Most of us remember the Rwandan genocide, in which ethnic Hutus slaughtered 500,000 to a million ethnic Tutsis between April 7 and July 15, 1994. Less well known is the genocide a year earlier in the neighboring East African country of Burundi where 300,000 Tutsis perished.

A new documentary, Deo: Escape from Burundi, by former Bolinas resident Ole Schell tells what happened in Burundi and how one moneyless survivor managed to escape to the United States, learn English, graduate from the Harvard School of Medicine, and then return to his former village where he organized the creation of a health center. (Click here to watch the 20-minute video)

The filmmaker is the son of Ilka Hartmann of Bolinas, a renowned documentary photographer. As it happened, Deo Niyizonkiza, the survivor, visited Napa, and she shot some still photos of him that are included in the documentary. Ole’s father is Orville Schell, former dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at U.C. Berkeley and now director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at the Asia Society in New York.

Ole Schell was interviewed last Thursday on Huffington Post Live about his new documentary, Deo: Escape from Burundi. (Click here to watch interview)

The massacre of Tutsis by ethnic Hutus was not the result of a centuries-old animosity, as many of us had assumed. The real culprit in the bloodshed was Belgium in the 20th century, Ole says. At the end of the 19th century, Germany colonized Burundi and Rwanda but after its defeat in World War I was forced to cede them to Belgium.

Although the Hutu and Tutsi spoke the same language, the Belgians officially separated them as part of a policy of “divide and conquer,” Ole says in his Huffington Post interview.

Belgian colonist measuring noses to decide who was a Hutu and who was a Tutsi.

“They would measure people’s noses, cheekbones, and height and declare some people Hutus and some people Tutsis,” Ole told the Huffington Post. “It was almost arbitrary. Some people in the same family would be a Tutsi and some would be a Hutu.

“It really didn’t make much sense, but it took hold and got in the psyche of the people.” The result was a series of genocides perpetuated by both sides.

The genocide in 1993 grew out of a 1972 rebellion when Hutu members of the gendarmerie (soldiers with police duties) tried to estabish a new republic, killing thousands of Tutsis, as well as any Hutus who wouldn’t join the insurrection. In response, Burundi’s president, a Tutsi, declared martial law, and 80,000 to 210,000 Hutus were slaughtered.

In 1993, Tutsi soldiers assassinated Burundi’s first democratically elected head of state, a Hutu, and civil war broke out in within a day.

Deo Niyizonkiza, the survivor and central character of the documentary, was a 20-year-old medical student in Burundi when the slaughter began. Ole’s video relates how narrowly Deo, a Tutsi, escaped machete-wielding Hutu militiamen.

Deo’s entire odyssey is inspiring. When he was young, he says, a class might start the school year with 50 or 60 students. Only half that many would start the next year, the others having died mostly from curable diseases. There was no medical care whatsoever in his rural village and none in the area.

So he decided to study medicine. He moved to a city and was at work in a hospital when word came that the president had been killed and that Hutu militias were killing every Tutsi they could find.

Members of a Hutu militia.

Militiamen could be heard entering the hospital and killing people either with machetes or by burning them alive. Deo ran to his room and hid under the bed. In his haste, however, he forgot to lock the door.

Ironically, that saved him. A militiaman opened the door, looked around the room, and remarked, “….That cockroach [insulting slang for Tutsi] is gone.” He then left.

Tutsis burned alive by Hutu militia.

When the militiamen finally left, there were piles of bodies everywhere. Because flesh had been burned, the smell of meat was in the air, Deo recalled.

He escaped into the woods and walked for days to reach Rwanda where a Hutu woman got him into the country by telling soldiers he was her son. After six months in Rwanda, Deo returned to Burundi.

A friend bought him a ticket to New York so he could get out of the country and study medicine at a good school. He arrived with only $200 and speaking no English. For awhile he lived in an abandoned tenement in Harlem and then in Central Park.

Deo is clearly a pleasant, diligent man, and working as a deliveryman he met a church worker who took a liking to him and introduced him to a couple who gave him shelter. They also taught him English, helped him get legal residency, and ultimately be admitted to Harvard and Columbia universities.

New health center.

At Harvard, Deo was impressed by Professor Paul Farmer, whose Partners in Health organization brought medical care to impoverished regions of the globe, and he began working with it. While working in Rwanda in 2005, Deo returned to Burundi to visit his ailing mother.

Appalled at the unhygienic practices he observed in a Burundi hospital, such as two patients using the same IV, he decided to build a health clinic in his home village, the documentary notes.

Within a year, Deo had a bare-bones clinic in operation, and it has now grown into a modern facility that includes a community center. Villagers have formed cooperatives to grow food. Most importantly, the introduction of modern medicine has had a dramatic effect on the health of villagers.

Before: What having medical care available has meant to a villager called Frederick.

After: And that’s just the start. You can see the heart-warming documentary online by clicking on the link at the top of this posting.

Here is a gallery of my bird photography, as was promised two weeks ago. The photos were all shot at Mitchell cabin or around it.

One reason Mitchell cabin gets quite a variety of birds and other wildlife is that its fields come within a few feet of a neighbor’s stockpond, where numerous creatures show up daily to drink or hunt. Here a common egret wades through shallow water, looking for frogs, small fish, or insects.

While it’s hunting, a great blue heron will repeatedly stand motionless and then use lightning-fast strikes with its sharp bill and long neck to catch gophers in Mitchell cabin’s fields or frogs and fish in the pond.

The cabin is under the commute route for Canada geese which travel daily between the Point Reyes National Seashore and the Marin French Cheese Factory’s ponds in Hicks Valley. It’s easy to tell when they’re coming; they honk as much as Homo sapiens commuters stuck in traffic.

A flock of tri-colored blackbirds swoop down onto the deck railing when Lynn or I spread a line of birdseed along it morning and evening. Many of the blackbirds nest in reeds at the pond.

Even after they’ve grown old enough to feed themselves, young blackbirds for awhile still want to be fed by their parents. Once in awhile the parents do oblige them, but over a few days, they wean their youngsters. (Photo by my partner Lynn Axelrod)

A tom turkey struts his stuff. In 1988, a hunting club working with the State Department of Fish and Game introduced non-native turkeys into West Marin on Loma Alta Ridge, which overlooks the San Geronimo Valley. By now there are far more turkeys than turkey hunters, and their flocks have spread throughout West Marin.

A little more than a year ago, a lone peacock showed up and soon began hanging out with a flock of wild turkeys. Months later, he can still be seen bringing up the rear as the flock hunts and pecks its way across the fields.

A  male quail. Male and female quail both have crests. The males’ crests are black, the females’ brown.

The Eurasian collared dove is a native of the Middle East that spread across Europe in the 20th Century, according to the Audubon Society. In 1974, it was accidentally introduced into the Bahamas. In the 1980s, the doves discovered the US was only a short flight away and began taking trips to Florida. In less than 30 years, the doves have spread throughout most of this country.

California western scrub jays show up immediately when we put seed on the railing.

A California towhee freshens up in the birdbath on the deck.

Rufous-sided towhees are among the most colorful birds that show up for birdseed.

A purple finch chews a sunflower seed it found among other seeds on the railing.

The presence of golden-crowned sparrows is often announced by their song, which sounds like Three Blind Mice in a minor key.

Oregon juncos keep a close eye on Mitchell cabin’s deck, and it’s never long after we put out birdseed that they begin showing up. They’re less skittish than most other birds and will sometimes begin pecking seeds off the railing before we’ve departed.

A female hummingbird. Hummingbirds drop by for drinks whenever we have flowers in bloom.

American crows, which are native to North America, are considered intelligent birds. Here, for example, they demonstrate their mastery of jitterbug.

A crow skins its caterpillar dinner in the birdbath.

Redtailed hawks dine on reptiles, small mammals, and birds. Their call is a two-or-three second scream which trails downward. Redtails are monogamous and typically reach sexual maturity at age two or three and can live to age 21 in the wild.

When I spotted this great-horned owl in a tree 200 feet or more from the cabin one evening, I decided to try photographing it. However, the light was so low that when I triggered the shutter, the little flash on my old-fashioned Kodak flipped open and fired. To my amazement, the flash was reflected in the owl’s eyes despite the bird’s distance from me. With eye shine (see tapetum lucidum) like that, it’s no wonder owls can see well in the dark.

Two buzzards warming themselves in the morning sun.

This gallery doesn’t include all the birdlife around Mitchell cabin, of course, but it’s a sampling of our avian neighbors. They’re not the only reason I enjoy living where I do, but they’re a big part of it.

Past postings are numbered in the order they went online, with the most recent postings located immediately below the Table of Contents.

To go directly to stories without scrolling, click on the highlighted phrases following the numbers.

Weekly postings are published by Thursday.

394. Focusing on the birdlife around Mitchell cabin

393. Wandering around in early January

392. A gallery of critters around Mitchell cabin

391. Stunned to learn French, New Anus State Park, and other surprises in the world of news

390. Some Christmas surprises

389. In West Marin the drought symbolically comes to an end

388. Occasionally the most intriguing parts of newspapers are the miscues

387. Despite a series of downpours, Point Reyes Station steps out to celebrate the Yuletide

386. A visitor from New York

385. It was the best of times; it was the worst of times

384. The Comoros solution for undocumented residents

383. Finding refuge in my surroundings

382. Remembering the past in Point Reyes Station and Tomales

381. Point Reyes Station focuses on helping preschool and preparing for disaster

380. Little Nicasio was a happening place Saturday and Sunday

379. Mowgli taught me to love jungles

378. A Scottish journalist’s observations regarding the vote to remain part of Great Britain

377. Racoons waxing and Tricolored Blackbirds waning plus a mystery in the woods

376. The autumnal equinox is upon us

375. Grito de la Independencia in Point Reyes Station

374. Some Nicasio Reservoir history is seldom seen, and some is seldom recognized

373. Tomales Founders’ Day draws a goodly crowd despite a shorter-than-usual parade

372. It all happened between two vivid dreams

371. A photographic look at signs of life

370. All in one day: displays in Point Reyes Station & Inverness of arts, crafts, & public service

369. A word with you, if you please

368. Sorry I’m late, but here are a bobcat, albino robin, and five fox kits to make up for it

367. Nurturing nature

366. Riding an old narrow-gauge train and modern Amtrak plus driving the ‘Highway to Hell’

365. It was like winning a second Pulitzer Prize

365. Well, would you look at that?

364. Photography, drama, etchings, and paintings worth seeing this summer

363. Sunday’s Western Weekend Parade and Saturday’s 4-H Fair draw enthusiastic crowds

362. White House Pool enchanting despite vandalism and poison oak

361. Humor — including blonde and similar jokes — that’s gone through at least 3 countries

360. My deer friends

359. A few of my photos in war and peace from West Marin to Southeast Asia to Central America

358. Animals provide relief from an animalistic world

357. Gala for just-retired popular librarian; preparing for disasters; odd news reports

356. America owes a lot to its weekly newspapers

355. Pining for a couple of old friends

354. Creatures of spring at Mitchell cabin

353. Gallery Route One exhibiting whimsical art with messages from three women

352. Save a spaniel

351. When words fail us

350. With spring 10 days away, late-winter rains give a boost to West Marin flora and fauna

349. A gallery of photos from Point Reyes Light open house, staff reunion, and book readings

348. Misunderstandings and other ‘small’ news plus a big ‘ol party

347. ‘Picturing the Point Reyes Peninsula’ exhibition opens in Jack Mason Museum

346. Readings from ‘The Light on the Coast’ draw crowd to Tomales Regional History Center

345. Jon Langdon’s ‘Beyond Geometry’; Mr. Badger goes a-huntin’; Gypsy cobs cloppin’ downtown

344. Point Reyes Station innkeeper and former jeweler Ann Dick a prolific writer at 87

343. Oldtimer says dams, not homes and ranches, had hurt salmon runs; now it’s the drought

342. Legends of the Celtic harp wow enthusiastic crowd in the Dance Palace

341. A gallery of local-wildlife photos

340. The Ghosts of Christmas Presents

339. The holidays are the time for us in West Marin to start preparing for disasters

338. The last days of fall

337. The Light on the Coast due to gleam this week

336. Using words well and not so well

335. My 70th birthday

334. The Mitchell cabin perspective on protection and food for wildlife

333. Guatemalan murder suspect, who was hunted via social media, caught in Mexico via TV

332. Mulling a potential flap at the confab

331. My frantic flight from Latin

330. The Fall of Nicasio and Point Reyes Station

329. A dead buck, buzzards, flies…. and who else?

428. With federal parks here closed, art exhibits getting more attention

427. From Paris’ Montmartre to New Orleans’ Storyville to San Francisco’s Tenderloin

426. Masterful new book set in Alaskan wilderness is a story of conflicts that echo West Marin’s

425. The pressure on journalists as the NSA pushes US toward becoming George Orwell’s ’1984′

424. The US government’s love-hate relationship with Syrian brutality

423. Tomales Founder Day parade and party in park draw a huge crowd

422. A visit from Pepé Le Pew

421. A young leviathan dies at Stinson Beach

420. Images of many types of dogs at Inverness Fair

419. First the grim news, then the gay

418. Don’t believe everything you read; newspapers will survive

417. Don’t Bogart that smoke detector, you roach

416. Wildlife relish outdoor dining at Mitchell cabin

415. ‘The town that West Marin forgot’ celebrates its park with food, auctions, rock ‘n’ roll, and grand opera

414. Raccoon-noitering

413. Thoughts about our infatuation with animals

412. Fox News in Point Reyes Station

411. New Age detritus found to be littering roadside in Lagunitas

410. Western Weekend 2013: good weather, good fun; close call

409. The mysteries of words, birds, and the NRA

408. Remembering massacres under Guatemalan President Ríos Montt

407. My good buddy gets hit by a car and dies

406. Tormented by computers, comforted by spring

405. Way out west in West Marin

404. Enduring a week of terrible events

403. Bicyclist killed in Inverness Park

402. Of cats and bobcats, burros and burrows

401. Google boggles blogger

400. Exhibition of portraits of ‘Tomales Neighbors’, past and present, opens to kudos

399. Deus ex machina

398. Proposed law would end trapping of bobcats for their pelts

397. Postal Clerk Known for Feralhood Retires

396. Whatever Happened to Our Curiosity?

395. Filmmaker Ole Schell, formerly of Bolinas, with jookin’ dancer Lil’ Buck, actress Meryl Streep & cellist Yo-Yo Ma in China

394. The Point in Winter

393. When critters watch but don’t bother to bother each other

392. Quotes Worth Saving IV

391. Inverness museum exhibit on Swiss immigrant who came to be called ‘Mr. Point Reyes Station’

391. Our fascination with how words are used — some examples from across the pond

390. A collection of favorite wildlife photographs snapped around Mitchell cabin

389. Counting curves on Highway 1

388. The winter solstice of 2012

387. Shoreline School District blessed compared with a number of others

386. Pearl Harbor Day, Point Reyes Station’s Christmas tree lighting, and a new era at MALT

385. Quietly photographing all natural neighbors

384. The old codger connects Thanksgiving, turkeys, and NATO missiles

383. Feeding time

382. What a week for the press!

381. Our political D-Day

380. Marin agriculture as photographed between 1920 and 1950 by the county’s 1st farm advisor

379. Zen and the Art of Motor-mouth Maintenance

378. Tony’s Seafood Restaurant, a reminder of the Croatian immigration to Marshall

377. North Bend Ranch — rich in narrow-gauge railroad history — put up for sale

376. Young Kosovar refugee, whose diary West Marin read during war, sends an update

375. At the end of our line we found Cazadero

374. Typical-graphical errors and other journalistic confusion

373. Why Marin needs to approve Measure A

372. Tomales Founders Day parade bigger than ever

371. A convoluted look at language

370. Not quite what you’d expect

369. Jack Mason Museum opens exhibit on Inverness Yacht Club 100 years after it was first launched

368. Tomales High turns 100 years old as NASA’s Curiosity lands on Mars

367. Wild scene from my deck as photographed over two weeks

366. Far West Fest hot as a wildfire and lasts longer

365. The story of a ‘Deputy Sheriff in Wild and Wooly West Marin’

364. Drakes Bay Oyster Company struggles on against Park Service

363. Fighting a thorny intruder in West Marin

362. Unintentional double entendres in the press

361. Summer brings a new assortment of wildlife to Mitchell cabin

360. A short trip to exotic Gualala

359. Pictures from a fun-filled Western Weekend in Point Reyes Station

358. Marin County agriculture brought in $70 million last year

357. The agony and the ecstasy of Spring

356. History and merriment combine at Nicasio sesquicentennial celebration

355. Most 2nd District congressional candidates want US to legalize medical marijuana

354. Old Farmer’s Almanac still fresh after 220 years

353. A photographic history of Inverness Park

352. On eve of June 5 election, Supervisor Kinsey describes his grueling schedule

351. Glimpses of the narrow-gauge railroad

350. Senator Feinstein says Park Service employees ‘feel emboldened to once again fabricate science’

349. A drought for livestock but not for people

348. The origins of Point Reyes Station

347. More shenanigans by the Point Reyes National Seashore

346. Surviving another earthquake

345. Turkeys — both avian and human

344. Crowd at memorial honors beloved Realtor

343. Former National Seashore Supt. Neubacher & his boss Jon Jarvis becoming a political problem for the Obama administration

342. Grim times abroad and tranquil days at home

341. Using social media to hunt for Guatemalan murder suspect in US

340. The Great Storm of ’82 in pictures

339. Caught in the great storm of 1982

338. A roundup of wildlife at Mitchell cabin

337. Seasonal greetings can be confusing

336. Christmas Day visitors

335. How our Christmas turkeys got their name

334. A Christmas Carol

333. Who’s been naughty or nice

332. A gallery of visits from wildlife

331. The changing of the seasons

330. Artist Thomas Wood’s studio show captures nature’s beauty

329. Save America’s Postal Service

328. Symposium on National Seashore misdeeds; pancake fundraiser for firefighters & Disaster Council; barn dance — all in Pt. Reyes Station

327. Occupy Wall Street protest expands to Point Reyes Station

326. Joel Hack to retire as publisher of The West Marin Citizen

325. Women of West Marin

324. E Clampus Vitus gives further recognition to Duncans Mills’ trove of coastal history

323. Ungulates in the news

322. Incurring the raccoon gaze

321. Point Reyes Station’s Dance Palace celebrates 40th anniversary

320. Tomales Founders Day parade and picnic

319. Newswomen heroic in covering combat

318. Gopher it

317. Inverness Fair provided an antidote to Weltschmerz

316. Saturday’s opening reception for an exhibition of Elisabeth Ptak’s collages

315. Living among the wildlife

314. The threat from a runaway sand dune

313. Saturday’s Far West Fest

312. What’s in a name?

311. Tomales’ party in the park

310. The frustrations of home maintenance — a lesson learned from ‘The Arkansas Traveler’

309. The turtle

308. Hats off to Safeway

307. As expressions come and go, do you know what you’re saying?

306. We’re back following an unknown hacker’s vandalism to this blog

305. The sun shone on Sunday’s Western Weekend parade

304. The Western Weekend 4-H Fair and barn dance

303. Words, pictures, and the press

302. Memorial for Jonathan Rowe who led creation of the commons in Point Reyes Station

301. Goddamn winter’s back

300. This blog turns 300

299. Charge ahead! or pay cash

298. Daughter dies in Nevada County

297. What does the Easter Bunny have to do with Jesus’ resurrection?

296. West Marin update

295. Tales from West Marin’s forgotten past

294. When everything goes wrong

293. Writer Jonathan Rowe dies unexpectedly at 65

292. Some of the creatures that visited my cabin in a single day

291. Finding small absurdities in the midst of major crises

290. Bolinas exhibition takes an artistic look at the world

289. A fox at the table

288. The common people are revolting

287. How two resourceful women coped with crises

286. Have a happy and trippy Valentine’s Day

285. Quotes Worth Saving III

284. Facebook, the bizarre culmination of mass communications

283. A Great blue heron, mondagreens, and three cheers for Ghana

282. Video of two tributes to Missy Patterson during her memorial reception

281. Wishing a healthy, happy new year to West Marin’s critters — you included

280. ‘Tis the time of Janus, the god who looks forward and back

279. The death of a West Marin matriarch

278. Improbable politics in Wasilla, St. Petersburg and Point Reyes Station

277. Faces along the Path of Lights

276. Literary and civic news sponsored by the creatures of West Marin

275. Another round of inter-species peace negotiations at Mitchell cabin

274. Ramblin’ Jack Elliott takes turns performing with Corey Goodman and Maria Muldaur at amazing fundraiser in Marshall

273. Trailer Stash — a musical fundraiser to prepare Marshall for disasters

272. Day of the Dead celebration in Point Reyes Station

271. Point Reyes pedestrian home from hospital after being struck by deer

270. Have a happy (or scary) Halloween

269. Anastacio’s Famous BBQ Oyster Sauce — a part of West Marin’s Latino heritage — further refined

268. This fall’s wildlife census for my hill

267. Culvert project at White House Pool aims to reduce flooding along the levee road

266. Greetings from your governor

265. Bolinas boy makes good with documentary on fashion models

264. Scotland’s ill-fated colony in Panamaand why I read the Economist

263. Avoiding more victims by capping a sticky gusher

262. Crafting the Considerate House

261. West Marin remembers Duane Irving

260. The art of boating

259. Firefighters in action

258. Do you like coyotes and bobcats? How about rats?

257. Los mapaches con cacahuates; también fotos de los cuervos y venados

256. Proposal for ceasefire in West Marin ‘newspaper war’

255. The young creatures of summer

254. Eli’s coming — causing momentary dismay at The Point Reyes Light

253. Under the volcano and in the eye of the storm — a firsthand account

252. The duel between The Point Reyes Light and The West Marin Citizen

251. Santa Muerte and El Cadejo

250. Wildlife around my cars on the Serengeti Plain of West Marin

249. A big Western Weekend Parade in li’l old Point Reyes Station

248. 4-H Fair and Coronation Ball keep alive Western Weekend’s agricultural traditions

247. A tail for West Marin to bear in mind this Western Weekend

246. Point Reyes Light sells and will incorporate as a nonprofit

245. Point Reyes Station area blackout rumored to have been sparked by bird

244. Planned Feralhood desperate for a new home

243. John Francis takes a walk down under

242. A day in a small town

241. Point Reyes Station’s notorious curve is scene of yet another vehicle crash

240. The Mother Goose method for getting rid of thistles

239. A benefit so that handicapped kids can go rafting

238. Where angels fear to tread

237. The Chronicle, hang gliders, and horses

236. Crowd celebrates 80th birthday of Marshall artist-political activist Donna Sheehan

235. A classic revisited

234. Nature celebrates spring

233. More on diplomatic news we’ve been following

232. Sportscar flies off embankment; no one hurt in miraculous landing

231. A chat with the Trailside Killer

230. Life and death on my hill

229. Valentine’s Fair raises money for Haiti relief

228. Historic irony as milk truck overturns in Marshall

227. Encouraging my bodhisattva possum on her path to enlightenment

226. Benefit for Haitian earthquake survivors filled with mixed emotions

225. What drought? Nicasio Reservoir overflows

224. Disconcerting standup reporting

223. The storms begin; schools close; a near miss at my cabin

222. Spare the rodent (or rabbit) & spoil the diet

221. Lookin’ out my backdoor: some of my favorite wildlife photos

220. Careening through the holidays

219. Chileno Valley journalist working in Abu Dhabi brings new wife home for visit

218. Just what would Mayberry be like on acid?

217. The foxes of downtown Point Reyes Station

216. Interpreting dreams

215. Let’s talk turkey

214. You’ll Never Walk Alone — an unlikely story

213. A wistful walk on the bottom of Nicasio Reservoir

212. Progress in the backyard peace process

211. John Francis leaving; 4 other artists turn pages but sticking around

210. What we inherit

209. Over 200 show up at fundraiser to help pay injured ad manager’s medical bills

208. A community helping one of its own

207. A country mouse in the Tenderloin

206. News of the week reported through pictures

205. Update on injured ad manager of West Marin Citizen; benefit planned; and will there be a race?

204. Startling weather; amazing stepdaughters

203. Talented-animal tales

2o2. Saga of The West Marin Citizen ad manager’s recovery spreads around the globe — not always accurately

201. And you were there

200. Hospitalized ad manager of West Marin Citizen coming home; friends volunteering to provide meals

199. Scenes from the Inverness Fair

198. Great progress for injured ad manager of The West Marin Citizen despite problems with convalescent hospital

197. Thieves use ruse to clean out till at Station House Gifts

196. Anastacio’s Famous BBQ Oyster Sauce goes on sale

195. A hillside of wildlife

194. Kaiser Permanente’s ‘Sicko’ machinations shock injured ad manager of The West Marin Citizen

193. Immobilized by multiple injuries, ad manager keeps selling from hospital bed

192. All creatures feathered and furry

191. The wildlife of summer around my cabin & an update on Linda Petersen’s condition

19o. West Marin Citizen advertising manager hurt in crash; her popular dog Sebastian dies

189. Sunday’s Western Weekend Parade

188. The Western Weekend Livestock Show

187. Western Weekend parade will be Sunday despite reports to the contrary

186. The purple couch beside the road

185. A funny thing happened at the car wash Friday & other odd events

184. My brush with a badger

183. Scientists find no evidence oyster farm harming Drakes Estero; more likely restoring it

182. Why bottom of Drakes Estero can never become part of a wilderness area

181. Badger, Ratty, and the sensual raccoon

180. ‘And how the wind doth ramm!/ Sing: Goddamm — Ezra Pound

179. A tailgate gallery of bumper-sticker humor; Point Reyes weather both Arctic & tropical

178. Crowd in Inverness Friday calls for reviving park’s Citizens Advisory Commission

177. Flying over Northwest Marin

176. Spring meditations in a Miwok cemetery concerning the news of West Marin.

175. Two warning signs of Spring

174. Tomales may be little but it’s lively

173. Doe stalks cat; raccoon emulates Scripture — for the rain it raineth every day

172. Three-year drought comes to a symbolic ending as Nicasio Reservoir overflows

171. Pot busts at my cabin — again

170. Happy Valentine’s Day (as it’s evolved)

169. Blogging about blogging

168. Thinking about words

167. Point Reyes Station celebrates President Barack Obama’s inauguration

166. A reader in Ghana

165. The bittersweet story of a hardy little tree

164. A parting look at 2008

163. Blackout hits Tomales Bay area

162. Nature’s Two Acres Part XXXVIII: Way Out West in West Marin

161. Chileno Valley Ranch as depicted by a rancher-artist who lives there

160. Nature’s Two Acres XXXVIII: This time it’s a tale of two bobbed cats

159. Thanksgiving in Point Reyes Station

158. Nature’s Two Acres Part XXXVII: a bobcat at my cabin

157. Quotes Worth Saving II

156. Nature’s Two Acres Part XXXVI: The migrating birds of fall; or ‘Swan Lake’ revisited

155. Election night euphoria

154. The fun and anxiety of preparing for a disaster

153. Porky Pig, Demosthenes, Joe Biden, and ‘K-K-K-Katy

152. The political zoo.

151. Nature’s Two Acres Part XXXV: Mr. Squirrel

150. A coyote at my cabin

149. Preparing for the fire season

148. Telling the Raccoon ‘Scat’

147. Faces from the weekly press

146. Tomales, Tomales, that toddling town

145. How park administration used deception & sometimes-unwitting environmentalists to harass oyster company with bad publicity

144. Nature’s Two Acres Part XXXIII: Photographing wildlife indoors and out

143. What government scientists elsewhere had to say about the park’s misrepresenting research to attack oyster company

142. Landscape photos & paintings in Stinson Beach

141. What’s in the Inspector General’s report on the park that newspapers here aren’t telling you

140. Point Reyes National Seashore Supt. Don Neubacher seen as ’scary’

139. A demonstration to save Point Reyes National Seashore deer; park administration dishonesty officially confirmed

138. The good, the bizarre, and the ugly

138. Alice in ‘Wilderness

137. Nature’s Two Acres Part XXXII: The first raccoon kits of summer

136. Nature’s Two Acres Part XXXI: The pink roses of Point Reyes Station

135. Nature’s Two Acres Part XXX: Baldfaced hornets

134. Scenes from my past week

133. Artist Bruce Lauritzen of Point Reyes Station draws a crowd for opening of exhibit

132. Kite day at Nicasio School

131. Sunday’s Western Weekend Parade in photos

130. Early projections hold: Obama, Woolsey & Kinsey win… Leno easily bests Migden & Nation

129. Western Weekend’s 4-H Livestock Show fun — but smaller than ever

128. Humane Society of the US says National Seashore claims about deer contraception are misleading

127. Lt. Governor John Garamendi joins battle to save fallow & axis deer in Point Reyes National Seashore

126. Nature’s Two Acres Part XXIX: Cold-blooded carnality… Or, why be warm blooded?

125. Nature’s Two Acres XXVIII: The first fawns of spring

124. The Beat Generation lives on at the No Name Bar

123. ‘Still Life with Raccoon

122. Nature’s Two Acres XXVII: Animals about town.

121. Newspaperman from Chileno Valley describes his life in the United Arab Emirates

120. Point Reyes Station and Inverness Park demonstrators call for a pedestrian bridge over Papermill Creek

119. Seeing history through newsmen’s eyes…. or the pen is mightier than the pigs

118. Five Faces of Spring

117. Supervisor Steve Kinsey defends further restrictions on woodstoves in West Marin

116. Prostitution in New York, Reno, and Point Reyes Station

115. A country without the decency to ban torture

114. National Seashore’s slaughter of deer traumatizes many residents here; ‘we demand a stop’

113. A tale of Kosovo, West Marin, and a bored battalion of Norwegian soldiers

112. Dillon Beach sewage spill update

111. ‘Drive-by journalism’

110. Sewage spills into ocean at Dillon Beach

109. Nature’s Two Acres XXVI: Which came first, blacktail or mule deer? Hint — their venison is oedipal

108. Nature’s Two Acres XXV: Talking turkey

107. Here’s hoping ‘the goose hangs high this Thursday for Valentine’s Day

106. Signs of bureaucratic contamination

105. A final thought about the Caltrans worker who just did his job — and saved the day

104. Statewide campaign to legalize hemp and marijuana comes to Point Reyes Station

103. Heavy news media presence briefly halts axis-deer slaughterin the Point Reyes National Seashore

102. Storm damage bad but could have been tragic

101. Nature’s Two Acres XXIV: Buffleheads, Greater Scaups, and the 16.6 million wild ducks shot annually

100. Lawsuits against and by Robert Plotkin settled out of court

99. Nature’s Two Acres XXIII: Bambi, Thumper, and Garfield

98. Governor Schwarzenegger’s proposal to close Tomales Bay State Park to save money could prove expensive

97. Old Christmas trees, wild turkeys, and the famous cat-and-rat scheme

96. Blackouts, newspapers in the news, and poetic frustration on the prairie

95. Hurricane-force wind & heavy rain take heavy toll on West Marin

94. Marin County gets a bum rap from itself

93. ‘Eco-fascism in the Point Reyes National Seashore

92. Guess who came to Christmas dinner

91. Yuletide greetings from Santa Claws

90. Assemblyman Jared Huffman’s ominous mailer

89. Nature’s Two Acres XXII: They’re hundreds of times more deadly than cynanide… and headed this way

88. Non-native species stops traffic in Point Reyes Station

87. Blackouts bedevil Point Reyes Station area

86. Urban legends

85. Nature’s Two Acres XXI: Coyote influx benefits some birds around Point Reyes Station

84. Winter Moon Fireside Tales — an undiscovered gem draws only four ticketholders opening night (but more for second show)

83. Striptease in Point Reyes Station… well, sorta

82. Our Lady of the Chutzpah — the many faces of State Senator Carole Migden

81. Stefanie Pisarczyk (AKA Stefanie Keys): a woman of two worlds

80. Point Reyes Station’s ‘Path of Lights’

79. Lessons to be learned from the oil spill

78. Nature’s Two Acres Part XX: Where coyotes howl and raccoons roam free

77. West Marin Community Thanksgiving Dinner celebrated in Point Reyes Station’s Dance Palace

76. Giving thanks for an abundant harvest

75. Being a Gypsy isn’t enough; KPFA fires host criticized for not being a ‘person of color’

74. Nature’s Two Acres Part IXX: ‘Things that go bump in the night’

73. Point Reyes Station pharmacist decries health-insurance practices

72. Farm Bureau president quits; defends independence of wife who disagrees with his political position

71. Ship hits Bay Bridge; spilled oil drifts out Golden Gate and mires birds on West Marin coast

70. California photo book’s release celebrated with gala on Inverness Ridge

69. Coastal Post’s December issue to be its last, assistant editor says; publisher contradicts her

68. West Marin’s ‘Mac Guru’ leaving town — a friend with a knack for surviving

67. One last warm weekend before the season of darkness

66. Ranching matriarch Hazel Martinelli dies at 101

65. Nature’s Two Acres Part XVIII: Seasonal sightings

64. White House Pool: a public park where management listens to the public

63. Tuesday’s Marin County Farm Bureau luncheon for politicos

62. Hawks on the move

61. Point Reyes Station’s Hazel Martinelli celebrates 101st birthday with party at son’s deer camp

60. Vandals dump sewage at West Marin School

59. Paving Point Reyes Station’s main street at night

58. Bolinas firehouse and clinic opening party Sunday

57. Nature’s Two Acres XVII: As seen by an old, almost-blind dog

56. Despite public-be-damned management, it’s still a beautiful park.

55. Language, politics & wildlife

54. Truth becomes an endangered species at the Point Reyes National Seashore.

53. ‘Possums,’ a sequel to the musical ‘Cats’

52. The KWMR/Love Field ‘Far West Fest’

51. Quotes Worth Saving & the Inverness Fair

50. Watching the Point Reyes National Seashore obliterate cultural history

49. Congress sees through Point Reyes National Seashore claims

48. Music, wildlife, and the cosmos

42. Garbage in, garbage out

41. 76-year-old Nick’s Cove reopens

40. What we didn’t celebrate on the Fourth of July

39. Ship’s flare or meteor

38. The death of a salesman: Andrew Schultz

37. Preventing fires at home while The Point Reyes Light feels the heat

36. Monday’s demonstration against The Point Reyes Light

35. Inverness Park fire Friday razes art studio

34. Western Weekend retrospective; anonymous satire of Point Reyes Light distributed at parade; Light’s use of unpaid interns may run afoul of labor laws.

33. Sunday’s Western Weekend parade and barbecue

32. Many fail to find Western Weekend livestock show; a new newpaper debuts in West Marin; The Point Reyes Light reports a former bookkeeper is in jail on embezzlement charges.

31. Nature’s Two Acres Part XVI: A gopher snake & other neighbors

30. New newspaper to be published in West Marin

29. Mermaids, cows, Horizon Cable, and Russia’s Internet war on Estonia

28. Nature’s Two Acres Part XV: ‘Among animals…one finds natural caricatures.’

27. Nature’s Two Acres Part XIV: ‘The world, dear Agnes, is a strange affair.’

26. Sheriff Bob Doyle stays the course despite blunder

25. Nature’s Two Acres Part XIII: ‘Who’s the Head Bull-Goose Loony Around Here?’

24. Nature’s Two Acres Part XII: April showers ‘cruel’ with ‘no regrets’

23. Nature’s Two Acres Part XI: The perky possum

22. Former Point Reyes Light columnist John Grissim, the late pornographer Artie Mitchell, Brazilian President Lula and the advent of orgasmic diplomacy

21. Nature’s Two Acres Part X: ‘Nature Red in Tooth and Claw’

20. Nature’s Two Acres Part IX: Point Reyes Station’s blackbirds

19. Nature’s Two Acres Part VIII: ‘Mice & rats, and such small deer’

18. The Gossip Columnist

17. Saying Yes to Change: A former Point Reyes Station innkeeper finds true joy by moving in with a working-class family in a poor neighborhood of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

16. The Bush Administration at Point Reyes Part II: Whatever happened to the Citizens Advisory Commission to the GGNRA & Point Reyes National Seashore?

15. The Bush Administration at Point Reyes: Part I

14. Marin supervisors refuse to tilt at McEvoy windmill

13. Nature’s Two Acres Part VII: Rats v. dishwashers

12. Nature’s Two Acres Part VI: How Flashing Affects Wildlife

11. Nature’s Two Acres Part V: By Means of Water

10. Bankruptcy court trustee lets Robert Plotkin hold onto some of his Ponzi-scheme ‘profits’

9. Big Pot Busts at My Cabin

8. Storm-caused fire razes Manka’s Lodge and Restaurant in Inverness

7. Nature’s Two Acres Part IV: Christmas turkeys & where the buck stopped

6. Nature’s Two Acres Part III: Insectivores and Not

5. My background: Biographical information on newspaperman Dave Mitchell

4. Nature’s Two Acres Part II: Living dinosaurs actually found around my cabin

3. Nature’s Two Acres: A Point Reyes Station Photo Exhibit

2. Robert I. Plokin

1. Introduction to this site SparselySageAndTimely.com plus an account of orphaned fawns being released in Chileno Valley.

It was time for the Christmas tree to come down. At Mitchell cabin, however, it not only comes down but is thrown down.

Our Christmas tree was only four feet tall this year, so once Lynn had removed the ornaments and I had taken down the lights, I could easily pick it up and toss it off our deck. That way, I didn’t have to awkwardly carry it through narrow walkways and down a couple of dozen steps, scattering needles the whole way.

Back when I lived in cities such as New York, Council Bluffs, and San Francisco, I could never have gotten away with throwing trees from my deck. The neighbors would have had conniptions. Nowadays, no one complains when I toss Christmas trees off my deck. This year, the only neighbors around were three horses, and they didn’t even whinny when old tannenbaum dropped out of the sky few yards away.

(Blog trivia: In the November 24 posting, I mentioned having developed a muscle spasm in my back as a result of trimming daisies with a chainsaw — as unlikely as that sounded. For the record, the bushes above with yellow flowers are those very daisies.)

Like many other West Marin residents, I dispose of my worn out Christmas trees at the bin behind the sheriff’s substation (Fourth and C streets in Point Reyes Station). Again this year, the number of Christmas trees dropped off at the bin far exceeds its capacity, and many have been discarded on the edge of C Street. It’s always an unceremonious farewell to Christmas.

Replacing weltschmerz with  jazz at the No Name bar in Sausalito last Friday. From left: Rob Roth on sax, KC Filson (barely visible) on keyboard, Pierre Archain on bass, and Alex Aspinall on drums. In a green jacket at the far right is Sausalito artist Steve Sara.

Finding peace of mind can be difficult these days, what with massacres of thousands of innocent people around the globe: from Paris, to Nigeria, to Yemen, to Iraq, to Syria, to Afghanistan, to New York City, to Boston and so on. It’s not only horrific, it’s frustrating because there’s very little each of us alone can do to stop any of it.

People use many remedies to relieve the frustration. For me, the best are the traditional “wine, women, and song.” As a result, Lynn and I drive to Sausalito about once a week to listen to jazz at the No Name, have a few drinks, and talk with strangers.

The music is great, the bar well tended, and as for the women — there is a covered garden in the back of the bar where one can coo, drink, smoke, play chess, or get into fascinating conversations with other customers. On Friday, I heard about Sartre from a man who knew him in Paris. A transplant from Montreal, who had lived near the Mohawk community of Kahnawake, told me about the Canadian government’s relations with its First Nation peoples. ______________________________________________________________

The artist Steve Sara (seen above) can often be found evenings in the No Name, inconspicuously sketching the scene.

Usually his subjects are unaware they’re being sketched. I certainly have had no idea when Steve was sketching me.

He surprised me last Friday with this oil painting of my listening intently to the blues on a previous Friday.

Steve says his art is “influenced by Social Realism, the Ashcan School, and California School Artists such as Emil Kosa and Phil Dike.”

He paints both en plein-air and from photos in his Sausalito Studio. ________________________________________________________________

A pair of crows were keeping watch over the lower field at Mitchell cabin on Saturday until I played the role of human scarecrow. The moment I focused my camera on them, the bird on the left took flight.

Since Lynn’s birthday is tomorrow, we decided to take an outing today and ended up along the Petaluma River near downtown.

One of the attractions of the Petaluma River is that a number of good restaurants have clear views of the water. Lynn and I found a table with an excellent view at Dempsey’s Restaurant and Brewery, where we ate outdoors beside the river.

Dempsey’s bills itself “Sonoma County’s oldest brewery,” having been founded 22 years ago. The attractive, dark-wood restaurant is at the right end of this pedestrian bridge over the river. Downtown Petaluma is on the left end.

So what if the Golden Gate Bridge was shut down Sunday? This was the only bridge we needed in order to keep wandering.

Around the first of the year I sometimes post a roundup of the creatures that have shown up around Mitchell cabin.

This year I’m doing it again, starting with a butterfly and dragonfly followed by a variety of larger critters.

This exhibit ends with a coyote, a bobcat, two badgers, and two deer rubbing noses.

Regular readers of this blog will recognize some of these photos from past postings.

Here a buckeye butterfly rests on a chrysanthemum that’s growing in a flowerpot on the deck. ___________________________________________________________________

A dragonfly pauses on the twig of a tree that’s next to the deck. Dragonflies can easily be distinguished from damselflies because when they are at rest they leave their wings extended while damselflies close their wings over their bodies when at rest. __________________________________________________________________

A Pacific tree frog on a bamboo shoot near our hot tub.

Some people call them Pacific chorus frogs. During the winter, their main mating season, males make their way to water and then charm females to the water with a chorus of chirping.

 

 

 

 

 

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Gopher snakes are not poisonous, but they mimic rattlesnakes, coiling up and wagging their tongues when threatened. This one was near the foot of our driveway.

A jackrabbit in the field outside our kitchen window pauses to look around .

This is the only chipmunk I’ve ever seen around Mitchell cabin. I’m just glad I had my camera nearby when it showed up.

A Western gray squirrel basks in the sun after taking a drink from our birdbath.

A roof rat takes a drink from the birdbath. These rats originated in southern Asia, and you’ll recall it was their fleas that spread the Black Death throughout Europe in the 14th Century, killing roughly half the people.

This cute possum used to be a regular nighttime visitor, but so many raccoons have been hanging around the cabin in the evening that we seldom see any possums these days.

Three raccoons in a tree beside Mitchell cabin. ______________________________________________________________

A gray fox enjoys the sun on our deck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A coyote watches me park my car as I arrive back home.

A bobcat hunts outside our kitchen window.

A mother badger and her kit eye the world from their sett, as badger dens are called.

Two deer touch noses as a herd of six blacktails graze downhill from Mitchell cabin.

For reasons of space, no birds are included in this posting. Look for a gallery of our fine feathered friends in a week or two.

As storms raged Dec. 11, the Los Angeles Times reported, “Ano Nuevo State Park near Santa Cruz, where elephant seals are the main attraction in fall and winter, also closed Thursday.” New Anus State Park? Yet that’s what the Sacramento Bee also called it.

“Año Nuevo,” the actual spelling of the park’s name, is obviously Spanish. The tilde over the “n” changes it into a separate letter in the Spanish alphabet, an “ñ” (pronounced enye). The distinction is important. Año means year in Spanish while ano means anus.

With the Spanish-speaking population of California steadily growing, you’d think the state’s newspapers would all add Spanish accent marks to their printing fonts. Most computers already include them. All the same, some bilingual readers of The Times and The Bee must have found reports of an “Ano Nuevo” closure rather amusing.

At least that’s how several Point Reyes Light readers reacted when a Spanish-language column we ran back in 1985 intended to say a certain girl had six years, which is how age is expressed in Spanish. The tilde, however, was left off “años,” and my resulting embarrassment no doubt explains why this issue is still on my mind almost 30 years later.

Christmas Day at Mitchell cabin. From upper left to upper right: this reporter,  four horses, three deer. (Photo by Kathy Runnion)

But then a lot in the news surprises me these days. Take this report which ran in the London Daily Mail and other newspapers: “Rory Curtis, 25, suffered a serious brain injury after a car crash in 2012. He woke from a six-day coma and started speaking in fluent French.

“[The] former footballer was also convinced he was actor Matthew McConaughey. He broke his pelvis, but made a full recovery with an experimental drug. Mr. Curtis is still able to speak perfect French two years after the crash.” The man told the press he hadn’t studied French since grammar school and before the accident had only a “basic grasp” of it.

Another unexpected turn from the realm of newspapers and language: Last summer at an International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors conference, I met Charlie Gay, retired editor and publisher of the Shelton-Mason County (Washington) Journal. He’s a sharp newspaperman, and when a group of journalists were asked by email a week ago, “What are your resolutions for the New Year?” Charlie — using the language of photo resolution — replied: “My only resolution is 2048 pixels by 1536 pixels.”

The close of Christmas Day in Mitchell cabin with presents opened, dinner over, our guest departed, and the fire burning low. (Photo by Lynn Axelrod)

In conclusion, remember your fundamental, so to speak, Spanish when you send Happy New Year! messages to your Latino friends and relatives. Include the tilde in ¡Feliz Año Nuevo! You certainly don’t want to wish everybody a “Happy New Anus!” There’s no telling what the reactions would be.

Yuletides are often full of surprises, and this year’s has been no exception.

Santa Claus once touted Lucky Strike cigarettes as “a gift that brings pleasure to every home.” But that was 60 years ago.

In recent times, that pleasure has been the target of fatwas in many parts of the US and in those parts of Iraq controlled by Isis.

After seizing control of Kirkuk in June, Isis threatened to whip anybody selling cigarettes.

But surprise! By September the jihadists were forced to drop their ban on cigarettes.

It turned out that some heavy-smoking Iraqis could endure Isis’ cruelty but not its ban on smoking, and the jihadists needed their support.

Lynn and I had just gotten out of bed Monday morning when the phone rang and Lynn picked it up. Surprise, the caller was a news reporter who said there was a rumor going around that I had died. Lynn was shocked: “What are you talking about!”

Yes, I turned 71 last month, but as Mark Twain said, “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” Nonetheless, I will state for the record, as Twain did, “The report of my death was an exaggeration.” (In Twain’s case, the rumor began with a cousin being severely sick in London for two or three weeks.)

Cartons of cigarettes were popular Christmas presents in the 1950s. “I’m sending Chesterfields to all my friends,” president-to-be Ronald Reagan proclaimed.

At the time, he was starring in the 1951 movie “Hong Kong.”

That movie is not to be confused with the 1933 movie “King Kong.” Whether or not Reagan tried out for the title role in that earlier film, he didn’t get it.

President Reagan’s fans called him “the great communicator.” I was never sure why. “I am not worried about the deficit,” President Reagan once said. “It is big enough to take care of itself.”

When actor Ed Asner criticized Reagan’s foreign policy, the actor-turned-president shot back: “What does an actor know about politics?”

At times the late president simply seemed to not realize what he was saying: “We are trying to get unemployment to go up, and I think we’re going to succeed.”

President George W. Bush was likewise known for such verbal missteps: “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”

If we’re going to have convoluted syntax emanating from the White House, the person we need to lead us would be a wise-cracking, Groucho Marx type. At least he could lift our spirits with such wisdom as: “Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.”

Or: “One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas I don’t know.”

Or: “Anyone who says he can see through women is missing a lot.”

I’ll sign off by sharing with you my favorite Yuletide song, The White Snows of Winter. It’s based on Brahms 1st Symphony and sung by….  Surprise!….  The Kingston Trio.

With a series of deluges falling on the coast Monday and Tuesday, total rainfall for November topped 16 inches, according to Marin Municipal Water District readings at its reservoirs.

Nicasio Reservoir is full, and Seeger Dam is overflowing into its spillway. I shot this photo at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

All fall, the caked-mud bottom of Nicasio Reservoir could be seen in many places, making it a symbol of the drought around here. By late Monday, however, the reservoir had begun to overflow.

In West Marin where we don’t depend on Central Valley aquifers or the snowpack in the Sierra  for water, the drought is over. As long as there’s rain falling on your head, you can water your lawn without feeling guilty. Just don’t try it in other parts of the state where, according to NASA, the drought may last a couple more years.

Those of us who have worked at newspapers know that sooner or later we’ll be responsible for glitches that will both embarrass us and make us chuckle. The bad part is that newspaper glitches are seen by thousands of people.

The funniest miscue I’ve recently seen was a Dec. 5 headline in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat’s online edition: “Highway 101 crash causes miles-long backup through Santa.” Thank goodness for St. Nick’s intestinal fortitude. Christmas is almost upon us.

Some miscues aren’t merely funny, and these often require a correction. However, the correction itself can be pretty amusing. Here’s a marathon correction from the Nov. 14 Napa Valley Register. It’s a good paper, which may explain the thoroughness of the correction:

“An article in the Holiday 2014 edition of Inside Napa Valley magazine, about St. Helena art gallery owner Christopher Hill, included in the Nov. 13 edition, contained a number of errors.

“Christopher Hill never lived in Germany. He was born in Berkeley and raised in Danville.

“Hill prefers the term ‘art gallery’ rather than ‘art studio.’

“When talking about part-time residents of St. Helena, Hill never said, ‘I’d like to see these people have more of a business interest in the town.’

“Hill said his interest on St. Helena is community-wide, not just personal.

“His daughter is not an accomplished equestrian, rather she is an avid one. She is not currently working on a recycling program at school; and both Hill and her daughter speak in German to each other all the time, not just when they are at home. ["her"?]

“‘The Crushers’ is a St. Helena men’s softball team, which Hill sponsors and manages. ‘The Shockers’ is a Napa Junior Girls softball team, which he also sponsors.

“The Chamber of Commerce did not name Hill the Opinionator,’ and Hill never said, ‘I suppose I am.’

“Hill said, ‘There is no reason why we can’t keep our treasures,’ not ‘traditions.’

“Hill proposed a parcel tax to raise revenue, not a real estate transfer tax.

“Although he was once involved in a Yountville gallery, he does not maintain studio space in Yountville.

“It was ‘industry colleagues’ not his friends who ‘gave Hill ‘six months at best’ before his first art gallery would fail. He did not say, ‘And then they added that the tourists just won’t come to an upstairs location.’

“His mantra about surviving and expanding his business during the tough times related to 2002, not 2008.

“Hill began his art career in 1995 at age 24, not 27, in San Jose, not Graz, Austria.

“He never said, ‘We offer much more than vineyard scenes. And we’re very informal — no suits or ties.’

“Finally, The Christopher Hill Gallery features artists from North America, Spain, Austria, and Germany, not just California, Austria and Germany.”

I read this correction at the time the Napa Valley Register published, it and the Romenesko media blog has since reported that when Mr. Hill called the paper about the inaccurate information in the original article, he was told a freelancer had screwed up.

No discussion of newspaper miscues would be complete without acknowledging the important role played by typographical errors. I recall that when I was editor of The Point Reyes Light, one of the oddest corrections I ever wrote concerned a typo:

“Correction — Because of an extraordinarily involved typographical error, an account in last week’s paper of the ‘Miracle of the Virgin of Guadalupe’ became even more amazing. An English-language caption to a photo was supposed to have read: ‘According to legend, the Virgin Mary appeared outside Mexico City to an Indian named Juan Diego, leaving her image on his cloak.’ Instead the caption read: ‘leading her in on his clock.’ An accompanying Spanish-language version of the caption was correct.” — Dec. 27, 1985

Despite a drizzle that at times became a downpour, crowds turned out Friday evening in Point Reyes Station to celebrate the Yuletide.

It was a town-wide celebration: a Path of Lights on the main street, a Holiday Crafts Fair in the Dance Palace, a party with live music at Point Reyes Surf Shop, and a Christmas party including Santa Claus and carolers in Toby’s Feed Barn.

West Marin Senior Services sponsored a Lights of Life tree-lighting ceremony to honor loved ones who have  passed away. The pine, which grows in the median between the Wells Fargo Bank and the Palace Market parking lots, each year takes on added significance as the town Christmas tree.

The Path of Lights is symbolized by a line of luminaria along the main street, and the luminaria unfortunately suffered from the wet weather. Luminaria, of course, are small lanterns consisting of candles standing in sand inside a paper bag. It took only a couple of downpours for the splash to extinguish several lights.

The crowd outside Wells Fargo Bank.

Strumming her guitar, Harmony Grisman again this year led a crowd in singing songs of the Yuletide.

The 44th annual Holiday Crafts Fair in the Dance Palace.

The obvious skill in the work of clay artist Molly Prier of Inverness inspired praise from fair-goers.

Dusty Rose Designs brightened a corner of the Dance Palace with tie-dye-style clothing.

Eden Clearbrook from the Garden of Eden sold herbal elixirs.

Ana Maria Ramirez (center) and Lourdes Romo sold handmade clothing and accessories.

The annual Christmas party in Toby’s Feed Barn.

Santa Claus spent the evening posing with families who wanted their kids photographed with him. Meanwhile, the line of parents and their children waiting to be photographed at times reached 15 to 20 feet long.

West Marin singer, composer, musician Tim Weed here performs ‘Oh Holy Night’ for the crowd in Toby’s. Earlier in the evening, the Common Voice Choir led caroling in Toby’s.

Part of what made the evening so enjoyable was its being so homespun: the crafts, the music, and the food. When I saw a young mother with a baby on her lap sitting on a bale of hay in the Feed Barn, my first thought was, “Away in a manger….”

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