Archive for the 'Fun Things to Do Outdoors' Category

A Tale of Two Dumps (part 2)

said on August 16th, 2012 filed under: Fun Things to Do Outdoors, Grass Valley, Localism, Whimsy

Herein lies a tale of two dumps, Auburn and Grass Valley.  Actually, we no longer call them “dumps” as we did in olden times.  Now they are known by high-faluting titles such as Waste Reclamation Sites, or Transfer Stations, or Recology Facilities.  Are you impressed?  I’m not.  They are still dumps to me, delightfully stinky, dusty places where you take your garbage and unwanted detritus and dump it.

I am going to compare the Auburn Transfer Station with the McCourtney (Grass Valley) Transfer Station.  Sorry, ladies, these articles are, as CJ calls them, “icky boy stuff.”  I enjoy going to the dump, and I just can’t understand why CJ doesn’t get it.  Go figure.

The McCourtney Transfer Station

Hours:  8 am to 3:00 pm every day of the week (I thought McCourtney was closed on Monday and Tuesday, but I am looking at the new brochure and it plainly says, “every day.”)

How to get there:  From Grass Valley head southwest on McCourtney Road. Turn left just past the Animal Shelter a couple of miles out of town.  From south Nevada County, go with someone who knows how to get there on the back roads (Wolf to Duggans to Lime Kiln to McCourtney without getting lost out on Perimeter Road)

It’s a beautiful drive no matter how you go.

And it’s friendly at McCourtney!

Before you even go into the main Transfer Station, there is a little dirt road to the left that will take you down to the Green Waste area where you can dump leaves, brush, branches, lawn clippings, small trees (less than 18″) and untreated and unpainted wood.  By the way, your wood waste can still have nails in it,  I don’t know how that works, but it’s OK by me.  Supposedly, you are charged $2.25 per cubic yard, but it usually works out to about $5 to $8 for a pickup truck full of green stuff.  The guy at the shed looks at your load, scratches his beard, and says “Six bucks” or something like that.

Now, buckle up kids, it’s time to enter the best dump in the foothills, The McCourtney Transfer Station!

Un-like the Auburn Transfer Station, at McCourtney you start at the “Kiosk” for registration then get in the left lane for the “Scale.”  Cost is determined strictly by weight.  Residential waste is currently $70 per ton.  That’s a lot of garbage, a ton, a couple of pick up trucks usually.  By the way, I heard a rumor that with the recent “take-over” by Waste Management, the rates had gone up.  Not true.  So far, anyway.

Sometimes there is a line to weigh in at the Scale  Here’s a trick:  if you have scrap metal, recycle materials, appliances, or hazardous waste, go unload those items first, then you can wedge back into the Scale line.  The first station you will come to on the “tricky” route  is the Buy Back Shack.  You can sell your bottles, cans and so forth.  Unloading scrap metal is FREE at McCourtney (shame on Auburn for charging us for something they are going to sell) and, get this, there is always someone at McCourtney to help you get the heavy stuff off your truck.

There are stations to rid yourself of oil and paint, and other stations to get rid of  batteries and electronics.  FREE!  Yep.  That’s what I said.

You can unload your old refrigerators and air conditioners for $20 each.  Why does this cost twenty bucks?  A technician has to dismantle the unit the remove the refrigerants and/or oils.  Tires cost between $2 and $10 depending upon size.  Batteries are free.

At McCourtney, they will take almost anything.  Hazardous waste disposal is FREE.  It makes sense if you think about it.  The county would rather absorb the cost of proper disposal than encourage you to dump it out in the forest where the land will have to absorb the toxins.  So you drive through this shed and a technician in a white cover-all will unload your weird chemicals and unknown bottles of whatever.  Do NOT get out of the truck unless instructed, or you WILL get scolded.  By the way, you do NOT get any containers back.  There is a limit of 15 gallons or 125 pounds.

So, having dropped off your weird stuff for FREE and butted back in line, you weigh in at the Scale and head to the C&D station (construction and demolition) or the big Garbage Pit for mixed garbage.  The photo below is the construction debris area.  It costs slightly less than the mixed garbage rate.  I thing it is currently $60 per ton for construction debris.

This is the big pit.  They probably have a fancier name for it, but big pit works for me.

Notice how open and airy it is?  Not icky at all.  Back your truck up and get dumping!

Isn’t this fun?

Bulldozers!  Yay!  Boy stuff!

I love the McCourtney Transfer Station!

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Landscaping Workshop for the Sierra Foothills

said on August 6th, 2012 filed under: Auburn, Fun Things to Do Outdoors, Lake of the Pines, Localism

We will be presenting a FREE landscaping workshop at 7:00 PM on WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 8, 2012 at the Generations Health Club just outside the gate of Lake of the Pines, California.  The address is 22824 Industrial Place, Auburn (unincorporated) near the corner of Combie Road and West Hacienda.


Immerse yourself in a fast-moving one-hour class about landscaping in the Sierra Foothills

Select a foundation landscape of permanent deer-resistant shrubs

Admire Lake of the Pines gardener Sue Baker’s list of Top Ten Annual Flowers

Steal Bob’s list of Top Twelve Perennal Shrubs for “deer country”

Spruce up your home’s curb appeal to create the Best First Impression for less than $1,000

Learn a bunch of Weird Stuff About Plants that we bet you don’t know

Bring a neighbor and your own gardening tips.  See you on Wednesday night at Generations Health Club!


Bob and CJ Jenkins



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Running Embudito Canyon

said on July 21st, 2012 filed under: Fun Things to Do Outdoors, Running and Hiking trails

One of my favorite places to run is the Embudito Canyon below the Sandia Mountains near Albuquerque, New Mexico.



If you thought that first photo was pretty, check out this one.


Each time I run Embudito, I look for rattlesnakes.  I don’t look OUT for them, I look FOR them, on the trails, in the cactus shade, under rocks, in holes and crevices.  I’ve only seen one, but I keep looking.  Rattlers are so old, so very old, ancient and primeval.  I feel blessed whenever I come across one in the wild.



No Old Man Rattler today, but I did spend a few moments with this handsome fellow, about 5 feet long and in no hurry.


Anybody know what species this is?

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Fourth of July at Lake of the Pines, California

said on July 7th, 2012 filed under: Cultural Events, Fun Things to Do Outdoors, Lake of the Pines, Localism

Fourth of July is the BIG DAY at lake of the Pines, California.  In the morning there’s a golf cart parade (cash prizes!) a fly-over by stunt planes, and a bunch of other stuff you don’t want to miss.

I missed it.  (A real estate “fire” ignited that I had to “stamp out.”)

But the 4th of July events last all day, so about noon Scott, Sara and I motored over to the festivities in my boat.

The celebration was a bit odd this year because the Club House is being re-built so the main events had to be moved up to the Sports Lounge parking lotb, but there was still plenty of action at the main beach.

One of the coolest things about living at Lake of the Pines is the small town atmopsphere.  You can’t go anywhere whithout knowing just about everybody.  That’s Kristine White waving.  We just represented Kristine and hubby Matt in the purchase of their first home over on Shadow Drive.

CJ and Malina had arrived earlier in the golf cart (Lake of the Pines’ most ubiquitous form of transportation).  I persuaded the family to gather for a quick photo op.

Our own band, Lopsided, was in the middle of a Beatles set.

People were starting to dance in the parking lot.

Our Century 21 booth was in full swing, stumping passersby with patriotic questions.  “Answer a question and win a prize!”

Really expensize prizes.

“Step right up.  Everyone’s a winner!”

There were dunkers.

There were whangers (or whatever they’re called).


Snow coners.


Laughers (That’s a flag hat on her head).

Burger flippers  (That’s Jim and Sheilagh Goetsch, clients and friends.  Jim is also the treasurer for the LOP board of directors)

After dark, of course, the Pinesmen sponsor a fireworks display.


Go out in the boat and enjoy the show right on the water.   One thing better than owning a patio boat?  Having friends who own a patio boat.  Thanks Bill and Gail Tudor!

Best way to wind up the day?  Sitting on the beach under a full moon roasting marshmellows around a fire.

Happy 4th of July from Lake of the Pines!

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Buddha, Won’t You please Come Home?

said on June 23rd, 2012 filed under: Fun Things to Do Outdoors, Localism, Running and Hiking trails, Whimsy

Part 1.  The Secret Trail

There’s a secret trail near my home at Lake of the Pines, California.  Dharma and I run there often because it’s shady, not too difficult, and not too long, out and back, to a secret location about which, if you are an attentive and patient reader, I shall tell you in a moment.  I stumbled upon this “secret” trail a few years ago, by accident.  Well, to tell the truth, it wasn’t exactly continue reading…

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Sutter Buttes Day Trip

said on June 18th, 2012 filed under: Fun Things to Do Outdoors, Localism

The Sutter Buttes are an isolated cluster of small mountains that seem to have floated up throught the valley floor near Yuba City, California.  This peculiar mini-mountain range is all that remains  of an extinct volcano that erupted about a million and a half years ago.  The formation is circular, about 10 miles in diameter.


Sutter Buttes as seen in the early morning from Highway 20


The Buttes, called Esto Yamani (The Middle Mountain) by the Maidu people, are 50 miles from Lake of the Pines and make for a spectacular day trip.   It is private land, but there are many hikes of different kinds, lengths, and levels of difficulty that you can arrange through the Middle Mountain Foundation.  Get on their email list.

Bob, CJ, and Luke at the Buttes


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Green Authors at Grass Valley Farmers Market

said on June 5th, 2012 filed under: Fun Things to Do Outdoors, Grass Valley, Localism


Several Local authors will gather at The Book Seller (my favorite book store) during the weekly farmers market in downtown Grass Valley on Thursday, June 14, 2012 from 6-8 pm.

Two of the books are unfamiliar to me.  Molly’s Organic Farm is  a children’s book by Carol Malnor and Trina Hunner and Living Wild by Alicia Funk and Karin Kaufman is about cooking and healing with native plants of our Sierra Foothills.

But the one I’m going to add to my collection is The Art of Real Food by Joanne Neft and Laura Kenny.  This is a follow up to their popular first book, Placer County Real Food from Farmers Markets published in 2010.  The Art promises 52 weeks of recipes tuned to the seasonal harvests from this area.  I’ve seen the display copy, and it is handsome.

If you’ve never been, the Thursday night farmers market in Grass Valley is a hoot.  Live music, lot’s of stuff to buy, and you can eat supper from the local vendors as you walk around, shopping and gawking.  The organizers close about 8 blocks of downtown for the big weekly party.

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6 Nevada County Farmers Markets

said on June 3rd, 2012 filed under: Fun Things to Do Outdoors, Localism


Beans from my garden

Here’s the schedule of Nevada County Farmers markets for 2012:


Nevada County Certified Growers’ Market

3-6 pm, Highway 49 at Linnet Lane, 2 miles south of Combie Road, near the Bear River


Nevada County Certified Growers’ Market

3-6 pm, Sierra Presbyterian Church, Nevada City


Nevada County Certified Growers’ Market

2-5:30 pm, Seventh Day Adventist Church, Penn Valley


Mill Street Certified Growers’ Market

6-9 pm, downtown Grass Valley


Nevada City Farmers Markey

8:30am-12:30 pm, downtown Nevada City


Nevada County Certified Growers’ Market

8am-1pm North Star House, Grass valley



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The Best Running and Hiking Trails in Placer and Nevada Counties

said on May 16th, 2012 filed under: Fun Things to Do Outdoors, Running and Hiking trails

Click on  the Trail Names below to visit my photo essay and description of the trails

Stevens Trail in Colfax The Magnificent Stevens Trail

Stevens Trail in Colfax The North Fork in Winter Voice

Stevens Trail in Colfax Three Best Ways to Fall on Your Face

Quarry Trail in Auburn Don’t Fret, I’ve Scouted Quarry Trail

Hirschman Trail in Nevada City Hirschman Trail, Nevada City, California

Clementine Connector in Auburn Easy Running on the Clementine Connector

Clementine Trail in Auburn Best Sights Along the Clementine Trail

Clementine Connector in Auburn Placer and Nevada County Trails:  The Clementine Connector

San Bruno Park Trail in San Bruno, California Running the Summit on San Bruno Mountain

Embudito Canyon in Albuquerque, New Mexico Fitness Goals.  Hop Til You drop

Sterling Trail south of Auburn The La Di Dah Trail

Stagecoach Trail in Auburn Stagecoach/Mossy Rock trail

Cascade Trail, between Grass Valley and Nevada City Cascade Canal Trail, Nevada City, California

Empire Mine in Grass Valley Rain Gear

Essay on Running Technique and Philosophy Easy Running (with the Tarahumara)

Independence Trail in Nevada City Are You Independent Enough for the Independence Trail

Spenceville Wildlife Area Spenceville Dogs

South Yuba Edwards Crossing Trail, Nevada City, California

Weimar Institute in Colfax Weimar Institute Trails

Weimar Institute in ColfaxPrayer Cove at Weimar Institute

Hidden Falls Recreation Area in Auburn Hidden Falls, Auburn, California

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Showing Weimar Institute to the Woodland Wanderers

said on May 12th, 2012 filed under: Fun Things to Do Outdoors, Running and Hiking trails

The Woodland Outdoor Wanderers is a hiking group that rambles away from their home base at the Woodland Presbyterian Church in Woodland, California, and pokes around on trails as far away as Weimar Institute up in my neck of the woods here in the Sierra Foothills.

One of the trip leaders, Judy, emailed me a few weeks ago and asked if I would introduce the Wanderers to Weimar.  These Institute trails are very special to me, and I don’t show them to just anybody, but Judy seemed awfully nice, so I agreed to meet her and her comrades up there this morning.

I’ve written several blogs about the Institute trails, so I won’t take up a lot of space with a deluge of photographs . . . or words.

Here are a couple of links:

Weimar Institute Trails

Prayer Cove at Weimar Institute

The group arrived right on time at the designated spot.  I gave them a brief introduction, went over the map with the trip leaders, and took off.  Took off?  No, I did not hike with them.  You know me.  If I can’t run, I go a bit crazy.

Today I was wearing my new running shirt, a gift from my son, Luke,  who is attending Oregon State University.  I knew the shirt would make me run fast, like a gazelle, like a cheetah.

I told you there would be no more Weimar photos, but I couldn’t resist this wild iris.

And this pretty manzanita also caught my eye.

Weimar Institute

About half way through the run, I looped back around to check on the group.  They were still on the right path, still walking the straight and narrow.  Can somebody give me an “Amen?”  AMEN!  Dr. Bob, spiritual guide to the Weimar Institute trails.  AMEN!

(Did I mention the Wanderers were a church group?)

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