabi is definitely royalty......and the whole town turned out to search for him.....an hour after he went missing.
So.....when my rich neighbor called to say that her puppy had gone missing.....THREE NIGHTS AGO....we still rallied and went tromping through the woods.
Meanwhile....three nights ago the dogs had gone crazy. We heard weird noises in the woods.....but our woods have weasels, badgers, coyotes, bobcats, owls, cougars and Mexican gang-bangers.......
Still, we did our best for the little puppy.
I almost heard some yipping.....but it was completely drowned out by chainsaws. The entire side of our mountain is being chewed up by chainsaws. "Moto-sierra" in Spanish.
The economy may be flailing.....but not for anyone that understands "Moto-sierra".
Sudden Oak Death has a whole new meaning on my side of the Mountain. Moto-sierra is taking down more oaks than any fungus ever could.
My rich neighbors......who consistently fail to support the professionals at the Cachagua Volunteers (weekend ranchers don't give actual money....but will sell you designer beef at a "cheap" price for your benefit auction) are laying out the cash to the illegals to......also illegally.....cut down any oak tree that would threaten their palaces if it caught fire.
The noise was so intense this morning that even though I heard the puppy yipping in the woods.....I couldn't track it.
Here in my world.......we value our dogs. We freak out when they go missing, immediately. Not three days later.
We also value our trees.....they shade us, and they warm us when they pass. I am an Irish Druid......I hate even trimming my oaks......
And we value our Cachagua Volunteers.
These are the guys.....and gals....who save our lives when we fall out of trees. They are the wise backstop when the Pros From Dover show up in a big fire to save our bacon at any cost.
And they are the ones that continue to supply the continuity of knowledge of our Community that flows between the old hands, the ranchers, the tractor guys, the new people, the horsie folk, the whack-jobs, the Latinos.......
As someone pointed out.....if everyone in Cachagua gave $20 to the Volunteers....they would have the $40k necessary to buy a new war wagon. I have a sweet check right in front of me for $500 from someone who really can't afford it but is a believer like me.
One New Rancher could do that as well......drop the whole $40k without an afterthought.
No.....Tom DeRecht needs another 500 board feet of Amazonian hardwood for his horsebarn instead. Rupert Murdoch at Carmel Ranch Company needs a fifty year supply of Viagra to keep up with his young wife. Alan Silvestri.....
I don't know what his story is....but as the Volunteers say: "Don't fall off that 4wd and hurt yourself.......we will be a long time getting to you at 5 mph in our current rig......"
Fire is over....time to take stock and assign values.
Dogs. Oaks. Volunteers.