Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sudden Oak Death.....

Fire update.....

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 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 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.


Blogger pendoodles said...

I was going to say coyotes, but then realized you'd known that. LOL


Somthing not so well known is 'tar are bars in dem der wuds' (well what's left of the woods after being cut down).

Really there were brown bears moved my the state about 20 some odd years ago into the Ventana. With thesefires and lack of regular food for them, its very possible the puppy/puppies could have met with a horrible fate.

One night driving the 'long way home' from town out to our cachagua abode, we saw two dark heavy brown figures crossing the road just before the grade going up to where one turns on the tassajara road. We thought we were seeing things...

...untill a few days later and visiting with Putzi (I know thats spelled wrong LOL)the local foresty up there at the time. He informed us that wedid see what we thought we saw.

From then on I never let my daughter Dani, our dog or cats out alone at night.

Don't ya just love livin up there?! LOL

9:43 AM  
Blogger Mike said...


After almost 30 years of living in Hitchcock Canyon, I came to know about Neighborhood Dynamics--not to understand them, but to know them, certainly.

At least where I know live, shotguns have yet to be employed in local discussions. I kind of miss them days. Sheyne can fill you in.

Some years ago (perhaps 20?) when some fires at the head of Hitchcock Canyon spooked enough of the residents to finally get us to petition for inclusion in the CVFPD disctrict, the wheels were set in motion. The CV FD chief went out of his way to facilitate our entry into the district; plans were drawn up, infrastructure was enhanced. And then the whining began: it appeared that the most sensible allocation of resources would be to improve the water delivery and storage for the upper part of the canyon. Well! The folks in the other part weren't going to stand for that kind of favoritism, even though they'd benefit equally when the flames came over the ridge. It was ugly. I don't miss it.

As a recently-reminted dog owner, I cannot imagine how you start putting out the word for a missing puppy after three(!) days. If I don't know where Sugar is at any given moment, my neighbors certainly do.

When I walk the woods here in the Santa Cruz Mountains, there's no lack of SODS (sudden oak death syndrome) victims, especially amongst our tanoaks; I pray that they won't be contributors to The Conflagration, when it licks at our ankles.

Now, Michael, sit down and send out those bills--you know the recipients would do the same for you.

Mike C.

9:14 PM  
Blogger azazl said...

HAHAHA, you mentioned almost all of my nieghbors. You did miss the psycho dog killer, Rich Evans (just ask Joe Wolters) Tom DeRecht is a giant steeming pile of merd.What I know of Murdoch leads me to believe the same, though I have had no dealings with him. Alan Silvestri is....a pretty nice guy, though I have had some rough dealings with some of his employees in the past. Its hard to manage a ranch without ever actually being there. I suppose the only way to get the rich folk of the area to contribute to the local fire dept is if fire gets um where it the bank account. If something fancy ever burns down there will be a new fleet of fire engines out here. (though as a Big Sur freind pointed out to me....its funny how Sam Far's place didnt burn...or any other big wigs)

8:55 AM  
Blogger meg(aphone) said...

I've been reading for a while and agree that Tessi is royalty. I'm Jack's niece and my dog isn't even allowed by his own food bowl when visiting Whiffletree! Thanks so much for the great writings.

1:04 PM  

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