Note: All my posts on the ’60s are gathered under “The ’60s,” above. Being a blog, these posts are in reverse order. If you want to read them from the beginning, scroll down. Chapter 1 is at the bottom, chapter 2 above that, etc.

Riding the Wild San Lorenzo River in 1955

In 1955, it rained steadily for a week, and the San Lorenzo River broke through the levees and flooded downtown Santa Cruz. Pacific Avenue was 6 feet underwater, and all the bridges washed out. My roommate, George Kovalenko and I put in our surfboards up by the Pasatiempo golf course and went flying down the river. There were refrigerators and cars and parts of houses bobbing along. We got down to the river mouth, and the cops were going to arrest us. For what, I know not, possibly stupidity, but they got diverted and we slipped away.

Pic taken of me by George with my Baby Brownie camera.

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Lost in the Woods (Again)

Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. OK, so nobody else has to say it.

I took off on my bike yesterday around three in the afternoon on a dark day with a storm hovering, for a mushroom hunt in the woods. About 3 miles from home, there’s a dark, deep section of conifer trees with paths going in all directions, sort of like tunnels. I, er, forgot to bring my phone or a compass (or a light or my lightweight machete). (The phone would’ve given me a compass, a light, and intermittent cell phone range.)

I parked my bike under a tree and started searching. I kept going, ever deeper, twisting and turning in different directions.  No mushrooms at all. I felt like I had a pretty good sense of direction, and could make my way back to the bike and my point of entry. Wrong! I got lost and pretty soon was following deer trails going in all directions. Mostly poison oak. I was getting scratched, tore a couple of holes in my sweatpants, ripped a hole in my down vest. and kept hitting dead ends on the trails. It was starting to get dark and I figured my only way out was to get to the cliffs above the beach.

Which I finally did, but the cliffs were too steep. I kept heading south, trotting from one Pampas grass clump to the next (they hold the soil). I finally got to a spot where I figured I might be able to get down to the beach and started sliding down the (loose) decomposed granite on my butt, trying to go at angles to reduce the steepness. Shit! The danger would be going head over heels down to the beach. Praise be to the Lords of Karma, who have been like benevolent aunts and uncles consistently bailing me out of dumbass predicaments all my life. I jumped out onto the sand. It was now dark.

Luckily the tide was low, and I know every twist and turn in the beach and made my way about 1½ miles and then up to the bluff. There was no moon but the storm held off and the glow from San Francisco across the ridge gave me barely enough light to bushwhack through the brush and finally get to the road. I walked a couple of more miles to get home, where thankfully there were no recriminations and a hot bath and a baked potato and 12 hours sleep and a big breakfast this morning and life is indeed rich.

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Recomendo, New Book from the Cool Tool Folks

First, Cool Tools is the most consistently useful destination for me on the web. I can’t count the amount of good tips, tools, savvy I’ve found there. It’s the electronic Whole Earth Catalog, using the same formula of non-commercial reviews by people of like interests.

Now, Kevin Kelly, Mark Frauenfelder, and Claudia Dawson have come up with a dandy little book of cool stuff. You can’t browse on a computer like you can with a real book. I started thumbing through it one night, serendipitously, and found that the small size was easy to deal with, and pretty soon an hour had passed. Fun!

Secondly, full disclosure: I’ve been a Cool Tools contributor (and fan) for years. So I’m not unbiased. But I believe in peer reviews, such as was started in the late ’60s by the WEC. It’s so refreshing to get non-commercial information from this tribe of tool users.

The book has 560 recommendations, and is 10 bucks, print-on-demand from Amazon here.

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Handmade: The Half Acre Homestead Book in Progress

Crocheted blanket by Elisabeth Kirkland

I’m finally fully into laying out this book. It’s been a long time coming. A record of our home, kitchen, utensils, pantry, garden, shop, tools, all the stuff we make, starting in the mid-70s.

I’ll post things here as I do layout…

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