I Can See Clearly Now

The party was going swell. ANC publisher Doni Chamberlain threw a soiree for the site's online Carr Fire Scholarship auction that featured the finest in local foodstuffs and adult beverages, and my beloved and I were fortunate enough to be on the guest list two Fridays ago.

Living as we do in the tinderbox forest east of Redding, we don’t get out as much as we’d like, and it was invigorating to mix and mingle with interesting people, most of whom actually appreciate my writing.

As the wine and beer flowed, so did the conversation. Subjects discussed included basketball, the Carr and Camp Fires, the recently concluded midterm elections and the state of American journalism. Like I said, things were going swell. But I like beer, and nature made its inevitable call. I excused myself and made my way to the bathroom.

Only paid subscribers have access to our site's lead stories, as well as the Convo Cafe. When you become a recurring subscriber, you will have full access to all lead stories as well as the entire website. Plus, you'll have the option to receive email notifications of everything we post on aNewsCafe.com.

We look forward to you being part of aNewsCafe.com's online family of paid subscribers. Your support helps us not just survive, but thrive and bring even more quality content to you by top-notch contributors and journalists about topics crucial to you, our region and our world.

Read more about our decision here.

Click here to subscribe!

Already a subscriber? Log in here.

R.V. Scheide
R.V. Scheide has been a northern California journalist for more than 20 years. He appreciates your comments and story ideas.
Comment Policy: We welcome your comments, with some caveats: Please keep your comments positive and civilized. If your comment is critical, please make it constructive. If your comment is rude, we will delete it. If you are constantly negative or a general pest, troll, or hater, we will ban you from the site forever. The definition of terms is left solely up to us. Comments are disabled on articles older than 90 days. Thank you. Carry on.

31 Responses

  1. Bruce Vojtecky says:

    When I lived in Cheyenne, nine acres of prairie grass with lots of wind cutting tree lines, I would haul the limbs and other trimmings to the compost center in Cheyenne 15 miles away. They would take anything but tree stumps, free. There they would compost it and sell it to city residents at a nominal fee. Is there a place in Whitmore or Millville where a compost center could be established? The one in Cheyenne was just open acreage with a couple of small sheds.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      According to Shasta County’s website, my best option is to compost in place, which is what I’ve been doing. It appears I could take truckloads to the Redding compost center, where I would apparently be charged by the truckload. I’ve got a lot of skinny trees, so-call pecker poles, that need removal. Meanwhile, everybody out my way is burning stuff like crazy. I saw at least a dozen brush pile fires driving home yesterday.

  2. Richard Goates says:

    Glad to hear Whitmore has a fire safe council now! Shingletown, where I lived for two years has a very proactive Organization. You can take your slash and any wood items to the recycling center there and they take care of it. It’s time to get back to managing the Forests like they used to.

    What used to be an inconvenience has now become a matter of life and death in the foothills as we have seen.

    The only reason that the Shingletown program is so successful is the full participation of many local residents and the volunteering of the residents to make it happen.

    To more Rain!

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Shingletown’s Fire Safe Council has an excellent reputation. I hope ours gets up to speed quickly. I’ll find out what’s going on tonight.

  3. Beverly Stafford says:

    A neighbor has one of those large brush whackers – resembles a small bobcat in size – and many of us hire him to clear the underbrush on our properties. His machine can grind piles of small limbs plus it grinds emerging manzanita and even larger manzanita bushes. I don’t resent writing a check to him every couple of years. Now if we can just find a reputable company to drop about six digger pines that could fall on the house if uprooted . . .

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      My brother lives next door and has a small tractor that will help us do the job. He’s more of an expert than I am at burning stuff, I imagine that’s what we’re going to do if the rain keeps up and its safe to burn.

  4. Beverly Stafford says:

    Oops, forgot to mention that I’m glad you could report on finding your glasses. We weren’t laughing at you when you announced the loss, but it definitely was a first and caused a bunch of “Oh no’s!” Plumbers find lots of interesting things in toilet pipes, but I’ve never heard of recovered glasses. Get a croakie.

  5. Darcie Gore says:

    Glad you had a sense of humor about your glasses RV. My favorite quote from the party was “It’s not a party unless there is a plumber there”

  6. Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

    Oh man. I should feel bad about laughing at your misfortune, but laugh I did. The dogs were giving me the “What’s wrong with you?” look.

  7. Adrienne Jacoby Adrienne Jacoby says:

    About clearing and composting: has anyone thought about a couple of herds of goats? A one-stop shop for both clearing and composting.

  8. CODY says:

    Clear out the brush and burn it. It takes forever, but if you do some each winter it makes a difference. Then you can just get a drip torch and broadcast burn larger areas. This will keep the weeds and brush from returning, and will not hurt the larger trees.

  9. Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

    I only burn my brush/slash piles in driving rainstorms after a full day or two of rain, and I have a long hose with the water flowing. Even then it makes me nervous watching the flames grow high and the embers fly up and away.

    In my experience—I’ve prepared a couple of Fire Safe Plans for rural communities—the trick is bridging the funding gap between what a community needs and what it can afford. Often what it can afford—or at least wants to spend—is zero, unless there’s grant money to be had. There is also a “tragedy of the commons” issue, where some people bet that if all those around them are fire-safe, they needn’t expend the cash, energy, and visual impact to their property to help (i.e., they cheat). It’s a little like betting on herd protection with vaccines—you don’t need to get your kids vaccinated as long as everyone else is getting their kids vaccinated. But if enough parents adopt that same strategy, their kids and your kids are going to get sick from preventable diseases. The metaphor breaks down in that with fire protection, if significant numbers of properties aren’t “vaccinated,” many of their fire-safe neighbors are going to get burnt, too.

    • Beverly Stafford says:

      Steve, I heard something distressing today and thought that you would be the person who might have some knowledge about it. My neighbor was visiting with a friend who had something to do with one of the fire agencies. The “fire friend” said that Paradise has a city ordinance that outlawed the clearing of trees and brush within the city limits. Any truth to that? She said that one man cleared his property anyway, was fined, refused to pay the fine, and nothing ever came of it. No arrest nor further penalties.

      • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

        Paradise has (had?) a tree ordinance that was unusually restrictive. It protects trees with 10-inch or greater diameters at breast height (DBH). Most cities only protect much larger (e.g., 24- or 36-inch DBH) heritage trees,” often select species (e.g., oaks). Redding’s oak tree ordinance is a comparatively toothless advisory. You are allowed to remove trees in Paradise—you just had to apply for a permit. If you want to remove more than nine >10-inch DBH trees per year, you have to apply for an exception by stating the reason. I’m not aware of any restrictions on clearing brush in Paradise. Finally, I’m not surprised if their tree ordinance is loosely enforced, if at all. Enforcement of tree ordinances usually occurs when a neighbor drops a dime.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      The meeting was well-attended and the tragedy of the commons issue was raised and answered: let’s focus on the people who do want to make their property safe for now. Grants have been applied for and more are in the offing. Everyone believed in climate change which was mentioned prominently. Solutions include more prescribed burning by CalFire, as well as a grant for community chipping services. We’re just beginning but the will of the community feels strong.

      • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

        I guess nothing motivates and focuses the populace like a couple of Armageddon events within half a day’s drive or less.

  10. CODY says:

    I am waiting for the loggers to burn that pile just to the NE of you, where they cleared on SPI land. That is one heck of a burn pile!! I thought that they may chip some of it, but there is a lot of dirt mixed in…

  11. sue says:

    So, you believe Doni when she said that ” it was all her friend’s idea, she would never play a practical joke like that on anyone.” ? I’m not sure I can buy that!
    “The Christmas Story” came to my mind when you said, “I considered denying the incident had occurred. I need my glasses for driving, but I wasn’t wearing them at the party. No one would be the wiser.” All I could visualize is Ralphie putting his broken glasses on and saying “maybe they won’t notice.” :o)

  12. Darcie Gore says:

    lol, Jeff called to tell me I left you hanging Doni. Truth is I usually don’t go back to the comment section so I didn’t read you post. Okay here it is folks, Doni had NOTHING to do with the glasses prank. She said ‘oh no’ when I did it and took the picture. Then when I asked for RV email, she didn’t want me to send them to him. I finally agreed to send her the pictures if she PROMISED to do it – she would never do that on her own she is not a prankster. But I am and I giggled when I did it and when she told me she email him. Then I giggled even more when he wrote about it. He won’t forget that party! Thanks for being a good sport about it RV I expect pay back at some future event.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Yeah I really owe you now because I’m laughing out loud again. I believe you, Doni had nothing to do with it. Beware! You won’t see me coming!

  13. Adrienne Jacoby Adrienne Jacoby says:

    OOOoooooo. . . (said gleefully, accompanied by rubbing hands) I’m waiting with that famously baited breath!! Better watch out Darcie. I hear that R.V. has a delightfully devious mind when it comes to pay=backs!!

  14. Valerie Ing Valerie Ing says:

    You’re not gonna believe this R.V., but when I sat down to put fingers to keyboard this week to write my own column, I thought about writing about how my husband and I spent last weekend torching piles of brush on our property and how I had to keep a hose trained on the blaze because even with all that rain AND the hose, I was scared burning embers would escape and lit something else on fire. And then I decided to write about that time I was marooned on an island instead, phew! And OMG those glasses!

You must be a subscriber to comment. Click here to subscribe!