Please Help Us Recover from the Fire that Destroyed our Community of Berry Creek, CA — and our Critical Agricultural Water Supply

Our home, building and animals survived the fire that destroyed Berry Creek, CA.  The fire did burn 1/2 of our property, so we have lost pasture and forest. We do have a lot of clean-up work ahead (ash and smoke damage, property destruction from containment lines bulldozed through, etc.) but our primary loss is water.

Our water, the very core of everything David and I do at here has been destroyed by fire.  This is fatal to not only us, but to other families and an entire riparian ecosystem here in Berry Creek, CA.

Please help us rebuild.  You can donate to the clean-up and rebuild effort of Berry Creek Water Users — via this link:

You can donate directly, or you can join our team of fundraisers to share this campaign with your own social media contacts and friends. 

As for the fire … it is not out yet, but is approaching 50% containment.  We still cannot come and go for errands and critical supplies — Hwy 162 is closed at the intersection of Simmons Road and CA Hwy 162 on the eastern edge of Lake Oroville.   A return to utility power is weeks, maybe months, away.

Thank you for your care, concern and help. 

With heartfelt thanks,

Neil and David

Goodbye, Sweet Ayla …

Our second Anatolian Shepherd Dog (ASD), a livestock guardian, will not be at her food bowl tonight for the first time in 11.5 years …

We love this little video made when Ayla was only a few months old.

Best Melon Crop in Years

Very excited about 2020’s quantity, variety and tastes!

Picked last evening, from left to right: Collective Farm Woman, Afghan Honeydew, Asian Melon, Tam Dew. Not pictured are the traditional orange cantaloupe Iroquois and Hale’s Best. We have those too.

Over the years, we have focused on the sweetest, crispest melon varieties.

We were richly rewarded by this year’s new garden with a bumper crop of the best melons ever!

We have been saving seeds from Collective Farm Woman and Afghan Honeydew for years (heirloom varieties). Sometimes risky as they can cross and then who knows what comes out of the seed the next year. But happy to say this year’s are true to their original.

New this year are the Asian Melon and the Tam Dew. The Asian Melon is definitely a keeper and a high producer. The Tam Dew is our first go at a pure honeydew. We have been hesitant to grow traditional honeydews as the ones in the stores are horrible! No taste. Awful. Happy to report this one is sweet and crisp. A bonus for the Texas Aggie in the house – it was developed at Texas A&M.

What this picture doesn’t convey: 1) the powerful, sweet aroma that filled the air when I cut the melons open and 2) the taste and texture. Maybe think of the sweetest, crispest watermelon you’ve ever had, and transform that into a cross between a cantaloupe and honeydew with extra aroma and sweetness added.

Summer Food Fest

Eating well in 2020

  • a loaf of bread on a pan
  • a basket of chicken eggs, various shads of brown and green
  • seven mason jars of green beans
  • three containers of pressed, white cheese curds.
  • forty sour cream containers -- contents not shown, but consists of a mix of cooked meat scraps, grain and veggies
  • a bowl with three different colors of melon balls, yellow, green and red
  • Juicy, bright red and yellow tomatoes diced in a bowl.
  • Red stalks of chard growing in the garden with large, red-veined green leaves and a little sign that says "Chard"

As we have observed before, given our world’s current economic model, it makes more “sense” to work for someone else and then go to the store to buy all of this.

What you see above represents hours of work.

The tastes are as amazing as the colors and obviously we are ignoring the price signals of our “all knowing market economy” for our own reasons!