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

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.

Click on image to see more Life on the Creek art

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

Click on image to see more Life on the Creek art

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

click image to purchase or view more Life on the Creek art

 

“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

 

 

 

click on image to purchase or view more Life on the Creek art

“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!

 

click on image to order or view more Life on the Creek art

“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 

 

click on image to purchase or view more Life on the Creek art

 


“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

click on image to purchase or view more Life on the Creek art

 

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