Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Do you belong here?

1- Have you ever seen a woman go totally crazy swatting chickens off the porch with a broom? Do you know if they will ever learn to stay of the porch?

2- Have you ever slept in a real feather bed, with a real feather pillow? Did you help pluck the feathers, or do you know how?

3- Have you ever used an out-house? Do you know how to make toilet paper out of a catalogue?

4- Have you ever made homemade ice cream? Out of real cows cream and fresh ranch eggs?

5- Have you ever seen a dog round up cattle? Have you ever seen a dog go get the cows by itself?

If you can answer the first part of the question you probably belong here. If you can answer the second part of the question you were probably born here.

Does anyone have any more two part questions, or do you know the answers to the first five?


Fred said...


Ernie Branscomb said...

Well, stick around anyway Fred. We like you, and who knows you might even get used to us!

Eel River Ernie said...

Once again a great post! The rain finally came and got me off the river and I am trying to catch up on the past week or so of posts and comments.

I can’t answer #1 in regard to chickens but I can testify to having seen my mother chase a water snake (that my cousin let loose) all over the kitchen of our house with a broom. That was just before she went after us with the same broom.

#2 can’t recall sleeping in a real feather bed but feather pillows were all we ever had. Plucking chickens (and game birds) rates right up there with cleaning grease traps and hoeing weeds but if you wanted to eat and not get beat...

#3 when I first started with the U.S Forest Service many of the fire stations only had out-houses. Cleaning out-houses rates right up there with plucking chickens, cleaning grease traps and hoeing weeds!

#4 never had the experience of having ice cream made out of fresh ingredients – damn!

#5 cattle dogs are a sight to behold. On my recent Elk hunting trip I had the experience of seeing sheep dogs work in Colorado. The Sheppard uses two kinds of dogs, one for moving and working the sheep and one for guarding the sheep. The ones guarding the sheep are huge white dogs and will attack anything they perceive as a danger to the sheep.

While not as picturesque as the cabin pictured, I was raised in a log house in Weaverville. The house was built in the early 1900’s and survived up to the 1970’s when the ranch was subdivided and sold off. My dad found an “Amalgamating Spoon” and a “Chinese Tong” sword in the attic, both of which I still have hanging on my wall and plan to donate to the Jake Jackson Museum. The bowl of the amalgamating spoon is still gold plated despite my best efforts as a kid to recover the gold.

EkoVox said...

Ok, here goes.

#1. No chickens. Too much work. But, chase the ducks off the porch. Yes.

#2. Slept in a Feather bed and pillow. Yes. My Aunt Merry Jane had a couple of feather beds with pillows in her Hydesville house. Heavier than bags of cement, I might add.

How to pluck a chicken? Yes, run it through the ringer of a manual washing machine. But, don't get your teat caught in it.

#3. Yes. One holer or two. Wards made the better toilet paper. Although we had it retired, it came back into to use during the 1964 flood.

#4 Homemade Ice Cream...Yes, but only in 2nd grade. As a school project.

#5. Dogs round up cattle. What, are you nuts? That can't be real. No, seriously, yes I have seen both. Many times. And sheep, too.

Give me a bit to think up some questions for you

EkoVox said...

Eel River Ernie.....Wow, a chinese tong! I'm duely impressed. What a find. I have Chinese pottery that my aunt found in a Chinese mining site. Two jars and a cup.

What is an amalgamating spoon? Is it for medicine?

In the China Flat Museum in Willow Creek, you can see some of my aunt's medical tools and equipment from when she was the county nurse there in the 1930's and 1940's. The only medical facility in Willow Creek, at that time, was my aunt's house.

Eel River Ernie said...

Eko - an "Amalgamating Spoon" is a hand-forged iron ladle used by the early miners to separate Mercury from the gold "fines" that they had panned up. They did this by heating the ladle over hot coals and pouring the gold containing Mercury into the ladle evaporated the Mercury and leaving the molten gold to be poured, needless to say, the fumes were deadly. Over time the iron in the ladles bowl becomes "gold plated" hence my attempt to "retrieve" my fortune. Unortunately, or fortunatley, I could never get the ladle hot enough to release its treasure - ERE

EkoVox said...

Eel River Ernie,

Yes, I do know of that process. I didn't know the name of that device. Good historical piece.

My dad kept a little bottle of mercury around the house for us to play with. And yes, we played with it. Rolled it around in a dish and seperated it. Nope, I'm not dead yet.

He found it at an old mine somewhere up in Denny. It had become trapped in a pipe. He poured it into a little container and brought it home. At one time, my dad was the president of the Western Mining Council. More or less a lobbying group for miners in the New River drainage and along the Trinity River tributaries. (Yep, didn't say watershed, on purpose).

Anonymous said...


Yep, everyone used to have a bottle of Mercury, kind of like having your own sack of marbles. When I worked in Mariposa county I had gold fever really bad and used to snipe for gold after storms and pan small streams. Often times below the locations of old stamp mills you would pan up much more Mercury than gold. Damn, there I go again giving up secrets, hope none of them "govamint" types follow Ernie's blog - ERE

Ben said...

Let's see... Swatted chickens. Yep. Chickens are just lizards with feathers and pretty dumb but I used to watch my pullets run for the henhouse whenever a buzzard flew over. Nobody tauught them. Instinct. Keep little kids away from the roosters. One of my first memories is a hen pecking me when I got too close. I was two.
My outhouse has composting chambers. A two holer you use one side for a year, flushing with sawdust. Then let it compost for a year while you use the other side. A trapdoor opens on the front of the concrete bins to allow them to be dug out. Not as awful as it sounds. I've used a regular outhouse too. Look out for wasps! Too much of a wuss to use a Sears catalogue.
I sleep on a featherbed of sorts every night. It's thinner and on top of a futon. Down pillow. Comfy.
I saw two dogs working cows down by Hopland just the other day. The rancher was in a pickup! The sheepdog trials at Booneville every year are really fun. I remember seeing pickups full of wool bales with the dogs perched on top years ago around Garberville.
Never made icecream but I'll eat it anytime!

Anonymous said...

Gosh, fascinating. Wasn't born here, but:
1. chickens, sure. my grandma raised them, my neighbors have them. Grandma's chickens never did stay off the porch. When she finally gave up keeping them she and grandpa scrubbed out the old coop to make a playhouse for me. Only now do I realize what work that must have been, because it smelled downright good and was surrounded by flowers and grandma's heirloom tomatoes.
2. Same grandma made feather ticks and feather pillows. Can't say I helped with the plucking though, except easing out feathers from the pillows to play with. Okay, I was a strange kid.
3.Hey, we still have an outhouse.
I'm a softie, so I insist on storebought paper.
4. Yep and yep. My littlest brother still runs a few cows and keeps a whole bunch of chickens.
5. And yes, cattle dogs are amazing. Little brother just lost his old buddy and is kinda sad these days.

Ernie Branscomb said...

You guys know that you’re the victim of the “newcomers” re-naming everything again don’t you? When I was a kid Mercury was called “quick silver”. My great-grandmother used to talk about one of my more enterprising relatives that “Went off yonder to Clear Lake to work the Quick Silver mines”.

I wonder how they cleaned up the Mercury contamination from that? Clear lake must be filled with Mercury. I was told that the piles of red cinder is old “Quick Silver tailings”, but I don’t know it to be true.

Anonymous said...

Ernie - thanks for the upbraiding, you are absolutely correct "quicksilver" it was and is! My uncle used to work at a quicksilver (Cinibar) mine up on the Trinity Divide above Trinity Center - ERE

Ernie Branscomb said...

Okay, Eel River Ernie. We're even. You caught me on the altitude of Brush Mountain Summit thing. Even though Murcury is tecnically correct, I need a win.

Between the two of us maybe we can get it right.

Greg said...

1- No, but I had a chicken who used to crap all over the kitchen window. Mom gave it to the longshoreman across the street, who wrung it's neck and ate it.

2- Does a pillow-top mattress count? Ever break open a feather pillow?

3- Yes. And you just rip out the pages and good luck. Today's outhouse is the ubiquitous B&B portable toilet. We had to install one when the septic was out once. The kids thought it was fun.

4- Sure, but if I ever get another ice cream maker it will be an electric one.

5- We have a Pembroke corgi who only spent his first few weeks on the farm and still wants to run after every stock trailer that rattles past the house. The neighbor cows got across the fence one day and all I had to do was say "get 'em" and he turned three or four cows around and herded off of the property. Not bad for a house dog. They call them "ankle-biters".

Let's be careful with the newcomer talk. Carol comes from back east, where newcomers are folks whose people landed after 1700. There is an Old Comers Road in Chatham, MA where they mean really, really Old.

Ernie Branscomb said...

For a sheep dog, you want one that doesn’t bite, but for cattle you need one that bites, to make the cattle move. There’s a reason that there’s a breed of dog called “Heelers”.

While other people have dogs that go get the cows, my dog wakes me up to tell me that there is a storm outside. (That’s why I’m here now) She became afraid of “the storm” when the wind would blow, and the Pepperwood nuts would fall. I have hauled unpteem wheelbarrow loads of nuts away, and you have now idea how loud a pepperwood nut storm can be when the wind blows them loose onto a roof. The dog knows, and she wakes me up to warn me that it might happen.

I see that I spelled Mercury wrong in the last post.

The picture of the log cabin is just a little bit too perfect to fit anyplace that I’ve ever seen around here. In fact it looks a little phony. It doesn’t show any of the normal detritus in the yard of have been lived in, but it was all that I could find on the internet.

It reminded me of one more;
6- Can you build a rail fence? Can you split the rails yourself?

Do you realize that there are many tricks to getting a rail to split into even sized wood? Some old-timers could split a log into rails with very little scrap. It would be fun to show you how, but that is the only way that you could learn. I could show you how to “bend” a split so it would “steer” in the direction that you wanted it to go, instead of splitting out the side, like the split wants to do. I’ll bet Eel River Ernie knows how.

I split rails for a job on the winter weekends back in the winters of ’61-’62-’63 while going to high school during the week-days. Splitting “Split-stuff” out of Redwood was the way that most of the loggers would winter-up back then.

I’m going to see if my dog will let me go back to sleep.

Greg said...

#6 - Hell, no.

EkoVox said...

Quicksilver. Yes. That is correct. Cinnabar is the correct spelling. As in Cinnabar Sam's restaurant in Willow Creek.

I agree with Greg. Split rail? Not a chance. My brother built a horse shoe pit with split fir poles (pecker poles for the old timers) for the surrounding fence. Nice job, too.

EkoVox said...

Ok, here goes.

#1: Do you cut, cord and split wood?

#1a. When building a fire. Crumpled paper, shavings, kindling,___________, and chunks. Name the missing segment.

#1b. What does a damper do?

#2: What is a whetstone?

#3: White's made what type of work apparel?
#3a: What are romeos?

#4: What is a Thundermug?

#5: Did you pack a Thermos everyday?

#6 Why did you carry two chunks of firewood in the back of your your truck at all times?

Eel River Ernie said...

Since its inception in the 1950’s, CDF’s Alder (state inmate) Camp in Klamath has done virtually all of the split products for the state, and eventual national park, in Del Norte and northern Humboldt counties. I was fortunate enough to have worked there for several years and learned how to make split products including: rails, stobbers, shake bolts, shakes and grape stakes. We were blessed to have old growth wind-thrown trees available to us in the parks; it was “easy pickins’” so to speak as quality wood was not a problem.

My responsibility was mainly to find projects and materials so I did very little hands on but had, and have, a great appreciation for the two or three foreman that worked with me that could do just what Ernie described. Next time you’re up that way take a look at the quality of those split rail fences, shakes and stobbers throughout Prairie Creek state park.

Split products and the tools unique to splitting would be a good venue for “Deliverance.”

Eel River Ernie said...

#1. been there and done that, much better with natural gas and stone logs!

#1a. could it be some sulphur product or a propane one of those?

#1b. my wife has taken to calling me a wet blanket lately rather than a damper!

#2. any old river rock will do in a pinch!

#3. cost me half a paycheck in the 60’s but I still got ‘em!

#3a. didn’t cost near as much as my White’s!

#4. gender specific, you have to be there to appreciate it!

#5. yes, lost my best one at a truck stop in Dillon, MT a couple of years back.

#6. if’n you like your truck it’s a good ideee!

Ernie Branscomb said...

Okay, My internet just came on. Yea!

What an interesting night in G’town. Last night at eleven-thirty the dog woke me up to tell me that there was a storm outside. It was two-something in the morning before I was able to convince her that we were all going to live, and went back to sleep.

I got up at six this morning and the storm was really kicking up. At six-thirty the store called me (It has it’s own automated burglar/fire/intrusion/heat/movement sensor) it was screaming bloody murder that the store was under attack. Being the logical reasonable person that I am, I assumed it had something to do with the storm. I got to town and everything was dark, and there was debris everywhere. The signs on the store that used to say (Radio Shack) now say ( ), and I found the pieces behind the store, so the signs had to have blown over the top. The pieces were scattered over a couple of hundred yards.

I got the generator out, because every responsible business in Garberville has a generator. Someone had forgotten to turn the gas of last spring when it was last used. So, it was flooded and hard to start. When it finally started it blew a big cloud of smoke before it cleared up and I was afraid that someone would call that fire department.

Then the fire department toned us out for a tree through a house in Redway, no injuries. The woman was in a bedroom just under the part of the tree that didn’t go all the way through. She was caretaking the house while the owner was away. She was very calm and was dealing with saving the contents of the house when we got there.

It’s strange how things like a tree through the house will not bother some people. Other people we have to call the ambulance to administer a sedative. I admire people that just take it in stride. This morning the lady was a strider. Maybe it will hit her later.

Anonymous said...

Ernie - what a night! The storm seems pretty much spread throughout the north state. This morning two of my buddies had oak trees come down, one on his house and the other on his statelite dish and tool shed. They live in Deer Valley (near Auburn) and Gordon Valley (near Fairfield) respectively. We just have Spruce limbs all over the roof and deck - ERE

Greg said...

We lost half a dozen shingles and I can see some loose ones. I have a $500 deductible. Looks like about $500 in damage. Just like last year. And the year before. If the whole roof would blow off I would at least beat the deductible. Off to check the forecast...

Ernie Branscomb said...

I just talked to my insurance agent about the best plan for replacing the signs and the damage to the neighbors building from our sign. I asked her if she had the house that had the tree through it covered, and she asked “Which one? We had about seven.” So it must have been a rough night.

Ben said...

Ernie, Clearlake is badly contaminated with mercury. Fishermen are warned not to eat Clearlake fish very often. The old mine is a Superfund site and is just above the Elem Rancheria at the east end of the lake. The tailings are yellowish and not the red rock you see mined for decorative rock. That is some kind of volcanic stuff. That whole area is volcanic and there is lots of obsidian near Konocti.
Miranda Gardens Resort had a tree right through the office. Really sad... a beautifully restored building. No one hurt, thank heaven.
It's Obama for me. Yay!

Carol said...

1. Yes, I have seen that woman, and I am her. No.

2. No, I never have slept in a real feather bed, but like Greg mentioned, we have a down top on our magnetic mattress. I have plucked feathers from a dead chicken. One has to dip them in hot water to loosen the feathers and keep pulling feathers. It is a stinky and icky task, and I am thankful that I do not have to do it, but I did!

3. Yes,I have used an outhouse with a catalogue TP.

4. Love hand-cranked ice cream and it might be a great idea for the bloggers picnic.

5. Yes, ditto to Greg's comment. Alfie, is a biter, so he must be a cow dog.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Okay Carol, I was hoping someone else would ask and I wouldn't have to....What's a magnetic Mattress????

Ernie Branscomb said...

Okay Eko, I’ll play your six questions, I have to admit you have me stumped on some but I’ll guess anyway. Here goes…

1-- Nope, I cut split then stack it. 4’x4’x8’= 1 cord. My wife burns it.

1a--Some form of ignition.

1b--- To keep the heat from going up the flue pipe too fast and cooling the fire.

2-- Well, nothing cuts like a whetted knife. Answer a knife sharpening stone. Arkansaw stone used to be considered the best before carborundum.

3-- Whites made cork boots. Spelled caulked. Most newcomers pronounce it “Kalked boots”
3a-- Romeo’s are logger evening shoes. They used to pack them everywhere that they went, to slip into were they weren’t allowed with their corks. Like the bar or home. Some people use them for slippers.

4-- Originally a chamber pot, more recently a toilet.

5-- Yep! A standley Stainless Steel one, ran over it with the Cat and it still kept Liquids warm or cold all day.

6--We used to throw a couple of big rounds of firewood in the back for traction sometimes. Or maybe something to chock the wheels with. Maybe to barbecue the venison that you got on the way to work for lunch.

Number six is the kind of question that I have no clue as to the answer, but in school if I came up with anything plausible then argued with great indignation, sometimes I could get the teacher to give me half credit. Sometimes that was good enough to change your grade from an “F” to a “D”. and you can pass with a “D”.

So what about it teach, all of my answers were right, and I’ve done all of them, so you can’t say they are wrong…. Do I get half credit???

Carol said...

We bought a magnetic sleep system from Penny Ferry, a Nikken distributor in 2000.

It is very comfortable. Do you remember Dave's Saddlery in Ferndale? Penny and Jim owned it. Greg and I also rented their home in Ferndale for a while, before we bought our home in Loleta. Their son, Guy Fieri, the star of the Food Network show, "Drive-ins, Diners and Dives".

EkoVox said...

Both Ernies, you got them all right.

The chunks of firewood are for chocking the wheels in lieu of or in addition to the emergency brake.

Oh, the third ignition device is "starter wood". Bigger than kindling smaller than fir chunks.

Yes, a thundermug is a chamber pot.

Does anyone use a Thermos anymore?

White boots were the Cadillac of woods boots for either loggers or firefighters. Or PG&E lineman for that matter. My dad wore either Timberland or Santa Rosa brand. He'd be a hit in the hip-hop community, today.

Ernie Branscomb said...

We had no power today and the generator was running the store. I didn’t get to do any posting. So you guys got to play without me. Bummer.

B1--Did you prefer your Whites caulked boots with a slanted spring heel or a block heel? Why?

B2--Why did loggers cut their pants legs off half way up their boot tops?

B3--Whats the difference between Fir logger corks and Redwood logger corks?

Answer to B1= So the loggers would have something to ague about when they got through arguing over who had the best chain saw.

Answer to B2= So their pant legs wouldn’t tangle in the brush, and if there was no hem in the pant leg it would tear before your leg broke. The real reason is because everybody else did, and the little frilly edge was kinda’ cool!

Answer to B3= Redwood caulk spikes are longer to hold in the softer bark.