SINCE 1976, I have been writing about other people and their lives, passions, talents and desires. Yes, I was a newspaper reporter writing for mostly small newspapers, which made the job more difficult as I live in a tiny community and we know each other many times — at least by sight.
Integrity and “getting it right” were my driving forces through nearly 30 years of writing articles and eventually serving as editor of an agriculture publication.
Not everyone agreed that I always got it right, of course, especially when I covered controversial issues. But I was never sued! And I really don’t like being wrong, especially in print.
My favorite writing has always been features about individuals. People are so incredible. Everyone has a story worth telling and I enjoy telling it.
I live with my husband, Jack, of 35 years. Yep, can’t believe we made it this long and, nope, it wasn’t easy — at least not for him!
We have two grown sons.
Branden is married to fabulous Deana and they have three children. We are so lucky that they live about a half-hour away in our high mountain Scott Valley, so we get to enjoy our grandchildren.
Justin works for a survey company in Utah and recently married beautiful Joni. And unfortunately, they live too far away.
Gardening is a favorite activity of mine. Guess I like to see things grow and love the color of flowers. Picking and harvesting is work, but I do it because one just can’t let the produce go to waste. Plus it does taste good, when the cold winter winds blow.
So each year, I challenge myself to grow a better garden than the year before. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. But I was pretty proud of the 10 lb. cabbage that I grew in 2009.
Jack and I live near Callahan, California pop. 50 and about 2 miles from where my dad operated a small commercial herd of cattle on a few hundred-acre ranch. It is tucked in a tiny mountain valley above Wildcat Creek.
Although my dad ranched for a living, my family lived in Etna — a town with a population of 550 back then. It maybe around 750 pop. now.
We lived on Main Street and I walked or rode my bike to Etna Elementary and Etna High School. So, my dad drove his pickup truck each day the 12 miles to the ranch to take care of his 100 head of cattle, irrigate the pastures (by hand, walking and using a shovel on ditches — no irrigation pipelines) and farm hay.
I spent weekends and summers at the ranch, training and riding horses, when not working or driving cattle.
I also kept a horse or two in our back yard in Etna, which I rode nearly everyday after school to train and for fun. Also spent a lot of time riding in the Jr. Pleasure Park horse drill team, completing in Jr. Rodeos and gymkhana playdays.
Hills, actually green conifer-covered mountains, are Etna’s backdrop that provided hours of old-fashioned fun. You see, my friends and I utilized the old logging roads to explore on horseback. Most of the time we rode bareback, raced each other and out-ran the imaginary sheriff, who was always in hot pursuit! What a great childhood.
My first cattle drive — that I can recall — was from Wildcat ranch, down the newly built and paved State Route 3. Maybe I was four. I rode behind my cousin, Alan Hovenden, who was riding a colt (young horse).
After about 8 miles, the colt became cranky and bucked us both off. I landed on my face knocking out a tooth. My dad was driving the pickup and he gathered me up and drove me to our home, where mom put the tooth back in and held me for what seemed like forever. But the tooth stayed in. It didn’t turn black and fell out naturally a few years later. … And it saved my folks a dentist’s bill!
This last year, I canned raspberry jam, strawberry jam and blackberry jam from my garden. Well the blackberries grow wild on our property, but I must pursue them through the thickets of thorns. Also canned tomatoes and salsa. Froze the peas from the 20-foot long row (it was a lot of peas to pick, but not much to show after shelling) and pressure-canned green beans.
I also provide the publicity for our local Scott Valley Pleasure Park Rodeos held the first Sunday of May, since 1947, and the Old Time Rodeo that is held the last Saturday in July.
One of the most amazing things I did in 2009 was lead our church choir as I am not well-educated in music. Most of my ability has come from experience and playing the clarinet, piano and teaching the children to enjoy singing in Primary, which is like a Junior Sunday School.
The choir has grown in size and now includes children as well as a few folks that have been in the Etna Ward Choir of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints longer than I have been alive! “Come Thou Fount” was rendered beautifully by the choir. Wow, it is so fulfilling to be the first one to hear their united voices.