Liz Writes Life

Aug. 16, 2011

Published in Siskiyou Daily News

So much to chat about. Where to start?

First, I so appreciate those of you who stop and let me know you enjoy this column.

It is fun visiting with you about my garden. Some are just starting gardening and others out-do me by a whole lot. While working in the Right to Life booth at the fair, Richard Jones from near-Montague stopped to talk. I’ve known Richard for over 25 years from when he worked at Gil’s Sentry grocery in Etna. Anyway, Richard started clicking off all the vegetables growing in his garden and then mentioned 200 tomato plants. My immediate reaction was, “are you insane!” And he doesn’t even sell them. Just gives them to family and friends. Yes, he has some tomatoes ripening. Sure wish I lived closer.

Talking about tomatoes, I was commiserating with fellow gardeners Tom Pease and Mike Cramer this week. We don’t have any ripe tomatoes and Tom thinks it is the cooler nights. I also think it is the cooler summer we are having. Don’t get me wrong, I love this 80 degree and lower 90 degree heat, but it does affect the garden. Mike and I picked our first cucumbers on Aug. 13th.

All my adult years of living here, it seems that green beans always come ready during fair week. On Aug. 9th, I picked about four gallons of beans and was swamped with setting up fair booths, so gave most away. But did get a big batch cooked. Gotta get out there this a.m. and pick them again. Questions: Why does that 18-foot-row look so short, when you are planting it? But when you are picking, it takes nearly an hour to do the project?

Controversial subjects

I am not short on issues to discuss this week. Keith Darrah, with his Truck Village problem, is back in the news. Last week, Darrah filed a Petition for Writ in the Siskiyou County Superior Court. This is the beginning of a lawsuit against the county board of supervisors, planning commission and planning department.

Up until now, Darrah has only filed appeals against the county’s decision to stop him from paving his parking lot at Black Butte. Our board of supervisors approved themselves up to $233,000 to pay private attorneys to defend them in a Judicial Procedure, where the supervisors acted as judge and jury in a hearing back in July. I watched the hearing and saw travesties in how the private attorneys and Chairman Jim Cook disallowed witnesses and information to be submitted to the hearing.

Sorry, but I shook my head at the injustice and Kangaroo Court actions. These supervisors are hiding something and I believe Darrah’s lawsuit will bring out the truth, which is: The Good Ol’ Boy network of businesses in Siskiyou County sought to destroy Darrah, because he wasn’t doing business with them. Period. Is this the Siskiyou Mafia? Oh, the writ states he is “aggrieved by the conduct in the appeal proceeding.”

I believe if Siskiyou County is to survive, we must have all the businesses (doing business) that we can get; and the dog-eats-dog attitude must go by the wayside.

DFG and Greenies

Several newspapers ran articles this weekend blasting farmers and ranchers in Scott Valley. Greenies claim that the Dept. of Fish and Game will bend to ranchers. I don’t know if Fish and Game will bend, but Scott Valley Protect Our Water will be adamant: More water in the creeks will not save juvenile coho salmon.

DFG is holding a meeting tonight, Aug. 16, at the Fort Jones Community Center at 7 p.m. to ask for irrigation water to be put in streams. First — there isn’t much irrigation water available. The creeks are drying up, because the snow has melted and that is what they have been doing since before agriculture was here. We can prove it.

The crux is that the Greenies found some dead coho in Patterson Creek and are blaming farmers for irrigating and taking what is their legal Water Right.

Luckily, through the Scott River Water Trust, Sari Sommarstrom can prove there was no irrigation occurring from Patterson Creek since July 7. This is when lots of water filled the stream from the high snow melt.

We also know that someone put a dam in the creek up high and once that info was released last week, part of the dam was removed to let the water flow!

These action by Greenies are a sham, slander and fraudulent. But Greenies use lies to destroy economies, communities and family businesses.

Yes, Sheriff Lopey has been alerted that this meeting may get a bit heated.

Summit on the Scott River

Scott Valley POW is holding a special meeting to share information about the past, present and future of the Scott River. It will be held Aug. 23 at the Fort Jones Community Center from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Everyone is invited to attend.

 Liz Bowen lives near Callahan, CA. and helps individuals write autobiographies/biographies. Check out her website/blog at: www.

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Liz Writes Life

Aug. 9, 2011

Published in Siskiyou Daily News

“The True Endangered Species” is the theme for the fair booth sponsored by Scott Valley Protect our Water and Siskiyou County Water Users Assoc. It will be in the Commercial building starting Aug. 10 at 3 p.m., when the Siskiyou Golden Fair officially opens. Stop by and visit with us and pickup information and POWs newsletter.

Calif. Dept of Fish and Game sent out a letter last week to surface irrigators in Scott Valley calling for a meeting on Aug. 16 at 7 p.m. at the Fort Jones Community Center. Fish and Game is asking water users to voluntarily leave water in the streams for juvenile coho salmon. The letter is a nicer-read that than the threatening letters of 2010, but the main problem is that the snow has melted and the creeks dry up — naturally.

State agencies and radical Tribes and Greenies blame agriculture for the reduction of water flow. The plain fact is that the streams dry up. That is why true science can prove that coho salmon are not native to Scott Valley. For thousands of years, the inland streams have dried up in the summer, whether farmers irrigate or not. Coho do not do well this far inland and were transplanted here starting 100 years ago the 1890s. Scott Valley POW advocates the Fish and Game are over-stepping their bounds once again.

Met with Senator Doug LaMalfa on Saturday with other constituents. Doug is taking his vacation, with his family, touring the North State. He is very disappointed that Trinity, Del Norte, Siskiyou and Shasta Counties have been taken out of his District in the last map released by the Redistricting Commission.

Doug is also concerned about several state agencies levying fees: CalFire has tagged on a “triple taxation” $150 fee that Doug believes will be sued upon. He wants to “beat this thing back,”  because it’s the principle that is wrong.”

Several of us complained about the Dept. of Water Resources increasing fees for Water Master Service by eight times, which is hitting ranchers and farmers with a huge increase for the use of their water.

Sheriff Jon Lopey stopped by. Doug asked him about how the “War on Terror” is affecting our economy. Sheriff responded that the lack of border security is one of the biggest military and economic challenges facing California counties, because of the drug cartels growing marijuana on our lands and using I-5 corridor for illegal distribution.

Check out Pie N on the internet for more on these issues.


The cooler-than-usual temperatures this summer are a joy. We had about 10 days of high 90 degrees, but the past week of high 80s didn’t hurt my feelings a bit. The last several summers, I have been hustling to keep everything irrigated and so I set my water timers for last year’s needs – and an hour on each line of soaker hose is actually too much for the tomatoes and even the cucumbers. The timers are set to go off every day at the same time and I am shutting off the lines for just every-other-day.

Both varieties of garlic are dry. Now I need to twistingly remove the dry tops and figure out how I will store them. The giant pumpkin seems to double in size every few days, but I don’t think it will grow very large pumpkins this year before it frosts. But it really depends on when it frosts! I hope not until late Sept this year, but we who knows. Oh, and I did finally pay up and take Tom and Verna Pease to lunch. Remember Tom and I had the contest last summer to see who could grow the largest pumpkin and he won. Whoever lost would take the other out for dinner and I want you to know I paid up.

The cabbages are huge and finally getting some aphids, but the plants, along with the broccoli, are pretty clean and happy for August. I think they like the cooler summer too and maybe the dill voluntarily growing in them helped as well. Several cabbages may hit the 12 pound size like two I had last year. Now that the larger heads have been picked from the broccoli, I am picking the much smaller ones that grow by many of the leaf joints and the picking is every-other-day. Made another broccoli and bacon and raisin salad this weekend.

Can’t believe how the corn has grown. In just a few days, last week, the silk on the ears grew four inches. I planted peas in July for an autumn crop and the only peas that grew were planted into the corn row. Maybe the peas needed the shade, but next year, I think I’ll try planting the July peas in the corn with expectations of them climbing up the stalk.

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Liz Writes Life

Aug. 2, 2011

Published in Siskiyou Daily News

Keith Darrah Truck Village saga

First, I need to let you know that Keith Darrah has not sued the county. At least one county board of supervisor has told folks that Darrah sued the county. This is not true.

What Darrah has done is appeal the decision by the Siskiyou County Planning Commission, which ordered his gravel mining business shut down in 2008. The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors then heard Darrah’s appeal and upheld the Planning Commission’s decision. Darrah appealed the Board of Supervisors decision and Siskiyou County Counsel suggested this judicial procedure, which occurred on July 18-20. The Supervisors sit as judge and jury and after listening to the procedure, I was appalled. And the hearing was continued to Sept. 7-9.

I was at the supervisor’s meeting when they approved up to $158,000 to pay for private attorneys to defend them, opps, the county. At a later meeting, the supervisors voted for up to $75,000 to pay for another private attorney to advise them during the hearing. Why are they spending so much money persecuting a business owner, who brought taxes into the county coffers? I allege there is a cover-up of wrong doing by a previous board of supervisors and the Siskiyou Planning Commission.

The present supervisors should have the courage to stop this nonsense, stop spending our tax dollars and let Darrah get to work.

Darrah should be operating his gravel mine, which is next door to his Truck Village at the base of Black Butte. The county would be gaining taxes from his business; instead up to 23 employees lost their jobs. Darrah knows about complying with state and federal regulations from his previous 20 years in the logging business. He checked with the county regarding these issues, when he decided to upgrade the old Truck Stop. It had never been paved. Must have been lots of air pollution from that dusty truck stop back in the 1980s and 1990s. Now the area is paved and Darrah has never had an air pollution violation.

I listened to testimony by Darrah, Siskiyou Planning Director Terry Barber and others. I don’t know why Barber decided to go after Darrah, but I can guess she was told to. Under testimony given, there were rumors that Supervisor LaVada Erickson was “after” Darrah, because he is a competitor with her business.

Barber admitted she was not an expert in mining issues. So why was she Planning Director? Previously, Barber was Public Health Director.  During the first year Barber was Planning Director, the county went from 100 percent of the mining Permits being in compliance with state regulations to only 50 percent. This, according to Barber, was because she couldn’t keep up with the paperwork involved. Hum, maybe she was in over her head.

Darrah had a permit for his gravel mine with no previous violations. On his adjoining property, he decided to improve the Truck Village by paving the parking lot. According to government regulations, he could excavate, cut and fill (to level) the ground in making and then expanding the parking lot. This is called “construction.” Under the regs for “construction” you can do all the things you do on a gravel mine – only more. This was brought out during testimony at the appeal hearing.

The only permit Darrah needed for his “construction” site was for building the shop, which he obtained. Many more items showing persecution by the county were brought out during this first hearing. But I doubt that the supervisors will rule against themselves!


Waited almost too long to stake up the tomatoes last week they were so tall. Found a few green tomatoes have set on. Picked my first zucchini on July 27th. I planted them on June 10th, so that is a 47 day-to-harvest schedule. Not too shabby.

This second planting of carrots has came up pretty well. I irrigated them most every morning and late afternoon and weeded on Saturday. Red potatoes are good sized. Got a small batch of peas and made a tiny batch of creamed peas and potatoes.

Finally got oregano, two kinds of mint and lemon balm harvested. I was careful and didn’t get any weeds in them as I was cutting the stems on July 23rd. Each group went into a different cardboard box and I propped the flaps to keep out the sun, but let air in. I found that the sun bleaches the leaves. So, when it started thundering and dropping a few big rain drops on Sunday July 31st afternoon, I brought them from the porch into the house. I began stripping the oregano leaves from the stems and soon went looking for an old sock (clean) to put on the hand that runs down the stem shaving off the dry leaves. The next step is to sift the oregano through a colander.

Liz Bowen lives near Callahan, CA. and helps individuals write autobiographies/biographies. Check out her photos at: www.

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Liz Writes Life

July 26, 2011

Published Siskiyou Daily News


The rip-roaring Old Time Rodeo is this Saturday at 5:30 p.m. in Etna. Entries for the Kids’ Calf Riding and Mutton Bustin’ are at 3 p.m. at the concession stands.

John Menke Ph.D. and rancher from Quartz Valley will speak at the Yreka TEA Party July 26 at 6:30 p.m. Dr. Menke will share info on the fraudulent science being used against agriculture. The meeting is held at Decision Life Church at 1301 S. Main St, where the Gil’s Farm and Garden was located years ago.

Oh, I learned from Christopher Liles last week that he was in a terrible single car accident, when he hit gravel on a turn on Eastside Road and smacked a tree. He called again on Sunday night and sounded pretty darned good, even though his leg is crushed and in bad shape. He is in Linda Vista in Ashland.

POW meeting

Our Scott Valley Protect Our Water meeting was a hit with over 120 folks showing up. The meeting rolled along pretty smoothly as we discussed the problem with Pacific Power rates and PUC; the $150 fee that will be assessed to private rural parcels, with a home, for fire protection costs by the state Cal-Fire; and a new Water Quality Control Board letter sent to Jerry Bacigalupi. We also talked about the Keith Darrah case, Dept. of Fish and Game’s newest letter to irrigators; and the redistricting boundaries for voting districts. Siskiyou County is now back together and out of the coastal districts, but Erin Ryan, from the Redding TEA Party, explained her group is working on getting Shasta County put back on the I-5 corridor as it has been put in with the coastal districts.

Brian Petersen, from the State of Jefferson, talked about creating a network to fight against the Monument designation and Danielle Lindler, from KARE, explained how KARE has been working diligently against the Monument.

Tom Pease announced he is running for a seat on the County Water Master Service District board. The voting for this board will be during the November election.

John Menke attended the RiverKeepers court case last week against the Farm Bureau and explained the Greenies lost their case to become “interveners” in the Farm Bureau lawsuit against the Dept. of Fish and Game. Yea!

Lots of folks brought desserts, so I suggested that the audience should start eating, but we needed to continue. Good manners were in evidence as folks did begin deciding on which goodies to enjoy, but listened as Mike Duguay reported about the special Task Force that critiqued the NOAA Coho Recovery Plan. The Task Force did an incredible job in 10 days reviewing a 2,000 page document.

Then it was time for property rights attorney Fred Kelly Grant, who was in Siskiyou County the entire week speaking at many meetings regarding coordination. Siskiyou will be Fred’s poster child for his Trademark America, Inc. Foundation to utilize this tool called “coordination,” which brings state and federal agencies to the local level and be “consistent” with local policy. Copco Volunteer Fire Department is now coordinating and attended our POW meeting.

Sheriff Jon Lopey was appreciated as he shared how he understands coordination and is already sitting at the table in these government-to-government meetings. As you can tell, we packed a tremendous amount of info into two hours and still had time for Pie N Politics afterwards. Check out www. for more.

POW and the Siskiyou County Water Users Assoc. are sharing a booth at the Siskiyou Golden Fair Aug. 10-14 in the commercial building. Stop by and see what our theme is!

Darrah case

Hypocrisy was in full force at the board of sups judicial procedure last week on the appeal by Keith Darrah for shutting down his business. First, this is not a lawsuit. Darrah has not sued the county. He has appealed their decision to shut his business down, which claims he was surface gravel mining on his construction site. Second, according to witnesses at the hearing, I learned that all the things he was doing at the construction site were legal under state regulations. Third, I learned that Supervisor LaVada Erickson told county staff to “go after” Darrah. Why you ask? Well isn’t it odd that Erickson has a trucking business that hauls for Darrah’s competitor, Sousa Ready Mix. A witness also testified the county purchases gravel from competitor Sousa, but has never purchased from Darrah.

This just stinks as the county has authorized $233,000 of our tax dollars for private attorneys in defending their position. Oh, and the hearing was continued to September, so the board will likely be authorizing more funds to persecute Darrah.

I allege the board of sups is covering up a case of good-ol’-boy-only-gets-to-be-in-business, but this time it is “good ol’ gal.” Erickson did not run in the last election.

Liz Bowen lives near Callahan, CA. and helps individuals write autobiographies/biographies. Check out her garden photos at: www.

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Liz Write Life

July 19, 2011

Published in Siskiyou Daily News

This Thursday, July 21st, Scott Valley Protect Our Water is holding an important meeting. Water and property rights supporters are encouraged to attend.

Property rights attorney, Fred K. Grant, will be here and discuss “new gigantic tools” for making state and federal agencies abide by the legal process of Coordination with local governments. President Obama just issued Executive Order 13575, which requires all cabinet officers to better “coordinate … for quality of life in our rural communities.”  Fred is excited to use this Order to our advantage.

The meeting is at 7 p.m. at the Fort Jones Community Center. Bring a dessert to share afterwards, when we have Pie N Politics, which is our social hour. We will also discuss the status of the Water Master Service fee increase and the reactivated County Water Master District. And we had a “win” with the recent changing of the boundaries of our voting districts with the Redistricting Commission. Shasta County is still working hard trying to be removed from the coastal districts and we should lend them support. Mike Duguay will discuss the coho salmon Task Force critiquing a federal agency.

Scott Valley Bluegrass Festival

Sure enjoyed the great music at the festival last weekend in Etna. Visited with friends and was amazed at many vendors artwork. Good food too. Thanks to all the hard-working volunteers!

Republican Central Committee meets

On Wednesday evening, the Republican Central Committee will meet at Mings in Yreka at 6 p.m. Attorney Fred K. Grant will speak and share his new information. Visitors are encouraged to attend.

Fred will be here all week attending meetings, including Sheriff Jon Lopey and others at county and city levels. I was told Sheriff Lopey did an outstanding job in the county’s Coordination meeting with the U.S. Forest Service last week. The “human” aspect has been ignored in federal issues and this is where local policies, which include our economy, culture and safety will have new strength. Sheriff Lopey is leading the way and standing firm.

Darrah hearing

The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors is spending a huge amount of tax payer money in their persecution of Truck Village business owner Keith Darrah. County records show the county supervisors have contracted over $225,000 dollars for outside private attorneys for the judicial procedure this week against Darrah, who expanded his parking lot at the Black Butte business location.

This judicial procedure by the Board is highly unusual and the supervisors sit as judge and jury against Mr. Darrah. I imagine the supervisors will once again rule against Mr. Darrah and it will continue to be a big waste of time and money.

Mr. Darrah has an approved gravel mine, but the county is claiming that he mined at his paved parking lot. Sure he had to excavate and remove hillside and gravel, but the area is within an “industrial” zone. This is a no-brainer. Property rights activists, including Scott Valley POW, are supporting Darrah. This may come back to bite Siskiyou County.

I must ask these questions: Why does the county continue to persecute businesses? We need all the tax dollars we can get. Shouldn’t the county work with businesses to help them be productive? Or are only a select few permitted to be in business?

Blinking deer light

Yep, this is ironic. Received several reports that one of the poles with a covered blinking deer light outside of Fort Jones has been in an accident. This was a million dollar project by the state Dept. of Fish and Game as a protection for deer; and received many complaints for waste of taxpayer money. I will report more next week, but it sounds like someone may have tried to miss an animal (deer?) and took out the pole – wiring and all!


Could not believe how cool it got last week. I covered the carrot seed bed with layered sheets to keep them damp and didn’t really need too. I don’t see any carrots coming up. There are some tiny green leaves sprouting, but I think they are weeds. The peas are not up either. That is the hard part – waiting for the seeds to sprout up!

Learned something about lettuce, when I picked a huge batch this week. I have been surprised as they keep producing and I figured it was from seed. But I realized, while cutting the plants just above the ground, they have been re-growing and producing several more big lettuces from one stem and root. I left some lettuce and will see if the other roots produce again. It was so cool this weekend that they may continue to grow. Wow, have the green beans, zucchini and corn taken off. I have had to cut back on my irrigation. Usually this time of July it is super hot and I am constantly irrigating.




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Liz Writes Life

July 12, 2011

Published in Siskiyou Daily News

Dan Doresy of Mt. Shasta TEA Party asked about eight of us who are leaders in groups, who want to live by the U.S. and California Constitutions, to network as a Siskiyou Alliance. We have met with Congressman Tom McClintock, California Senator Doug LaMalfa, Congressman Wally Herger. Last Friday, we met with Assemblyman Jim Nielsen in Mt. Shasta at Lalo’s. The Siskiyou Alliance includes the Mt. Shasta TEA Party, Yreka TEA Party, Siskiyou Water Users Association, Scott Valley Protect Our Water, Republican Central Committee, KARE – the pro-timber group, Grange and the suction dredge miners.

Nielsen listened and shared info as well. He is frustrated over the redistricting commission, bus said there is nothing that legislators can do about the redistricted boundaries, because it was taken out of their hands by a CA. Proposition in 2008 passed by the state voters. The last map I have seen puts all of Siskiyou County back together and places us with Modoc, Lassen, Plumas and down the eastern side of the state.

Shasta County has now been lumped into the coastal counties. The hearings are also closed, but the Citizen’s Redistricting Commission is still taking emails and letters. Thank you to everyone who wrote letters to keep Siskiyou County together. We may still lose Nieslen as our assemblyman, who has been a champion for Siskiyou issues, but at least we won’t be with the extremely different coastal communities. Nielsen also promised that he will continue to give voice to concerns from Siskiyou County at the state level. To him, I say “thank you!”

We also discussed the PUC rate increased proposed by Pacific Power regarding dam removal. There are two new difficult problems for farm and ranch irrigators. One is the drastic increase in Water Master Service by the CA. Dept. of Water Resources. The other is regarding maintenance on the expensive fish screens that have been installed in Scott Valley as demanded by the CA. Dept of Fish and Game back in 2002, because of the proposed listing of coho salmon to the California Endangered Species Act.

This agency has spent over $1.2 million to engineer and place 95 fish screens on diversions in Scott Valley, but the agency is dragging its feet to maintain the fish screens. After the high water this year, many have been damaged by debris. In the agency’s regulations it states they are to maintain the fish screens, but they are not.

I complained to the State Director John McCammon at Scott Valley Protect Our Water’s meeting with him in April, but nothing has been done.

Several assembly bills were also discussed and the problem gold miners are having with the California Dept. of Fish and Game. There was plenty to talk about.

Things are growing

Gardening is still front and center. Finally there is more color in the wild flower garden as the multi-colored rose and red rose are blooming. Oh, the fragrance is gorgeous. Also the tall yarrow is turning yellow. The pedal-type bright purple lambs ears and red snapdragons are blooming together. There are also the yellow coreopsis, Shasta daisies, purple wandering Jew and a pink bearded discia. And the orange day lilies just started opening everyday. Quite a variety of color, but that is why I call my flower garden “wild.”

Mixed Miracle Grow and sprinkled the entire garden vegetables on Saturday. Also did the five zinnias, one large dahlia and three smaller ones that just popped up.

The cabbage is making heads and the broccoli produced nice-sized bunches, which needed to be picked this week. These plants are the healthiest I’ve ever grown and I think the volunteer dill that is growing among them may be discouraging the aphids.

I combined two recipes and made a broccoli salad with green onions from the garden and bacon and raisins – not from the garden.

I was trying to irrigate the potatoes every other day, but on Saturday they were so sad by 3 p.m. that I realized they either need more water or when it is over 90 degrees need to irrigate an hour every day. The plants are blooming and grew another foot this past week! I put new photos up on and the “beginning of summer” garden photos.

I have added a bag of steer manure to one spot where I will plant snow peas this week. It is supposed to be cooler just in the 80s this week, so I hope to get a long row of carrots to germinate. They will go in where I pulled the 70 garlic plants, which need to be braided and hung on a pine tree limb to dry. I need to find some fabric to place over the carrot seed bed and irrigate several times a day. I have never had much luck planting carrots in the heat of summer, but I want to eat carrots all winter, so they need to get to growing.

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Garden on July 9, 2011

Gypsy pepper is about two inches long.

Green beans – just mulched with Shasta Products vita mix.

March planted lettuce is still producing well, although the May lettuce didn’t do well.

Corn is knee-high — my knees, means short — by the 10h of July.

Garden with cantaloupes, tomatoes and peppers.

 Elephant garlic hung up under the pine tree to dry.


Cat likes my chair under the pine tree.


Broccoli after being cut.


Peaches after being thinned are growing fast.


Concord grapes are setting on.  Hope the deer don’t get to them.

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