Thursday, January 20, 2011


I checked Kym Kemps blog and she had a beautiful photo of the fullish Moon. Tom Seaborn also has a photo of the Moon, only his had less exposure, and he brought out the “Man in the Moon”. Both Kym and Tom lamented the fact that they didn’t have any geese flying across their Moon. They both felt that geese would have brought their photos closer to perfection. I agree, there is nothing like a full Moon on a crystal clear winter night... With geese flying across it.

Last month, when we had the fullest moon in centuries (decades?) I saw a flock of geese flying north, at just about sunset the night of the eclipse. I laughed to myself about the geese flying north. Aren’t they supposed to be flying south this time of the year? I chuckled some more, thinking that maybe the poor geese got caught up in one of those pale green clouds of smoke that emanates from southern Humboldt and permeates everything. Just as I always do, I continued on, to over-think the situation. It is mid January, maybe they are flying back north already. Humm… Maybe the geese know what they are doing, and I got caught up in that pale green cloud of smoke.

Anyway, the weather has been some of those exquisitely beautiful nights and days that we get just as we think that we just can’t take anymore rotten weather, and we start looking around for something to kill, just for fun. The sky today was deep blue and crystal clear. The sky at night has been velvet black with pin-prick, to nail hole size, diamond sparkling stars. I know, some of them are planets, but then I would have to take the time to point out which is which. I’m not going to do that! Take my word for it, the sky is beauuuutiful.

When the sky is like this I can’t take my eyes off it. It has been the same for millions of years, you would think that it would be like Reagan’s Redwoods, if you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all, but I have just never been able to get over the beauty of a night sky.

When we were kids on the ranch in Laytonville we would go out side at night to play in the fields, or the orchard. We weren’t afraid of bears and bobcats, or mountain lions, like the kids today. The kids today are sissies by comparison. But, I think that it is only fair to admit that there were sheep and cattle on the ranch that the predators would go after sooner than a stinky little human kid.

Usually we get some really great days in Feburary. Some days in February get up into the 80s. It gives you a little promise of spring, and your brain starts to think about planting things. If you just have to plant something you can plant the peas that you were supposed to have planted last November, but it was just too wet and depressing. Or you could plant Onion sets. Radishes seem to be delightfully weather blind, plant them.

Anyway, I got over the need to kill something, so I came back on here to do a post and share my joy. You can talk about anything that’s on your mind if you want. It’s a good time for a mid-winter chat.

I thought that I would include some abbreviated Shakespeare, that really isn’t about winter, but more about life. Old Shakespeare just couldn’t seem to get it together, he would talk about things in metaphors and similes instead of just coming out and saying it. I really feel sorry for him sometimes. He just wasn’t a good writer like us!

The bold print is Shakespeare's, the fine print is my interpretation.

Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;

(Our sadness has turned to happiness)
And all the clouds that lour'd upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.

(And, the misery of war that has rained upon us has now washed to sea and disappeared)
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
(we have won our war)
Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;

(Our battle scared weapons, hung up as trophies)
Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,

(our war cries have turned to happy greetings)
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.

Grim-visaged war hath smooth'd his wrinkled front;
(our war has turned to peace)
And now, instead of mounting barded steeds
To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
(Now, instead riding war horses to scare and kill our enemies)
He capers nimbly in a lady's chamber

To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
(We play in a ladies bedroom to the tune of a stringed instrument)

The word "lascivious"means: showing a desire for, or unseemly interest in, sex, Which would imply that there is something else going on in the ladies bedroom that both Shakespeare and I are too modest to talk about...

Now, Who make the most sense, Shakespeare or us????



Bunny said...

I'm looking all over for the LIKE button.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Thanks Bunny, I was beginning to think that nobody likes to talk about the weather anymore.

The recorded low in Wyoming last night was -47 deg. You would think that us locals would be rejoicing at our good fortune. The all time record low for Wyoming was -66 deg. In 1933. That must have been a real cold-snap year. I remember my grandmother Ruby Branscomb talking about how cold it was that year in Laytonville. She told me about driving the Model-A Ford up the frozen slough to grandpa Ed Branscombs ranch in the middle of the valley. Talk about a “winter of discontent”.

I seem to remember talk of a bad snowfall that year in the hills around here, barn roofs caving in and cattle dying. We are lucky with our weather.

Ernie Branscomb said...

I was just over on Kym Kemp's blog trying to make some sense to a person whom I deeply respect, but just has a few fine points of our history FLAT WRONG. Logging didn't cause the flood! It's like everybody showed up here and decided that logging caused the flood. They must have taken a vote of consensus and decided, yep! logging caused the flood, because it just can’t rain that hard. So, I looked up a few facts that I’ll post here, just to scare you.

Records show that in the town of Branscomb, in the headwaters of the South Fork of the Eel river, had over 36 inches of rain from December 1st to December 23rd 1964. On the 18th of December there was over a foot of snow in the Valley of Branscomb and Laytonville, and over 3 feet of snow in the hills. The storm turned into a “Pineapple express” of warm rain. From the 18th to the 23rd, it rained 27.46 inches on top of the heavy snowfall, rapidly melting it. Can you possibly even conceive how terrifyingly hard it would have to rain to do that??? I thought not! Logging caused the flood my ass. Please click on the articles in the post that I linked to, they will blow up to readable size.

The thing that most of the locals know that nobody else does is that it actually rained more than was recorded due to the fact that EVERY capable person was busy saving themselves and their neighbors, and rain gauges be damned, they were left unattended and they ran over or washed away. Yes, we were terrified!

Welcome to the South Fork of the Eel. It can surprise you. It was truly the winter of our discontent!

Ernie Branscomb said...

link to the 1964 flood

Jon said...

Weather you like it or not.

Note to Ben: "It is a valiant Flea that feasts at the lip of a Lion."

Note to Ernie: Gotta remember that there full Moon brings out memories that are best enjoyed on the veranda with a piece of fudge. No, not the fudge that comes with the misunderstanding and statement of facts (listen up Ben), rather the Fudge of sweet memories that melt away the bitter truth of knowledge.

Ernie Branscomb said...

For the most part loggers were assholes, scoundrels and outlaws, most took great pride in that fact. But, most of the loggers cared about the land and the rivers.

On more than one occasion, I'd heard loggers that I knew talking about some logger that was ruining a creek and leaving a mess. sloppy loggers were frowned upon. Much like the back-to-the-land growers that grumble about the "Diesel dopers".

By 1964 the land was starting to heal from some of the out of control logging. I'm not saying that the loggers were perfect. I think the thing that distresses me when I hear people accuse the loggers of causing the '64 flood is not that the are disparaging the logger, but how badly they underestimate the amount of rain that caused the flood. I'm firmly convinced that you had to have seen it to believe it.

I really think that it is a prejudice against loggers. Like some people didn't like George Bush and still others don't like Obama. Most have no good reasons for being so polarized. It's just plain close-mindedness.

Anonymous said...

Heck Ernie, I'm polarized and I have good reason so I hope you don't get offended.....


Ernie Branscomb said...

Hah! Oregon, you aren't "most" either. At least you saw the flood, pretty impressive right?

Anonymous said...

Pretty simple. When it rains like a dirty SOB,it floods! Gypos or not!
It rained 10 inches in one 8 hour period in Laytonville,Circa 1955.

Anonymous said...

I remember after the flood that is was still raining so hard that I could see better with the windshield wipers off than on either low or high. In those days the vehicles didn't have remittent wipers, it was off, low or high..


P.S. I wasn't referring to the flood on my last post Ern

Anonymous said...

Oregon,remember Vacuum wipers??? LOL!

spyrock said...

the worst i've seen it was 5 inches in one hour at the airport in ft lauderdale, florida. they canceled my flight and my girlfriend had to pick me up and drive out of a foot and a half inches of water in the airport pickup area.
i saw 3 white cranes flying northeast in formation right over my pond at sunset tonight with a fourth following behind. my pond must be on the waterfoul migration pathway now.

Anonymous said...

With Spyrock,it always the "girl friends" shuffling him around!
Life must be good,For Spyrock!

Ernie Branscomb said...

In Feng Shui, the ancient Chinese system of aesthetics practiced by the Chinese, water is the feminine feature, It is the yin of the male yang. So Spy is surrounded by female features.

Oregon, I know that you were talking about your politics.

I remember the vacuum windshield wipers. They would wipe like crazy going down hill and stop dead going uphill. It reminds me of Garberville's first Highway Patrolman. He told me that the first cars they had were "flatlander cars". He said that the windshield wipers would stop when he floorboarded it, making it hard to catch-up to speeders when it was raining. He said that you had your choice of what to do. If you used you siren or radio the headlights would dim out. They had it made otherwise though, if you were to drunk to drive you could always get a ride home in a CHP car. The biggest problem that CHP had was kids street racing

spyrock said...

i pretty sure i got to this planet by way of an orgasim but it's real hard to imagine my parents being involved in that. but as soon as i started thinking that the old volcano had gone inactive, i met a goddess named pele who knows how to make the lava flow. it's starting to look like i might go out the same way i came in. i don't think i could paddle into a 40 foot wave anymore anyhow so i just lay there and take my chances.

Anonymous said...

As much as I liked the 50's, I don't miss the 6 volt systems on the cars. I don't remember when the switch was but a lot of the vehicles were still around with vacuum wipers and 6 volt batteries.


Anonymous said...

Garberville had a motorcycle CHP officer one time and that was Bud Miller. Ernie's dad told me he was talking to Bud one day and ask him how he was getting along with Harley? Bud told Everett that it was getting better, "I had it up to 40 on the flats yesterday."


Ben said...

Now Ernie, you know I never said logging caused the flood. What I did say is that logging was a factor in the resulting siltation which has raised the water temperatures to the degree that salmon and steelhead smolts could not and still cannot flourish. Water temperature is practically the whole sad story of the decline of the fisheries. It's not talked about much because there's little we can do about it. It's going to take a very long time to sluice out the rivers and streams but it will happen eventually. In the mean time, if we want to catch a nice steelhead, we can travel to New Zealand where fish were transplanted from Benbow Dam, or so I heard.

spyrock said...

The Spyrock Road petroglyph
boulder (MEN-1912) is still used by the
Cahto as a cornerstone marking their interior
boundary (Foster 1983:51). The Bell
Springs petroglyph boulder (MEN-433) probably
represents a similar site. Both boulders
are covered with petroglyphs, including numerous
cupules. Among the Pomo, such cornerstones
are thought of as “mountain baby
rocks” (Peri et al. 1978:204), a term that
refers to their “spiritual power which
guides, protects, and regenerates the earth”
(Peri et al. 1978:204). Mabel McKay, a
prominent Pomo/Patwin Indian doctor, noted
that one such place. Geyser Rock, was an
important religious place where young people
were brought for training as doctors, singers,
and dancers (Peri et al. 1978:204). In
reference to Geyser Rock, it was further
noted that:
the area was a “dead spot” due to the
disturbance of the ground by present geothermal
activities, and that “the spiritual
power had moved further down the mountain.”
She [Mabel McKay] also indicated
that spiritual places need to be used and
prayed for in order to thrive. When its
mountain sanctuaries are disturbed, “the
spirit” moved down to protected locations
along waterways. As new locations become
“polluted,” the spirit continues its
downward course following the creeks and
rivers eventually entering the ocean.
“When the ocean water is disturbed that
will be the last days” [Peri et al. 1978:

i'm not sure how this relates but i found it. maybe the power spot at the mountain baby near spyrock school went down the eel river out into the ocean and all the way to new zealand. i changed my picture which doesn't seem to show up right now when the mountain baby did have power and i know how to raise smolts.

spyrock said...

yes, you can see me sitting barefoot on the spyrock mountain baby with my sister and mom. hit the enlarge photo and you can see that the trees are still there which is how i remember it. that's why i thought robins picture was a different rock.

Robin Shelley said...

I was waiting to check in to a motel in Fortuna the other night when the woman ahead of me said to the clerk, "I see the ocean over there. Is it possible to walk there from here?" The clerk gave a slight grin & said, "Actually, ma'am, that's the Eel River you see" & told her the ocean was about an 8-mile, 15-minute car ride away.
For some reason, I thought of you, Ernie, when I heard this exchange.

spyrock said...

bsbyrock was the first thing we saw on the way to spyrock. to a little boy it was definitely fascinating and you could feel the power there. it was also a rest break to mark your territory which is what it was in real life to the cahto. the lack of shade nowadays is why i totally missed it. lots of shade gone up there. no we went by the tree.

Robin Shelley said...

I see there're 50 ac. for sale on Simmerly Rd., Spy. $499k.

spyrock said...

my cousin karen is looking for a place to raise her animals. she was looking at some places near willits. she said it felt good there. her uncle doug used to play with uncle delbert in spyrock back in the early 20's. doug drowned at that pier in lakeport when he was 8 or 9. hit his head on something. she looks just like him. she was in love with uncle delbert after her infatuation with me. she used to follow me around the ranch like a little sheep dog. i got in trouble for tar and feathering her after watching the little rascals. her dad hated me after that. but it was all in innocent fun. if there is such a thing as reincarnation she was probably uncle doug. i would be uncle guy simmerly. so i would have already lived a lifetime at spyrock. i don't think its the same with all the growers living back there. they had a bust in 2009 and about four people on simmerely road were arrested and thousands of plants destroyed. john simmerely, guy's grandson, lives up in oregon. he moved out of potter's valley because the place went to vineyards. the simmmerlys like to be around cattle and cowboys. my grandfather used to breed herefords. i breed koi. my grandfather was the first one to irrigate up at spyrock. the first one in marin county too. he ran the water company in stinson beach.
none of these people i'm talkng about cared much about money. it was more about doing what you love.
and they loved being cowboys. i have no interest in raising plants or shooting people that try to steal them so why would i want to move to spyrock. i just want to visit shell rock creek where the mother spoke to me as a child.