One of my favorite things about living in Browns Valley below the snowline is growing a variety of organic food.
It’s like an adventure, what can we grow now? We have planted over 15 fruit trees and many berries since moving here in 2016, including Pomegranate, Fig, Nectarine, apple, Variegated Pink Meyer Lemon, and Lime. Since it can take a few years to get a large fruit production I try to plant something new each year. This year I’m planting pineapple guava, hardy kiwi vines, and avocado.January is the perfect time to purchase bare-root fruit trees. The local nurseries are receiving shipments and with all the sunny weather we are having it’s great to get outdoors and plan your crops for the coming years. There are a number of great local nurseries that offer a variety of fruit-bearing trees or berries. Some of my favorites are, Prospector’s Nursery located in Nevada City, Weiss Brothers Nursery located in Grass Valley, Peaceful Valley Farm Supply located in Grass Valley, Eisley Nursery located in Auburn and Bald Mountain Nursery located in Browns Valley.
There is a large orange tree in my yard that was here when we moved in. Much to our family’s delight, we get a great amount of juicy, tasty oranges and every year we make candied orange peels, yum.
Each type of tree has an ideal time to prune. Pruning benefits the size and quantity of fruit production and pruning for shape can allow for an easier harvest. Mid-Winter is ideal for citrus, once the citrus trees have reached hibernation, usually in January. I started practicing my pruning technique with the orange tree in my yard. Every year I wait not so patiently for the right time to trim back the branches. It’s important to wait for a period of time where there will be no rain. I want the fresh cuts to have a chance to seal. I start with trimming any crossing branches. Anything that grows in is cut out. The goal I have for all of my fruit bearing trees is to keep them short to enable easy fruit harvest. A general rule for pruning is, don’t cut more than 1/3 of a tree per season. The first season I cut all crossing branches and started to trim back upper branches. The following season I did maintenance cuts, eliminating any new branches I didn’t want and cut more of the upper branches to ensure I would be able to reach all of the fruit. I’m currently planning my next plan of attack. As soon as I see the blossoms appear signaling hibernation I’m going in.
Preparing for a fire in the Foothills
We again have fires that are devastating our neighboring communities this year. Are you ready in case of an emergency? Most of us say to ourselves we have a plan or we know what to grab – but being prepared is NOT about items and packing – it is a complete plan.
Some things to plan and think about:
Where will we go? Pick a place your family all knows to go to. Have options depending on which direction you can get out. How will we get there? Know your area and have more than one plan to get out of your area quickly and safely. How will I find my loved ones? Craft a plan for your family and close friends to meet at specific locations should there be a fire and make sure everyone understands the plan. Pick a family member out of the area to reach and leave information with so that all family members can touch base with that person. Or invest in hand radio or walkie talkie systems to communicate. If time permits and all members and pets are out of your home leave a LARGE note taped to your door that all members are out and safe so emergency personal know when they are evacuating communities. Home and Items – take annual pictures of your home, personal items, cars etc and upload to a cloud-based storage, so should you experience loss, you have pictures to help you recall all items in the home to provide to your insurance company for your claim. Include garage, trailers, yard, open all cabinet and drawers and take pictures. Pack and grab boxes that have irreplaceable items or documents in them. Make a list that, in a moment, you can grab and run through to pack those items. Complete this when you are not under evacuation. If you then have family and friends helping you pack they too can use that
There are thousands of resources to help us be prepared and have a plan but the above are just a few that will help you and your loved ones have a plan going forward. I would encourage you all to keep your homes as safe as you can by keeping trees trimmed; brush cleared and have hoses and sprinklers available to turn on if needed. Link for more information and checklist to help you be prepared, www.readyforwildfire.org Remember it is NOT a matter of IF, it is WHEN we will have to evacuate our homes.
Stay safe and be prepared.
Women’s Wilderness Weekend at the Burton Homestead in Nevada City
Lately, I have really started evaluating my life, life choices and how I choose to live my life.
I realize I give a lot of myself away to all the people around me. Giving of myself is a joyful experience and an expression of who I am and I love to give to all those around me. However, it also has a draining effect on me as well.
For so long, I have, in a way, prided myself on the ability to continue to give of myself and not take time to replenish my energy supply or to take minimal time to just bring myself back to functional. Taking time for myself felt selfish. I would continue to give to all those around me and pretend I didn’t also need anything.
Refill your pond!
Recently someone gave me a great analogy that our life is like a pond. It provides life to the plants and animals around and in it. As we give, the water goes down. if we do not refill the water in the pond, we end up having nothing left to give but the mud at the bottom of the pond. I realized my refusal to take care of my inner desires and spiritual well-being has left me giving away “mud” to all those I care about.
This weekend I refilled my pond at the Women’s Wilderness Weekend at the Burton Homestead in Nevada City put on by 4 Elements. Normally, I would feel so guilty about spending money, and time away from my family that I wouldn’t even tell my family I wanted to go and just silently wish to myself that I could. This time I recognized the need for “refilling” in my life and asked “how can we make this happen?” My husband was so supportive and loving. He even took the kids to visit grandparents so I could have the whole weekend to myself.
We were able to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Nevada County as our outdoor classroom. We learned emergency/survival skills like how to make a debris shelter, how to start a fire with a bow drill, plant identification, food foraging, water purification and so much more. We also took time to really get connected with our intuition and nature as well as get in touch with our playful side by playing games together. It was such a magical time connecting with other women and learning and playing together.
Now that I am back to work and life has resumed as normal, I feel so energized and ready to take on so much more. No longer do I feel there is pride in depriving myself of my needs. I am a better person when my pond is full! And I delight in being able to be more present for my family, and to give more and better service and care to my clients buying and selling real estate in Nevada County.
Nevada County Gem & Mineral Society
EARTH’S TREASURES Gem & Mineral Show is held each year in early October at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley . This year’s show, October 6 & 7, featured twenty vendors offering gems, minerals, fossils, florescent minerals, lapidary supplies, beads and supplies, jewelry, gold prospecting supplies and metal detectors and more.
Attendees were treated with cool displays of Mineral and Fossil Collections and Demonstrations of bead making, cabachons, wire wrapping, gold panning and intarsia. The club ensures fun activities for kids, too, including a kids corner and scavenger hunt included free with admittance (free for those under 13 years of age).
Featured was Gold Extravaganza, a display of local gold that included a bear carved from gold bearing quartz from the Original Sixteen to One Mine, the oldest operating gold mine in North America. Mike Miller, owner of the 16 to 1 gave fascinating talks about the history and workings of the mine. The mine produces beautiful quartz shot through with gold that jewelers, local and far and wide, fashion into rings and other jewelry items.
Silent Auctions and Raffles
Silent auction items, refreshed every hour, and raffle tickets drawn throughout the day afforded enthusiastic attendees the opportunity to grab some awesome rocks and minerals at some awesome, affordable prices!
The Nevada County Gem and Mineral Society meets the first Tuesday of each month at 7:00 PM at Golden Empire Guild, 11363 Grange Court, Grass Valley, CA. All are welcome to come to meetings. Membership dues are $25.00 annually for individuals and $30.00 for families. Persons under 18, living at home may be included in a family membership. $5 may be subtracted from the dues if you take the newsletter via email only. Members are treated to informative programs at meetings and can participate in field trips to collect specimens, often in partnership with other clubs.
Nevada County Lifestyle
Our rock club is one of numerous opportunities to enjoy the lifestyle of the foothills. Folks come from Nevada City, Grass Valley, Penn Valley, South County and all parts of the greater San Francisco Bay Area to enjoy the many shows, events, and activities that abound here in Nevada County.
Come on down and enjoy this amazing place where we are so fortunate to live and play!
A Beautiful Celebration Of Our Ancestors
With fall now here in Nevada County, and our love of pumpkin spiced everything. Our thoughts start to move toward Halloween. Pumpkins and skeletons everywhere! There is another, lesser known holiday (by most Americans), celebrated after Halloween on November 2nd and 3rd called Day of the Dead (Dia De Los Muertos). Yes. It sounds scary and maybe sounds inappropriate for young children but it’s really quite the opposite. In our home, ever since our oldest was about 2 we have celebrated Day of the Dead. This is a time to celebrate all of our loved ones (pets too) who have passed on. We put up pictures of those who have passed and make their favorite foods. We invite friends to join us and bring pictures, food and stories of their departed loved ones as well. We have a feast and share all the wonderful memories we have of those who are no longer with us. We are able to pass their memory on to our children. Our children are able to share the memories they have of their grandfathers, grandmothers and aunts as well as their goats, chickens, cats and other treasured pets. They benefit from hearing stories the adults have to tell, too. In a sense, it seems to take away some of the mystery of death and makes it more of a celebration of that person’s life. It also normalizes the conversation of the circle of life and keeps their memory alive.
Every year in Grass Valley, Nevada County Fairgrounds holds an Alter Show. This is a time people can, in a very creative way, put a memorial together of loved ones who have died. It’s a great way to see an aspect of this celebration. And it is one of many celebrations we have in Nevada County that makes living here in Nevada City, Grass Valley, Alta Sierra, Penn Valley and surrounding communities such a blessing.
The recent Disney movie, COCO, is a grand celebration of Dia De Los Muertos. It is appropriate for all ages and a wonderful family experience that illustrates and educates us about this wonderful and meaningful cultural experience!
Fall Gardening in Nevada County
Harvesting from the garden can be so rewarding, especially when you know what to look for.
One of our favorites in Nevada County this year is watermelon. You can tell when the melons are ripe by the small leaf that grows in the V of the stem that comes off of the melon. When this is dried and crispy you can be assured that your melon will be ripe and juicy. My seven-year-old son goes out to the garden daily to check. I’m lucky I was even able to get a picture before he picked it.
Ground cherries are another thing that have done really well in our garden. We’ve had hundreds of them, not only do the kids like to munch on them, but the chickens go crazy over them. They kind of taste like a sweet tomato. You know they are ripe when the wrapper turns brown and it falls to the ground. We discovered that letting them sit on the ground for a few days makes them even sweeter.
As the temperatures get cooler in the foothills, and the summer crops are starting to fade, we are preparing for our cool weather garden. I love to visit local nurseries and plant sales to see what is available.
If you would like to pick up some great veggie starts for your cool weather garden the Master Gardeners of Nevada County will be having their Fall plant sale coming up on Saturday, September 22 from 9-12, at The Demonstration Garden, 1036 W. Main Street in Grass Valley (on the NID grounds). http://ncmg.ucanr.org/. Hope to see you there!
Nevada County Rotary Clubs Give Back
The five Rotary Clubs in Nevada County joined together to give away free trees in support of Rotary’s Earth Day 2018 objective of planting a tree for every Rotarian. Rotary’s International President, Ian H.S. Risley, challenged every one of more than 52,000 Rotary Clubs worldwide to help protect the environment and curb climate change in a sustainable way by planting a tree for each of more than 2 million Rotarians. One of many ways Nevada County Rotary gives back to our communities.
One of the wonderful reasons we love Nevada County is the plethora of opportunities to give back to our community. More non-profits per capita than any other county in the State of California make this amazing place home. The Rotary Club of Nevada City, The Nevada City 49er Breakfast Rotary Club, The Rotary Club of Grass Valley, The Rotary Club of Grass Valley South, and the Rotary Club of Penn Valley joined forces, as they often do, to make it happen to give back to communities in Nevada City, Grass Valley, Penn Valley and surrounding communities.
Rotary Gives Away 400 Ponderosa Pines in 3 Hours!
An so, on Saturday January 13, Rotary’s Free Tree Giveaway was on! 400 Ponderosa Pines, purchased from CalForest Nurseries were given away to interested folks in or local community. Why Ponderosa Pines? CalForest Nurseries recommends Ponderosa Pines: They are native to the area, are stable and sturdy trees able to withstand high winds, are beautiful trees that help with erosion control and can grow to 50-90 feet high, can live up to 250 years, and water requirements are between 12 and 40 inches a year. We appreciate CalForest Nurseries partnership, making available 400 your trees at an affordable cost. CalForest gives back!
Truly a Nevada County community event, our local newspaper, The Union, assisted with advertising and promotion and offered the drive-through parking lot in Grass Valley for Rotary to stage the giveaway. KNCO Radio in Grass Valley welcomed local Rotarians to discuss the event for an hour of air time. YubaNet helped promote the event on line. Ron Knauss, a longtime Rotarian with the Nevada City Rotary Club and an expert in forestry helped determine best planting timing and assisted with planting and care instructions.
Larry Davis, a member of the Rotary Club of Grass Valley South provided the clubs with invaluable assistance, managing the project and putting together an excellent pamphlet of Tree Planting Instructions: Guidelines for Selecting The Perfect Location, Digging The Hole, Filling The Hole, and Care. Since many tree enthusiasts are enlisting their children in the tree planting effort, the pamphlet is central to educating the young tree farmers as to the importance of planting and caring for our trees.
400 Local Carbon Sequestration & Oxygen Generating Machines To the Rescue!
Tree planters visited us from Nevada City, North San Juan, Grass Valley, South County and Penn Valley among other communities and were asked to regale us with pictures, videos, or written stories of their trees. We eagerly await those stories. Their trees will reduce carbon in the environment and deliver oxygen at the same time. Great job Nevada County.
Brighten up your holiday season
Looking for something festive to do in Nevada County and Placer County for the holidays?
Looking to bundle up the kiddos and hit the road to see some lights? Grass Valley and Nevada City offer two of the most charming downtown areas great for shopping. But we also have several areas like Alta Sierra, Morgan Ranch, Cypress Hill and Banner Mountains areas that offers homes adorned with lights and holiday decorations.
See Map Full screen, here: https://www.zeemaps.com/view?group=762760&x=-121.144103&y=39.249819&z=6
Nevada County Schools Rank High
The high quality of schools in Nevada County, and diversity of selection especially in Elementary Education, of is well known. Below we detail key grades given to our local schools in Nevada City, Grass Valley, Penn Valley, and surrounding communities as ranked by www.niche.com.
Elementary Schools in Nevada City, Grass Valley & Penn Valley.
Clear Creek Elementary School, Public, Grass Valley – K-8 Overall Grade A, 149 students, 19:1 Student/Teacher ratio.
Nevada City Charter School, Public Charter, Nevada City – K-8 Overall Grade B+, 55 students, 21:1 Student/Teacher ratio.
Alta Sierra Elementary School, Public, Grass Valley – K-5 Overall Grade B+, 289 students, 21:1 StudentTeacher ratio.
Cottage Hill Elementary School, Public, Grass Valley – K-5 Overall Grade B+, 474 students, 22:1 Student/Teacher ratio.
Deer Creek Elementary School, Public, Nevada City – K-4 Overall Grade B, 410 students, 21:1 Student/Teacher ratio.
Yuba River Charter School, Public Charter, Nevada City – K-8 Overall Grade B, 292 schools, 24:1 Student/Teacher ratio.
Ready Springs Elementary School, Public, Penn Valley – K-8 Overall Grade B, 212 students, 24:1 Student/Teacher ratio.
Grass Valley Charter School, Grass Valley, Public – K-8 Overall Grade B, 511 Students, 23:1 Student/Teacher ratio.
Nevada City School Of the Arts, Public, Nevada City – K-8 Overall Grade B, 390 students, 23:1 Student/Teacher ratio.
Bell Hill Academy, Public, Grass Valley – K-4 Overall Grade B, 201 students, 22:1 Student/Teacher ratio.
Sierra Montessori Academy, Public, Grass Valley, K-8 Overall Grade B, 100 students, 16:1 Student/Teacher ratio.
Chicago Park Elementary School, Public, Grass Valley, K-8, Overall Grade B, 121 students, 22:1 Student/Teacher ratio.
Twin Ridges Home Study Charter School, Public Charter, K-8,Nevada City, Overall Grade B, 118 students, 26:1 Student/Teacher ratio.
Forest Charter School, Public Charter, Nevada City, K-12, Overall Grade B-, 720 students, 19:1 students, 19:1 Student/Teacher ratio.
Margaret G. Scotten Elementary School, Grass VAlley, Public, K-4, Overall Grade C+, 500 students, 22:1 Student/Teacher ratio.
Union Hill Elementary School, Grass Valley, Public, K-6, Overall Grade C+, 486 students, 26:1 Studnent/Teacher ratio.
Chicago Park Elementary School, Public, Grass Valley, K-8, Overall Grade C, 52 students, 22:1 Student/Teacher ratio.
Grizzly Hill, Nevada City, Public, K-8 Overall Grade C, 91 students, 22:1 Student/Teacher ratio.
Union Hill Home Charter School, Grass Valley, K-8 Overall Grade B, 16 students, 7:1 Student/Teacher ratio.
Williams Ranch Elementary School, Public, Penn Valley, K-3 Overall Grade B, 218 students, 22:1 Student Teacher ratio.
Nevada Union High School, Public, Grass Valley, 9-12 Overall Grade B-.
William & Marian Ghiddotti High School, Grass Valley, Public Alternative, Overall Grade A+. Ghiddotti High is a college prep high school component of Nevada Union High, considered by many to be one of the best High Schools in the state of California.
Bear River High School, Public, Grass Valley Overall Grade B.
Niche.com has a wealth of information. Visit the site to view expanded grading categories and methodology the site uses to evaluate schools and assign grades. What is cool about this site is that it connects with Realtor.com to allow you to view houses in each vicinity and to gather neighborhood data.
Johnson & Geare’s Sierra Lifestyle team has personal experience with many of the local schools here and is happy to share experience and impressions with you. Please contact us with any questions.