S LV P O S T. C O M | W A T E R 5 | C A L E N D A R 1 1 | G A R D E N I N G 1 7 | R E A L E S T A T E 2 4
SAN LORENZO VALLEY POST
APRIL 2021 VOL. 2 ISSUE 4
SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS EVENTS, NEWS, AND VISITOR GUIDE
welcome Headlong into Spring By Julie Horner
s Santa Cruz County moves into the orange tier of California’s blueprint for reopening in the now yearlong fight against the novel coronavirus, every move we make as a community must be determined and focused. It’s been messy. Here is where continued conscientious conduct will pull us through this incredible moment in history.
Blueprint for a Safer Economy California's color-coded, tiered system for loosening and tightening restrictions based on COVID-19 conditions.
Pop-up gathering places, wineries, venues with outdoor spaces, and local parks have given us an excuse to enjoy fresh air, the chance to exercise, and to have something to do besides navigate Zoom in our PJs. According to the blueprint, following the orange, the yellow tier is next, followed by a soon-to-be-announced green tier. Let’s aim for that last one.
Many non-essential indoor business operations are closed
Founders, editors, writers: Mary Andersen email@example.com Julie Horner firstname.lastname@example.org
Some non-essential indoor business operations are closed
Copy Editor Chris Finnie
Some indoor business operations are open with modifications
Welcome to April in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Live music, blankets of wildflowers, fire recovery, each other, and our tempestuous love affair with water. mountain
Emily Pomeroy’s photo of the Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) was taken in Boulder Creek. Emily is a passionate and dedicated environmentalist with a love of photography. As a life-long nature enthusiast, she has pursued a career of environmental education and conservation. She captures and shares images of the natural world in the hopes that it will inspire others to aid in the protection of our planet. In an effort to contribute to environmental conservation, Emily donates a portion of the proceeds from selling her work to environmental non-profit organizations.
2 San Lorenzo Valley Post April 2021
Photographers Leslie Abbott Pamela Morgan SLV Steve Graphic Design Laura Testa-Reyes
Cover Photo by Emily Pomeroy
Emily believes that humans are not separate from nature but are an integral piece of the natural world with a greater ability to effect change than any other species on the planet. She believes that the health of the environment and the health of humans are directly related and that we cannot improve one while neglecting the other. Emily says, “That is why it is so imperative that we learn how to protect the health of our people and our planet in tandem, so that we, our children, and our children’s children may have a happy and healthy place to live.”
Publisher San Lorenzo Valley Post, LLC
Contributors Jayme Ackemann Antonia Bradford Randall Brown Catie Cadge Mike De Smidt M.C. Dwyer Chris Finnie Pamela Morgan Emily Pomeroy Josh Reilly Lisa Robinson Greg Roe Alison Steele Advertising Contact email@example.com 831-335-6500 Donate: www.gofundme.com/ san-lorenzo-valley-post-newspaper Subscription $50 yearly, prepaid.
Read Emily’s article about newts and salamanders “Amphibian Encounters” on page 18 in this issue. Instagram: @emilyrose_naturephoto Website: emilyrosenaturephoto.com mountain
San Lorenzo Valley Post LLC PO Box 1621 Boulder Creek, CA 95006 Telephone 831-335-6500 Copyright © by San Lorenzo Valley Post LLC. All rights reserved.
Outdoors An Insider’s Guide to Spring Wildflowers wildflowers of the Central Coast. I still rely on his book every year for identification. Finding pril and May always remind me wildflowers gives me a chance to get close to of renewal, birth, and the bloom- something elusive and wonderous. ing calla lilies, forget-me-nots, Quail Hollow Ranch daffodils, and tulips. I become Once I started my family in Ben Lomond, giddy with the first sightings of it was convenient to hike Fall Creek, Henry native wildflowers! Cowell, and Quail Hollow weekly. My favorI was introduced to coastal wild- ite hike is the Woodrat Trail in Quail Hollow, flowers while hiking with the Santa Cruz and where I’ve hiked for over 25 years. I know Monterey chapters of the Sierra Club in the exactly where the rare checker lily, California mid-80s, gravitating to hikers with an eye for chicory, honeysuckle, and wild roses bloom; native plants who loved to share their knowl- where the Pacific hound’s tongue sprouts and edge. In 2016, I attended a field trip with the walls of ceanothus and the manzanita Randall Morgan, founder of the Santa Cruz stand. I love being up on the ridge where one Native Plant Society, who dedicated his life can see “forever” across the Monterey Bay. to conserving and protecting sensitive open Recently, the soft smell of blooming ceanothus space areas in the county. I’ll never forget stopped me in my tracks; such a fresh subtle spending the morning with him on our hands aroma, and bees savor its nectar. It’s a joy seeand knees in a secret Boulder Creek meading trillium growing under the redwoods and ow enticed by Purple Mouse Ears and White the Solomon Seal, which smell like a HawaiMeadowfoam. ian botanical garden, sprouting up trailside. By Pamela Morgan
I was inspired to botany after hiking with Rod Yeager, who wrote about and photographed
For many years, the Yellow Bush Lupin bloomed along the Italian Trail, but now
PHOTOS BY PAMELA MORGAN
Elegant Clarkia on Mt. Hermon Road, Felton stand as dead bushes in the sand. At the top of the ridge, the Yellow Bush Poppies have failed to thrive this year due to low rainfall; they’re hanging on by a thread, brittle branches with no buds. Along the lower Italian and Chaparral Trails keep your eyes open for the Douglas Iris to be blooming soon, along with Sticky Monkeyflower and Scarlet Pimpernel. The Blue Lupin might surprise us in the coming months, but I am not holding my breath. Walking down along the sandhills, I grab a leaf of Black Sage and rub it between my fingers for a scent of this medicinal plant that was used by the Ohlone and is a nectar for pollinators. Next month - Bonny Doon Preserve. Pamela Morgan, longtime resident of the Santa Cruz Mountains, is a selfexploring writer, yogini, gardener and lifelong activist and earth worshiper. She runs a small business assisting clients with Trusts, Wills & Deeds at ParalegalPam.com. mountain
Checker Lily at Quail Hollow, Felton www.slvpost.com
California Chicory at Quail Hollow, Felton San Lorenzo Valley Post
Community News COVID-19 Update
Bucks for Hunger Valley Churches United has kicked off their 31st annual spring Bucks for Hunger fundraising drive. Executive Director Lynn Robinson said, “Hunger never takes a holiday, and we don’t receive government funding. This drive is an opportunity for our community to step up and give what they can. We are seeing many new clients who never thought they would be in a position to ask for help and we can help lift them back up with the help of this financial support.”
The state has expanded vaccination eligibility to Californians age 50+ beginning April 1 and 16+ on April 15. Vaccine supply is expected to increase. Visit myturn.ca.gov for more information. mountain
AmeriCorps to the Rescue
From April 1 through 30, join the SLV Unified School District’s movement challenge. Walk or run however far you’d like, all at once or split up throughout the month. Event is free and participants can make an optional donation to SLV school booster/PTA organizations. Money raised will go to support students and teachers with athletics, field trips, enrichment programs and events.
AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps Team Fire 5 rocked the wood chips on the slopes beneath the SLV Water District Felton treatment facility solar panels adjacent to the Felton Library Discovery Park in March. The project removed invasive overgrowth from nearly an acre of water district land. The project was carried out by the SLV Native Habitat Restoration Program led by Linda Skeff from the Valley Women’s Club. mountain
Participating schools include SLV Middle, Boulder Creek Elementary, Fall Creek Homeschool, Quail Hollow Integrated Arts, Coast Redwood Middle, Quail Hollow Homeschool, and Nature Academy. All community members are welcome! Sign up at runsignup.com/Race/CA/Felton/ SLVMissionPossible mountain 4 San Lorenzo Valley Post April 2021
PHOTO BY MELISSA HARRELL
School News & Resources
AmeriCorps Team Fire 5 at SLVWD Felton treatment plant
PHOTO BY JULIE HORNER
Tax deductible donations may be sent to the Valley Churches United, PO Box 367, Ben Lomond, CA 95005, online at vcum.org, or in person at 9400 Highway 9, Ben Lomond, Monday through Friday 9am to 4pm. mountain
Opinion Letters & Commentary Big Basin Water Company Concerns My wife and I bought our condo at the Boulder Creek Golf Course in 2014. When we were going over all of the details for purchasing, we were informed of the water company, but never considered reviewing its details (based on what we learned then, we would have bought anyway). We love the location between downtown and Big Basin SP, and we were fortunately spared fire damage from the CZU fire, although other homeowners nearby were less fortunate. The other day I spotted several copies of the San Lorenzo Valley Post at a local market checkout counter, so I grabbed one. The articles were both of consequence and entertaining, and one article stood out regarding the San Lorenzo Valley Water District which, for good reason, gets a lot of publicity. This got me thinking of my local water company and if it was possible to get an article in your publication in order for Big Basin Water Company (BBWC) customers to get the transparency in communication they’re looking for from the company. I understand BBWC serves about 500 customer homes and lost about 200 of them to the fire.
Many residents have ultimate reliance on this small family owned company as our only water resource. Also, some locals look at the family-run business as just another local family trying their best to help out other local families (which by all accounts is true). But the fact is that they are a company, we are paying customers, and this is an absolutely vital resource. This affects many aspects of our daily lives including our health and wealth (real estate value). After dealing with so much in the past year, people have been talking about BBWC as another of their concerns but are unsure what steps can be taken. Here are few of the questions/concerns. » Process (approvals), timeline and re-build plans to restore full operation of the facility » Viability of emergency well usage until full facility operations are restored » Chances the emergency well runs dry » Duration for (extreme) water rationing » Affect on future monthly rates if a third (or some percentage) of the customer base is lost » Future plans for the family ownership of the company » Local authority over the Water Company » Possibility of merger or buyout from a larger water company www.slvpost.com
PHOTO BY SLV STEVE
After the CZU fire, we delayed returning to our condo because the BBWC facilities had burned down and they switched to their emergency backup well to provide minimal basic water needs, which was on do-not-drink order until mid-November, around the time we moved back here. We have been on water rationing since then, but now and indefinitely are on extreme water rationing orders from BBWC.
Big Basin creek Many of us are looking for information and advice on how we can best pursue getting the proactive communication and transparency we need and expect from BBWC. Any communication they put on their website is reactionary and minimal and only following outages. We need to know the small and big picture of what is going on. It feels like we’re on an island with this matter as there appears to be no authority or oversight for this. But, perhaps somebody out there already knows or can find out more about the questions listed above (or more) and can share their insights. It also seems like a case where at least a little local bureaucracy would be a good thing for all. Dan Hughes, Boulder Creek mountain
San Lorenzo Valley Post
Big Basin Water Big Basin Water Company “Water, water everywhere; nor a drop to drink.” The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, depicts the plight of an Irish sailor adrift at sea, surrounded by undrinkable saltwater. For Big Basin Water Company (BBWC) customers, this old idiom may seem especially prophetic as questions are raised about the utility’s fate. Until January 2021, according to the BBWC website, most of its customers were under a “Do Not Drink” order following damage from the CZU Lightning Complex Fire, which caused contamination to parts of its system. For months, some Boulder Creek residents made the trek into town each week to retrieve potable water. BBWC customer Joan Mongetta said, “I moved to what I consider ‘the country’ 20 years ago. I came from the East Coast. I knew it wouldn’t be like living in a city, but I didn’t expect this.” Mongetta is referring to the many months it took BBWC to recover its system and restore drinkable water to its customers.
The utility operators are a “Mom and Pop shop.” As locals, there’s a great deal of affection for the Moore family – a feeling that may stem from the utility’s low rates and high-quality water. Residents say it is the best tasting water in the county. But low rates may be part of the reason Big Basin finds itself in the situation it now faces. NARUC, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, suggests water providers structure their rates to include their long-term capital repair and upgrade costs. Paying an artificially low water rate is a bit like paying the minimum on your credit card bill every month. It might feel good to make a small monthly payment, but eventually, the entire bill comes due. Consumers rely on the utility provider, which is overseen by the California Public Utilities Commission, to set rates in a way that is sustainable for consumer wallets and for the long-term survival of the system.
With only 500 connections, ensuring the company is properly collecting all proceeds owed would be a priority. One BBWC customer in the One might have empathy for the tiny water West Hilton neighborhood has been using the utility because the Moore family owner-operawater for years without paying a single bill. It’s tors sustained heavy losses. The fire wiped out not for lack of trying, according to Mongetta. several of the company’s storage tanks, its filtra- The neighbor called the company repeatedly to tion and sewage treatment facilities, myriad tell them that her home did not have a functionpipes, and electrical systems along with much ing water meter. It was never corrected and is of the administrative infrastructure. just one example of lost revenue. The utility had its challenges before the massive wildfire. According to customers, days-long outages weren’t uncommon. In one such occurrence, Mongetta recalled being out of water for three days as the result of a broken main. The Moore family has indicated its interest in selling the property. Meetings with potential investors have been held. Unfortunately, even before the fire, potential buyers balked at the high infrastructure investment costs the system would require to continue safe and reliable service. Private sector operators have indicated Big Basin’s owners would need to make substantial investments before the system could be purchased.
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How many other issues might there be? Limited transparency into the private company’s records makes it difficult to know. For the purposes of this column, the author reached out to Big Basin management by text, phone, and email with no response. Lack of communication is one of the reasons some residents are worried. In 2019, the State Water Resources Control Board cited BBWC management for failing to test its backflow preventers. Backflow preventers are placed in areas where there is concern that sewage water could flow back into the clean-water pipe causing contamination. From 2008 to 2017 Big Basin failed to properly test and report those findings to the Water Quality
PHOTO BY JULIE HORNER
By Jayme Ackemann
Big Basin Water Company
Control Board, according to a February 2019 letter sent to the company’s owners. Lacking an oversight body and robust communication, customers may not even be aware when issues like these arise. Should its customers decide to take their water system’s fate into their own hands as FLOW did in Felton in 2008, they would need the support of County Supervisor Bruce McPherson. If they follow a similar path – organizing the 500 customers to vote to merge with SLVWD – that would allow Big Basin customers to become part of a long-term solution. Taking that next step may seem daunting. But like the Irish sailor in Coleridge’s poem, when you’re surrounded by undrinkable water, you may need to grab an oar and row. Jayme Ackemann is a public affairs consultant and freelance writer. Ackemann has worked on major capital investments and water infrastructure capital construction projects in the Bay Area. Jayme has been a resident of Ben Lomond for more than 15 years. mountain. www.slvpost.com
San Lorenzo Valley Water Groundwater Basin and Water Rights During the recent community discussion on a potential consolidation between SLV and Scotts Valley water districts, there were statements made that “we all drink from the same source.” While we are all part of the greater watershed, a close look at specifics yields a different and more accurate picture. The Santa Margarita Groundwater Basin is a triangle shaped underground formation with the three points on the triangle in the following locations: Highway 9 south of Felton at the hairpin curve, Highway 236 outside of Boulder Creek, and East of Scotts Valley. All of the SLVWD and SVWD wells are in this triangle. However, the Santa Margarita Groundwater Basin is composed of multiple aquifers at varying depths. The top aquifer is the Santa Margarita. Further down is the Lompico aquifer, and even further down - to what some call “ancient water” - is the Butano aquifer.
A Deeper Comparison Between the Two Districts
Scotts Valley does not use surface water at all. Scotts Valley’s wells tap into the Lompico (about 60% of their water) and Butano (about 40% of their water) aquifers. The Scotts Valley wells that tap into the Butano are almost 2,000 feet deep - just shy of ½ a mile. These deeper wells are much more expensive to develop and maintain. By contrast, SLVWD’s wells serving its “North” area are typically 150 to 300 feet deep and tap into water from the top aquifer - the Santa Margarita. The wells serving the “South” area tap into the Lompico aquifer at depths of 500 to 800 feet. The Lompico aquifer is the sole intersection where SLVWD and SVWD actually “drink from the same source.” SLVWD does not tap into the “ancient water” in the deepest aquifer - the Butano - at all.
All of the surface sources in the “North” System are “pre-1914” water rights. Pre-1914 water rights are incredibly valuable
The various Santa Margarita aquifers are separate and distinct www.slvpost.com
IMAGES FROM SMGWA.ORG
By Mary Andersen
Santa Margarita Groundwater Basin to the San Lorenzo Valley. 1914 was the first date upon which California created a formal regulatory permitting framework and process for surface water rights. To quote the State Water Control Resources Board, “Although pre- and post-1914 appropriative rights are similar, post-1914 rights are subject to a much greater degree of scrutiny and regulation by the Board.” In other words, pre1914 water rights are much broader in how they can be used, meaning this provides SLVWD with a lot of operational flexibility, particularly in light of California’s goal to stabilize and recharge its groundwater. Nominally, these water rights do not have any legal limits on the amount of water that can be extracted. But it is in our best interests not to use any more than we need to. The SLVWD concluded a multi-year study in 2018 that demonstrated that
current use of this water did not impact the environment further downstream, including impacts to fish populations. The Santa Margarita Groundwater Agency (SMGWA) was established to achieve sustainable groundwater conditions in the Santa Margarita Groundwater Basin. SLV and Scotts Valley are members of the SMGWA. The key is this: within the context of SMGWA goals, excess water from pre-1914 surface sources could be sold to Scotts Valley Water District, allowing them to “rest their wells” and stabilize and recharge their area of the Santa Margarita Basin, assuming that all parties agree that that is a proper path forward. SLVWD’s wells serving the “North” and “South” operating areas are likewise permitted and currently have no restrictions
San Lorenzo Valley Post
continues on page 8 April 2021
San Lorenzo Valley Water Groundwater Basin and Water Rights (cont) continued from page 7
“Felton” Felton, Felton Empire Grade, Felton Grove, San Lorenzo Ave and El Solyo Heights
“North” Boulder Creek, North Boulder Creek, Brookdale, Ben Lomond, Lompico and Zayante
“South” Scotts Valley areas of Lockewood Lane, Whispering Pines, Hidden Glen and Manana Woods
on the amount of water that can be extracted.
SLV Water District’s operating areas
Conversely, the “Felton” operating area permits date back to the 1920s and 30s, meaning that SLVWD operates this area under different restrictions, including the amount of water that can be extracted. That limit is currently greater than the amount currently needed to serve the Felton operating area. While the “Felton” surface water sources are all robust, under the current permit, water from surface sources in “Felton” cannot be exported to any other area under normal operating conditions.
water. SLVWD has not used this allocation since the late 1970s when more stringent and expensive treatment requirements were instituted for raw river water. But the raw water pipe from Loch Lomond to Santa Cruz is very close to SLVWD’s Felton infrastructure making the interconnection straightforward should the district wish to do that at some point in the future.
Loch Lomond Reservoir
Finally, there’s a little known but very significant strategic untapped surface water source available to the SLVWD: an allocation of 313 acre-feet (102 million gallons) per year from Loch Lomond Reservoir. SLVWD helped pay for the construction of the dam and a court case finalized the annual allocation. The 313 acre-feet allocation is equivalent to about 20% of the water SLVWD provided to its entire customer base (“Felton,” “North,” and “South”) in the year July 2019 to June 2020. Clearly, for the SLVWD, this represents an enormous amount of
There are also several legacy water rights that are not currently active, including the water rights obtained as a result of the Lompico County Water District merging into SLVWD. For more information about regional water rights: waterrightsmaps. waterboards.ca.gov Additional background on California water rights: waterboards. ca.gov/waterrights/board_info/water_rights_process.html More on the Santa Margarita Groundwater Agency’s activities: slvpost. com/santa-margarita-groundwater-agency mountain
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8 San Lorenzo Valley Post April 2021
SCMMAKERSMARKET.COM | @SCMMAKERSMARKET www.slvpost.com
Fire Recovery How Many Laws Might PG&E Have Broken?
ennis Hall, Assistant Deputy Director of Forestry Practices with CAL FIRE, explains that, after fires, “Major utility companies in the state rapidly deploy large crews to restore power in areas affected by fire. This often requires the removal of trees to facilitate operations and to remove safety concerns. Powerline utility clearing is allowed and actually required by law and through regulation.” Because fire areas were still closed to the public, there was little visibility into the tree removal PG&E was doing. When landowners returned, they were horrified and started complaining to the County about excessive deforestation that left their properties and local roads vulnerable to increased landslide risk, and about felled trees and slash debris that had not been removed and might become part of a debris flow or create a fire risk. In a complaint filed with the state Public Utilities Commission, which governs PG&E, Santa Cruz County asserts that “PG&E has undertaken an aggressive, unpermitted and unlawful course of activities, including vegetation-clearing, treefelling, and other construction-type work.” They add, “In a number of instances these Activities have taken place outside the boundaries of PG&E’s easements and/or are not authorized under the easements or the laws and orders regulating such easements.”
The filing claims that “The manner in which PG&E has conducted its Activities violates California statutory and regulatory law,” including: » Failure to follow proper permitting procedures » Failure to adequately prevent erosion and sedimentation runoff » Trespass » Failure and refusal to remove trees felled and slash (brush) cut » Felling of trees and clearing of brush located outside PG&E’s easement areas » Abandonment of felled trees and cut slash on private property » Failure to compensate private property owners for felled trees » Failure to promptly correct violations identified in various regulatory agencies’ respective Notices of Violation » Failure to take steps to ensure that PG&E and its contractors will not engage in future violations CAL FIRE notes in one of their many letters to PG&E that timber operations, and associated use of logging roads within the area, placed “downslope watercourses at risk from massive sedimentation.” Several water districts and water companies rely on downslope streams for their water, and many of these watersheds are critical habitat for Coho and Steelhead populations. CAL FIRE’s Inspector Sampson also wrote that PG&E’s activities had disturbed or damaged a documented archeological site within the area of the fires. The California Coastal Commission
PHOTOS BY MARY ANDERSEN
By Chris Finnie
Recent tree work in the CZU burn zone
weighed in too, noting that PG&E activities constituted “development” as defined by the Coastal Act and the County’s Local Coastal Program. Their letter directed PG&E to immediately cease its un-permitted activities, and to develop a plan for “restoration, revegetation, mitigation, and any other measures to restore damaged resources.”
The Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board issued a notice to PG&E for unauthorized discharge of waste waters, saying they were in violation of the federal Clean Water Act. The City of Santa Cruz also notified PG&E that its vegetation management work violated the City’s municipal code and Public Resources Code. Hall said that PG&E estimates they may have cut as many as 20,000 trees. While they are authorized to remove dead and damaged trees, the County notes that, “the extent of healthy vegetation it removed under the guise of an ‘emergency’” was not permissible.
and associated fish habitat from erosion and work in watercourse protection zones.” He also notes that, CAL FIRE does not know what the final resolution will be regarding repair of road and property damage. Supervisor Bruce McPherson adds, “We are working to hold PG&E accountable for their actions. Meanwhile, the County has removed trees from the right of way, and some trees are being addressed through the state’s debris removal program. I urge residents to contact our Office of Response, Recovery and Resiliency at email@example.com with any questions or concerns about the process of recovery.” Chris Finnie has lived in the Santa Cruz Mountains for 25 years. She’s worked as a marketing copywriter for more than 35 years. And has been a local, state, and national political activist for 17 years. She has contributed articles and columns to several local newspapers before happily landing at the San Lorenzo Valley Post at its inception. mountain
Hall says that, “PG&E crews are working to mitigate impacts associated with their operations. The focus to date has been on reducing impacts to watercourses San Lorenzo Valley Post
The Wildwood Woodland Neighborhood By Antonia Bradford
here is a certain personality that is drawn to living in the mountains. People who have a great love and respect for nature. Independent, yet value community and connection. It’s what makes the San Lorenzo Valley such an amazing community to live. The people of the Wildwood Woodland neighborhood, just north of Boulder Creek, are no different. Shannon Phleger and her husband Jason moved into their home at the top of the ridge five years ago with their two small children Emmett, 8,
and Issac, 9. As traveling nurses they had lived just about everywhere, and when it came time to purchase a home, they were drawn to the Santa Cruz Mountains. “We always wanted to live in the mountains and be near the redwoods,” Phleger said. The home was everything they had ever wanted. It was perfect for them and they were perfect for the home. The seller chose them even though other interested buyers offered more money. “Every single day I was in awe of my home and the mountain. I would sip my tea and wonder how I was even so lucky to be here. The spider webs with dew, the owls above. I loved my home so much.” On Thursday August 20, 2020 the
Shannon Phleger on Woodland Way
Phleger family home was destroyed by the CZU fire as it raged over the mountain ridge, taking their paradise viciously away from them. Now they are fighting to reclaim that paradise and need their neighbors’ help. The Wildwood Woodland neighborhood is a small community of just ten homes, with only one home surviving the fire. There are community members who’ve lived there more than 40 years, with some in their 90s. Nestled along a private road, this enclave established a nonprofit to fund maintenance of the roads and culverts – a task they take very seriously to ensure emergency access and fire prevention. The fire damage is profound. Five drainage culverts were destroyed. As debris removal has begun to take place, their previously well-maintained road is collapsing under the weight of service vehicles. The debris removal companies have been filling up the damage with loose rocks so that they can maintain access. But this is clearly not a permanent solution. “As a community we have all agreed that those who are rebuilding will use the same contractor to limit the amount of construction trucks that come up here. We are doing everything we can to prevent more damage, but by the time construction is done, our entire road is going to have to be repaired. Look at how bad it already is!” Phleger said.
10 San Lorenzo Valley Post April 2021
Most fire victims are underinsured. The damage to basic infrastructure – roads, septic systems, plumbing,
PHOTOS BY ANTONIA BRADFORD
power – drains homeowners’ budgets before they even break ground on their rebuilds. “We talked as a neighborhood that maybe we could just divide up the cost per household, but some of my neighbors told us they didn’t even know if they are going to have enough money to rebuild,” Phleger says. Thus far the Wildwood Woodland neighborhood has incurred expenses of $25,000, a sum that surpasses the association’s savings and does not complete the repair work. To repair the road post-construction will cost $27,000. Their communal fund is dry. What can the SLV community do to help? Right now, donations are being accepted at gofundme.com/f/helpsave-our-road. Community members who are unable to donate can share the link. Additionally, locals can donate their skills if they are able. Losing your home and your surrounding neighborhood is a devastating event. As victims work their way through insurance and county bureaucracy, the support of the community is crucial. Antonia Bradford lives in Boulder Creek with her husband and five children. She is a writer, artist, and business owner. She is an advocate for fire families in the area having lost her own home in Boulder Creek. mountain www.slvpost.com
Community Calendar April 2021 First Friday Art Reception: Lille Aeske Arthouse
Fri., April 2 from 5:00 to 9:00 pm. Aquatica Mezza9 featuring Bateria Samba Cruz. 13160 Highway 9, Boulder Creek. lilleaeske.com
Community Relief for CZU Survivors
Sat., April 17 and 24 from 2:00 to 5:00 pm BC Rec and Parks District provides living supplies, fire survivor relief resources, networking opportunities, and free hot meals from Blue Sun Cafe. Live music most Saturdays. Bear Creek Community Center, 15685 Forest Hill Drive, Boulder Creek. bcrpd.org
Santa Cruz Mountains Makers Markets
Westside Market: Sun, April 4 from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm Wrigley Building parking lot, 2801 Mission Street, Santa Cruz. Downtown Santa Cruz: Sun, April 18 at 10:00 am Pacific Avenue between Cathcart and Lincoln, Santa Cruz Felton: Sunday, April 25 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Mountain Community Resources, 6134 Highway 9, Felton.
San Lorenzo Valley Museum Online and In-Person Exhibits
Look, Act, Inspire: In person at the Faye G. Belardi Memorial Gallery, Felton through June, 2021. Register: slvmuseum.com Gadgets and Gizmos: Online at Grace Episcopal Gallery, Boulder Creek. View: slvmuseum.com Earth Day at the Belardi Gallery: In person April 25 at 1:00 pm. Celebrating Earth, Celebrating Nature. A socially distanced event on the weekend of Earth Day 2021. Meet at the Faye G. Belardi Memorial Gallery in Felton on April 25 at 1:00 pm to learn more about the nature around the Gallery and how to build your own iNaturalist profile. Bring your mobile device or nature journal. Free, donations welcome. All attendees 2+ years old must wear a face mask.
Hindsight is 2020 Art Exhibit at Santa Cruz Mountains Art Center An artistic expression of the 2020 experience. Through April 17, 2021. mountainartcenter.org
Easter Easter Sunrise Service Sunday, April 4 at 6:30 am, Bonny Doon Presbyterian Church, 7065 Bonny Doon Road. facebook.com/events/283430650052888 Easter Season at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church Join us this Easter Season on Zoom. All are welcome at God’s table. Maundy Thursday, April 1 at noon. Good Friday, April 2 at noon. Easter Sunday, April 4 at 10:00 am. facebook.com/StAndrewsBenLomond Eggstraordinary Easter Weekend April 3 and 4 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Roaring Camp Railroads, Felton. The Easter Bunny makes a stop at Roaring Camp. After riding either the Redwood Forest Steam Train or the Santa Cruz Beach Train, your kids will have a blast participating in Covid safe Easter activities in Town. roaringcamp.com
Boulder Creek Town Sweep
Saturday, April 10 from 8:00 am to noon. Bring your gloves and tools and meet downtown in the field between Jenna Sue’s and Los Amigos Taqueria. Hosted by the Boulder Creek Business Association and other downtown businesses. bcba.net
Scotts Valley: Open in May, Saturdays 9:00 am to 1:00 pm Scotts Valley Square, Mount Hermon Road Westside: Saturdays 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, Mission St. Ext. and Western Dr, Santa Cruz
Boulder Creek Art Lab
Art Lab classes begin April 20th. Tue, Wed, Thur from 3:30 to 5:00 pm. Ages 7 and up. Local artists Sarah Neilson, Jennifer Wildermuth Reyes, and Jennifer Hennig will be teaching classes. Call 831-227-3311 or email bcartlab@ gmail.com to sign up. bouldercreekartlab.com
Trains depart daily! Reservations required: roaringcamp.com
Love Your Cemetery Community Cleanup Day
Sat, April 24 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Boulder Creek I.O.O.F. Cemetery BYOB picnic, gardening gloves, rakes, and brush trimming implements. Top of Harmon Street, Boulder Creek. facebook.com/events/194097198863292
Santa Cruz Area Farmers Markets
Downtown: Wednesdays 1:00 to 6:00 pm, Cedar St at Lincoln St, Downtown Santa Cruz Felton: Open in May, Tuesdays 1:00 to 5:30 pm, 120 Russell Ave, Felton Live Oak: Sundays 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, 15th &
Eastcliff Dr, Santa Cruz
(831) 335-4484 San Lorenzo Valley Post
Entertainment Reserved dinner with show. 6275 Highway 9, Felton (831) 704-7113 feltonmusichall.com Buffalo Blues Trio Thur, April 1 from 6:00 to 9:00 pm
Fleetwood Mask Fri. and Sat, April 2 and 3 from 7:00 to 9:00 pm John Michael Band Thurs, April 8 at 6:00 pm B-Side Players Fri and Sat, April 9 and 10 from 7:00 to 9:00 pm
Fireside Fridays outdoors at the Winery 5:30 to 8:30 pm. 830 Memory Lane, Boulder Creek (831) 621-8028 bigbasinvineyards.com Angelique Lucero Friday, April 2 David Cameron & Dan Robbins Friday, April 9 Riviere Friday, April 16 Elie Mabanza Friday, April 23 Robert Elmond Stone Friday, April 30
Joe Kaplow and Bobcat Rob Sun, April 11 at 5:30 pm Felton Bluegrass Jam Thursday, April 15 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm Santa Cruda Sat, April 17 at 6:00 pm Mike Pinto Band Fri, April 23 from 7:00 to 9:00 pm SambaDá Thur, April 29 at 6:00 pm Marty O’Reilly Friday, April 30 and Saturday, May 1 from 7:00 to 9:00 pm Felton Music Hall Roaring Camp Series Dark Star Orchestra at Roaring Camp Meadow, May 7th, 8th, and 9th
Live music outside at the winery. 379 Felton Empire Road, Felton (831) 335-4441 hallcrestvineyards.com
Chaminade Resort & Spa Live music series on the patio from 5:30 to 8:30 pm, Sundays 4:00 to 7:00. One Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz (831) 475-5600 chaminade.com Sunday Fundays April 4: The Shotgun Suitor April 11: Wine, Women & Wrong April 18: Groovy Judy April 25: Cruz Control Locals Night Mondays April 5: Quinn Becker April 12: Sugar By The Pound April 19: Eric Winders April 26: Matt Masih Tapas Tuesdays April 6: Brad Martin April 13: Maddie & Jackie plus Gaby Castro April 20: Toby Gray April 27: John Michael Date Night Thursdays April 1: Scott Cooper April 8: Vinny Johnson April 15: Riatti and Rose April 22: Alex Lucer
Dave “Nomad” Miller Sat, April 3 from 2:00 to 5:00 pm Pat Hull Sat, April 17 from 2:00 to 5:00 pm Anthony Arya w/ Members of Chasing Ophelia Sun, April 11 from 2:00 to 5:00 pm Anthony Arya & Matt Jaffe Sun, April 25 from 2:00 to 5:00 pm
Davenport Roadhouse Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Afternoon patio shows 1:00 to 4:00 pm. Evening dining room shows 5:00 to 8:00 pm. 1 Davenport Avenue, Davenport (831) 426-8801 davenportroadhouse.com Simon Santiago Friday, April 2 from 5:00 to 8:00 pm The Joint Chiefs Saturday, April 3 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm Ripatti & Rose Saturday, April 3 from 5:00 to 8:00 pm Blue Ocean Rockers Sunday, April 4 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm Rob Stone Friday, April 9 from 5:00 to 8:00 pm John Michael Band Saturday, April 10 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm
12 San Lorenzo Valley Post April 2021
Toby Gray “T-Bone Mojo” Saturday, April 10 from 5:00 to 8:00 pm
Gary Blackburn Band Friday, April 2 at 5:00 pm
Joseph Mortela and the Ambage Road Band Sunday, April 11 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm
Anthony Arya with Life Is A Cabaret Saturday, April 3 at 6:30 pm
Whiskey West Saturday, April 17 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm
Harpin & Clark Friday, April 9 at 5:00 pm
Matthew Masih Saturday, April 17 from 5:00 to 8:00 pm
Tammi Brown Soul & Gospel Review Saturday, April 10 at 6:30 pm
Alex Lucero & The Live Again Band Sunday, April 18 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm
Joint Chiefs Trio Friday, April 16 at 5:00 pm
Andy Furhman & Friends Saturday, April 24 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm
The Village Green A Tribute to The Kinks Saturday, April 17 at 8:00 pm
Swirly Girls Sunday, April 25 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm
Edge Of The West Saturday, April 24 at 5:00 pm Bonny June & Bonfire Friday, April 30 at 5:00 pm
Summit House Beer Garden and Grill Bluegrass music on the patio every Saturday. 23123 Santa Cruz Hwy, Los Gatos (408) 353-2700 summithouseon17.com Wildcat Mountain Ramblers Saturday, April 10 from 2:00 to 5:00 pm Santa Cruz Bluegrass Fair Four weekends, three bluegrass bands each day from noon to 5:00 pm. April 17: AJ Lee & Blue Summit headline
April 24: Purple Mountain Majesty, Mission Blue, and Yoseff & Katya Tucker May 1: The Goat Hill Girls, Pacific Drive
May 8: The Wildcat Mountain Ramblers, Bean Creek
El Vaquero Winery Wine tasting, food trucks, and music outdoors on the patio. 2901 Freedom Blvd, Corralitos (831) 607-8118 elvaquerowinery.com Lauren Wahl and Simply Put Saturday, April 3 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm Adam Bolanos Scow String Quartet Easter Sunday brunch, April 4 from 11:00 to 2:00 pm Reggae Band Ancestree Saturday, April 10 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm
Shanty Shack Brewing Live music outdoors on the patio. 138 Fern Street, Santa Cruz shantyshackbrewing.com Todd Sheaffer with Chris Thompson Live Out Front Tuesday, April 20 from 5:30 to 8:30 pm
Michael Gaither Birthday Show Sunday, April 11 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm
Stockwell Cellars Sip, Savor, and Sway. Wine, food truck, music on patio. Indoor and outdoor seating.1100 Fair Avenue, Santa Cruz (831) 818-9075 stockwellcellars.com Dinner and a Show Concert Series: Dinner starts at 6:30 pm, showtime is 8:30 pm. Cocktail hour shows start at 5:00 pm .2591 S Main St, Soquel Reservations: (831) 479-9777 (ex. 2) michaelsonmainmusic.com Grateful Sundays Every Sunday at 5:30 pm Hump Day With Ted Welty and Guests Every Wednesday at 5:00 pm
Live outdoors and streaming on Santa Cruz Waves: facebook.com/santacruzwaves Archived podcasts: offthelipradio.com/podcast Hijinx Reggae Band at Seacliff State Beach Friday, April 2 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm
Richard Stockton Saturday, April 24 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm
Michael’s on Main
Off the Lip Radio Show
Jenny and the Bets Friday, April 2 from 5:30 to 8:30 pm Dave Muldawer Friday, April 9 from 5:30 to 8:30 pm Green Dog Band Friday, April 16 from 5:30 to 8:30 pm Mike Hadley Trio Friday, April 23 from 5:30 to 8:30 pm Toby Gray Highway Buddha Combo Friday, April 30 from 5:30 to 8:30 pm
Mokili Wa at “The Hook” Pleasure Point Saturday, April 3 from 3:00 to 5:00 pm Native Trance at Abbott Square Saturday, April 3 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm Flatline Rock Band at “The Hook” in Pleasure Point Saturday, April 10 from 3:00 to 4:30 pm The Joint Chiefs Band Saturday, April 17 from 3:00 to 5:00 pm The Cafe Rio, 131 Esplanade, Aptos Dylan Rose Band Live Stream Tuesday, April 20 at 6:00 pm Dub Souljah Reggae at Seacliff State Beach Friday, April 23 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm Neon City Limits Live Stream Saturday, April 24 at 3:00 pm mountain
San Lorenzo Valley Post
Music Henry! They’re All Girls! Pickin’ and Grinnin’ with The Goat Hill Girls Bluegrass Band By Julie Horner
Scarlett La Rue’s in Los Gatos was one of their first long-term gigs. They also played regularly at the Winchester Wagon House where patrons enjoyed dining at tables made up like covered wagons, complete with fake campfires. With Lee Anne Welch on fiddle, Kim Elking on mandolin, Linda Maki on guitar, Sonya Shell on banjo, and Lisa Burns on bass, Elking said, “I always remember people poking their heads around in surprise to hear an all-girl bluegrass band. “Henry!” she remembers one patron shouting, “They’re all girls!” From there it didn’t take long before Side Saddle were regulars at bluegrass festivals across the U.S. where Elking recalls they always seemed to make a splash. “We were playing at the Bill Grant and Delia Bell festival back in 1986. Us California girls are not used to Oklahoma in August.” She said, “People started staring. We’re not showing that much leg,” she thought. They didn’t know about chiggers. “We put pants on.” Later, an old man in overalls leaned over, “You girls from California?” Yes, they said. “I thought I smelled soap.” Another old man in overalls said, “You girls sound really good, but some bad grammar would help.” They made friends with The Country Gentlemen. They opened for Bill Monroe. Decades later Elking says she still feels pretty original. With Side Saddle put to pasture except when they play with the boys as Side Saddle and Company, they decided a few years ago to form a new outfit they call The Goat Hill Girls. The name is a nod to the Goat Hill Fair, a shabby chic antique extravaganza at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds (scheduled for May 15 and 16 this year) where band members have regularly played, and Goat Hill Farm off Summit Road near where fellow bluegrass musicians Robert Cornelius and Suzanne Suwanda reside. The Goat Hill Girls play classic bluegrass and quite a bit of original material. Everybody brought in their own style, Elking said. Fiddle player Lee Anne Welch said, “The glue is the friendship.” They actually enjoy each other’s company and that’s what keeps them together. “I think we’re all having a blast playing in the band, it’s been a lifesaver for all of us especially this last year,” Welch added.
PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY THE GOAT HILL GIRLS
he Goat Hill Girls are five longtime friends who have been making music together for over 40 years. They started out as Side Saddle, born in the Bay Area and breaking from the all-male bluegrass tradition. Back in the day some of their guys were in an outfit called The Bear Creek Boys. The girls said, “You know? We can do this too!” So, they went and made their own way.
The Goat Hill Girls, l to r: Sonya Shell, Lee Anne Welch, Linda Maki, Kim Elking, Lisa Burns ing Company or any of the usual music festivals because of the pandemic, The Goat Hill Girls have become a mainstay of the distanced outdoor entertainment scene at the Summit House atop Highway 17 in the Santa Cruz Mountains where Cornelius is booking bluegrass performances every Saturday afternoon. Lee Anne said, “When I play at the Summit House I feel really appreciated. People are beginning to realize how wonderful live music is, almost necessary.” Elking encourages folks to take up bluegrass. “It’s very attainable,” she said. The music is like a common language. “You can go anywhere and find songs you all know so easily.” Start with a slow jam, she said, and ask, “Wanna pick?” The Goat Hill Girls perform first Saturdays at The Summit House Beer Garden and Grill atop Highway 17. Find them on Facebook. Their recent recording, “The Goat Hill Girls Live,” is available wherever you download your music. Visit the girls’ recording catalog: sidesaddleandco.com mountain
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Unable to do regular gigs at Sam’s BBQ and Los Gatos Coffee Roast14 San Lorenzo Valley Post April 2021
Mountain Fermenter Making Your Own Gin, Santa Cruz Mountains Style
ow can I make gin at home without a still, you ask? Well, you can skip that part, because someone’s already done the distillation for you. It’s called vodka. Gin is pretty much a vodka with botanicals added. Gin distillers extract most botanical flavors using the distillation process, but you can simply steep the botanicals in a base spirit, creating what is called a compound gin. Gin is defined as a spirit whose primary botanical is juniper and has an alcohol by volume (abv) of at least 37.5%. The most common botanicals in gin after juniper are angelica root, citrus peel, coriander seed, and cassia bark. But many other botanicals can be used. We thought it would be fun to explore making a compound gin using botanicals native to the Santa Cruz Mountains. Here are just a few: » California Blackberry (Rubus ursinus) » California Bay Laurel (Umbellularia californica) » California Huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum) » California Juniper (Juniperus californica) » California Nutmeg (Torreya californica) » California Sagebrush (Artemisia californica) » Creeping Snowberry (Gaultheria hispidula) » Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) » Red Flowering Currant (Ribes
» » » »
sanguineum var. glutinosum) Sage (Salvia columbariae, Salvia spathacea, or Salvia Mellifera) Western Hazelnut (Corylus cornuta var. californica) Wood Strawberry (Fragaria vesca ssp. californica) Yerba Buena (Satureja douglasii, syn. Clinopodium douglasii)
You can grow these yourself on your own property, or get them from a friend or local herb purveyor. Before we get started, note that collecting and harvesting plants on most public lands without a permit is illegal. Obtaining plants from a nursery ensures you are getting the species you want. If you’re not an expert, collecting the wrong wild plant for consumption (some species of juniper are toxic, for example) can be harmful, or deadly. Growing your own is better for our wild spaces, and gardening is fun and rewarding! The following is a recipe for our Santa Cruz Mountains gin. There’s some cheating going on, as we sneak in some very non-local coriander seed and orange peel; and the California Juniper doesn’t grow exactly in our area, but close enough.
Santa Cruz Mountains Compound Gin Equipment » Quart sized mason jars » Fine mesh sieve and/or strainer with a muslin cloth or coffee filter Ingredients » 750ml of good quality vodka (Sobieski is nice for the price)
PHOTO BY GREG ROE
By Greg Roe and Mike De Smidt
Botanicals flavoring a Santa Cruz Mountains gin » 2 Tbsp. California Juniper berries » 1 tsp Coriander seeds » 2-3” sprig of Douglas fir, or even better, the new growth fir tips which appear in the spring » 1-2 leaves of Black Sage (Salvia mellifera) » ½ leaf of California Bay Laurel » A few small pieces of Yerba Buena » 1 Western Hazelnut » 1 small piece of dried Orange Peel, white part removed » 1 Wood Strawberry
6. Open the jar and add the rest of the botanicals. 7. Seal the jar and let sit for 24 hours. Taste test. If you want a stronger flavor, let sit for another 12 hours and taste test it again. 8. When the flavors are at the strength you want, pour gin out into another jar through a fine sieve or strainer. Let sit for 24 hours. If there is sediment at the bottom, strain again using a strainer lined with a muslin cloth or pour through a coffee filter.
For something a little different, toss in some toasted oak chips (available from home brew suppliers) and let them sit in there for 30 days.
1. Sanitize the mason jar by filling it with boiling water. Let sit while you do step 2. 2. Toast hazelnut and coriander seeds in a preheated cast iron skillet until aromatic. Do not burn. 3. Empty the mason jar and add the juniper berries. 4. Top up with vodka, leaving a little room for the other botanicals. 5. Seal the jar and let sit for 12 hours.
Ben Lomond local, Mike De Smidt has been home brewing for 12 years and is a BJCP Certified Beer Judge. Greg Roe is a Felton local who has been a home brewer for 20 years and is a self proclaimed Fermentation Geek. mountain
San Lorenzo Valley Post
Recipes from a Mountain Garden Nettles’ Song Soup
oming into Spring, the hiking paths are lined with nettles, miner’s lettuce, wild garlic, and plantain. It’s fun to forage for wild greens, adding nutrients to our bodies when we need it most! Mother Earth knows how to grow mineral rich food even if our gardens are still too shady to grow our own. I transplanted coastal nettles into a neglected part of the garden a few years back, and soon found myself tending an abundant
supply of mineral-rich greens for teas and cooking alike. Shading my blueberry bushes and keeping the columbines in check, they are cheerful companions and grow happily out of the way along a fence. Pulled and pruned in the autumn for gathering new growth in the Spring, their curious prehistoric leaves entice for a naturally cleansing and nourishing Spring meal.
Nettles’ Song Soup
» » » »
2 onions, roughly chopped 3 sticks celery chopped 3 large garlic cloves 3 large golden potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
PHOTO BY ALISON STEELE
By Alison Steele
Nettles’ Song Soup » 4 T butter or sauteing oil of choice » 1 t salt » Nettles, gather a colander full of fresh tops, about 5 cups » (clipped with garden gloves on!) » 6 cups water » 2 T lightly colored miso » Yogurt or creme fraiche » Calendula petals, chives, wild garlic blossoms » Salt & pepper to taste
Financial Advisor 5403 Scotts Valley Dr Suite C Scotts Valley, CA 95066-3401 831-438-2168
edwardjones.com Member SIPC
16 San Lorenzo Valley Post April 2021
Heat the butter or oil in a soup pot. Sweat the onions, garlic, and a teaspoon of salt until soft and translucent (not browning). Add potatoes and a teaspoon of salt and cook 5 minutes more. Pour in the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until potatoes are cooked through, about 20 minutes. Finally, add the celery and nettles and cook just until bright green and tender. Let the soup cool a bit, spoon in miso, then whirl with an immer-
sion blender until creamy. Add hot water from the kettle until thinned to desired consistency. I only use about a cup to keep it thick and creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with whatever edible flowers and herbs you have growing in your April garden. I used calendula and Georgina’s chives. Enjoy! A native of Virginia, Alison Steele lives with her husband, two children, and cat in Boulder Creek where she raises quail, chickens, fruit trees, vegetables, and herbs. She teaches reskilling workshops in her garden including knitting, natural dyeing, soap making, and other forgotten folk crafts. Alison plays banjo and sings in Sugar by the Pound. mountain
Ben Lomond Gardener Arbors and Trellises By Josh Reilly
Garden styles from all over the world include these structures. Even the most austere Japanese Zen garden may have place for a Wisteria floribunda on a trellis over a gate or an entrance way. There would be no wine or beer without trellises for grapes and hops. No runner beans or ornamental sweet peas without them or related structures. And when the ground level in your garden is all planted out, where else can you go, but up? A few cautionary words: buy or build a sturdy arbor or trellis and anchor it firmly to the ground. Mature vines are heavy and much of the weight is distributed upward. A windstorm like the one we just had will send the whole thing sprawling if it is not properly secured.
PHOTO BY CARLITA BENAZITO
“Arbors and Trellises” sounds like the title of a 70s soft-rock album, brimming with meaning. A reference to lofty, light weight, airy structures, often geometric and angular in form, but built to provide living space for winding, cascading plants, all curves and knots, billows and waves, tendrils and holdfasts. Things that prefer to live up in the breeze. Arbors and trellises are not unlike a rhythm section for the music in your garden. Regular and symmetrical. Reliable and solid. Composed of elements repeated and themes restated, a reassuringly regular scaffold for the mad flights of your soloists.
Wisteria pathway in Spring
There are multiple Clematis species and cultivars that will happily climb an arbor or trellis, although it is said that they prefer shade on their feet. Rambling roses, trumpet vines, jasmine, Wisteria, potato vines, Clematis, Chaparral and White Clematis are native choices. Japanese honeysuckle and Hardy Kiwi are among the many choices for the SLV area. First, how(Lonicera japonica) is somewhat invasive and grows rapidly, especially ever, a caveat or two. Most of these plants require a moderate amount of in warmer climate zones. California honeysuckle (Lonicera hispidula) water and are thus, unsuited to a true xeriscape. Also, several are considis a drought-tolerant native substitute, but like many natives, it’s rough ered invasive. Two, I would exclude altogether: English (or Algerian) Ivy (Hedera sp.) and Vinca. Riparian corridors in the SLV are choked, in places, and rangy. Great for those (like myself) who prefer the wild garden look. White potato vine does quite well here. The purple variety seems a bit with large stands of both. Ivy looks nice on the brick walls of east coast more susceptible to frost. Don’t forget the long list of annual climbers you universities. Here in the SLV, what is the point? Vinca, at least, is easier to might choose from, including hyacinth bean, ornamental gourds, and remove, does not engulf entire trees and does have a pretty periwinkle Ipomea sp. flower in Spring. Still, there are multiple alternatives. Another vine to avoid, bears the cringe-inducing name “Confederate Jasmine.” Do I even Josh Reilly, aka Uncle Skip, writes about seasonal gardening from his home in have to explain why? Ben Lomond. mountain Still others, including some species of Clematis, Wisteria and Passiflora, are also considered at least somewhat invasive. This varies with species and cultivar, so check with growers, nurseries and the local California Native Plant Society, before planting. Leaving aside invasiveness, the following vines are well suited to Valley gardens. Climbing, rambling roses are a good choice, if you don’t mind some annual pruning. I have a well-established Lady Banks Rose and have recently started a rambling Rosa “Veilchenblau” blue rose. It’s only a few years old. I will keep you informed. My California wild grape grows like an unholy mutant. The squirrels and jays eat all the fruit before I get anywhere near it. I am trying to decide if the lovely red-brown Fall foliage is worth the mandatory 5 or 6 Spring and Summer prunings. I think there is a place in almost every garden for Wisteria. There is a native variety (“Amethyst Falls,” available through Annie’s Annuals) which may be less invasive. www.slvpost.com
San Lorenzo Valley Post
Natural Habitat Amphibian Encounters It’s that time of year again; our slick, slippery friends are out and about! Here in the Santa Cruz Mountains we’re fortunate to live amongst a myriad of newt and salamander species that come out to say hello during the spring. In our county there are more than ten species of salamanders and newts and even more subspecies, including Ensatina, slender, and arboreal salamanders; California and roughskinned newts; and others. Limited by geographical barriers such as mountain ranges, water bodies, and even slight differences in microclimate, many of the species that live here are found nowhere else in the world. These small amphibians estivate during dry months, hiding underground to avoid drying out their skin. All amphibians enjoy moist conditions, and most require bodies of water to complete their life cycle. Many salamanders do not have lungs and instead breathe by exchanging oxygen through their mucus-covered skin, a trait that makes these organisms particularly vulnerable to changes in air, water, and soil chemistry. Once the rainy season arrives, they emerge from their burrows to eat and reproduce. Typically, salamanders will lay their eggs in small bodies of water while some species, such as the Ensatina, may choose the underside of a moist log. With so many different species of amphibians in one area, it’s only natural that some would take notes from their neighbors. One such case of shared, or perhaps plagiarized, evolutionary knowledge is between the California newt and the Ensatina salamander. There are several subspecies of Ensatina salamander (Ensatina eschscholtzii), which occupy various ranges along the West coast. In Santa Cruz, the dominant subspecies is the yellow-eyed Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii xanthoptica), which has a characteristic yellow flash in each of its eyes and a bright orange belly. Researchers believe that these adaptations have to do with the salamander overlapping in range with the
PHOTOS BY EMILY POMEROY
By Emily Pomeroy
Ensatina salamander, Forest of Nisene Marks State Park California and rough-skinned newt (Taricha torosa and Taricha granulosa), which also have yellow on their eyes and prominent orange bellies as a warning sign to predators of their toxicity. The yellow eyes in the Ensatina salamander could be a form of mimicry, whereas the Ensatina’s resemblance of a newt helps it to deter predators by tricking them into thinking they may be toxic. Like many wildlife species, our amphibian acquaintances face many threats including loss of habitat, poisoning from chemical pollutants, disease, and others. Some species have experienced notable declines and have therefore been determined to require special protections, such as the endangered Santa Cruz long-toed salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum croceum), threatened California tiger salamander (Ambystoma californiense), and the California giant salamander (Dicamptodon ensatus), a species of special concern. Though they may be small, these remarkable beings are an integral part of our local ecosystems. They consume a variety of invertebrates and are a source of food for many types of animals including birds, small mammals, and even other amphibians. Leaving fallen branches and leaf litter will help to provide habitat for our amphibian allies, allowing them to find places to rest, hide, and find food. Avoiding the use of chemical pesticides and herbicides also helps to support thriving and balanced ecological systems and will decrease the risk of local amphibians absorbing these pollutants through their skin. As members of this shared ecological community, it is critical that we take steps to support our neighbors, even if they are a bit slimy! Emily Pomeroy earned a B.S. in Wildlife Science from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. She captures and shares images of the natural world in the hopes that it will inspire others to aid in the protection of our planet. Instagram: @emilyrose_naturephoto mountain
California Newt (Taricha torosa) Olympia Watershed, Ben Lomond, CA 18 San Lorenzo Valley Post April 2021
Local History Streetwise: Kenville Road The Hidden History of Street Names in SLV
ld Kenville Road, east of Zayante Creek, is the topic of this month’s article. But for whom is it named? There were two early Kenville homesteaders - Joseph Kenville, who with his wife America, came to Santa Cruz County in 1866 and, seemingly unrelated, Solomon Kenville and his wife Edesse who arrived in the 1870s. Both families were of French-Canadian descent; the surname Kenville being the Americanized version of Quenneville. Both homesteaded land near Eccles, northeast of Felton. Indeed, a station named Kenville was located on the Southern Pacific railroad line between the stations of Eccles and Meehan. Both Kenvilles were ranchers. We know more about Joseph Kenville and his family than we do about Solomon and his. Joseph Kenville named his 126-acre ranch Quail Hollow. He had a
large orchard (peaches, plums, but mainly apples); raised fine horses, Jersey cows, chickens, and hogs; and grew melons. According to an 1872 advertisement, he grew “watermelons, muskmelons, cantaloupes, nutmeg-melons, and citron melons, &c.” In 1902, the Kenvilles sold the ranch to William and Leona Richards of Los Angeles and moved to Santa Cruz. Joseph passed away in 1911 and America remarried a year later. Today, Old Kenville Road joins Solomon’s homestead to the Zayante School Road, albeit not all paved. Some of it runs along the old Southern Pacific right of way and Derek Whaley of santacruztrains.com suggests that part of the road did not exist until the railroad had been torn up. However, the first Zayante Schoolhouse was located due west of Solomon’s homestead. Solomon’s children attended the Zayante School, indeed three of them - Mamie, Johnnie, and Maggie - were on the honor roll in 1887. A year earlier in 1886, Solomon had been paid $8 for
PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED BY LISA ROBINSON
By Lisa Robinson
Santa Cruz Weekly Sentinel ad August 31, 1872 labor from the San Lorenzo Road district fund. So, it seems possible that Solomon constructed the road and his children used it to get to school. In fact, Solomon continued to be paid for his labor out of the San Lorenzo Road district into the early 1900s. Many residents participated in building and maintaining roads. Joseph had the contract to maintain a road in the district too - Zayante Road. He didn’t do a good enough job though, and the contract was rescinded. As for the naming of the station, some local historians have suggested that it was named for Joseph Kenville. According to Whaley, it appears in the Southern Pacific station books in 1893, 0.6 miles north of Eccles, close to the south entrance of the Zayante railroad tunnel.
Quail Hollow Pond www.slvpost.com
lots only - nothing less. However, the road leading out of Quail Hollow intersects the railroad further south than the Eccles station, and consequently further south than Kenville, which lay closer to Solomon’s homestead, than to Joseph’s. To get to Kenville Station, Joseph would have had to traverse the sandhills. Solomon also likely shipped other products from his ranch, which was noted to have timber holdings. In fact, in 1889, parcels of land in the area are also owned by the lumber company Grover & Co. Perhaps the shortlived station of Kenville, more likely named for the Solomon Kenville homestead, was for the benefit of shipping lumber.
In 1899, Joseph had a bumper harvest of 3,000 boxes of apples (about 4-5 carloads). The Kenville Station had no platform, and freight had to be in carload San Lorenzo Valley Post
Lisa Robinson is the Collections and Exhibitions Curator at the San Lorenzo Valley Museum. mountain April 2021
Local HIstory Scotts Valley Water By Randall Brown
The proposal - to authorize a $175,000 bond to pay for a 12 ½% share (500 acre feet) of what would be known as the Loch Lomond reservoir - had already been thoroughly debated. The area’s two leading civic organizations were at odds. The Greater Scotts Valley Chamber of Commerce liked the idea and had appointed a committee to study the local water situation. Their belief was that small mutual water companies “would be glad to turn their distribution systems over to a local general water distribution agency.” The Improvement Club led the opposition. Its membership, mostly representing homeowners in the Lockewood Lane and Bean Creek neighborhoods, felt that their wells and stream sources were adequate and wanted no part of the deal. When 438 voters, one-third of those eligible came out a few days after the meeting they rejected the Newell Creek offer by a 2-1 margin. The Sentinel regretted the outcome. “Growth of the Scotts Valley area has been observed for several years as the location of potential commuter residents from the Santa Clara valley. However, the ultimate development of Scotts Valley will be dependent upon available water and a sanitation system.” In October, the state highway department decided to finish the job of replacing the three-lane bottleneck through Scotts Valley with a fourlane freeway. A variety of tourist-oriented enterprises along the old Highway 17 were threatened - motels, restaurants, gas stations, and fruit stands - but forward-looking businessmen recognized a new opportunity. Realtor Harold Mitchell, who had developed numerous subdivisions in the San Lorenzo Valley, came to Scotts Valley in 1947. Purchasing a section of the large Frapwell Dairy, he laid out a new neighborhood, known as Santa Hacienda. “Harold didn’t lean much on ceremony or technicalities,” an associate recalled. “When ready to lay down a road he just walked in front of the bulldozer, guiding its path.” Mitchell also realized the importance of a reliable water supply, immediately incorporating a mutual water system for the subdivision. The venture was successful, but he had even higher hopes for the future. “The proposed freeway bypassing Los Gatos will bring us closer to San Jose and Santa 20 San Lorenzo Valley Post April 2021
PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY RANDALL BROWN
ugust 1958. The Scotts Valley Barn was practically empty on the night the residents were invited to learn about the upcoming water election. Engineers, county officials’ consultants, and public-relations men nearly outnumbered the ten interested citizens. There would be one question on the ballot, according to a spokesman: “Do you wish to buy a reserve water supply for posterity - a share in the Newell Creek dam project. Should you refuse to pass the measure, the right to the water will be lost forever,” he predicted. “Later you will have to deal with the San Lorenzo Valley county water district or the city of Santa Cruz for water.”
The Scotts Valley Community Club Barn
Clara,” the realtor told a reporter. “We are to be the suburbs, the residential area of that industrial empire.” In December 1960, the Scotts Valley Property Owners, a new civic association, sprang up when residents learned that county officials were about to allow the establishment of a 25-acre cemetery. The “Memorial Park” would be located near the freeway, adjacent to the expanding Santa Hacienda neighborhood. The protest united local residents over 400 signed petitions urging denial of the permit. “Once the cemetery is dedicated,” their lawyer observed, “it is there forever.” Other groups joined the movement, including the Santa Hacienda Mutual Water company, which argued that the development would deplete the available water supply and interfere with the delivery of water to customers. Despite the uproar, however, the planning commission approved the plan. Undeterred, the Property Owners demanded that the Board of Supervisors intervene. On a February night, at a special session held at The Barn, hundreds of citizens crowded in to drive home the point that “the people just do not want a park.” After a heated discussion, the supervisors bowed to popular opinion voting 4 to 1 to cancel the permit. After the encouraging victory, the organization’s leaders moved on to other matters. In May 1961, President Agnes Lewis urged all voters in the area to attend a meeting where “the possibility of forming a Scotts Valley water district will be the subject of a panel discussion.” (To be continued.) Randall Brown is an author and historian. He lives in Boulder Creek and works in Felton. mountain www.slvpost.com
Astrology By Catie Cadge Welcome to the Santa Cruz Cosmic Weather Report. Evolutionary Astrology of the moment, your moment in time, our collective moment of change! In April, we embrace the hope of Spring, Aries season! Aries, the first sign of the zodiac, sign of the ram, is all about initiation and throwing ourselves into our passions. A lust for life! On April 3rd, Mercury moves into Aries, joining the Sun and Venus in the sign. Meanwhile, Venus forms a sextile to Mars in Gemini. Mars is sparking our curiosity, engaging us in learning and experimentation, full of playful banter and good conversation, while Aries Venus seeks passion and excitement. Planets in Aries give us courage and the will to thrust that Mars into action. What better feeling than THAT for springtime joy and new beginnings! Brazilian writer, Paolo Coelho, said it well: “We all know fear. But PASSION makes us fearless.” Underscoring the heart of this Aries mood is the minor planet, Chiron, also now in the sign. Look to see where Aries falls in your natal chart. Here we are feeling desire for action and new bursts of energy, but we are also challenged by Chiron, the wounded healer, to face our hurts, our pains, to move ahead and heal, and, in turn, empower others by example. What IS it that keeps me from acting? What fear is caught inside me that blocks me from being all I can truly be? Mercury conjuncts Chiron April
9th, while Mars in Gemini will form a square to Neptune in Pisces. The next day, Moon in Aries meets Chiron, and on the following day, Mercury. These planetary transits bring to light our changing perceptions about how best to assert our own needs and how to envision the best steps forward. Aries Mercury sextiles Saturn, and Venus sextiles Jupiter, both in Aquarius, also on April 10th. You can take a stand now with your message and make real your ideas, while also finding Aquarian support in friends and colleagues. The New Moon in Aries on April 11th lends us a time to birth these new plans and rejoice in new beginnings. The second half of April we see the grounding earth energy of Taurus season begin. How appropriate for Earth Day on April 22nd. Emphasis is on security, serenity, and stability. Think of ‘Ferdinand the Bull’ calmly grazing in the meadow, finding time to stop and smell the flowers. Venus moves into Taurus on April 14th, just in time to do our taxes. Focus is upon money and resources. Mars forms a trine with Jupiter on April 16th, Mercury in a sextile to both the next day; it might just be a good time to ask for that raise! Mercury and Sun join Venus in Taurus on April 19th. Mercury and Venus both conjunct Uranus in Taurus at 10˚, while Mars moves into Cancer on the 23rd. What a perfect weekend to celebrate our home planet, to show how we fight to instigate change to protect her, and how we feel compassion for all creatures and for our mother Earth.
IMAGE BY CATIE CADGE
The next day, Venus forms a square with Saturn in Aquarius at 12˚. All of this planetary energy in Taurus strengthens the ongoing square now between Saturn and Uranus. Look to see where Aquarius and Taurus, roughly 8-14˚, fall in your natal chart. Something may need to radically change to be authentically you. The night of April 26th, we see a Full Moon in Scorpio at 7˚06’, opposing Uranus at 10˚ Taurus. This may not be an easy lunar time as the Moon also triggers the Saturn and Uranus square. Some may encounter outbursts in the days leading up to and after this Full Moon; sudden explosions, earthquakes, pent up anger all may surface. But the good news of a Scorpio Moon is it asks us to do the shadow work, to address the dark side, the possible power issues or jealousies, the hidden parts of the psyche we all wrestle with and
need to face in ourselves and in others. Let’s hope for release of old shadows where we are stuck, and move into a springtime of healing, joy, and fresh new beginnings! Catie Cadge is master-certified Evolutionary Astrologer and is the Dean of Instruction for the Forrest Center for Evolutionary Astrology. caraevolutionaryastrology.com mountain
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San Lorenzo Valley Post
Real Estate SLV Homes Spring Forward
raditionally, just like tulip trees and daffodils, the real estate market bursts into new life in the spring. This year, like everything else defying normalcy, it felt like the market barely took a nap after the winter holidays. People’s migration out of cities and into the countryside continues, as the ability to work from home spawns an influx of new buyers into our small communities. Merely weeks ago, 30-year fixed mortgage rates had fallen as low as 2.75%, further whetting home buyers’ appetites. And the nesting urge arose among our fellow fire survivors as the realities and uncertainties of rebuilding rustled their feathers. Like the roots of our redwoods, their desire to stay shows how deeply intertwined our roots grow. This trio of forces created a whirlwind of buyers trying to win the very few homes listed for sale here.
Changes in Mortgage Rates
As signs of a recovering US economy grew, rumors of inflation frightened the securities markets, particularly fixed income. Assurances from the Federal Reserve that they would hold interest rates steady to promote economic growth only made the situation worse. As bond yields rose, mortgage rates followed, rising precipitously from 2.75% up to nearly 3.5%. That’s a 0.75% increase in rates, within about six weeks, which created a sense of urgency for buyers to lock in the lowest mortgage rate they could.
Create Housing Impacts
For the average home buyer, this confluence of forces makes buying a home even more difficult. Like musical chairs, there simply aren’t enough homes for all the buyers. Most homes get multiple offers, unless priced too high. As a result, prices are rising dramatically. Through late March, the San Lorenzo Valley average home price rose
PHOTO BY MC DWYER
By M.C. Dwyer
to $746,000, with a brisk pace of 70 sales and an average time on the market of a month — sometimes a few days to a week. While the average sale price was only $10,000 over asking, many SLV homes sold for $50,000, $100,000, and as much as $200,000 over asking price. (Last year, just 52 SLV homes sold in the same time frame, taking an average of 73 days to sell for a median price of $634,000 — about $6,000 under asking price.) The old adage sellers used to say, that while they could always lower their price, they couldn’t raise their price, now has a glaring flaw: today’s buyers are so tuned in to property values, they often won’t even make an offer on a property that is priced too high, not wanting to “insult” the seller. On the other hand, properties that are priced fairly on day 1 often garner so much interest that they get multiple offers, driving the price up.
Our Rebuilding Journey Continues
Phase two of my husband’s property is nearly complete. While waiting for soil testing, we’re working with a design and engineering team to finalize building plans. It was truly impressive to witness the effectiveness of the heavy equipment operators and dump trucks clearing the land, though the driveway suffered extensive damage. To accept the free county cleanup option (his insurance wouldn’t cover it), he had to waive their liability, so that cost is painful. The County has hired Four Leaf to facilitate the fire survivor permit process. Although Four Leaf told me that the right to an expedited rebuilding process stays with the land, they have told others the opposite. The new sprouts on redwoods make them look like giant green pipe cleaners, but many oaks, madrones, and firs are dead. Still, I feel a sense of cleansing and renewal. The tenant’s classic VW bus was left as we’d wished, but the metal gazebo marked “keep” on our map was hauled away. At least the workers left the small pile of recovered treasures for the tenants. Curious about buying or selling a home? Call now to find out more! “M.C.” Dwyer, MBA, REALTOR® CA DRE License 01468388. With Century 21 Showcase REALTORs® since 2005. (831) 419-9759 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org mountain
22 San Lorenzo Valley Post April 2021
Photography Photographer Leslie Abbott wonderful people in my life all make me one very lucky girl! I got into photography about 5 or 6 years ago, and it’s become a passion. By looking through the camera lens I see aspects of nature all the more vividly. Several times a week, camera in tow, I ride my bike around looking for whatever catches my eye and tells a good story.
I’m grateful to have lived in Santa Cruz since 1978. The magnificent ocean, the ancient redwoods, the wild birds and critters, the
I photograph birds a lot, but not exclusively. My hope is that you feel like you are right there with the bird. Or if it’s a sunset or reflection, I hope to engage with the subject and the viewer. My son Kyle has recently gotten into photogra-
phy too! On Sundays we get in the car and go to Henry Cowell State Park, The Arboretum, Quail Hollow, Ano Nuevo, Elkhorn Slough, and elsewhere looking for shots. It’s a real joy! The camera I used for most of these photos is a Panasonic Lumix DC 2500. Every year I create a calendar that I sell and give away for gifts. Along with my husband, Carl, and sons Kyle and Luke, we also play music together as the Abbott Family Band and teach by ear with the ToneWay Project. Visit the music online: toneway.com and follow my photography on Instagram: @leslieabbottsantacruz mountain
San Lorenzo Valley Post
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Hello from Be Rooted Botanicals here in downtown Felton! Thank you to our local SLV retailers! Wild Roots Markets Scarborough Lumber (both of them!) Felton Nutrition Aum Herbs Mountain Spirit Mountain Feed Felton Mercantile Handcrafted: *Natural Soaps *Candles *Aromatherapy Oils *Mists & Potions Since 1999 And *50+ Local Artists *Crystals & Stones *Goddess Jewelry *Magickal Tools *Books & Tarot *Mythical Statuary
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Learn to make pottery You can make something beautiful on the potter’s wheel with a solid grounding in the basics. Here’s your chance to have fun with ceramics, with private pottery lessons from long-time local teacher Chris Finnie.
For more information, email Chris with the times you’re available: FinniePots@gmail.com 13136 HIGHWAY 9 IN BOULDER CREEK 831-338-7567 AIRANDFIRE.COM 24 San Lorenzo Valley Post April 2021
Welcome Spring! Check out our April issue covering wildflowers, local parks, COVID vaccine update, Valley Churches Bucks for Hunger drive, A...
Published on Apr 9, 2021
Welcome Spring! Check out our April issue covering wildflowers, local parks, COVID vaccine update, Valley Churches Bucks for Hunger drive, A...