Monday, March 30, 2009


The adoption/co-option of President Obama into every niche of liberal culture continues. I was amused to see this little poster behind the counter at Mendonesia a few weeks ago. This coffee/sandwich/smoothie house now offers free WiFi, and is open until 10pm. Shanachie's Pub cuts off the WiFi at 8pm, and J.D. Redhouse closes at 6, so this is a good development. When my very first mobile device arrived, an iPod Touch, this is where I went to test its connectivity for the first time. Fun!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Fence Cats

The other end of my street has a high concentration of cats, with one property line offering prestigious box seats for those with sufficient status to occupy them. I would often see tableaux worth photographing as I motored by, but street parking was always scarce and the moments would be lost. But there were a few times I managed to catch a snap of a feline or two while up that way on foot. I found it difficult to get the focus on that lovely tortoise colored kitty, even after many tries. The first photo is from the autumn, and her relatively trim coat hasn't built up against the cold. The latter two are from a few weeks ago, when the plum blossoms were just starting, and the tortie was fully fluffed with extra fur.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Congressman Listening

Last May, Rep. Mike Thompson, seated on the far left up by the chalkboard, was in Willits for a few meetings, like this one in the community room of the Willits Library. If I recall correctly, the notes on the chalkboard were to do with forestry issues. Law enforcement reps were there as well, so any number of related issues could have been involved. After Obama secured the Democratic nomination and possible cabinet appointments were starting to be floated, Thompson was apparently shortlisted for Secretary of the Interior. He's a centrist Democrat, and leftist protesters will sometimes picket his field offices over various issues.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Spring Chickens

A small flock of chickens enjoyed some sunshine and nutrient-rich bugs in someone's fenced front yard. You get happier, healthier chickens, healthier eggs, and the origins of "hunt and peck" as a result.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Teepee Burner

I had intended to get a better picture of one of these, or specifically this one, but never got to it. Teepee burners were once commonplace in the wood-milling towns of this region, and this is one of the last still standing that I know about, at the Wagenet mill here in Willits. Their function was to incinerate the sawdust, trimmings and slash wood left over from the process of milling logs into cut lumber. The dome-shaped cap on the top is a screen to catch any floating embers from getting out and igniting outside fires. I remember as a little kid, traveling in the car at night through Healdsburg and Ukiah as we came up to Mendocino to visit my grandfather, seeing those dome tops glowing orange with the heat from the wood fires inside. But that was back in the 1960s, and since then there has been far greater awareness of air quality and the effects of all that smoke on health.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

SP Passenger Car

This was one of the abandoned railcars sitting on the old NWP sidetracks near the Skunk station last summer. The windows are boarded up because of interior fire damage, or the potential for it, when drifters tried to set up housekeeping inside. I think this one was among those eventually scrapped. Note the distinctive colors of the Southern Pacific Daylight train. I think Amtrak still operates the route as the Coast Starlight - a wonderful way to travel.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Butt Scratching

This was a photo I took last spring that never made it to Willits Daily Photo in the right season. This horse was wagging his butt side to side against the heavy wire fence, scratching an itch. O'Leary's Feed is out on Willits-Hearst Road just east of town.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Winter Main Street Planter

I don't know who designs the street plantings on Main Street, but this February-hardy bunch looked perfectly artful.