i love you california

Episode 27 – The California Condor


In California we tend to love our symbols and history, our landscapes and natural features, and our native flora and fauna.  From our Golden Poppies to our Otters to our Kelp Forests to our Tule Elk, we tend to cherish those who belong here along with us.  One of our native creatures was declared extinct in the wild in 1987 when the last few specimen were gatherer in an attempt to save an entire species.  The last 22 known animals were collected and raised, housed and bred, and slowly reintroduced into the wild. Today that number is almost 500 with many being born and raised in the wilds of California – the largest flying land bird in North America.


i love you california

Episode 26 – The Oroville Dam


Back in episode 20 we talked some about the Mother Orange Tree of Butte County which used to be located at a bridge crossing the Feather River.  That tree was moved and other bridges were built in the area to accommodate a huge engineering and infrastructure project, one of the largest in CA at that time.  What we built was a landmark feat that is now recognized as the tallest dam in Butte County, oh…and the tallest dam in California…oh, and the tallest dam in the United States still to this day.


i love you california

Episode 25 – The Watts Towers


(Photo source: Wikimedia Commons)

I have heard them described as ugly or an eyesore.  I have also heard them described as a feat of human artistic ingenuity.  Whatever you may think of their aesthetics, you cannot but marvel at the feat of creation that you will find when you travel deep into the southern end of Los Angeles to a community known as Watts – where an Italian immigrant who was known locally as Simon decided to build something that took over 33 years to construct.  


i love you california

Episode 24 – Carmon Neff


I grew up originally in Merced CA which meant that we knew and visited people often just over the line in Madera County, in the town of Chowchilla.  One time when traveling through the area my father took us outside of town to drive past a small ranch property. This site had all sorts of statues and windmills covering the property, all made out of welded and cut scrap metal.  You had dinosaurs and insects, creatures of all shapes and sizes pieced together from old tractor parts, rebar, large gears, chains, leaf springs, and about anything else you can think of. This was when I learned the name of Carmon Neff.


i love you california

Episode 21 – Harold Richardson Redwood Reserve


There is a group called the “Save the Redwoods” league that has been active for a hundred years and works for the preservation of coastal sequoia groves up and down the state.  Earlier this year they gave us a gift by announcing the purchase of a large chunk of land in Sonoma County. This land has been privately owned by a family for a century who have kept in in pristine and almost completely untouched state.  With this purchase the league is working to open up a new park and hopes to have it ready by 2021.


i love you california

Episode 20 – The Mother Orange Tree


Butte county has a lot of interesting features and sites – as the county covers an area of the north valley as well as the foothills and mountains north of the Sierras.  There is a lot of California history in this part of the state but one item is a living relic from a past time that had huge effects on the California economy. We are talking about tree that started in Mexico, purchased in Sacramento, and planted finally in Butte County – in 1856.


i love you california

Episode 19 – Moaning Caverns


In 1851 when gold miners were working all over the Sierra foothills they heard a sound in the distance – it was described as a “moaning,” which lured people towards the entrance to a cave.  While this cave had been known for thousands of years to the indigenous people in the area which they referred to as “Samwel Cave,” the modern explorers referred to it by the sound that they heard.  It was rather forgotten about until 1919 when it was re-rediscovered – the people who found it decided to file a mining claim over the land, which was granted, and the new owner immediately started working on the cave for exploration and public access.  This site that once struck fear in the heart of indigenous people is now one of the top attractions in Calaveras County.