Ric Carter's

From the ridgetops to the crest, nights 're still damn cold here. Some warm noons a bear awakes, dances like a Mormon, goes back to sleep. It'll be a long winter.

Evie at Ridge Roost wonders why all the fuss over Iraq, and MidEast oil. "Put up some solar cells, brew some gasahol; those camel jocks can invade or nuke each other all they want, no skin off OUR necks," she sez, throwing another log on the fire.   —A Loyal Customer

Some bits of the old Mormon Emigrant Trail should be visible, come Spring...

Secessionist movement at Truckee-Tahoe is picking up steam. Last time sessesh was tried up north (Nataqua) there was shooting but no killing.

Numerous mines and ghost towns are now lost beneath the surface of resevoirs. A good long drought will reveal some. But when those lakes silt up, they'll be gone forever. Unless robots come.

It was nitrous, not UFOs, after all.

Have you noticed that since everyone has a camcorder these days, folks don't talk about seeing UFOs like they used to? No Yeti-Sasquatch tapes lately, either. Look for mysteries elsewhere...

FROZE — Took a spin in the SUV over Carson Pass to Hope Valley an' down to the Blue Lakes. Stretching my legs along a pond in deep shade, I saw that the first storm of the winter had been frosty'n'furious. Sticking up from the ice were frogs' heads by the dozen — they'd popped up startled, an' been flash-frozen in place when th' wind hit.   —A Keen Observer

Looking Down Upon the Mother Lode

MASONIC CAVE —  THEN:  In quiet, beautiful Volcano is the oldest Mason's lodge in the West, started by a bunch of real earthy guys who used to meet in a hole in the ground. These Masons quickly gave up on it, as some members had trouble distinguishing it from their ass, especially, after celebrations. It also tended to be damp and gloomy, not exactly enhancing the gold-guts-glory experience the Argonauts so deeply craved.

 NOW:  Family that owns and resides on the property has granted public access, on the condition that all visitors pay close heed to signs posted along the way. The bucolic site around the scenic, abrupt volcanic plug housing the Masonic Cave is ideal for picnicing, bird-watching, meditation, etc.

As in many other Mother Lode towns, the Nevada City council is officially opposing war on Iraq. Council members may be rounded up as 'enemy combatants' at any moment. Bye-bye.

The Amador County school district, to deal with budget woes, plans to cut arts education. (Here's the letter I sent them.) The Nevada County schools held a fund-raiser to deal with their woes. Guess which county will thrive in the future?

"We passed through a dead mining town. Not a soul lived in the place. There were the windows through which the eyes of hope and longing had gazed toward the east, the broken fireplaces where love had gathered in the evening. All was desolation, and through it rang the faraway tones of a howling wolf."   —Opie Read

COLUMBIA, CALIFORNIA:   The Lazy Miner — Why, even a lazy man could do pretty well in diggins as rich as that. You take, for instance, one of these first comers, he was even too lazy to wash his drawers. To save himself the work of scrubbing them, he just tied them to a limb that overhung a little stream and let them dangle in the water. He figured, you see, that the current would wash them for him overnight. And the next morning when he come to fish them out, lo and b'God! he found his drawers gold-plated.   —G. Ezra Dane   (I gotta try that!)

Looking Down Upon the Klamath Lode

Around XMas a Klamath Lode gold-rush town was auctioned on eBay. (Bridgeville is just down the road from Peanut & Hayfork, and over the hills from Igo & Ono.) After bids around US$500,000 (enough for a simple house down in San Francisco) it sold for nearly US$1,800,000 (enough for a nicer SF house). This is more than the value of gold extracted in the area. Go figure.

Geo Caswell dug for gold above Weaverville. He kept chickens that pecked around the tailings. One he killed in 1856 for Sunday dinner had a gizzard that panned out $12.80.   —after Chas Peters

When Louis Belfils heard the spirit voice whisper in his ear, "Don't look for the gold!" as he combed the ranges south of Grants Pass, he knew he was cursed, and the Lost Frenchman's Gold has stayed lost, to this day. But Satellites may change that.

"How high are the Klamaths?"
"Near to 9,000 feet, friend."
"Do people fall there often?"
"Just once, friend."

When Klamath prospectors, Oregander webfoots and other Northers are turned away from the Pearly Gates and enter the domains of Hell, they have to be hung up on hooks for a week or more to dry out, as they arrive much too green to burn.

At PICK-AW-ISH CAMP on the Klamath River, Indians gather yearly in the dark of the August moon for a three-day festival. They work to propitiate earth and forest spirits to avert landslides, earthquakes, forest fires and droughts.   —WPA Guide

A CLINCHER — Method of catching Mountain Lions in the Klamath:
man carries a board on which a human figure is painted; as soon as he arrives at the den, he knocks behind the board with a hammer; the noise rouses the catamount, which then flies in a direct line at the board and grasps it, and the man behind clinches his claws into the wood, and so secures him.   —A Reliable Source   (after freely imbibing of Panther Sweat)

Lookin'Down On Damn Near Ever'Thing

Capt. Sutter in 1841 built the large keep & walls of his imposing Fort. Gold-seekers overran his Delta domain after 1849, and by 1852 the Fort was in ruins. This deterioriation was even faster than that of modern public housing.

"Gold is the most useless thing in the world."   —Henry Ford   (then richest man in the world)

Delta land is so rich, if you plant a crowbar at night it'll sprout tenpenny nails by morning.

"I met a Californian who would talk California — a state so blessed he said, in climate. none had ever died there a natural death, and Vigilance Committees had had to organize to stock the graveyards and vindicate the state's humanity."   —Robert Frost

Tired of California? Take over Wyoming.
Tired of Heaven? Then take over Hell.
But I digress.

Steal their land. Steal their money. Steal their livestock. Steal their dignity. Yup, Native American news usually sucks, big-time. Ugh.

"Indians... are the only ones to be conquered by the United States and not come out ahead." Harry Oliver

DOOMED — In March 1906, a band of Miwok Indians near Volcano set out West through the Delta, establishing a camp on Round Top in the Berkeley Hills. There they had a splendid view of the earthquake and fire that devastated San Francisco on April 6 of that year. After noting the immediate rebuilding in the same location, they returned home, feeling that the White Men were either:

  1. Too foolish to survive long, or
  2. Too insane to live alongside.
The Miwoks' next visit will occur soon.
THE REAL WEST — "It lasted only forty years and then it was finished. If it's a good land, and it grows good people, it's because it's been irrigated by a lot of sweat, and spit, and blood. Tears have fallen on it too, and a little snakehead whiskey. An old-tiomer said it best... 'It's big and purty now, all right. And I helped build it. But by damn, wouldn't it be fun to tear it down and start all over again?'"   —Philip Reisman Jr.

Ric Carter's RIDGE RAT NEWS: Published somewhere off Shake Ridge, Volcano town, Amador Co. Calif., despite everything - Published whenever I have something worth saying, if not oftener - in this issue #3, I've added some color and pictures for excitement, but don't too worked up, that may not last.

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Ric Carter, drsb@klaxo.net, www.klaxo.net, copyright © by OTRSS