A Wonderful Place…

I was assigned Census Enumerator case work in Mendocino County, California recently.  I had never been that far north in California before. We worked out of a fairly tacky hotel in Fort Bragg (I didn’t know there was one of those in California either!) but I spent most of my week in the mountains and hills south in both the coastal and inland areas.  I spent my days traversing said hills and mountains “wearing” my microscopic government rental car (aptly named “Spark” given its size and power) . Most were paved roads but I did my share of dirt roads and long steep dirt track driveways to get to my cases.  There was a constant smell as if some one had ran over a skunk recently in the air. But of all the critters I did see in my travels up there, a skunk, alive or dead was not among them. I after the first day of doing cases in the hills I realized that it wasn’t skunks I was smelling it was skunk weed! I understand that this region was one of our nation’s most productive places for growing pot even before it was legal! It’s funny though, I smelled more pot being smoked doing cases in the apartment complexes in San Diego than I did up north where it surrounds the community so thoroughly.

In addition to the fragrance, there is just some of the most picturesque country I have ever seen up there.  Rolling hills, sharp seaside cliffs, majestic purple mountains. When I was further inland, the skunk smells got mixed to smoke from the wildfires that weren’t that far from us.

“Now an important message from our sponsor”, (i.e.  another plug for Family Emergency Safety mixed with a bit some common sense and and a dash or two righteous indignation).

I am of a mixed mind when it comes to our wildfires and other predictable disasters. It is horrible that people loose so much in these uncontrolled fires but I also understand that it is a natural process used to refresh our forests and fields. We contribute to the horror of these things in many more ways than we care to own up to usually. Of course, we have all have successfully ignored (meaning little or no action taken) the global warming predictions since the late 60s. And of course, as Smokey the Bear told us all of our lives, “Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires”. Most of us thought that meant putting out our cigarettes and camp fires but it also means turning off power systems in high wind situations so the lines won’t fall and spark a new fire; Or not park our catalytic converters on drought dried grass; Or clearing dried dead bushes, grasses and other fuels from populated areas.

So as our situation will only get worse as the effects of our planetary behavior continue to pronounce natural phenomena, we need to look at the problem differently.  People who build their lives in disaster prone locations – flood plains, wild fire zones, hurricane target (and in one for or other all areas have their natural threats) areas need to take more responsibility to prepare for such eventualities both in terms of safety and economics. These individuals and communities should develop comprehensive, fully funded and tested personal and community disaster plans as part of their cost of living. This approach must be adjusted to reflect the probable increases in severity. There will more and more severe hurricanes, fires, earthquakes and blizzards and our planning needs to reflect those changes. This stuff is much more predicable given advances in science. We should not be surprised nor ill prepared when they happen and yet, it seems we are, over and over again! Competence in disaster preparedness should be incorporated into our community governance, like drivers licenses, to qualify for better insurance rates, included in institutional orientations and woven into our societal fabric as these eventualities will continue to increase in terms of impact on our lives. End of lecture.


Smokey Sunset over the Ocean1

Smokey Sunset over the Ocean2

Random Xmas tree in September

Typical Switchbacks in the hills/mountains

Failed Homestead ..wonder what their dreams were?

Hill Side Mists

Rocky Shore1

Rocky Shore2

Just a cool old California House – I have porch envy!

This one reminded me of a dragon or monster!


Oh my! I met a mammoth sheep for the first time on this trip. Saw lots of domestic sheep, cattle and horses but also flocks of wild turkeys (the birds not the bourbon), herds of deer and lots and lots of hawks and osprey! It was delightful!

Primo 68 VW bus!! Check out the sticker in the middle!

Mountain Greeters 🙂

My Buddy the Mammoth Sheep1

My Buddy the Mammoth Sheep2

The Herd!

These guys were part of a herd of about 14 young deer that I came across in the hills. I stopped and they just wandered by my car. Amazing how well their camouflage works!

Wild Turkey (not the Bourbon!)

This was just a turkey couple walking by. I ran into another flock of almost 40 birds but couldn’t stop to take a pic.


So if you can, go. Mendocino County is a great place to see and meet nice people.