Archive for April, 2015

I’m always fascinated by how well some wildlife of different species get along with each other. Deer in particular seem to enjoy the company of other species.

I was reminded of this felicitous phenomenon when I spotted a hawk (lower right) keeping company with a small herd of deer grazing near Mitchell cabin. _____________________________________________________________

A curious blacktail doe watches a house cat clean itself on a woodpile.

I’ve also seen deer show similar interest in rabbits resting in my field.

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While another doe grazes, she keeps company with a great blue heron as the bird hunts gophers in my pasture.

A roof rat and a towhee eating birdseed side by side on our picnic table. It’s such a relaxed relationship that neither appears to notice the presence of the other. ________________________________________________________________

Some things that happen around Mitchell cabin are more of a surprise.

Friday night I was lying on my side looking into my woodstove when I noticed a phantasmagorical head sticking out of the flames.

At first it appeared to be wrapped in newspaper headlines. Lynn, however, explained that she had used some discarded fundraising solicitation forms to light the fire.

 

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Yet another truck wreck in West Marin. A week ago Saturday, a truck and trailer rig hauling grocery supplies overturned on the Point Reyes-Petaluma Road, blocking traffic for nine hours.

Shortly before noon today, a milk truck overturned on Highway 1 near Nicks Cove, closing the highway for several hours. “The truck, heading south near Nicks Cove, failed to negotiate a turn and landed on its side along the highway,” said Mike Giannini, a battalion chief with Marin County Fire Department.

“The accident caused a hatch to fail and allow approximately 4,000 gallons of milk to be discharged from the tank. Additionally, about 100 gallons of diesel fuel was spilled. Firefighters were able to contain the diesel with absorbent materials.

“At the time of the accident, the milk was approximately 100 yards from Tomales Bay,” Giannini reported at 5 p.m. “Crews are continuing to monitor any possible threat to bay waters.

“The driver of the truck was evaluated by Marin County Fire Department paramedics and was transported to the hospital for evaluation. The exact cause of the accident is under investigation.”

All this is getting to be routine. Let’s see where next weekend’s truck wreck occurs.

Around Christmas, my only pair of slippers came apart, and a cobbler in San Rafael insisted the damage could not be repaired. This would not be that big a deal for most people, but I wear size 15-wide, and no shoe store in Marin County handles slippers that large.

I went online to see if anyone around here does and found a shoe store in Santa Rosa which has shoes and slippers that big and bigger, Santa Rosa Shoes on Cleveland Avenue, so Lynn and I took my car to Santa Rosa Saturday to check out the selection. Sure, that was a long way to go for a pair of slippers, but who wants cold feet?

We headed east on the Point Reyes-Petaluma Road on a warm, sunny day until we reached the McEvoy Olive Ranch on Red Hill where a Highway Patrol officer standing on the road signaled us to stop. We, of course, did.

The reason was obvious. Less than an hour earlier (around 1:45 p.m.), a big rig tractor-and-trailer combination, which the CHP later said was traveling too fast for the road, had overturned. It was now lying on its side. Its cab was still on the pavement, but its trailer was dangling precariously down a steep embankment.

The driver of the truck, 54-year-old Douglas Schmidt of Winton [Merced County], was uninjured,” Highway Patrol press officer Andrew Barclay reported today. “Schmidt related that the refrigerated truck was full with miscellaneous grocery items and that he had lost control of the vehicle after he felt the trailer begin to sway from side to side as he navigated a series of reversing curves.

One lane of the road was open, but by the time I’d picked out a pair of slippers and we’d enjoyed dinner in Kettles Vietnamese Bistro near the shoe store, the situation had changed. When we tried to drive back home on the Point Reyes-Petaluma Road, we discovered both lanes were blocked.

The heavy equipment being used to pull the trailer back onto the road needed all the maneuvering room it could get.

Traffic was being rerouted onto San Antonio Road or back through Petaluma to Western Avenue. The officer directing traffic said he believed the San Antonio Road-Highway 101 connection, which has been closed for construction, was momentarily open. So we tried that route. Bad idea.

Not only was the connection still closed, we ended up driving for miles on frontage roads before heading back to Petaluma. From there, we drove west on Western Avenue toward Hicks Valley and saw an amazing scene. All the traffic on the Point Reyes-Petaluma Road was being diverted onto much smaller, rural roads, making backroads seem as crowded as Highway 101.

When we finally got to Hicks Valley, another roadblock was diverting eastbound traffic off the Point Reyes-Petaluma Road. But we were westbound, and we  were able to continue on our way back to Point Reyes Station. It had been a surprisingly tiring hunting trip, considering that our quarry had merely been a pair of slippers, but we did survive.

The road, which had been closed nine hours, was reopened today at 12:40 a.m.

CHP press officer Andrew Barclay reported this morning, “Our preliminary investigation indicates that unsafe speed for the roadway was the likely cause of this collision.”

Bolinas Museum Saturday opened an engaging exhibition of architecture, photography, painting, and sculpture. The featured artists who all have connections to West Marin included: David Korty, Ruby Neri, William Ransom, Noam Rappaport, Oona Ratcliff, Ivory Serra, Shelter Serra, and Ole Schell. The exhibition will last for two months.

Among the displays in the museum’s photography gallery are portraits shot around the world by Dana Gluckstein.

In her exhibit titled Dignity: Tribes in Transition, the focus, to quote the museum, is on cultures on the cusp of modernization.

 

 

 

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Ovazemba Teenage Girls, Namibia, 2007.

 

 

 

 

 

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Woman with Pipe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A youth and his brother in Kenya.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A series of brief rainstorms hit West Marin last week but didn’t end the West Coast drought. On Tuesday hail fell at Mitchell cabin, causing no problems. In contrast, massive hail, some of it reaching the size of baseballs or larger, fell Wednesday and Thursday on parts of Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas, and Texas, the National Weather Service reported. _________________________________________________________________

The Mount Vision Fire 20 years ago destroyed 45 homes in the Inverness/Inverness Park area. These homes on Drakes View Drive in Inverness Park were in shambles after winds blew the wildfire down the ridge into Paradise Ranch Estates subdivision. (Point Reyes Light photo by David Rolland)

By Anne Sands, West Marin Community Disaster Council Coordinator

This year in October it will be the 20th anniversary of the devastating Mount Vision fire, also known as the Inverness Ridge fire. Recent earthquakes, like the one last August in Napa, remind us that disasters can happen any time of the year.

A major earthquake can hit anywhere around the infamous Pacific Ring of Fire, the great circle of tectonic activity created by the Pacific plate rubbing against its neighboring plates. And we in Marin are right on that Ring of Fire.

Get prepared before a disaster and learn what to do after. What about that disaster preparedness class you have been meaning to take? One of the best things we can do as responsible members of our communities is to increase the number of us who have learned basic disaster preparedness and response skills.

These skills include emergency first aid, basic fire suppression, communications, team building, and search and rescue. Immediately after a widespread disaster it will be impossible for our firefighters, EMTs and other qualified medical people to take care of everyone who needs immediate help. We must be prepared to extend the capacity of our local emergency responders by becoming trained Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members.

The fire departments of West Marin will offer a two-day CERT course on Saturday, May 16, and Saturday, May 30, at  5600 Nicasio Valley Rd. (the Marin County Corporation Yard) from 8:30 a.m to 5:30 p.m. Many Marin residents have taken these classes and are already involved in local disaster preparedness.

You can join your neighbors and friends to make our communities more self reliant and able to cope with disasters. There are no pre-qualifications for this training, and you do not have to be in “great shape.” In a widespread emergency there are many ways to contribute your newly learned skills.

For 18 hours and $45, you can learn how to prepare yourself, your family, and your community to respond effectively. CERT class graduates receive a certificate and an Emergency Response daypack. Scholarships are available, and the classes are free to high school students

Pre-registration is required at www.readymarin.org or call Maggie Lang at 415 485-3409.

Get Prepared! Join CERT, the Community Emergency Response Team.

One of Point Reyes Station’s best-loved merchants, Chris Giacomini, proprietor of Toby’s Feed Barn, suffered serious injuries Tuesday, March 31, when he fell from a loft in the building.

Chris (foreground) frequently lets the Feed Barn be used for fundraisers and other community events. Here he and a throng of townspeople clap as they watch President Barack Obama’s 2008 inaugural address on a large-screen television in the building.

Chris fell about 20 feet, landing on the cement floor, shattering a wrist and ankle, as well as receiving major bruises. He’s already had surgery and is scheduled for more this coming week, but he is recovering, according to his family and staff. Get well cards can be dropped off at Toby’s.

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New business.

Dan Thompson, owner of Perry’s Inverness Park Grocery and Deli, last Thursday opened a bistro called Gather on the east side of the store in a room created from a onetime railroad car.

From 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, Gather serves dinner featuring organic meat and vegetables, small-batch wines, unique beer, sours and cider. Lynn and I had dinner there Sunday. She ordered chicken with kale, mashed potatoes, and hush puppies. I ordered potato cakes with sauteed greens, caramelized baby carrots, mushroom ragout, and créme fraiche.

What we got was Parisian-style haute cuisine with a down-home presentation. We shared a bottle of hard cider, which came with canning jars for drinking glasses. Lynn and I loved our dinners, but the portions were so large we couldn’t finish them and we brought quite a bit home.

The view of the Giacomini Marsh as seen from Gather. Throughout the day, the bistro is also a fun place to have espressos and to eat sandwiches, salads, etc. from the deli.

At the moment, the walls are adorned with nature photography by local resident Daniel Dietrich.

Here’s some history of the place. In the 1920s, Michael and Filomina Lucchesi Alberigi “bought about five acres on the marsh side of Inverness Park and moved into a large home there,” the Jack Mason Museum publication Under the Gables reported two years ago. “They built barns behind the house. They grew vegetables and eventually used a small house next to their home as a general store. Later it also had a small café and became the social hub of the village.”

In 1949, the Alberigi family leased the old store to Annie and Victor Turkan to run while the Turkans built a larger store across the street. “After the Turkans retired, their daughter Wilma Van Peer — who lived next door in what is now Spirit Matters and had the first television set in Inverness Park — ran it,” Under the Gables notes.

Waving Bear, one of Daniel Dietrich’s photos currently on display in Gather.

In the 1960s, Vern and Diane Mendenhall bought the grocery and expanded it. The bistro part of the building, which is an old railway car, was added as a diner. The enterprise went through two more ownerships before Dan bought it more than 30 years ago.

In the early 1970s, the railroad car section housed a pizzeria before becoming a succession of bakeries under various names and owners. Under the name Foggy Mountain Bakery, it was run by Mountain Girl (Jerry Garcia’s first wife) along with Kate Gatov and Irene Keener. Later Station House Café founder Pat Healy owned it for a brief time, as Under the Gables notes. It was also Knave of Hearts Bakery run by Matthew and Robin Prebluda; Debra’s French Bakery (Debra had been a partner of Brigit Devlin in starting the Bovine Bakery in Point Reyes Station); and more recently the Busy Bee Bakery.

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Mainstreet Moms at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 7, will present an informational evening led by historian Dewey Livingston regarding Caltrans’ proposal to replace the Green Bridge in Point Reyes Station. The meeting will be in the old gym at West Marin School.

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A couple from England misjudged a turn at Highway 1 and the Point Reyes-Petaluma Road at approximately 3 p.m. Monday, and their motorcycle ran off the highway. The Harley Davidson traveled a short distance in a roadside ditch, careened over a driveway’s culvert and back into the ditch where it knocked down a 25 mph sign.

Highway Patrol officer Will Thompson (pictured) said there was no evidence the motorcycle had been speeding. Neither the driver, Michael Hacker, 55, of Kensington, Ashford, in the UK, nor his passenger, Kay Hardie, 53, was injured although their rental motorcycle was damaged, and their trip to Mendocino was interrupted.