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.
“My plants are starting to stack” or “my plants are stacking,” refers to the marijuana plants switching from vegetative growth into flowering phase as the days shorten. In vegetative growth, the leaves are huge and the internodes (the length of stalk between leaf nodes) are long. As the plants prepare to flower, leaf production slows and internode distance shortens, so the nodes where flowers emerge from are said to “stack up,” ultimately becoming the dense masses known as colas.
Humboldt County, especially Southern Humboldt, is hard to get to and hard to get out of. To drive anywhere requires getting from Highway 101 over into the I-5 corridor to the east or northeast or the Bay Area to the south. This is a four to five-hour drive, much of it on winding, two-lane roads. Parts of Highway 36, heading eastbound over the mountains to the Sacramento River Valley, are so narrow as to be nearly one-lane for short stretches.
Of course, more than a few people will tell you that’s why they like it here.
Funny that I’d never heard this term until recently. It refers to the practice of mixing multiple strains of marijuana into the same bag. This was how it was often done in the past, where “pot was pot” and no one really cared so long as it looked and smelled good and got you stoned. Keep reading about why this practice is a relic
…uh…in Mendocino? (Apologies to Little Feat.)
This new sign on Hwy 101 northbound (in Sonoma County) omits any mention of Mendo’s number one economic engine, “weed.” The choice of “w” words for the other three features is almost a subtle joke, since whoever commissioned the sign was obviously aware of the county’s reputation and industry. Keep reading
By Mikal Jakubal
Times have changed, no doubt. Last week, a member of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors and a sheriff’s sergeant testified in a Santa Rosa courtroom on behalf of two men charged with transporting pot through Sonoma County. The defendants are employees of Northstone Organics, a permitted medical marijuana collective in Mendocino County. Yes, you heard that right: the sergeant testified for the defendants. These two men were stopped on two consecutive days in what was a clear case of intentional surveillance. It’s unclear why Sonoma County law enforcement would prioritize intercepting an operation that is merely passing through Sonoma County en route to its Bay Area delivery route, nor why they’d intentionally provoke neighboring Mendocino County, throwing down a de facto challenge to the validity of Mendo’s medical pot permitting ordinance.
There are such things a aviation weather reports for pilots, nautical weather reports for sailors and so on, so why not a special weather product tailored to the pot industry? The KMUD daily weather reports already include the exact length, down to the minute, of daylight—an important factor in when pot goes into flower. Special mold, wind and rain alerts could be issued, along with regular data on daylength, temperatures, humidity and so on.
That would require some drastic changes in federal marijuana policy, given that NOAA is federally-funded. In the meantime, you don’t have to be a shaman or clairvoyant to read about the rain predicted for this weekend. Blame global warming or chem trails or a HAARP conspiracy or chalk it up to “shit happens,” but it looks like we’re in for another crop-thrashing early rain. Most pot on the Northcoast is nearing harvest, with buds swelling in the warm fall days. Early strains have already been cut, dried and trimmed, while the later-finishing varieties are two to six weeks out. For those, there is enough water-retaining bud on most plants to over-tax branches. We had a similar situation last August. At that time, flower clusters were much less developed, but the rain still shattered unsupported plants.
Well-prepared growers have their plants well-staked or caged or netted already, but many will be scrambling to tie things up before Saturday night’s predicted rain. It doesn’t matter if it is only a couple tenths-of-an-inch; the bud will hold the water in its tight flower-cluster structure until the branches give way. It doesn’t help that the rain is predicted for the middle of the night. If it were daytime, growers might go out and hand-shake buds during the day, only staking any that threatened to snap.
Add to this the threat of Botrytis mold and powdery mildew from all the extra moisture and it’s going to be another stressful harvest for some people. I like to mention these problems to counter the notion that pot growers don’t have to work, don’t have any risk of crop loss and thereby are somehow greedy and lazy. No one will deny that it is the highest-paying agricultural work you’ll ever do, but it’s also easy to lose an entire year’s work and investment virtually overnight to mold, ripoffs, “hermaphrodism,” bag mold or law enforcement confiscation if you’re operating in the black market and get busted. Unlike soybean or apple farmers, there is no crop insurance for weed.
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.