One of Garberville’s two weeklies, The Independent, printed a public service announcement sponsored by the Garberville/Redway Chamber of Commerce, and “supported by” the Humboldt County Sheriff, advising pot growers to only hire locals and people they know and trust for harvest work. The PSA also recommends asking for I.D. and checking references. While nowhere in the ad does it actually mention marijuana or trimming, the headline directed at “ALL HOME BUSINESS OWNERS” leaves no doubt as to whom they’re speaking.
As I’ve probably mentioned already, I’ve been on the Briceland Volunteer Fire Department for over 10 years now. (My first day of EMT training was September 11, 2001, in fact.) Yesterday evening, during our regularly-scheduled bi-monthly training meeting, the discussion about fighting fire in the urban-wildland interface was momentarily disrupted as everyone turned to watch out the open station doors as a pickup truck full of marijuana plants drove westward down Briceland Road. I had my camera, but it all happened too fast to get a shot. After a few seconds of snickers and admissions of “I’ve done that,” by a few members, we continued on with the evening’s training.
Speaking of the fire department and pot, we recently had our annual 9/11 fundraising party at the Beginnings Octagon in Briceland. Beginnings is where this community has many of its smaller, more intimate gigs. Folk singers, small benefits, marriages, memorials and so on fill the space nearly every weekend.
Among the fundraising activities was a silent raffle and among the items donated by local businesses was a set of pot trimming supplies. Included were two clip lights, a hanging dry-rack, Fiskar’s floral snippers, a locally-made herbal hand cleaner for removing hash from fingers, a box of plastic contractor bags and a couple other things I can’t quite identify in the photo. I’m sure there must’ve been a box of turkey bags in there somewhere. If you don’t live here, looking at the contents of the bin in the photo might be a bit baffling. It would be a good subject for a guessing game along the lines of that ’70s game show “What’s My Line?” Here, it’s a standard kit and it would take two seconds for anyone to name what you did for a living.
The pot culture and economy pervades and shapes every activity here. It seems redundant and self-evident to even say that. It’s just what we do.
By Mikal Jakubal
This post from two weeks ago was about a woman in Redway who has been feeding ravens and now claims someone is poisoning them. Her solution is a bit, um, wacky, to say the least.
The post generated a few comments, one of which I’ll excerpt below because it got me thinking about our relationship with those birds. The comment excerpts:
By providing (ravens) with an artificial food supply she encourages them to congregate in unnaturally high numbers…. In the best interest of these wild creatures we can help keep them wild by not feeding them and keeping garbage and compost secured in tightly covered cans and bins.
True on the one hand, regarding ravens being wild animals. And true also about securing trash from other wild animals. On the other hand, ravens can also be thought of as one of our commensal species—in the literal sense of the term, “sharing table” or “sharing food”—who have cohabitated with humans for countless millennia. They thrive in our disturbance, eat our leftovers and provide us amusement through their antics. Sharing food with ravens, whether out of hand or incidentally when they raid our dumps, continues an inter-species bond stretching back into evolutionary eternity. Ranging throughout the holarctic, they figure significantly in mythologies as diverse as Native American, Christian, Scandinavian and North African. The human/raven bonding through shared food is ancient and deep. It is no accident that many of us feel compelled to feed them.
It is likely that ravens migrated to North America over the Bering land bridge about the same time as humans. It would not be at all surprising if we came here together, since following our camps would be a natural behavior for ravens. (Ah, a bit of searching turns up the fact that there are two different groups of ravens, one that has lived on the West Coast for 2 million years and the other that came over the Bering land bridge contemporaneously with us.)
I think we all too often fall into unnecessarily rigid or overly-generalized rules of behavior with regard to animals. If, in a given place and time, there is a specific reason to not feed ravens, then we should not do it. But, in general, we are co-adapted and get along quite fine. While they can live on their own, they’re quite happy and healthy living with us and sharing our table as well. Given the duration and durability of our bonding over food, it is not really accurate to say that feeding them constitutes an “artificial food supply.” In fact, eating our toss-offs is quite the natural thing for them to do.
Should this woman or anyone feed them in Redway? Meh, I dunno. Ravens were here eating our food when the Native people were the only human inhabitants. They were here when the European settlers moved in and they’ll be here in a thousand years, no matter who is or isn’t here.
Local Humboldt blogger extraordinaire Kym Kemp has a piece today that is both hilarious and informative. She uses a hitchhiker’s apparently misspelled plea for a weed handout as a point of entry to discuss numerous recent studies debunking the old notion that smoking pot makes you stupid.
In short, it doesn’t—though it might impair your spelling.
By Mikal Jakubal
That was my first thought as I drove by the woman holding the sign in Redway this morning. Being one of the more unusual protest signs I’d ever seen, I pulled over and walked back.
Here’s the short version that I got from her, paraphrasing a bit since I didn’t record it. She (who didn’t want to be in the photo) says she feeds the ravens in town. For the last four years there have been consistently 70-80 of them every morning. In less than a week, that number has dropped to 40-45, with several dead ones being found around town with blood coming from their beaks. “Word on the street is that one of the merchants put a bounty on them and then put out poison because they were pecking at the roof of his building.”
She says the local Fish And Game officials don’t care, but the local Native American tribes, for whom the raven is sacred, do care and so does the U.S. Dept. Of Interior. She said people can call KMUD radio if they find a dead bird.
I asked her about the SoHum pot connection and she explained it so: “This is a community that likes to take care of its own problems. So, if people don’t do something to stop the killing of the ravens, the Native people will. They’ll bring the officials and the TV cameras and it will give SoHum pot a bad name.” I asked whether she thought anyone would really notice or make the connection. “Well, if people have a choice to buy weed from, say, Hawaii or from a place where white people kill the ravens, I think they’ll chose the other place, so boycott SoHum weed until it stops.”
She wasn’t suggesting at all that it was growers who were killing the ravens, so I’m not quite sure of her logic there.
Anyone else hear anything about this?