Tag Archives: calaveras county

The Great Family Vacation

I was in love with the movie “The Great Outdoors” growing up.

“How about the gourmet here?!”

It was right up there with “Vacation” in terms of how it spoke to my family’s epic DIY vacations in the 80s. While Chevy Chase’s “Clark Griswold” nailed my father so much so that we’re still calling him that, 35 years after Vacation debuted (they even looked alike, for crying out loud)… Continue reading

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A Tree Tale: The End

Our long, dramatic encounter with the bark beetle has come to an end. At last.

It’s been well over a year now since the beetles came, conquered, and left destruction in their wake in our Sierra Nevada mountain home. We’re lucky, of course; compared to communities farther south, we barely suffered. Still, we’ve spent the last 18 months on a torturous homeowner odyssey: learning the telltale signs of a beetle strike, working with multiple forestry agencies to fell over a dozen 100-foot+ ponderosa pines, spending late nights online reading up on logging regulations and permit processes, dealing with the gargantuan mess left behind (through the record-setting winter of 2016-17, no less), facing off with shitty neighbors, growing closer to good ones…

And really learning a lot about trees in the process.

Now that it’s over (knock on wood), it’s kind of amazing to look back on it all, so I’m going to do that (some day when I’m feeling particularly ineffective, this is gonna be a great confidence booster)… Continue reading

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Bark Beetle: Still Going

Our trees have begun to fall.

Not the big ones – yet – but when we arrived at Mustang Ranch late last week, we discovered that our neighbor Nick had rallied for us all. He went to the tree mortality meeting down in Avery, and came back armed with the knowledge that all the trees lining Mustang Road in front of our properties aren’t actually any of our concern (ta da!). They belong to Calaveras County.

And so, fired up (I love mountain-living next door to Nick), he got the county crew to come cut everything on the easement that PG&E hadn’t already tagged for removal: in front of BOTH our houses. When we arrived, it was all neatly GONE; they chipped all the wood up into nothingness and made it all disappear. All the small (as in, 16 feet-ish) straggler trees, that had been nearly dead from drought a year ago when we bought the house.

Remains of the row of small dead ponderosa pines along the road in front of our house.

Remains of the row of small dead ponderosa pines along the road in front of our house.

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Bark Beetle: The Saga Continues

Here’s the latest:

Our trees died. All the ponderosa pines, at least.

Three weeks after discovering bark beetles had struck our biggest pines, on the 4th of July, we came back to our cabin in Arnold to discover…

They were all dead. Already.

It happened FAST. Here we were, fancy sprinkler equipment in hand, Scot the rediscovered-childhood-friend-turned-arborist lined up to arrive at 7:00 AM on Saturday morning and start injecting the biggest and strongest of the trees with insecticide, precise watering instructions from him typed up to keep us busy for two days in preparation, alarms set, beer bought, and…

Nope. They were gone. Yellow to the tip of every needle, 120 feet high. Four of them in the front, along the road, and another seven in the back, standing so tall that we couldn’t even see they had died unless we stood out in the road and looked over our roof, and beyond the tops of our tallest cedars.

Nature said “SCREW YOU, SILLY HUMANS!” Continue reading

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