Drone Filming Behind the Scenes with Titus Davis

In the fall of 2019, Titus Davis of Lodestone Drone Productions, joined me to help tell more of the Deer Creek Watershed story. With his drone and special flying license, we met at several locations to film. Titus is a longtime Nevada County resident. Taking him hiking through the Black Swan Preserve was a pleasure because he enjoyed the new scenery and was thinking about other people he could share it with.  The old Cotton Brothers bridge near Bitney Springs Road was another first.

As we went through the filming and set-up process and sorted out how to transfer data, he explained some of the intricacies of drone operation. He generously shares these below.

Drone Operation Considerations from Titus Davis:

[While filming the Cotton Brothers Bridge, the drone had a little difficulty staying on course. This was caused by…]

Ferromagnetism is a phenomenon that occurs in some metals, most notably iron, cobalt, and nickel, that over time causes the metal to become magnetic. This is a natural process that can be caused by electrolysis, which is part of the corrosion process. Ferromagnetism can also be increased by the earth’s magnetic field, vehicles passing over, vibration, etc.

Most drones used for photography have a sensitive compass to help orientate the drone, allowing it to fly in a straight line. The drone I use has two compasses to ensure it has an accurate reading on the earths magnetic field. If the iron bridge has a magnetic field that is different than the earths field, the compass will be affected. This effect can be seen when the drone has difficulty flying in a straight line near the bridge.

Another challenge to flying is the drone’s GPS system feature which helps stabilize it and hold a position in the wind. Anything that affects the GPS signals will cause the drone to drift. Flying near iron objects or under them can cause a loss of the GPS signal. This will cause the drone to drift and not accurately hold altitude.

Drone Filming Precautions

Flying under the Boulder Street Bridge.

When we met at Lefty’s Grill (on a day the restaurant was closed) to film dusk over the creek and Nevada City, Titus had already communicated with Lefty’s management asking if it was OK to film there and notified the Nevada City Police Department. (If they received calls from concerned citizens, they’d already know what was going on.)

When we were at the turtle ponds on the Black Swan Preserve, he was watching for hunting birds after explaining that birds of prey sometimes attack drones. (Drone color may affect bird attraction.)

Deer Creek Bridge Films

Click here to watch Titus’s drone footage – Deer Creek Bridges – Elevations & History.

Davis Drone Footage to Appear in Deer Creek Flyover Film

Lisa is currently producing a flyover film she plans to submit to the 2021 SYRCL Wild and Scenic Film Festival. It’s taken a year to collect the footage for the project; Davis’s drone footage will highlight key features along Deer Creek. 

Resources:

 

Titus Davis Lodestone Drone Productions lodestonedrone.com lodestonedrone@gmail.com

 

*Fortunately, we had no attack bird skirmishes, but after we were done, I had to research what a confrontation would have looked like. See the video below. 

Deer Creek Bridges – Elevations & History

From the highest elevation to lowest, here are views of bridges crossing Deer Creek along with some history.

Boulder Street Bridge, Nevada City – Elevation 2,512′ 

(Near Lefty’s Grill & the Stone House)

Pine Street Bridge, Nevada City – Elevation 2,445′

 

Tribute Trail  – Angkula Seo  Suspension Bridge – Elevation 2,400′

(built by Seattle Bridge LLC)

Tribute Trail – Chinese Tribute Bridge  – Stocking Flat (Champion Mine) – Elevation 2,247′

Bitney Springs – Cotton Brothers Bridge – Elevation 2,010′

 

“NEVADA CITY, CAL –  Cotton Bros. & Co, Oakland, CAL were awarded a contract April 14 by the county supervisors for constructing the following bridges; steel bridge over Deer Creek, $2,248.” – Engineering News and American Railway Journal, Volume 39, April 28, 1898, pg. 145

“The Cotton Brothers and Company was an important California based bridge builder of metal truss bridges in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. They built several bridges in Nevada County during the 1890’s, including the Purdon Bridge.” – Historic American Building Survey, National Park Service – Wolf Creek Bridge PDF

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Resources:

American Bridge Building Companies PDF

Bridgehunter.com – Cotton Brothers Bridges

Bear Yuba Land Trust – Deer Creek Environs Trail

Historic American Building Survey, National Park Service – Wolf Creek Bridge PDF

Installation of Chinese Tribute Bridge (Champion Mine area).

The Sierra Fund – Deer Creek Tribute Trail

South Yuba River State Park – California Bridges – Purdon Bridge

Titus Davis, Loadstone Drone

Tribute Trail Building

The Union – Through the years: Deer Creek’s many bridges

Technology Practice before the Multimedia Story Show in March

From March 4th through April 15th, the South Pine Cafe (in Grass Valley) will host a Following Deer Creek Multimedia Story Show.

What is a Multimedia Story Show?

It’s a display of traditional art pieces, and digital designs printed on clothing and housewares accompanied by QR codes linking to web pages for each subject.

When planning for a multimedia show, the producer must ensure visitors understand how to use technology to get the most out of it.

In this case, QR codes are posted along with each type of media on display. To read a QR code, a smartphone camera optically analyzes the black and white square shape, then directly links to the web page where additional information, along with curated documentaries await the curious.

A variety of phone apps will accomplish similar things, for example, QR Readers, and Bar Code Scanners both use the phone camera to analyze a QR (Quick Response) and bar codes. Because Google Lens performs those functions AND identifies plants and animals, translates foreign languages, serves up book information, and a variety of other services, it’s Lisa’s top choice for scanning apps.

By expanding capabilities of devices we already use on a daily basis (the phone camera), Google is soft teaching us to use artificial intelligence (machine learning) and augmented reality.

“It’s quite fun!” says Redfern. “It’s not always exact, but it’s close enough to be interesting.”

Practice Using New Technology Before the Show

As Lisa was testing the user instructions she plans to display at the show, several test subjects requested that she post tutorials on the blog so new users have time to practice before March 4th.

Click here to visit the YouTube How-To playlist

 

Resources:

Android Guys – Ten awesome things you can do with Google Lens

c|net – Google Lens is turning into what Google Glass never was

Google Lens

Deer Tick, a Questing Bloodsucker

Even if bloodsucking arachnids make you scratch, it’s worth spending a few minutes learning about the behaviors of this tiny creature who survives by hitching rides and drinking blood. While ticks have the potential to spread serious disease, if you know where they hang-out, how do inspections, and how to properly remove them, you can minimize the danger to yourself, your family, and your pets.

Where Ticks Hang-out

Deer ticks are found in places near potential hosts. In Nevada County, those include; deer, squirrel, mice, rabbits, birds, lizards, woodrats, bobcats, skunks, gophers, dogs, cats, humans and other animals with blood.

Blood meals are required for growth. Black-legged ticks (aka Deer Ticks) are hard-bodied and require a host to progress through each life stage. Between meals, they wait, often going into diapause, a state of suspended development.

When not connected to a host, ticks require cool moist places like;

  • leaf litter
  • overgrown shrubs
  • high grass
  • wooded areas
  • woodpiles
  • low branches
  • logs
  • bird feeders
  • moisture-retaining garden features such as mulch or stone walls

Myths

Ticks  do not;

  •  jump
  • drop from trees
  • fly 

They only crawl and climb. To move long distances, ticks must do so while attached to a host.

 

How Ticks Sense Hosts and Know When to Ready Their Grappling Hooks

  • body odor
  • vibration
  • heat
  • breath
  • moisture

questing tick larvae

Questing Behavior

Questing is when a tick prepares to latch onto a host. Like a pirate with a grappling hook, a tick perches at the end of grass blades or branches, waiting with outstretched front legs.  After hooking onto hair or clothing, the tick begins to ascend. They travel up, looking for locations with thinner skin and for places where hosts cannot reach.

Questing Black-legged (Deer) tick. Photo Credit: National Park Service

Newtown Rd. bobcat with an engorged tick. Photo Credit: Terry & Anita Hansen

 Life Span

In warm climates, a tick’s life span may only last a year. In Nevada County, where it’s cold, a tick has a three-year life span. 

Fall through Winter

Tick life starts out as an egg.

Larvae hatch with six legs. *They go into diapause, suspended development, whenever weather conditions are not ideal.

Spring

 The larva attaches to a host – usually a small animal –  for its first blood meal – which can last from days to weeks – then drops off.

Summer through Winter

After molting, a larva becomes a nymph, gains two additional legs, and overwinters in this stage.

2nd Spring

Nymphs seek out a host for a second blood meal – which can last from days to weeks – then drops off.

2nd Summer through Winter

Nymphs molt into adults and overwinter in this stage.

3rd Spring

Adults seek out a third blood meal – usually on a large animal – where they feed and mate through the summer.  Males die after mating.

3rd Fall

Females drop off the host to lay eggs on the ground. She’ll lay about twenty eggs a day and can lay over a thousand in a month-and-a-half. At this life stage, most of her body weight is comprised of the eggs. When she’s finished laying, her body collapses.

*Engorged females, ready to lay eggs will look for soil as a first choice, but if she drops off inside a house, she will seek places like hampers, bathroom rugs, or a pile of damp laundry.

 

Life stages: larvae, nymph, adult male and female.

Hardiness

Using diapause, ticks can survive long periods of drought. They can also survive underwater for two to three days and can last for two years without a blood meal.

Most Active

Adult black-legged ticks (aka Deer Ticks) are most active after the first frost in fall and again in spring.

Squirrels Carry Bacteria

In California, the Western gray squirrel is known to harbor the bacterium –Borrelia burgdorferi– that causes Lyme Disease. Ticks pick this up during their first or second blood meal.

Lizards – Western Lyme Heros

 

Western Fence Lizard with tick Photo Credit Jerry Kirkhart

While in the larva or nymph stage, ticks frequently find lizard hosts. 

Alligator lizard with ticks. Photo Credit Steve Jervetson

A protein in lizard blood kills the Lyme disease causing bacteria.

 

Lizards may be the reason Lyme Disease is not as prevalent in the western states as it is in the east.

Once a tick is finished with its lizard liquid, the bacteria won’t be transmitted to the next host.

 Predators

Ants, frogs, lizards, poultry, and opossums.

Tick Inspection & Bite Prevention

  • Wear light-colored clothes – long pants + long-sleeved shirts.
  • Apply bug spray with at least 20% Deet. (Permethrin on clothes only.)
  • Keep to the middle of the trail and try not to brush against branches or grass.
  • Frequently stop to check pant legs for ticks.
  • Check companions for ticks in places they can’t see. 
  • Also do periodic checks on animals, focusing on head, ears, and neck.
  • If possible, shower within two hours of spending time in a tick zones.

Tick Removal 

Because ticks have numbing agents in their saliva, you won’t feel it when mouthparts penetrate.

With tweezers, grab the tick close to the skin and pull straight out.

Ticks & Disease

“Ticks transmit the widest variety of pathogens of any blood-sucking arthropod, including bacteria, rickettsiae, protozoa, and viruses,” comments Larisa Vredevoe, Ph.D, Department of Entomology, University of California, Davis

**It’s important to remove ticks as soon as possible. It takes between 36 to 48 hours for a Borrelia burgdorferi carrier tick to transmit the bacteria from the gut to the salivary glands.

Interactive Lyme Disease and Tick Survey

From the data on the Interactive Lyme Disease and Tick Survey,

the majority of Lyme disease causing ticks in Nevada County come from the South Yuba River watershed.

Nevada County Cases of Lyme Disease

Between 2000 and 2016, Nevada County reported 48 cases of Lyme Disease

Nevada County, incidence per 100,000 person-years = 2.73

The highest risk counties in California are; Trinity, Humboldt, and Mendocino.

Seek Medical Attention

If a rash or skin irritation occurs after a tick bite, promptly seek medical attention.

Lyme Rash

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If you’re not too ‘bugged’ by this post, you might also like Fleas and Disease in the California Gold Rush 

Resources:

Bay Area Lyme Foundation – Are Deer to Blame?

California Department of Public Health – Lyme Disease

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Tick prevention, removal, symptoms, and data

Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology – Blocking pathogen transmission at the source: reservoir targeted OspA-based vaccines against Borrelia burgdorferi

John Hopkins Lyme Disease  Research Center – Preventing Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease Association – Tick Removal

Nevada County Tick ID & Testing & Q and A PDF’s

Nevada County Reports of Lyme disease by the year

New York Times – Lyme Diseases’s Worst Enemy? It Might be Foxes

SF Gate – Lizards Slow Lyme Disease in West / Ticks bite them – and leave with purified blood

San Mateo County Mosquito & Vector Control District – Lizards, Ticks and Lyme Disease

Smithsonian Magazine (VIDEO)Mother tick laying eggs

The Union (2008) Ticks that cause Lyme disease are prevalent in county

UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology – California Ticks  &  Tick Biology

University of California, Berkeley – Feeding on lizard blood strips ticks of dangerous Lyme disease bacterium

University of California San Francisco (2018) Lyme Disease is on the Rise – An Expert Explains Why

University of California San Francisco – Gene Signature Could Lead to a New Way of Diagnosing Lyme

WebMD – All about Ticks FAQ 2019

 

Saliva Studies

 
Mating & Egg Laying

University of California TV – Lyme Disease – History and Current Controversies (2013)

Bat – a Colonial Insectivore

Bats are the only flying mammals. Wing membranes are attached to their fingers. After rodents, they are the largest order of Earth animals. 

Microbats live in California. they are insectivores and can eat their weight in insects daily. (Large bats, such as the Fruit Bat, also known as a Flying Fox, live in tropical climates.)

Roost/Colony:

Roosts, which can contain up to thirty generations of family members, are used for protection, warmth, grooming, eating, resting, and mating. Roosting sites include caves, mines, bridges, buildings, crevices, and tree hollows. Bats are nocturnal. They leave their roosts at dusk to hunt and drink water at night.

Since roosts are where large numbers of bats congregate, it’s a system that provides fertile conditions for the spread of diseases such as, rabies, histoplasmosis, and other viruses. Roosts are where White-nose syndrome is spreading (see below).

The Mexican free-tailed bat or Brazilian free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis) is a migrating bat native to the Americas. Since it roosts in large numbers in few locations, it’s vulnerable to habitat destruction. This bat is considered a species of special concern in California because of declining populations.

Environmental Obstacles:

A keystone species, bats keep ecosystems healthy by controlling insect populations, but they’ve got obstacles. Habitat loss and destruction of roosting sites, wind farms on migratory pathways, and drought are a few.  White-nose syndrome, a muzzle and wing flesh-eating fungus, has decimated bat populations across North America.

Some good news for California bats may be forest lands opened up by wildfires.  UC Berkeley postdoctoral researcher Zachary Steel found that certain bat populations have increased in burned forests. The causes are still under study but causes may be increased food sources, roosting locations in dead trees, and/or more space for flight maneuverability 

Special Adaptations:

Bats hunt with echolocation, sounds out of human hearing range that help locate prey.

While bats can use their mouths to catch prey, most bugs are caught in their wing membranes and either eaten in the air or carried to a roosting spot.

Bats have bendy bones which makes them ultra maneuverable. Some say bats have the fastest horizontal flying speed of any animal, close to 99 miles per hour!

Among roosting bats that create large quantities of urine and guano, they’ve developed respiratory mucous Ph buffer. 

Torpor is an important adaptation for microbats. It can range from a partial state of heterothermic arousal to full hibernation. Lowing body temperature reduces the need for food and fat storage.

A new study by University of California, Berkeley, researchers shows that bats’ brain activity is literally in sync when bats engage in social behaviors like grooming, fighting or sniffing each other.

Using scent markers and sound, mothers can locate their own babies out of thousands.

Life Span

10-20 years

Diet:

  • mosquitos
  • moths
  • beetles
  • dragonflies
  • flies
  • wasps
  • ants
  • grasshoppers
  • termites

Breeding

Photo Credit: Mnolf

Females can breed after 9 months of age, they congregate in maternity roosts.
Males become sexually mature at two years.
Gestation is about three months.
Generally, one pup is born per year. 
Young suckle for between four to seven weeks.
Mother’s must eat their body weight in insects to keep up with nursing demands.


Predators

  • owls
  • hawks
  • falcons

Roosts may come under predation from:

  • climbing animals
  • cats
  • coyote
  • raccoon
  • some species of snakes

Bat Species in Nevada County

  • Big Brown Bat, EPTESICUS FUSCUS
  • California Myotis, MYOTIS CALIFORNICUS
  • Canyon Bat, WESTERN PIPISTRELLE
  • Fringed Myotis, MYOTIS THYSANODES
  • Hoary Bat, LASIURUS CINEREUS
  • Little Brown Myotis, MYOTIS LUCIFUGUS
  • L0ng-eared Myotis, MYOTIS EVOTIS
  • Long-legged Myotis, MYOTIS VOLANS
  • Mexican Free-tail, TADARIDA BRASILIENSIS (migratory)
  • Pallid Bat, ANTROZOUS PALLIDUS
  • Silver-Haired Bat, LASIONYCTERIS NOCTIVAGANS
  • Western Red Bat, LASIURUS BLOSSEVILLII
  • Yuma Myotis, MYOTIS YUMANENSIS

White-Nose Syndrome

“WNS is considered one of the deadliest wildlife diseases, having killed over six million North American bats since it was discovered,” said CDFW Wildlife Veterinarian and Epidemiologist Dr. Deana Clifford. “WNS doesn’t affect human health or pets, but the ecological impacts of bat die-offs may indirectly impact agricultural systems through loss of the natural pesticide effect and nutrient cycling of bats.”

As of spring 2019, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife detected white-nose syndrome in bats in Chester, Plumas County.

Californians Can Help By:

Cavers/Spelunkers Can:

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Resources:

California Department of  Fish and Wildlife – Deadly Bat Fungus Detected in California

Corkys Pest –Bat Identification 

Northern California Bats – Education, Lectures, Rescue & Resources

Sierra Club – A Song of Bats and Fire

Smithsonian Magazine – What is Killing the Bats?

UC, Berkeley – Bats Brains Sync when they Socialize

USGS – What is White-nose Syndrome?

Washington Post – The batty history of bats in the military and why this new idea just might work

White Nose Syndrom Response Team

Wikipedia – Bat

Wikipedia – Maternity colony

Wikipedia – Mexican Free-tail bat

 
 

AUSTIN, TX (May 8, 2019) – Bat Conservation International (BCI) announced today that early signs of the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd) have been detected at one of the world’s premier bat conservation sites, Bracken Cave Preserve.

Owls of Nevada County

On silent wings these nocturnal hunters take prey by surprise. The only time you’ll hear an owl is if it’s hooting – calling to a mate, declaring territory of checking on young.

They range in size from the tiny six-inch Northern Pygmy-Owl to the twenty-six-inch Great Grey Owl.

Inviting them into your space (if you don’t have chickens or other small critters they’d consider eating) is an ideal way to naturally deal with rodents. *See Owl Box construction under Resources.

Great Grey Owl – Photo Credit – Arne List

There are over 200 owl species on Earth. Owls live on almost every continent.
Below is a list of owl species that can be found in Nevada County. (Each listing links to a species detail page.)

Barn Owl
Flammulated Owl (Rare in Nevada County)
Western Screech-Owl
Great Horned Owl
Northern Pygmy-Owl
Barred Owl
Burrowing Owl
California Spotted Owl
Great Gray Owl
Long-eared Owl
Short-eared Owl
Northern Saw-whet Owl

Diet

Burrowing Owl – Photo Credit – Becky Matsubara

  • nocturnal insects
  • beetles
  • crickets
  • grasshoppers
  • small mammals
  • birds, amphibians
  • reptile
  • fish
  • other invertebrates

During the breeding season (March – August), a Barn Owl pair may catch up to seventy pounds of rodents!

Flammulated Owl chick – Photo Credit – Dave Menke, USFWS

 

 

via GIPHY

Habitat

Adaptable to many types of habitats, owls live in forests, meadows, grasslands, in the ground and in man-made structures.

Stealthy Owl Adaptations

An owl’s head is its superpower. It’s designed like a satellite dish funneling sound toward the ears. Owl hearing is ten-times better than humans. 

Its eyes take up a large percentage of its body weight. Owl eyes have specialized rods that help them see in low-light conditions.

Although an owl can’t turn its head in a complete circle, with vertebrae and arteries designed for the motion, they can turn it almost all way backward in either direction.

Barn Owl Beauty Spots

Barn owl females with many spots attract more mates. The spots may represent good health in parasite and disease resistance. They may also inspire males to help more with nesting and feeding owlets.

 

Species Interaction – Spotted Owls breeding with Barred Owls

Resources

 

Audubon – Owling California

Barn Owl Trust- Barn Owl Boxes for Trees

HGTV – How to Attract Owls to Your Yard

Place boxes in trees 10-12 feet from the ground on the property perimeter where leavings will not be a problem.

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The Monterey Regional Waste Management District Barn Owl Project

NPR – Scientists Study Barn Owls to Understand Why People with ADHD Struggle to Focus

“We think we have the beginnings of an answer,” says Shreesh Mysore, an assistant professor who oversees the owl lab at Hopkins. The answer, he says, appears to involve an ancient brain area with special cells that tell us what to ignore.”

Science Daily – Scientists explain how bird can rotate its head without cutting off blood supply to brain

Using Owls to Control Rodents (in Napa Valley)

Wikipedia – True Owl

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2019 Nevada County Holiday Giving-Guide with a Land Stewardship Focus

Support organizations that preserve, protect, clean, heal, and educate about our local habitats.

Buy a holiday gift, spend outdoor quality time with family and friends and keep Nevada County healthy.

Visit the websites of the organizations below to;

  • make a gift for operating expenses in someone’s name
  • buy film festival tickets
  • attend lectures
  • take family and friends hiking
  • volunteer to be a water monitor
  • learn to become a citizen scientist
  • or a California Naturalist
  • buy books to learn to about Nevada County native plants
  • go on field trips
  • learn to propagate and spread native plants

 

Bear Yuba Land Trust 

Bear Yuba Land Trust exists to protect and defend the working and natural lands
of the Bear and Yuba River Watersheds and to enrich the deep community connection with nature, in perpetuity.

Donate/Sponsor/Membership

Events

Trails Portal

Youth Programs

Volunteer

CHIRP – California Heritage: Indigenous Research Project
(Nisenan Tribe)

(CHIRP) was created to research, document, preserve, and protect California Indigenous Nisenan culture.

Donate (also accepts land, automobiles, and stock donations.)

Projects

*see books below for more

Redbud Chapter California Native Plant Society

The Redbud Chapter is dedicated to exploring, educating, researching, and writing about the diversity and beauty of our native flora.

Nevada County Native Plant Books

Fieldtrips

Lectures

Trees and Shrubs $35.95 | Wildflowers $29.95

Sierra Streams Institute 

Sierra Streams Institute’s mission is to link water, science, and people for the benefit of human and environmental health.

Donate

School Field Trips

UC California Naturalist Program

Water Monitoring

Volunteer

$95

 

South Yuba River Citizens League 

SYRCL unites the community to protect and restore the Yuba River watershed.

Donations

2020 Film Festival tickets

Volunteer

River Clean-up

River Monitoring

River Ambassadors

Salmon Expeditions

$20-$500

 

The Sierra Fund (Mercury Cleanup in the Sierra Nevada)

The Sierra Fund’s mission is to restore ecosystem and community resiliency in the Sierra Nevada.

Donate (also accepts bequests, asset donations, & beneficiary naming)

Programs

Services

 

Truckee Donner Land Trust (Tahoe/Donner Land Preservation)

To preserve and protect scenic, historic and recreational lands with high natural resource values in the Truckee Donner region
and manage recreational activities on these lands in a sustainable manner.

Donate

Docent-Led Hikes

Projects

News & Events

 

Yuba Watershed Institute (North San Juan focus)

The Yuba Watershed Institute is a group of citizens who are concerned with the sustainable use of natural resources and the protection of
long-term biological diversity within the Yuba River watershed.  The Institute also serves as an educational
resource, providing an ongoing series of talks, seminars, publications and walks on all aspects of the watershed.

Membership/Donation

Workshops & Field Seminars

Shop  – The Nature of this Place book & Cutting Boards

$20 – $500

Choose an organization to support when you ‘Smile’ shop on Amazon

Amazon Smile Registration

1. Visit AmazonSmile.com

 

2. Select your local organization to support

*Nevada County land steward organizations registered on AmazonSmile as of December 2019

Sierra Streams Institute

South Yuba River Citizens League

The Sierra Fund

Yuba Watershed Institute

 

Nevada County oriented Books & Art
(not associated with a nonprofit)

Books

  • All FORMATS

Ecosystems of California by Harold Mooney and Erika Zavaleta

  • AUDIOBOOKS

Gold Hunters, J.D. Borthwick [Librivox]

  • E-BOOKS

Man and Nature, George Perkins Marsh (Father of Conservation) – 1864 – epub, html, and other formats
The Outcasts of Poker Flat and Other Tales, Bret Harte | for Library Loan
Nevada (City), Grass Valley & Rough & Ready General Directory of Citizens; a historical sketch of Nevada County,  A. A. Sargent, ESQ 1856
Three Years in California, J.D. Borthwick
The Frontier in American History (1920), Frederick J. Turner

  • PRINT BOOKS

After the Gold Rush: Society in Grass Valley and Nevada City, California, 1849-1870, Ralph Mann
Conflict Between the California Indian and White Civilization (1976), Sherburne F. Cook
The Cousin Jacks; the Cornish in America (1969), A.L. Rowse
Crow’s Range: An Environmental History of the Sierra Nevada, by David Beesley [KXJZ, Insight interview 35:46] Gold Rush Stories: 49 Tales of Seekers, Scoundrels, Loss, and Luck, Gary Noy
Hard Rock Epic: Western Miners and the Industrial Revolution, 1860-1910, Mark Wyman
History of Us: Nisenan Tribe of the Nevada City Rancheria, Richard B. Johnson
Jennie Carter, A Black Journalist of the Early West, edited by Eric Gardner
Jews in the California Gold Rush (1994), Robert E. Levinson
Life on the Plains and Among the Diggings (1854), Alonzo Delano
On the Trail to the California Gold Rush (1806-74), Alonzo Delano
The Pioneer Miner and Pack Mule Express, (California Historical Society. Special publication) (1931)
The River: Hiking Trails and History of the South Fork of the Yuba River, Hank Meals
Sierra College Press
Sierra Stories: Tales of Dreamers, Schemers, Bigots, and Rogues, Gary Noy
Tribal Land Conservation, Beth Rose Middleton
Yuba Trails: A Selection of Historic Hiking Trails in the Yuba River Watershed, Hank Meals
Yuba Trails 2: A selection of hiking trails in the Yuba River and neighboring watersheds, Hank Meals

Life on the Creek art series  –  Hundreds of Nevada County designs

Deer Creek & Nevada County Art made-to-order on clothing, housewares, or accessories.
$5 from each sale supports the FDC blog & documentary project.
Once complete, proceeds from art sales will be donated to one or more of the nonprofit organizations listed above!

Jennie Carter’s Thoughts & Words from Nevada City 1867-1874 [video]

Jennie Carter was an articulate social critic who wrote from her home in Nevada City during the mid-1860s through the 1870s.

Excerpts from Jennie Carter’s essays are dramatized in the following historical video short.

 

Grass Valley Daily Union, June 9, 1865, | Advertisement for Grass Valley & Nevada City Stage Line mentioning Johnny Royce.

 

If you enjoyed this post check out;


Jennie Carter’s Nevada County Setting 1860s, 2nd Marriage & Obituary
Jennie Carter’s Pre-Civil War, Civil War & Reconstruction-era 1846-1870
Jennie Carter Book Review
Jennie Carter – Filming Behind-the-Scenes & Creative Partners
Nineteenth-Century Creole Snacks & Jennie Carter (Shared Tastes recipe blog)

 

Resources:

Jennie Carter: A Black Journalist of the Early West edited by Eric Gardner, Copyright © 2007 published by University Press of Mississippi

ACLU – Celebrate Women’s Sufferage but Don’t Whitewash the Movement’s Racism

American Historical Association – *LARGE* educator resource list addressing Confederate Monument Debate

BlackPast.org

California Press Foundation Hall of Fame – Philip Alexander Bell, The Elevator (San Francisco) Editor

Media Museum of Northern California – Philip Alexander Bell, The Elevator (San Francisco) Editor

National Geographic TV – America Inside Out with Katie Couric – season one – Confederate statue removal  

The New Republic – California’s Forgotten Confederate History

Wikipedia – Jennie Carter

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“Let our greatest efforts be made to educate our children, instead of accumulating treasures
for them to squander, after we have passed away.” Semper Fidelis, 1868

 

Jennie Carter’s Nevada County Setting 1860s, 2nd Marriage & Obituary

Jennie and her first husband, Mr. Correll (a Campbellite minister), moved from New Orleans to Grass Valley around 1860.

While Jennie was living in Nevada County, newspaper advertisements promoted

  • rubber clothing
  • the Glenbrook Race Track
  • ice dealers
  • fireproof bricks
  • Grass Valley’s installation of sewer lines
  • Alonzo Delano was selling fire and life insurance, and
  • A.A. Sargent promoted his law practice and was involved with running for office.

Frequent articles complained about the Chinese, Indian, and Negro.

Childhood deaths were frequently published in death notices.

The Many Names of Jennie Carter

A challenge of piecing together details from Jennie’s life is the various names she went by through two marriages and the variety of pen names she used as a writer.

Possible given name

Mary Jane (no known maiden name)

Married Names

Mary Jane Correll | Mrs. Correll
Jennie Carter | Mrs. D.D. Carter

Pen Names

Ann J. Trask
Semper Fidelis

 

Below are samples of newspaper articles that Jennie may have read while she was living in Grass Valley and Nevada City.

 

The Nevada Democrat
Saturday, October 19, 1861

The Nevada Democrat, Saturday, October 19, 1861

 

Grass Valley Daily Union

In the aftermath of the Civil War, much political and public churn was happening.

At one point in Nevada County, it was decided that southern supporters would not be allowed to vote in upcoming elections.

“Elder L. J. Correll” (Jennie’s first husband) is listed in regular advertisements in the Grass Valley Daily Union

The Christian Church the Corrells belonged to was built on “the east side of Church Street,
between Neal and Walsh Streets in 1859 (for $3,000).  It was destroyed by fire in 1869.”
– History of Nevada County 1880

March 14th, 1865 – Mrs. Correll (Jennie) is elected Vice President to the Grass Valley Christian Commission.

Grass Valley Daily Union – March 14, 1865

According to Byrne’s Directory of Grass Valley Township, the Corrells lived on School Street.

 

Also in the March 14th, 1865 Grass Valley Daily Union issue:

What is To Be Done With The Negro?

Our enemies say it will be a woful day for the negros when emancipation is “forced upon them.” Why is it not for the Indians, also? Can we not as safely and judiciously establish Negro Agencies as we can Indian Agencies? Yes, and with vastly more benefit to all concerned, because of the negro’s docility.

Is not the negro as justly entitled to his liberty as the Indian? And are they not as much entitled to our protection as the Indians? Why, then, become alarmed about the fate of the negro? What is the cause of this morbid sympathy? Simply this: to invent some pretext to prey upon the minds of the ignorant and credulous, and prejudice them against the progressive steps taken by our Government to eradicate this war, and secure a more perfect establishment of equal rights to the people who constitute the Government.

What shall be done for the free negroes? We answer let them work and maintain themselves, let them cultivate the rice fields, after the manner prescribed already by Gen. Sherman, and, if necessary, let agencies be established for giving proper direction to their labors.

June 1865

August 1865

 

A newspaper archive search (1965) motivated by a desire to find the cause of death of Jennie’s first husband did not yield definitive results. However; the following article was published on August 16th, the day before his last appearance in the paper. It may never be known if the two are related.

August 16, 1865

August 17th, 1865 is the final newspaper advertisement showing Elder Correll officiating.

Jennie Carter Poem published in The Elevator (1867)

The Lonely Grave

Why did they lay him to rest

Where human feet seldom tread?

Wild flowers bloom over his breast,

Too gaudy, alas, for the dead.

Tall pines sighing over the dust

Of one once loved and caressed.

The wild beasts are treading above

The heart a mother has pressed.

Birds singing and flying around

With notes all attuned for joy.

Little they heed him sleeping here,

Some mother’s own darling boy.

Oh! ’tis a weird lonely spot,

Away from all human strife;

The sleeper he heedeth not,

Nor careth for things of life.

 

August 29, 1866

Jennie’s marriage to Dennis Drummond Carter

 

Eric Gardner, editor of the Jennie Carter book, believes the connection between Jennie and The Elevator (San Francisco) came about through a relationship between Dennis and Phillip Bell, its publisher.
Click here to view Jennie’s work published in The Elevator 1867-1874.

 

Jennie Carter’s headstone in Pine Grove Cemetery, Nevada City

The Daily Transcript (Nevada City)
Friday, August 12, 1881

The Daily Transcript (Nevada City), August 12, 1881

 

“When I die, I hope no one will eulogize me, but simply say Mrs. Trask has gone to sleep. That will be the truth.”
– Jennie Carter writing under the pen name Ann J. Trask, December 1867

 

 

 

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“A good laugh is better than drugs from apothecaries.”  – Jennie Carter, 1867

If you enjoyed this post, check out

Jennie Carter’s Thoughts & Words from Nevada City 1867 – 1874 (video)
Jennie Carter’s Pre-Civil War, Civil War & Reconstruction-era 1846-1870
Jennie Carter Book Review
Jennie Carter – Filming Behind-the-Scenes & Creative Partners
Nineteenth-Century Creole Snacks & Jennie Carter (Shared Tastes recipe blog)

 

Additional Grass Valley Daily Union Articles:

Opposition to 15th Amendment – Grass Valley Union – June 23, 1865

Poor White Trash, Negros & Voting  – Grass Valley Union – August 12, 1865

 

Resources:

American Historical Association – *LARGE* educator resource list addressing Confederate Monument Debate

Jennie Carter: A Black Journalist of the Early West edited by Eric Gardner, Copyright © 2007 published by University Press of Mississippi

National Geographic TV – America Inside Out with Katie Couric – season one – Confederate statue removal

Nevada County Historical Society | African American Pioneers of Nevada County

The New Republic – California’s Forgotten Confederate History

 

 

 

 

 

Jennie Carter Book Review

Jennie Carter was a free black woman who moved from New Orleans to Grass Valley around 1860.

Between 1867 to 1874 she wrote essays, from her Nevada City home, that were published in The Elevator, a San Francisco black newspaper.

When Carter first began writing for The Elevator, her intention was to publish material for young readers. “Children, you hear a great deal said about color by those around you, see attention given white persons by your friends that is wholly unmerited, while those of darker skin are treated with cool neglect. Such are wrong, and that you may avoid like mistakes I write this for you to read. Let your motto be, civility to all, servility to none. Those reminders of bondage we must get out of the way as soon as possible; and while we would treat all with respect, we should not talk about color, light and dark, black and white.”

It wasn’t long before her writing was composed for a general audience. Carter’s essays provide a detailed and lively peek into Nevada County life—after the Civil War—when black men were working to establish voting rights, (white) women’s suffrage was in its infancy, the Central Pacific Railroad was under construction, and resentment against Chinese immigrants was building.

Since Carter wrote under several pen names—Ann J. Trask and Semper Fidelis (Always Faithful)—her body of work was lost until 2007, when a historical researcher discovered their connection and put the pieces together.

“She was a skilled cultural critic and as such her observations about race and racism, discrimination, and a host of social issues have important ramifications for today,” comments Eric Gardner, editor of Jennie Carter, A Black Journalist of the Early West.

The Jennie Carter book should be on recommended reading lists for every nineteenth-century history class in Nevada County (California).

FDC Editor Notes:

I discovered this book in a reference on a Wiki page. Exciting! Connecting with Jennie’s words, I felt a sense of admiration and deep respect for this intelligent, spiritual woman who bravely spoke universal truths that would go unrecognized for at least a century or more.

As I read, my ears were tuned for the echos of Jennie’s voice. When she described drinking water out of Deer Creek, Carter’s inclusion in the Deer Creek Project went from vague imaginings to composing detailed plans for a script, actress, locations, and props. 

Equally engaging are Gardner’s footnotes and commentary. It’s like a book within a book that includes a code-breaker for every reference and antiquated expression. The research, alone, requires its own focused read. 

How fortunate we (as readers and history buffs) are to have this thoughtful and carefully composed work available in one volume!

 

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“Oh, that we might awake to the importance of a thorough, universal education.” – Jennie Carter, 1867

 

To learn more about Jennie Carter, check out these posts;

Jennie Carter’s Thoughts & Words from Nevada City 1867 – 1874 (video)
Jennie Carter’s Nevada County Setting 1860s, 2nd Marriage & Obituary
Jennie Carter’s Pre-Civil War, Civil War & Reconstruction-era 1846-1870
Jennie Carter – Filming Behind-the-Scenes & Creative Partners


Resources:

American Historical Association – *LARGE* educator resource list addressing Confederate Monument Debate

BlackPast.org

New Books in History with Marshall Poe Audio: Interview with author Eric Gardner (20:59)

Jennie Carter: A Black Journalist of the Early West edited by Eric Gardner, Copyright © 2007 published by University Press of Mississippi

The Elevator

 

 

Jennie Carter’s Pre-Civil War, Civil War & Reconstruction-era 1846-1870

Jennie Carter was an esteemed Nevada City essayist who wrote and published articles in a San Francisco newspaper between 1867-1874.

She was a free black woman born in 1830 (or 1831).  *Free people of color first arrived on the North American continent in the French territories and with the Spanish and Portuguese. They were highly educated and successful in business.

To gain a deeper understanding of Jennie’s opinions and writing, it’s important to know where she was living before moving to Nevada County and to understand what might have triggered her relocation.

In Jennie’s lifetime, the following events occurred;

  • 1846 Mexican American War
  • Westward Expansion – Manifest Destiny
  • 1849 California Gold Rush 
  • 1850 Fugitive Slave Laws were passed to provide the return of escaped slaves (a danger for free blacks – they could be captured/kidnapped and entered into slavery)
  • Tensions mount between Northern and Southern states
  • 1860 Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States

** Historians suggest this is when Jennie and her first husband, Reverand Correll, a Campbellite minister, relocated to Grass Valley, California from New Orleans, Louisiana. [Jennie married Dennis Carter in Nevada City after Reverand Correll’s death.]

  • January 1861 Louisiana votes to secede from the Union
  • March 1861 Louisiana vows allegiance to the Confederate States of America
  • April 12th, 1861 Civil War begins
  • January 1, 1863, President Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring “that all persons held as slaves within the rebel states “are, and henceforward shall be free”
  • April 1865 Civil War ends — one week later Abraham Lincoln is assassinated
  • December 1865 Congress ratifies the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery
  • 1867 Congress passes the 14th Amendment granting citizenship and civil liberties to freed slaves
  • 1869 Congress passes the 15th Amendment granting African American men the right to vote
  • 1870 African American men in California gain voting rights when 2/3 of the states ratify the 15th Amendment

Social movements taking place;

  • Abolition (eliminating slavery), temperance (sobriety), and sufferage (voting rights for black men and white women)
  • Human rights and individual betterment 

Prior to Jennie’s move, New Orleans hosted the largest population of free black people in the United States.

Mid-Nineteenth Century American Attitudes

History and Happenings in New Orleans in the early 1860s

 

Reconstruction-era 1865-1877

A time of extraordinary hope and political progress followed by a terrorist backlash.

If you liked this post, learn more about Jennie Carter in these posts;

Jennie Carter’s Thoughts & Words from Nevada City 1867 – 1874 (video)
Jennie Carter’s Nevada County Setting 1860s, 2nd Marriage & Obituary
Jennie Carter Book Review
Jennie Carter – Filming Behind-the-Scenes & Creative Partners
Nineteenth-Century Creole Snacks & Jennie Carter (Shared Tastes recipe blog)

Resources:

American Historical Association – *LARGE* educator resource list addressing Confederate Monument Debate

BlackPast.org

History Channel13th Amendment (1865)

Howard University – Reconstruction-era History 1865-1877

 

Jennie Carter: A Black Journalist of the Early West edited by Eric Gardner, Copyright © 2007 published by University Press of Mississippi

Khan Academy – Start of the Civil War 1844

Louisiana State University – Free People of Color in Louisiana

NPR podcast – Emancipation Proclamation (1862) – what it didn’t do

Project Gutenberg | downloadable public domain books in multiple formats

 

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (1868-1863) was a Harvard Educated American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author, writer and editor. His goal was to put an end to white supremacy.

The Souls of Black Folk 

 

 

Frederick Douglas (1818-1895) was an American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, photographer and statesman.

Books by Frederick Douglas

 

 

Additional Resources:

Sacramento Zouaves on parade in Marysville 1873 mentioned in Jennie’s writing (page 95 – Jennie Carter, A Black Journalist of the Early West)

Clothing Styles 1860-1880s

 

Contemporary Resource:

National Geographic TV – America Inside Out with Katie Couric – season one – Confederate statue removal  

**PBS Four-Part Series – Reconstruction, American After the Civil War | preview

Jennie Carter – Filming Behind-the-Scenes & Creative Partners

“Jennie” drinking water on Deer Creek

While reading Eric Gardner’s book—Jennie Carter: A Black Journalist of the Early Westin the spring of 2019, Deer Creek Project Coordinator, Lisa Redfern day-dreamed about highlighting Jennie Carter in a historical video. Upon reaching Carter’s temperance segment (page 25, 1868) describing drinking water out of Deer Creek, Redfern found the connection she needed to go-for-it.

Video production took the entire summer to execute;

  • pieces of Carter’s writing were selected
  • Katrina Thompson was asked to portray and voice act for Jennie Carter’s part
  • filming location permission, costumes, and props were secured
  • scene planning was mapped and detailed
  • a delightful evening was spent at Randco Studios recording Jennie’s writing
  • filming took place on one long day (July 5th) starting early in Colfax and following the light to the Pine Grove Cemetery in Nevada City


Locations:

Filming day started early in Colfax

Jennie Carter’s headstone in Pine Grove Cemetery, Nevada City

Costuming from Solstice Vintage Clothing, Nevada City

“Jennie” extolling the world of letters and reading

 

_________

Many thanks to…

Voice Acting & Jennie Carter Portrayal

Katrina Thompson | (916) 218-8198


Audio Recording & Sound Design

Randy Landenberger, Randco Studios, Grass Valley, CA | randylscott@randco.me


Research

Tracey Lilyquist, Librarian, Doris Foley Historical Library

The Jennie Carter production would not have been as wonderful without them!

_________

Video Editing

Initially, the Jennie Carter material was envisioned as five short videos. Each segment — four minutes in length — took a full week to compile and edit.

Every square or rectangle in the video above represents an image, a sound effect, video clip, or text file.

Once the segments were proofed, it was decided that they would show better as one piece.

Director & Video Production

Lisa Redfern and Katrina Thompson on Deer Creek at the end of filming day.

Lisa Redfern
Redfern Studio
Little Mountain Publishing
(530) 559-4367 

 

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“Lost, one golden hour with sixty diamond minutes. No reward, for they can never be found.” Horace Mann, 1856

If you liked this post, check out;

Jennie Carter’s Thoughts & Words from Nevada City 1867 – 1874 (video)
Jennie Carter’s Nevada County Setting 1860s, 2nd Marriage & Obituary
Jennie Carter’s Pre-Civil War, Civil War & Reconstruction-era 1846-1870
Jennie Carter Book Review
Nineteenth-Century Creole Snacks & Jennie Carter (Shared Tastes recipe blog)

 

 

For more behind-the-scenes imagery, visit Following Deer Creek on Instagram.

 

Jennie Carter: A Black Journalist of the Early West edited by Eric Gardner, Copyright © 2007 published by University Press of Mississippi

Crayfish – Aquatic Groundskeepers

Young crayfish on Deer Creek, August 2019

Crayfish are freshwater crustaceans related to shrimp, lobster, and crabs. They’re all decapods—having ten legs.

Fossil records show crayfish have been in North America for millions of years.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the native range for the Signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus) is the Columbia River’s lower estuary. The range goes northwest and through tributaries that reach into British Columbia, Washington, Idaho, and Oregon.

Historical records say crayfish were first introduced to the Truckee River and Lake Tahoe sometime between 1895 and 1909. They were placed there for fish food, bait, and human consumption. Crayfish are currently planted in ponds and on fish farms to control aquatic weeds.

Habitat:

Crayfish live in a variety of freshwater environments from backwater pools to large rivers, streams. and subalpine lakes. Favorite places include hiding among rocks and in stands of partially submerged plants.  They are temperature and pH-sensitive.

Diet:

Anything and everything…

  • rotting leaves and twigs
  • animals and insects (younger crayfish are most attracted to these)
  • dead fish
  • live plants and algae (older crayfish are most attracted to these)
  • other crayfish (large crayfish are most likely to cannibalize other crayfish)

Behavior:

Crayfish breathe through gills. They can survive on land as long as gills remain moist. In water, gills also collect small food particles.

Most activity and feeding occurs at night.

Crayfish have two sets of antennae, one set for touch and the other for smell.

Defense:

Body armor—or the exoskeleton—is a crayfish’s main defense, though pincers are also used for battle.

The exoskeleton is made up of calcium carbonate (limestone), taken from the water. It builds up in layers. When the animal grows, it sheds its exoskeleton. At this time, it is at its most vulnerable until the new exoskeleton hardens.

Molting occurs most often as young grow to adulthood. Once crayfish are fully grown molting only happens a few times per year.

Crayfish have the ability to regrow claws if they are lost. Claws are also used for eating and mating.

Breeding:

Photo Credit: David Perez

Depending on food availability and water temperature, breeding can begin between three to six months of age. Mating usually occurs in the spring and summer months.

Mothers can hold sperm until conditions for egg-laying are right, usually in fall.

Females lay somewhere between 200 – 400 eggs. These are attached to her swimmerets under her tail. Young remain with their mother through several molts. As they grow, they separate somewhat, staying attached by thread-like tethers. Once fully separated, the mother secretes a pheromone that keeps the young close for protection.

Lifespan:

Average is about 3 years. In captivity, some have lived up to twenty years.

Predators:

Photo credit: Andrea Westmorland

Anything living in or near the water.

  • fish
  • birds
  • turtles
  • otters
  • raccoons
  • bullfrogs
  • coyote
  • humans

Crayfish Consumption in the West:

Washington, Oregon, and the Sacramento Delta are the main crayfish food consuming areas on the west coast. According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, over ten-thousand pounds of Signal Crayfish were taken out of the Sacramento Delta in 2018.

Dangers to Crayfish:

  • pollution
  • fertilizers
  • pesticides
  • oil or fuel
  • dams
  • changing land use activities that alter water flows
  • silt loads

Crayfish Species Where They Don’t Belong (Shipping Crayfish to Classrooms):

Carriers of a Plague Organism:

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, “crayfish plague, caused by the fungus-like organism Aphanomyces astaci Schikora, is listed in the top 100 of the “World’s Worst” invaders by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.”

Like the Asian Ladybug, Signal crayfish can live in a balanced host-parasitic relationship. If they are brought into places where that balance hasn’t been established, ecosystem havoc can result.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Recommends Eating Some Invasive Species

 

To catch crayfish you’ll need;

 

 

Invasive Eats (California Specific)| Eat the Invaders | Invasivore

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If you enjoyed this post, check out Invasive Species Choke Natives & California’s Floristic Provence.

Resources:

California Department of Fish and Wildlife – California Invasive Species Action Week

click on image to open the newsletter

National Park Service – The impact of introduced crayfish on a unique population of salamander in Crater Lake, Oregon 

USGS – Pacifastacus leniusculus (Signal Crayfish) fact sheet


Wikipedia  – Pacifastacus fortis. California’s only native crayfish.

Two Murders on Deer Creek – 1944

This is a story of murder and assumptions. The first murder happened in October of 1944, when a young WWII veteran was shot in woods near the north fork of Deer Creek. The finger of guilt pointed squarely at the local scapegoat, an oddball mountain man. 

Henry Lewis

Murders on Deer Creek

Two months after his homecoming from World War II, 24-year-old Henry Lewis organized a hunting party with his family and friends. Henry was a Purple Heart and Bronze Star decorated veteran.

Unbeknownst to Henry, this day would be his last. Did he stumble upon the hiding place of an eccentric neighbor and school buddy? Or did Henry see something or someone who was involved in an illegal cattle selling operation running in the area?

William ‘Bill’ Ebaugh was someone Henry had known for years. He was the fugitive hiding from the law that day.

How ‘Wild Bill’ Earned His Name

  • At age 21, he was committed to Napa State Hospital (1928) after an affair with a young woman from a prominent family. He was released, ‘cured,’ and agreed to voluntary sterilization.
  • Long hair

    young William Ebaugh

  • Long beard
  • Frequently walked around barefoot
  • Sung Irish ditties from treetops ‘broadcasting’ through an old Victrola horn
  • Many women were attracted to him
  • Running naked through the woods
  • Sneaking up on young lovers and bursting into song
  • Good aim when shooting
  • Participated in an armed stand-off with sheriff outside Ebaugh’s home (1935) – peacefully resolved
  • Sheriff searches Ebaugh’s room and confiscates a double-barrel shotgun, an automatic shotgun, a revolver and an automatic pistol (1935)
  • Arrested for disturbing the peace (1937) – Willow Valley Road
  • In public, Bill boasts that he won’t be taken alive
  • Charged with the rape of neighbor (1939) – acquitted
  • Charged with buying a miner’s wife for $20 and holding her captive (1937) – charges dismissed
  • Charged with stealing cows (1943) owned by Charles Morandi
  • Hiding from Sheriff
  • Broke into cabins stealing food and trinkets

Local Culture of the Time

Young men were away at war. Newspapers touted articles about spies and communism. Food and necessities were rationed. To buy beef, a special coupon was needed.

To better understand the local culture during World War II, watch the video below.

 

 In Nevada County, it was said that women and children were afraid of the ‘wacko’ living in the hills.

Local Sheriffs were on edge, having multiple run-ins with Bill Ebaugh.

Additional Information:

There may have been an illegal beef selling operation (not requiring government issued red-dot coupons) in the Willow Valley area.

As a miner, Bill built a rock crusher. With it, he helped disguise gold pocketed by hard rock miners working for local mines. He kept their identities secret.

Tension Inciting Language about Ebaugh Published in the Newspaper

Hermit of the hills
Phantom of the hills
Bad Character
Desperate character
Man long feared
Eccentric resident
Terrorizing neighbors
Reign of terror
Menace to society
Killer
Alleged to be an escapee from a State Hospital
Threatened the Sherriff
Crafty and resourceful fugitive
People in his home section will breathe easier once he’s behind bars

Finding Lewis’s Body and the Hunt for his Killer

After hearing two shots and a multi-day search, Henry’s body was found by his Uncle Jack. It was face down in the Snow Mountain Ditch.

A Boyscout troop discovered Ebaugh’s mine tunnel living quarters about a mile away. Inside, Sheriff Tobiassen recognized items belonging to Ebaugh, including a Victrola horn and wet clothes. The Sheriff directed the search party to change course from looking for Henry Lewis to hunting for Willliam Ebaugh.

Uncle Jack commented that he didn’t think Ebaugh was dangerous. He and Henry had been friends for years and Bill probably didn’t know Henry had been killed.

Blood spots, a rifle, and a bullet with bone and hair were discovered about 15 feet from Ebaugh’s tunnel. It was determined that this is where Henry had been shot in the back.

Injustice

A fear-drenched community with mob mentality contributed to flawed decision making for public protection and private gain. 

Armed volunteers combed the hills for weeks looking for Bill Ebaugh. If Bill wasn’t the shooter, then the killer had ample time to disappear.

For nine days, the Grass Valley-Nevada City Morning Union published a Dead or Alive Notice on page two. The Reward offered by a citizens committee headed by Grove Celio.

Bill Ebaugh’s executioner was 24-year-old Irvin Woodrow Davis, a P.G. & E. Carpenter. He wasn’t part of the posse group photographed above but lived near the old cabin where Ebaugh had been hiding since his tunnel was discovered.

Early one morning, Irvin moved into a sniper position. 

Bill was unarmed and standing on the front porch; he’d just finished his morning wash-up. Bill must have seen or heard the man holding him in his gun sight because he was diving for cover when Irvin’s shot hit its mark, killing Ebaugh on the spot.

A coroners jury decided that Irvin’s actions were “justified and excusable.” 

While citizens appalled by the mishandling of the case were concerned about retribution, they sent an inquest petition to the Attorney General.

The Attorney General sent an investigator to review the case.  No additional action was taken.

Bill had no family to hold authorities accountable;  no one paid a price for painting a bulls-eye on Bill’s back and opening a free-for-all.

William Ebaugh didn’t have a chance to answer the charges or defend himself in front of a jury of his peers.

Multiple Losses 

  • The Lewis family lost a beloved son.
  • A misunderstood mountain man was gunned down by a carpenter.
  • The reward money was unlikely adequate compensation for a life lived with that memory (Irvin Davis), and
  • the community would harbor lingering doubt about the men working to protect and serve in Nevada County.

Liberties with the law were taken and those entrusted to guard it looked the other way.

 

Editor’s Note: When viewing history through your own place and time, it’s impossible to fully comprehend. Research revealed that it was common to have citizen groups assisting the Sheriff’s department, similar to Volunteer Fire Fighters.

This editor would like to believe if William Ebaugh lived today, he may have had social support services and he might not have become an instantaneous target.

 

Want more? Check out Anthony House Aflame Under Lake Wildwood.

Resources:

 Dead or Alive When a Local War Hero Died Mysteriously Vigilante Justice was Swift – The Union

Draft Card Found article (Bill Ebaugh)

Gravesite – Henry Lewis

Gravesite – Willian Ebaugh

The Wild Bill Ebaugh Story by Bob Paine

Stories in the Media:

Capital Public Radio – Controversial Side of Local History Explored in Foothill TheatreListen to the radio show

Dakota Sid & – Amazon song – The Ballad of Wild Bill Ebaugh      

Foothill Theater Company production ‘Long Shadow’ (2005) – Show Script           

The Saga of Wild Bill Ebaugh – Dale Pendell

True Detective Magazine – March 1945 & December 1945

 

Cleaning out Ebaugh’s ‘den’, highlighting his Victrola horn.

Clothing in 1944

By studying the clothing styles popular in the 1940’s, one can see why journalist Bob Paine called Bill Ebaugh Nevada County’s ‘first hippie.’ 

Kent State Museum – WWII  – Civilian Clothing

 Clothing and Uniforms from WW II

Compilation image (with a model) showing how Bill Ebaugh may have dressed.

click on image to see more Life on the Creek art

 

 

 

Tarplant | Spikeweed – Prolific Oil Producer & Drought-Tolerant to the Extreme

Within the California Floristic Province, there about 90 species of native tarweeds. Over millions of years, they developed to succeed in a variety of microclimates from sea level to mountain elevations. Tarweeds are part of California’s first native plants and are members of the sunflower family.

“Large swaths of undeveloped California are populated with all variety of tarweeds, because tarweeds have that logic in their DNA.” – Eric Simmons, Bay Nature Magazine

Tarweed, Hemizonia fitchii, is also known as tarplant, spikeweed, or Fitch’s Spikeweed.

They are part healthy grassland ecosystems. They’re also commonly found in areas where the soil has been disturbed.

Spikeweeds are annuals and drought-tolerant in the extreme. Seeds don’t require water to germinate!

Stalks and leaves are covered with fine hair and oil glands. A strong aroma is produced by the oil. Some folks claim it smells like turpentine, this blogger thinks it smells like eucalyptus. Tarplant oil may contain mosquito repellant properties.

Like other plants that make sticky oils, tarweeds attract certain bugs. Once they become stuck, they become carrion for predator insects that have evolved along with the tarplant, able to move about unhampered. Some of the carrion is eaten by predators while others may become nutrient sources for the plant.

Seeds are edible, like sunflower seeds. They can be eaten raw, toasted, or ground into flour. Native Americans used them to make mush. Birds and other animals also enjoy this food source.

At knee height, tarplants are eaten by grazing animals when they’re freshly sprouted, but later in the season when spikes are fully developed at the end of stem leaves, most grazers avoid them.

Flowers bloom between July – September.

click image to see more Life on the Creek art

If you liked this post, you may also enjoy learning about another oily California native plant – Yerba Santa – Fire Follower & Phlegm Fighter

Resources:

Calflora – Hemizonia fitchii

Discover Life – Hemizonia – more photos

Native American Food Plants: An Ethnobotanical Dictionary by Daniel E. Moerman (Book)

Chico State – Friends of the Herbarium Newsletter (PDF pg. 3)

Native Foods Nursery (Oregon)

Research Gate – Biologically active constituents of North American Plants

Restoration Landscaping – Growing tarweed from seed

UC Berkeley – Jepson Herbaria – Bruce Baldwin

UC Davis – Weed Report (PDF)

Other Interesting Tarplant News:

Bay Nature – Weird, Ugly, Rare – Livermore Tarplant
A tarplant variety on the edge of extinction and mass botanical insensitivity.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife – Livermore tarplant

Rabbits & Hares – Chickens of the Predator World

Lagomorphs include hares, rabbits, and pikas. For this post, we’re concentrating on the first two, commonly seen in Nevada County. Hares and rabbits are fast-food for predators; coyote, fox, badgers, bobcat, hawks, owls, snakes, mountain lion, and squirrels. Dogs, cats, and humans hunt them too.

If you’re a top item on the predator menu, you develop and learn survival skills.

Similarities between Rabbits & Hares

Lagomorphs generally remain hidden for most daylight hours. Large ears with acute hearing and big eyes with 360° peripheral vision reduce being caught off guard.

Eyes and ears made for being ever watchful.

Both consume about a pound of grass per day and most of their water intake comes from dew.

Rabbits and hairs get most of their water from morning dew.

Hares and rabbits are thermoregulators. They conserve moisture by staying in the shade, stretching out, panting, and slowing metabolism. Large ear surfaces help cool the blood so it can lower body temperature. When it’s windy, they stay in hiding because the wind interferes with hearing.

Incisors grow throughout life.

Rabbits and Hares have four incisors, unlike rodents who have only two. Incisors grow continuously throughout life and must be kept in check by constant chewing.

Cellulose (in grass) is difficult to digest, so they do it twice by eating their own poop. A certain amount of ground food is diverted to a blind-ended pouch, the caecum. Once in the caecum, it’s mixed with micro-organisms, yeast, and bacteria that break the cellulose down into sugar.  This is known as hindgut fermentation. About four to eight hours after a meal (after dry pellets are excreted) a second set of soft, moist droppings are produced, cecotropes. These are eaten immediately to absorb the nutrients.

Defense Behavior

Thumping – warning

Ear flapping during the chase to distract predators.

Running, zig zagging and hiding.

Differences between Rabbits & Hares

Size
Rabbits – 1.5 – 2.5 lb. (full grown)
Hares – 4.5 – 14 lbs (full grown)

Physical Differences
Rabbits – short legs and ears
Hares – long legs and ears

Lifespan
Rabbits – about 3 years
Hares – 6-7 years

Nests, Gestation & Young
Rabbits – uses burrows dug by other animals for nesting, lines it with grass and fur
22-28 day gestation |5 litters per year | 1 – 7 kittens

Hares – creates a nest from shallow depressions under bushes
41 -47 day gestation |3 -4 litters per year | 3 – 4 young (leverets)

Birth & Nursing
Rabbits are born hairless & closed eyes (altricial). Young are nursed for about a month.
Hares are born with full hair & open eyes (precocial). Young are nursed for only 2-3 days.

Social
Rabbits are social. They huddle for security, perform group grooming to build relationships and prefer to remain in brambles and bushes.
Hares are solitary (except when mating) and prefers open spaces.

Eating Times
Rabbits – early morning & evening
Hares – nocturnal

Cottontail Rabbit

Mountain Cottontail, left. Desert Cottontail, right.

Range – California, and Oregon

 

Jackrabbits [Hares]

Pioneers coming out west called them ‘jackass-rabbits’ which was shortened to jackrabbit.  Though the name has ‘rabbit’ in it, these animals are hares.

Black-tailed Jackrabbit, left. Snowshoe Hare, center. White-tailed Jackrabbit, right.

When courting, Jackrabbits chase each other, playing hard to get. Boxing matches (teasing) are a sign of affection.

 

click image to see more Life on the Creek, Jackrabbit, and Cottontail art

 

If you liked this post, you may also like North American Beaver – Water Banker.

Resources:

Taxonomy of Rabbits and Hares 0:28 – 2:15

 

Bioone.org – Ear Flashing Behavior in Black-tailed Jackrabbits

Canadian Journal of Zoology

California Department of Fish and Wildlife – Rabbits and Hares

Hoppingtonpost.com

Kahn Academy – Predatory-prey cycles

McGill Office for Science and Society – Rabbits Eat Their Own Poop

Wikipedia – Desert cottontail

Wikipedia – Lagomorpha – Hares & rabbits 

Wikipedia – Mountain Cottontail

Einstein Corvidae – Crows & Ravens

 

 

Smart birds—crows, and ravens are part of the Corvid family. This group of perching birds includes blue jays, magpies, and nutcrackers.

In Old Norse and English cultures, a dark-haired person who steals is referred to as a ‘raven.’ Native Americans associated the raven with prophecy and an omen of loss.

Smart Bird Intelligence

Corvid Commonalities

As adaptable as the raccoon and coyote, corvids live in a variety of environments – wherever there’s a ready food source – and take full advantage of abundant opportunities that humans offer.

  • Omnivores – corvids will eat just about anything; insects, snails, worms, frogs, snakes, garbage, carrion, seeds, grain, berries and other fruit, fish, small turtles, crayfish, mice, and baby birds from other species.
  • They quickly learn how to access food sources whether it’s by opening trash cans or dropping nuts from distance.

  • Corvids are social animals, mating for life and living in extended family groups.
  • Males and females build nests together. Between 3 – 9 eggs are laid and chicks hatch after about two weeks. Older siblings help care for the young.
  • Family units provide education, protection, comfort, socialization, and companionship.

Photo Credit: noisytoy.net

  • Thought to be one of the most intelligent birds, experts say their reasoning abilities are about the same as a seven-year-old child.
  • Crows remember events for ten years plus, teaching new generations what they learned.

  • Crows and ravens work in groups to problem solve.
  • Corvids have developed, sophisticated language skills – differing group and family dialects.
  • Mobbing is when they work together to drive off predators.
  • Corvids enjoy playing and require lots of mental stimulation.
  • They notice when a member of their group has died, holding ‘funerals.’

 

What are the differences between crows and ravens?

Crows:

 

.7 – 1.5 lbs
Crows make caw-caw calls.
Fan-shaped tails.
Spend winter nights in communal roots, sometimes numbering in the thousands.
Vocalize while flying.

 

Ravens:

Photo Credit: Diliff

1.5 – 4.5 lbs
Ravens make growl-like calls.
Diamond-shaped tail.
Hides food in stashes and uses distraction to draw attention away from them.
Large throat hackle feathers.
Mostly hunts for food in pairs.
Soars without making calls.

 

If you liked this post, you may also like Woodpeckers – Drumming Hoarders.

click on image to see more Life on the Creek art

click on image to see more Life on the Creek art

Resources:

Audubon – American Crow

Audubon – Common Raven

Audobon – How to Tell the Difference between Crows

Audobon – How to Tell a Raven from a Crow

Cornell Lab of Ornithology – American Crow Life History

Cornell Lab of Ornithology – Common Raven

Cornell Cooperative Extension  – Crows – Wildlife Damage Management Fact Sheet (PDF)

John Marzluff – Professor of Environmental & Forest Sciences, College of the Environment, University of Washington

Humans & Corvids:

Trash Collecting Crows

Chuck and I – friendship

Canuck and I  – Facebook page (Seattle)

Ladybugs Wind Sail into the Hills

Ladybugs are members of the Coccinellidae family. The Latin translation means ‘scarlet.’

In the US, they’re called Ladybugs. In Europe, they’re Ladybirds. Legend (or internet rumor) says in the middle ages in Europe, farmers prayed to Mother Mary to save blighted crops. Prayers must have been made in spring because Ladybugs came along to save the day.  In this case, ‘Lady’ or ‘Lady’s birds’ refers to Mary Mother of Jesus. Their German name – Marienkafer, translates to Mary Beetles.

In North America, there are 450 species of Ladybugs with California hosting at least 175.

The Convergent Ladybug is native to the North and South American continents. It is easy to identify by convergent (or intersecting) white lines on the pronotum, behind the head.

Habitat

Solitary for most of the year, Ladybugs like to be near water and ponds. They congregate around food sources which can occupy forests, grasslands, suburban gardens, and agricultural fields.

Diet

All Ladybug species prey on soft-bodied plant suckers such as;

  • aphids
  • mealybugs
  • whitefly
  • scale insects
  • plant mites

They’ll also eat;

  • stinkbug eggs and larvae
  • asparagus beetle eggs and larvae
  • potato psyllid eggs and larvae
  • their own eggs and larvae

In the fall, when Ladybugs are preparing to go into diapause, adults will eat pollen to gain extra fat.

Adult ladybugs can eat nearly 50 aphids per day and 5,000 over a lifetime.

Convergent Ladybugs have a special ability to modify their development in times of food scarcity.

Hunting Behavior

Ladybugs use a sense of smell (with antennae) to detect pheromones secreted by aphids and other prey. They also have good eyesight.

Macro shot of ladybug eye.

They’ve been clocked at flying up to 37 miles per hour!

 

Bleeding Joints, a Defense Mechanism

Like other animals with flashy coloration, this communicates poison. The Ladybug is no exception. When frightened they produce an (alkaloid) chemical that causes a yellow stain. It’s secreted from their joints and has a bitter taste and foul smell. (Larval forms secrete it from the abdominal area.)

Another type of defense is playing dead. Pulling vulnerable legs under its hard shell, a Ladybug can withstand small scale attacks.

Life Cycle and Life Span

Females generally lay between twenty to thirty eggs at one time.

They have two reproductive cycles a year, in spring and fall.

Females will lay eggs in aphid beds so larva have a ready food supply.

All life stages can be found together at the same time.

Adults live for one year. However, temperature and food sources may alter this. In cooler temperatures, adults have been observed living for up to three years.

Predators

Ladybug predators include birds and other beetles. If a Ladybug gets too close to an ant colony, they will attack. One-on-one ant and Ladybug relationships are dismissive but polite.

Insect Hibernation – Diapause

When temperatures drop, Ladybugs fly up! High above the ground, wind blows them into the hills (see Ladybug Wash-Ups in Resources below).

Aggregate site selection may be a combination of long-chain hydrocarbons left by previous winter gatherings as well as pheromone sensing. They also seem to enjoy places that receive warm sun rays.

Once temperatures drop below 55º, ladybugs stop flying. Aggregation is for warmth and mating.

Estimates of 37 million beetles have been observed in some aggregate locations.

Biological Pest Management – Invited Invasive Species 

In the late 1800s farmers began experimenting with natural predators to control insect infestations. In the 1920s Southern California citrus growers imported  Australian Ladybugs to combat mealybugs.

Between the 1920s and 1980s American farmers released imported Asian ladybugs in pecan, pine and soybean crops. (The native home-range for the Asian Harlequin is eastern Asia – Siberia and Russia through the Himalayas, China, and Japan. ) Now, Asian Ladybugs – Harmonia axydris, though beneficial, are considered one of the worlds most invasive beetles.

The Harlequin beetles are stronger than the native species. They compete for the same food sources. A success factor may be a single-celled parasite that lives inside them. It exists in all life stages from egg and larva to adult. It’s harmless to the Harlequin but deadly for other species especially if they eat their eggs and larvae.

Color and marking varieties of Asian Harlequin Ladybugs

 

Problematic Diapause

Asian Harlequin beetles have a problematic habit of aggregating on or in homes. They prefer light-colored buildings and seem to like window screens.

When frightened or disturbed, Asian Harlequin’s may bite, as well as release their chemical defense.

If trapped in food, grapes, or wine they contaminate it with bitter ‘ladybug taint.’

To remove Asian Ladybugs, it’s best to wait until it’s cold and use a vacuum cleaner to suck them into a nylon stocking.

 

 

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy, Pill Bug – Heavy Metal Detector of the Underworld.

click on image to see more Life on the Creek art

click on image to see more Life on the Creek art

 

Resources:

American Journal of Enology and Viticulture – Influence of Harmonia ayridis on the Sensory Properties of White and Red Wine

Animal Diversity – Hippodamia convergens

Ask an Entomologist – Ladybug Declines in the US (comparing museum collection data)

Bay Nature Magazine – When Thousands of Ladybugs Gather in the Park

Cornell University – Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle  – Insect Diagnostic & Pest Management (PDF)

Hearts Pest Management – Asian Lady Beetles vs. Native Ladybugs

Journal of Insect Science – The multicolored Asian lady beetle, Harmonia axyridis by R.L. Koch –

Ladybug Planet – Do Ladybugs Eat Ants? When Ants and Ladybugs Clash!

National Geographic – Learn how the ladybug’s big appetite is a boon to many farmers. Find out the real purpose of their familiar polka-dot pattern.

Nature – Invasive ladybird has a biological weapon by Ed Young

Oxford Academic – Environmental Entomology – Olfactory Response of the Lady beetle Hippodamia convergens

Writing for Nature – The Beneficial Lady Beetles: Good Luck Bugs or God’s Little Cows 

Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences – Department of Entomology – Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle 

Research Gate – University of Florida – ConvergentLady Beetle Hippodamia convergens (PDF) 

Science Direct – Elytron

Science Direct – Beneficial Insects (Ladybug introduction to California) – History of Insect Pathology

ThoughtCo – 10 Facts about ladybugs

University of California at Berkeley – History of Biological Control (PDF)

University of Minnesota – Multiclored Asian Lady Beetle

Wikipedia – biological pest control 

Wikipedia – Coccinellidae

Wikipedia – Harmonia axyridis

Book

University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources – Natural Enemies Handbook

 

Ladybug Harvesting

Ladybug Wash-Ups

*Biologists speculate that wash-ups are caused by winds blowing in the wrong directions when Ladybugs are preparing to diapause. (Insect hibernate)

Flying Over & Filming the Creek – Behind-the-Scenes

After weeks of route planning and equipment experimentation, Roger Harris was ready to fly over Deer Creek.

GoPro’s, attached to the plane, filmed the journey.

Roger Harris attaching a GoPro to the Cessna 180.

In the video below, Roger explains many factors that went into trip planning.

Additional Observations:

Houses are built close to creek banks. – Roger Harris, Pilot

The color difference between Scotts Flat Lake and Lake Wildwood. – Bonnie McKeegan, Ground Film Crew

Viewing the Deer Creek Watershed inside the greater Yuba Watershed makes one appreciate the sculpting power of water on the land. – Lisa Redfern, Producer

In an upcoming FDC behind-the-scenes look post, Howard Pincus, Pilot of the Cessna 180, will be featured.

If you liked this post, you might also like, Deer Creek Water Origins, Resouce Management & Recreation

World Water Day – 22 March – Science & Beauty

In honor of world World Water Day, FDC is going global. The water flowing through Deer Creek isn’t just ‘in your back yard,’ it’s part of a shape-shifting planetary system.

Today, we’re celebrating science and the ability to gather mass data. We’re also admiring the stunning beauty of water, an element all life needs to grow.

Resources:

11:21 – Central California Aquafir

Jet Propulsion Laboratory – GRACE Mission: 15 Years of Water on Earth

United Nations – World Water Day 22 March