Longtime Del Norte County resident Chuck Blackburn’s column appears monthly.
Over the past 60 years, I have visited or seen many special places in Del Norte County. You could say many of these places haven’t changed over the years, but we know that the forces of nature are always doing their work.
In the winter, storms sweep out the sand, exposing bedrock on Pebble Beach. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
Today, in January 2013, I am sitting at a parking lot due east of Castle Rock just south of the airport runway. I have watched the ocean so many times from here over the years. Just north of this location is Garth’s Beach, which I am sure takes on the name of Garth McNamara of the long-standing McNamara family in this community.
I see two surfers trying to catch waves that are remnants of a rough ocean that breaks over a submerged reef that runs north-to-south toward Castle Rock.
When the ocean is calm there is no break on this reef unless there is a really low tide. When the ocean is rough, usually during the winter months, I have seen breakers 20-30 feet tall.
It is awesome to watch the surf break at that level. There is deep water west of Castle Rock and outside of this reef so the waves form quickly and build to great heights as they strike the shallow water of the reef. This same big surf strikes Castle Rock and the tall rocks that are off the coast west of Pebble Beach Drive.
During big winter storms I’ve watched waves rise 20-40 feet to strike these rocks.
In contrast, years ago I put in a drift boat at Marhaufer Creek during a calm summer ocean and rowed out behind Castle Rock and fished to the east of all these rocks.
It is said that in Hollywood live the beautiful people. It is true, their thin, tan bodies and pretty faces are beautiful to look at.
To me, however, the beautiful people are right here in Crescent City. I’ll give you some examples.
One afternoon during the last days counting down until Christmas, a harried young woman came through my grocery check-out line with about 10 gift cards. She looked tired yet relieved to be “finished.” As I bid her good day, she plunked down a Starbucks card and said, “Here, this one is for you. You’re my favorite checker.”
I was moved to tears. Her gift to me was from the heart. When it’s not expected or an exchange with no hope of getting anything back, that is a true gift. And after a long day of standing and repetition, her kindness to me validated that perhaps my job matters in some small way. Thank you, Ms. Horton.
Then there is Mr. Harrington, a very kind, older gentleman with a twinkle in his eyes. One day he came in to buy a whole bag of cat food cans. I asked if he’d gotten a cat.
“No, I’m taking care of my friend’s cat in Smith River.”
We all expect that people will get confused from time to time — especially when we get older.
We forget things, confuse dates, and then have to realize that we goofed.
But at my house the reigning confusion is in the plant kingdom. I have two uncommon apple trees, called “single-stem” apples. They came from a nursery in Canandaigua, N.Y., nine years ago.
They’re rather interesting if, like me, you find things that are different interesting. They do not have branches, but short “spurs” a few inches long. The blossoms come at the end of them, and the fruit is normal. One is a Macintosh, the other Golden Delicious. They grow, not in the ground, but in big pots in my back yard.
For some reason, the last couple years, we have had some “seasonal confusion” — they have bloomed starting in December! The first year that happened, I thought, “Well, that’s all she wrote — no apples this year!”
But, another surprise was forthcoming — they bloomed again at the proper time, producing some nice apples (which, unfortunately, were made to disappear by some masked, ring-tailed bandits!)
Maybe they are just confused, moving from one side of the country to the other.
House Calls runs every other Saturday. Today’s column is written by Trish Walker, a registered nurse with Sutter Coast Home Care. It is the final intallment of a four-part series about congestive heart failure.
As with most diseases, heart failure often gets worse over time, especially when you don’t participate in self care. The five-year survival rate is worse than for most common types of cancer.
Obtaining knowledge about the disease allows you and your family to know what to expect as the disease progresses. Planning for this eventual outcome of decline enables you to take control of certain aspects of your life, including making end of life decisions.
Most of us don’t want to have these conversations with our loved ones, but they are important. You need to be open and honest with your doctor, family, caregivers, health care personnel, and most of all yourself. It is imperative that you make end of life decisions while you are still able. This allows your loved ones to care for you without the added burden of making these decisions.
End stage heart failure has specific characteristics that doctors look for. They include multiple hospital admissions for exacerbations or kidney failure, maximum tolerated medications, worsening kidney function, and slow or no response to diuretics.
Patients will have unrelieved symptoms of shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, swelling that won’t resolve with diuretics, and the inability to exert any energy. As it worsens, both sudden cardiac death and multi-organ failure are common due to the prolonged deterioration of your heart and electrolyte imbalances.
From the pages of the Crescent City American, January 1930.
What is said to be the coldest spell, for the Pacific Coast region, in the past 20 years, has visited Crescent City and the coast during the past week, and Crescent City people are suffering from the extreme cold that has frozen ice a quarter of an inch thick and yesterday failed to thaw all day where the ground was shaded.
During the fore part of the week, telephone communications were cut off from the outside world, due to the storms in the mountains putting telephone lines out of commission. Stages running in from Grants Pass were hung up for three days, where the snow was said to have been 3 feet deep. The Grants Pass country is blanketed under snow that is 6–8 eight inches deep, the most snow for that section in years.
Snow reached down toward Crescent City as far as Gasquet and Patrick’s Creek. Many people have driven their children out to see and play in their first snow.
It is true that Crescent City is having “unusual” weather, but unusual weather is existing all over the country. Alaska is enjoying spring while Seattle is shivering in sub-zero weather and Florida has had killing frosts. The weather just seems to be freakish this winter.
Old-timer is found
In a story written by Fred Lockley, in the Oregon Journal under the caption, “Impressions and Observations of the Journal Man,” Mr. Lockley has found one Abner Hall at Helena, Mont., who claims that he was born in Crescent City on May 1, 1859, and that just prior to 1862 his father, Solen Hall, who then lived at Eureka, was county assessor for Del Norte County.
One of the first bits of advice Vice President Joe Biden received after becoming the point person for shaping new federal gun control and mental health proposals in the wake of December’s mass shootings in a Newtown, Conn., elementary school was to follow the California example.
Copy this state’s strategy for funding mental health programs, suggested Darrell Steinberg, Democratic leader of the state Senate. That’s one way, he said, to lessen the chance of deranged individuals blasting dozens of children and teachers with assault rifles or machine pistols.
There was more than a little irony in Steinberg’s suggestion. Only last August, he formally requested a formal audit of billions of dollars in mental health funds raised by the 2004 Proposition 63, which imposes a 1 percent supplemental tax for mental health care on incomes over $1 million.
So far, this levy has taken more than $8 billion from high-income Californians.
But last summer, the Associated Press reported that tens of millions of Prop. 63 dollars have gone to programs aiding state residents not diagnosed as mentally ill, including yoga, art and drama classes, horseback riding and gardening.
The audit results are not yet in, and there are explanations for some of the expenditures the AP noted. Gardening, for example, was to attract Cambodian immigrants who might otherwise avoid mental health services for cultural reasons. Yoga and art therapy can help stave off some forms of mental illness.
There’s no doubt the Proposition 63 money has been helpful in keeping government-funded mental health care alive while other programs like in-home care for frail or disabled senior citizens were severely truncated during half a decade of severe state budget crises.
In 2011, Patricia Ryan, executive director of the California Mental Health Directors Assn., reported that “The programs made possible…are as varied as California is diverse.”
She cited the highly-individualized Vietnamese Full Service Partnership in Santa Clara County, aiming to help Vietnamese adults with serious mental illnesses like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Within a year after that program started in 2006, participants were using emergency psychiatric services 28 percent less than before and were hospitalized 65 percent less, while using long-term care facilities 82 percent less than before.
It’s sort of fun experimenting with making things even when they’re cheap and readily available at the store. It helps you understand how they are made and gives you a sense of satisfaction in knowing the process.
Sea salt. Special to the Triplicate / Anne Boulley
One thing I have made that does that for me is making my own sea salt. The first time I made it, it was very strong and had a metallic flavor to it. I have since made it with a better technique and it comes out flakier and cleaner tasting.
If you’d like to give it a try it’s easy and just requires a bit of patience.
The best place to get salt water is deep in the ocean. If you know a fisherman who can gather some for you or if you have a boat, gather up several gallons when you’re out fishing. Otherwise, you’ll have to scope out an area that has less traffic from boats and people, but look out for potential farm runoff areas.
You won’t be ingesting a lot of the salt, and salt, by its very nature, does not harbor much in the way of bacteria, but you still want the cleanest available.
I gather salt water in clean gallon milk jugs. Then I take it home and carefully strain it twice through coffee filters. You could use a fine cheesecloth or muslin if you have it.
Then pour salt water into a glass or Pyrex baking dish to the brim and put it into the oven for 3–4 hours at 350 degrees. Keep an eye on it every so often as it gets toward the end.
You will see the salt collecting on the sides and bottom of the dish. If you see flakes on the top of the salt water when you check on it, you can use a strainer to collect the crystals and lay them on a cookie sheet to finish air drying. These, when they occur, are the flakiest pieces and great for topping truffles or using at the table to use as a finishing salt.
How long it takes depends on the temperature of your oven, the amount of water you’re trying to evaporate and the salinity of the water. With the amount of rain we get in this area it can take longer sometimes.
“Take away their guns.”
“It’s time to put the mentally ill back in the institutions.”
“Just what’s wrong with this country that all this shooting is going on?”
More and more we hear these things. Everyone seems to think these ideas are what we need to “fix things.”
Politics and religion are two of the topics most likely to cause disagreement — and when you combine the two, watch out!
I have a granddaughter who was in Baghdad when the war was going on there. Not military, she was employed by a private security company. In an email one day, she complained bitterly that “religion is the cause of all the trouble in the world.” I hated that she had come to feel that way, but I knew that what she was being exposed to in Iraq could certainly have given her that impression.
As a senior citizen, I have watched for many years as things have changed, and I can come to only one conclusion: The further we distance ourselves from God as a country, the worse things have become.
How can we expect our kids to act honorably if we fail to be good role models?
Perhaps it’s time that we all put more stock in our faith — start going back to church, and living more by those principles that bring out love rather than hate.
Crescent City is rich in houses of worship, both Christian and Jewish. Churches of nearly every denomination, and fellowship with some really great people. Give it a try — on this page is a directory. If you don’t “fit” in one church, try another. Whatever your choice of style, charismatic, traditional, contemporary, it’s here, as is Temple Beth Shalom if you are Jewish. Some churches provide both traditional and contemporary services, and some both English and Spanish.
For special activities coming up, we have these:
From the pages of the Crescent City American, January 1928.
Redwood trees will continue to shade the new section of the Redwood Highway north of Crescent City through the efforts of B.B. Meeks, director of the State Department of Public Works, and Ralph W. Buli, chairman of the California State Highway Commission.
The Save the Redwoods League raised funds for the purchase of a 20-acre tract of the redwoods along the highway. Del Norte County supervisors cooperated in raising enough money to buy the tract from lumbering interests who were logging off the land.
Car lost on beach
The Ford coupe driven by Wm. Crosley into the surf opposite Van’s Auto Camp last Wednesday evening was lost in the sand and was a total wreck.
Bill, it seems, was down on the beach looking for clams when his car settled in the sand and before he could get help the tide came in and sucked it into the sand so deep that the wrecker car could not pull it out.
The accident occurred about 10 o’clock at night and due to the darkness, the driver could not see the surf and drove into it.
The Ravioli Shack
Last week, Mrs. Silvia Berri and Mrs. Harry Webber, proprietors of the Ravioli Shack on Radio Road, dissolved partnership and the Shack is now under the management of Mrs. Berri alone.
Mrs. Berri states that she will be glad to receive appointment orders from the public and will keep the Shack open on Saturdays and Sundays as before.
Meat market sold
Ray Chafey, who built and has operated a meat market at new Klamath for the past year, Tuesday sold his place of business to Ed Chapman, also of Klamath.
Mr. Chafey has sold his range land also to Mrs. Bernice Peini, which clears him of all his holdings in the county and in a few days he will move to Arcata with his family and will make his home there.
Crescent City Garage ad
1927 Ford Coupe, new tires, guaranteed in good condition. Price $275. Cash or terms if desired.
Slide holds up traffic
One-way traffic will be in force on the slide on the Redwood Highway near Patrick’s Creek for some time, it is stated by J. G. Bromley, resident engineer, who Monday examined the extent of the slide. Mr. Bromley expected the road to be open Tuesday afternoon.
The slide is four miles past the Patrick’s Creek Tavern and is estimated to contain about 100,000 yards of rock and dirt. The road was pushed well out into Smith River. It is the worst slide in the history of the road. The slide was about 300 feet in length.
Buys registered cattle
L.E. Cadra, one of the progressive ranchers and dairy men of the Lake Earl District, returned home the first of the month with three head of registered Ayershire dairy cows, which he purchased in Shasta County.
These have been added to his herd of dairy cattle, which makes six head of registered stock and a fine bull to head the herd. Mr. Cadra is now milking 28 head of cattle.
Reach Nita Phillips at
Now that the Christmas rush is over, and New Year’s too, things have slowed and all but stopped when it comes to special programs and services at our churches. But that will soon change. A whole host of new special days will soon arrive.
Churches don’t all do something special on Valentine’s Day, but some do, usually a dinner and a celebration of love — God’s love for us as well as our love for each other.
And, surprise, Ash Wednesday is on Feb. 13 this year, so just before Valentines Day, we begin the prelude to Easter, which is definitely early this year — March 31!
That will make Palm Sunday March 24. There will be various events scheduled if things go like previous years. And, of course, March is also the month for St. Patrick’s Day, when there are usually a few corned beef and cabbage dinners to attend.
That’s usually the fare at my house that day — because we simply really do enjoy that meal, and the Reuben sandwiches constructed with the leftovers!
• For folks who have just managed to get through the Christmas season after losing loved ones, perhaps the grief may be starting to lighten up a bit. But people go through the process at different rates, some needing more time and help than others.
Once again, the Seventh-day Adventist Church at 1770 Northcrest will be presenting Dr. Neil Nedley’s program on depression. On Tuesday at 7 p.m., there will be a free introductory DVD viewing about the program, “Depression ... The Way Out,” which will run once weekly for eight weeks.
This preliminary DVD will provide a lot of information, and should help you to decide if you think the program will help you. If you decide it’s for you, and you also want the books — Dr. Nedley’s book and the workbook, (and other books will also be available), the cost will be $89. Those who have attended the program in the past are welcome to attend free of charge.