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530.621.1698 - 484 Pleasant Valley Rd. Suite 13, Diamond Springs, CA 95619

Where’s Windfall – February 2014

Written on February 27, 2014 at 11:17 am, by


Steppin’ Out – Grand China Chinese Cuisine

Written on February 27, 2014 at 10:20 am, by

In November of 2006 I first had the opportunity to visit this restaurant which is located at 4340 Golden Center Drive, #D, across from WalMart and behind McDonald’s. It had been open less than a month at that time and already had quite a following.

The 3500 square foot restaurant is beautiful and wonderfully decorated, with both booths and open table seating. Last year they were closed for several months, so they took the opportunity to upgrade and replace the carpet. The place is as beautiful and clean as it was when it first opened.

What I noticed this time and seven years ago were the two huge crystal chandeliers, one over the main dining room and one in the banquet room. They told me than it was good luck to have a crystal chandelier, so I looked it up and found this interesting information: “A faceted crystal ball or crystal chandelier over the center of the dining table will help to balance chi in the room, and also helps people with eating disorders embrace healthier habits.”

This time I went and took with me one of my neighbors, Larry Stiles. He and I had planned on grabbing a sandwich for lunch, but when I received a phone call from Vince Hoang the manager at Grand China, asking me to come by, we decided to go there instead.

When we arrived, Hoang, who with the owner’s son, Chris Liang, make sure everything runs smoothly, immediately seated the two of us at a booth in the middle of the restaurant. He then gave us menus and asked what we would like. I asked him what the most popular dish was and he immediately answered, “Sesame Chicken, would you like that?” I said, “Yes, and then surprise us.”

The first dish to arrive was Happy Family, which consisted of stir fried scallops, shrimp, beef, chicken and lots of vegetables (I think we counted 10 different kinds). It was very delicious, the seafood tasted fresh and the vegetables were crisp and nicely cooked. This dish, like all of those that followed, was not overpowering so you could taste each ingredient. That is important.

Next came Garlic Green Beans. This was an immediate hit with both of us. Lightly cooked, still crisp green beans with a delicious garlic sauce. That was followed by another delicious dish, Chicken Chow Mein. The noodles were not overcooked and everything in that dish was also delicious (three for three so far). Then came the Sesame Chicken.   This was superb. Lightly breaded pieces of white meat chicken with a light, sweet sauce. Larry later told me that when he was dividing up the leftovers he thought about keeping all of what was left.

Vince Hoang stopped by our table several times while we were there to deliver dishes and talk with us. He always poured me more tea and said, “It is the custom for the younger people to make sure that the older ones always have tea in their cup. I learned that from my mother.”

He also explained the dishes he had chosen for us. “You have a meat dish, a vegetable dish, a noodle dish and a deep fried dish,” he said, “A nice variety of dishes to try.”

I was delighted with the menu at Grand China, which is several pages long. There are dishes from numerous parts of China, with origins in Hunan, Szechuan, Peking, Canton and other places. There has to be something there for everyone.

Although the place is a delight for dining, and very popular with the seniors who live nearby, many people order the food for take­out. They prepare everything when the order is called in but don’t start cooking it until you arrive. It only takes a few minutes and then, if you happen to be delayed, you still get it fresh and it is fresh when you get home. And, if you are eating in, they ring a bell for the server just before your food is done, so that it doesn’t sit at all. “During the winter months,” added Hoang, produce is very expensive, but we still buy it to make sure that all of our ingredients are the freshest they can be.”

Grand China is open daily from 11 a.m until 9 p.m., with a luncheon special every day from 11 until 3, featuring lunch combinations of Wonton soup, egg roll, steamed or fried rice and your choice from 29 different reasonably priced entrees. Several people ordered the luncheon special when we were there and it was a very full plate of food. Stop by and give them a try. I am sure you will like the food and service.

For more information or to call in a take­out order, call (530) 621­-1882.

Smit’s Solar Heating and Air

Written on August 16, 2013 at 6:17 pm, by


Owner Tim Murphy and his team, are the local experts for your home or business solar energy systems.  Imagine saving over two thousand dollars per year on your energy costs.

2nd Annual Open House

Written on August 9, 2013 at 7:46 am, by


2nd Annual Open House! Live Music! Car Show!  Food & Fun! Raffle Prizes! Face Painting!

New Morning Youth and Family Services

Written on August 2, 2013 at 8:38 am, by


Founded in 1970 to address the growing drug epidemic affecting the community and its youth, New Morning is now the longest serving nonprofit in El Dorado County.

Metal Mart

Written on July 26, 2013 at 7:17 pm, by


Although located in Rancho Cordova near Sunrise and Hwy 50, Metal Mart has its roots in El Dorado County.  Bud and Jan Lindau have lived in Placerville since 1989, back when they started Budget Fence here in the county.

Maverick Real Estate Services

Written on July 21, 2013 at 11:14 pm, by

Maverick Real Estate Services

Nancy and Jeff moved to El Dorado County back in the late 1990s but did not know each other at the time.  They both started families then (with other spouses) and had moved to the county to start and rase families.

Diamond Central Building Materials

Written on July 12, 2013 at 7:32 am, by


Owned and operated by local residents Ken and Heidi Drury, Diamond Central Building Materials is a masonry, concrete and landscape material yard for professional and do-it-yourselfer.

Table Nectar

Written on July 9, 2013 at 6:22 pm, by

Table Nectar

Table Nectar Local & Organic Catered Events, which is family owned and operated by Placerville native, Kimberly Medici, and husband Andy Tannehill, and is supported by their staff, family, and larger community of farmers and producers.

‘Home Grown’ by Terri Scott/Paradise Plants. Call to order your plants/produce! 530-295-8137 or email

Written on June 28, 2013 at 1:54 pm, by

So many Heirlooms to choose from!
When planning my garden, one of my primary goals is to plant a good variety of tomatoes. I love a large, sweet, juicy tomato slice placed on my hamburger right off the BBQ. I use a ton of paste type tomatoes for the spaghetti sauce, tomato soup and tortilla soup I preserve each year. For my salsa, I have to have plenty of purple, orange, red, pink and yellow tomatoes for a beautiful and colorful result.  Then of course right by the garden gate, a nice cherry tomato plant (or two) to nibble on while I wander through the paths enjoying my summer garden. Here are some of my favorites:

Paste Type:

Purple Russian – This Russian heirloom produces huge amounts of purple-red 6 oz. plum to egg shaped tomatoes. The skin is blemish free, it hold up well and the meaty flesh has a sweet flavor.

Black Pear – This Russian heirloom produces a large amount of dark mahogany-brown tomatoes with dark green shoulders. The fruits are 6-8 oz. and shaped like miniature pears, and has a sweet flavor. These do very well in a cool climate.

Japanese Black Trifele – This beautiful tomato is a heavy producer, the fruits are a purplish brick color, smooth and shaped like a Barlett pear. The flavor is absolutely amazing. It is believed to have come from Russia.

Baller – Heavy producer, Roma type tomato. Mild flavor with meaty flesh which is great to add to sauces.

Black Plum – This produces a long steady crop of 2″ plum shaped fruit. Very unique sweet tangy flavor. My all time favorite to skin for sauce making. Quick hot water bath, pinch and the whole tomato pops out of its skin.

Large Tomatoes:
Copia -This is a red and yellow striped slicer, was named in honor of the American Center for Food, Wine, and the Arts, of Napa CA. Its stripes of glowing gold and neon red make it a must have in the garden and its flavorful mix of  red and yellow flesh make it a must have on your summer sandwiches.

Brandywine – This popular heirloom is a favorite for its exceptionally rich tomato flavor. Fruits grow from 12 oz. to 2 lbs. This is a pink tomato with a potato leaf plant. An Amish variety from the 1880′s.

Paul Robeson – This has almost a cult following among seed collectors. (I have been saving these seeds for over 10 years). These 10 oz. fruits have a sweet smokey flavor and are black brick color. A longer (90 day) variety but well worth the wait.

My Beauties:
Violet Jasper – I chose these little oriental jewels for their looks, but continue to grow them for their wonderful taste and high yields. These 3 oz little beauties have violet purple fruit with iridescent green streaks! The flesh is dark purplish red, and a beautiful in a green salad.

Orange Fleshed Purple Smudge – The name intrigued me to buy seed the first year. The second year I wouldn’t even sell these, because I wanted them all for myself. Didn’t even share with the family. This year I started enough to share. This stunning tangerine orange tomato with shocking true purple smudges on the shoulders, have a nice sweet fruit like taste. They are amazing for snaking and great in fresh salsa. I add them to my sauces as well. Fruits are 6-10 oz. and abundant.

Wapsipinicon Peach – This wispy leafed plant produces a tremendous amount of delicate fuzzy-like-a-peach pale yellow tomatoes with little tinges of pink. They are juicy and sweet all the way till’ frost.

Just a reminder: Please check your weather regularly. It looks like we are going to have quite a variety of weather conditions this May. Protect plants you have set out when the temperature is expected to drop.

Call out: Paradise Plants is have a Plant Sale Mother’s Day weekend:  4′ pots are on sale 2 for $5  Gallons are 2 for $10

‘Home Grown’ by Terri Scott/Paradise Plants. Call to order your plants/produce! 530-295-8137 or email

Written on June 28, 2013 at 1:52 pm, by

Timing Is Everything

Well timing may not literally be everything, but it is very important when it comes to gardening. Different  plants should be set out adifferent times, when the weather is suitable for the plants specificneeds. Some plants are considered cold hardy while others are tenderand can not tolerate any cool temperatures. Plants that aresusceptible to chilling injury should be set out after all risk offrost has past and for some plants waiting until the soil has warmedis needed. Chilling injuries include stunted growth, wilting, surfacepitting, and an increase susceptibility to disease. Low soiltemperatures actually prevent root development. Low temperaturesduring flowering can interfere with pollination. Since there is noreal benefit to rushing the plants into the garden, I highly recommendwaiting for the proper time for your location. For me at my 3000′elevation, I plant all tender and very tender plants after Mothers Daythru June 1st. You can adjust this time frame as needed for your area.

Can tolerate light frosts and the seeds will germinate at fairly low temperatures. Some cold hardy vegetables are onion sets, cabbageplants, asparagus, and rhubarb.

May be injured by even a light frost. The seeds will germinate at lowtemperatures. If setting out early, offer some protection from frost.This group includes lettuce, beets, carrots, chard, parsley, peas,
artichoke and cauliflower.TENDER VEGETABLE PLANTS
Will be injured by light frost and will not thrive at low tempertures. The seeds need warm tempertures to germinate. These should not be set out too early. Snap beans, tomato, sweet corn and sweet potato are
considered to be tender vegetable plants.

Will be easily damaged by low temperatures. The seeds will rot if planted in cool soil. Very tender vegetable seeds and plants should beplanted after the soil has warmed. A good test that I use is to sit down right in your garder plot, if the soil feel comfortable and warm to your fanny, then it will feel good to these very tender plants and seeds as well. Very tender vegetable plants are eggplant, peppers, dry beans, cucumber, watermelon, squash and pumpkin.

Here at Paradise Plants, our tender plants are still in the greenhouse. We are taking them in and out daily to harden them off, so theywill  be ready for planting time.

Order your plants today so that you will be ready for planting when the time is right!
Tomato and pepper plants in 4″ pots are $3.00 ea.
Variety of vegetables in 6 packs are $4.00 ea.
Other individual vegetables and herbs are $2.00 ea.
Gallon container plants are $6.00 ea.

2013 Plant List – Ready for purchase!  Call Paradise Plants today, 530-295-8137 before we sell out!
Peppers: Jalapeno, Cayenne, Purple Tiger, Yellow Schotch Bonnet, Hot Banana, Sweet Banana, Anaheim, Serrano, Santa Fe, Poblano, Pasilla Bajio, El Chaco, Habanero, California Red and Green Bell, Large Yellow Bell, Canary Bell, Orange Sun, Lipstick

Tomatoes: Purple Russian, Copia, Henderson’s Pink Ponderosa, Orange
Strawberry, HillBilly, Amana Orange, Cherokee Purple, Wapsipinicon
Peach, Roma Rio Grande, Abe Lincoln, Cour di Bue, Black Krim, Violet
Jasper, Mountain Princess, Orange Fleshed Purple Smudge, Ethel Watkins
Best, Rutgers, Brandywine, Carbon, Sub Artic Plenty, Siberia, Oregon
Spring, Prudence Purple, Bleck Pear, Hawaiian Pinapple, First Pick,
Black Brandywine, Jefferson Giant, Big White Pink Stripes, Lucky
Leprachaun, Trip-L-Crop, Lime Green Salad, Black Plum, Sausage, Cow’s
Teat, Amish Paste, Baller, Brown Berry, Pink Brandywine, Constaluto
Genevese, Besser, San Marzano, Paul Robeson, Natures Riddle, Italian
Roma, Silvery Fir Tree, Garden Peach, Italian Heirloom, Aunt Ginny’s
Purple, Pink Fuzzy Boar, Red Zebra, Striped Cavern, Blue Angel,
Berkely Tie Dye, Hippie Zebra, Cherokee Chocolate, Japanese Black
Trifle, Red Brandywine, Homestead 2, Cambell 33, Yellow Pear, Indigo
Apple, Roma, Heinz 2274, Black Prince, Martino’s Roma, Jubilee, New
Yorker, Chocolate Stripes, Red Striped Furry Hog, Indigo Rose, Polish,
Sungold Select II, Manitoba, Northern Delight, Striped Roman, Black
Ethiopian, Russian Black, Hawaiian Currant, Tangerine, Picardy,
Tennessee Surprise, Hezhou, Precher, Pineapple, Azoychoka, Omar’s
Lebanese, Box Car Willie, Plum Lemon, Truly Orange, Pink Oxheart,
Nyagoous, Lil’ Pumpkin, Weeping Charley, Reisetomate, Money Maker,
Aunt Ginny’s Yellow Cherry, Banana Legs, Jaune Cour de Pigeon, German
Red Strawberry

Squash: Zucchini, Baby Round Zucchini, Crookneck, Scallop, Acorn,
Butterbush, Butternut, Spaghetti, Lakota, Delicata Honey Boat,
Jarrahdale Pumpkin, Musque de Provence Pumpkin, Jack-O-Lantern
Pumpkin, Sugar Pie Pumpkin, Knuckle Head Pumpkin

Melon: Cantaloup, Moon and Stars Watermelon, Osh Kirgizia Watermelon,
Charleston Gray Watermelon, Jubilee Watermelon, White Fleshed
Watermelon, Royal Golden Watermelon

Cucumber: Lemon, Pickling, Straight 8, Burpless, Armenian Burpless

Tomatillo: Green, Purple, Pineapple

Corn: Jubilee, Honey and Cream, Early Sunglow, Farm fresh, Silver
Choice, Golden Cross Bantam

Herbs: Dark Opal Basil, Sweet Basil, Lemon Basil, Siam Basil, Chives,
Oregano, Cilantro

Beans: Snap Trionfo Violetto, Contender, Pencil Pod Yellow Wax, Blue
Lake Heirloom, Dry Calypso, Pinto, Anasazi

‘Home Grown’ by Terri Scott/Paradise Plants. Call to order your plants/produce! 530-295-8137 or email

Written on June 28, 2013 at 1:46 pm, by


Before you begin to plant your garden, its a good idea to make a plan ahead of time. Which vegetables do you want to grow? How much of each one will you need to plant in order to yield enough for your family? When is the best time to plant in your area? Where is the best place to plant them within your garden location? It may help to make a sketch on paper. Here are some points to consider as well:

  •  Plant perennials off to one side of your garden, so that they won’t be disturbed when preparing the the soil for the rest the garden.
  • Plan to place taller plants so they won’t shade the smaller plants. It helps to go into your garden area at different times of the day to determine the direction of the sun.
  • Allow enough space between rows and plants to access for watering, weeding, and harvesting. Consider the expected size of the mature plant.
  •   Plan to make succession plantings of crops like sweet corn, snap beans, and radishes, to provide a steady supply over the season.
  •   If you have the space, plant extra for canning, freezing or drying.
  •   Vine crops, such as cucumbers,cantaloupe, pumpkins and squash are usually planted on hills, but may be trained to grow up a trellis to save space.
  •   Set plants out in late afternoon, or on a cloudy day. Plants set out in the heat of the day may wilt. Shading the plant during the hottest part of the day can help a new transplant to get established. Plants set out in early Spring may need protecting for the cold with the use of hot caps, plastic row covers or a basket. (These should be removed during sunny days).
  • Consider arranging your planting to create winding pathways versus straight rows, and adding flowers such as marigolds. Your garden can provide a beautiful landscape as well as fresh produce for your table.

Here at Paradise Plants, we know first hand that a good garden plan can provide fresh vegetables over a long period of time. When early crops are harvested, plan to prepare the soil again, and plant others to mature in the fall. Remember to place your orders from now for our Heirloom plants, they go quickly and we don’t want your garden to be without them! Recently, we have added the very rare Indigo Apple and Indigo Rose, Yellow Pear, Campbell 33, Constaluto Genevese, Jefferson Giant, Homestead 24, Red Brandy Wine, Japanese Black Trifle, Cherokee Chocolate, Hippie Zebra, Berkeley Tie Dye, Blue Angel, Striped Cavern, Red Zebra, Pink Fuzzy Boar, Natures Riddle, Garden Peach, and Paul Robeson.

There is nothing better then to be seated at a table, surrounded by friends and family, enjoying the fruits and vegetables, from your very own garden! Call Paradise Plants today, and get your garden growing tomorrow!

‘Home Grown’ by Terri Scott/Paradise Plants. Call to order your plants/produce! 530-295-8137 or email Terri :

Written on June 28, 2013 at 1:44 pm, by

Container Gardening
If you do not have space for a vegetable garden or if your present site is too small, consider raising fresh, nutritious, homegrown vegetables in containers. A windowsill, patio, balcony or doorstep can provide sufficient space for a productive container garden. Problems with soil borne diseases, nematodes or poor soil can also be overcome by switching to container gardening.

Grow vegetables that take up little space – such as carrots, radishes, and lettuce – or crops that bear fruit over a period of time, such as tomatoes and peppers. Dwarf or miniature varieties often mature and bear fruit early, but most do not produce as well overall compared to standard varieties. The amount of sunlight that your container garden receives may determine which crops can be grown. Generally, root crops and leaf crops can tolerate partial shade. Vegetables grown for their fruits generally need at least five hours of full, direct sunlight each day, but perform better with eight to 10 hours.

There are many possible containers for gardening. Clay, wood, plastic and metal are some of the suitable materials. Containers for vegetable plants must: (1) be big enough to support plants when they are fully grown, (2) hold soil without spilling, (3) have adequate drainage, and (4) never have held products that would be toxic to plants or people. Whatever type of container you use, be sure that there are holes in the bottom for drainage so that plant roots do not stand in water. Most plants need containers at least 6 to 8 inches deep for adequate rooting.

Soil Medium
A fairly lightweight potting mix is needed for container vegetable gardening. Soil straight from the garden cannot be used.
Container medium needs to be porous because roots require both air and water. Packaged potting soil available at local garden centers is relatively lightweight and may make a good container medium.

Plant container crops at the same time you would if you were planting a regular garden. Fill a clean container to within one-half inch of the top with the slightly damp soil mixture. Peat moss in the mix will absorb water and mix much more readily if soaked in water before putting the mix in the container. Sow the seeds or set transplants according to instructions on the seed package. Put a label with the name, variety and date of planting on or in each container. After planting, gently soak the soil with water, being careful not to wash out or displace seeds. Thin seedlings to obtain proper spacing when the plants have two or three leaves. If cages, stakes, or other supports are needed, provide them when the plants are very small to avoid later root damage.

Pay particular attention to watering container plants. Because the volume of soil is relatively small, containers can dry out very quickly, especially on a concrete patio in full sun. Daily or even twice-daily watering may be necessary. However, the soil should never be soggy or have water standing on top of it. Check containers at least once a day and twice on hot, dry or windy days. Feel the soil to determine whether or not it is damp.

If you use a soil mix with fertilizer added, then your plants will have enough nutrients for eight to 10 weeks. If plants are grown longer than this, add a water-soluble fertilizer at the recommended rate. Repeat every two to three weeks. An occasional dose of fish emulsion or compost will add trace elements to the soil. Do not add more than the recommended rate of any fertilizer, since this may cause fertilizer burn and kill the plants. Container plants do not have the buffer of large volumes of soil and humus to protect them from over fertilizing or over liming. Just because a little is good for the plant does not guarantee that a lot will be better.

Need pepper plants? At Paradise Plants we’ve got ‘em! Jalapeno, Cayenne, Purple Tiger, Yellow Scotch Bonnet, Hot and Sweet Banana, Anaheim, Serrano, Sante Fe, Poblano, Basilla Bajio, El Chaco, and Habanero Peppers, as well as red, green, yellow and orange bell peppers are available for purchase. Our list of available Heirloom tomatoes is growing!  Currently available at Paradise Plants we have Trip-L-Crop, Lucky Leprachaun, Orange fleshed Purple Smudge, Jefferson Giant, Carbon, Black Brandywine, First Pick, Hawaiian Pineapple, Black Plum, Prudence Purple, Oregon Spring, Siberia, Sub Arctic Plenty, Brandywine, Rutgers, Ethel Watkins Best, Mountain Princess, Violet Jasper, Black Krim, Cour di Bue, Abe Lincoln, Roma Rio Grande, Wapsipinicon Peach, Cherokee Purple and many more.

Call to order your plants! 530-295-8137 or email Terri Scott at Paradise Plants:

I remember when my boys went joy riding in Placerville…

Written on June 28, 2013 at 1:35 pm, by

I remember when…years ago we were living in Swansboro and I was driving “to town” to get my hair done. Back in those days it was a pretty big deal to make that long drive and getting your hair done took 3 times as long as it does now. Anyway, both of my boys, ages 8 and 4, had fallen asleep on the trip to town,  and in those days, you could park the car, leave the keys in the ignition and let the kids sleep unattended, which is just what I did.
I will never forget being under that big hair dryer and seeing my car zooming down the hill in front of the beauty parlor with my boys “driving.” They had woken up, released the emergency brake and decided to go for a spin. The ladies in the beauty salon began to laugh, as soon as the boys passed back by, in reverse, waving to me with huge smiles on their faces. My husband remembers that story, too. Just not as fondly.
~Elaine Wright, Camino

I remember U.B.R.

Written on June 28, 2013 at 1:33 pm, by

Back in the early 1970s, I attended El Dorado Union High School. Myself and many of my fellow Alumni are proud of our rich heritage here in El Dorado County, so much so that we decided to stay right here after graduation to continue our education, find work and settle down. We had a popular program in school that was called ROP (Regional Occupation Placement). Us kids loved it because we were able to leave campus during school hours and go to local businesses to work, learn a trade, and develop skills to eventually acquire a job. This practice was a benefit to the owners of the businesses too, not only did they get their work done but they got a sneak peak at our potential to be hired after graduation. For some of us, we made plans to attend a 4 year College, but learned real quick that it would be very expensive. The alternative was a 2 year college that was right here in Placerville. Some of us started there at the portables located behind Raley’s, which became known as U.B.R. or University Behind Raleys. Most who graduated with me from EDUHS wanted out of Placerville and into that 4 year College, as it was the only way to leave our small town and see the world. For those of us who stayed behind it was U.B.R.(Consumnes River College). U.B.R. eventually moved to it’s present site on Green Valley Road and now is a great place of learning, but those who attended U.B.R. will never forget the portables and the sounds of our footsteps on the wooden walkways and ramps leading us to our next class. Much like the present day Los Rios Community College, we were introduced to “Night Classes”, which helped all of us who had gotten jobs through the ROP Program in High School, and only had our nights free, the solution was UBR. Soon the Alumni of EDUHS will have their sixty year reunion and I will have U.B.R. tank tops and T’s available for those who attended. The portables are still used for schooling today. As for me, it’s my memories of past school days that hold some of my fondest memories… Larry Hennick, Placerville

Mike Speegle remembers Kay Kirkland

Written on June 28, 2013 at 1:30 pm, by

Within the walk of life, we have rare opportunities to meet people who give 100% of their heart and souls to others, always reaching out with a helping hand, full of strength and understanding and asking little in return. My opportunity to meet on of these ‘Earthbound Angels’ was in Kay Kirkland. Many of my decisions are influenced by the ideals given to me by Kay.

Sometimes weeks would sneak by without hearing from Kay or her husband, Howard. Then, one day the phone would ring. It would be Kay asking, “How are You?”, followed by, “Are you doing anything Sunday? Can you come over for waffles?” Now, I’m not talking your everyday common waffles, these are the famous Kay Kirkland waffles! She would make the batter the night before and at 9am Sunday morning, the feast would begin. Kay would say,  “Mike, there’s enough batter for one more. If you don’t want it, the cat will get it.” I ate as many as 14 waffles and that poor cat…not a bite!

In 1997, I was elected to organize the Sunshine Committee for the El Dorado Community Hall. The purpose of the Committee was to send cards, flowers, etc., to people within the community who experienced unusual hardships. In order to raise funds to support the cause, we created the Kay Kirkland Memorial Waffle Brunch Fundraiser. Kay’s hardship was battling cancer for years, but she still found time to donate herself to others. We can now share this opportunity to taste these famous waffles and give people a chance to donate to a worthy cause. June 16th, 8am – 11am, the El Dorado Community Hall, in honor of Fathers day, presents the Kay Kirkland Famous Waffle Brunch.
~Mike Speegle

My generation did not have a “green” thing?

Written on June 28, 2013 at 1:26 pm, by

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.” The young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment f or future generations.”

She was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were truly recycled. But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribbling’s. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags. But too bad we didn’t do the green thing back then.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana.

In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she’s right; we didn’t have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?

Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smart-ass young person.

I fell in love in fourth grade.

Written on June 28, 2013 at 1:24 pm, by

It was the first day of school and there she was: blond and beautiful. From the first moment I saw her I was in love and knew she would be mine forever.

There was nothing to keep us apart except that she was 24 and the teacher and I was only nine.

Most of the teachers in my elementary school had previously taught my brother, cousin and, in some cases, my father. They were what some called “Old Maids,” single and married to their teaching jobs. But in 1947 something had happened in my school, new young female teachers, and even a male teacher, had appeared.

For the next several months I did everything I could to impress her. If she needed a volunteer for something, my hand was always up. I even went so far to make sure my shoes were polished and my hair was combed.

Once we needed a huge cardboard box to turn into a frontier fort. My father, who could find anything, found one and we delivered it to the classroom. She was impressed.

As a part of our California studies we planned and put on a play. It was called “Down the Oregon Trail.” I was assigned the part of the father of a family heading west in a covered wagon. She was impressed with the covered wagon we made from chairs and kraft paper and I knew she would be even more impressed by my acting ability, and that would be it.

The evening of the play, my father gave me a new red and black plaid shirt to wear and took me to school. When we got there he took me into the principal’s office and brought out an old trunk from a closet. He opened it and it was full of stage makeup. I didn’t know how he knew it was there, but he did.

My father had an acting background at the Pasadena Playhouse and proceeded to make me up for the play, even adding a fake beard that was held on by spirit gum. Everything he did made me more positive that I would impress the woman I loved.

The play went well and afterwards we all gathered in the school’s cafeteria for punch and cookies. When we walked into the room my teacher motioned to my father and me to join her at a table. Still in costume and feeling like the world was mine, I walked towards the table and sat down next to her.

She told me what I great job I had done on stage and then introduced my father and me to a man sitting next to her, her husband.

Her husband? How could she? Didn’t she understand she was to wait for me?

I was immediately depressed and I am sure everyone saw it, but were kind enough to not say anything, ever. Even on the way home, as I sat there next to my father, the conversation stayed away from that subject.

Life was never the same after that, at least for a little while. ~Norm DePlume, Placerville

Yesterday – Smith Flat

Written on June 28, 2013 at 1:18 pm, by

Located just three miles east of downtown Placerville, the town known at various times as Smith’s Flat, Smith Flat and Smithflat, was not only an important stop along the Placerville wagon and stage road, but also a mining town of some renown. It is believed to have been named after a pioneer farmer or rancher named Jeb Smith, who was the first person to settle there, although there is little evidence to support that belief.

The first hint of the richness of the diggings in the area of Smith Flat occurred in 1849 when a miner, while searching for new diggings, leaned over and picked up a nugget or two. Hearing of this new find, flocks of miners rushed to the area rapidly staking out their claims.

Since this led to conflicts between miners, mining laws were soon drawn up for what had become the Smith’s Flat mining district.

These laws specified the size of the claims, the number of claims one miner could hold (two, one by location and one by purchase or two by purchase), and provided numerous rules on staking, recording and working claims. To reduce the possibility of fights among the miners, the mining laws even outlined the means by which a jury of miners would be selected to settle any difficulties.

As was usual in these mining camps, for the first few months or so the gold was easy to find, and many miners “struck it rich.” However, soon these surface deposits were depleted and most miners left for new diggings, with a few staying to form partnerships. These partnerships, or “companies” as they were more commonly known, provided the manpower needed to start serious exploration into the ground.

Using a mining method called drift mining they drove tunnels into the ground following gold bearing deposits known as leads (pronounced “leeds”).

Soon they discovered that much of the area was underlain by an ancient (Tertiary) riverbed – rich in gold.

One such deposit known as the Deep Blue Lead, a major tributary of the ancient American River, was traced from White Rock Canyon, south through Smith’s Flat and then further southwest to Cedar Ravine.

The gravels at White Rock Canyon yielded $5,000,000 in gold and just one mine south of Smith’s Flat, the Lyon’s Mine, yielded $1,400,000.

From 1888-96 and 1916-19, one Smith’s Flat mine, the Rogers Gravel Mine (later called the Benfeldt Mine), was very active, having been developed by a 750 foot inclined shaft with drifts. The cemented gravel was brought to the surface and put through a ten-stamp mill and then a one hundred and fifty foot sluice. Once the gold was removed, the remaining gravel was lifted by a forty-four foot diameter tailings wheel and piled off to the side.

These ancient river deposits, consisting of the Blue Lead and Gray Lead channels, would continue to be mined up through the 1930s, if not later, at several locations in the area. These locations included the Hook-and-Ladder (Toll House Mine), Carpender and Kumfa (Kum Fa) mines, among others.

Being on the Placerville wagon and stage road, Smith’s Flat was the perfect location for a hotel and toll station (the road being privately owned and maintained until taken over by the County of El Dorado in 1886 and later the State).

At this location, in 1853, was built the Three Mile House, now known as the Smith Flat House, probably the best preserved frame building of its size in the Mother Lode (unfortunately, the nearby toll house building was razed by the State, when U.S. 50 was realigned).

Built over the entrance of the Blue Lead Mine, the Smith Flat House originally consisted of a general store, post office, bedroom, dining room and dance floor, all downstairs, with more bedrooms above. There was also a barn that could stable 40 horses for the many teamsters and travelers that passed this way.

Just as the number of California emigrants passing through Smith’s Flat began to decrease, silver was discovered near Virginia City in Nevada. Immediately the traffic reversed and the road became the most crowded road in the state as thousands of freight wagons carrying supplies and equipment passed by on their way over the Sierra Nevada to the mines.

Because of this traffic, in 1863 a blacksmith’s shop was added next to the Smith Flat House, followed in the 1890s by additional improvements to the building including a kitchen, pantry, laundry, more bedrooms and a saloon and cardroom.

Over the years, the Smith Flat House has had many owners and many uses. It became the community center in which a post office was established on January 31, 1876, with George B. Raffetto serving as the first Postmaster. On September 7, 1895, the Post Office would change the name of Smith’s Flat to one word, Smithflat, to avoid confusion with several other “Smith” towns in California.

Because early postmasters were politically appointees, the Post Office probably moved around a bit with the party changes in Washington D.C. However, it ended up spending most of its last years in the Smith Flat House.

First organized April 8, 1858, the Smith’s Flat School continued to serve the local students until July 1, 1951, when it was consolidated with the Placerville Elementary School to become Placerville Union School District.

When the new Highway 50 was built in the 1960s, Smith Flat Road was no longer part the main road to South Lake Tahoe and traffic along it nearly ceased. Thus, there was no longer a real need for a hotel, or for that matter most other businesses, in Smith’s Flat.

Many buildings fell into disrepair and some were abandoned. The Smith Flat House, with its basement saloon, became a restaurant under a series of operators until it closed for several years. Recently it has been completely renovated and now includes a center for health, along with dining and live entertainment, events and catering.

What the future will bring for Smith’s Flat, no one knows for sure. But, the town and the Smith Flat House have a history of surviving and should continue to do so.


Sources for this story include: “History of California”, by Theodore Hittell (1897); “California Gold Camps”, by Erwin Gudde (1975); “California Place Names”, by Erwin Gudde, 3rd Edition (1974); “Mother Lode of Learning – One Room Schools of El Dorado County” by Retired Teachers Association of El Dorado County (1990); “I Remember…, Stories and pictures of El Dorado County pioneer families”, researched and written by Betty Yohalem (1977); “Mines and Mineral Resources of El Dorado County, California”, California Division of Mines (1956); “History of El Dorado County”, by Paolo Sioli (1883), reprinted and indexed by the El Dorado Friends of the Library (1998); and the wonderful people at the reference desk of the El Dorado County Main Library.



Steppin’ Out – El Tamalero: The Tamale Man

Written on June 28, 2013 at 1:17 pm, by

“What’s the food forecast? Chili today, hot tamale.”  Old, old joke

About two weeks ago I was invited to visit and try the excellent tamales that are made locally by the Silva family. This is a serious family business, and they make the tamales at Manzanita Kitchen and Events, the new commercial kitchen/event center behind the post office in Diamond Springs.

A few weeks before I had tasted them at the grand opening of the facility and was looking forward to seeing them make them and, most of all, to taste them again.

“My dad (David Silva) starts making them about 6 a.m., and starts delivering them around 11,” his daughter Carmen told me on the phone, “so it would be best to get here about 10 a.m. Wednesday morning.”

I arrived and was graciously greeted by the eldest of the three sisters, Mechelle. She introduced me to the rest of the family, father David (The Tamale Man), mother Wanda and sisters Vonadale and Carmen, the one I had talked to on the phone and who does their PR. There are also two brothers, David and Fernando and, like everyone else, they too are involved in the business.

While I was watching everyone happily doing their part to make the tamales, David Silva told me the story about how they got started.

“We came here in 1964,” he said. “I worked for the Nielsen-Ferrari lumber mill, which, like most mills, was a seasonal business with slow winters. To help support the family, we took over a restaurant called Alice’s Coffee Pot in the town of El Dorado and changed the name to Silmart Café, after myself and my partner, a man named Martin.

“A couple of years later we opened a restaurant called Los Panchos on Mother Lode Drive. We had that place until 1973.

After that we made tamales off and on for several years and had lots of customers, like the employees at Blue Shield, when it was on Broadway, and Marshall Hospital. We also made them for fund raisers at church and schools.

“About 12 years ago we took a trip back to my home town, Coatzacoalcos, a port city in the Mexican State of Veracruz. That area is well known for tamales, so we visited local villages to see how the people made them. Then we came back and decided to make our tamales the old fashioned way.

“In Mexico they use a coarser corn meal to make tamales. It goes back to the days when it was stone-ground at home,” continued David. “What you find in the store is ground too fine, so we get ours from a nearby commercial mill.”

“Business was good, and after delivering tamales to my customers, I would end my route at Shenandoah High School,” continued David. “which is next to Union Mine High School.

“They had an R.O.P. (Regional Occupational Program) instructor named Jane Harris who we knew because we used her family’s commercial kitchen.

“I would see students just sitting around during their lunch hour and would offer them tamales. If they could pay something then or later, that was okay. If they couldn’t, that was also okay.

“I didn’t look for anything in return and then one day they presented me with the logo they designed for us and t-shirts for everyone, including all the kids and grandkids (13 total). It was a wonderful honor I didn’t expect.”

El Tamalero makes five kinds of tamales all year, and starting around Thanksgiving, sweet ones for the holidays.

Their tamales include: vegetarian, chicken, chile and cheese, beef and “hot and spicy” beef. They use only the freshest vegetables, chicken breasts, good cuts of quality beef and no lard. I tried them all and they were very, very good, especially when hot from the steamer.

They packed two of each kind for me to take home, along with some of their excellent green sauce. I froze them (they freeze quite well) and took them to my daughter’s house a couple of days later. She steamed them and everyone, including the grandkids, loved them. Our overall favorite was the chile and cheese, although my son-in-law really liked the “hot and spicy” one.

They make tamales on Wednesdays and Fridays and, in addition to delivering them those two days, they are available at the Wednesday evening farmer’s market in Placerville.

To order these excellent tamales to eat now, serve at a party or freeze for later, call (530) 417-5641 or visit ‘em Doug Noble from The Windfall sent you!

They can also be shipped and they have customers as far away as Montana, Tennessee and even Canada.




Steppin’ Out – Drewski’s Hot Rod Kitchen

Written on June 28, 2013 at 1:15 pm, by

“Food is the most important meal of the day.” Nikhil Saluja

Generally I try to buy food at the El Dorado County Fair from the local non-profits, like the 4H, granges, 20-30 Club and other local organizations. But now and then I wander off to see what new vendors we have, and I was delighted with what I discovered..

If you were at our fair last week, you may have noticed the brightly painted food truck that said, Drewski’s Hot Rod Kitchen. If you were lucky, you took the time to read their menu and order something, an act that I and a number of my friends did more than once during our great four day fair.

As you may know, food trucks have recently become very popular all over the country, including in the greater Sacramento area. So, two years ago Andrew Blaskovich leapt in and started Drewski’s by buying and outfitting one truck. Since then his business has grown exponentially. And, they have won “best of” from Sacramento News and Review, KCRA and more.

Blaskovich now has two trucks (located “On a street corner near you,” he says) and in the next few weeks should have cafés open in both Folsom and McClellan, in addition to the existing Republic Bar & Grill, a popular eating and drinking establishment on 15th Street in Sacramento, where he runs the kitchen.

I had quite a chat with the very personable Doug Otter, the truck manager, while they were at the fair. He said the secret to their success is selling food that people like, made from good quality ingredients and sold at a reasonable price.

The menu at the fair was their standard truck menu, which includes the following grilled cheese sandwich creations:

Hemi: slow roasted Carolina pulled pork, Mac ’n Cheese, grilled onions and Cheddar cheese, grilled on sliced French bread.

Mustang: Korean braised beef, house-made kimchi, shredded daikon, Sriracha (the Asian looking “Rooster Sauce” made in California)-Wasabi aioli and aged Havarti and Swiss cheeses grilled on sliced French bread.

Prius: sliced and grilled Granny Smith apples, wild flower honey, Smokehouse almonds, and double creme Brie cheese, grilled on 9 grain sliced wheat.

Tricycle: “Your Not So Standard Grilled Cheese,” with Cheddar, Swiss and Havarti cheese, grilled on sliced French bread.

Drewski Dog: an all beef (Hebrew National) dog, bacon wrapped and topped with Cheddar cheese, grilled onions, Sriracha-Wasabi Aioli and grilled on a sweet French Hoagie roll.

Sides include Drewski’s Famous Tots, tossed with fresh rosemary and garlic; Sweet Potato Fries, also tossed with fresh rosemary and garlic and Drewski’s Deep Fried Mac ‘N’ Cheese Balls, with smoked bacon and black truffle, along with the S’moreski, made with whipped marshmallow, Nutella and graham crackers grilled on sweet French bread.

I tried the Drewski Dog, along with some tots, with which they gave me some Sriracha-Wasabi aioli for dipping (spicy and delicious, but not too hot). The sandwich was spectacularly wonderful and the tots dipped in the aioli, outstanding. I couldn’t eat all the tots, so I shared a half-dozen of them with some friends, who actually fought over the last one.

The next day my friend Russ Salazar, his lady friend, Lynn, and I shared a Drewski Dog and a couple of orders of tots, which was enough food for three normal people (Lynn is the only normal one it turns out).

Unexpectedly, we were joined at a table in the shade by two of my favorite and always delightful people, County Assessor Karl Weiland and his wife Heidi.

Heidi graciously shared her Prius sandwich with us and it too was very, very good, even to meat eaters like Salazar and me. She also had an order of Drewski’s Famous Tots, so we shared our dipping sauce with her. She must have really liked it as the small containers were wiped clean when she was done.

The Folsom café will be located off Iron Point Road in a business park, while the McClellan café is slated for 5504 Dudley Avenue.

In addition to everything else, Drewski’s does a lot of catering. For more information call (916) 502-0474 or visit  ~Tell ‘em Doug Noble from The Windfall sent you!

“So Doug,” you might ask, “why a food truck and cafes that aren’t even in our county?” Well, a lot of our people shop in Folsom at Costco and Sam’s Club, so they might be interested in something different. And, they received a number of inquiries at the fair about bringing their truck to the Placerville area once a week, one being from a city official. They are looking into that.

Finally, if you are wondering why the business is called Drewski’s, that is what his friends called him when he was young. Andrew Blaskovich simply became Drewski.


Steppin’ Out – Manzanita Kitchen & Events

Written on June 28, 2013 at 1:13 pm, by

A week ago yesterday I attended the standing-room-only ribbon cutting and grand opening of a very unique, beautifully furnished and badly needed business in El Dorado county, Manzanita Kitchen & Events.

It is a 3300 square food event space (130 seated, 262 standing) and kitchen, located at 4232 Fowler Lane, Suite 101, behind the Diamond Springs Post office, and perfect for receptions and parties, meetings, mixers, wine dinners, luncheons, performances and more.

Because it is a full facility with a commercial kitchen, you can get gourmet food prepared for your event by Table Nectar, Manzanita’s in-house, full service caterer that prides itself in using the freshest, most flavorful seasonal and locally-sourced ingredients available.

The well equipped, 1200 square foot, licensed commercial kitchen is also available for hourly or monthly use and ideal for catering, retail packaged products, canning, farm stand products, classes, family meal preparation, food carts and other businesses needing this kind of facility. It is perfect place for a start-up food business to learn, advance and grow, without an investment in their own, very expensive, commercial kitchen.

Back to the grand opening event, it was a bit of everything and showcased the new facility nicely, especially since it was beautifully enhanced with walls of wonderful art by Paul Cockrell, Francis Kenney and Leah Delmer.

Four local wineries, Mellowood Vineyard, Fitzpatrick Winery, Findleton Winery and Chateau Davell, were there pouring wines to match the appetizers that were being prepared for the guests by Table Nectar and other business using the facilities. Also available were samples of a very interesting, locally produced effervescent fermentation of sweetened tea called Down Dog Kombucha.

El Tamelero – The Tamale Man, had several kinds of delicious tamales to sample, including vegetarian, beef, chicken and chili-cheese, while Farmer’s Delicatessen – Fresh European Specialities, served several dishes, including samples of a delicious baklava (yes, I ate more than one), a very nice Romanian eggplant salad known as vinetta and the very refreshing Greek cucumber-yogurt dip, Tzatziki. South Fork Farm, from the Gold Hill area, supplied fresh produce for Table Nectar, the in-house caterer.

Table Nectar really outdid themselves with appetizers, and had several servers wandering through the crowd with full trays (but not for long) of Meyer lemon-herbed chicken skewers, Caribbean-spiced chicken skewers, coconut corn medallions, snap pea gazpacho, beef Marsala sliders (with pickled watermelon radish), endive leaves filled with shaved fennel, strawberry and lemon ricotta, along with balsamic beef crostini, braised chard crostini and sun dried tomato crostini.

Adding a wonderful touch to the ambiance was Rita & Soul, who provided live music.

Also available to the guests were brochures and, in some cases, representatives from businesses such as Slow Food, Gold Country Chapter; Mama Earth Farm in Somerset and Harmony Hill Farm, which is located between Mt. Aukum and Fiddletown.

Manzanita Kitchen & Events is family owned and operated by Placerville native, Kimberly Medici, and her husband Andy Tannehill. It is supported by their family, crew and larger community of farmers, winemakers, independent producers, food lovers and artists of all manner.

Their mission is simple and very straightforward: “We are dedicated to creating relationships with our clients and community that help to grow local businesses, nourish our families and honor the environment.”

Call 530-344-7613 for a free tour and consultation, or check out their website for more information on how you can rent this great venue for your next event, party or celebration, or use the kitchen in your business. Their website is

On Thursday, July 18, from 5:30 until 8:30, they will be starting “Winemaker,” a monthly dinner series featuring local wines and local farm produce. This time it is a locally-sourced, special organic five course dinner and wine paring of the wines from Chateau Davell and a meal prepared by Chef Kimberly Medici.

The cost is $65 per person and reservations can be made by calling 530-344-7613. ~Tell ‘em Doug Noble with The Windfall sent you!



Yesterday – Shingle Springs #2

Written on June 28, 2013 at 1:12 pm, by

With Shingle Springs still growing rapidly, due to the arrival of the tracks of the Placerville & Sacramento Valley Railroad in 1865, most people believed there was no end to their success and that the local economy would continue to expand indefinitely.

There was the realization that when the tracks were completed to Placerville, and it became the freight and passenger transfer station for all points east, Shingle Springs businesses would be affected. However, no one fully realized the effect of what was happening several miles to the north.

For some time, the Central Pacific had been constructing their portion of the transcontinental railroad eastward from Sacramento to connect with the tracks being built in a westward direction by the Union Pacific.

In the summer of 1866, just one short year after the trains started arriving in Shingle Springs, the Central Pacific tracks through Auburn and Truckee had finally crossed the Sierra Nevada and the freight and passenger traffic for localities east of the mountains – the very traffic that had been passing through Shingle Springs – began to switch to that much more convenient and quicker route.

It is interesting to note at this point that the Sacramento Valley Railroad, the first commercial railroad west of the Mississippi and the parent company of the Placerville & Sacramento Valley Railroad, had once been a serious contender to develop the route over the Sierra Nevada. Their proposed route through Latrobe, Shingle Springs, Placerville and Strawberry, then by tunnel into the Tahoe basin and down the eastern slope into Nevada, was considered by some superior to the selected route through Auburn and Truckee. But, the Central Pacific’s “Big Four,” Stanford, Huntington, Hopkins and Crocker, had different ideas and the political clout to assure them.

The Central Pacific not only won that battle but, by 1887, even owned all the equipment and operations of the Sacramento Valley Railroad.

With the loss of the freight traffic the economy of Shingle Springs once more headed downward as businesses began to close.

Merchants and others left for more prosperous locations and the town became “smaller by degrees and beautifully less,” as Paolo Sioli wrote in the “History of El Dorado County” (1883).

In spite of what was obvious, some people blamed this slump in the economy and the lack of work for “white men” as a result of the influx of Chinese workers and were determined to do something about it.

By early 1886, the anti-Chinese movement – so prevalent throughout the Mother Lode – had spread to Shingle Springs and an organization known as the Shingle Springs Anti-Chinese Association was formed to promote the boycotting all Chinese businesses and labor.

As a result of the exodus of Chinese laborers, gardeners and bakers, the town found itself without many needed supplies. The only option was to have them shipped in, if they could be found at all since the boycott was so widespread.

Soon, the town had no more Chinese in it and the Association just faded away, while the wounds from this act took long years to heal.

Through all this the town continued to live, somewhat spurred on by the fact that it was still the last railroad stop along the main road to Placerville, a place that for many reasons would not be reached by railroad until the middle of 1888.

Some time in the late 1800s mining of the high calcium limestone deposits started some three miles south of the center of town.

The El Dorado Lime and Minerals Company, quarried the stone which was burned in nearby stone lime kilns and then used for many purposes.

In 1931, the El Dorado Limestone Company took over the operation, expanding both the mine and the product line. They sunk a 1000 foot vertical shaft which was worked at both the 650 and 800 foot levels. The limestone that was removed ended up being processed at their nearby plant, and shipped nation-wide for use by steel mills, glass manufacturers, beet-sugar refiners, the construction trade and agriculturists.

In the 1980s the mine would be closed, but the processing plant would continue to operate for a while using limestone brought in by truck from the historic open pit at Marble Valley, a few miles to the west.

Although its name has changed several times over the years – first Shingle Springs, then in 1895 officially just Shingle and then in 1955 back to Shingle Springs – this Gold Rush town has always been an important part of the history of El Dorado County.

Perhaps no other town in our County has left its mark in so many ways: first as the site of a large shingle mill, then as a rich mining community, an important stop on the emigrant trail, a large railroad terminus, and now as a rural community with a rapidly growing commercial district.


Sources include: “History of California”, by Theodore Hittell (1897); “California Gold Camps,” by Erwin Gudde (1975); “California Place Names,” by Erwin Gudde, 3rd Edition (1974); “Mother Lode of Learning – One Room Schools of El Dorado County,” by Retired Teachers Association of El Dorado County (1990); “I Remember…, Stories and pictures of El Dorado County pioneer families,” researched and written by Betty Yohalem (1977); “Mines and Mineral Resources of El Dorado County, California,” California Division of Mines (1956); “Narrow Gauge Nostalgia,” by George Turner (1965); “History of El Dorado County,” by Paolo Sioli (1883), reprinted and indexed by the El Dorado Friends of the Library (1998); the archives of the Mountain Democrat (1854-Present); and the wonderful people at the reference desk of the El Dorado County Main Library.



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Yesterday – Shingle Springs #1

Written on June 28, 2013 at 1:10 pm, by

In March of 1849, a company of ten men left Monroe, Michigan determined to cross the plains and settle in California.

A man named Kertland was the captain of the company, which consisted of David B. Scott, D. Ashley, A. Lawyer, George Withington, and Messrs. Sweeney, Stephens, Bisby, Buckley and Wilson.

They proceeded to a place that would later be called Ragtown, where they camped and sent Scott ahead to scout the countryside as far as Sacramento and look around for the place where they could do the best in California (Ragtown was a trading post set up around 1850 on the Carson route, just west of the Nevada desert and east of the mountains of the Sierra Nevada).

In the company of a Dr. Richard Ormsby, Scott scouted westerly and camped at a site heavily dotted with sugar pine and oak, near beautiful clear springs. Delighted with the location, he returned to his company, which by that time had crossed the Sierra Nevada and reached Sly Park. He then travelled with them west to Sutterville (Sacramento), where the company ultimately split up.

Ormsby and Scott then joined forces with Withington, William Van Alstine and the Bartlett brothers, Henry and Edward. Together, they travelled back to the place where Ormsby and Scott had earlier camped and erected a horse powered shingle machine that could produce sixteen thousand shingles a day, worth $50 to $60 a thousand in Sacramento. From this simple beginning, grew the town we now know as Shingle Springs.

The first public house was built by Edward Bartlett in 1850 on a hill near the springs. Called the Shingle Springs House (and later the Locust Inn), it was a popular stopping place for travellers looking for food, drink and a place to stay the night. Some time later it became a general store kept by E. M Hiatt, a gentleman from Missouri, and then the town’s first U. S. Post Office, which opened for business on February 3, 1853 with D. T. Hall as postmaster.

In 1851, a year after the Shingle Springs House was constructed, another public house, the Missouri House, was built a short distance to the east, followed the next year by R. S. Wakefield’s Planter’s House. Behind the Planter’s House, on Shingle Creek, A. P. Catlin and S. C. Cutler built a steam saw mill. The mill was in operation for about two years, selling lumber for as much as one hundred and fifty dollars a thousand board feet immediately after the fire of 1852 in Sacramento.

Although the shingle and lumber business was profitable, the place was also surrounded by rich placer mines and the canyons and gulches were soon full of prospectors and their simple cabins.

For the first seven years or so, there were no stores in Shingle Springs so miners had to travel about one mile east to the former village of Buckeye Flat for supplies.

Named for the first settlers, some men from Ohio, it had three stores, kept by Henry Kingsley, Henry Yealing and Fred Heldman, and one hotel, which was owned by a Mr. Rockwell. Now only a named spot on old maps, it’s demise started in 1857 when the first store in Shingle Springs opened near the Planter’s House, much closer and more convenient to the mines.

Within a few years Shingle Springs became not much more than a way-station for travelers between Sacramento, Placerville and the east. Nearly all of the small mining claims had played out and had been consolidated into vast ranching estates. Most of its inhabitants had packed up and left for home or richer claims and thus, Shingle Springs was well on its way to joining Buckeye Flat on the rapidly growing list of Gold Rush ghost towns. Then, on the sixteenth of June in 1865, the tracks of the Placerville and Sacramento Valley Railroad reached Shingle Springs and the town again boomed.

New buildings went up almost over night. A new post office and an express and telegraph-office appeared, along with an 800 foot long railroad depot. Immediately it became one of the largest towns in California and a huge shipping center. Not only were the supplies for most of the rest of El Dorado County passing through here, but silver and gold mining in the Virginia City area was in full swing.

Almost all the supplies and people that were destined for Virginia City and the Comstock Lode traveled by train to Shingle Springs where they were loaded on huge freight wagons and coaches for the trip up and over the mountains to the mines, and all points east. Along with the many extra freight trains that were needed to carry the tons of supplies that were heading eastward from the Shingle Springs depot, two passenger trains arrived from Sacramento daily (except Sunday).

Huge freight wagons pulled by extraordinarily large teams were loaded up for the trip east, which at times literally formed a continuous, end-to-end line from Shingle Springs to the Nevada mines and it was said that if a wagon got out of this line, it was nearly impossible to get back in.

The times were good, the mines in Nevada’s Comstock Lode needed more and more supplies and they all had to pass through the depot at Shingle Springs. The town held a monopoly on the movement of freight and passengers eastward and was bustling with businesses of all kinds. But, very shortly things would change.


Sources include: “History of California”, by Theodore Hittell (1897); “California Gold Camps”, by Erwin Gudde (1975); “California Place Names”, by Erwin Gudde, 3rd Edition (1974); “Mother Lode of Learning – One Room Schools of El Dorado County” by Retired Teachers Association of El Dorado County (1990); “I Remember…, Stories and pictures of El Dorado County pioneer families”, researched and written by Betty Yohalem (1977); “Mines and Mineral Resources of El Dorado County, California”, California Division of Mines (1956); “Narrow Gauge Nostalgia” by George Turner (1965); “History of El Dorado County”, by Paolo Sioli (1883), reprinted and indexed by the El Dorado Friends of the Library (1998); the archives of the Mountain Democrat (1854-Present); and the wonderful people at the reference desk of the El Dorado County Main Library.


Shingle sm.jpg

Steppin’ Out – Hindquarter House

Written on June 28, 2013 at 1:09 pm, by

“My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four; unless there are three other people.” ~Orson Welles

The Hindquarter House, a restaurant with a bar in the town of Pilot Hill, has been around for some time. About three years ago Lesa Dalthorp took it over and has made it a very special place for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

One of the secrets to their success is that they have their own garden and herb garden, and buy as much as they can fresh from local farmers. That, along with the care she and her son, Josh, take in the kitchen in both food preparation and presentation, makes this a very special restaurant to visit.

Earlier this week, Robert Henderson ( he and his wife Tina publish The Windfall ) and I were invited to sample a few things. But, when we showed up, we found out we were going to be treated to an unexpected three hour gourmet banquet.

Dalthorp told us she wanted us to try several dishes that they were testing for the new menu that comes out next week, as she started us off with a nice Caesar salad, made with a delicious, house made dressing. That was followed by some of the best New England style clam chowder I have eaten (on the east, west and southern coasts of our great country): full of clams and deliciously creamy.

Henderson remarked to me that the potatoes, which didn’t overpower the taste of the clams, were perfect in texture. Dalthorp said they bake them somewhat before slicing them up for the chowder.

With the first dishes we were also served an Alpenglow-Blackberry spritzer that really woke up the palate.

The next dish was grilled shrimp kabobs with pineapple chunks and peppers. They came with a fresh peach-mango margarita and, for dipping, their spicy adobo sauce.

I’m a hot food freak, but wow, that was spicy…but very good. By the way, the fresh peach, mango margarita paired wonderfully with it (and cooled it a bit).

We were next served their barbecued babyback ribs with their own, very, very good barbecue sauce (the kind that gives no heartburn). The ribs were very meaty and perfectly done, as the meat pulled off the bone with a gentle tug. This, by the way, is where we decided it might be a good idea to pack up some of the food for later.

The next course was Bistro Chicken which was lightly seasoned and beautifully served in an herb infused white wine sauce and accompanied by garlic Parmesan mashed potatoes, spinach and more. Everything on the plate was delicious, especially the spinach of which I ate all.

Henderson took most of this dish home to share, and said to me after he tried it, “This is what I would call elegant home cooking!”

Next (only two more courses) was a ribeye steak with a zinfandel reduction demiglace, potato croquettes and flash fried, fresh vegetables.

The steak was medium-rare and tender and the flavorful demiglace did not overpower it. The potato croquettes were unique and delicious and the vegetables were still crisp, yet tender and full of flavor. With it we were served a glass of Boeger Barbera, which complemented the dish wonderfully.

The final dish was what they call Monkey Pie. It is a vanilla wafer crust with a hard coating of chocolate, then covered with bananas and vanilla pudding and topped with whipped cream. With it we were served their version of a yummy chocolate-strawberry martini.

It was a great and delicious ending for a great meal, a meal during which I used at least nine napkins and one handy wipe. For dinner that evening…I ate nothing.

The menu at the Hindquarter house is several pages long and in summary, includes for breakfast, an enormous variety of omelets, scrambles and something they call “belly busters,” along with a special section of under $5 items.

For lunch there are lots of starters or appetizers, their famous half-pound burgers, including a real buffalo burger, several kinds of great sandwiches (they cure and smoke their own corned beef and pastrami) and a Caesar or Steak and Bleu cheese salad, both of which can be served as a wrap.

For dinner, which is served from 5 p.m. on, you can enjoy steaks, the great babyback ribs, chicken dishes and pasta dishes, along with soup and their fresh salad bar that is cleverly kept in an old bathtub. And, on Friday and Saturday, prime rib and a “Fresh from the Sea” special.

I asked about the top selling dishes and was told they are chicken fried steak and biscuits and gravy at breakfast, the French dip sandwich (made with prime rib) and the jalapeno and Black and Bleu burgers at lunch. At dinner, it is steaks and their delicious babyback ribs, which often sell out, so get there early.

Oh, ask about their “Release the Kracken.” special meal for competitive eaters.

To accompany your meal, they have a full bar, emphasizing local beers and wines, along with coffee, tea, milk, soft drinks and more.

The Hindquarter House is located at 4400 Highway 49 in Pilot Hill (next to the post office) and is open Friday through Monday from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m., serving breakfast, lunch and dinner and Tuesday through Thursday from 11:30 until 9, serving just lunch and dinner. For more information call (530) 885-8058. ~Tell ‘em Doug Noble from The Windfall sent you!

Yesterday – Salmon Falls

Written on June 28, 2013 at 1:06 pm, by

Located on the banks of the South Fork of the American River at the mouth of Sweetwater Creek, this town derived its name from the falls on the American River to where the Indians came down from the mountains to catch the abundant salmon. The town, the falls and the salmon are no longer there as a result of the construction of Folsom Dam, but the town’s name remains a part of our history as a road, a bridge and a residential community.

Early in 1849, according to the “History of El Dorado County” by Paolo Sioli (1883), very rich diggings were discovered by Mormons at Higgins’ Point, about a quarter of a mile below the town. Mr. Higgins and his family were the first people to settle here, arriving from Australia sometime in 1848 and it was Higgins who opened the first store in the area.

In September of 1849 Ruben K. Berry, from New York, arrive here in company with H. Passmore, Thomas Brown, H. Williams L. Benham and a Mr. Barlow. They were soon joined by a Mr. Haskell and O. Smith, who afterwards would keep the first store in Uniontown (Lotus), near Coloma.

In early 1850 Mr. Berry claimed the land and laid out the town which was surveyed and platted by P. N. Madegan in May of that year

The streets running parallel with the river were named: Water, State, Government and Washington streets. Across Sweetwater Creek ran Sacramento Street and those streets running up from the river were called High, Polk, Taylor, Clay, Brower and El Dorado.

As miners began to arrive in large numbers, the population of Salmon Falls rapidly grew and by the summer of 1850 a number of town lots had been sold.

Sensing this growing population, in the spring of 1850 Berry had opened the second store in the town on the banks of Sweetwater Creek. Soon he had himself appointed as the first alcalde (mayor – judge) of the district. In the fall of 1852 he was joined by his wife, Amanda, and her sister.

The first hotel in the town was build by a Mr. Crug, who later sold out to Berry and went east. Like many gold rush hotels, it had been built on the East Coast, disassembled and shipped around Cape Horn.

As the town continued to grow, it was soon large enough to support two physicians, a Dr. McMeans and a Dr. Hook.

In 1851 a Post Office was established in Salmon Falls with T. R. Brown as postmaster. The same year a regular stage line to and from Sacramento began operation.

In 1850 a John W. Gaines (also often spelled Gains) had arrived in the area, but rather than stay chose to build a hotel in Sacramento called the Rialto. When cholera struck the area, he moved to San Francisco and then back to Salmon Falls.

He and his wife Mary built or bought a hotel and purchased a mercantile business from a Mr. Campbell in 1869, which by 1883 was the only store in town. He also served as the Justice of the Peace, school trustee and water agent, while raising a family of three daughters.

The first bridge across the American River at this location was constructed in 1853 by Mr. Edward T. Raun of San Francisco and later Coloma, who owned the bridges at Coloma, Spanish Bar and Kelsey. Although Mr. Raun lived in Coloma, his ties to this town were strong since his wife was the former Miss Charlotte A. Phelps, Salmon Falls’ first school teacher.

The bridge soon washed away, but immediately another one was put up since the bridge was very profitable to Mr. Raun. After all It was the main road from Sacramento to all the mining camps in the northern part of El Dorado County, along with the river bars on the Middle and North Forks of the American River and all the mines beyond in the new County of Placer.

In 1856, Mr. Raun sold his interest in all his bridges to Richards & Pearish and Mr. Richards ultimately ended up as sole owner of this bridge.

With the construction of railroads leading from the Sacramento Valley into the foothills, which took away travel from the road, and the playing out of the river bars, the profitability of the bridge waned. Soon it again washed out and for many decades was not rebuilt.

Salmon Falls Road resident and history buff, Bernie G. Ryan, who probably knows more about Salmon Falls that anyone in the area, gathered, among other things, Salmon Falls census records from 1850 through 1930. He gives us a different perspective on early Salmon Falls and its residents.

From the 1850 census data he calculated that of the total population of 252, 143, or 57 percent, were miners. Of this population, a large majority, 77 percent, were from the United States. But this would rapidly change.

By 1860 the population had increased to 1360 people, with 862 (65 percent) listed as miners. The next largest category was housewives (81), followed by laborers (40), farmers (36), grocers (29) and cooks (13). Also among the list of nearly 40 different occupations, there were 10 carpenters, 9 butchers, 4 physicians, 3 barbers, 2 wagon makers, a bridge owner, a shoemaker and only one saloon keeper. He also calculated that in 1860, 929 (68 percent) of the residents in Salmon Falls were from foreign countries. The largest single group, 661, almost half of the total population, came there from China.

According to the 1870 census, the population had dropped to 428 with only 40 percent listed as miners. New occupations that showed up on the 1870 census included a vintner, eight vineyard workers, a vineyard superintendent and a cooper, or barrel maker. The population was about half people of foreign origin, with 20 percent of those being from China.

In its heyday Salmon Falls had grown from just a few huts built by the Mormon miners to a community of some 3000. As the mining waned, the town soon became only a ghost of its once greatness.

With the construction of Folsom Dam and reservoir, the historic township of Salmon Falls was inundated. The cemetery was moved to a site near Green Valley Road and the Sacramento County line.

Few relics of Salmon Falls remain today other than the name which is carried on by the nearby residential community of Salmon Falls, Salmon Falls Road and the bridge which again spans the South Fork of the American River.


Thanks to Bernie Ryan for his wealth of information on Salmon Falls and hundreds of hours of calculations which added much to this story and corrected many “facts” which were found in other publications. Copies of his papers are on file at both the Main and El Dorado Hills libraries.



Yesterday – Rescue

Written on June 28, 2013 at 1:05 pm, by

Rescue was not the original name of this small El Dorado County community at the intersection of Green Valley Road and Deer Valley Road. According to the many documents on the subject, like many other settlements in early California it was originally called Green Valley. The reported source of the name Rescue adds a bit of interesting color to this rural community.

The story goes that sometime around 1895, the U.S. Post Office Department decided that they wanted to do away with this town’s name of Green Valley because there were already too many towns with that name in California and elsewhere. The Department requested the owner of the building that would house the post office, one Dr. Hunter, to submit a list of new, one-word names for the town from which the Department would choose the one they liked.

One proposed name on the list was given to Dr. Hunter by Andrew Hare, who had a nearby mining claim called the Rescue Claim. His claim had “rescued” him from poverty and he thought it would be a fine name for the town.

Apparently the Post Office Department agreed with Mr. Hare and, thus, on June 12, 1895, the Rescue Post Office opened with Merritt A. Hunter as postmaster (like many other pioneers of this area Mr. Hunter is buried in Jayhawk Cemetery, just north of the center of town along Deer Valley Road).

Rescue, or Green Valley at the time, had been an important way station on the wagon road from Sacramento to the “diggins” in the 1840s and 1850s. During the active mining years, many heavy wagon loads of mining equipment wound their way along what is now Green Valley road, through the middle of this small community working their way to the mining claims around Coloma and Placerville and then returning with ore and even passengers to the towns of Folsom and Sacramento.

In 1849, with the inception of California’s first stage line from Sacramento to Coloma and Placerville, Green Valley was chosen as one of its stops.

For many years in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Rescue remained a quiet, sleepy town with a store and post office and not much more.

Much of the land was just vacant or used for grazing or other agricultural pursuits. Businesses built up along Green Valley road, including the Skinner Winery (corner of Cameron Park Drive and Green Valley Road) and, west along Green Valley Road, several lodging places, coach and Pony Express stops were constructed. However, Rescue remained relatively quiet.

Even in the mid 1960s, when the communities on all sides of Rescue started seeing new residential development, most of Rescue continued to maintain its rural look.

On July 1, 1962, the post office changed its location to the Rose Springs Literary Society Meeting Hall, with Mrs. Ila Wing Brazil as acting Postmaster (she was officially appointed Postmaster on October 23, 1963).

The entire upstairs of this historic structure, dated 1896, has a magnificent dance floor where once great celebrations were held. Downstairs contains the Post Office and areas that could be used meeting rooms.

The building is being caringly restored to its original magnificence by the Rescue Volunteer Fire Association, using private funds collected from all kinds of events, including golf tournaments, rummage sales and their famous “Hot August Nights”.

Unlike its two cities, El Dorado County’s many communities have no real legal boundaries other than those that might be artificially created by the local Post Office or fire department. In spite of this, people residing for miles around the center of Rescue claim it as their community, honoring it with a well attended, huge celebration every year, complete with games, events and even the “election” of an honorary mayor.

Unlike many other Gold Rush towns, and in spite of being on the edge of several developing areas, Rescue is one place that has succeeded in preserving its rural lifestyle.

Note: This is just a short look at the history of the town of Rescue. For a complete history on the area and its pioneer residents, see: “History of a Place Called Rescue,” by William Teie and Francis Carpenter (2011). It is available through Deer Valley Press and local bookstores.

Sources for this story include:  “History of California”, by Theodore Hittell (1897); “California Gold Camps”, by Erwin Gudde (1975); “California Place Names”, by Erwin Gudde, 3rd Edition (1974);”I Remember…, Stories and pictures of El Dorado County pioneer families”, researched and written by Betty Yohalem (1977); “Mines and Mineral Resources of El Dorado County, California”, California Division of Mines (1956); “History of El Dorado County”, by Paolo Sioli (1883), reprinted and indexed by the El Dorado Friends of the Library (1998); the archives of the Mountain Democrat (1854-Present); and the wonderful people at the reference desk of the El Dorado County Main Library.



Steppin’ Out – Poor Red’s BAR-B-Q

Written on June 28, 2013 at 1:02 pm, by

“I’m at Poor Reds, where are you?”  Their motto

This place is a historic business in the town of El Dorado that I would hate to lose. It is famous around the world and was even featured on Channel 40 last December.

The building itself was erected in 1857 by Chinese laborers using locally quarried stone. Since then it has been an apothecary, waystation, Pony Express stop (maybe), bar, café and bar-café combination and who knows what else. It has also survived at least two fires and probably been run into by cars half a dozen times. And, we are told, some ladies once ran a business upstairs.

In the past few years it has gone through some difficult times and right now the employees themselves are doing their very best to keep it open. If you ask any of them they will tell you that they feel they owe it to the community to keep it open and they are not going to let go. I’m proud of them.

Everyone seems to have a story about Poor Red’s from driving a great distance with friends just to have their signature drink, the “Golden Cadillac,” sitting at the bar enjoying a Shirley Temple at a very young age to ducking a bag of rolls thrown by their resident “ghost.” And, when was the last time you saw dining room chairs with those little contraptions on the back to hold a gentleman’s hat?

“Poor” Red and “Rich” Opal Sadler took over what was then Kelly’s in the mid-1940s and around 1948 it became “Poor Red’s BAR-B-Q, Steaks – Chicken – Ribs.” a name that it has kept ever since, even though the two of them have since passed on.

I have been going there for lunch or dinner since the mid-1960s, even before I moved here, and remember that up until just a few years ago, if you wanted cheese on your hamburger, sour cream on your baked potato or snacks to enjoy while you were waiting for seats to open in the dining room, you brought them. I can fondly remember women digging through large purses to bring out nuts, chips, packages of sliced of cheese and, yes, a jar of sour cream. That has changed.

They now have sour cream and cheese (some people still bring them just for old times’ sake) and  have added quite a list of appetizers to carry you until dinner.

When I first showed up there for dinner nearly 50 years ago, I think the menu consisted of their famous ribs, chicken, ham and a couple of steaks. Now your choices at dinner include those, along with baby back ribs, a cheeseburger, chicken ranch salad, steak and Bleu salad and more.

When I worked for the El Dorado County Planning Department in the 1970s, several of us, including sometimes members of the Planning Commission, would often go there for lunch. At that time the lunch menu included only a burger, ham sandwich, steak sandwich and the infamous pork dip, made from what they trimmed from their pork ribs to square them up for cooking, simmered slowly in a mildly spicy and delicious secret sauce (can you tell it is my favorite?).

Things have changed in the years since then and lunch now includes the burger, pork dip and ham sandwich, along with a prime rib dip, both baby back and pork ribs, cheeseburger, bacon cheeseburger Cowboy burger, ribeye, the two salads and more. And, I understand that this week they will be bringing back the chef’s salad.

I stopped in last Friday around noon to see how things were going and there were at least a dozen people having a drink or eating lunch. I didn’t check, but I will bet a few of them were enjoying their famous Golden Cadillac, which I understand has been reduced in price by a couple of dollars.

A kind lady by the name of Melissa Hawkins seated me and since I hadn’t had one in a while, I ordered the pork dip, just to see if it was still like I remembered it. It was and it was delicious. Larry Perkins, who has worked there for 18 years, comes in early in the morning to make it and he has the knack.

Manning the kitchen that  day was Luis Avila, who was doing a great job getting orders out and smiles back.

Tending Friday’s bar was the son of a long time bartender at Red’s, Mike Speegle, Jr. Like his father, he is a fan of history and can tell you a lot about the place while pouring you a something wonderful.

People who weren’t working that day but are part of the staff fighting to keep it open, includes servers Courtney Baxter and Rachel Sarette along with bartenders Clint Berdolt and Frank Labelle.

Presently, Poor Red’s Bar-B-Q is closed on Monday, but open Tuesday and Wednesday from 4:30 p.m. until 10, Thursday from 11 a.m. until 10, Friday and Saturday from 11 until midnight and on Sunday, from 11:30 until 10. Hours will probably increase as time goes on. For more information call 530-622-2901. ~Tell ‘em Doug Noble from The Windfall sent you!

Stop by and check out this piece of our community soon, or even this Sunday during the town of El Dorado’s 17th Annual “Town Bazaar and Flea Market,” which features, live music, train rides and lots of good stuff to buy.

Finally, do you remember the television show about Sarah Jessica Parker seeking her roots in El Dorado County? They taped for several hours in Poor Red’s, but later cut that part out in the final edit. However, one staff member marked the chair she sat in. It is in the dining room, but get moved around. See if you can find it.

Yesterday – Pollock Pines

Written on June 28, 2013 at 1:01 pm, by

Many towns along the Mother Lode were named after early settlers who located there. These people were usually miners, farmers or ranchers who came to California before or shortly after it became a state and were the first to settle in an area. A few of the names that come immediately to mind are Georgetown, Jamestown, Sutter Creek and Kelsey.

But one town, Pollock Pines, was named after the people who actually created it, and they arrived here not during the Gold Rush, but early in the 20th century.

The part of El Dorado County that we now know as Pollock Pines was once just a spot along the Placerville-Carson Valley road that runs east and west over the Sierra Nevada. That is not to say that the area was uninhabited, quite the opposite is true.

Between Sportsman’s Hall and the Fourteen Mile House, which was located at what is now the parking lot at Safeway, there were two other stopping places for travelers along the road, the Illinois House (Twelve Mile House) and the Thirteen Mile House.

According to “The Pollock Pines Epic” by Marilyn Parker (1988), Sportsman’s Hall, at times called the Eleven Mile House (and sometimes Twelve Mile House), was originally owned by a D. C. Dealy, who in 1853 claimed one hundred and sixty acres at this location along the Placerville-Carson Valley Road, where he established a ranch and built Sportsman’s Hall.

The following year, he sold everything to John Blair, one of four brothers that had immigrated to America from Scotland.

John’s brother, James Blair, came west to join him about the time that silver was discovered in the Comstock Lode of Nevada. This discovery resulted in the Placerville-Carson Road becoming crowded with freight and passenger traffic to and from the mines.

Although the Blair brothers would become better known for J. and J. Blair Logging and Lumber Company, they took advantage of the rapidly increasing need for accommodations and enlarged Sportsman’s Hall to hold 150 travellers, also adding stables for 500 horses and corrals that would hold even more. In 1868 Sportsman’s Hall burned down and was immediately rebuilt to handle the traffic along the road.

With the completion of the railroad over the Sierra through Auburn and Truckee in 1869, traffic on the road became only a trickle of what it had been and the Blair brothers leased out the hall and returned to lumbering. For the next 140 plus years the ownership of Sportsman’s Hall passed through many hands. It still remains as one of the oldest restaurants in the Mother Lode.

Little is known about the Illinois (Twelve Mile) House, other than a reference in “The History of El Dorado County” by Paolo Sioli (1883) which mentions that it served groceries and meals all day and night.

Duncan McLean’s Thirteen Mile House was located at the site of the present Pollock Pines School. It burned in 1867.

The Fourteen Mile House became the George Holcomb House in the early part of this century. It’s location at the western terminus of Ogilby Road, near the Placerville-Carson Valley Road made it an important stage and mail stop.

Hiram Robert Pollock, his wife Anna and son Claude Earl arrived in this area around 1909.

H. R. “Hime” Pollock was an experienced lumberman from Michigan and he soon made his name well know in El Dorado County. He formed a partnership with Mr. DiGeorgi for the purpose of building a mill that would produce box grade lumber for the local fruit packing trade. Because of business problems, the partnership broke up and Hiram Pollock ended up with the unfinished mill and a lot of timber land.

Hiram borrowed money to complete the mill and he and his son, Claude Earl, worked hard to keep it going. Unfortunately, in 1932 it was completely destroyed by fire.

Left with only the land, Hiram looked around for a way to recoup his losses. He knew that the increasing number of people who were using the new State Highway to get to and from Lake Tahoe often inquired about property for summer cabins, so he and his wife Anna set out to answer their needs.

In 1935 the Pollocks started selling lots in a subdivision they created out of a piece of land that lay along the ridge, on both sides of Cedar Grove School. They called it Pollock Pines and the lots sold rapidly. People fell in love with the cool summer climate.

Shortly thereafter, Cedar Grove School changed its name to the Pollock Pines School and, on April 14, 1936, the Pollock Pines Post Office was established with Mrs. Alice P. Grout as the first postmaster.

In May of both 1947 and 1948, Hiram and Anna Pollock filed additional subdivision maps creating more lots for the town that would retain their name.

Pollock Pines remained a quiet summer resort community for many years. Then, in 1959 SMUD started building its many dams in the Crystal Basin, several miles to the northeast. Employee housing was needed and, as a result, mobile home parks were rapidly built in Pollock Pines, further expanding the population.

Over the next several years, major subdivisions began to develop along Sly Park Road, between Pollock Pines and the new Jenkinson Lake that filled the meadow at Sly Park, once an important immigrant resting place along the Carson trail.

Although, like the Pollock subdivisions, these were originally planned and designed for seasonal, second homes, many people who built there soon sold their houses in the Sacramento Valley and Bay Area and became full-time residents of the community.

Over the past 60 years, Pollock Pines has grown from a very rural area into a large community with commercial centers and services of many kinds. Yet, in spite of this growth, it still retains its original rural flavor.

Anna Pollock passed away in 1949, followed two and a half years later by Hiram, who was 86 at the time. The town they started remains as a permanent monument to their memory.


“The Pollock Pines Epic” by Marilyn Parker (1988), was a source of much of the information in this story. It is a very detailed history on the Pollock Pines area and is available at both the Pollock Pines and Main libraries and on-line.



Yesterday – Pleasant Valley

Written on June 28, 2013 at 12:54 pm, by

To understand how the town of Pleasant Valley came about, one must go back to 1846 and a place two thousand miles east.

Brigham Young and his followers were in dire straights, having left much of their belongings in their flight from Nauvoo, Illinois and persecution. They, the Mormons, had arrived in Council Bluffs, Iowa with little of anything.

President James K. Polk, concerned with the safety of all people migrating west, proposed a string of forts be built along the way to protect them. Brigham Young figured his followers could benefit by being involved in this task, since it would provide the badly needed supplies for their migration west. He sent Jesse C. Little to Washington D.C. to discuss the matter with the government.

Before Little arrived there, war with Mexico broke out and Polk proposed that instead his people form a battalion to help conquer California.

Five hundred and thirty-six enlisted on July 16, 1846 and the Mormon Battalion was formed.

Under the command of Captain James Allen and later Colonel P. St. George Cook, the Battalion worked their way west and on January 30, 1847, the group, ragged, fatigued and hungry, arrived in San Diego, having built a 2000 mile wagon road along their route.

On July 16, 1847 the battalion was mustered out at the Pueblo de Los Angeles. Some reenlisted, but the rest, having found out about Sam Brannan (one of the Mormons who had come west by ship) and his settlement at New Hope Colony (near today’s Lathrop), headed north.

On their way they learned that Brigham Young had selected Salt Lake City as the future home for the Mormons, so the main body of the group turned east and headed there.

On the way they met Sam Brannan, who was returning from Salt Lake. He informed the group that there was little food or supplies in Salt Lake and that Brigham Young wanted those without families there to return to California and acquire clothing, stock and provisions for a trip the next spring. About half of them turned back, the rest continuing eastward.

Of those who arrived back at Sutter’s Fort, some went to work on Sutter’s grist mill at Natomo (Natoma?) and some proceeded to Coloma to work on the sawmill that James Marshall was building.

A lot has been written about what happened from there, the gold discovery, the secret getting out, and the mining at Coloma and Mormon Bar, but rather than revisit that subject here, we will skip forward a several months.

On May 1, 1848, the Truckee Route being still impassible due to snow, the Mormons chose eight men as an exploring party to search out a new route over the Sierra Nevada.  The eight, Ira J. Willis, James C. Sly (Sly Park is named for him), Israel Evans, Jacob G. Truman, Ezra Allen, J. R. Allred, Henderson Cox, Robert Pixton and their Captain, Daniel Browett, arrived at Iron Mountain three days later and found more deep snow. They postponed their explorations and spent their time panning for gold, obtaining wagons, and gathering supplies and cattle.

On the 17th of May, Henry W. Bigler, one of the men who had been at Coloma when James Marshall discovered gold, arrived with two companions at a valley about eight or nine miles south of Old Dry Diggings (Placerville). They called the place Pleasant Valley, and designated it as the gathering place for the return to Salt Lake City (because of this, for a few years Pleasant Valley would show up on maps as Mormon Camp).

By June 21, 1848 other members of the Battalion, including some of the original exploring party, had arrived in the valley.

A few days later, three of the exploring party, Browett, Allen and Cox, again set out to find a new route over the mountains.

On July 3, the main body left Pleasant Valley heading eastward following the trail blazed by their companions. At a place that would be called Tragedy Springs, they would find the bodies of Browett, Allen and Cox, supposedly killed and buried by Indians some weeks earlier.

The group would properly bury the three before proceeding and, on September 29, 1848, reach Salt Lake City, having blazed a new wagon road across the Sierra Nevada to the Carson Valley. Because the Mormons used this route to emigrate from California, a portion of this route would ultimately be named Mormon Emigrant Trail.

As more and more people entered California along this route, to Pleasant Valley would come growth and at one time the valley would have a population near ten thousand.

In 1862 the Pleasant Valley School District would be organized and a one-room schoolhouse built. This District would continue to operate until 1958 when it and other small districts were combined into the new, Gold Oak District.

On March 23, 1864 the Post Office would open with John B. Hass as Postmaster. It would remain open until the last day of December in 1917, when the Placerville Post Office would take over the mail delivery.

With the decline in the number of immigrants and the reduction in mining, for the next hundred years or so Pleasant Valley would be a small business area, surrounded by farms and ranches. By the 1970s, farming and ranching would generally be in decline. But soon, several more business would move into the area and hope for the future of agriculture would come in the form of the first of many acres of vineyards that would be successfully planted in and around Pleasant Valley.

Sources for this story include: “Mormons and the Discovery of Gold” by Norma Ricketts (1966), “Short Stories Regarding the History of South El Dorado County” by D. A. Wright (1998); “The Historical Perspective Supplement for the Pleasant Valley, Oak Hill, Sly Park Area Plan and Environmental Impact Report” by George W. Peabody (3rd Edition, 1995); “History of California Post Offices, 1849-1976″, researched by H. E. Salley (1976); “History of California”, by Theodore Hittell (1897); “California Gold Camps”, by Erwin Gudde (1975); “California Place Names”, by Erwin Gudde, 3rd Edition (1974); “Mother Lode of Learning – One Room Schools of El Dorado County” by Retired Teachers Association of El Dorado County (1990); “I Remember…, Stories and pictures of El Dorado County pioneer families”, researched and written by Betty Yohalem (1977); “History of El Dorado County”, by Paolo Sioli (1883), reprinted and indexed by the El Dorado Friends of the Library (1998); and the wonderful people at the reference desk of the El Dorado County Main Library.


Steppin’ Out – Sportsman’s Hall

Written on June 28, 2013 at 12:53 pm, by

According to “The Pollock Pines Epic” by Marilyn Parker (1988), Sportsman’s Hall, at times called the Eleven Mile House (and Twelve Mile House), was originally owned by a D. C. Deady, who in 1853 claimed one hundred and sixty acres at this location along the Placerville-Carson Valley Road where he established a ranch.

The following year, he sold his land and Sportsman’s Hall to John Blair, one of four brothers that had immigrated to America from Scotland.

John’s brother, James Blair, came west to join him in the 1860s, about the time that silver was discovered in the Comstock Lode of Nevada. This discovery resulted in the road becoming crowded with freight and passenger traffic to and from the mines.

Although the Blair brothers would become better known for J. and J. Blair Logging and Lumber Company, they took advantage of the rapidly increasing need for accommodations and enlarged Sportsman’s Hall to hold 150 travelers, also adding stables for 500 horses and corrals that would hold even more. In 1868 Sportsman’s Hall burned down and was immediately rebuilt to handle the traffic along the road.

With the completion of the railroad over the Sierra through Auburn and Truckee in 1869, traffic on the road became only a trickle of what it had been and the Blair brothers leased out the hall and returned to lumbering.

For the next 140 plus years the ownership of Sportsman’s Hall passed through many hands. It still remains as one of the oldest operating restaurants in the Mother Lode.

Sportsman’s Hall recently reopened with new operators, Randolph (Randy) Hudson and Bryan Passino. Hudson is from Las Vegas, is an experienced chef and runs the kitchen. Passino is from upstate New York, where he worked in the restaurant industry. He takes care of the front of the house, as it is called.

A couple of weeks ago my friend Russ Salazar asked me if I had tried the restaurant yet. I told him no, so we set up a time to meet there one Friday.

Salazar got there first and was looking over the menu when I joined him at the table. It was around noon and the restaurant was busy.

We decided to order and split two sandwiches, a corned beef Reuben and a Philly Cheese Steak. I ordered sweet potato fries and potato salad (you get two sides), Salazar opted for onion rings and cole slaw. He chose the onion rings because two young ladies at an adjacent table were raving about them.

While we were waiting for our food, I gave our server one of my business cards and one of the owners, Bryan Passino, came by to talk with us. He told us they had only been open since March and that business is increasing as the word gets out. Right now they don’t have a beer and wine license, but they should have one soon. He also mentioned that they have a large banquet room that has recently been used by several local organizations.

I asked him what dish was the most popular and he immediate replied, “The chicken fried steak at breakfast.” To my question,”What about at lunch?” he answered, “You can have breakfast all day, but probably the third pound burgers.”

Our food came and I discovered they had brought me regular fries, which I thought were a little bit undercooked. Passino immediately took care of that and I received an order of the best sweet potato fries I have ever enjoyed: hot, crisp and delicious. I would go back just for them.

The Reuben (made real with sliced corned beef) was excellent: juicy and delicious. The Philly Cheese Steak was a bit on the dry side and also could have used more peppers. My potato salad was also dry, the onion rings were undercooked and a bit oily, but the cole slaw was excellent, so good that I only got one taste before Salazar ate it all while commenting, “Nice dressing.”

I passed our comments on to Passino who appreciated them. Later he told us he made himself a Philly Cheese Steak with more peppers and even cut up the slices of beef to make they more tender.

The menu (which you can see at (not .com) starts with a number of breakfast dishes including omelets, eggs any style, ham, bacon, sausage, steak, pork chops, chicken fried steak, French toast, pancakes and more, along with lots of sides.

Then there are the “Appeteasers,” including wings, quesadillas and loaded fries, which are followed by a list of entrees that includes: Key West Chicken, Chicken Parmigiana, Finger Lickin’ fried chicken, pork chops and meatloaf.

Following that are the third-pound burgers, patty melt, steak sandwich and garden burger and then a long list of what they call “Sandwiches and Such.”

That list includes a grilled chicken breast, barbecue chicken sandwich, French dip, Philly Cheese Steak, grilled ham and cheese, traditional club, classic BLT, the Reuben, classic tuna, roasted turkey, hot roast beef or turkey, a hot Italian meatball sandwich, barbecued pork, pork or chicken tacos, liver and onions, Yankee pot roast and a New York strip steak.

Sportsman’s Hall is located at 5620 Pony Express Trail in Pollock Pines, is open daily from 8 until 8 and can be reached at (530) 303-3751.  ~Tell ‘em Doug Noble from The Windfall sent you!

As a bit more information, Sportsman’s Hall is the site of California Registered Historical Landmark #704, which reads: “This was the site of Sportsman’s Hall, also known as Twelve-Mile House, the hotel operated in the latter 1850s and 1860s by John and James Blair. A stopping place for stages and teams of the Comstock, it became a relay station of the Central Overland Pony Express. Here, at 7:40 A.M., April 4, 1860, pony rider William (Sam) Hamilton riding in from Placerville, handed the express mail to Warren Upson, who, two minutes later, sped on his way eastward.”

Yesterday – Placerville #4 (The Trains Arrive and Depart)

Written on June 28, 2013 at 12:39 pm, by

The railroad tracks to Placerville were finally completed on March 29, 1888, some thirty years later than planned. But by that time the historically independent Placerville and Sacramento Valley Railroad no longer even existed, having been consolidated with ten other valley railroads into the Northern Railway, now under the control of the Southern Pacific hierarchy.

The first passenger train arrived on April 9, 1888, while the first freight reached the depot on April 18, 1888.

The occasion of the arrival of the first passenger train brought out nearly all the residents of Placerville and the surrounding towns.

With only five days advance notice, the city was cleaned up and preparations for the celebration had been made. As the 500 excursion passengers pulled into the station, they were greeted by the boom of cannon, the blare of brass bands, and the cheers of the thousands assembled there.

A large group of local citizens delivered welcome statements which were followed by an extended oration by California Governor, Robert Waterman. Festivities continued with a large parade twice around town and finally concluded with a huge banquet. The occasion marked an important event in the romantic annuls of transportation to and from Placerville which had commenced with pack trains only forty years earlier.

Within the next few decades the rail line to Placerville became an important feeder branch-line for the Southern Pacific, carrying outward hundreds of carloads of freight annually, mostly lumber and refrigerated loads of deciduous fruit. With this important connection available, both the Earl Fruit Company and Placerville Fruitgrowers would establish major packing houses in the City and the Michigan California Lumber Company would build a connecting rail line from its lumber mill in Camino.

A few miles to the south, in Diamond Springs, the California Door Company would establish its own connecting railroad line to bring lumber from its property near Grizzly Flat, adding further to the economy of the area.

In spite of these improvements, Placerville would remain a quiet, rural county seat way into the middle of the twentieth century and the population increase slowly as people moved there to find work in one of the multitude of industries that kept the local economy alive.

Agriculture, lumber and mining would remain the mainstay of local employment, until the winding, historic Highway 50 was replaced by the freeway.

For years there had been plans to upgrade Highway 50 into a freeway and by the late 1960s it was completed from Sunrise Blvd. in Sacramento as far as Riverton.

Placerville, now somewhat bypassed, became just a stop along this major highway. However, the businesses were successful in lobbying to have the freeway pass through town and have signal lights installed at three major city streets. Although this was a change from what was normally done, the State of California allowed it.

It was only a short time before people working in the Sacramento valley discovered that it had become an easy commute from El Dorado County.

The area in and around Placerville, being above the fog, below the snow and an easy drive from the Lake Tahoe area, rapidly became a bedroom community for the Sacramento Valley. New subdivisions began to develop in the area as more and more people found the foothills an ideal place to live and raise their families. Placerville, once a rural community of pioneer families began to change.

By the 1990s the train tracks had been abandoned and the freight traffic that once moved through the City would switch to trucks. The Placerville Fruit Growers Association, as a result of a serious fire, had moved their facilities to Diamond Springs; apples and the Apple Hill Growers association with their ranch marketing concept would replace the large shipments of fruit to the Valley; and wine grapes, along with many new wineries, would replace many of the old pear orchards.

The center of population had moved west as a result of large subdivisions in Cameron Park and El Dorado Hills, along with new commercial businesses west of the City. As a result, Placerville began to lose much of its identity as the commercial center for western El Dorado County. But, this proud City has not lost its history and prominent place in the Gold Rush and settlement of California and the west.


Sources for this story include:  “History of California,” by Theodore Hittell (1897); “California Gold Camps,” by Erwin Gudde (1975); “California Place Names,” by Erwin Gudde, 3rd Edition (1974); “Mother Lode of Learning – One Room Schools of El Dorado County,” by Retired Teachers Association of El Dorado County (1990); “I Remember…, Stories and pictures of El Dorado County pioneer families,” researched and written by Betty Yohalem (1977); “Mines and Mineral Resources of El Dorado County, California,” California Division of Mines (1956); “History of El Dorado County,” by Paolo Sioli (1883), reprinted and indexed by the El Dorado Friends of the Library (1998); the archives of the “Alta California,” “Placer Times” and “Mountain Democrat;” and the wonderful people at the reference desk of the El Dorado County Main Library.




Steppin’ Out – Gularte’s Great Diamond Deli & Pizza

Written on June 28, 2013 at 12:36 pm, by

“Enter as Strangers – Leave as Friends,” that is the sign over the counter at Gularte’s Great Diamond Deli & Pizza, which is located at 670-B Pleasant Valley Road in Diamond Springs (same center as Jiffy Mart). And, they mean it.

This is a real family run business, started by Joyce Gularte 30 years ago this May, and operated by her, her three daughters, Michelle, Brandi and “Babe,” and even granddaughters. “We do have some employees,” said Gularte, “but they have been with us for a long time and as far as we are concerned, they are family.”

The place is always very busy at lunchtime, so I arranged to meet with Gularte around 11 a.m. last Monday. One of her daughter’s greeted me and said, “We are going to make a couple of sandwiches for you and also have a personal pizza in the oven to try.”

I looked at the large list of speciality sandwiches on the menu and then said, “What do you recommend?” “The P’ville Cheese Steak and Hangtown Chipotle are very popular,” she said, and I told her “sure.” She then added, “I’ll have them make a half of each and, if it is okay with you, we will make them our way.”

I was glad to hear that. I have an awful time deciding which bread, cheese, vegetables and condiments are best for a sandwich I have never tried before, so since they know what goes best, “their way” is the right way. I also do the same when confronted with the question regarding what I want on a taco or burrito.

While waiting for my meal, I talked with Gularte for a few minutes. “I was born into a family of grocers in the Central Valley,” she said. “Growing up I learned a lot about food. Thirty years ago ‘Take and Bake’ pizza was unknown here and so we opened both this place and one in Placerville. After a few years it became apparent that running two stores was too difficult, so we closed the Placerville one.

“You might note that we will be celebrating our thirtieth year on [Saturday and Sunday], the fourth and fifth of May by rolling back our one topping pizza to the 1983 price of $4.99.

“We make most everything we sell: salads, dressings, casseroles, brownies, cookies and everything else you see in the refrigerated cases along the wall. And, of course, we make the sandwiches and pizzas fresh to your order.”

Soon, my sandwiches arrived. The P’ville Cheese Steak was hot roast beef, bell peppers, onions and melted cheese on a toasted roll, and the Hangtown Chipotle was hot turkey with melted cheese, mild green chillies, chipotle sauce (not mild), lettuce and tomato on grilled sourdough (Truckee Bakery bread).

I tasted each of them, pausing between bites to enjoy some of their potato salad. They were different from each other, but both were full of flavor, juicy and delicious. I asked if the Hangtown Chipotle was more popular with men, because of the heat from the chipotle chiles, and was told that everyone seems to really like it. I guess tastes are a changing.

While I was enjoying them, someone said, “You should make him a Garlic Gobbler,” so soon arrived a delicious sandwich of hot turkey, melted cheese, garlic mayo, lettuce, red onion and tomatoes on a toasted roll. After I enjoyed a couple of bites of it, I was asked, “Which one did you like the best?” “Actually, I liked them all,” I replied.

At that point I figured I was done, but then they brought a sample of their delicious Beef Stroganoff, a fruit salad and even a sample of an iced mocha. I decided to take the fruit salad home, which I ate IN PLACE of dinner.

You can have them make you any kind of a sandwich you want from a whole list of ingredients, but I would recommend the time tested ones like those I tried, along with others with names like The Sunrise (ham or bacon and eggs, with cheese), The Porker (pulled pork), The 49er (meatball), The Green Gardner ( a very special veggie sandwich) or The Diamond Dip, made with  roast beef and melted cheese on a grilled roll with au jus. I didn’t try it but one diner yelled to the kitchen, “Best French Dip ever,” while I was there.

As to the pizza, I had a delicious slice of Kelsey’s Combo, made with salami, pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, red onions, olives, green bell peppers and tomatoes, and Jacob’s Club, a ranch sauce pizza with mozzarella, chicken, sausage, bacon (real) and diced tomatoes and loved each of them, the Jacob’s Club a bit more (I like white sauce pizza).

You can customize a pizza from their long list of toppings (including cashews they roast themselves) or pick one from the menu, most of which are named after family members, such as Adam’s Artichoke, Brandi’s Garlic Chicken, Chip’s Mix, Emma’s Pizza Tostada, Granny’s Gardner… and the list goes on and on.

They also have several salads, pre-packed to eat there or take home (try the walnut-cranberry) along with several casseroles like the very flavorful Stroganoff I really enjoyed, cookies, salsas, soup, cake, brownies and more.

To drink they have soda, iced tea, mochas, fruit smoothies and bottled drinks.

Tuesday is Homemade Taco day until 7 and Thursday is grilled hamburger day until 3. I haven’t tried the tacos, but I have tried the burgers, which are so huge and delicious that people line up for them.

So, add the daily specials and I think that gives you a small glimpse of what Gularte’s Deli has to offer. I know I missed something, but I have to leave something for you to discover.

The hours are daily from 8 until 8:30, but if you drive by earlier in the morning and the signs are lit, they are open.

They have seating inside and outside and a very friendly staff. For more information give them a call (530) 626-0550. ~Tell ‘em Doug Noble from the Windfall sent you!

Yesterday – Placerville #3 (Fire, Railroad Bonds and No Government)

Written on June 28, 2013 at 12:35 pm, by

From the beginning, Placerville had served as a major business center for the miners, emigrants and settlers. It was at the perfect location, the intersection of the main route between the northern and southern mines (Highway 49) and what was the major freight road and one of the immigrant routes over the Sierra Nevada (Highway 50). In good times the city prospered, in bad it was still able to survive.

There was a time when Placerville was a solid mass of houses and businesses, a time when the immigrant road through town was jammed end to end with both arriving pioneer families and freight wagons, a time when the earth yielded gold at the touch and a time when riches were counted in ounces not dollars.

Many made their fortunes here, mostly as businessmen. Some, like Studebaker and Crocker, left the town for other locations where they would increase their wealth, but many, like Cary, Bee, Morey, Elstner and O’Donnell, remained to leave their name in the history of Placerville.

By 1856, things began to slow down. Most miners had left for the large underground mines to the north and south and Placerville began to lose its radiant, youthful beauty. Then, disaster struck in the form of fire.

The first great Placerville fire began on April 15 of 1856 in the Iowa House on Sacramento Street. It rapidly spread to the Orleans Hotel and many neighboring buildings which, with the exception of the post office and a few others, were all built of highly combustible materials.

The fire department, with the assistance of many of the City’s citizens, were able to stop the fire before it spread much further, but the story would be different a few months later.

On July 6 of the same year, Placerville was swept clean of nearly all its buildings by an enormous fire. This fire, like similar ones in Diamond Springs and Georgetown, each within two months of the others, was of suspicious incendiary origin.

Nearly three months to the day later, the flourishing village of Upper Placerville met a similar fate when a fire broke out in the Pittsburgh House, supposedly started accidently by one John Murdock, who had a room at the hotel and went to bed in an intoxicated state. Unfortunately, he did not survive to tell his side of the story.

The people didn’t lose heart and leave, thus all of Placerville was rebuilt, but this time with mostly brick and stone buildings.

One such building was erected on the site of the old El Dorado Hotel, once owned by Mr. Elstner in who’s hay yard across the street the infamous “Hangman’s Tree” stood. This brick building, the Cary House, was built by a Mr. W. M. Cary, the owner of the Placer House, and, although rebuilt once since then, has remained as a hotel for the past 140 years.

Underneath, in the ashes of the El Dorado Hotel, lies a bit of Placerville’s early history, for it was in the saloon of the El Dorado Hotel that it is said a miner who had struck it rich ordered the most expensive meal that money could buy and, as a result, the cook created the combination of eggs, oysters and bacon now known worldwide as Hangtown Fry.

In 1858 gas light was introduced into the city, the gas being generated by burning pitch-pine wood in a vast furnace and from there distributed throughout the city by cast iron pipelines.

A few years later, coal would be brought in from Buckeye canyon in Amador County to replace the wood.

On July 19 of the same year, the first overland mail stage arrived in Placerville to the delight of all. Mr. Cary illuminated his new hotel for the occasion, but since the stage arrived at 10 p.m., much of the town had gone to bed. Because of this, it was not until the next evening that a jubilee was held in the Plaza (Bell Tower area) to celebrate the event.

The Placerville & Sacramento Valley Railroad had reached Shingle Springs in 1865 and planned to reach the City of Placerville a short time later.

Expecting to soon replace Shingle Springs a the major freight center for the mines in Nevada and the east, the Common Council of the City committed to some $300,000 of bonds towards the cost of bringing the tracks into the City. But, for many reasons, some financial, but most political, the tracks had not been extended much beyond Shingle Springs by 1872.

By this time the Central Pacific Railroad tracks had crossed the Sierra Nevada and, as a result the freight traffic to the east – the same traffic that they had expected would easily pay back the city’s commitment – took that easier route.

It had been two decades since the discovery of gold and times were not very good in Placerville. Most easy mining had played out and the city had serious financial problems and did not have the money to pay off the bonds.

Because of this the bondholders filed suit and won and when the telegraphed news reached the Placerville Common Council, they took the easy way out. They all simply resigned, leaving no one in charge or responsible for the payment.

The pages of the minute books of the Council of the City of Placerville are empty from that point into the 1900s, when apparently the whole problem had become forgotten history and the new City Council thought it safe to return.

The city would continue its cycle of ups and downs for the next three decades or so, until March 29, 1888, when the railroad tracks would finally reach the city, providing easy access to the remainder of the country, and the world for that matter, for the products and services of El Dorado County.

Sources for this story include:  “History of California,” by Theodore Hittell (1897); “California Gold Camps,” by Erwin Gudde (1975); “California Place Names,” by Erwin Gudde, 3rd Edition (1974); “I Remember…, Stories and pictures of El Dorado County pioneer families,” researched and written by Betty Yohalem (1977); “Mines and Mineral Resources of El Dorado County, California,” California Division of Mines (1956); “History of El Dorado County,” by Paolo Sioli (1883), reprinted and indexed by the El Dorado Friends of the Library (1998); the archives of the “Alta California,” “Placer Times” and “Mountain Democrat;” and the wonderful people at the reference desk of the El Dorado County Main Library.

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Yesterday – Placerville #2 (The Town Becomes a City)

Written on June 28, 2013 at 12:18 pm, by

On September 9, 1850, California officially became the 31st State in the Union.

Everyone knew that with statehood, immigration would increase. They also knew that with more people the possibility of fire would increase substantially, and fire was the scourge of the mining communities.

The early buildings were all built of wood and canvas; wood was the only source of heat and oil lamps provided all of the light. In a crowded town like Placerville, fire was everywhere, waiting to spread and the citizens were concerned.

Prior to 1853 fires were fought by whoever was around, using whatever they had handy. Obviously it was a poor system, especially if a fire started to spread.

On June 23, 1853, a group of the town’s young men met at White’s Hall, and set out to form a volunteer fire department to protect life and property from the ravages of fire. The group soon organized the Neptune Hose Company No. 1., and adopted the motto: “We’re ready!”

The next order of business was to have a carriage built and purchase fire hose. To this end a Mr. Alfred Bell generously advanced the necessary funds for the equipment, a debt that was paid back by a benefit performance of the Lee & Marshal Pioneer Circus, which raised some $900 for the group.

The first home for this fledgling company was on Maiden Lane (later Centre Street and now Stagecoach Alley), but it was not a good location. Later, after the town was incorporated, the company applied for and obtained an appropriation to purchase a house and lot on Main Street.

Unfortunately, the great fire of July 6, 1856 destroyed the building, along with all of their hose, furniture and fixtures.

For a year the Neptune Company had no home for their carriage and considered disbandment. Fortunately, by 1858 they were able to raise enough money by subscription to purchase a home on Coloma Street, change their name to Neptune Engine Co. No. 2, and order a new fire engine from Hunneman & Co. in Boston.

About a year prior to that, on April 13, 1857, another engine company was organize under the name of the “Mountaineer Engine Co. No. 1.” They soon purchased an engine and 250 feet of hose from Engine Co. No. 1 of Sacramento.

When the equipment arrived, they found that Confidence Engine Company No. 1 was so deeply carved into the side of the engine that it would be impossible to remove it. Being people who knew how to solve problems rapidly, they simply changed the name of their company to match that on the engine.

After 12 years Confidence Engine Company No. 1. was forced to cease operations. They had received little financial support from the city and were deeply in debt. The citizens would not allow this to happen and gave a festival which raised $396.35. This, and generous subscriptions, saved the company.

The word “Confidence” is still on the front of the old City Hall, a reminder of the days when they were headquartered in that building.

During all of this organization and reorganization of the fire departments, the Town of Placerville was incorporated.

On May 13, 1854, by virtue of an act of the State Legislature, approved by John Bigler, Governor, Placerville became the first incorporated town in El Dorado County (and would remain so until the City of South Lake Tahoe was incorporated over one-hundred years later).

Feeling that Hangtown was an inappropriate name for a community, the legislature pondered naming it either Ravine City or Placerville, with the latter winning out.

On April 24, 1857, “An Act to incorporate the Town of Placerville” was amended to give the Council, among other things, the powers to “levy and collect taxes…regulate tippling houses, dram shops, gaming and gaming houses…disorderly houses of all kinds including houses of ill-fame…”

On March 7, 1859, the original incorporation was repealed and “An Act to incorporate the City of Placerville was adopted and approved by the State. The description of the land to be included in the city reads as follows:

“All that tract of land, in the County of El Dorado, lying within the boundaries and limits hereinafter mentioned – that is to say: Commencing at a large pine tree west of Frederick A. Bee’s private dwelling, north sixty-five degrees east to another pine tree on the east bank of a ravine, distance two hundred and twenty-four rods; thence south thirty-four degrees east to a large pine stump, distance one hundred and twenty rods; thence south thirty-five degrees west to a tunnel on Coon Hollow and Hangtown Hill, distance two hundred and eight rods; thence north forty-four degrees west, distance town hundred and thirty-six rods, to the place of beginning, is hereby declared to be a City, and shall hereafter be known by the name of the City of Placerville.”

There were few significant changes in the government of the City of Placerville until the early 1870s. It was at that point that the City, with little money in its coffers, lost a lawsuit filed by the bondholders of the Placerville & Sacramento Valley Railroad. As a result, the City government effectively closed down for a quarter of a century.


Sources for this story include:  “History of California,” by Theodore Hittell (1897); “California Gold Camps,” by Erwin Gudde (1975); “California Place Names,” by Erwin Gudde, 3rd Edition (1974); “Mother Lode of Learning – One Room Schools of El Dorado County,” by Retired Teachers Association of El Dorado County (1990); “I Remember…, Stories and pictures of El Dorado County pioneer families,” researched and written by Betty Yohalem (1977); “Mines and Mineral Resources of El Dorado County, California,” California Division of Mines (1956); “History of El Dorado County,” by Paolo Sioli (1883), reprinted and indexed by the El Dorado Friends of the Library (1998); the archives of the “Alta California,” “Placer Times” and “Mountain Democrat;” and the wonderful people at the reference desk of the El Dorado County Main Library.

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Steppin’ Out – ZacJack Bistro

Written on June 28, 2013 at 12:14 pm, by

“If you aren’t willing to grind your own meat, bake your own buns and use the freshest ingredients, you shouldn’t be serving burgers.”  Chef John Evans

I have eaten breakfast, lunch, dinner, wine paring dinners and more at ZacJack Bistro and never had a bad meal. In fact, I have never had less than a great meal.

John and Lynette Evans opened ZacJack Bistro, which is located at 1275 Coach Lane in Cameron Park, nearly two years ago to fill in the need for a restaurant that serves what they call “Everyday Gourmet Cuisine,” and are doing a great job at it.

I dropped in earlier this week to talk with Chef John and ordered one of their signature burgers, something I had never tried before. All of them are made with freshly ground American Kobe beef and served on a freshly baked bun. My choices were a French burger, a Bleu burger and a mushroom burger, along with their new El Dorado Burger.

I decided on the El Dorado Burger which is a half-pound of beef that is grilled and served on a freshly baked bun with garlic aioli, strips of cherry wood smoked bacon, melted Cheddar cheese, smoky Chipotle barbecue sauce and crispy fried onion rings. Along with it were served freshly cut, crispy fries.

It was cooked to my liking (go as rare and you can to get the great flavor of the beef) and delicious. Chef John has a great palate and can put together some interesting combinations of flavors.

The Chipotle barbeque sauce came on the side and what I didn’t put on my burger I used as a dip for the crispy, skin-on fries (Yum!). They also have house made catsup for dipping.

I wish I had more room to describe the food, because of the list of ingredients in each dish. But, to give you a basic rundown, in addition to the speciality burgers, the lunch menu includes small plates, like shrimp macaroni and cheese, a stuffed artichoke and a cheeseboard. Then there are the soups and salads (the two day, slow-cooked French onion soup is wonderful and also available in a half soup – half salad combination).

The Croques (French classic sandwiches) include short rib, mushroom ragout, shrimp remoulade and even a smoked salmon BLT. And, you can get a half sandwich and salad or soup if you wish.

They also have several kinds of fresh made pizza, all cooked in their brick oven, and they can substitute a gluten-free crust if you wish at no extra charge. And, on Monday through Friday there is a varying Golden Special at lunch for $6.99.

The dinner menu includes the burgers, soups, salads and pizzas, along with a large list of appetizers, including a wild mushroom croissant, an olive plate and escargot.

The plates, or entrees, include a filet mignon, traditional Al Cordon Bleu Chicken, Coconut shrimp, a grilled boneless double pork chop (one of my favorites), crispy sauteed salmon, trout almondine, boneless beef short rib (another favorite of mine), Calamari A La Luby Doo and a vegetable Wellington.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday they also serve brunch, starting at 8 a.m. That menu includes bockwurst and eggs, ham steak and eggs, bacon and eggs, salmon or trout and eggs and Mountain Joe’s biscuits and gravy, along with a three egg omelet.

In addition to those, they also serve banana-boysenberry pancakes, cinnamon swirl French toast, coconut-macadamia nut French Toast and a special Buenos Dias Burrito.

The dessert menu includes their famous Gateau Saint Honore, macaroons and ice cream, Belgian chocolate cake, carrot cake, Marquis du Chocolate (a dense, fudge-like, flourless chocolate cake) and a delicious lemon tart.

To accompany your meal are the normal coffee, tea and soda, along with quite a list of wines from El Dorado County and the world, by the glass or bottle, and domestic and imported beer.

Speaking of wine, on Thursday, April 25 at 6:30 p.m., ZacJack Bistro will be holding a dk Cellars wine dinner, followed on May 2, by an Auriga Cellars wine dinner, on June 6, by a Nello Olivo wine dinner and on July 11, by a Boeger wine dinner.

These are all local wineries and Chef John is a master at pairing wine and food. You should try and make it to at least one of them.

Tuesday is Ladies Night with live music and specials, Thursday no corkage on the wine you bring, and coming up in May, “3 B’s” on Wednesdays and Rock and Lobster, a six ounce lobster tail cooked your way and rock music on Friday.

ZacJack Bistro is open for lunch and dinner, Tuesday through Thursday from 11 until 8:30; on Friday and Saturday for brunch, lunch and dinner from 8 until 9:30 and on Sunday for brunch, lunch and dinner from 8 until 8. Closed on Monday. For more information call 530-676-2969.

In order to served the best food with the freshest ingredients, the menus are seasonal and do change periodically, so I recommend if you have something special in mind, call first.

A lot of people have asked me what happened to Zachary Jacques Restaurant on Pleasant Valley Road east of Diamond Springs. For various economic reasons, it is now a fantastic store called ZJ’s Speciality Food Market, with lots of unique food items, beer, wine and more. It is open every day but Monday and in the process of expanding to meet the needs and desires of the community. For more information call 530-626-8045.  ~Tell ‘em Doug Noble from the Windfall sent you!

Yesterday – Placerville # I (The Beginning)

Written on June 28, 2013 at 12:11 pm, by

Placerville: the Ravine City; Old Dry Diggings; Old Hangtown – under many names its history goes back almost to the very start of the California Gold Rush. The place that we now know as the City of Placerville started out in controversy and, some say, continues to remain there.

The honor of “discovering” Placerville is usually given to three ranchers who resided east of Sacramento along the Cosumnes River, William Daylor, Jared Sheldon and Perry McCoon.

In the summer of 1848, brothers-in-law Daylor and Sheldon, along with their friend McCoon are said to have stopped in a ravine along the banks of the North Fork of Weber Creek (now known as Hangtown Creek) several hundred yards below the crossing of what is now Highway 49. There they found gold in good quantities.

One day, an Indian in their employ, while searching upstream, located gold laden dirt on the hillside above the creek and reported his find back to them. After investigating the site, the three decided their present workings were as good, if not better.

When other prospectors came along they were immediately directed to the new location, which shortly became known as “Old Dry Diggings”.

This name only lasted until January of 1849 when the town became known through the Mother Lode as “Old Hangtown” or just “Hangtown”.

There are many accounts relating to why the name of this fair town was changed to Hangtown – all true, we’re told.

Paolo Sioli, in his “History of El Dorado County” (1883), felt that there were three that needed to be considered because they came from people who were “distinguished citizens and oldest pioneers” and the stories were “corroborant and supplement on to another”. The reader is free to judge for him or her self.

The first of these comes from one Judge Grimshaw of Daylor’s ranch. His tale starts in January of 1849 with three men playing poker in a saloon tent or hut in Old Dry Diggings.

One of them soon lost all of his money and suggested to the others that the sleeping proprietor of the establishment surely had a good amount of gold dust on hand which they could easily appropriate.

The saloon keeper was rudely awakened by the cold feel of a gun to his head and was ordered to tell the three where he kept his gold dust. Fearing for his life, he told them and the three soon divided up the spoils.

Although threatened with death if he did so, the saloon keeper told some friends and the robbers were soon caught, tried by the miners, flogged and ordered to leave town.

A few days later two of them, under the influence of alcohol we’re told, returned and proceeded to threaten the miners who had ordered them flogged. The threatened miners got together, had the two arrested and then hung them from “the leaning oak tree in the hay yard below Elstner’s Saloon” (now Hangmen’s Tree Historic Spot).

Another version of the story comes from E. N. Strout, a gentleman who by 1883 had been a “long time citizen of El Dorado County.”

He relates that by early 1849 there were organized bands of desperadoes in the area of Old Dry Diggins, who lay in wait in and outside of the camp, ready to plunder and murder.

A Frenchman who kept a trading post in Log Cabin Ravine (Bedford Avenue) was known to have considerable gold dust and was selected as their next victim by a band of desperadoes known as the “Owls.”

Four men: one American, one Mexican and two Frenchmen, were picked by the band to rob the merchant of his gold dust, and anything else they could carry off.

Soon after the crime was committed, the merchant gave the alarm and almost immediately a group of vigilantes captured all four desperadoes.

After a quick trial, three of them – one of the Frenchmen having escaped after being sentenced – were hung from a white oak tree that stood on the south bank of the North Fork of Weber (now Hangtown) Creek, near what is now the corner of Main and Center (formerly Coloma) streets.

The three were wrapped in blankets and buried on the north side of the creek. The office of the Mountain Democrat was erected over the site of the graves a few years later and the paper was published there for some twenty years. There is now an interesting historical marker near the burial site.

The third and final version, which Sioli oddly attributes to no one, has its origin in an 1849 hanging of three men, two of them being Frenchmen and the other a Spaniard.

The three had been arrested for highway robbery on the road leading to Georgetown and were being tried by a jury of local citizens. During the sentencing proceedings, while the jury was pondering the fate of the robbers, an officer from a neighboring community arrived in town searching for the perpetrators of a horrible murder in his area. He immediately recognized two of the robbers as the murderers he sought.

With this information, the jury took no time in sentencing the three to be hanged from a tree at the northwest corner of Main and Coloma streets and having the sentence carried out.

This third version is the one most often told. It is nearest to the story told by Edward Gould Buffum, a journalist, soldier and miner, in his book, “Six Months in the Gold Mines” (1850), and matches closely the stories found in the “Alta California,” the major newspaper in San Francisco at that time.

No matter which version is true, if any, Old Dry Diggings immediately became known as Hangtown – a place where “Judge Lynch” often presided, dispensing rapid justice to all of those who dared to ply their criminal trade. Some historians do point out that this had a positive effect on the area by bringing about an immediate reduction in serious crime in and around this place now known as Hangtown.

With more and more miners and in many cases, whole families, arriving in town, civilization began to replace frontier justice in California. Within the next few years, El Dorado County would become one of the first twenty-seven counties of California, California would become the thirty-first star on the flag of the United States and the town known as Hangtown would be incorporated as Placerville – on more than one occasion.


Sources for this story include: “History of California,” by Theodore Hittell (1897); “California Gold Camps,” by Erwin Gudde (1975); “California Place Names,” by Erwin Gudde, 3rd Edition (1974); “Mother Lode of Learning – One Room Schools of El Dorado County,” by Retired Teachers Association of El Dorado County (1990); “I Remember…, Stories and pictures of El Dorado County pioneer families,” researched and written by Betty Yohalem (1977); “Mines and Mineral Resources of El Dorado County, California,” California Division of Mines (1956); “History of El Dorado County,” by Paolo Sioli (1883), reprinted and indexed by the El Dorado Friends of the Library (1998); the archives of the “Alta California” and “Mountain Democrat;” and the wonderful people at the reference desk of the El Dorado County Main Library.

Hangman's Tree Drawing.jpg Hangman’s Tree Drawing.jpg
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Steppin’ Out – C & T’s Restaurant

Written on June 28, 2013 at 12:09 pm, by

“So long as you have food in your mouth, you have solved all questions for the time being.”  Franz Kafka

Earlier this week I stopped by C & T’s Restaurant in Pollock Pines, which is located at 6454 Pony Express Trail at the far end of the buildings in front of CVS Pharmacy. I was there to meet with Twila Grasmick who with her husband Chuck, owns the place. I don’t think I have had so much fun at breakfast in a long time, just talking and laughing.

I complemented the young lady who seated and served me on the cleanliness of the place and she smiled and said, “We do our best,” while getting me a cup of coffee. Then Twila, with a big smile, sat down on a chair across from me and said, “So what do you want from me?”

Caught a bit off guard, I said, “So, what are the big favorites on the menu?”

Opening the menu and pointing at the list of breakfast items, she answered with a smile, “Our country fried steak, chorizo and corned beef hash. We bread and season the steak ourselves, we make the chorizo ourselves and the corned beef hash is homemade. What would you like to try?”

“Well, can I get a sample of a few things?” I replied. “Sure,” she said and walked over to talk with the chef.

While waiting for my surprise meal, we chatted about lots of things, including how they got started in this business.

“I have been a waitress since I was 22, so I am not new at this. Chuck is retired from the Forest Service and for nine years he and I ran the Waffle Shop in Placerville. Then seven years ago we opened this place. For a year and a half we actually ran both places.

“Chuck is into cars, so we decorated the place with car pictures. See all the small cars on the shelves by the cash register? Those were all brought in by our customers.”

My breakfast arrive and it consisted of a country fried steak with sausage gravy, a small serving of chorizo and eggs and a portion of their corned beef hash.

I started with a taste of the corned beef hash which had a much better flavor than many I have tasted and wasn’t salty, since they cook a real corned beef and cut it up for the hash. I know that because before it arrived I had asked if they used the much more convenient canned corned beef, as some restaurants do. After a few moments of just staring at me Twila smiled and then responded, “No, we cook real corned beef for it.” I have to watch out what I ask.

The chorizo and eggs was very good. Chorizo can be a bit fatty, but not theirs. It had a very nice flavor and the plate was clean when I finished it. “We buy the pork sausage already ground and use it to make the chorizo,” Chuck would later tell me. “Sometimes it is actually too lean, so we have to watch out for that.”

The country fried steak with the sausage gravy was really, really good. It was thin, nicely breaded and seasoned and, even though it came with a steak knife, it was not needed. It was not only delicious, but completely fork tender and the gravy, not too thick, not too thin – perfect. “We get good meat,” said Twila, “and fork tender is the way it should be.”

All three samples I tasted might be a bit under-seasoned for some people, which is something I like in a restaurant. You can add salt, pepper, hot sauce or, perish the thought, ketchup if you want, but you can’t take it away if the chef overdoes it. That is the sign of a good restaurant.

C & T’s serves both breakfast and lunch. The menu starts with a list of egg dishes (egg beaters can be substituted), which, like their many omelets, come with hash browns or O’Brien potatoes and toast or biscuit and gravy (go for the biscuit and gravy – yum!). Those are followed by pancakes and more, waffles and their house specialties, which includes the chorizo, corned beef hash, eggs benedict and even a breakfast burrito.

Finally, there is a list of a number of sides and you can also get smaller servings of many of the breakfast items, no matter how old or young you are.

For lunch there is quite a list of burgers and sandwiches. The favorites are the Philly cheese steak and the grilled Reuben (I have to go back and try that one). Many of the sandwiches are also available as a half sandwich.

In addition to their Soup du Jour (seasonal) you can have a dinner, chef, taco or tuna salad if you aren’t in the mood for a sandwich.

There are daily breakfast and lunch specials which may or not menu items and, in addition, as both Twila and Chuck said to me, “ If you want something special, we have the ingredients and we aren’t too busy, we will make it for you.”

C & T’s Restaurant is open from 5 a.m. until 2 p.m., seven days a week. Breakfast and lunch is served all day. And, they even have a generator that they can hook up to keep them open if it appears the power is going to be out for a while, which makes them especially popular during winter storms. Now that is thinking ahead!

If I had to sum this restaurant up in just a few words I would call it a clean friendly place, serving comfort food in a very mellow atmosphere. It just has a nice feeling.

For more information give them a call at 530-644-0105. ~Tell ‘em Doug Noble from The Windfall sent you!

Yesterday – Pilot Hill

Written on June 28, 2013 at 12:07 pm, by

Originally called Centerville, the name of this early Gold Rush town was officially changed to Pilot Hill on April 18,1854, when the post office was established with Silas Hayes as its postmaster.

There were  three nearby villages: Pilot Hill, a town named Pittsfield that had been started in the Spring of 1851 by some immigrants from Pittsfield, Illinois and Centerville, all collectively known as Centerville. But in time, probably because of the post office designation, the other names would soon disappear and the whole area would ultimately become known as Pilot Hill.

The town of Pilot Hill was originally located further north of its present location on Highway 49, closer to the base of Pilot Hill, the namesake for the town.

A miner from New York named John Woods was one of the first to arrive in the area some time in the fall of 1849. He had been mining at Salmon Falls before arriving here and he was soon followed by other miners and several businessmen, including a James H. Rose, who opened the first store in a rapidly constructed log cabin.

The miners located very rich deposits of placer gold, but there was neither nearby water available to wash the gravel nor nearby creeks from which they could easily divert water to this location. Thus, serious mining had to be delayed until the winter rains came.

When the rain finally arrived, miners that had been working both south and north, along the forks of the American River moved to the Pilot Hill area to mine and business boomed.

In a short time Mr. Rose’s store was joined by one kept by Henry Stevens and Conrad Thompson, a boarding house opened by John Brown and a gentleman named Wilson, a second boarding house owned by Charles Tudsberry, A. J. Bayley’s hotel known as the Oak Valley House and a blacksmith’s shop operated by John Bowman.

Among the other early residents of Pilot Hill were F. B. Peacock, Gense Kirchan, Samuel Stevens (who had built the first house in the town), David Ferguson, Thomas Ferguson, C. S. Rogers, P. D. Brown and the “state’s best walker,” Robert E. Draper.

Draper was the pioneer mail carrier for the town, sometimes leaving Pilot Hill for Sacramento at 6 a.m. and returning at 7:30 p.m., having walked some 40 miles in that time. Letters he carried for one dollar each and papers for fifty cents each.

One of the most well known of Pilot Hill’s citizens, Alcander John (A.J.) Bayley had resigned his position as manager of the Winter’s Hotel in Coloma, and arrived here in 1850 to construct a hotel of his own. His hotel, the Oak Valley House, was the site of many well attended, annual balls which continued through October of 1860.

On May 16, 1861, not unlike many other Gold Rush structures, the Oak Valley House, and all of its contents, was completely destroyed by fire. Almost immediately Bayley, believing that the Transcontinental Railroad would be routed through Pilot Hill, started construction on an even larger hotel, made of some 300,000 brick that he had manufactured.

This palatial, three story building would serve as the home for he, his wife and their four children and still exists to this day as the Bayley House.

In 1871 Bayley would serve a term in the California Assembly and his son, Alonzo A. Bayley, born April 24, 1851, would be the first person born in El Dorado county to serve as a county supervisor (1881-1882).

Mrs. Alice Galloway was the first teacher for the Pilot Hill School District. The school, which was privately financed by Bayley and others, was located near the Bayley House.

Although an early resident of the town, Mrs. Galloway was not the first white women to arrive here. That honor goes to a Mrs. Avery, who had also been the first white woman at a mining location on the Middle Fork of the American River known as Oregon Bar.

The first Grange Lodge on he Pacific coast was organized in Pilot Hill in 1870. A. J. Bayley’s son, Alonzo, had read an article on the Patrons of Husbandry and, favorably impressed, contacted the National Secretary at Itasca, Minnesota. Shortly he received the sanction of the National Executive Committee and, on August 17, 1870 the Pioneer Grange of California was organized with twenty-nine charter members.

By the early 1880s, mining had given way to general farming, with stock raising being the principal farming business, although serious attention was being given to fruit farming and the cultivation of vines. This does not mean that the miners had left completely.

When the winter rains began to fall, familiar faces were often seen working in the ravines, still hopeful of finding a previously undiscovered deposit that would make them rich. Other miners sometimes prospected for gold still held tightly in the many quartz deposits in the area. But, because Pilot Hill was in an isolated location and there was no machinery around to crush the ore, most of them continued to spend the major part of their time looking for more immediate riches in the placer deposits.

Today, Pilot Hill, which lies along Highway 49, between the communities of Coloma and Cool, is a mixed area of large ranches, smaller “ranchettes” and residential properties, with a central business district on the highway. The historic Bayley House, now owned by the Georgetown Divide Recreation District, is the community’s central landmark, reminding all of the part this community played in the early history of California.

For information on how you can help preserve the historic Bayley House, contact the G.D.R.D. at (530) 823-9090 or e-mail them at


Sources for this story include:  “History of California”, by Theodore Hittell (1897); “California Gold Camps”, by Erwin Gudde (1975); “California Place Names”, by Erwin Gudde, 3rd Edition (1974); “Mother Lode of Learning – One Room Schools of El Dorado County” by Retired Teachers Association of El Dorado County (1990); “I Remember…, Stories and pictures of El Dorado County pioneer families”, researched and written by Betty Yohalem (1977); “Mines and Mineral Resources of El Dorado County, California”, California Division of Mines (1956); “Narrow Gauge Nostalgia” by George Turner (1965); “History of El Dorado County”, by Paolo Sioli (1883), reprinted and indexed by the El Dorado Friends of the Library (1998); the archives of the Mountain Democrat (1854-Present); and the wonderful people at the reference desk of the El Dorado County Main Library.

Here is Pilot Hill and a picture of the Pilot Hill Post Office, circa 1930s. Courtesy of Steve Crandell Photo Restoration, Placerville.

pilot hill postoffice.jpg pilot hill postoffice.jpg
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Steppin’ Out – Diamond Springs Hotel

Written on June 28, 2013 at 12:06 pm, by

“Macaroni and cheese. Sunday pot roast and vegetables. Southern Fried Chicken. Ooey-gooey grilled cheese. Spaghetti and meatballs. These are all the things that make your pants too tight and your self-esteem plummet. But it’s totally worth it!” Unknown Author

As I have said several times before, when people ask me about my favorite place to eat, the Diamond Springs Hotel almost always comes up somewhere in the conversation. Then the person asking takes over and tells me how much he or she likes the place. It happens almost every time.

The reason for these complements is that the Diamond Springs Hotels serves real food, what many call comfort food. If you look that up in a dictionary, you might find them listed there. All kidding aside, that is what they serve, that is what they are known for and they do a great job of it. Let me give you an example.

A few weeks ago my daughter and her family came up to visit me. It was lt was around lunch time and we decided to go to the Diamond Springs Hotel. Once there we were graciously greeted and seated at a table for five. In just a few minutes, everyone easily found something they liked on the menu.

Daughter Erika ordered a Monte Cristo, a turkey, ham and Swiss cheese sandwich that is often deep fried, but instead they grill it before dusting it with powdered sugar. She really likes that sandwich, but cannot find it many places.

Son-in-law Roy ordered the country-fried steak and eggs with potatoes, gravy and everything else. Stella, who is eight, ordered a child’s hamburger and Harris, who is five, ordered a grilled cheese sandwich.

I had my usual, the breakfast of two eggs, sausage and an English muffin. I pick that because my waist doesn’t need the potatoes and they have the best orange marmalade around and it goes great on an English muffin.

In a short plates brimming with food arrived and it was a real feast. Nothing was left and like with most families, several of us were invited to take bites from other’s plates.

The service was great, everyone was full and happy when we left and the total bill was under $10 a person, which is not bad for three adults and two children.

The history of the Diamond Springs Hotel goes back to somewhere between 1916 and 1924, depending upon who you read. First called the Diamond Hotel, it was managed by Antone Meyer and run by the Meyer family into the late 1930s.

Amy and Moon Shim have owned and run it for nearly nine years. Amy is the one who greets everyone like they are a guest in her home, even if she has never seen them before. And, when they leave, she thanks them, asks how everything was and really wants to know.

Moon works in the kitchen area and takes over when chefs Leonard Landers and Kevin Schultz are off. They have trained him well and I don’t think there is anything he can’t cook perfectly.

The last time I was there a new person was greeting people, seating them and getting drinks. When I asked about him, Amy told me that he was their son Kevin and that he now has a car to pay for. She said she told him, “you have to make money because banks don’t wait.” She’s right Kevin.

Several times over the years I have tried to fully describe the menu, but always come up short. So I am going to try again.

Breakfast is served from opening until 4 p.m. and that part of the menu starts with literally anything you might want, from egg dishes and pancakes to lobster benedict, lots of omelettes, homemade cinnamon rolls and their famous homemade biscuits and gravy.

For lunch you can choose from several kinds of hamburgers (cooked your way and served on a freshly baked bun), hot dogs, salads, soup and chili, a dozen or more different hot and cold sandwiches, “lite faire,” meatloaf, country fried steak, fish and chips, trout, chicken, and on and on and on.

For dinner add to the lunch menu prime rib, ribeye steak, prawns, scampi, “surf ‘n turf,” ham, chicken, spaghetti, roast pork tenderloin, a vegetable platter and a page or two more of delicious dishes. And, at all meals, a kids menu.

They have several specials every day and on Friday and Saturday night they have prime rib for only $16.99. It is a perfect 9 ounce cut with all the trimmings.

To accompany your meal they serve, coffee, tea, milk, soda, beer, wine, juice and hot chocolate. And yes, some local wines by the bottle.

For dessert, if you have any room left, they serve a flaky fruit turnover, Mudd Pie, chocolate mousse, carrot cake, ice cream, cheesecake and chocolate suicide cake.

Nearly everything on the menu is made from scratch with loving care.

The Diamond Springs Hotel, which is located at 545 Main Street in Diamond Springs, is open Tuesday through Thursday from 7 a.m. until 8:30 p.m., Friday from 7 until 9, Saturday from 8 until 9 and on Sunday from 8 until 2. Closed on Monday. For more information call 530-621-1730 or check out their webpage. It has their complete menu, history and more and can be found  at

Stop by and try some “Old Fashioned Country Cooking” prepared and served by great people. You’ll love it. ~Tell ‘em Doug from The Windfall sent you!

dk cellars

Written on June 28, 2013 at 10:13 am, by


Our spotlight this week features dkcellars which is located in the little town of Fair Play, and newly recognized appellation in the Sierra Foothills.  For owners Dave and Kim Pratt, dkcellars (D for Dave, K for Kim) is their dream realized.

Crossroads Veterinary Hospital

Written on June 21, 2013 at 9:53 pm, by


Crossroads Veterinary Hospital is an AAHA Accredited Small Animal practice that provides exceptional care for dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets.


Written on June 14, 2013 at 7:23 am, by


On June 12th the Windfall family had a wonderful time at the V.I.P/Media Fair Preview Night hosted by the El Dorado County Fair Board of Directors.

El Dorado Naturopathic Medicine

Written on June 7, 2013 at 7:13 pm, by


Dr. Kristi Tompkins, a board certified Naturopathic Doctor, holding professional licenses in both California and Washington State, and a member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) and the California Naturopathic Doctors Asociation.

2013 El Dorado County Fair

Written on May 31, 2013 at 9:12 am, by


June 13-16, 2013, get your official Fair Guide only at the Windfall.


2013 El Dorado County Fair

Written on May 31, 2013 at 8:45 am, by


June 13-16, 2013, get your official Fair Guide only at the Windfall.


Minuteman Press

Written on May 24, 2013 at 3:20 pm, by


In 2000, with an extensive background in Printing, the opportunity arose for John Zachry to purchase Minuteman Press in Placerville.  He has never looked back. But it’s his generous spirit and passionate commitment to our community that people admire him most for.

Olde Coloma Theatre

Written on May 10, 2013 at 6:02 pm, by


The OCT is one of a small handful of Melodrama houses still left in the United States.  Melodrama is so fitting here in our area that was born in the Gold Rush era; it’s a casual, campy and boisterous form of entertainment that suited folks like miners well.

Gulartes’ Great Diamond Deli & Pizza

Written on May 3, 2013 at 5:10 am, by


In these times of change and uncertainty, it is an honor to feature this local gem in our spotlight this week.  It isn’t often we hear about someone celebrating their 30th year in business, and Gulartes’ Great Diamond Deli & Pizza are doing just that!

Central Payment Corporation

Written on April 26, 2013 at 11:09 am, by


Running a business, whether it is large or small, can be an all-consuming proposition.  Business owners multi-task with the best of them, oftentimes working nights and weekends to accomplish everything and keep business running smoothly and efficiently.

Cameron Park Community Foundation Youth Scholarships available

Written on April 25, 2013 at 4:09 pm, by

Press Release

Contact: Cameron Park Community Foundation: Mark Harris (530) 677-2113

For Immediate Release

Cameron Park Community Foundation Youth Scholarships available

The Cameron Park Community Foundation is offering $1,200 in Summer Activity
Scholarships to the residents of Cameron Park. For more details please contact or call (530) 677-2231

The Community Foundation mission is to provide close support for CSD and
offer opportunities for the people, parks and programs of Cameron Park. The
Foundation established in 2010 by dedicated member of the community who are
passionate about the quality of life in our area. The purpose of the Foundation
is to build upon what has been created through community awareness and fund
raising efforts.

The Foundation has opportunities to get involved with your community by
volunteering with your time and/or resources.

Upcoming events

Capital Pop Concert May 18th 7:00pm

Foothill Cruiser Car Show June 8th 10:00 – 4:00pm

Summer Spectacular June 29th 2:00 – 9:00pm

The Wineries of the Fair Play Winery Association are hosting the 32 Annual Festival

Written on April 25, 2013 at 9:19 am, by

The Wineries of Fair Play – Wines with an altitude

The Wineries of the Fair Play Winery Association are hosting the 32 Annual Festival. This event is among the longest running Wine Festivals in all of California.

Don’t miss out on meeting the wine makers and in many cases they are also Winery owners. The Fair Play appellation hosts dozens of Wineries, comprised of family-owned wineries that take pride in their vineyards, their wines and their customers.

Located between Sacramento and South Lake Tahoe and just a short drive from San Francisco, Fair Play is the ideal destination to take in spectacular views and beautiful scenery while enjoying highly flavorful mountain-grown wines.

Purchase your tickets online at:

~Tell ‘em The Windfall sent you!

Older American’s Month 2013 Unleash the Power of Age

Written on April 25, 2013 at 9:15 am, by

Older American’s Month 2013
Unleash the Power of Age
Every year since 1963, May has been the month to appreciate and celebrate the vitality and aspirations of older adults and their contributions and achievements. It is a proud tradition that shows are nation’s commitment to honor the value that elders continue to contribute to our communities.
This year’s Older American’s month theme—“Unleash the Power of Age! —Emphasizes the important role of older adults. This May, communities across the nation will recognize older American’s as productive, active, and influential members of society. Older American’s Month celebrations will acknowledge the value that older adults continue to bring to our communities by making an effort to applaud recent achievements of local elders and inviting them to share the activities they do to unleash the power of age.
El Dorado County Health and Human Services encourages you to take part in the celebration by sharing your Older American’s Month resolutions with the U.S. Administration on Aging. Post what you will do this month to unleash the power of age on the AoA Facebook page, and follow up by sharing a picture or story about the experience later in the year. While, El Dorado County Health and Human Services provides services, support, and resources to older adults year round, Older American’s Month is a great opportunity to show special appreciation! We will continue to provide opportunities for elders to come together and share their experiences with one another, as well as with the individuals of other generations.
This year we are celebrating our nation’s older adult population by hosting Older American’s Day luncheons at all of the El Dorado County Senior Nutrition sites on Wednesday, May 29th, 2013, lunch is served at Noon. Nutrition sites are located in Placerville, El Dorado Hills, Greenwood, Pioneer Park, Diamond Springs, Pollock Pines, and South Lake Tahoe. Everyone is encouraged to wear a crazy shirt or your favorite Hawaiian attire as this year’s theme is “Crazy for Hawaii.” A special roast beef luncheon will be served at Noon. The cost is $3.00 for anyone over the age of 60 and $5.00 for all other ages. Reservations are not necessary. However come early, as many sites have limited seating. For more information, please call 621-6255.
Nominate a Senior for the Annual Senior of the Year Award 2013
Do you know an outstanding older adult or married couple 60 years or older who have performed exemplary work in El Dorado County as a volunteer?  Consider nominating them for the Senior of the Year Award. The annual “Senior of the Year” award will be presented by the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors on May 21, 2013, at the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors Chambers, 330 Fair Lane, Placerville, hosted by the El Dorado County Area Agency on Aging and the Commission on Aging.   Nominees must be an El Dorado County resident with active community service within the last two years.  Nomination forms are available at the Placerville Senior Center or on-line at For more information, please call 530-621-6255 or you can e-mail Submissions must be received by May 3, 2013.

YANA-You Are Not Alone

Being alone is one of the greatest fears older adults have as they grow older. The You Are Not Alone (YANA) Program has been credited with saving the lives of many older adults. This FREE service allows older adults to find comfort and security knowing that someone will be checking in on them on a daily basis and in the event something does happen, family or friends will be notified. The enrollment process is easy and it provides the senior with two-morning flexible calling schedules and multiple contacts in the event of an emergency.  To learn more about this service, please call the YANA Program at 530-621-6255. This program is made possible by a coordinated effort between the EDC Department of Human Services and the EDC Sheriffs Department STAR Volunteers.


Star Walker

El Dorado County
Health and Human Services Agency
Area Agency on Aging PSA 29
Tele: 530-621-6255
Fax: 530-295-2581
Visit our Website at:

Where’s the Windfall

Written on April 19, 2013 at 7:09 am, by


Here, there, everywhere!

Bellas Plumbing

Written on April 12, 2013 at 7:02 am, by


Since 1952 Bellas Plumbing has been family owned and operated, Bill being the 3rd Generation to continue in the business.bellas_plumbing


Written on April 11, 2013 at 10:07 am, by

Press Release

Contact: Cameron Park Community Services District, Cameron Park, CA (530) 677-2231


MEET Clean up Day Saturday, April 20, 2013, 8:00am – 2:00pm. Bins will be set up at Christa
McAuliffe Park (across the street) and Camerado Springs Middle School parking lot at 2480 Merrychase
Drive. Use this day to clean unwanted junk out of garages, to clean yards of unwanted clippings & tree
trimmings and to properly dispose of bulk items. This FREE service will be available at Camerado Springs
Middle School Parking Lot at 2480 Merrychase Drive and Christa McAuliffe Park (across the street) – for
residents to drop off items from 8:00 am until 2:00 pm. Snowline Hospice will be at Camerado Middle
School to accept tax-deductible donations of gently used items. No commercial waste please. Members of
the Cameron Park Fire Explorers Program will be volunteering at this event and collecting tax deductable
donations. This is a FREE SERVICE FOR ALL CAMERON PARK RESIDENTS. For more information
and a list of prohibited items call (530) 677-2231 or visit us online at

CAMERON PARK SWAP MEET (rain or shine) Saturday, April 20, 2013, 8:00am –12:00pm, Cameron
Park Community Center; 2502 Country Club Drive. Free Admission! Bargain hunters join us for this
event. Prepare for a day of fun either selling your treasures or hunting for new finds. Sellers sign up now
for your space at the Community Center parking lot! Advance vendors fee $15/space; Day of event $30
space (if available) .Must set up by 7:30am. Event opens at 8:00am. Vendor booth fees and applications
are available at the Cameron Park Community Center office located at 2502 Country Club Drive and
online. For more information call (530)677-2231 or visit us at

SPRING ANTIQUE, CRAFT, AND GARDEN SHOW, Saturday, May 4 from 9:00am – 3:00pm at
Cameron Park Community Center;. Free Admission! On the hunt for antiques, hand crafted items or
garden accessories? This large, indoor, outdoor show features antiques, hand-made crafts, specific for the
spring season and garden accessories! Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Wine tasting
fund raiser sponsored by EDDOG. $55 for vendor space; $10 extra for electricity. For more information
please call (530) 677-2231 or visit us online at

from 6:00 – 9:00pm at the Cameron Park Community Center Gymnasium;. The Capitol Pops symphony
has been performing since 1977. The concert band has provided high quality music for thousands of
concert-goers throughout Northern California. Based in Citrus Heights, the band has been under the
leadership of Jerry Lopes since its inception, 71 musicians represent a cross section of the area ranging
from high school to age 99. Food and beverages available. Advance tickets $10 / $18 for 2 $12 at the door.
Tickets are available at the Cameron Park CSD office, Fire Station 89, Walgreens, Bel Air and the Shingle
Springs/Cameron Park Chamber of Commerce and online at

WELCOME TO SUMMER! Saturday, May 25 from 12:00pm to 5:00pm at the Cameron Park
Community and Aquatic Center. This is a Free Swim Day! And lots of activities! Cameron Park
Community Services District will feature the Cameron Park Community and Aquatic Center with a free
swim day. Plan your summer at this event and register for a variety of new summer adventures including
pool passes, swim lessons, summer camps, summer programs, special events and more. Save your spot
and purchase your Summer Spectacular wrist bands! Also, enjoy food and vendor booths, giveaways, and
a thank you to our community sponsors. For more information please call (530) 677-2231 or visit us online


Written on April 11, 2013 at 9:55 am, by

Press Release


Contact: Cameron Park Community Services District
(530) 677-2231

Calling all Bridge Players.  Cameron Park CSD host Bridge every Monday from 1:30-3:30pm and Wednesday from 9:30-11:30am at the Community Center.  We are looking for more players to come and participate in this activity.  Want to play Mahjong – learn to play on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month from 1-3 pm.

Join us Tuesday, April 28 for Senior Game day from 10am to 12 noon in the social room of the Community Center.  This is sponsored by the Cameron Park Newcomers Club.  Enjoy the morning playing a variety of games including but not limited to – Mexican train, Crown 5, Yahtzee, Pinochle and more!!  All seniors are welcome to join us for two hours of coffee, tea and games.  Come and learn new games or play familiar games.  Games are supplied or you may bring your own to share.

Ongoing classes:

Ping pong – Are you looking for a fun way to exercise, improve balance and hand eye coordination and make some new friends?? Well come and join the Table Tennis Club at the Community Center.  If not experienced, each participant will be provided a paddle and a ball, basic instruction on the sport of Table Tennis exercises to warm up and gain skills for the sport, assistance with open play and opportunity to participate in tournaments.  For interested seniors, this program can include a baseline and monthly assessment of participant’s physical condition based on a selection of physical tests.   ** Please bring own equipment. One beginner table tennis paddle and ball can be purchased for $10.  This meets Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 10am-12pm.  Monthly fee is $44 – $49.

For more information, please contact Cameron Park Community Services District at 530-677-2231, or via email at

Sierra Landscaping Material, Inc.

Written on April 5, 2013 at 7:07 am, by


Sierra Landscaping Material, Inc., a company that has been serving the El Dorado County community for the past 34 years.  Since 1979, owner Tim Smith has provided quality landscape material to complete these projects, no matter the size.

The Davies Family Inn

Written on March 29, 2013 at 7:13 am, by


Located just five miles east of the Gold Rush Town of Placerville, the Davies Family Inn rests deep in the heart of the Motherlode on the old stage route to “Newtown.”

Commission on aging seeks new member

Written on March 27, 2013 at 10:07 am, by

March 25, 2013



There is currently one vacancy on the Commission on Aging.  The Commission plays a very important advisory role in the provision of services to El Dorado County seniors, acting in an advisory capacity to both the Area Agency on Aging and the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors, on matters concerning senior residents.  The Commission focuses its efforts on such issues as the following:

  • Development of community centers in strategic areas of the County to ensure provision of accessible services to all senior residents.
  • Promotion of services that enable seniors to remain in their homes for as long as possible.
  • Identification and prevention of elder abuse.


The Commission strives to attain a balanced geographic representation.  Applicants are being sought from all areas of the County, including South Lake Tahoe.  Preference will be given to those applicants who are 60 years and older.

The deadline for submitting an application is May 10, 2013.  For additional information, and/or to obtain a membership application, contact:

Janice Haney

El Dorado County

Area Agency on Aging

3057 A Briw Road

Placerville, CA  95667

Phone:  530-642-7276


Home Grown…by Terri Scott of Paradise Plants

Written on March 27, 2013 at 9:56 am, by

It’s planting time again! At Paradise Plants we are busy starting our peppers and heirloom tomatoes (indoors of course). If you plan on starting seeds yourself, here are some useful tips: Always use sterile seed-starting mix; not potting mixes. Soil needs to to be light for good aeration, water retention and drainage. Pepper and tomato seeds germinate best at about 75 degrees F so use a heat mat under your seed starting tray. Or you can simply start them in a warm room like I do. I put one seed in each cell, then cover lightly with seed starter mix. Then water gently with a spray bottle. Do not over water, but keep the soil moist. I bag the entire tray in a new trash bag, which acts as a mini green house. (Check often and remove the bag as soon as the first seed sprouts). The seedlings will need approx. 16 hours of light or they will become tall and leggy. A sunny window may not be adequate. I use fluorescent lights hung a few inches above the sprouts. Plants propagated indoors will need to be hardened off. Bring plants out doors in a sheltered location for a few hours a day gradually increasing the amount of time prior to planting. Plant outdoors only after all danger of frost has past.

Of course, if you would rather not mess with seeds, me and the boys have been busy starting several varieties of sweet and hot peppers and heirloom tomatoes at Paradise Plants, so give me a call and let me know what you need for your garden!


This weekly feature is contributed by Terri Scott, owner of Paradise Plants in Somerset. Call her at 530-295-8137 or email


Home Grown…by Terri Scott of Paradise Plants

Written on March 27, 2013 at 9:54 am, by

  • Springtime is a busy time here at Paradise Plants! With all of our seed starting and transplanting going on indoors, it sure is nice to be able to go outside and start working the soil! I just set out my Artichoke plants and Asparagus roots. You can do the same in your garden, and these tips should help: With Artichokes, be careful not to set the plant too deep. Set the crown just above the soil line, so that they don’t rot. Set Asparagus roots in a 8″ to 10″ deep and 1′ wide trench, on top of loose, manure enriched soil. Cover with 2″ of soil, then soak. As the Asparagus grow, gradually add soil and water, but remember not to cover the tips. Don’t expect to harvest the first year, they need time to establish roots, so be patient!  There is still time to plant cool season seedlings like cauliflower, cabbage, lettuce and peas. Plant radish, beet, carrot and onion seeds directly in your prepared beds. Potatoes planted now should be ready for your 4th of July potato salad! Potatoes should be planted in full sun, in a well drained compost rich soil. Cut potato into chunks with 2 or more eyes per chunk. Place 8″ apart. Cover lightly with soil. As the potatoes grow, cover with more soil and then cover with straw or mulch. Harvest ‘new potatoes’ when the tops flower, or wait to harvest mature potatoes about 2 weeks after the plant has died and the skins have set.

  •  At Paradise Plants we have artichokes, peas and lettuce available for purchase now, and we are taking orders for summer vegetables. Next week be sure to check out “Home Grown” here in The Windfall for a list of peppers and Heirloom Tomatoes available from Paradise Plants!


This weekly feature is contributed by Terri Scott, owner of Paradise Plants in Somerset. Call her at 530-295-8137 or email

Home Grown…by Terri Scott of Paradise Plants

Written on March 27, 2013 at 9:52 am, by


Well, let’s start with what an heirloom is. Heirloom plant species are vegetables, flowers, and fruits grown from seeds that are passed down from generation to generation. Experts in the field say that heirloom vegetables are old, open-pollinated cultivars, they just don’t agree on how old the cultivar has to be. 1951 is a popular cut off date.

What draws me to heirlooms is flavor. I want a tomato that tastes like a real tomato. Also, Heirloom seeds breed true (if handled properly), so if you take the seeds from your heirloom tomatoes, plant them in the spring, the tomatoes you pick from the vines in late summer will taste just like their parents tasted. That means we won’t have to rush out and purchase new seeds every spring! Most importantly, Heirlooms have not been genetically modified. GMO “genetically modified organism’”, is a new organism, not found in nature. They are created by scientists when they genetically modify or engineer food plants. Health and environmental risks with genetically modified foods have been identified, and I prefer to steer away from them.

At Paradise Plants, we have been seed saving for over 10 years now, so many of the varieties we offer come from plants we are very familiar with and can’t go a season without. In addition, we also obtain new varieties to try each year. This year we are excited to offer around 100 different varieties of Tomatoes alone. Some are well known, others are rare and hard to find. I have chosen many ‘paste’ type tomatoes because I make a lot of my own sauces. I like the flavor of the darker tomatoes, so I have a lot of those as well. But sometimes I choose a new Tomato seed to try just because of the name, like “Jaune Coeur di Pigeon” which I am told means lil’ pigeon heart. It’s a Beautiful French 1 1/2″ yellow pear tomato with great flavor. “Henderson’s Pink Ponderosa”, is one I purchased because Robert and Tina Henderson and their family are very special to me. Turns out this huge pink red, beefsteak style tomato is one of our favorites. It was introduced by Peter Henderson and Co. in 1891, and was their most famous variety.

The first tomato varieties we will have available for purchase at Paradise Plants include: Henderson’s Pink Ponderosa, Purple Russian, Hillbilly, Copia, Abe Lincoln, Coure di Bue, Amana Orange, Cherokee Purple, Red Zebra, Wapsipincon Peach, Paul Robeson, Mountain Princess, Black Krim, Orange Strawberry, Hawaiian Pineapple, Ethel Watkins Best, Brandywine, and Roma Rio Grande.

Give us a call here at Paradise Plants, we are happy to provide you with a complete list of our Heirloom tomatoes and a detailed description of each of them. We also have sweet and hot peppers, strawberry plants, artichoke plants, and peas available. We always sell out, so don’t wait to get yours!

This weekly feature is contributed by Terri Scott, owner of Paradise Plants in Somerset. Call her at 530-295-8137 or email


Steppin’ Out – Pizza Plus

Written on March 27, 2013 at 9:04 am, by

“You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.”  ~Yogi Berra

When I arrived at Pizza Plus, which is located in Depot Junction, at 4615 Missouri Flat Road, I was given a friendly greeting by the owner, Chris Mackey, the same person who greeted me the same way, 20 years ago when I first wrote about this very clean and friendly restaurant.

The secret to the success of this independent pizza restaurant is good food, made with good ingredients and sold at reasonable prices in a friendly atmosphere. And, more importantly, community involvement.

“We are very involved with the schools,” said Mackey. My kids went to El Dorado High School, but we not only support their activities, but those at Indian Creek, Independence and Union Mine. Union Mine has been especially good to us.”

“We are also involved with several other youth organizations, help sponsor Scott Russell Racing and want to get involved in Gold Rush Little League. We are a part of the community and want to help where we can.  After all, these people are our loyal customers and we want them to know that we appreciate them. They are a lot of good people that come in and continue to come in, which is one of the reasons we have been here for over 20 years.”

While talking with Mackey, we were constantly interrupted as more and more people and families came in to eat or pick up baked or even ready to bake pizza. Every one of them said, “Hi Chris,” as they walked in, some even stopping to chat for a second or two. Any children in a group were dancing in the door. Pizza and children just seem to go together.

“We buy the best ingredients,” continued Mackey, “We don’t have the buying power of the chains, but we are still able to keep our prices on the same level with them. There is cheaper pizza available, but when a pizza costs more to make than theirs sells for, you know which is better.

“We make our own dough for the crust and then age it for a day. That makes it easier to stretch to the proper size. We spin them to size two or three times a day. We have also just added a gluten free dough at no extra charge.”

“By the way, we still cook in the same brick ovens we started with 20 years ago. I still think it makes the best pizza.”

Mackey offered to make me a pizza to try and as I looked over the menu he mentioned that one of their regular customers, a retired wrestling coach, had come up with the ultimate. “It is a combination of two, the Big “R” and the Super Plus Special,” he said, “it comes with salami, pepperoni, ham, bacon, Italian sausage, mushrooms, black olives, onions and green peppers.” There was nothing there I didn’t like, so I said, “Okay.”

While they were making my pizza, I sampled from the spotless salad bar which has the normal lettuce, spinach, beans, garbanzos, little ears of corn, beets, and more, including potato salad and cottage cheese. It also has sliced green olives, one of my favorites. “People come in and buy whole jars of those from us,” said Mackey.

I put together a small salad and, from their four dressings, selected 1000 island, something I love, but only eat out. Theirs is very good.

“Our salad bar is not big enough for everything,” said Mackey, “so we also offer other things from the kitchen, like onions and tomatoes if you want them.”

When my pizza arrived it was beautiful and I ate almost half of it before deciding to take the rest home. The crust stayed crisp, in spite of being loaded down with toppings, all of which were delicious. The next day it was very good, as leftover pizza should be.

To accompany it I had a Shock Top from one of the beer taps. “That seems to be the favorite with pizza,” said Mackey,” as he dropped off some ranch dressing for crust dipping .

The pizza menu at Pizza Plus includes almost anything and everything you could want on a pizza, and they range in size from an eight inch personal pizza to a 16 inch giant.

The also serve several hot or cold delicious looking sandwiches, garlic bread, pizza bread, bread sticks, pasta and wings, along with ice cream and root beer floats. Mackey offered me a root beer float for dessert, but I just didn’t have the room (I wonder if I could have gotten it to go?).

Weekdays, from 11 until 2, they feature a number of lunch specials. These vary from a half sandwich, chips and a small drink to the newest thing on the menu, all you can eat salad and pizza, and a drink. Prices for the specials vary from $5 to $7.99, plus tax. In today’s economy that is a good deal.

“For the “all you can eat” people and those who just want a slice, we make up several pizzas from our menu, including something vegetarian, slice them and keep them warm in a display case,” said Mackey. “If they sit there too long, we replace them with fresh pizza. I hate to throw them away, but have to control myself from eating the leftover slices,” adding with a bigger smile than normal, “ I’ve gained a little weight over the years because of that.”

To accompany your pizza they have lots to drink, including soda, beer (on tap and bottled) and wine.

Pizza Plus is open Monday through Thursday from 11 until 9, on Friday and Saturday until 10 and on Sunday from 4 until 9.

“I have great employees and they are important to me,” added Mackey. “We open late on Sunday morning  so they can attend church if they like and we close on major holidays, like Christmas and Easter, so that they can spend time with their friends and families. We will stay open on Christmas Eve, but only if the employees volunteer to do so.”

For more information or to place your order for pick-up,  call 530-626-9200. ~Tell ‘em The Windfall sent you!


Written on March 27, 2013 at 8:28 am, by

Although once a thriving mining community to the southeast of Placerville, time has reduced Newtown to just a few buildings and a host of memories.

The history of Newtown goes back to the early days of the gold rush when a party of Mormons started for Salt Lake.

Bringing along a large number of horses and cattle, they left Old Dry Diggings (Placerville) and followed a trail along the ridge between Weber Creek and the Cosumnes River until they came to a valley about two miles in length and one mile wide. They called the place Pleasant Valley, a name that remains to this day.

At the north end of the valley part of the group built a corral for their stock, while several others went even further north, over a low ridge to the South Fork of Weber Creek, where they built a second corral.

The grass was good in the valley so they decided to allow the animals to fatten up for the long trip to Salt Lake. They had also found some gold in a ravine near the creek, enough to make the stop worthwhile.

After about three weeks, they gathered the animals and continued their trip over the mountains, through the Carson Valley and on to Salt Lake.

In early 1849, five of these men returned to what was now known as Hangtown, where one of them mentioned their find to a friend named O. Russell. Provided with landmarks from which he could find the location, Russell and six others secretly left town in the middle of night.

They easily found the location since the Mormons had left a ditch some three-hundred feet in length, four feet wide and about two feet deep.

They soon determined that a man, using a pan, could probably recover about $8 a day in gold (about a half ounce) from the ground and set to work.

Three days later they discovered that their “secret” was out as a party of thirty more miners arrived by following their trail.

After a day or more of prospecting, both groups came to the conclusion that they had left better diggings than this and headed back to town, abandoning the site.

Around May of the same year, some of the party procured some pack animals and, this time with more equipment and supplies, headed back to try again. Mining proceeded quietly until July of 1849, when the miners were surprised by the first of the groups of fortune seekers, arriving in California by following the Carson and Mormon trails over the mountains.

In a short time, hundreds of gold seekers arrived, many stopping to prospect. Some just dug around for a while, but others built log cabins and stayed.

Soon there was a group of cabins between the forks of Weber Creek, that they named Iowaville. Around one of the corrals another town grew, this one called Dog Town.

In Dog Town a man named Smith opened a store which afterwards became owned by Samuel Snow, after whom Snow’s Road was later named.

With more and more miners arriving, by 1852 it became apparent that the gold would be easier to separate from the surrounding soil if water was brought into the area by ditch. Soon three ditches had been constructed by the “Eureka Company,” two from Weber Creek and one from the North Fork of the Cosumnes River.

With water available, a sawmill was built in Pleasant Valley and construction on a new town began a half mile to the southwest of Dog Town, on a bench about a hundred feet above the creek.

The new town started with a store built by Israel Clapp. This was soon followed by another store erected by Lewis Foster, W. F. Leon’s hotel and then a butcher shop, blacksmith shops, a ten-pin alley and a brewery, which got its water through a wooden pipeline from a spring high on a hill to the south. Along with these, of course, were built the requisite number of billiard parlors and drinking establishments.

A post office was established on June 17, 1854 with Wilber Fisher serving as the first postmaster. Believing that Dog Town was an inelegant name, it was called Newtown. For some reason service was discontinued on Sept. 23, 1875 and reestablished less than a month later. On Dec. 31, 1912, service was again discontinued and the mail moved to the Smithflat (Smith’s Flat, Smith Flat) Post Office.

By the time the post office was established, the road leading directly from Newtown to what was by this time Placerville, was completed and Newtown had become, as Paolo Sioli so aptly put it in his History of El Dorado County (1883) “…a full-fledged California mining town, with all its appliances, even to a dance house in the suburbs.”

Local historian George W. Peabody, in an article entitled “How About That! #30,” relates that amongst the residents of Newtown was one pioneer affectionately named John “Black Jack” Perkins, a slave who had arrived in Mud Springs (now the town of El Dorado) with his master in 1849. Through his hard work he was able to find enough gold to buy his freedom and move to the meadow between Newtown and Pleasant Valley where he raised swine.

A friendly and peaceable citizen, he entertained his neighbors and their children with his many songs, accompanying himself on “dry bones” (two polished pieces of wood that he held between his fingers and tapped together with a flick of his wrist).

In his honor, the small hill along Newtown Road, between Stark’s Grade Road and Snow’s Road, is still known as Perkin’s Rise.

On October 12, 1872 a fire started in the brewery and rapidly spread to the remainder of the town. Soon nearly every building in this prosperous town became nothing but a pile of ashes. No lives were lost and small portions of the town were rebuilt, but many of the residents moved elsewhere.

In 1885 the Newtown School District would be organized. In 1907 it would become part of the Placerville Unified School District.

Although it would continue to exist for many years, Newtown, a town that once had more citizens than Placerville, would be only a shadow of its once prosperous youth.


Sources for this story include: “History of California”, by Theodore Hittell (1897); “California Gold Camps”, by Erwin Gudde (1975); “California Place Names”, by Erwin Gudde, 3rd Edition (1974); “Mother Lode of Learning – One Room Schools of El Dorado County” by Retired Teachers Association of El Dorado County (1990); “How About That #30,” George Peabody; “I Remember…, Stories and pictures of El Dorado County pioneer families”, researched and written by Betty Yohalem (1977); “History of El Dorado County”, by Paolo Sioli (1883), reprinted and indexed by the El Dorado Friends of the Library (1998); and the wonderful people at the reference desk of the El Dorado County Main Library.

Bingham Law

Written on March 22, 2013 at 7:13 am, by


Bingham Law is a client focused law firm which Kim founded to help families save for the future and protect their present.

The Stumble Inn Pub – Camino

Written on March 21, 2013 at 3:21 pm, by

The Stumble Inn Pub is one of those places that you probably wouldn’t easily find if someone didn’t tell you where it was. So, I’m telling you. It is at 3500 Carson Road in Camino, in the Camino Wine Plaza, across the street from Apple Mountain Golf Resort. It has been open since Mother’s Day of 2012.

The business is run by Tommy and Jamie Findleton. Tommy’s parents, Tom and Pam, own Findleton Estate & Winery, one of the wineries with their tasting room in the Plaza.

I was invited to lunch there last week by Pam Findleton, a beautiful lady and amazing artist who I have known for a long time. We mixed food sampling and catching up on things, which made for a wonderful day in the restaurant’s outside patio, where we could watch Tommy working his magic at the grill. He has a kitchen inside, but prefers to cook outside when the weather permits.

“When the kids were growing up,” said Pam, “I would let them fix a meal for the family. Tom worked, I worked, and with five kids, it gave us a break. Tommy always loved to cook and since then he has always helped Tom at the grill when we have musical events at the tasting room. Now he has his own place.”

Tommy started us off by splitting a bottle of Angry Orchard hard cider between us along with some mustard pretzel pieces and popcorn to snack on while waiting. The cider was a nice opening treat, with a fresh taste and went well with the snacks and our first course, The Stumbling Pig, made as a slider.

It is pulled pork, grilled onions and mac ‘n cheese on a Hawaiian sweet roll (the full size one is on a potato bun).  It sounded like a strange combination, but it was juicy and really good. It was nicely presented with a drizzle of barbecue sauce and the flavors just came together wonderfully.

With a few more of those I could have stopped there and been happy, but then came a selection of their Bruchetta Bites, made with artichoke and chicken and spinach and chicken.  They are very popular and I can see why: flavorful and cheesy. Again, these were delicious, but the best was yet to come.

Their number one favorite sandwich is The Stumbler Burger. Basically, it is a grilled bacon cheeseburger on Texas Toast with peanut butter.

If you have a strange look on your face right now, remember that peanuts and peanut sauces are found in a lot of Asian dishes and not only add flavor, but enhance other flavors.

“To make the burger I start with good meat and two slices of cheese,” said Tommy. “I put five pieces of pepperoni and five pieces of bacon on top and then add both our own mayo sauce and peanut butter sauce. I tried a bun for it, but on the grilled Texas toast it is much better.”

“I worked on it for a long time and people love it. I hate doing the same things as other restaurants and this is one example of something different. People often ask me to change it for them, but the original is best.”

“I made two them because Mom likes steaks medium-rare, but burgers well done, and I know you want your burger rarer than that.”

It was a good idea because Pam shared half of hers with a granddaughter. I wouldn’t share with anybody and took my other half home, where by slowly heating it (didn’t add anything), enjoyed it for dinner. It was wonderful. The combination of flavors was outstanding.

With the burgers we had a glass of Humboldt Brewing Company’s Hemp Ale, which is their number one seller. The hemp seeds in the brewing process give it a somewhat nutty flavor. It was a perfect combination with the burger.

We also had some barbecued potato chips to share with the burger. “I have been looking for something to serve with it,” said Tommy, “and these seem to work. Besides that, Mom loves them.”

As a finale, Tommy poured us some black cherry soda and asked if we would like it as a float, with a scoop of French vanilla ice cream. I said, “You bet.” I really enjoyed it.

The menu at The Stumble Inn Pub includes a long list of appetizers, including the Bruchetta Bites, pulled port carnitas, springs rolls, chips and salsa, baked criss-cut and sweet potato fries, wings, ribs,  mac ‘n cheese and soup.

The “Stumblers” include the aforementioned Stumbler and Stumbling Pig, along with the Stumburrito, the Ribbler (ribs and mac ‘n cheese) and the Stumbling Chef daily special.

Listed under “Big Bites” are the Cheeseburger in Paradise, cider simmered pulled pork sandwich, BLT on Texas toast, chicken or pork taco salad, grilled chicken breast sandwich, gourmet grilled sausage and deep dish personal pizza.

And, if you have room for dessert, they have pie ala mode, homemade S’mores and the ice cream floats. And, yes, they have a kids menu.

There are eight beers on tap, that they rotate, along with a number of bottled beers, hard ciders, gourmet sodas, barley wine and more.

The Stumble Inn Pub is open Thursday from 11 until 6 (pasta night), Friday from 11-8 (10:30 on music nights), Saturday from 11-8 and on Sunday from 11-6.

Friday through Sunday, tacos are $2 and on Sunday, hot dogs are $1. But, you really should try The Stumbler and Stumbling Pig.

Inside and outside seating (Camino is a perfect place to sit outside and enjoy our wonderful weather).

Charles B. Mitchell Vineyards “Endless Pizza and Salad.”

Written on March 21, 2013 at 3:17 pm, by

My friend Russ Salazar has asked me several times if I have tried the pizza served during the Friday “Endless Pizza and Salad” nights at Charles B. Mitchell Vineyards in Fair Play. He loves it.

It had been a long time since I had visited there on a Friday and had the pizza, so I told him that we should do that.

We cleverly picked a Friday that they were having a “Bottle Your Own Wine” event, something they do three times a year: President’s Day Weekend, Veteran’s Day Weekend and Fourth of July Weekend. This was President’s Day Weekend and we arrived ready to bottle.

My friends Salazar and Bill Milbourne picked me up and, loaded with cases of clean, empty bottles provided by Salazar, we headed to Fair Play and the winery, which is located at 8221 Stoney Creek Road, off Fairplay Road.

Available for bottling this time, at $9.99 a bottle or $6.99 if you fill and buy a case, were an estate Sauvignon Blanc, a Merlot and a Syrah. You bring the bottles (or you can buy them), they supply the wine, corks, capsules and labels, along with staff help.

We picked up three glasses and headed into the barrel room to see what we liked. The Sauvignon Blanc was okay, the Merlot needed a bit more time before bottling, but the Syrah was very nice: rich in flavor with a typical smokey nose.

We all agreed on the Syrah, so we set to work filling three cases of bottles. Actually, they set to work, I was out by the wood-fired pizza oven talking with the lady in charge of pizza and salad, Colleen Dougherty. She and I have been friends for many years and she was making me a andouille sausage and pineapple pizza (If you ask nicely, they will make you a custom pizza).

Why that combination? When the winery first started having the Friday pizza nights, I was asked what three things I wanted on a pizza. I said, “andouille, andouille and andioulle.” The person making the pizza that evening told me it needed something sweet to complete it and added pineapple chunks. It was wonderful, so I always ask for that.

About three-quarters of the way through the bottling, and with pizza to share, I joined my friends to fill a few bottles (and spill more wine than they) and put the capsules over the corks which Milbourne had pressed into each bottle.

The capsules are heat-shrink plastic, rather than the old lead ones that were put on the bottles to keep the mice from eating the corks, and you use a heat gun to shrink them. After I had poorly shrunk a few, Dougherty showed up, grabbed the heat gun from me and said, “We need to set up tables where people can sit to eat, you are in the space we need and you are too slow and doing this wrong anyway.” I think she said that last time too.

So, after she completed shrinking the capsules, we packed our full cases on a hand truck and took them out to a place where we could pick them up later. Then we headed over to taste from the barrel the wines that were being sold as “futures,” which are about half as expensive as the wines after they are bottled, if you can wait until that long.

The wine futures included a 2011 Pinot Noir, 2011 Reserve Grenache, 2010 Reserve Merlot, 2010 Reserve Petite Sirah and a 2010 Grand Reserve (Bordeaux blend). I tasted most of them and really liked the Grand Reserve and, even more, the grenache.

I am personally a great fan of grenache, which was, or maybe still is, the most planted wine grape in the world. Most of it is used for blending, but in the foothills of the Sierra it produces a fantastic wine that is very food friendly, as a wine should be.

Once the “Bottle Your Own” ended at 5 p.m., they brought out the salad and started making more pizzas. They also started taking orders for lobster, which you can get freshly cooked, either whole or just a tail.

The pizza they make is on a freshly made thin crust and baked in an Italian, wood-fired, “fire belching” oven. Not only is it fresh and hot when you get it, like Salazar I think it is some of the best pizza around.

They routinely hand make the old standards, like cheese, pepperoni, veggie and others, but as I mentioned, will ask you if there is something you might especially like on a pizza, and they have an abundance of toppings from which to choose. Once a pizza is cooked, they cut it and put it on the serving table next to the Caesar Salad. So if you asked for something special, be sure to get several pieces before someone else discovers how good it is. But then, you don’t have to worry, they make a lot of pizza.

The “Endless pizza and salad” is only $10 per person, which is quite a deal. The lobster or lobster tail, cooked to order, is $20 more and worth it. You can purchase a bottle of their reasonably priced wine to enjoy with your meal, or get a one-liter carafe of wine for $15 or a half-carafe for $7.50.

“Endless pizza and salad” is served every Friday evening from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m., all year (they move everything inside when the weather is bad). Get together a few friends and enjoy some great food and wine. Take a jacket on these cool evenings.

For more information on this, other events and tasting room hours, call 530-620-3467 or visit www. ~Tell ‘em The Windfall sent you!

By the way, while you are there taste some of their long list of medal winning wines and also see what they have in futures. And please take a designated driver if you are going to seriously taste.

If you are wondering, I ended up buying a case of grenache to split with Salazar at less than $15 a bottle. And, later this month they will have a release party, with food, as a part of the deal.


Written on March 21, 2013 at 3:13 pm, by

The present Swansboro Country, which is located some nine miles northeast of Placerville, is part of an early mining community known as Mosquito.

Originally called Mosquito Valley, placer (gravel)  mining occurred there as early as 1849 and soon there were two villages, one known as Nelsonville and the other the Big House or Lower Town, the latter built and inhabited principally by people of Spanish descent.

The mines in the area were quite rich and provided a good living for a large number of miners. One mine, the Little Mosquito, was noted throughout the Mother Lode for producing chunks of gold ranging in size from two ounces to half a pound.

As mining continued and more people moved to the area, around 1851 or 1852 a sawmill was built in One Eye canyon (named after the first miner at that location) by Benjamin Summerfield and John Bennett. With the lumber produced there, two or three stores were constructed in Nelsonville, one being owned by John D. Skinner.

Mr. Skinner’s store remained open for many years while miners came and went and mining shifted from placer to underground (quartz) and hydraulic operations. Like many Gold Rush buildings, Mr. Skinner’s store was ultimately consumed by a fire in the town.

In 1853 the Mosquito Ditch Company was formed to provide the miners with a reliable stream of water. Setting to work they built a remarkable, sixteen mile long ditch from Slab Creek to the mines at the cost of some $20,000 in 1850′s dollars.

Soon thereafter, some settlers recognized the excellent quality of the soil and, with this water available nearby, extended the ditch from the mines in the canyon and started planting crops.

Two men by the names of Brown and Palmer were the first to attempt farming in the Mosquito Valley by planting a crop of potatoes. Little more is known about them, but soon two other gentlemen, one a Mr. Dickinson who owned the Little Mosquito Mine, and the other a  Peter Robinson, planted the first orchards.

Because the area received little snow in the winter, a number of large orchards where soon established and producing, adding to the local agriculture which also included many herds of cattle and sheep and fields of grain and clover.

The first school was opened in 1862 by Oliver Chubb. In 1881 a public school district was formed and the first public school opened. The same year the Mosquito Valley post office was built with Mrs. Dickinson serving as its first postmaster. The post office would close a year later, then reopen in 1892 for another three year period and then close for good.

In the early days of settlement and mining, Mosquito was only connected to Placerville and the rest of the world by a trail that ran in the direction of Kelsey and intersected with the Placerville to Georgetown road (now Highway 193). To reach Placerville on this road, one had to cross the South Fork of the American River at Chili Bar by ferry.

The ferry could only handle travelers on foot or horseback and pack-trains, so, in 1853, the owners of this ferry, E. and H. George, built a strong and quite substantial bridge to replace it. The bridge opened on December 1 of that year, but it wasn’t until the middle of 1854 that the roads leading up and down the mountains on both sides were well enough constructed to allow for the passage of the freight wagons for which the bridge was built.

In order to shorten this trip to the County seat, a narrow, winding wagon road and a suspension bridge across the South Fork of the American River were soon constructed.

The trail has been replaced by Rock Creek Road and the often rebuilt, one-lane suspension bridge still exists as a part of Mosquito Road.

For many years Mosquito remained as a relatively undeveloped and very rural community. In the 1960s and 1970s the development of the residential community known as Swansboro Country occurred on a portion of the land, increasing the population substantially. The development gets its name from an early family in the area, Swansborough.

A trip to Mosquito by way of the winding Mosquito Road and suspension bridge is a must for many visitors to our County. It adds to the charm and history of a visit to this early Gold Rush town.


Sources for this story include: “History of California”, by Theodore Hittell (1897); “California Gold Camps”, by Erwin Gudde (1975); “California Place Names”, by Erwin Gudde, 3rd Edition (1974); “Mother Lode of Learning – One Room Schools of El Dorado County” by Retired Teachers Association of El Dorado County (1990); “I Remember…, Stories and pictures of El Dorado County pioneer families”, researched and written by Betty Yohalem (1977); “Mines and Mineral Resources of El Dorado County, California”, California Division of Mines (1956); “History of El Dorado County”, by Paolo Sioli (1883), reprinted and indexed by the El Dorado Friends of the Library (1998); the archives of the Mountain Democrat (1854-Present); and the wonderful people at the reference desk of the El Dorado County Main Library.

Powell’s Steamer Co. & Pub

Written on March 21, 2013 at 3:12 pm, by

I dropped by Powell’s Steamer Co. and Pub, which is located at 425 Main Street in Placerville. While I waiting to talk with the owner, Sheila Hill, I poked around a bit.

The first thing I noticed was that the place was spotless; I mean really clean from top to bottom. And, it smelled fresh, which is hard for a restaurant and pub that specializes in seafood and is often jam-packed with people.

Hill came in and sat down next to me, while I sat at the bar and sipped on a glass of iced tea. She took over the restaurant from the Powells some five years ago and has done a great job keeping this 25 year old business going.

I asked her what the top selling menu items were for lunch. “Cioppino and the ‘Hot Upper,’” she replied. But, today is Friday and we have our famous Tri-Tip BLT and something new, crab cakes, on the menu as specials. Our chef, David Merritt, who is also our kitchen manager, came up with the crab cake recipe and people just love them.”

We decided I should try the crab cakes, which came beautifully presented with both red chili and tarter sauces, lemon wedges and tomato and cucumber slices. I have eaten crab cakes on both our coasts and these were excellent: rich, fresh tasting and “California style,” mixed with a blend of vegetables, spices and a few secrets.

The red chili sauce was very good with them, as was the house-made tartar sauce. And, the slices of cucumber were a nice palate cleanser between bites.

I was then treated with a sample of the cioppino, “lazyman” style (no shells) and a shrimp pan roast.

I loved the cioppino. The rich marinara sauce was light and fresh tasting, as was the seafood (white fish, bay shrimp, prawns, crab and scallops). I have sometimes had it elsewhere with a heavy sauce more approaching ketchup, but the lightness of this sauce allowed the delicate taste of the seafood to come through.

I have had their pan roasts before, and was delighted with this one. Again, the shrimp had a very delicate, fresh taste and the sauce, light and not overpowering, but decadent. As with the cioppino, I used the bread (from Truckee Sourdough Bakery) to sop up what sauce I could not spoon up and mentioned to Hill that I thought about tilting the bowel and drinking what was left. “We see people do that,” she said, then adding, “did you leave room for some dessert? We have some great cake that is made especially for us.”

I told here yes, but only a small slice, which, thankfully is what she provided. It was a delicious two-layer chocolate cake with raspberry filling and a really great chocolate icing. “The lady who makes them decides what to make and everyone of them has been wonderful,” added Hill.

By this time the restaurant was beginning to fill up with Friday customers, a good sign in an economy where restaurants are still not doing well. They must be doing something right.

Lunch is served Monday through Saturday from 11 until 3 and you can order from both the regular and lunch menus. The lunch menu includes half orders of the cioppino, pork spare ribs, creamy garlic chicken Alfredo and seafood Louis, along with soup and salad combinations, several sandwiches (including the Hot Upper, an open faced sandwich with ham, turkey, tomatoes, Jack and Cheddar cheeses, mushrooms, avocado and their special mustard sauce), a stuffed avocado or tomato and bay shrimp scampi.

I asked Hall about the shrimp, crab and combination Louis, and she replied that, yes, they actually use Louis dressing, not thousand island. Some places when I order a crab Louis the server asks me what kind of dressing on want. “Louis,” I say, “that is why it is called a Louis.”

The regular menu, which is served all day includes peel and eat shrimp, fresh oysters (eastern) on the half shell, seafood cocktails, New England and Hangtown clam chowder and a whole list of pasta dishes.

Specialties include a shrimp and crab sandwich, shrimp and avocado sandwich, several kinds of stews and pan roasts (oyster, shrimp and combination), grilled Tilapia, the cioppino and “Powell’s steamer,” a fragrant bowl of fresh clams steamed in butter, white wine seasonings and fine spices.

Finally, there are the seafood Louis, the pork spare ribs, shrimp scampi and King Salmon scampi.

As you can tell, if you love seafood this is the place for you.

To accompany your food they have coffee, tea, soft drinks, milk and juice, along with 24 different kinds of beer on tap (including two from Old Hangtown Beer Works), a selection of beer in bottles and several local wines.

Tuesday is “Fish Taco Tuesdays,” on Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. they have Singer/Songwriter Open Mic, on Thursday night live music starts at 7 p.m. Friday is “French Dip Fridays,” with Karaoke at 9 p.m. The Saturday Night Special is Surf & Turf starting at 5 p.m. with live music at 9 p.m. Sunday afternoon from 1 until 4, there is more live music, along with barbecued oysters and prime rib sandwiches during the music.

I am sure I missed something, but you can check by visiting their webpage at or by calling them at 530-626-1091. You can also “like” them on Facebook (Powell’s Steamer Co. & Pub) and get daily updates on what is happening.  ~Tell ‘em The Windfall sent you!

El Dorado Weed Control Inc

Written on March 15, 2013 at 7:13 am, by


El Dorado Weed Control, Inc. is a family owned business that specializes in the control of noxious weeds and reducing the fire hazards that may be present around your home or business.

J & J Auto Care

Written on March 8, 2013 at 7:12 am, by


A family business, with strong ties to each other and deeply rooted here in El Dorado County.  J & J Auto Care is indeed a family friendly, full service auto shop,  locally owned and operated by Josh Nisbet and James Willis.

The Windfall – 4th Anniversary

Written on March 1, 2013 at 6:48 am, by

4th Anniversary

Celebrating our 4th Anniversary.  Thank you to our wonderful Readers, Advertisers, Friends and Family!

Robert & Tina Henderson

Mud Springs (El Dorado)

Written on February 25, 2013 at 2:08 pm, by

Although the townsite of El Dorado was one of the first mining camps in El Dorado county, it was not always known by this very appropriate name. Up until late 1855, some six years after the first miners coaxed golden nuggets from the streambeds in this area, the town was known simply as Mud Springs.

No, the area did not have natural mud springs, the name was chosen because the thousands of immigrants traveling through on their way westward and southward watered their livestock at the once clear springs that flowed here, muddying the surrounding land and the water itself.

To distinguish these springs from those much clearer, two miles further up the immigrant trail at Diamond Springs, the location was called Mud Springs and the name stuck. Although quite picturesque and descriptive, as were many of California’s early town names, the name of Mud Springs soon fell before the sweep of “civilization” and was changed to the Spanish word for “The Gilded One” – El Dorado.

The word of the rich rewards that were being taken from the ground nearby soon spread, and in just a couple of years mining had expanded from simply working the rich placer claims to digging for gold often found hiding in quite shallow veins of quartz.

By the year 1851 there were some 500 laborers employed in the mines and mills near Mud Springs and we’re told that all night and day you could not help but hear the continuous clatter of the seven steam mills located on Matheney’s and Logtown creeks, noisily freeing gold from quartz.

It is believed that the first resident in the area was one James Thomas who settled there in 1849 and erected a trading post and hotel that he called the Old Mud Springs House. Soon his hotel was surrounded by a great many stores, hotels, boarding houses and other business places, erected to provide for the needs of the miners and also the thousands and thousands of newcomers that continued to travel along the immigrant trail that soon became known as the Sacramento and Placerville Stage Road.

The Mud Springs Post Office was established prior to Nov. 6, 1851, the date it was approved in Washington, D.C. Darwin Chase was the first postmaster. On Dec. 15, 1855, the name of the post office was changed to El Dorado with George W. Critchfield serving as its postmaster. The El Dorado Post Office has continuously operated since it was first established.

On April 16, 1855 the citizens of El Dorado had the town incorporated. On April 1, 1857, for an unstated reason, although at the same time it lost to Placerville in the competition to be the county seat, the act incorporating it was repealed by the State of California.

The El Dorado School District was organized on February 4, 1858. On July 1, 1954 the school became part of the Mother Lode Union School District.

According to “Mother Lode of Learning,” the El Dorado School, which is located atop a hill north of Main Street and is now a community hall, “includes the lower floor of a building constructed in 1857 to serve as a livery stable, and for hay and grain storage. It was later a jail for obstreperous gold miners, and still later a butcher shop.”

Nearby, to the southeast along Martinez Creek, almost simultaneously with the growth of the town of El Dorado, there was established an unnamed town of two or three thousand white and Mexican miners who worked the rich streambeds and hillsides. Soon this would be the location of the Church and Union mines where, towards the end of the 1800s, a forty stamp, water powered mill would be erected – a mill that was reported to have been not only heard but felt a great distance away. (The name Union Mine was changed to Springfield Mine and then the mine was consolidated with the Church Mine. Sometime after mining ceased in the mid-1900s, it became a landfill for the County under it’s old name, Union Mine).

For many decades, El Dorado continued to be a supply point for local miners and travelers along the east-west highway that replaced the old stage road and a north-south road that would ultimately become State Highway 49.

When the railroad was being built from Shingle Springs to Placerville, where it would arrive in 1888, a station was established at El Dorado near the schoolhouse to supply the mines and businesses.

When the location of what is now Highway 50 was moved to the west along Mother Lode Drive, in the mid-1900s and the tracks were abandoned in the late 1900s, El Dorado became just another sleepy foothill community, retaining its Gold Rush street names of Main, North, South, Cemetery and Church.
Although only a few of El Dorado’s original buildings remain in whole or part, the town of El Dorado is an important historic community along Highway 49 and the original immigrant trail. It is one of El Dorado County’s many delightful secrets that is often missed by visitors to the area.


Sources for this story include: “History of California”, by Theodore Hittell (1897); “California Gold Camps”, by Erwin Gudde (1975); “California Place Names”, by Erwin Gudde, 3rd Edition (1974); “Mother Lode of Learning – One Room Schools of El Dorado County” by Retired Teachers Association of El Dorado County (1990); “I Remember…, Stories and pictures of El Dorado County pioneer families”, researched and written by Betty Yohalem (1977); “Mines and Mineral Resources of El Dorado County, California”, California Division of Mines (1956); “History of El Dorado County”, by Paolo Sioli (1883), reprinted and indexed by the El Dorado Friends of the Library (1998); the archives of the Mountain Democrat (1854-Present); and the wonderful people at the reference desk of the El Dorado County Main Library.

Fountain Grill in Placerville

Written on February 25, 2013 at 2:06 pm, by

“Crepes and Garlic Fries…Who Knew”  ~ T-Shirt at Fountain Grill
Fountain Grill is a small restaurant just inside Creekside Place at 451 Main Street in Placerville. It has been open since January of 2012, serving, as one of the customers said happily, “Chef quality food at a good price.”

It had been several months since I had first stopped by and I was impressed with the high quality and freshness of the food then. This time I was equally excited.
The restaurant is owned by Monika Geezy, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Sacramento, and Tom Rosa, a retired sheet metal worker who used his expertise to redesign the restaurant to make it more convenient for them and the customers.

When I first interviewed Rosa he pointed out to me, “My area is outside of the kitchen. I take in the money and wash the dishes.” Since then he has started cooking burgers, but still says with a smile, “Monika is the chef and watches over me and, I still observe the boundary line between this end of the stove and her kitchen.”
While I was siting at one of the inside tables (lots of patio seating is available also) talking with Monika and Tom, a nice lady walked in and said, “What’s the soup of the day?” “Carrot and ginger,” replied Chef Geezy, and for a moment I think my heart stopped. I love carrot and ginger soup and rarely find it. Soon both of us had a small sample to try.

After just a couple of sips, the lady said, “I’m going to have a half pulled pork [with barbecue sauce and house coleslaw on ciabatta bread] sandwich and a cup or maybe a bowl of this. It is absolutely delightful.”
While I was waiting for my order a downtown businessman walked in and said he had been trying for some time to get his friends to try the place, but they seemed to have their own favorites. They weren’t working that day, so this was his first time to try the food. His order was a grilled chicken sandwich and a small salad.

When his order arrived it was gorgeous. The ciabatta bread sandwich contained, along with the grilled chicken, grilled bell peppers, onion, tomato and basil pesto. Cut in half and placed perfectly on the plate with the salad, both he and I agreed it was a picture like you might find in a magazine. And, it must have been really good, because he later commented, “I intended to eat half and take half, but it was so good I ate it all. It is probably one of the best sandwiches I have eaten.” That is a real compliment to the chef.
After looking over the menu board I decided on a half portion of a flank steak sandwich (you don’t see that very often either) and a cup of the wonderful soup.

My sandwich came with the most tender flank steak I have ever eaten, caramelized onion, mushrooms and chimichurri sauce on ciabatta bread. If you haven’t heard of it, chimichurri sauce is an Argentine parsley and garlic sauce always served with grilled meats in that country where beef is king and almost always grilled.

The sandwich was really, really good: full of meat and full of flavor. The soup, with a few croutons floating on top was wonderful, and too soon all gone. I have to admit that when I first read the menu board my mind told me it said cranberry, not chimichurri sauce, which seemed to be a strange ingredient, but I’m always game for something new. I mentioned to the owners that I didn’t taste cranberries and got a very strange look. Sometimes the mind and eyes don’t work together.
Before leaving, the lady customer asked for the special Valentine’s Day crepe, which was a chocolate mousse dessert crepe with raspberry sauce. When it arrived she said, “I can’t eat all that,” and proceeded to get two more plates and split it with the gentleman who came in and myself. It was as good as it sounded.
The menu at Fountain Grill includes a cup, bowl or a half sandwich with a cup of soup and a small mixed greens salad, with a cup of soup alone or with a small salad alone. In the way of salads they have mixed greens, spinach salad, Caesar salad and tuna or chicken salad on a bed of lettuce.
To the first two, which come with fresh fruit, tomato, onion, toasted walnuts, feta cheese, and house balsamic vinaigrette, you can add grilled chicken, flank steak or Portobelo mushroom, for a bit more. To the Caesar salad you can add chicken.

Sandwiches include the grilled chicken, Tuscan turkey (their biggest seller), chicken salad, portobelo, tuna melt, the BLT, pulled pork and flank steak. They have a Fountain Burger, mushroom Swiss burger and bacon cheese burger, along with a basket of fries: garlic, Cheddar, Blue cheese or Creekside fries (an all in one flavor extravaganza).Also in the list of sandwiches are two delicious paninis: turkey and brie and three cheese melt. The crepes, which are chef Geezy’s speciality come in two basic varieties: savory and sweet. The savory crepes include: Tuscan turkey, grilled chicken, flank steak, portobello and vegetarian. The sweet crepes include: fresh strawberries in a light, refreshing strawberry spread, hazelnut Nutella spread with bananas and apples with caramel sauce. There is also a crepe special of the day. The menu includes kid friendly choices like a PB &J sandwich, grilled cheese sandwich or a kids burger. Drinks include bottled water, iced tea or lemonade, soda, strawberry mango lemonade and coffee made to order – never stale or burnt.

Fountain grill is open from 11 until 3, Tuesday through Friday and from 12 until 4 on Saturday. Closed Sunday and Monday. For more information call 530-626-7966.Don’t forget, if you are in a hurry or have to get back to your office or business, they can pack everything to go. ~Tell ‘em The Windfall sent you!

The Skin Studio

Written on February 22, 2013 at 7:07 am, by

The Skin Studio

Let us introduce you to Laurie Storey, Owner and Head Esthetician. Laurie established The Skin Studio in Cameron Park in July 2002.

Mt. Aukum

Written on February 17, 2013 at 2:41 pm, by

Neatly divided by Mt. Aukum Road (County Road E-16), and lying just north of the Amador – El Dorado County, line is the town of Mt. Aukum.

This has not always been the name of this town, at times it may also have been known as Aurum, Oakum, Orcum, Ockum, and once even as Mt. Auburn. If fact, the mountain from which the town gets its name rarely shows up as Mt. Aukum on maps, but usually as Mt. Orcum or Mt. Aurum (it is the mountain with a microwave/radio relay station and Mount Aukum Winery, atop its 2615 foot summit).

No one knows for sure the origin of the name, which may be why it changed so often. Some believe it may have been a Miwok word, Ochum, which we are told meant village. But then, some also put forth the idea that it was named by some sailors after the tarred rope called oakum, often used to calk the planking of early sailing ships. However, in 1961 the U. S. Post Office solved the problem for everyone by officially changing the name of the town from Aukum to Mt. Aukum, mainly because the Aukum mail was getting mixed in with the mail bound for Auburn.

Unlike most of the other towns in the region, Mt. Aukum was not really known as a mining town, but more as a farming and ranching area. Hay and grain were widely grown around Mt. Aukum, and raising beef cattle was a big business. That is not to say that mining did not occur in the area. The many streams and creeks, along with the South Fork of the Cosumnes River, gave up fair amounts of gold to those willing to work for it.

The first reference to Mt. Aukum appears in the June 1860 minutes of the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors. They ordered the Coyoteville School District to be divided and the north portion to be called the Mt. Ockum School District.

A new school was soon built on the Flynn Ranch, located on the west side of the mountain, about a half mile north of the town. In April of 1921, the school was dismantled and moved to its present location on Mt. Aukum Road (near the fire station). Due to a lack of students, the school was closed from 1921 to 1925 and 1927 to 1932. In 1958, the Mt. Aukum, Fair Play, River, Willow and Mountain school districts were unified into the present Pioneer School District.

The Mt. Aukum Post Office opened in 1895 as the Aukum Post Office with Lydia A. Wrigglesworth (Wigglesworth?) serving as its first postmaster. It would close from 1914 to 1920 and the mail directed to the town of Uno. That post office would close in 1920 and the mail would come back to Aukum again.

The story of Uno is controversial, to say the least. Some point out that it must be near Mt. Aukum since post offices are rarely moved a great distance, but others contend it was on the other side of Indian Diggings, far from Mt. Aukum. Unfortunately, it rarely shows up on maps, old or new, and when it does, it is in different locations.

Reliance on the first opinion would put Uno about two miles to the southeast of Mt. Aukum, on a ridge north of Cedar Creek. It wasn’t a small community, since it was large enough to have a post office of its own from February of 1892 until 1920, when it closed.

There were only three postmasters at Uno, the first being Leander Morris (1892), who was followed by Sarah Farnsworth (1892-1914) and Nancy Giles (1914-1920). Apparently the only business in town was the Farnsworth store, in which the Post Office was conveniently located.

Adding to the Uno controversy is a belief that the reason there is so little information on Uno is that at one time it may have been known as Coyoteville, which some early maps show at this same location near Cedar Creek.

Coyoteville was one of the first settlements in the area and believed to be the source of (or perhaps named after) the mining term “coyote-ing”, a process of digging into the ground and throwing the dirt and rock around the mouth of the shaft, where it was later worked for gold. It obviously had a school in 1860, when its school district was divided by the Board of Supervisors, and we know that in 1876 it had a boarding house owned by Henry Monsees and that two men by the names of William Donahue and Daniel Bowman were owners of a nearby mine. Nothing much remains of Coyoteville, or for that matter, Uno.

To the west of Coyoteville/Uno and south of Mt. Aukum, on the South Fork of the Cosumnes River was the town of Bridgeport. It would show up on maps until the middle 1900s when its name was changed to River Pines and it became a site of vacation homes.

As early as 1852 the town consisted of cabins, a saloon, and the Hall & Nelson Mill. In 1854 all that portion of the town on the south side of the river would be removed from El Dorado County and become part of the newly formed Amador County.

By 1874 the area had enough population for the Bridgeport School District to be formed and the Bridgeport School built (it was known as the “Evening Shade” School). The district was merged with the Mt. Aukum School District in 1953, which in 1958, became part of the Pioneer School District.

Bridgeport had no post office until 1948, again by which time the name of the town had become River Pines. It had only three Postmasters, Blanch Steinsick (1948-1961), Frances Spring (1961-1971) and Louise Travers (from 1971 until it became a branch of the Mt. Aukum Post Office 1985).

Except for an occasional foundation, building stone or shallow mine shaft, only Mt. Aukum and River Pines remain today, as a small but important reminder of the early activities in this part of our county.


Sources for this story include “Cosumnes River Country”, by Steve Ginsburg (1979, 1995); “History of California Post Offices, 1849-1976″, researched by H. E. Salley (1976); and the “History of El Dorado County, by Paolo Sioli (1883), reprinted and indexed by the El Dorado Friends of the Library (1998).

Speed’s Diner – Plymouth

Written on February 17, 2013 at 2:40 pm, by

“Nothing goes perfectly, especially when you’re opening a restaurant.” ~Bobby Flay


It is not too often that you come across a restaurant where the owners are not only gracious and running the place, but having a great time doing it. That is how I would describe Speed’s Diner, which is located 17830 State Highway 49 in Plymouth, CA (the yellow building between Pokerville Grocery and the Shell station).

I dropped in late on Saturday morning and noticed a number of signs outside, one of which said, “Speed’s Diner, Down Home Food (purposely with every “N” backwards) and one by the door listing the lunch specials for the day: Hell Burger, BLTO-melt and a foot long corn dog. I had to try this place!

As I entered I was greeted by Adam Prakash, a native of Fiji and the son-in-law of the cook, Mark Speed. He was serving some people and paused to announce me by yelling, “Doug’s here” towards the kitchen.

Speed was in the kitchen preparing omelets for some customers and while he talked with me, Prakash entered the kitchen and smoothly took over, never missing a beat.

“I started cooking when I was five,” said Speed. “I got up and went into the kitchen where I fixed a fried egg and a piece of toast. It scared my mother. Since then I have just watched a lot of people cook and found out that knowing how to cook has gotten me a lot of marriage proposals.

“I was born in Michigan, but now live in Grizzly Flat. I am retired from a job with the State of California, and happy to be out of there. For a while I had a hot dog cart that I took all over northern California. You might have seen us at the flea market in Diamond Springs.

When I saw this building was available, we decided to open this restaurant. Officially we opened on February 2, 2008, but the snow in Grizzly Flat was so bad that day that we didn’t get here until the next day.”

Speed asked me what I would like to try and mentioned he had heard I liked biscuits and gravy and chili dogs. I told him I would like to try a small order of biscuits and gravy and then he asked if I would like a burger, to which I said, “Sure.”

I really liked the biscuits and gravy. The gravy was full of sausage, bacon and pepper. Often I have to add pepper, but his was perfect as is. “A lady from Canton, Ohio came in an took a dozen mason jars full of our gravy back home with her, people come a long way just to have it,” said Speed as he brought me my burger.

One lady in the restaurant called her burger “Big Foot,” but I understand most of the people call it the “Intimidater.” It is a 10 ounce, hand-pressed beef patty on a special order six inch bun, and the meat sticks out all around (I took half of it home for dinner). It also had lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles and sauce.

“I don’t put too much emphasis on vegetables,” said Speed, “a burger is all about meat. Our burgers are so big that one lady just looked at it for about 15 minutes before taking a bite.”

I mentioned to Speed that it was really good, but, strangely,  needed a little salt. “I never know exactly what people like,” said Speed, “so I don’t over season the food. There is salt, pepper and everything you need on the table to make it the way you want it.” I like that.

Before I go over the menu, I have to mention how the place is decorated. It is eclectic and interesting. There are pictures of cars, country-western singers, odd signs, a big aquarium and even musical instruments.

“We plan on having live music and adding dinners to the menu in the near future,” said Speed. The drum set in the corner is mine as is the Gibson electric guitar on the wall. The congo drums are Adam’s. There are a lot of other things we would like to do, but we are limited by space,” adding a delightfully odd comment, as he often did, “Did I mention that my father made Gibson guitars?” (He had already mentioned that he might be related to the Hatfields and that his grandmother was a coalminer’s daughter, which I found fascinating)

The breakfast menu includes the normal egg and meat items you would expect, along with Eggs Benedict, omelets, breakfast sandwiches and even breakfast burritos.

At lunch you can enjoy a number of what they call “Burger Creations.” They include a plain burger, bacon burger, Cowboy burger (onion rings, bacon, cheese and barbecue sauce), mushroom cheeseburger, double burger, chili burger, garden burger and a 49er burger with onion rings, bacon, cheese, pulled pork and barbecue sauce.

“I am still working on a special that includes a triple-49er burger, a platter of onion rings and a milkshake, said Speed. The onion rings are the wide, ‘tantalizer’ kind and the milkshake is a real one. Eat everything in an hour and it is free.”

The menu also includes several “Dawgs,” ranging from a 1/4 pound beef hot dog to a ½, pound, foot-long chili dog. “We also have the ‘Homewrecker,” added Speed. “It is a ½ pound, foot-long dog covered with country potatoes, chili, cheese, scrambled eggs and more.

They also serve a number of other sandwiches including grilled cheese, a patty melt, turkey melt, pulled pork, club, BLT, and grilled chicken breast. And, lots of sides and drinks to accompany them.

“The BLTO – melt on the board outside is something I invented,” said Speed. “It is bacon, lettuce, tomato and onions with melted cheese on top. The ‘Hell Burger” has jalapeños, onions and pepper jack cheese, all grilled together with the burger and put on a bun with my ‘special sauce’ (he opened the sauce for me and it even smelled hot).

“Right now we are using shoestring potatoes, but soon we will be cutting our own. I like fries with the skin on them.”

Speed’s Diner is open “Monday through Monday from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m., eight days a week,” he says.

For more information give them a call at 209-245-3292.

Coffee, Tea and Friends

Written on February 17, 2013 at 2:39 pm, by

March 12 – Coffee, Tea and Friends

Cameron Park CSD and Visiting Angels are holding its monthly senior and caregivers get together. This month’s presentation will be “Lets recycle something old into something new”   Juliet from El Dorado Nursery will help you create a “green” garden from your old junk.  Please bring recycled items such as 4-6 in planning sized baskets, large mugs, vintage boxes or tin cans.  Join us at the Community Center from 10am-11:30am on Tuesday, March 12 for this FREE event.  Please bring your friends and attend.  For more information please call the CSD at 530-677-2231

Missouri Flat Pet Clinic

Written on February 17, 2013 at 12:02 pm, by


At Missouri Flat Pet Clinic, they love pets! WHich means their entire staff is compassionate about caring for yours.  They provide a complete veterinary clinic with medical, surgical, and rehabilitation services for pets of all ages.

Pirates of the Caribbean – Update on Haiti

Written on February 11, 2013 at 1:13 pm, by

Free event, public invited! Saturday February 16th, 1-3pm, at Federated Church. “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Ever wonder what’s happening in Haiti since their devastating earthquake? Ever wonder where your money went or what’s being done with it? Want to hear from someone who’s been there from the beginning? Leisa Faulkner and Paule Burke -  founders of Childrens’ Hope – offer a historical overview of Haiti and bring folks up-to-date on conditions on the ground. They focus on their work in Haiti’s poorest slum, Cite Soleil. Presented by Placerville’s 9th Annual Season for Non-violence. For more info, contact or check   ~Tell ‘em The Windfall sent you!

Kids say the darndest things!

Written on February 11, 2013 at 12:34 pm, by

In the 60’s The Art Linkletter Show had a segment with children; Kids Say The Darndest Things. It was so popular it was later remade by Bill Cosby. It was all in good fun but at times it brought to light some interesting situations. As a single dad raising my daughter it was easy to reflect on the similarities from the show I watched as a child. At the time of my own revelations it was sometimes awkward and other times amusing. In any event the forthrightness of my child created permanent memories. I remember when I took my daughter with me to the Laundromat. A necessary chore on a busy weekend. We were to go boating later that day. As I was transferring loads there was a woman next to us doing her folding. Being single I did notice her and also noticed mens clothes hanging there.  Without hesitation my daughter went up to the lady and invited her to go boating with us and told her she would have a lot of fun. We exchanged nods and smiled at the innocence. My daughter Phyllis was 6 years old. Another time a girlfriend and I had just decided to stop seeing each other. That week I was a volunteer parent for Living History Day at Phyllis’s school. I was a mountain man fur trapper who would start fires for the kids with no matches while talking about trapping. I had period clothes as well as a buffalo robe and bear trap with an authentic buffalo rifle. I had invited a woman to share the experience with the children. Unknown to me was that Phyllis had invited the girlfriend I was no longer seeing. I thought the bear trap was going to be used on me. Phyllis was 10. When she was 13 we were making the joint custody exchange trip so she could be with her mom. Half way there we stopped at a burger joint for lunch. After eating I was at the register paying the bill while Phyllis started for the door. A young man at a pool table approached her. I overheard him ask if she went there often. She said yes, every once in a while. I was besides myself, she was never there before! She now has her own children. Her own remember when’s are in the works. Some of them will always be remembered. ~Nick Pesola, Placerville

Mosquito (Swansboro Country)

Written on February 11, 2013 at 12:06 pm, by

The present Swansboro Country, which is located some nine miles northeast of Placerville, is part of an early mining community known as Mosquito.

Originally called Mosquito Valley, placer (gravel)  mining occurred there as early as 1849 and soon there were two villages, one known as Nelsonville and the other the Big House or Lower Town, the latter built and inhabited principally by people of Spanish descent.

The mines in the area were quite rich and provided a good living for a large number of miners. One mine, the Little Mosquito, was noted throughout the Mother Lode for producing chunks of gold ranging in size from two ounces to half a pound.

As mining continued and more people moved to the area, around 1851 or 1852 a sawmill was built in One Eye canyon (named after the first miner at that location) by Benjamin Summerfield and John Bennett. With the lumber produced there, two or three stores were constructed in Nelsonville, one being owned by John D. Skinner.

Mr. Skinner’s store remained open for many years while miners came and went and mining shifted from placer to underground (quartz) and hydraulic operations. Like many Gold Rush buildings, Mr. Skinner’s store was ultimately consumed by a fire in the town.

In 1853 the Mosquito Ditch Company was formed to provide the miners with a reliable stream of water. Setting to work they built a remarkable, sixteen mile long ditch from Slab Creek to the mines at the cost of some $20,000 in 1850′s dollars.

Soon thereafter, some settlers recognized the excellent quality of the soil and, with this water available nearby, extended the ditch from the mines in the canyon and started planting crops.

Two men by the names of Brown and Palmer were the first to attempt farming in the Mosquito Valley by planting a crop of potatoes. Little more is known about them, but soon two other gentlemen, one a Mr. Dickinson who owned the Little Mosquito Mine, and the other a  Peter Robinson, planted the first orchards.

Because the area received little snow in the winter, a number of large orchards where soon established and producing, adding to the local agriculture which also included many herds of cattle and sheep and fields of grain and clover.

The first school was opened in 1862 by Oliver Chubb. In 1881 a public school district was formed and the first public school opened. The same year the Mosquito Valley post office was built with Mrs. Dickinson serving as its first postmaster. The post office would close a year later, then reopen in 1892 for another three year period and then close for good.

In the early days of settlement and mining, Mosquito was only connected to Placerville and the rest of the world by a trail that ran in the direction of Kelsey and intersected with the Placerville to Georgetown road (now Highway 193). To reach Placerville on this road, one had to cross the South Fork of the American River at Chili Bar by ferry.

The ferry could only handle travelers on foot or horseback and pack-trains, so, in 1853, the owners of this ferry, E. and H. George, built a strong and quite substantial bridge to replace it. The bridge opened on December 1 of that year, but it wasn’t until the middle of 1854 that the roads leading up and down the mountains on both sides were well enough constructed to allow for the passage of the freight wagons for which the bridge was built.

In order to shorten this trip to the County seat, a narrow, winding wagon road and a suspension bridge across the South Fork of the American River were soon constructed.

The trail has been replaced by Rock Creek Road and the often rebuilt, one-lane suspension bridge still exists as a part of Mosquito Road.

For many years Mosquito remained as a relatively undeveloped and very rural community. In the 1960s and 1970s the development of the residential community known as Swansboro Country occurred on a portion of the land, increasing the population substantially. The development gets its name from an early family in the area, Swansborough.

A trip to Mosquito by way of the winding Mosquito Road and suspension bridge is a must for many visitors to our County. It adds to the charm and history of a visit to this early Gold Rush town.


Sources for this story include: “History of California”, by Theodore Hittell (1897); “California Gold Camps”, by Erwin Gudde (1975); “California Place Names”, by Erwin Gudde, 3rd Edition (1974); “Mother Lode of Learning – One Room Schools of El Dorado County” by Retired Teachers Association of El Dorado County (1990); “I Remember…, Stories and pictures of El Dorado County pioneer families”, researched and written by Betty Yohalem (1977); “Mines and Mineral Resources of El Dorado County, California”, California Division of Mines (1956); “History of El Dorado County”, by Paolo Sioli (1883), reprinted and indexed by the El Dorado Friends of the Library (1998); the archives of the Mountain Democrat (1854-Present); and the wonderful people at the reference desk of the El Dorado County Main Library.

Powell’s Steamer Co. & Pub

Written on February 11, 2013 at 12:05 pm, by

Last Friday around 11 a.m. I dropped by Powell’s Steamer Co. and Pub, which is located at 425 Main Street in Placerville. While I waiting to talk with the owner, Sheila Hill, I poked around a bit.

The first thing I noticed was that the place was spotless; I mean really clean from top to bottom. And, it smelled fresh, which is hard for a restaurant and pub that specializes in seafood and is often jam-packed with people.

Hill came in and sat down next to me, while I sat at the bar and sipped on a glass of iced tea. She took over the restaurant from the Powells some five years ago and has done a great job keeping this 25 year old business going.

I asked her what the top selling menu items were for lunch. “Cioppino and the ‘Hot Upper,’” she replied. But, today is Friday and we have our famous Tri-Tip BLT and something new, crab cakes, on the menu as specials. Our chef, David Merritt, who is also our kitchen manager, came up with the crab cake recipe and people just love them.”

We decided I should try the crab cakes, which came beautifully presented with both red chili and tarter sauces, lemon wedges and tomato and cucumber slices. I have eaten crab cakes on both our coasts and these were excellent: rich, fresh tasting and “California style,” mixed with a blend of vegetables, spices and a few secrets.

The red chili sauce was very good with them, as was the house-made tartar sauce. And, the slices of cucumber were a nice palate cleanser between bites.

I was then treated with a sample of the cioppino, “lazyman” style (no shells) and a shrimp pan roast.

I loved the cioppino. The rich marinara sauce was light and fresh tasting, as was the seafood (white fish, bay shrimp, prawns, crab and scallops). I have sometimes had it elsewhere with a heavy sauce more approaching ketchup, but the lightness of this sauce allowed the delicate taste of the seafood to come through.

I have had their pan roasts before, and was delighted with this one. Again, the shrimp had a very delicate, fresh taste and the sauce, light and not overpowering, but decadent. As with the cioppino, I used the bread (from Truckee Sourdough Bakery) to sop up what sauce I could not spoon up and mentioned to Hill that I thought about tilting the bowel and drinking what was left. “We see people do that,” she said, then adding, “did you leave room for some dessert? We have some great cake that is made especially for us.”

I told here yes, but only a small slice, which, thankfully is what she provided. It was a delicious two-layer chocolate cake with raspberry filling and a really great chocolate icing. “The lady who makes them decides what to make and everyone of them has been wonderful,” added Hill.

By this time the restaurant was beginning to fill up with Friday customers, a good sign in an economy where restaurants are still not doing well. They must be doing something right.

Lunch is served Monday through Saturday from 11 until 3 and you can order from both the regular and lunch menus. The lunch menu includes half orders of the cioppino, pork spare ribs, creamy garlic chicken Alfredo and seafood Louis, along with soup and salad combinations, several sandwiches (including the Hot Upper, an open faced sandwich with ham, turkey, tomatoes, Jack and Cheddar cheeses, mushrooms, avocado and their special mustard sauce), a stuffed avocado or tomato and bay shrimp scampi.

I asked Hall about the shrimp, crab and combination Louis, and she replied that, yes, they actually use Louis dressing, not thousand island. Some places when I order a crab Louis the server asks me what kind of dressing on want. “Louis,” I say, “that is why it is called a Louis.”

The regular menu, which is served all day includes peel and eat shrimp, fresh oysters (eastern) on the half shell, seafood cocktails, New England and Hangtown clam chowder and a whole list of pasta dishes.

Specialties include a shrimp and crab sandwich, shrimp and avocado sandwich, several kinds of stews and pan roasts (oyster, shrimp and combination), grilled Tilapia, the cioppino and “Powell’s steamer,” a fragrant bowl of fresh clams steamed in butter, white wine seasonings and fine spices.

Finally, there are the seafood Louis, the pork spare ribs, shrimp scampi and King Salmon scampi.

As you can tell, if you love seafood this is the place for you.

To accompany your food they have coffee, tea, soft drinks, milk and juice, along with 24 different kinds of beer on tap (including two from Old Hangtown Beer Works), a selection of beer in bottles and several local wines.

Tuesday is “Fish Taco Tuesdays,” on Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. they have Singer/Songwriter Open Mic, on Thursday night live music starts at 7 p.m. Friday is “French Dip Fridays,” with Karaoke at 9 p.m. The Saturday Night Special is Surf & Turf starting at 5 p.m. with live music at 9 p.m. Sunday afternoon from 1 until 4, there is more live music, along with barbecued oysters and prime rib sandwiches during the music.

I am sure I missed something, but you can check by visiting their webpage at or by calling them at 530-626-1091. You can also “like” them on Facebook (Powell’s Steamer Co. & Pub) and get daily updates on what is happening. ~Tell ‘em The Windfall sent you!

Cash Tribute featuring James Garner at the Cameron Park Community Event Center!

Written on February 11, 2013 at 11:33 am, by

Who: Cash Tribute featuring James Garner
When: Friday, March 8, 2013, Doors open at 6:00pm, with the show beginning at 7:00pm
Where: The Cameron Park Community Event Center (2502 Country Club Dr. Cameron P
Price: Advance sales: $18 each/$34 for (2) or $20 each at the Door

*Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Shingle Springs/
Cameron Park Chamber of Commerce, Cameron Park CSD District
Office, Fire Station 89, Bel-Air, Walgreens, and online at*

While James Garner is not a Johnny Cash impersonator, he is a Johnny Cash fan (a really big
one). Garner became hooked on Cash’s music at an early age, getting his hands on everything Cash—
music, books, videos, memorabilia, etc. At age fourteen, Garner met Cash backstage after one of the
singer’s shows, shaking his hand and telling him he was his “biggest fan.” It is against that backdrop
which Garner presents the Man in Black’s music—a big fan, respectfully playing music for legions of
other Cash fans while paying tribute to his boyhood hero. A classy and authentic production, The Cash
Tribute Show featuring James Garner, honors the life and music of the legendary ‘Man in Black’—Johnny
Cash. It is with strong conviction and stunning accuracy that Garner and his band perform Cash’s music,
combining it with historical accounts and personal anecdotes about America’s most beloved singing
storyteller. The show is a fun, toe-tapping trip down memory lane honoring Cash’s life and the boom-
chicka-boom sound of his longtime backing band, the Tennessee Three.

For more information or to answer any questions please contact the Cameron Park CSD @ (530)677-
2231 or

2013 El Dorado County Fair Guide

Written on February 8, 2013 at 5:30 pm, by


Be a part of the 2013 El Dorado County Fair.  Build your business by advertising in the 2013 El Dorado County Fair Guide, Circulation is 20,000+ copies.

The Folsom Thrift Store hosts “A Prom Dress to Remember” Saturday, February 23rd

Written on February 8, 2013 at 10:50 am, by

With high school proms just around the corner and everyone looking for a bargain, the

Folsom  Thrift  Store,  at  616  East  Bidwell  Street,  is  hosting  their  annual  event  “A  Prom

Dress  to  Remember”  on  Saturday,  February  23rd  from  9  a.m.  to  6  p.m.    Between  the

beautiful  prom  dress  donations  that  are  still  coming  in  from  the  community  and  the

elegant gowns that have been saved all year at Snowline’s six thrift stores, there will be

a selection grand enough to make every girl’s prom dream come true!  Each prom dress

at this event will be offered at a bargain price of only $20 with a Student ID card and $25

without.  Shoes, handbags, jewelry and accessories will also be available to complete an

evening ensemble.

This highly popular  once‐a‐year event  is  not  to be missed, even  if a prom  isn’t  in your

future.    From  graduation  to  an  evening  on  the  town,  elegant  dresses  in  many  styles,

colors and sizes will be waiting to be found.   Come early and get the best deal in town!

Folsom Thrift Store

616 E. Bidwell Street


Saturday, February 23rd

9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Forming Teams of Super Heroes for Annual Bowl-For-Kids’ Event

Written on February 8, 2013 at 10:46 am, by


Jodie Snyder
Big Brothers Big Sisters of El Dorado County
(530) 626-1222

Big Brothers Big Sisters Forming Teams of Super Heroes for Annual
Bowl-For-Kids’ Event

Whether you bowl strikes or gutter balls, Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) wants you on
their team for this year’s Bowl for Kids’ Sake – a community challenge to support at-
risk youth and families in El Dorado County. This family-friendly event takes place on
Saturday, March 9th at Folsom Bowl, 511 East Bidwell Street, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00
p.m. and on March 16th at Knotty Pines Lanes, 2667 Sanders Drive, Pollock Pines, from
10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Bowling teams generally consist of groups of 4-6 friends, family, co-workers or
neighbors. Each team aims to raise $500.00 (or more) and take home a trophy for the
most pledges collected and other fun awards. This year’s Super Hero themed event (come
dressed as your favorite super hero!) will include two games of bowling for each team,
all-you-can-eat pizza and nonalcoholic beverages for bowlers, and plenty of music to get
the ball rolling!

“This is a BBBS signature fundraiser and one of our most important events of the year,”
says Judy Knapp, Executive Director of BBBS of El Dorado County. “Because 100%
of the proceeds go directly to our agency, bowlers can take joy in knowing they are
directly supporting a Big/Little match right here in our community. Plus, it’s a fun and
friendly way to promote community connections and jointly support our important
mentoring programs, while enjoying some spirited competition.” It also provides a
great opportunity for companies to foster co-worker team-building, for families to spend
quality time together, and for new and old friends to strengthen their relationships – all
while support a great cause. This is an event where everyone wins!

Bowling teams are forming now and signing up is easy! Call BBBS of El Dorado County
at (530) 626-1222 or e-mail: to learn how you can be a part of
this life-changing event!

Big Brothers Big Sisters of El Dorado County receives no federal, state, or county funds
or any monies from our National organization. We rely 100% on our community to help
at-risk youth and families. Through one-to-one mentoring relationships, youth are given
support and opportunities that help them grow into confident, competent and caring

Cash 4 Gold B&T Metals

Written on February 1, 2013 at 6:11 pm, by


Are you in need of a little extra spending money?  Cash 4 Gold B&T Metals located in Diamond Springs is here to help!  This friendly, family run business is the focus of our Business Spotlight this week.

Morman Island

Written on February 1, 2013 at 12:02 pm, by

Mormon Island was a mining camp on the South Fork of the American River, some fifteen miles west of Coloma and three miles east of Folsom. It was in actuality a very large gravel bar (it is also known as Mormon Bar) and was first discovered and mined by a group of men from the Mormon Battalion, shortly after James W. Marshall discovered gold in Coloma.

To give a little background on the discoverers of gold at this location, the Mormon Battalion was organized in 1846 when the then President of the United States, James K. Polk, requested of Jessie C. Little, a messenger sent by Brigham Young to Washington D.C., that he and his followers form a battalion to help fight Mexico in the conquest of California.

On July 16, 1846 five hundred and thirty-six enlisted and the Mormon Battalion was formed. Under the command of Captain James Allen and later Colonel P. St. George Cook, the Battalion worked their way west and on January 30, 1847, the group, ragged, fatigued and hungry, arrived in San Diego.

In 1847 the battalion was mustered out at the Pueblo de Los Angeles. Some reenlisted, but the rest turned east and headed over the summit of the Sierra Nevada towards Salt Lake, the place selected by Brigham Young as the future home for the Mormons.

On their way they met Sam Brannan, a Mormon who lived in San Francisco and was travelling back from Salt Lake. He informed the group that there was little food or supplies in Salt Lake and that Brigham Young wanted those without families there to return to California until the next spring.

About half of them turned back, the rest continuing eastward. Of those who arrived back at Sutter’s Fort, some of the men went to work on Sutter’s grist mill at Natomo (Natoma?) and some proceeded to Coloma to work on the sawmill. It was these men who would first mine at and name Mormon Island.

It was simple logic, many at Sutter’s sawmill thought, that if there was gold at Coloma, there would also be gold further down the river. This was proven when three former members of the Mormon Battalion – W. Sidney Willis, Wilford Hudson and Levi Fifield – set out from Sutter’s grist mill at Natomo to “visit with the boys at the sawmill and hunt deer.”

Henry W. Bigler, who was at the sawmill when Marshall found the gold, had secretly sent a letter to them and they were very interested in checking things out – quietly.

After finding several flakes of gold near the sawmill, Willis and Hudson headed back towards Natomo along the river while Fifield and Bigler took the road. When they met at the grist mill, Willis and Hudson told the others about the gold they had taken from a gravel bar about half way between Sutter’s Fort and Coloma.

Willis, Hudson and Fifield immediately headed up river and found that the gravel bar was extremely rich with gold. They named the place Mormon Island and staked out claims on it.

Other former members of the Battalion working on both the grist mill and sawmill heard about the discovery and, realizing that they could make more mining gold, immediately asked Sutter for an increase in wages, which at first he granted. But, when they asked for the enormous sum of ten dollars a day, he refused and they soon left to join their brethren at Mormon Island, leaving the two mills to decay.

Mormon Island was the first major mining camp outside of Coloma and reportedly one of the very richest. Soon miners by the hundreds showed up and started moving huge amounts of the coarse gravel to get at the gold. As more and more miners arrived and the area became very crowded, miners began working their way up the river towards Coloma and discovered more deposits at places that would be known as Condemned Bar, Long Bar and Doton’s Bar.

In 1851, after many of the Mormons had left the mines for Salt Lake City, pioneering a new trail over the Sierra Nevada on the way (Mormon Emigrant Trail), John W. Shaw built the first toll bridge at Mormon Island, connecting El Dorado and Sacramento counties.

It was a substantial wooden truss structure, however in the spring of 1855 it was washed away by high water. By the summer of that year, Shaw had built a replacement bridge, this time made of wire-rope, which he thought could survive anything the unpredictable river did. Unfortunately for Shaw, the high water of January 1862 would wash this second bridge away.

For a while there was no bridge across the river at Mormon Island, but Shaw was determined and, at the cost of some $15,000, built a new bridge higher up on the bank.

Although it was a well paying proposition, Shaw soon sold this bridge to L. M. Russell and R. P. Culver who, in the 1880s, sold it to El Dorado and Sacramento counties, in equal parts. The supervisors of the counties then declared it to be a free bridge.

The bridge builder, John W. Shaw, was also the first postmaster at Mormon Island. He was confirmed as post master on August 7, 1851, however, no one is sure when the post office was first established here, since many post offices were opened before appointments were confirmed by Washington D.C. – some six months away by mail, each way.

The Mormon Island post office shows up on a list published before the date of the appointment in the “Daily Alta California” and also on the local postal route map. On October 15, 1890 the Mormon Island post office was discontinued and moved to Folsom.

No story of Mormon Island would be complete without a bit more on the aforementioned Sam Brannan, a newspaper publisher, entrepreneur and probably California’s first millionaire. His actions are legendary and often a mixture of truth and fiction.

It was he who effectively started the Gold Rush by running up and down the streets of San Francisco shaking a vial of gold and loudly announcing its discovery at Coloma. But he didn’t do it until after first buying up every pick, pan and shovel available and then building a store at Sutter’s Fort to sell his wares.

We are also told that Brannan collected substantial tithes from the Mormon miners at Mormon Island, which he claimed were for the church in Salt Lake City. When the church did not receive the money, President Brigham Young sent a representative to get it. To Young’s representative Brannan is said to have replied, “I’ll give up the Lord’s money when he sends me a receipt signed by the Lord.” Soon after, Brannan was excommunicated by the Mormon Church.

Brannan would go on to establish the spa at Calistoga and, we are told, name the town while under the influence of strong drink. But, that is another story in itself.

As to Mormon Island, it, with many of the other mining areas along the American River, was flooded when Folsom Lake was filled.


Sources for this story include: “History of California”, by Theodore Hittell (1897); “California Gold Camps”, by Erwin Gudde (1975); “California Place Names”, by Erwin Gudde, 3rd Edition (1974); “History of California Post Offices, 1849-1976″, researched by H. E. Salley (1976); “Mormons and the Discovery of Gold”, by Norma Baldwin Ricketts (1966); “History of El Dorado County”, by Paolo Sioli (1883), reprinted and indexed by the El Dorado Friends of the Library (1998); and the archives of the Mountain Democrat (1854-Present).

2nd Chances Sportsbar & Grill in Mt. Aukum

Written on February 1, 2013 at 12:00 pm, by

“Vegetables are not food. Vegetables are what food eats.” Anonymous barbecuer

I never know in this business what I might run into in the way of food. It is almost always a surprise and, most often, a good surprise. In this case, it was a spectacular surprise.

Last Friday evening my friend Russ Salazar and I drove almost to Amador County, on an invitation to try the barbecue at 2nd Chances Sports Bar & Grill, which is located in the old Hall’s Market building at 8171 Mt. Aukum Road, along with the Mt. Aukum post office and Sierra Oaks Winery’s tasting room.

From the outside it didn’t look out of the ordinary and inside was somewhat plain with a number of tables set up, a bar serving beer and wine, a couple of big screen televisions and a pool table. In the back was the kitchen.

“This was the deli for Hall’s market,” said Mike Specht, the owner. It is decorated with some things I had, some things I got from the distributors and a lot of stuff from my friends. We are still working on the decorations.

“We took over the space from Chances, which went out of business. That is why we named it Second Chances. We have been here two years and people are finding us as we expand what we do.

“We have a great cook named Roger Warren, but on Fridays Tom Krumbholz, who was with Incahoots BBQ Pizza and Grill in Plymouth before it closed, comes in with his barbecue trailer and barbecues baby back ribs, tri-tip and chicken for us.”

That is why we were there, and after ordering a couple of beers, were offered a sampling of the barbecue. While we were sipping our beers and snacking on the peanuts-in-the-shell that they provide, out of the kitchen came two huge plates of food and two plates of sides.

On each of the big plates was a half-rack of ribs, slabs of tri-tip and a quarter of a chicken. The sides included beans, coleslaw and garlic bread. It was way too much food and we told them that half of it would be enough, but they said we could always take home what we didn’t eat (I have very happy neighbors when this happens).

I put a nearly half inch thick slab of tri-tip on my plate and admired its crusty outside and perfectly pink middle. I easily cut a piece off with a regular knife and put it in my mouth. It was not only delicious, but moist and TENDER, more tender than any other tri-tip I have tried. I commented on it to Salazar and he simply answered, “Yes it is.”

While I was enjoying the beans and coleslaw, Salazar handed me a rib from the big end of the rack. “To say this is meaty is an understatement,” he said. It was mostly meat, moist and full of flavor. The meat easily came off the bone.

I said to Erin Lee, our attentive bartender and server, who had offered me a sharp knife for the tri-tip (which I turned down), “This is amazing.” She smiled and proudly said, “Yes it is,” just as owner Specht came to see how we were doing.

After hearing our complements on the food, Specht told us that it is cooked the Santa Maria way: rubbed with a special rub, refrigerated overnight and then cooked over an open, oak wood fire. “It isn’t smoked like the usual barbecue,” he said. “The secret is that he turns the meat continually while it is cooking. Everything you see and taste is a result of the rub and the cooking method. He uses no sauce” (there is sauce on the table if you want it).

While we were getting ready to try the chicken, Salazar and I shared our comments on the sides. “The coleslaw is more moist and your style,” he said, “but I do like the flavor of the dressing. The beans are a bit softer than I prefer.”

I told him that I really did like the coleslaw and although the beans were a bit soft, the tiny pieces of fresh, chopped onion that were added gave them a nice crunch. The garlic bread both of us liked.

First pausing to rest for a minute, we then attacked a chicken breast. It was fully cooked and still very moist, as were the leg and thigh, I found out the next day. Salazar said he has been eating too much chicken lately, but after coaxing, tried a piece and agreed that it was very good and amazingly moist.

The barbecue is served on Fridays starting at 6 p.m. You can order everything as a meal with all the sides, ala-carte or as a combo plate for two regular people or one very hungry person.

As far as I am concerned, you really should make it a point to give it a try. It was that good.

The regular menu, which is available every day, includes quite a list of appetizers, burgers, Rosemary Roasted Chicken, lots of sandwiches, fish and chips, tamales, a burrito and several hot dogs. Most everything comes with hand-cut French fries.

Tuesday is “Tournament Tuesday,” with an “Eight Ball,” cash prizes tournament. Free entry with a five dollar spaghetti dinner. Wednesday is “Wiener Wednesday” where for three bucks you build your own foot-long (Polish) hot dog from the wiener bar.

Thursday is “$2.00 Taco Thursday.” Chicken or beef; flour or corn, fix it yourself from the taco bar. Friday, as mentioned, is Incahoots BBQ night.

On Saturday night, starting at 8 p.m., it is “Karaoke Nite” and on Sunday they open early to serve a large menu ala carte breakfast that you can eat there or take to go.

2nd Chances Sports Bar & Grill is closed on Monday, but open Tuesday through Friday from 2 until 10 (later on Friday if they have live music); on Saturday from 11:30 until closing and on Sunday from 8 until 8. The kitchen closes at 9 p.m.

There is always something new going on, so give them a call at 530-620-7005 for more information.

Written on January 26, 2013 at 9:41 am, by


The focus of our business spotlight this week is, a subsidiary of Affordable Furniture and Blinds located in Placerville and co-owned by Paul and Bridgett Hartshorn and their warehouse manager, Joe Garrison.

Yellow Starthistle Control and Preventing the Spread of Invasive Weeds Workshop!

Written on January 22, 2013 at 4:24 pm, by


January 22, 2013

Yellow Starthistle Control and
Preventing the Spread of Invasive Weeds Workshop

The University of California Cooperative Extension in cooperation with other local
agencies will be hosting a series of workshop on yellow starthistle management.
According to Scott Oneto, UC Farm Advisor and speaker, “Yellow starthistle is a
noxious weed that infests over 15 million acres in California. We have had a number
of bad years and this year is projected to be a really bad weed year. The rainfall
patterns have been ideal for yellow starthistle germination and we are encouraging
everyone to work diligently to control invasive weeds this spring”. The workshop will
cover the different management strategies for yellow starthistle ranging from
biological, mechanical, and chemical control. Other topics include sprayer calibration
and pesticide safety. The workshop will be held on the following dates and locations
throughout the region.

February 13th
Murphys: 9:00am-11:00am: Murphys Library, 480 Park Lane
San Andreas: 3:00pm-5:00pm: San Andreas Library, 891 Mountain Ranch Rd

February 22nd
Sonora: 9:00am-11:00am: Ambulance Training Room, 18440 Striker Ct
Groveland: 3:00pm-5:00pm: Groveland Community Hall, State Highway 120

February 26th
Jackson: 9:00am-11:00am: Amador UCCE Office, 12200B Airport Rd
Plymouth: 3:00pm-5:00pm: Shenandoah Schoolhouse, Shenandoah School Rd

February 28th
El Dorado Hills: 9:00am-11:00am: Fire Station #85, 1050 Wilson Blvd
Placerville: 3:00pm-5:00pm: El Dorado Main Library, 345 Fair Lane

All workshops are free and cover the same topics. Register at: or call UC Cooperative Extension (209)
533-5695. Two hours of continuing education with the California Department of
Pesticide Regulation are pending.          ~Tell ‘em The Windfall sent you!

Celebrating January as National Mentoring Month

Written on January 18, 2013 at 9:36 am, by


Big Brothers Big Sisters of El Dorado County & County Fair Shopping Center present Family Fun Day January 26th, 2013 – 10:00am to 3:00pm  Carnival Games! Cake Walk! Face Painting! Food! Dinosaur Dig!

The Cameron Park CSD presents “A Wedding Affair”

Written on January 17, 2013 at 4:28 pm, by

Press Release

Contact: Cameron Park Community Services District
(530) 677-2231


The Cameron Park CSD presents A Wedding Affair

Cameron Park, CA – February 17, 2013 – On Sunday, February 13th the Cameron Park Community
Services District will host the 2nd Annual “It’s A Wedding Affair”. A special wedding affair designed for
brides of every style. This event will be held at the Cameron Park Community Center; 2502 Country Club
Drive, Cameron Park, CA 95682 from 10am to 3pm. Admission is FREE!!

Meet the area’s most experienced wedding professionals. View, shop and buy everything you need for
your wedding from bridal gowns, florists, honeymoons, MC/DJs, and party rentals to photographers,
videographers, caterers, dessert tastings and more! Pre-register online to be entered in the special “wedding

For more information, please contact the Cameron Park Community Services District at (530)677-2231 or
visit us online at


Written on January 17, 2013 at 4:27 pm, by

Its hard to imagine that the small town of Latrobe, which is located in the most southwestern part of our County, for a short period of time was a “boomtown.”  And, it was a direct result of the discovery of silver in the Comstock Lode at Virginia City, some 150 miles to the east.

In the early 1860s when the Comstock became the center of mining in western North America, the people of Placerville approached the Sacramento Valley Railroad demanding that rail service be extended from Folsom to their town to carry the heavy freight that was heading over the Sierra to Nevada.

The construction of the Central Pacific Railroad eastward through Placer County had commenced and they were concerned that a railroad would not pass through Placerville and extend on along the wagon road to Nevada as they desired.

The owners of the Sacramento Valley Railroad informed the delegation from Placerville that, if El Dorado County would grade the route from Folsom and furnish ties, they would supply the rails for ten percent County Bonds.

For this venture a new company, the Placerville and Sacramento Valley Railroad, was incorporated and the people of El Dorado County approved the issuance of $200,000 in ten percent bonds. The City of Placerville, also anxious for the railroad, pledged $300,000 in bonds towards this end (the railroad would not reach Placerville for another 25 years and Placerville, like El Dorado County, would ultimately default on the bonds).

Construction of the railroad from Folsom Junction towards Placerville began in late 1863 and the trains arrived at what would soon be the town of Latrobe in August of 1864. A station was immediately constructed to serve not only the traffic to the east but also to the south and the new County of Amador that had been created out of portions of El Dorado and Calaveras counties in 1854.

The Chief Engineer for the railroad, F. A. Bishop surveyed and platted the town into small lots and, while doing so, suggested the name of Latrobe for it in honor of Benjamin H. Latrobe, the civil engineer for the first railroad in the United States (There is some question whether Latrobe, Pennsylvania is named after him or his father, a famous architect of the same name, who designed the Bank of Pennsylvania and rebuilt the U.S. Capitol after the British burned it in 1814).

Latrobe was the eastern terminus of the Placerville and Sacramento Valley Railroad for only a moment in time since within a year the rails reached Shingle Springs, which replaced Latrobe as the freight terminus for everything being shipped eastward. But this didn’t stop Latrobe from growing since, for quite a few years, the town would control the trade of Amador County with eight daily stages carrying travelers and goods in all directions.

According to the “History of El Dorado County”, by Paolo Sioli (1883), the land of the town, some 240 acres, was owned by J. H. Miller who gave Bishop one-half of it for the survey work. Some 75 or 80 lots were sold at auction, all of which were occupied by the purchasers.

Miller had opened the first store a year before the railroad arrived, and soon sold out to W. Kirkland. Riebsam & Adams followed with another store and soon the town had six or seven stores, four hotels (Miller quite an entrepreneur, also built the first one of these) three blacksmith shops, one wagon and carriage factory, two drug stores, several butcher shops, a bakery, three doctors and a population of about 800.

The Latrobe post office was established on Oct. 11, 1864 with A. George Davis was the first postmaster. Service at the Latrobe Post Office was discontinued on May 31, 1921 and the mail moved to what was then known as the Shingle (later Shingle Springs) Post Office.

By the 1880s the population had dwindled to about 80 people with one general store, one hotel, a telegraph and express office, two blacksmith shops and one carriage and wagon shop remaining, along with a two-story public school building, that was used for all public assemblages, and halls built by the Masons and Odd Fellows.

For the next three quarters of a century, Latrobe remained a quiet, rural agricultural community with large family held ranches devoted mostly to the raising of livestock.

In the mid 1960s, the area to the north, known as El Dorado Hills, began to develop because of its convenient proximity to Sacramento due to the new Highway 50 freeway. That created increased pressure for development in the Latrobe area.

Although some of the large land holdings in the Latrobe area have been divided into smaller parcels, most of the citizens of the Latrobe area have resisted further development. The town that was once a busy commercial center with streets filled with freight wagons and stage coaches is again a quiet, rural community.


Sources for this story include: “History of California”, by Theodore Hittell (1897); “California Gold Camps”, by Erwin Gudde (1975); “California Place Names”, by Erwin Gudde, 3rd Edition (1974); “Mother Lode of Learning – One Room Schools of El Dorado County” by Retired Teachers Association of El Dorado County (1990); “I Remember…, Stories and pictures of El Dorado County pioneer families”, researched and written by Betty Yohalem (1977); “Mines and Mineral Resources of El Dorado County, California”, California Division of Mines (1956); “Narrow Gauge Nostalgia” by George Turner (1965); “History of El Dorado County”, by Paolo Sioli (1883), reprinted and indexed by the El Dorado Friends of the Library (1998); the archives of the Mountain Democrat (1854-Present); and the wonderful people at the reference desk of the El Dorado County Main Library.

Red Apple Cafe in Placerville

Written on January 17, 2013 at 4:25 pm, by

“Like tourists huffing and puffing to reach the peak we forget the view on the way up.”
~Friedrich Nietzsche


Red Apple Café

Last week I was told that Sabrina Choe, the owner of the Red Apple Café, which is located at 2740 Highway 50 between Placerville and Camino, wanted me to come by and try her Korean barbecue.

I got in touch with my friend Russ Salazar and asked him to meet me there around 1 p.m. last Tuesday and give me his opinion on the food and restaurant. Salazar has a much different palate than I, and his comments are always interesting. Plus, on most every other subject, we have opposing views, so our conversations are always fun.

I arrived a bit early and was graciously greeted by Shelley, one of the delightful servers, and then spent the next few minutes wandering around and looking at the numerous and interesting kitchen items and gelatin molds that decorate the very homey and quite friendly restaurant.

As I sat down to sip some iced tea and wait for Salazar, out of the kitchen came Sabrina Choe, sporting a bright red Charles B. Mitchell Winery hat. She is one of the most energetic people I know and what she has done with the restaurant since taking it over just a few years ago, is amazing.

When I was there last May, the weather was a bit warmer and I had an opportunity to sit outside on the large patio that had just been completed. I thought about it this time, but was told with the wind, it was, sadly, a bit too cold.

The patio is about the same elevation as the Placerville airport and has a 180 degree or more view out several miles to the south, east and west. It has safety rails along the edge, planters and tables with umbrellas spaced throughout. There is also a large shaded area that would be ideal for a group event.

A few minutes after Salazar arrived, our food arrived: two different Korean barbecue sandwiches with salad on the side. One was spicy center cut pork loin and the other marinated chicken breast. Both sandwiches were on homemade grilled rolls and filled with meat, sauteed onions, mushrooms and her special sauce.

I bit into the chicken sandwich and smiled. She marinates the chicken for 24 hours in a mixture of juice and sauces before barbecuing and it was excellent. It was tender and moist and complemented by the mushroom, onions and the freshly baked roll. Then I tried the pork, hoping it would be as good, and it was even better. It had a wonderful exotic taste that turned out to be the delicious taste of spicy soybeans.

When Choe came out to talk about her plans for the restaurant, I complemented her on the food. She said that those very popular sandwiches are going to remain on the menu and that she will be adding a sizzling plate of Korean barbecue, including the two meats we tried, along with sliced teriyaki rib eye, to the dinner menu.

“I am in the process of making some changes to the menu and the restaurant, that I plan on having in place next month (February),” she said.

“People seem to want something different, like smaller dishes and ala carte items, more along the line of what bistros serve, so I am going to accommodate them. I will also be adding more items for vegetarians.”

“Many of the people living here and those who are going to and coming from Lake Tahoe are not looking for a big dinner, but something to have with a glass of wine. For that reason I am also installing a wine bar featuring local wines and micro brews.

“I want to do something else to attract more of our local people, like a reasonably priced “early bird” dinner for seniors, starting around 4 p.m. In fact, I am trying to keep everything reasonably priced.”

“I don’t want to just compete with the restaurants around me, I want to be different and special.”

“I also want people to know that I have this beautiful patio where when the weather is nice you can sit while enjoying a nice meal. It is a perfect place for anything from a romantic meal for two to a group event. And, I am sure you have seen our banquet room that can hold 30 or more people.”

After they took our very empty plates she brought us a serving of her Caramel Apple Crunch Pie and Apple Almond Strudel, both of which can be purchased whole to take home. They were both very well made, deliciously flavorful and, thankfully, not too sweet. We didn’t leave a crumb.

At that point we thought we were finished, until we were brought us one of the homemade biscuits, along with the apple topping that is served with the waffles and some of the apple butter she makes.

The biscuit was very nice, but had been warmed. I am sure when fresh out of the oven earlier in the day it would have been spectacular. I love apple butter and that was good apple butter. Salazar was quite taken by the taste of the apple topping and I thought for a minute he might order a waffle, just to try the combination.

The breakfast menu at the Red Apple Café starts with traditional morning fare including omelets, scrambles, skillets, pancakes and waffles, three kinds of Benedicts and lots more. For lunch the menu includes a list of anytime appletizers, (yes, appletizes) along with a number of hot sandwiches including burgers, chicken sandwiches, a Reuben, Philly cheese steak, French dip and several more. There is also quite a list of delicious looking cold sandwiches, along with soups and salads.

The dinner menu, like the lunch menu, is in the process of being modified, but the last time I looked included a number of items, including fish and chips, a T-bone pork steak, calamari and the delicious Korean barbecue.

To accompany your meal, in addition to wine and beer,  they have coffee, coffee drinks (espresso bar), milk, soda, tea, and even milkshakes.

The Red Apple Café is open Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m., serving breakfast and lunch, and on Friday through Sunday, until 6 p.m. for dinner. Starting in February dinner hours will be extended until 8 p.m.

As you can tell, there is a lot going on at the Red Apple Café, so for updates and more information give them a call 530-626-8144.

Free tax service to low and middle income families with special attention to Seniors!

Written on January 16, 2013 at 12:00 pm, by

Starting January 22, 2013, we will be taking appointments for our free tax service to low and middle income families, with special attention to Seniors.  Volunteer income tax counselors will be available at various locations throughout El Dorado County from February 1st thru April 15th.  The American Association of Retired Persons, in conjunction with the Internal Revenue Service and the Franchise Tax Board provide this service.  All returns are filed electronically to ensure that they are processed faster and with fewer errors, providing for quicker refunds.  Those desiring to use the service of the Tax-Aide program are encouraged to make appointments, in order to secure a date, time and location convenient for them.  Appointments are available Monday thru Saturday at the following locations:  for Gold Country Retirement Center, in Placerville and Lake Oaks Mobile Park, in Diamond Springs call 530-402-9840; for Placerville Senior Center and Pollock Pines Community Church call 530-303-8115; for Cameron Park Branch Library and Cameron Park Community Services District call 530-303-7046; for El Dorado Hills Senior Center call 916-740-7746 and for locations not listed here call 1-888-227-7669.  The phone hours are 10:30am to 4:30pm. ~Tell ‘em The Windfall sent you!


Written on January 16, 2013 at 11:55 am, by

January 9, 2013


Media Contact:
Dan Lorain
(661) 752-5233


On Saturday, February 2, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., Sacramento-based shear company, Hattori

Hanzo Shears will host a benefit concert featuring local musician, Melissa Lingo, at the Mercedes Benz

dealership of El Dorado Hills. Proceeds from the event will benefit The Trade, a non-profit organization

dedicated to preventing global sex trafficking by training at-risk women in the art of cosmetology.

“We exist to help women in poverty stricken countries leave behind lives of prostitution and

human trafficking by providing them training in the art and science of hair dressing,” said Chris

McCarley, chief executive officer of Hattori Hanzo Shears and co-founder of The Trade. “In addition to

hair and makeup instruction, we train the women in simple business practices so that they are able to

use the skills they acquire as a means to provide for themselves and their families.”

In 2011, The Trade sent a team of stylists and guidance counselors to the favelas of Rio de

Janeiro, Brazil, where they provided instruction to twenty women and helped them open their own

salon. Benefit concert featured musician, Melissa Lingo, attended that trip providing counseling and

music therapy for the women and their families.

“I’m so thankful to have been a part of the The Trade’s mission to Brazil,” said Lingo. “It was

extremely rewarding to see the impact we made on the women’s lives, and it gave me an opportunity to

connect my two passions; music and community work.”

“The Trade is an amazing organization that I wholeheartedly believe in and I’m happy to help

them raise money for their next sponsored trip by performing at their benefit concert in November,”

she said.

Since its establishment in 2010, The Trade has sent teams to Nicaragua, Brazil and Africa. In all,

the organization has helped more than 100 victims improve their social and economic statuses, and has

provided a platform for them to tell their stories and raise awareness.

With a goal of raising the funds necessary to send another team to Brazil in early March, The

Trade is accepting donations and seeking sponsors for the benefit concert in February. The event will

feature acoustic performances by Melissa Lingo, Stephan Hogan and Brandon Neal, a silent auction,

heavy appetizers courtesy of Kenko Sushi, cocktails and dancing. Tickets are $50 per person, which

includes food and entertainment, and may be purchased at, or thru participating


Sponsorship packages ranging from $500 to $5,000 are available through The Trade. Premier

sponsors will receive VIP seating and beverage service for up to ten guests, and a full-page color

advertisement in the upcoming Trade Magazine, in addition to sponsorship terms.

For more information on The Trade or sponsorship packages, visit or

contact Melissa Lingo at (661) 752-5234.

Complete Personal Training

Written on January 11, 2013 at 6:43 pm, by


Complete Personal Training provides exciting, personalized and professional fitness training on an individual and group basis. They provide innovative fitness solutions in a comfortable, safe and positive environment using science based evidence for all program design and strive to make each workout challenging, effective and fun.

Sweet Score Yogurt and Donuts in Placerville

Written on January 11, 2013 at 1:52 pm, by

“Remember, stressed spelled backwards is desserts.”  -Sign on the wall at Sweet Score Yogurt and Donuts

Quite often I drive along Missouri Flat Road on my way to and from one place or another, always looking around for new businesses. Last week I went by Sweet Score Yogurt and Donuts, which is located at the corner of Missouri Flat Road and Golden Circle Drive (across from Wal-Mart), and  noticed an “Under New Ownership” banner. A couple of days later I stopped by to chat.

The new owners are Michael and Jennifer Griffiths and they seem to have settled in quite well. “It is a real family business,” said Michael. “Jennifer is the one with the experience and the one who does the baking. We have four children and she does a lot of cooking and baking, and she it good at it. I am a veteran, worked for the Department of Defense as a trainer and am taking care of things in front.

“We are not changing what Les (Les Simon, the previous owner) did. He created a great business with donuts and yogurt. We are just adding to what there is, things like Sweet Score Cookies, muffins and Monkey Bread (a pull-apart cinnamon roll) and more.

“We have also added cupcakes made by Auntie Bea’s Bakery. Her Macaroon won first place last year at the State Fair and her Salted Caramel took a second place.” (I took home and tried a Tuxedo cupcake later and it was very good).

“We will be carrying Apple Hill pies,” continued Michael, “and shortly are going to be delivering our donuts to other businesses.

“We are very involved in youth sports, especially at Union Mine High School, and want to expand that to include all the high schools in the area.. We always have sports on our big screen televisions and want to give the place a ball park feeling by adding hot dogs and soft pretzels. Overall we want to make this a fun and  safe place for everyone.

“We have over 50 toppings for the yogurt, including fresh fruit, candies and nuts, and some are sugar free, gluten free and soy based. Our eight kinds of frozen yogurt always include low fat, non-dairy and sugar free. We always have something for everybody.”

The process is simple. You serve yourself the yogurt you want, add toppings and then pay by the ounce. They also have sample cups if you would like to try a yogurt before buying it. A lot of families come in at breakfast time and fix yogurt mixed with cereal for the children, the previous owner told me.

As to the donuts, there are a very large variety of different kinds with different toppings, along with bear claws, cinnamon rolls and my favorite, apple fritters. Michael also told me they are planning on trying fillings in the different kinds of donut holes they have.

To go along with your yogurt and donuts, they also have hot coffee, tea and chocolate, and in their refrigerated case a large number of bottled juices, sodas, ice tea, iced coffees and cappuccinos, sports and energy drinks.

They also have specials on different days of the week. For instance, on Wednesdays they have the Mid-Week Mini, a small yogurt with your choice of toppings for $1 and on Sunday a root beer float for the same amount. When you are there, be sure to ask about their Sweet Score card where you can the tenth one free.

There is comfortable inside and outside seating (weather permitting) and even an arcade room for the kid in all of us.

Sweet Score Yogurt and Donuts is open Monday through Thursday from 5:30 a.m until 9 p.m and on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 6 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. For more information give them a call at 530-642-9644.


Written on January 11, 2013 at 1:49 pm, by

There were many inns or stations along the original Kit Carson emigrant trail over which the early pioneers who braved the treacherous trip overland into California traveled. As it was with other early roads, the inns and trading posts were located at very close intervals along this road, which, after significant modification, a portion of which would become a part of Highway 88.

Places with names like the Hope Valley Hotel, Hoboken Hotel, Shipley and Dupont’s at Tragedy Springs and Leak Springs Trading Post disappeared when this immigration route, much of which had been pioneered by a large group of Mormons heading eastward towards Salt Lake City, was soon replaced by the easier Johnson’s Cut-Off route along the American River Canyon to Placerville.

When the mines in the Comstock area of Nevada came into production, this road, which had become the boundary between El Dorado County and the newly formed Amador County, was improved as a route to Nevada from Amador County. It would be along this road, in a high mountain meadow, that a dairyman named Zack Kirkwood would summer his herd.

In 1861, the citizens of Amador county unsuccessfully attempted to issue bonds to improve a connecting road from a point about 25 miles east of Jackson to the immigrant trail. In May of the next year they were more successful and obtained the backing of the voters.

Eight citizens of Amador county were given the franchise to build the road and collect tolls along it. Bonds were issued at 12 percent interest to finance the road which was to be 16 feet wide with no grade of more than 18 percent. By August of that year the road reached Silver Lake. Just a couple of months later it connected with the immigrant road on a ridge just east of Tragedy Springs (Iron Mountain Road / Mormon Immigrant Trail intersection with Highway 88).

Freight wagons used what soon became known as the Amador-Nevada Road, Amador Wagon Road or Alpine Highway to haul Amador County produce and lumber to the Comstock mines, although most traffic going that way continued to pass through Placerville and up the American River Canyon.

In 1864 Zack Kirkwood decided that the increased freight traffic along the road warranted a new stage station and inn, which he constructed from local logs just north of the road, inside El Dorado County. This inn would serve travelers, immigrants and teamsters for many years and its floor would become well worn from the numerous dances and parties held in the bar. As simple as it was, it would end up outlasting all of the other stops along the road.

Kirkwood and his wife, Elizabeth, lived in a log cabin nearby and, during the summer, watched their dairy cattle graze in their large meadow. When, in 1864, Alpine County was formed out of a portion of El Dorado, Amador and Calaveras counties, the Kirkwood’s barn and milk house ended up in Alpine County and the bar at the inn was split in two by the line between Amador and El Dorado counties.

Kirkwood would entertain travelers for hours with stories about “fooling” the tax collectors by driving his herd of cattle back and forth between the three counties that merged on his property when they showed up.

On January 25, 1887, the Roundtop post office was established at Kirkwood’s place, with Zack himself serving as the first postmaster. The name for the post office came from the nearby peak if that name that stood some 10,380 feet high. On August 31, 1907, the post office was closed and moved to Jackson.

After Zack passed away, Elizabeth would close the inn and make it into her summer home.

One of the Kirkwood’s sons, Walter, managed the mountain property and, in the company of his mother, drove the cattle from the valley to the mountains in the spring and back in the fall. Their other son, George, married a Margaret Holtz and they had a daughter who married John Digitali, a member of another dairying family.

Years later the area, now known as Kirkwood Meadows, would become a world class ski resort. The Kirkwood Inn would again become a popular stopping place along what is now Highway 88.

Directly in front of the inn can be found the marker that Zack often talked about, the official marker where El Dorado, Alpine and Amador counties converge.


Sources for this story include: “History of California”, by Theodore Hittell (1897); “California Gold Camps”, by Erwin Gudde (1975); “California Place Names”, by Erwin Gudde, 3rd Edition (1974); “History of California Post Offices, 1849-1976″, researched by H. E. Salley (1976); “History of Amador County, California”, by Jesse D. Mason (1881); “Amador County History”, a reprint of a 1927 book, published by the Amador Country Federation of Women’s Clubs (1977); “History of El Dorado County”, by Paolo Sioli (1883), reprinted and indexed by the El Dorado Friends of the Library (1998); and the archives of the Mountain Democrat (1854-Present).

Kanaka Valley

Written on January 11, 2013 at 1:46 pm, by

During the Gold Rush “Kanaka”, the Hawaiian word for “person” or “human being”, was the common designation for a native of the Sandwich Islands, a place sometimes referred to as “Owyhee” (Hawaii).  As with many terms that refer to ethnic identity, Kanaka can suggest ethnic pride in some contexts while in others it may be taken as derogatory.

There are records of Kanakas in California as early as the 1830s, some time before even Sutter arrived. By 1847, the year before the Gold Rush, they constituted nearly one fourth of the “foreign” population in San Francisco.

Rarely did a ship land in San Francisco that didn’t have several Kanaka crew members, many of whom decided to stay. After all, the Sandwich Islands were a logical supply stop for traders sailing between North America and the Orient and nearly every whaling ship that hunted in the Pacific Ocean stopped there, often picking up natives to replace lost crew members. A group of them even came with John Sutter who arrived in California by way of the Sandwich Islands, working as crew on the ship and later for him at his fort.

Kanaka was often used in the place names of mining camps because many Kanakas worked in the mines during the days of the Gold Rush.

The Kanaka miners – excellent swimmers since early childhood – were often seen diving for gold in the middle of the rivers, rather than using conventional methods, something non-swimming, white miners thought gave them an unfair advantage.

How the valley near Salmon Falls came to be known as Kanaka Valley is somewhat a mystery. It first appeared on a map in 1868, but spelled “Kanacka.”

It is possible that Kanaka miners and their families were the first to settle in the valley, although in 1979 the Archeological Study Center of California State University Sacramento reported no recorded historic or prehistoric sites had been found in the valley. It is more likely that the valley was so named because of the existence of an early mining camp known as Kanaka Bar, on the South Fork of the American River, in close proximity to this valley.

Actually, there were six or more early mining camps known as Kanaka Bar, two of these in El Dorado County. There were also other California mining camps with the name Kanaka. These included Kanaka Creek, Kanaka Glade, Kanaka Dam, Kanaka Flat, Kanaka City, Kanaka Diggings, Kanaka Ravine, Kanaka Hill and Kanaka Town.

Of the two Kanaka Bars in El Dorado County, the one nearest Kanaka Valley was located on the South Fork of the American River, between Coloma and Mormon Island, about where Weber Creek empties into the river.

According to one author, the name Kanaka Bar came about because the area was permanently occupied by several families of “Sandwich Islanders” along with English sailors who had married Kanaka women, and apparently brought them with them.

The other Kanaka Bar was further up the South Fork of the American River, about eight miles east of Coloma, a bit above Chili Bar. Unfortunately, little is known about it because its only mention occurs in the registry of mining locations on file in the El Dorado County Recorder’s Office.

A bit to the north of this second Kanaka Bar was a place know locally as both Kanaka Diggings and Kanaka Town. It also was an early mining camp and was located near the junction of Irish and Slate creeks, about two and a half miles southwest of Garden Valley. It shows up on maps as early as 1849 and at one time had a church, stores and a population of several hundred.

In the 1880s there were still three or four Kanaka families living there, along with a few Chilenos (Chilean natives who were very common during the Gold Rush, and it is they after whom Chili Bar is named).

The Kanakas, along with the Chinese, Chileans and certain other “foreigners,” were heavily taxed in an attempt to discourage them from competing with the “white” miners. They were also not allowed American citizenship, which caused many of them to return to their island birthplace or move to the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia, where they were more fairly treated and work was available with the Hudson’s Bay Company. However some married Native American women and remained in California, usually working in the salmon fishing industry.

Whatever happened to the Kanakas, they played an important role in the history of early California and the name Kanaka, on places like Kanaka Valley, remains as a tribute to them.

Kanaka Valley was brought into federal ownership in February 2010 through a cooperative acquisition process to preserve riparian, hardwood and oak woodland habitat as well as to help protect populations of federally listed plant species.


Sources for this story include: “History of California,” by Theodore Hittell (1897); “California Gold Camps,” by Erwin Gudde (1975); “California Place Names,” by Erwin Gudde, 3rd Edition (1974); “In the Diggings of ‘Forty-Nine,” by Owen C. Coy (1948); “Kanaka,” by Tom Koppel (1995); and the “History of El Dorado County,” by Paolo Sioli (1883), reprinted and indexed by the El Dorado Friends of the Library (1998).

Mr. Pickles Sandwich Shop in Placerville

Written on January 11, 2013 at 1:44 pm, by

“Too few people understand a really good sandwich.” ~ James Beard

I first stopped at the Mr. Pickle’s at 4601 Missouri Flat Road a month or so after it opened. That was some time ago and things seemed a bit chaotic, even though they weren’t that busy, and I wasn’t terribly impressed. I figured, oh well, just another sandwich shop.

Last week I stopped by at the insistence of the present owners of the franchise and it was like night and day. It is not just another sandwich shop and much better than the others, while not being much more expensive. I was really impressed with the food, service and the people.

Mr. Pickle’s started out as a single shop in the Bay Area in 1995. Now there are over 30 locations all over California and the chain is growing. They consider themselves to be “fast casual” in the restaurant category and are very proud of the quality and freshness of their ingredients and the sandwich combinations they have created.

I stopped by and met with Tony Esquibel, whose stepdaughter, Annette Gott, is the owner of this shop and one in Folsom. Esquibel fills in when needed and knows what he is doing.

“I’m having them make up four sandwiches for you to try,” he said, “and I am having them use four different kinds of rolls.” When the young lady behind the counter asked what I would like on the sandwiches and I told her to make them the way she likes them, which I find works best when you don’t know what goes with each sandwich. “Everything” on the sandwiches includes mayonnaise, mustard, (their secret) garlic sauce, tomato, pickles, onions, pepperoncini’s and lettuce.

The sandwiches were The Hot “T,” with turkey, melted pepper jack, Baja and cranberry sauce on a Dutch crunch roll; the Fast Eddy, with roast beef, BBQ sauce and melted Cheddar on a sweet French roll; their signature sandwich, the Mr. Pickle, made with chicken breast, bacon, avocado and melted jack cheese on a sourdough roll and the Veri Vegi, served cold with cheese, cucumbers and avocado on a wheat roll. On their menu those are the number 7, 10, 13 and 19.

I started with the Hot “T,” and immediately loved it. The turkey is real sliced turkey, not pressed luncheon meat, and the pepper jack gives it a little bit of a bite, complemented by the sweetness of the cranberry sauce. The Fast Eddy was one of the better barbecued sandwiches I have tasted, especially when on sweet French bread. Barbecue sandwiches can be overpowering, but this one was not. The Mr. Pickle was right up there with the Hot “T.” The thick slices of real chicken breast, the bacon and an abundance of avocado filled my mouth with deliciousness. Now, I am not big on vegetarian sandwiches, but the Veri Vegi was different. The textures and flavors from the crisp cucumbers, cheese and soft avocado, were complemented by the wheat roll into a great sandwich.

While I was trying the sandwiches, Esquibel asked me if I liked Reuben sandwiches. I said I did, so he had them fix me one, which was made with pastrami, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and 1000 Island dressing and put on marbled rye, one of the few breads they don’t bake there. The pastrami was real and had enough fat to make it delicious. That sandwich I finished.

I told Esquibel that I had more sandwiches than I could eat and he said, “Those are only a halves of our regular sandwiches, I’m going to send the other halves home with you.” (I shared them with a friend who emailed me complements on them).

I complemented Esquibel on the bread and he replied, “Our bread comes to us frozen and then we bake it. It only takes a few minutes to bake, so we do it in batches all day, rather than all at once, so it is still very fresh and warm when served.

“We are very involved with the community and have a loyal base of customers,” he continued, “ We sponsor local groups such as the Union Mine cheerleaders and even have a special combo meal for teachers. Since our sandwiches are large, we also have a two soups and one sandwich special for people who want to split a sandwich.

“When we hire employees we spend some time training them to do things right. If they are students we tell them that school is number one, that the job is something to do while going to school and should not interfere with school. This is a means to an end, not the end.”

The menu includes over twenty sandwiches, all of which can also be made as a wrap. You can also design your own sandwich using their six breads, nine meats and seven cheeses. There are also soups, salads and side salads, along with a kids menu.

The have a large refrigerated case of bottled drinks to have with your meal.

In addition to their day to day sandwiches, they also make sandwich trays for kids parties and all kinds of events, along with fruit and veggie trays and even salads for an event.

If you haven’t been to a Mr. Pickle’s, you will be surprised. If you are a regular, you know what I am talking about.

This Mr. Pickle’s is open Monday through Friday from 10 until 4 and on Saturday and Sunday from 11 until 4. They have inside and drive through service. For more information call 530-642-1677 or visit

Big Brothers Big Sisters and Inter-cal Real Estate to Honor National Mentoring Month at Family Fun Day Carnival

Written on January 11, 2013 at 1:40 pm, by

January 11, 2013

Big Brothers Big Sisters of El Dorado County
Cathie Byrd, Case Manager

Big Brothers Big Sisters and Inter-cal Real Estate to Honor National Mentoring Month at
Family Fun Day Carnival

Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of El Dorado County and Inter-cal Real Estate will join
together for a FREE Family Fun Carnival on Saturday, January 26th, from 10:00 a.m. to
3:00 p.m. at the County Fair Shopping Center, located on the corner of Fair Lane and
Placerville Drive. Enjoy free food, games, and even a bike rodeo!

January 2013 marks the 12th anniversary of National Mentoring Month and this event,
generously sponsored by Inter-cal Real Estate, provides BBBS of El Dorado County with
a wonderful opportunity, as the largest mentoring organization in the country, to attract
attention to the value of mentoring, recruit mentors and generate contributions.

“We are looking for volunteers from all walks of life,” says Judy Knapp, Executive
Director of BBBS of El Dorado County. “Right now, there is an urgent need for men, as
we have 36 young boys anxiously awaiting a Big Brother. Being a “Big” takes only a few
hours a month and every Big and Little match has professional support from our agency.”

“Every day, mentors help young Americans face the challenges of growing into
adulthood,” President Barak Obama proclaims. “By seeing a positive example and
sharing their time, knowledge and experience, mentors play an essential role in preparing
our Nation’s youth for a bright future.”

BBBS invites everyone to join in this Family Fun Day Carnival and to learn more about
ways to help the young people of our community achieve their full potential, thanks to
the good folks at Inter-Cal Real Estate.

For more information the carnival or becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister, please email
us at or call Cathie at (530) 626-1222.

BBBS of El Dorado County is a prevention-based 501(c)3 non-profit organization
receiving no federal or state monies and relies on the community to continues its
programs. Monetary donations are extremely appreciated to help children and families
reach their full potential. Independent research confirms that professionally supported,
one-to-one relationships between young people and their Big Brothers or Big Sisters
have a direct, measurable and lasting impact. Children in the program are more likely to
graduate from high school and less likely to use drugs be involved in violence.

The El Dorado County Fair Association partners with The Windfall to produce the 2013 Fair Guide!

Written on January 10, 2013 at 10:15 am, by

El Dorado County Fair Association, Inc.
A 501 © 3 Non-Profit Organization
P.O. Box 1537 Placerville, CA 95667
Fax 530-295-2566

January 10, 2013

Local Businesses:

The El Dorado County Fair Association is very excited to partner with Windfall again this year. The last two
years were such a success; we are thrilled to work with them again. Not only was the Fair Tab distributed to the community well, it was a piece of art, even winning an award from the Western Fairs Association, where fairs from all over the Western United States and Canada vie for recognition.

We feel that this avenue is a perfect fit for the Fair, as the Fair is entertaining, fun, family oriented and offers a great opportunity to sell and to get exposure. The Windfall is all about that as well as we both are an avenue for the local Service Clubs and non-profits to create awareness and fundraise. There is no other advertising venue that can offer this same positive match.

The exposure that the El Dorado County Fair has in our community is amazing, as the largest event, we don’t want you to miss it. Please join us with the Windfall this year.


Jody W. Gray
CEO, El Dorado County Fair
The Fairgrounds in Placerville – Providing Services to our Community

Now is the Time to Control Yellow Starthistle and Prevent Spread!

Written on January 8, 2013 at 1:03 pm, by


January 8, 2013

Contact: Wendy

(530) 621 -5533

Now is the Time to Control Yellow Starthistle and Prevent Spread!

When is the best time to control yellow starthistle? What other invasive weeds should I be looking for on my property or on public lands? How can I stop new weed infestations and spread? These are just a few of
the question that will be addressed at the “Yellow Starthistle Control and Preventing the Spread of Invasive Weeds” workshop scheduled for Thursday, January 31, 2013 from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. The training session will be conducted at the El Dorado County Administrative Building A in the Board of Supervisor’s Chambers, 330 Fair Lane, Placerville. The training is geared toward homeowners, farmers, ranchers and land managers to assist them to understand invasive weed biology plus specific control measures and the correct timing of each method. Winter and early spring are the perfect times to prepare a yellow starthistle control plan and apply chemical treatments, since several herbicides are most effective when used at the early stages of plant development. Workshop participants will also learn how to prevent the further spread of yellow starthistle and other invasive weeds on their property, to help protect uninfested and high-value areas. There is a $5 fee for this workshop. Registration is recommended and available online at: or by calling Nancy Starr at University of California Cooperative Extension (530) 621-5503. Walk-in registration will be available, on a space available basis. This workshop is presented by the El Dorado County Invasive Weeds Management Group, University of California Cooperative Extension and the El Dorado County Agriculture Department.

Hamburgers, hamburgers, hamburgers!

Written on January 8, 2013 at 9:32 am, by

“Hamburgers, hamburgers, hamburgers hot; onions in the middle, pickle on top; makes your lips go flippity flop.” ~ A song sung to customers by Charlie Nagreen of Seymour, Wisconsin, one of many claiming to have invented the hamburger sandwich.

We all have a favorite place to get a hamburger. If I am having a fast-food burger I like the Famous Star at Carl’s Jr. best. For a custom made burger I usually head to Shoestring, Bones Roadhouse or the Diamond Springs Hotel. But then I might also go to the Burger Barn in Pollock Pines, Gulartes in Diamond Springs (Thursday special) or any number of other great places in El Dorado County. They are all different, and all good.

Recently a number of new restaurant chains have showed up in the Sacramento area, places that make your burgers to order and are not really fast food, but are referred to as “fast casual.” They are all unique, but in many ways the same. What I am talking about are places like Five Guys Burgers & Fries, Burgerocity and Smashburger, the last two of which have restaurants in Folsom.

They all have a small and large fresh, not frozen, beef burgers, serve hot dogs, salads, other sandwiches, fries, are family friendly and look a lot alike inside. The only exception is Five Guys which has a more open kitchen and gives you peanuts to eat while you are waiting.

Five Guys Burgers & Fries :I have eaten at Five Guys twice, in different places in the San Jose area, and both times had a really good burger. I order the “Little Cheeseburger,’ which is enough for me, especially if I have fries, which come in a paper bag that absorbs some of the peanut oil.

You can select from about 15 different things to have on your burger, like mayo, lettuce, pickles, grilled onions, jalapeno peppers, steak sauce and even barbecue or hot sauce. In fact, you can have all of them on your burger and they are free. They claim there are a possible 250,000 different kinds of burgers you can create, but I didn’t count.

Our nearest Five Guys are in Roseville, Elk Grove and on Natomas Road in Sacramento.

Burgerocity: Burgerocity, which I wrote about few weeks ago when my friend Russ Salazar and I were out tasting hot dogs, specializes in burgers made from fresh, mid-west raised, certified Herford beef.

Along with our hot dog and Texas chili fries that day, we ordered a “Little Heffer” bacon cheese burger, made with white Cheddar. We had it cut in two, which they told us might make it easily fall apart, which it did. However, even in pieces, it was still very good.

The only problem we had with the burger was that the bun was cold, as was the hot dog bun. I personally like the bun to be put on the grill to toast it a bit, like In-N-Out does. The whole burger should be warm, not just the meat.

The nearest Burgerocity is located in Folsom at 157 Iron Point Road, across from the Folsom Premium Outlet stores.

Smashburger:  Last week I dropped by to visit with a friend who used to be a part of our morning walking group, Butch Upton. A couple of years ago he moved to Folsom, so, we decided to have lunch at Smashburger, which is located at 703 East Bidwell Street (near Wales Drive), across the parking lot from Raley’s.

It was my first time there, so I had to spend some time reading the menu, but Upton knew what he wanted, the regular size (their large is called big and you can also get a small), BBQ, Bacon and Cheddar burger, which comes with those three ingredients and haystack onions on an egg bun. After hemming and hawing a bit, I finally ordered the regular sized Norcal, which comes with Brie cheese, applewood smoked bacon, sliced balsamic marinated tomatoes, grilled onions, lettuce and mayo on a sourdough bun (unique to northern California).

Upton said his burger has been excellent every time he ordered it and this time was no different. My burger was also excellent, with a nice combination of flavors. I’d order it again.

Smashburger uses fresh 100% Angus beef and hand presses the patties. “Smashing is better,” they say.

In addition to the menu burgers, you can also create your own burger from a list of several buns (including lettuce instead of a bun), 17 sauces and toppings and add one of several different cheeses if you wish. They vary the menu according to the location of the restaurant, so if you travel a lot, you will always find something different on it.

You can also get a number of chicken breast (grilled or crispy) sandwiches, salads (my daughter says they are very good), hot dogs (Angus beef) and lots of sides including bean free chili and fried pickles. And they have Häagen-Dazs shakes, malts and floats.

Along with my burger I had some of their Smashfries, which are their shoestring cut fries tossed with rosemary, olive oil and garlic. They could have been a bit hotter, but they were still very good and way better than plain fries.



Written on January 8, 2013 at 9:30 am, by

Kelsey was not only the name of an early El Dorado County town, but also an entire mining district. Because of this, the history written about Kelsey may include things that occurred in nearby mining communities, places with wonderfully descriptive names like Rich Flat, Louisville, Spanish Flat, American Flat, Columbia Flat (a.k.a. St. Lawrence), Sailor Flat, Chicken Flat, Irish Creek, Dutch Flat, Flea Town, Elizaville, Yankee Flat and Union Flat.

The town and the mining district were named for two brothers, Benjamin and Andrew Kelsey, who came to California with the Bartelson-Bidwell party, which left Independence, Missouri on May 8, 1841.

Their reason for coming was a “glowing” report on the area from Dr. John Marsh, a very early resident of California who had a ranch in what is now Contra Costa County, near the base of Mt. Diablo. Later, Benjamin’s 18 year old wife, Nancy, and baby daughter, Martha Ann, would join him and be the first white women to enter California by the overland route.

After the discovery of gold by James Marshall in early 1848, the Kelsey brothers prospected from the South Fork of the American River up Dutch Creek to a point about five miles east of Coloma and seven miles north of Placerville. Stopping at a plateau, they settled down and established the town that now bears their name.

In the short but flush times of placer mining, Kelsey was the business center for the mines that were located nearby on numerous creeks, ravines, gulches and flats. At one time the town supported twelve stores, a couple of dozen saloons and gambling houses, half a dozen hotels, hay yards, cattle corrals, meat markets and much, much more.

Another early pioneer, Samuel Smith, who arrived in California from Baltimore in 1843, owned the first store and the first hotel belonged to a Mr. Paul. The first school was built east of John Poor’s place and was taught by Mr. Pease (Peake?), who was succeeded by Miss Slater (Mrs. Shankland). In later years, Charles Edwin Markham, the dean of American poets would teach at this school.

The business section of Kelsey was struck by its first fierce fire in 1853. Worse yet, on New Year’s Day in 1856, a year that would see Placerville, Georgetown and Diamond Springs almost burn to the ground, a fire that started in a deserted shanty almost totally destroyed Kelsey.

The town was rebuilt and, with the population continuing to grow, a post office was opened on March 3, 1856 with John P. White as the first postmaster. On January 15, 1872 the post office was closed and then reopened on February 1, 1875. On October 2, 1895 it was moved one-half mile to the west, then on November 16, 1896 one-half mile to the southeast. On March 3, 1903 it was again moved, this time one and one-half miles to the southwest and renamed Slatington, because of the valuable deposits of slate in the area. On August 23, 1920 it was moved back and renamed Kelsey (the mail to Kelsey is now delivered through the Placerville Post Office).

The placer mines around Kelsey produced gold that was in large, rough pieces with small fragments of quartz attached. This led the miners to believe that they were close to the quartz ledge from which the gold had been washed into the creeks and rivers.

Although most of the early miners soon moved on, preferring to work placer claims elsewhere, within a few years, some miners began to follow the exposed quartz veins looking for  gold in what had become known as “Kelsey’s Dry Diggings.” Their luck was good, since in several of these mines were found large pockets filled with gold. But, the largest single find was not underground but near a stream in a quartz boulder that took two men to turn it over. Taken into town, it was weighed and found to be worth $6000, at a time when gold was worth around $16 an ounce.

By 1872, gold mining was in decline, so the Thomas Brothers started mining the slate. By 1898, slate was being carried by an overhead cable tramway to the Placerville to Coloma Road (Highway 49) from where it was sent by wagon to the new Placerville Depot and loaded on railroad cars. From 1898 to 1905 the local economy gained $450,000 from this mining operation.

Any story of Kelsey would be incomplete without a mention of James Wilson Marshall, the man who discovered gold in at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma. He made several trips to Kelsey and spent his last days there.

His first visit was to escape a group who threatened him with hanging when he attempted to prevent the massacre of peaceful Indians at the mill by some drunken miners who blamed them for the killing of white men at Murderer’s Bar. Later, Marshall moved from his Coloma vineyard to the Kelsey area, living various places, including the Union Hotel. In the 1860s he purchased interests in two quartz mines to the east of Kelsey, but as in Coloma, he did not profit from the venture and on August 10, 1885, poor and broken, he died in his Kelsey cabin.

Today Kelsey is just a quiet, but quite historical, rural town on Highway 193 between Placerville and Georgetown.


Much of this information on Kelsey came from two sources: a story in The Placerville Times’ special edition “1938 The Big Year” written by Miss Margaret Kelly, a long time resident of Kelsey, (printed December 29, 1937) and Paolo Sioli’s “History of El Dorado County” (1883) which has been recently reprinted by the Friends of the El Dorado County Library and is available at the Main Library in Placerville.

Crazy but true!

Written on January 8, 2013 at 9:24 am, by

Only a few days after ringing in the New Year in 1975, I remember it would prove to be an interesting and eventful day.  My 3 siblings and I were busy playing outside, trying out our new Christmas toys in the foothills of Santa Cruz. Our house was at the top of a very steep driveway. Our neighbors across the street had a very steep gravel driveway going down hill. My brother dared my older sister to ride her new bike from our garage door down to the neighbors garage door without using her brakes. She accepted, and after the crash, off we went to the hospital. With Dad at work, Mom had to wrangle us into the waiting room and asked us to behave and watch after my 4 year old sister, while my older sister’s foot was placed in a cast. My brother was 8 and I was 6, no problem! The nurses had just filled up the coffee cart with fresh coffee and left us alone, without shutting the doors to the big cart. My younger sister thought it would be great fun to swing on the open doors of the cart and we agreed since it kept her happy and quiet. Until the big urn of coffee tipped over and poured out onto her chest, scalding her. My little sister was rushed into the Emergency room, right next door to my other sister. Over the loud speaker, they kept paging my mom to please come immediately to room 7. She could not understand it, since she was already there in room 6. Next thing you know, my brother and I are helping clean up the spilled coffee cart contents and I slip and fall onto the lobby table, taking out my 2 front teeth and bleeding all over. Over the loud speaker, they paged my mom to please come immediately to room 8. She thought it must be a joke!  By the end of the morning, we left the hospital with 1 in a cast, 1 with 2nd degree burns and I had stitches and no front teeth. My brother, who started this whole chain of events, made it home without a scratch. That is until my Dad got home that night! ~T. Henderson, Placerville


Written on January 7, 2013 at 9:22 am, by


Motifs carries unique home decor items, both new and slightly used, as well as new furniture directly from the importer at fantastic prices, gift items and gift baskets for all occasions, framed art and accessories, and also provides full service interior design.

Community Action Council Seeks New Member

Written on December 28, 2012 at 11:18 am, by

Community Action Council Seeks New Member

The El Dorado County Community Action Council is seeking to fill a one (1) vacancy representing the Community Member Sector. Community Agencies that serve El Dorado County residents, in areas such as shelter, food, medical, counseling, etc. are encouraged to apply for membership.

The purpose of the El Dorado County Community Action Council is to act in an advisory capacity to the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors and the County Health and Human Services Agency about the needs of the community on issues relating to human services for low-income residents of El Dorado County.  The Council provides an avenue for collaborative participation of local government, private organizations and private citizens of the community in serving the most vulnerable populations.

The deadline for submitting an application is January 18, 2013. For additional information and to obtain a membership application form, please contact Star Walker, 937 Spring Street, Placerville, CA  95667; telephone – (530) 621-6255 or e-mail –


Keller & D’Agostini Real Estate

Written on December 28, 2012 at 7:27 am, by

Keller & D'Agostini Real Estate
With offices located in two appellations, they have highly skilled agents who have experience in very specialized properties, such as wineries/vineyards, commercial properties, bare land, horse properties, cottages and custom homes as well as properties that are short sales and bank owned.

The El Dorado Drive-In

Written on December 27, 2012 at 3:45 pm, by

I remember when El Dorado County had our very own drive in theater! The El Dorado Drive-In opened in December of 1949. Actually it was originally called the SE Rancho and the posters for it were all over town as I recall. By the time my kids were going there with their buddies, it had changed ownership and renamed The El Dorado. This was real first class let me tell you and unheard of to folks who lived in the country. It had in-car heaters and a snack bar! I have fond memories of dating my wife and taking her there on Friday or Saturday nights. After we married, we took our kids there too. They loved going in their pajamas and falling asleep in the back of my old Cadillac convertible, with the stars as their nightlight and the glow of the big projection screen filling up the car. When it closed in the mid 1980s, we all felt a loss as a community. It was one of those places that was sort of a rite of passage for many of us who grew up there on the weekends. Those were the days! ~ Barry Talbot, Pollock Pines

No Senior Ditch Day for this scholar…

Written on December 26, 2012 at 3:29 pm, by

In an update to a previous column, I finished my second to last semester of high school last week. In a couple of old columns from October and November, I expressed my concern about Senioritis taking me over, and it sort of did. I was still able to pull out a respectable GPA, and I didn’t fail any classes, so I guess one could say it was a successful semester. But now I have new problem.

When we return from this much needed Winter Break on January 15th, my problems multiply. I’ll still be fighting Senioritis, with graduation getting even closer every day. But now I have a whole new issue. A few weeks ago, after I had decided on where I’ll be attending college next year (Arizona State University for those who didn’t already know), I got a letter in the mail. It was a scholarship offer from ASU for $42,000, or $10,500 a year. Obviously, I jumped for joy, thinking of how much money that actually was and how relieved my parents would be.

But as the day went on, I became sort of paranoid. There was no sort of specification of what qualifications I have to meet to keep the scholarship, so I’m left to imagine on my own. So now, headed into second semester, I have to do my best to maintain the GPA I worked hard for, and that’s really going to impede on the “senior experience.” I can’t participate in Senior Ditch Day anymore, instead I’ll be one of the two kids actually in class. When you’re not a senior, you think of all the great things that are going to happen senior year, but when you actually get there, it’s not what you think. I no longer can frolic around and enjoy myself, because how I perform this year will affect whether I keep my scholarship or not. $42,000 is a lot of money, and while I’ll reap the benefits over the next four years, it’s kind of ruining my last year of high school!

Shane Theodore, Student Writer at Ponderosa High School, Class of 2013

The Windfall Wishes you a Merry Christmas and Joyous New Year

Written on December 26, 2012 at 2:59 pm, by

Merry Christmas

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year!  The Christmas Season Arrives By Doug Noble
Our household, like most others on our street, consisted of three generations.  It was a result of the Great Depression, where people in my parents generation were not able to afford their own home and with children in tow, simply moved in with their parents.

Ask The Auto Tech feat. Terry Rogers of Kniesel’s Collission Centers/Shingle Springs

Written on December 26, 2012 at 2:09 pm, by

Q: Why should I choose Kniesel’s Collision Centers?
A: The most important reason you should bring your vehicle to Kniesel’s Collision Centers is our reputation for quality and customer service. We’ve been a trusted member of the Sacramento community since 1968. After more than 40 years, we’re known throughout the community for our exacting craftsmanship and our time-tested integrity.
Our quality comes not only from our experience, we also continually invest in our people and our equipment. We keep our staff factory-trained in the latest systems and technologies, including hybrids. Our modern, clean facilities house state-of-the-art equipment that enable us to correct frames and perform repairs with exacting precision. Our paint system uses higher quality products and a more thorough process to ensure a perfect paint finish. Plus, we back it all up with a lifetime warranty on paintwork and labor.
We know that you’re busy, so customer care and convenience are a top priority as well. We offer mobile estimators, free shuttle service, comfortable waiting rooms, and of course, courteous staff to help get you back on the road with minimal hassle. We also work with all major insurance companies, and coordinate with them throughout the process so you don’t have to. 
Quality, integrity, customer service—that’s what makes us the best choice.
Each month I’ll be answering a question, so send yours in today!

Do you have questions needing answers? Don’t miss an issue of The Windfall! Once a month I will be answering a question in their Ask The Auto Tech feature . Submit your questions by posting them online at or contact me at: or call me at 530-676-1888.  ~Terry Rogers, General Manager

Where’s Windfall?

Written on December 26, 2012 at 1:56 pm, by

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Twas’ the night before Christmas in El Dorado County! 2012

Written on December 26, 2012 at 1:37 pm, by

Twas’ the night before Christmas, when all through our town,
Not a creature was stirring, not even downtown.
The store lights were off, the doors locked with care,
Each shelf was now empty, every store was left bare.
Imagine the delight on the shop owners faces,
so grateful for you who shopped at these local places…

Breaker Glass fixed our windshields that once were cracked;
Cool Feed and Ranch Supply sold us pet food and tack.
Proline Carpet Cleaning freed our carpet from spills and mud,
Brick Oven Pub sold pizza, hot wings and ‘suds’.

Spot-on-Signs promoted us with banners and signs;
Camino Outdoor Power provided generators…just in time!
Yummy brownies and cupcakes thanks to Sugar Lillie Bakery;
Dr. Ward and Linda Lee helped with our stress and anxiety.

Eskaton provided seniors with a safe home of their own;
thanks to Union Bank in Placerville who had money to loan.
D’Agostini Delights baked us cakes and pies;
The Shoestring on Broadway served up chili cheese fries.

Mr. Pickles kept us fed with sandwiches and more;
Dramatics Hair Salon in Pollock provided haircuts galore.
Fresh ‘ink’ was a hit, thanks to John’s Old School Tattoo;
Bones Roadhouse cooked up burgers and mixed drinks too!

Cash for Gold filled your pockets, turning gold into cash;
Kniesel’s Collision helped fix our cars that were smashed.
Dr. Deb eased our ailments with herbal tinctures and teas;
Becky’s Dog and Cat grooming got rid of the fleas!

Bergsma and Bellas Plumbing helped with clogged sinks,
Powell’s Steamer thrilled us all with seafood and drinks.
The Habitat ReStore recycled cabinets and doors;
Dandelions sold strollers, kids clothing and more.

Bowman & Associates provided relief from your worries;
Auto Tech did smog checks, use their coupon and hurry!
Pursuit Dynamics came through with car audio needs;
Landscaper’s Greenfield and Chima took care of the weeds.

Color copies and more supplied by Minuteman Press;
The Barn sold vintage decor to ‘feather your nest’.
Diamond Central sold quality landscape material;
The Food Bank assisted with milk, bread and cereal.

Cablin’ Casey and The Computer Guy, well they saved us all;
with networking, repairs and virus removal.
Eagle Truck and Auto sold many a quality car;
Precision Eye Care helped those who see near but not far.

The list of small businesses who make a difference in our lives could go on and on. All are equally as important! Remember to shop local year round whenever possible as it really makes a difference. The Windfall would like to thank our readers and advertisers for it is your support that is our greatest gift!



Grizzly Flats

Written on December 26, 2012 at 1:20 pm, by

Just a couple of years after James Marshall picked up the first flakes of gold at the sawmill in Coloma, “Buck” Ramsey and some other men went prospecting for gold in an area between the North and Middle forks of the Cosumnes river, about 20 miles east and slightly south of Placerville.

After a long hard day, they picked a place near one of the many springs that dotted the area to camp for the night. While preparing the usual miner’s feast for those times – bread, bacon and coffee – they were surprised by an unexpected guest who had smelled their dinner and came crashing through the brush towards their camp.

At first they thought it might be another tired and hungry prospector, but, to the surprise of the men, it turned out to be a very large specimen of one of California’s most noble beasts, the now extinct California Grizzly Bear.

Ramsey grabbed his rifle and fired a single shot. The bear turned and ran back through the brush, across the flat and down into a steep canyon, where he was found dead by the surprised prospector. The word rapidly spread and from this incident, the area became named Grizzly Flats.

Soon after Ramsey’s adventure with the bear, hundreds of other prospectors arrived in Grizzly Flats and worked the beds of the rivers and canyons, along with the hillside gravel deposits, taking out much of the precious gold. As these areas became more and more crowded, some prospectors set out to look for and ultimately found riches in the numerous veins of quartz that crossed the area in a north-south direction.

Victor J. W. Steely was one of the earliest operators of a quartz mine in the area, having made his gold discovery in 1852. He erected two mills at different points along the branch of the Cosumnes river. Leading away from these he added a wooden railroad nearly a mile in length that terminated southwest of the town.

Unfortunately, like many similar mining ventures, this one ended in failure, leaving only the ruins of his mills, the cut on Mt. Pleasant where the railroad once ran and his name on a fork of the river.

Shortly after Steely opened his mine, a Dr. Clark, and others, opened the Eagle Quartz Mine. It proved to be a better financial investment than Steely’s. In 1855 a Mr. Roberts opened a mine with his name which proved rich for one season and then closed for lack of funding.

Sometime in the late 1860s, the Steely mine was reopened for a few years as the Mt. Pleasant Mine and then closed again in 1872. Gabe Wentz and Dave Brandover worked for years south of the town at Henry’s Diggings, where their perseverance ultimately paid off when they located a quartz ledge rich in gold.

In June of 1874, F. W. Earl arrived in the area and started prospecting near the Mt. Pleasant and Irish lodes. There he struck a quartz ledge that soon proved its worth to be half a million dollars.

Grizzly Flats’ first store was built in 1852 by “Chris” Nelson, a man of German descent. Soon the store was joined by two hotels and two blacksmith shops, which divided their time between shoeing work animals and keeping the miner’s picks well sharpened. In time, ranchers and farmers with names like Leoni, Cole, Martin, Springer, Zollers, Finley, O’Lean, Slook, Smith, McAfee, Niebur, Webster, Myers, Behrens, Haas and Plunker arrived to work the land and provide food for the many miners.

The  post office was established on Aug. 31, 1855 with James Burgess serving as the first postmaster. Although the post office is officially named Grizzly Flats, the town more often shows up on early maps as Grizzly Flat, without the added “s.” The post office, unlike the California Grizzly Bear, still exists.

In 1866 the town was ravaged by fire, leaving only a few houses untouched. Because the mines were at the height of their productiveness, the town was soon rebuilt even larger than before. In 1869 the town burned again but, this time because it was larger and had contained a greater amount of personal property, the loss was disastrous. Only two stone, fire-proof buildings remained and the town was never rebuilt to to its original size.

Things remained fairly calm for about one hundred years and then, in the late 1960s, Grizzly Flats was again discovered, not because of its golden riches but because of its natural beauty and cool summer climate, which made it an excellent, and highly desirable area for residential development.

As a tribute to the part they played in the early history of El Dorado County, the Grizzly Flats area still retains places named after Steely, Leoni, Cole and many others, the pioneering miners, ranchers and farmers that ventured there nearly one hundred and fifty years ago in search of their dreams.

Sources for this story include: “History of California Post Offices, 1849-1976″, researched by H. E. Salley (1976); “History of California”, by Theodore Hittell (1897); “California Gold Camps”, by Erwin Gudde (1975); “California Place Names”, by Erwin Gudde, 3rd Edition (1974); “Mother Lode of Learning – One Room Schools of El Dorado County” by Retired Teachers Association of El Dorado County (1990); “I Remember…, Stories and pictures of El Dorado County pioneer families”, researched and written by Betty Yohalem (1977); and the “History of El Dorado County, by Paolo Sioli (1883), reprinted and indexed by the El Dorado Friends of the Library (1998).

The greatest gift of all is family

Written on December 26, 2012 at 1:16 pm, by

My father hated Christmas. The overspending and the frantic last minute frenzy of people buying meaningless gifts that they cannot afford. Don’t misunderstand, he appreciated the meaning of Christmas, just not the commercialization of it. He grew up very poor and was taught to value people rather than possessions. He really cherished his memories of growing up with 14 brothers and sisters during the depression. As a young child, I remember that he would make his feelings very clear to everyone during the holidays with explicit instructions not to buy him anything. This inspired us to really work hard at finding him a special gift each year. Eventually, we outgrew making artwork or crafts for him, so my mother came up with the idea of writing down our favorite memories from the past year and place them in my fathers stocking on the fireplace mantle.

Since 1959, my aunts and uncles, my siblings, my mother and I would slip these notes in on Christmas Eve and look forward to the next morning when my father would read them. This simple gift of words would light up my fathers face. With every note, the smile would get bigger and sometimes he would even laugh out loud over a particularly funny one. After reading all of his notes, he would place them in the fireplace. At first we were hurt by this action, as if the notes we had given him were not worth keeping. That was until he explained his reasoning behind it. You see, he was simply making room for new memories that were sure to come in the new year. No sense in living in the past after all!

My father passed away this past summer so it was with a heavy heart that we hung up his stocking without him this holiday season. To our surprise, he had one note left over from last year, still inside. He must have known he would not make it to this day, because the note was addressed to his family. In his handwriting the note read, “You have been my greatest gift of all.” ~ Mona Gephardt, Lotus

Nancy Levin remembers the kindness of strangers at Christmas

Written on December 26, 2012 at 1:12 pm, by

 I remember when I was seven years old I overheard my mother crying to someone on the phone about Santa not coming to our house that year. I didn’t understand. So far, it had been my experience that Santa comes every year without fail. Rich or poor, California or China; except if you are on the naughty list. I automatically assumed it was my fault Santa was skipping our house.

 I had three brothers and two sisters, so I shared a room with my mother which was just a small garage converted into a bedroom. The door to the bedroom was near the front door. On Christmas Eve I went to bed just like it was any other night. We had no tree up, no presents, no lights. The only decorations depicting the season were made by me and my siblings at school.

 I heard a knock on the front door, and snuck out of bed to watch my mother open the door and let some people in. There were five strangers, each carrying two black plastic garbage bags. My mother headed toward me to pull my door closed all the way, and I high-tailed it back to my bed. I fell asleep to muted whispers, and the subtle footsteps going in and out of my house.

Christmas morning, I was the first awake and went to see if my dollhouse was under the tree. I had asked Santa for one when I saw him at Woolworths. I was thrilled to see that it was! Sitting right outside its box, all set up for me to play with. I was oblivious to the fact that the dollhouse was among many other gifts, and sitting under a fully lighted, decorated Christmas tree! I did not even notice all of the boxes of food littering the kitchen floor. I didn’t ponder at all… Santa did it and I knew it!

I am now over forty, and have children of my own. I have since talked to my mother about that Christmas, and she told me those strangers were from either United Way or the Salvation Army, she couldn’t remember which. This photo is that very same dollhouse. I treasured it so much that I still have the original box in which it came. Whenever I come across it, I open it up and thank God for those who gave of themselves, for a family they didn’t know. “Give” if you can this holiday season and all year long. You never know whose life you will change with just simple kindness.



Burger Barn and Cafe in Pollock Pines

Written on December 26, 2012 at 12:56 pm, by

“You can find your way across this country using burger joints the way a navigator uses stars.”
~Charles Kuralt


Last week my friend Russ Salazar and I met for lunch at the Burger Barn and Café, which is located at 6404 Pony Express Trail in Pollock Pines, “Next to True Value,” as it says on the take-out menu.

Salazar lives in Pollock Pines and had never been there; I have visited once just to talk with the friendly owner of this family business, Laurie Tackett, but never really eaten a meal there. So, it was a relatively new adventure for both of us.

First I want to say that some businesses pride themselves on saying, “Service is our Middle Name,” but as far as I am concerned, at the Burger Barn, service is their FIRST name.

If your drink is low, you aren’t smiling or it looks like you need more napkins (you will), Tackett is there. She is a one person dynamo, and it wasn’t just for us, all of the customers were getting that kind of service. And when the cook had a break, he came out to help her.

Now, think about this. Her daughter, Gabrielle, has been voted the “Best Customer Service” person by the Community Economic Development Association of Pollock Pines, not once, but in both 2011 and 2012. If she had also been there our food probably would have arrived before we ordered it, and been exactly what we wanted.

Speaking of what we wanted, Tackett recommended one of their very popular stuffed burgers, so we ordered a half pound Bacon and Blue Cheese burger, which we intended to share, along with a pastrami sandwich. Then Salazar noticed a chili dog on the menu and decided we should try that instead of the pastrami, “With onions and cheese on the side so we can tasted the chili bare.” he said. We also selected the Beer Battered fries to go along with our sandwiches, and two fountain sodas.

The stuffed burgers take about 15 minutes to prepare, so we started with the chili dog, which came open faced, on a real plate with a real knife and fork. They use good hot dogs and chili with beans, which are okay on a hot dog you eat that way. It was messy and good. I liked it best with both the cheese and onions on it, although without them it was still very good.

Then came our Beer-Battered fries, which were hot, crisp and outstanding. I asked for mustard, my favorite dip for fries, and Tackett said “Would you like 1000 Island dressing?” We said no, but then she turned and said, “They are much better with it.” So, we said yes. Less than a minute later she came to our table stirring something in a small cup. She makes the 1000 Island dressing fresh to order, chopping up pickles to use, rather than relish. Yes, they were better with the 1000 Island dressing.

The stuffed burger, she told us, would be messy and hard to eat when cut in half and she was right. That didn’t matter, it was excellent and full of wonderful flavors (six napkins).

The burger is stuffed with a cream cheese mixture before cooking, which made it not only delicious, but kept it moist.

When we were finished with our food, we were full and happy.

The large menu includes one-sixth, one-third and half pound burgers, such as the Blue Cheese, Chili, Western and Hawaiian, and you can make them a combo for only $2.50 more. The burgers are all made with fresh, lean ground beef.

You can also get a Garden or Turkey burger and they have Junior/Senior combos that include a small fry, drink or small shake with a burger, hot dog, corn dog, nuggets or grilled cheese.

The stuffed burgers come in the following varieties: Jalapeño Creme Cheese, Western, Bacon Blue (loved it), Bacon Cheddar and Mushroom Swiss, in one-third or half pound varieties. The one-half pounder was perfect to split.

There is also a large list of hot and cold sandwiches, appetizers, hot dogs and along with the regular fries, which they cut themselves, the beer battered we tried and sweet potato fries. Oh, you can add garlic and cheese to the fries, or go all out with Chili-Cheese Fries.

To accompany you meal they have soda, milk, iced tea coffee, shakes, Blizzards and just recently have added beer.

The Burger Barn and Café is open Sunday and Monday from 11 until 5 and Tuesday through Saturday from 11 until 7. For more information call 530-344-7167. Oh, they no longer serve breakfast on Sunday, which Tackett said just didn’t work.

Stop by and enjoy! Tell ‘em The Windfall sent you!


Written on December 26, 2012 at 10:02 am, by

E-mail Address:
Organization: Sierra Wildlife Rescue
Contact: Nan Powers
Phone Number: (530) 647-1089


Start the New Year by learning more about all of your wild neighbors, and how to rehabilitate
orphaned or injured wildlife, including rabbits, squirrels, foxes, skunk babies, fawns, coyotes,
raccoons, opossums, hawks, owls, and numerous species of songbirds and other birds. Sierra
Wildlife Rescue’s January class, Are you Ready to Rehab? for prospective rehabbers will be
held on January 19, from 10:00 a.m. – noon. The class will introduce you to what rehabbing
wildlife is all about, with examples of rehabbing a variety of mammals and birds.
If you decide to try rehabbing, you can follow up with classes on specific species, taught by
experienced rehabbers, beginning in February. No prior experience is necessary. You will need
to attend one two-hour class taught by an experienced rehabber, and then be given hands-on
training by a mentor for as long as you need. All that’s required is love and concern for animals
and the willingness to learn. SWR supplies all necessary formulas and medications, and you can
be reimbursed for any other supplies needed. You will find that rehabbing wild babies is more
fulfilling and exciting than you can imagine!
All classes are held at SWR’s Wildlife Center, 3030 Newtown Rd, Placerville. Parking
is limited, so please make reservations by contacting Barbara Barker at 530-621-2650, or at Classes are free to SWR Members; a $5.00 donation is requested from the
general public.

Healing Principles of Herbs with Dr. Deb Prock

Written on December 26, 2012 at 10:01 am, by

Healing Principles of Herbs with Deborahe (Dr Deb) Prock. Saturday, January 12, 2013 10:00 am – 3:00 pm. Class: $35 Book: $15 book purchase not required. Reservations must be made in advance – Contact Dr Deb at 530-622-1124 or Pizza lunch provided. Learn: How local plants may be used to heal. The different forms herbs may be used for healing: teas, tinctures, creams, capsules. To read the energy of the palm to determine the body’s weaknesses and select the appropriate healing herb. Herbs that may help with weight loss. Demonstrations: Tea, it’s not just for drinking. Making tinctures. Making herbal oil to use in creams, salves and cooking. Compounding formulas for capsules. Tasty lip balms, easy herbal creams. Making Glycerin soap. Herbal Energetics – muscle testing. **Of course everyone goes home with samples of cream, salve and soap. Journey Center 3976 Durock Rd., Ste 106 Shingle Springs. ~Tell ‘em The Windfall sent you!

Elite Solutions

Written on December 14, 2012 at 7:11 am, by

Elite Solutions
Elite solutions is a complete hair restoration clinic providing non-surgical hair restoration solutions, beautiful customized wigs, Great Lengths and Elite Strands human hair extensions, laser hair therapy, and anti-aging treatments.

Free Caregiver Support Group

Written on December 12, 2012 at 12:26 pm, by



December 12, 2012


Naomie Harris
(530) 621-6251

Free Caregiver Support Group

Caregiving is a difficult and often challenging role. Caregiver Support groups
provide an outlet to share information and feel connected to others who
are also providing care. Take the opportunity to become connected and
rejuvenated at your local support group:

The 2nd Tuesday of every month at 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm at the
Greenwood Community Center 4401 HWY 193, Greenwood, CA
The 2nd Thursday of every month at 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm at the South
Lake Tahoe Senior Center 3050 Hwy 50, South Lake Tahoe, CA
The 3rd Tuesday of every month at 5:30pm to 7:00pm, sponsored by
Alzheimer’s Association, at the El Dorado Hills Senior Center 990
Lassen Ln, El Dorado Hills, CA

Refreshments will be served. Free respite care is available to qualified
caregivers. Pre-Authorization is required for respite services. Questions?
Please contact the Family Caregiver Support Program at (530) 621-6151.

PG&E Partners with Food Bank to make Christmas a little brighter this year

Written on December 11, 2012 at 1:25 pm, by

Contact: Bill Sullivan

For Immediate Release                                                                                                                

(530) 621-9950

December 10, 2012                                                                     


PG&E Partners with Food Bank to make Christmas a little brighter this year

CAMERON PARK, CA – At Christmas time many of us take for granted some of the simple things that come with the season such as a decorated tree for our family home. For many, the cost of a Christmas tree could mean sacrificing paying a utility bill or buying enough food to feed their family for the month. Thanks to a recent partnership between Pacific Gas and Electric and the Food Bank of El Dorado County, several less fortunate residents will be enjoying a brighter holiday this year.

“PG&E has been a longtime supporter of the Food Bank of El Dorado County in various events and as annual community partner,” said Mike Sproull, Founder of the Food Bank. “I am glad that by working together we were able to provide 60 trees and lights for members of our less fortunate population who may have otherwise gone without this holiday season.”

Pacific Gas and Electric donated 120 four to five foot tall Noble Fir Trees and Led Lights to El Dorado and Yolo County Food Banks to benefit local families in need this holiday season. PG&E Employees also donated their time to participate in the local outreach, personally delivering the fresh trees to local agencies and personalizing the gift with  a special tag for the recipients.

“PG&E is committed to serving the communities in which we live and work every day. This donation is just one of many ways our employees continuously give back in their local areas throughout the year, said Brandi Ehlers, External Communications Representative from PG&E. “We are please to partner with the Food Bank of El Dorado County and be able to brighten the holidays for some local families in need.”

On Monday morning, PG&E rolled into Light of the Hills Church in Cameron Park, one of the Food Bank’s partner charities and distribution sites. A total of 33 trees were distributed to at risk individuals that turned out for the outreach at the longtime partner of the Food Bank. Later in the morning, the crew rolled up the highway to Foothill Indian Education Alliance where another 27 trees were distributed.

“The current state of the economy has hit Native Families especially hard Many will have to do without the things that were taken for granted during the past holiday season,” said James Marquez, Director of Foothill Indian Education Alliance. “Thanks to the generosity of of PG&E and the Food Bank of El Dorado, several Native families will have a Christmas tree to brighten their homes and their lives.”

The Food Bank of El Dorado County was founded in 2000 and is the largest collaborative charity in El Dorado County. The Food Bank is in partnership with over 30  local emergency food response sites provides assistance on a daily basis from distribution centers that are strategically placed throughout El Dorado County.  For further information, please visit their web site,  or call them at (530) 621-9950.


El Dorado County Board of Realtors supports Food Bank with annual Can Tree

Written on December 11, 2012 at 11:36 am, by

Contact: Bill Sullivan

For Immediate Release                                                                                                                

(530) 621-9950

December 10, 2012                                                                     


El Dorado County Board of Realtors supports Food Bank with annual Can Tree

PLACERVILLE, CA – The Bell Tower on Main Street in Placerville was a busy place in the early morning hours of Monday, December 10, as members of the El Dorado County Board of Realtors gathered to construct the annual Christmas Can Tree.

The El Dorado County Association of Realtors (EDCAR), became involved with a program called the Can Tree back in 1984. At that time there was a statewide project taking place that was started in Modesto in which Realtors and their affiliates became involved with a friendly competition by building a tree made of stacked canned goods to raise awareness and funds in the fight against local hunger.

As the Christmas Holiday nears, the large Can Tree built by our local realtors is a common sight, sparkling with colored lights and garland in the center of historic Main Street. Prior to the construction of this annual holiday icon, the local realtors work hard to raise funds through various raffles and donations at their regular MLS meeting. Over the years, EDCAR has raised thousands of dollars for the Food Bank of El Dorado County.

“This is our largest fund raising event each year, raising several thousand dollars,” said Steve Cockerell, Branch Manager of Vitek Mortgage who is instrumental in the annual Can Tree event. “In 2000 we began partnering with the Food Bank who has always provided our supplies for our contests and to create the Can Tree at the Bell Tower since that time.”

In 2011, EDCAR raised $5000 for the Food Bank of El Dorado County. Such funds were utilized wisely by El Dorado County’s largest collaborative charity that can transform monetary donations from the community at a rate of nearly five to one to purchase nutritious foods that supplement El Dorado County’s at risk seniors, families and children by the thousands each month in communities from El Dorado Hills to South Lake Tahoe.

“Many people are struggling in our current economic times, including Realtors and their affiliates” said Mike Sproull, Founder of the Food Bank of El Dorado County. “Even in these tough times the Realtors keep their commitment to El Dorado County’s most at risk population. For more than 25 years they have made a difference and I’m proud of this relationship that guarantees a safety net for our neighbors in need.”

The Food Bank was founded in 2000 and is the largest collaborative charity in El Dorado County. The Food Bank is in partnership with over 30  local emergency food response sites provides assistance on a daily basis from distribution centers that are strategically placed throughout El Dorado County.  For further information, please visit their web site,  or call them at (530) 621-9950.

For more information on the El Dorado County Association of Realtors Can Tree please visit their website at

Placerville Kiwanis Club partner with Food Bank to feed local families in need

Written on December 10, 2012 at 9:54 am, by

Food Bank of El Dorado County

Contact: Bill Sullivan

For Immediate Release

(530) 621-9950

December 7. 2012                                                                      


Placerville Kiwanis Club partner with Food Bank to feed local families in need

DIAMOND SPRINGS, CA – The Food Bank of El Dorado County’s warehouse was filled with activity last Wednesday afternoon  as members of the Placerville Kiwanis gathered to provide holiday food baskets to local families.  This event  is an annual project organized by the local service club in collaboration with the Food Bank.

The Kiwanis Holiday Basket program started several years ago as an effort by club members to help the families with children struggling during the holidays, Kiwanis Club members and local community participants individually sponsor the cost of each of the 55 baskets which are built in collaboration with the Food Bank which provides the food for the project.  The recipients for the Kiwanis holiday baskets are named by various non-profit agencies including New Morning, The Center and Family Connections.

“The partnership between Kiwanis and the Food Bank creates this very successful way for Kiwanis to support our community,” said Kiwanis Project Chairman Karl Weiland.“Working with the Food Bank is way to really leverage our dollars.”

The Placerville Kiwanis Club is an active part of life in El Dorado County whose members support and participate in a wide variety of activities serving the children and the community. The meets for lunch every Wednesday at Cold Springs Country Club. For more information on the Placerville Kiwanis, visit their website at or by calling President Lori Warden at 530-722-7897.

“The Kiwanis event at the Food Bank was so fast paced and efficient that at the end of the day our warehouse worker jokingly asked who was going to stick around and help clean up,” said Bill Sullivan of the Food Bank of El Dorado County. “Supervisor elect Brian Veerkamp and County Assessor Karl Weiland then stuck around and accepted the duties. Now that there is a true partnership.”

The Food Bank was founded in 2000 and is the largest collaborative charity in El Dorado County. The Food Bank is in partnership with over 30  local emergency food response sites provides assistance on a daily basis from distribution centers that are strategically placed throughout El Dorado County.  For further information, please contact our web site,  or call us them (530) 621-9950.

Food Bank Founder takes to the airwaves of Georgetown’s KFOK Radio

Written on December 10, 2012 at 9:54 am, by

Food Bank of El Dorado County

Contact: Bill Sullivan

For Immediate Release                                                                                                                

(530) 621-9950

December 7. 2012                                                                      



Food Bank Founder takes to the airwaves of Georgetown’s KFOK Radio

GEORGETOWN , CA – Food Bank Founder and Executive Director Mike Sproull took to the airwaves Friday afternoon in the Georgetown Divide.  Sproull was the featured guest on KFOK  Radio’s “El Dorado Hour,” a weekly radio program that features interviews representatives from local organizations and government agencies about their programs and services.

During the hour long interview, Sproull joined program host and program director Mark Nichol in the small studio location on Main Street in Georgetown an discussed hunger both locally and abroad. The program was an upbeat interview that broadcast many facts and statistics on the Food Bank of El Dorado County.

Sproull explained in detail how the Food Bank came about in El Dorado County and how it operates today with an Emergency Food Assistance Network of more than 30 different charities. He commended the agencies in the Georgetown area include the Seventh Day Adventist Church and the House of Prayer to their partnership and service to the at risk community on the Divide.

“It was an honor to be a featured guest on KFOK Radio,” said Sproull. “This non-profit community radio station provides a great service to El Dorado County on both FM Radio and streaming internet. Sometimes we forget that Georgetown is a part of El Dorado County. We are dedicated to that population in El Dorado County.”

KFOK Radio broadcast on FM station 95.1. The community radio station is operated by the American Folk Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and promoting the education of contemporary, traditional and multicultural folk music, folklore and folk dance in the Sierra Foothills centered around the Georgetown Divide. For more information visit their website at or give them a call at 530-333-4335.

The Food Bank was founded in 2000 and is the largest collaborative charity in El Dorado County. The Food Bank is in partnership with over 30  local emergency food response sites provides assistance on a daily basis from distribution centers that are strategically placed throughout El Dorado County.  For further information, please contact our web site,  or call us them (530) 621-9950.

Appetite Control and Smoking Abatement

Written on December 7, 2012 at 12:23 pm, by

This information courtesy of :

Chap. Dr. Richard Ward., JCD., PHD
Holistic Medical Hypnoanalyst
Mediator & NLP Professional


A Brief Explanation of NLP.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming, (NLP) is a study of human excellent. By identifying in others the essential
characteristics of exceptional talent, successful attitudes and empowering beliefs, you can learn them yourself.

NLP is the study of the structure of subjective experience. NLP holds that people think and act based on their internal representations of the world and not on the world itself. Once we understand specifically, how we create and maintain our inner thoughts and feelings, it is a simple matter for us to change them to more useful ones.

NLP was first developed in the early 1970s by an information scientist, Richard Bandler and a linguistics professor, John Grinder. From their studies of successful people, they created a way to analyze and transfer human excellent, resulting in the most powerful, practical psychology ever developed.

NLP is a practical application of how people think, Described as “soft for your brain” it allows you to automatically tap into the kinds of experiences you want to have.

You can create your own future, and you can have choices about your feelings, especially when it matters most. A state-of–the art communications method for nurturing personal and professional growth. NLP creates an environment for graceful personal change.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming Sessions for “SMOKING ABATEMENT”

Why Smoke? Do you have enough willpower to stop smoking? No! You don’t! Like moods and emotions,
willpower fluctuates. On a down day you will go back to the habit which in the past you thought made you feel better. It didn’t and it won’t. Its most positive contribution may be to help your heirs collect your life insurance earlier, if it isn’t needed to pay heavy hospital coasts.

“After having worked with literally thousands of smokers, I can say that there is a physical addiction to
cigarettes, and it is so minute and so small that it can be discounted completely”

Effecting a cure
A. “The willingness and true desire to quit is essential. One must decide to quit now and throw cigarettes away along with lighters and all smoking accessories. Tapering off rarely works! Quitting is just a decision!”

B. “Utilize Neuro-Linguistic Programming to create positive mental attitudes and eliminate the tension that causes the oral cravings.”

C. “Disassociate the habit from the activities and locations that stimulate it thru NLP.”

Below is a letter to Physician on his Patient’s Progress Tells the story, (names have been changed due to confidentiality)  Neuro-Linguistic Programming Sessions for “APPETTITE CONTROL”

John Doe, M.D.
29 Medical Lane
Sacramento, California, 94285

Dear Dr. Doe,

I have been working with your patient per your referral for appetite control and would like to advise you of
your patient’s progress. On our initial consultation John reported general feelings of anxiety which caused him to feel uncomfortable and made it difficult to fall asleep. In addition, his appetite was out of control and he was binging on sweets and snack foods between meals.

I began our Neuro-Linguistic Programming sessions by age regressing John to an earlier time in his life
where he first learned to respond to stress by eating. In addition I learned that eating excessively offers your patient several other secondary gains (positive outcomes). John was helped to make a subjective change to past learning’s with a technique called a change of history. I then helped John to alter thoughts and memories that have been creating anxiety for him so that he could feel more relaxed. On subsequent sessions I helped to reprogram stimulus response patterns so that repeated experiences that were causing anxiety now trigger relaxation instead. John also learned to use this technique to change his response to food from one of compulsion to one of rejection.

At this point John reports that he feels much more relaxed and as a result is sleeping much better. He no longer has feelings of hunger or any compulsion to eat. He has eliminated between meal snacks and says he feels full on much less food. Your patient has begun an exercise program and his weight has gone from 200 lbs. to 181 in the past month.

Thank you for allowing me to participate in your patient’s health care.


Chap. Dr. Richard Ward, J.C.D., PH.D
St. John’s Management Group, PI 19688
A Business and Industrial Chaplaincy
Post Office Drawer 1200, Pollock Pines, CA 95726, USA

530-644-4588 or 916-812-9706

Lorine Cosens Petty shares her memories of Caldor

Written on December 4, 2012 at 11:23 am, by

I graduated from El Dorado High School on June 12, 1952. Wanting to further my education, I decided to go to Sacramento Junior College that fall. However, being a country girl, I did not like Sacramento or the fog. So after the first semester I decided to move back home. My Dad worked at Caldor Lumber Company and one day he came home and said, “Why don’t you go down to Caldor and talk to Mr. Price? They are looking for a part-time girl to work in the sales office.” So, the very next day I did just that. Mr. Price who was the General Manager interviewed me and said, “Can you come to work Monday  morning?” That was the end of March 1953 and from that day on I worked steady, my part-time job turned into a full time job. My salary was $232.00 per month, which seemed like a lot of money back then.

I worked in the sales office, which as an office on the south side of the building. Mr. Loren Hall was my boss,  his right hand lady was Mrs. Josephine Sammer. She showed me how to figure the lumber tallies and I did most of the invoicing. I remember the calculator that we used was a big cumbersome thing, far different than those of today. Two of Caldor’s biggest customers were McIlvain & McIlvain Lumber Company in New York, their lumber was shipped by rail. The J.E.Higgins Lumber Company in Los Angeles was the second most valued customer, their lumber was shipped by truck.

Mr. Chalmers G. Price, the General Manager had his office just off the big front office. In the front office was Miss Adele Landis, Mr. Price’s Secretary; Bron Smith, the Office Manager; Miss Josephine Tirepelle, Payroll Clerk and Bookkeeper; Mr. William T. Henderson, the Plant Supervisor. In the winter time Elvis Ferguson had a desk in the front office, he was the dispatcher fro the trains.

The trains were very much a part of Caldor’s operation and had been for many years. However, the trains quit running in the spring of 1953. Trucks now did what the trains did for many years. John S. Hocking was the main guy. He had a few trucks of his own, and the rest he sublet.

I was always very sorry that I didn’t get to see more of the train activity. I remember when we were in high school waiting for the bus at the corner of Oak Hill and Pleasant Valley Roads, and the trains coming by and we would wave  and the engineer would blow the whistle. I was trying to remember recently how many time the trains crossed Pleasant Valley Road on the way to the Mill. I believe there were 3 crossings and then they crossed Highway 49. Sure wouldn’t be fitting with the traffic on Pleasant Valley Road and Highway 49 today! My Dad, Ralph Cosens worked in the car shop (rail cars) from 1934 until 1956. Arlie Smith was his boss. Mr. Smith was the Master Mechanic in charge of the engines and rail cars. I suppose one of Dad’s finest accomplishments was when he and Howard Wider, under the supervision of Arlie Smith, built a switch engine. It was a beauty.

I worked for Caldor until they sold to Winton Lumber Company in the winter of 1956. Caldor was a wonderful place to work and the people were all so nice.      ~Lorene Cosens Petty, Placerville



Healing Principles of Herbs with Dr. Deb Saturday January 12, 2013

Written on December 4, 2012 at 10:53 am, by

Healing Principles of Herbs with Deborahe (Dr Deb) Prock. Saturday, January 12, 2013 10:00 am – 3:00 pm. Class: $35 Book: $15 book purchase not required. Reservations must be made in advance – Contact Dr Deb at 530-622-1124 or Pizza lunch provided. Learn: How local plants may be used to heal. The different forms herbs may be used for healing: teas, tinctures, creams, capsules. To read the energy of the palm to determine the body’s weaknesses and select the appropriate healing herb. Herbs that may help with weight loss. Demonstrations: Tea, it’s not just for drinking. Making tinctures. Making herbal oil to use in creams, salves and cooking. Compounding formulas for capsules. Tasty lip balms, easy herbal creams. Making Glycerin soap. Herbal Energetics – muscle testing. **Of course everyone goes home with samples of cream, salve and soap. Journey Center 3976 Durock Rd., Ste 106 Shingle Springs. ~Tell ‘em The Windfall sent you!

Attention Seniors!

Written on December 4, 2012 at 10:50 am, by

Emergency Heating and Cooling Services

The El Dorado County Health and Human Services Agency, Home Energy Assistance Program has emergency heating and cooling (ECHS) funding available to assist eligible El Dorado and Alpine County households with the emergency repair, replacement and new installation for certain heating and cooling appliances and water heating appliances.

To qualify for EHCS services, households must meet program eligibility guidelines and meet specific program income criteria.

To learn more about the El Dorado County Health and Human Services ECHS Program or to see if you qualify, please call 530-621-6333.

Get Informed, Get the Senior Times

The Senior Times contains information about health and wellness, nutrition news, articles on Medicare and Social Security, and events being held around the community. If you are over 55, this is the newspaper for you! The Senior Times also includes a calendar of weekly activities, announcements on one day and overnight trips and wonderful vacation getaways to destinations all over the world. We would like to invite you to enjoy a complimentary copy of the Senior Times. Please call the El Dorado County Department of Human Services, Senior Times Program at (530) 621-6255 to receive your free copy. Yearly subscriptions are also available for a $5.00 donation, please send your name, address and $5 to: Senior Times, 937 Spring Street, Placerville, CA 95667.

YANA-You Are Not Alone

Being alone is one of the greatest fears older adults have as they grow older. The You Are Not Alone (YANA) Program has been credited with saving the lives of many older adults. This FREE service allows older adults to find comfort and security knowing that someone will be checking in on them on a daily basis and in the event something does happen, family or friends will be notified. The enrollment process is easy and it provides the senior with two-morning flexible calling schedules and multiple contacts in the event of an emergency.  To learn more about this service, please call the YANA Program at 530-621-6255. This program is made possible by a coordinated effort between the EDC Department of Human Services and the EDC Sheriffs Department STAR Volunteers.

 Blackhawk Museum

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

The El Dorado County Senior Activities Program announces Blackhawk Museum on Wednesday, January 9th 2013. Travel by charted motorcoach to Walnut Creek and enjoy lunch at Northern Italian inspired, Massimo Ristorante.  After lunch, visit the Blackhawk Museum, a spectacular 70,000 square foot, three story architectural masterpiece showcasing rolling sculptures in a unique “jewel box” setting. The museum houses around ninety classic cars and features a 1924 Hispano-Suiza H6C made of tulipwood, a 1962 JFK limousine and a Chinese Hongqi as well as to cars designed to suit the Maharajah.  Cost is $89 per person.  For more information, please call Star Walker at 621-6255 or e-mail at


Thursday, January 24th, 2013

The El Dorado County Senior Activities Program announces Esquire Imax Theatre on Wednesday, January 9th 2013. Travel by charted motorcoach to Sacramento and have lunch at the Old Spaghetti Factory.  After lunch, enjoy two performances at the Esquire IMAX Theatre.  See “Born to be Wild” an inspiring story of love, dedication and the remarkable bond between humans and animals.  This film documents orphaned orangutans and elephants and the extraordinary people who rescue and raise them. Next is “To the Artic”, an extraordinary journey to a place of extremes that few ever dare go. In this film, you’ll venture across floating ice with a mother polar bear and cubs, travel with a herd of caribou, plunge underwater with walruses and gaze across snow-bound peaks. Cost is $60 per person. For more information, please call Star Walker at 621-6255 or e-mail at

 Star Walker
El Dorado County
Health and Human Services Agency
Area Agency on Aging PSA 29
Tele: 530-621-6255
Fax: 530-295-2581

Visit our Website at:

Friendship Cards…’old school’ social media

Written on December 3, 2012 at 2:08 pm, by

My grandmother passed away last year and until recently I did not have the time to go through a box of keepsakes that I inherited from her. Last weekend, while digging in the garage to find Christmas decorations, I stumbled upon it. With a fresh cup of hot coffee, I sat down and opened the dusty old box. It was like stepping back in time. Inside I found an old red velvet album with brass-bound corners and a beautiful clasp. As I opened the album, I found a colorful collection of little cards that did not belong to my grandmother, but my great grandmother who was born in 1900. I discovered that these cards were called “friendship cards”, little colorful greetings once exchanged among family and friends. Before texting and Facebook, this was how you expressed your friendship. Many of them had little handwritten notes on them describing who gave them to her and for what occasion. She had a lot of friends! Birthday wishes, Christmas wishes, get well wishes and some of them were for no occasion at all. Some of them were from beau’s. They had dainty artwork, beautiful embossing and a few had ribbon attached. All of them were brightly colored and very detailed. I had such a wonderful time going through these keepsakes that my coffee went cold. It was fun discovering these treasures and I am grateful my grandmother chose me as the recipient of these memories she cherished too. ~Rosie Baxter, Cool Ca.

Ocean’s of Suds…thank you, no!

Written on December 3, 2012 at 2:05 pm, by

I was 6 in 1946 and I remember this story as told to me by my grandmother Bitsy, who attended church in Placerville. The church was heated by a coal furnace and the coal was stored in the church basement. Needless to say, when the coal was placed down the chute, the dust from it went everywhere. So the ladies of the parish, including my grandmother, would gather every spring to do “spring cleaning” and get rid of the mess. Believe it or not, the church did not have running water at that time so the men of the parish had to bring in big buckets of water. The ladies gathered and Bitsy started spreading an entire box of soap flakes all over the floor, a brand new product on the market. They started scrubbing away and as the water was added, the suds from the soap flakes grew, and grew and grew. The ladies frantically tried adding more water to wash it all down the drain, and as they added more water, the soaps grew even higher! Pretty soon they were covered in suds up to their knees. Finally they looked at the box of soap flakes…it was a new product called Tide. In fact, it promised, “Oceans of Suds”!  It was meant for use in washing machines for clothing. After the laughter died down, the ocean subsided, Bitsy’s face turned a little less red from embarrassment and she promised to go back to good ole’ fashioned lye soap or cake soap to do the job next time. That basement was never cleaner though!  ~Frederick Murphy, Diamond Springs


Written on December 3, 2012 at 2:01 pm, by

Greenwood was originally called “Long Valley” and it was at this location, about five miles south of Georgetown on the road between Georgetown and Cave Valley, that Caleb Greenwood, with his sons Britain and John, opened a trading post in 1848 or early 1849.

Soon thereafter the first general store was opened by Lewis B. Myers, Nathan Fairbanks and Louis Lane. Unfortunately, Lane soon passed away and a butcher named William Crone was taken on as a partner to replace him.

On the 25th of March in 1850, a son was born to Mr. and Mrs. Myers and for a time the town was called Lewisville (Louisville) after him, the first child born in the township.

The Louisville Post Office was established about six months prior to July 28, 1851, the date when the first postmaster, George C. Blodgett, was confirmed by Washington, D.C. On Oct. 9, 1852 the Louisville Post Office had its name changed to Greenwood to avoid confusion with other towns with the same name.

Much earlier than this, soon after gold was first discovered in Coloma, a gentleman by the name of Cuthbert Nattrass arrived in the area and found gold in Illinois Canyon, which lies to the north of Georgetown. A lead miner from Wisconsin, he had left his family with his brother and struck out to see what California was all about. He arrived in Los Angeles in late 1847 (quite likely in the company of Kit Carson) and had made it to Monterey by Christmas of that year. It was there that he heard of Marshall’s discovery and set out for Coloma. As winter approached he took his gold and headed back to Wisconsin. But that is not the last that California was to see of Mr. Nattrass.

In Wisconsin he had a hotel built and disassembled for shipping. In 1850 he, the hotel, and his family, including a newborn son, boarded a ship for Panama. Crossing the isthmus by burro, they caught a ship to San Francisco where they loaded everything and everybody on a riverboat which carried them up the river to Sacramento. Once in Sacramento, he traded the riverboat for wagons and teams by which they and the hotel reached Greenwood.

The hotel was soon up and in the fall of 1850, the Hoboken House opened for business at a location (now Sliger Mine Road) that Nattrass had selected on this first trip to California. Later the hotel became a school and, around the turn of the century, burned to the ground.

A second hotel, the Penobscott House was built in 1851 and, for the next three years, belonged to L. Myers. It was then bought by Page and Lovejoy, who also owned the line of stages from Georgetown to Sacramento, by way of Pilot Hill and Salmon Falls. Mr. Page had higher aspirations and a few decades later was the representative of the Second Congressional District of California in Washington D.C.

By 1854, the town had become quite populated and when the fight to relocate the county seat from Coloma commenced, the citizens of Greenwood added their town to the ballot and made quite a race of it. Coloma received the most votes, but Placerville ended up as the county seat because of some “irregularities” in the vote counting.

Between the years of 1851 and 1857, “Judge Lynch” made several appearances in Greenwood Valley, favoring one large oak tree that stood in the middle of town. His first victim was a James Graham who had shot a well respected Mr. Lesly.

A couple of years later, he was followed by a Samuel Allen who had brutally murdered a William Shay that the townsfolk forcibly took him from the officer and hanged him forthwith.

In 1858, a fire started in an ash barrel in Charles Nagle’s (also Nagler) home, burning the entire business section of town. On February 3, 1876, a box filled with combustibles was found aflame in front of Felice (Felix) Ricci’s store. Fortunately, Charles Nagle’s watchdog awaked a sleeping clerk and the fire was soon extinguished. Arson was suspected because, a little over two years later, on June 3, 1878, the premises of both Nagle and Ricci were again set on fire and some $16,000 worth of residences, stores and contents were destroyed.

Filling pages and pages of history, only a few of which have been touched on here, the small town of Greenwood played an extraordinarily important part in the early history of El Dorado County.

Special thanks to my friend and former El Dorado County Supervisor, Joseph V. Flynn, for the information on his great grandfather, Cuthbert Nattrass.

Sources for this story also include: “History of California Post Offices, 1849-1976″, researched by H. E. Salley (1976); “History of California”, by Theodore Hittell (1897); “California Gold Camps”, by Erwin Gudde (1975); “California Place Names”, by Erwin Gudde, 3rd Edition (1974); “Mother Lode of Learning – One Room Schools of El Dorado County” by Retired Teachers Association of El Dorado County (1990); “I Remember…, Stories and pictures of El Dorado County pioneer families”, researched and written by Betty Yohalem (1977); and the “History of El Dorado County, by Paolo Sioli (1883), reprinted and indexed by the El Dorado Friends of the Library (1998).

Tale of the Dog

Written on December 3, 2012 at 1:58 pm, by

“Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.” ~Otto von Bismarck

We are very lucky in having quite a number of places that serve great hot dogs: Shoestring, Hangtown Hot Dogs, Buttercup Pantry (even deep fried), Old Town Grill (a circular dog) and Skeeters in Pollock Pines, just to name a few. However, now and then I go outside the area just to compare.

About three months ago I wrote about a visit my friend, Russ Salazar, and I made to try several hot dogs in the Sacramento area. It was not the first time, as a few months before that we had travelled to Capitol Dawgs, at 1226 20th Street in Sacramento, where we had enjoyed several of their offerings.

I gave Capitol Dawgs an “A” for variety. They have eight kinds of dogs from regular to turkey and veggie, most of which you can have grilled or deep fried and served 25 or more different ways.

We tried a “Prop 51 Dawg” (Chicago style), “Delta Dawg” (West Virginia style with mustard, chili, onions and cole slaw) and the “Governor Dawg” (their own Texas Tommy style with a deep fried American and Swiss cheese stuffed beef frank wrapped in bacon, cheddar cheese, cheddar cheese sauce and tomato). They were all good (Salazar was not wild about the cole slaw on the dog), but I need to return to try several more.

Our second trip involved a visit to three places: Weiner Works, Parkers of Santa Cruz and Sonic.

The Wiener Works is located at 5207 Madison Avenue, near Auburn Blvd. For over 20 years it has been in the same location. They take cash only, are a bit pricy, have no WiFi and, as someone commented, really haven’t given the place a thorough cleaning since they opened. On the plus side, the food is great, they steam their dogs in beer and, I’m told, they either make their own sausages or have them made for them.

They have lots of different sausages in different sizes, but we stayed small and ordered a chili dog and, something different, a red cabbage (cooked) and cheese dog, both of which we liked.

Parker’s of Santa Cruz is located in Roseville at 1604A Douglas Blvd (by Office Depot). Their dogs are “Old Fashioned Foot long 100% Beef” and more reasonable than those at Wiener Works.

We ordered a “Pick-Me-Up Chili Dog,” and a Ruben Dog. When we got the food, we commented to each other, “Who puts all these beans in the chili for a chili dog?”

The dogs were solid and good, the buns were good and the kraut on the Ruben dog was tasty and not so juicy that it soaked through. But, shouldn’t a Ruben dog have Russian or 1000 island dressing, not just kraut and cheese?

Sonic – America’s Drive-In” is also in Roseville, at 913 Pleasant Grove Blvd, and is a real drive-in, with carhops on roller skates (some of them). They also have some outside tables, which is where we chose to sit.

Their specials at the time were Wholly Guacamole Dog and the Chili Cheese Fritos Coney. We ordered one of each and asked for water to drink (25 cents – but it was a big cup and came with ice, a cover and a straw). The dogs (and the napkins) are a bit skimpy, but what do you expect for under three bucks and two bucks respectively? Both the dogs were okay (the Wholly Guacamole Dog was best), but more than a bit salty and soft. Overall they were worth the cost.

Last week we added to our list and visited two new places for dogs: Burgerocity and The Wienery.

Burgerocity is located at 157 Iron Point Road in Folsom, next to the Folsom Premium Outlets. They specialize in fresh, Certified Hereford Beef burgers (which we also tried), but we were there to try a hot dog. We selected a Chicago Dog and, to accompany it, their Texas Chile Fries.

The Chicago Dog had a nice firm hot dog, but the bun needed to have been warmed, since both it and the burger bun were cold (the burger could have also used a bit more sauce). The fries were very good, even though the chili had a few beans (we think they use Delores Chili like Tommy’s in Southern California). A real plus for the place is both pump catsup and mustard for your fries. Give them a call at 916-351-5777 or visit for more information. ~Be sure you tell ‘em Doug Noble from The Windfall sent you!

The Wienery is located at 715 65th Street in “East” Sacramento, tucked away in the Elvas Shopping Center. The restaurant has been there for 45 years, 29 as a hot dog place (counter with stools and a few tables). Their motto is” “We still cut the mustard.”

They use a long, Casper-like, casing dog that, along with the buns, is steamed. We split a Windy City Dog and a Chili Dog, both of which were very good. The Windy City Dog was their version of a Chicago Dog and the Chili Dog came open faced and is served on a real plate with a real knife and fork (grab lots of napkins).

They also have daily specials and soup. They used to make hot dog gumbo (a family recipe), but don’t anymore.  For more information and directions (you will need them) call 916-455-0497 or visit  ~Be sure you tell ‘em Doug Noble from The Windfall sent you!

I survived Black Friday…

Written on December 3, 2012 at 1:45 pm, by

About this time last week, I was preparing to head off for a night of camping outside of my local Target store for my first Black Friday experience. Everything went as planned, and I left Target minus$260.00, but infinitely happier nonetheless. And I made a few friends along the way. Or so I thought. Here is the rundown:

I expected hoards of people, camping out in the parking lot in anticipation of this big sale. After all, the news coverage told me it would be total mayhemI got there Wednesday night, preparing for the 9pm Thursday opening. Needless to say, I was the first person there. I set up “camp” at the head of the line. As the night drew on, the few people that were as crazy as I was began to arrive. Most of them were young couples, living on a small budget, looking to find a huge TV at a bargain price, and I can’t blame them. I myself, was after a PS3. I think one of my mistakes was not bringing enough to entertain myself with while I waited, but thankfully these couples brought plenty of stuff to keep us all busy. During the night, I got to know Austin and Haley, John and Sabrina, and a couple others pretty well. Austin brought his iPad, with which we watched The Hangover 1 and 2. Sabrina brought Monopoly, and thanks to the vast amount of time we got to spend together, we actually had enough time to finish a whole game. We also played poker and blackjack thanks to someone in line that brought cards and poker chips. The time passed rather quickly, and before we all knew it, it was 9pm Thursday. Time for the store to open, open, open!

Because I was in front of the line, I had no people to push through as I entered the store. But, the people behind me sure tried to push through me. The same young couples I had just spent the past 18 hours with raced by me as they ran search of their desires in the electronic department. We were all strangers again. And yet, I still had a really good time. I got the item I wanted at a price that isn’t available the rest of the year, and I can officially say I’ve done Black Friday shopping. Although, I do not recommend seeing the Hangover 2. It was terrible.

Where’s Windfall? Here, There, Everywhere

Written on November 30, 2012 at 7:08 pm, by

Here, There, Everwhere!
2012 Crab and Chowder Gala, Grand Opening of the El Dorado County Food Bank Administration Facility, Crocker Art Museum – Celebrating Annual CARE Reception with Wells Fargo, Ribbon Cutting Ceremony of the U.S. 50 Missouri Flat Rd Interchange Project and U.S. 50 HOV Lanes Project completion, EDC Chamber Mixer at David Girard Vineyards.

Pursuit Dynamics, LLC

Written on November 23, 2012 at 6:31 pm, by

Pursuit Dynamics
Pursuit Dynamics LLC., offers competitive pricing on a full range of emergency and agency vehicle outfitting, including light bars, sirens, prisoner restraint, communications and collision repair.

The Christmas Season Arrives

Written on November 21, 2012 at 3:53 pm, by

Our household, like most others on our street, consisted of three generations. It was a result of the Great Depression, where people in my parent’s generation were not able to afford their own home and with children in tow, simply moved in with their parents. Therefore, for most of my life I lived with my father and brother in my paternal grandparent’s home. It was crowded, especially when my aunt, uncle and cousin joined us for a while, but always wonderful, creating an enriched childhood for me, especially during the holiday seasons.

Christmas at our house started the weekend after Thanksgiving when the men in the family, my grandfather, father, brother and I, piled into my father’s black, 1941 Buick sedan and went looking for a Christmas tree. No, we didn’t take an axe or saw and head to the woods, we lived in Southern California and were simply off to a Christmas tree lot. Usually the lot was at a large grocery store (supermarket wasn’t a word then) where huge bundles of fir trees were being unloaded from giant trucks into rapidly growing piles in the parking lot.

The four of us, with my grandfather orchestrating every move, exited the car and we two youngest grabbed trees one-by-one from the pile marked “six to seven feet” and stood each one upright for my father and grandfather (mostly my grandfather) to judge. We jealously eyed the “rich” people contemplating the Silver Tip trees, which cost an outrageous fifty cents a foot, while we went through what seemed like hundreds of common fir trees, dropping each one back onto the pile after hearing words from my grandfather like, “too crooked,” “not full enough” and “it’s flat on one side.” Finally, one of us came across what my grandfather said was “the tree” – the best in the pile by far.

My father paid for the tree, which usually cost under a dollar, and we prepared to take it home. We thought about putting it in the car’s trunk and tying a red flag to it’s tip or tying it to the top of the car, like most people did, but that could damage it. We had a better way to get it home. We two kids stuck our arms out the car’s windows and held it tight against the side of the car as my father carefully drove home, just daring to be stopped by a policeman.

We bought just the tree, the wooden stand cost another quarter. Besides, my grandfather was a carpenter who could build anything out of wood and always reminded us that he still had last year’s stand – somewhere.

Home at last, without interference from the police, we called to my grandmother to come see the tree while my grandfather went looking for last year’s tree stand. While my grandmother was telling us that it was the most beautiful Christmas tree she had ever seen my grandfather would give up looking for last year’s stand and make another one out of “something” he had lying around.

Having spent most of his life as a carpenter, my grandfather had an amazing set of ancient carpenter tools to use for this purpose. Perhaps set is the wrong word, a collection would be better. He had piles of tools that modern carpenters wouldn’t even recognize, all tucked away in an long, oiled wooden carpenter’s box that had a carrying rope which fit over his shoulder. Of course, the first thing he needed was a hammer and there was never one to be found amongst the tools. Hammers always seemed to be somewhere else, usually set aside after having served as a tomahawk for the latest session of “Cowboys and Indians.” Nails were another thing.

My grandfather had a collection of nails. Nails, to him, were treasure. If he saw one in the street, he picked it up and put it in his pocket to take home, straighten and put in a coffee can for future use. They cost real money when he was in the business, and he remembered that.

Once the stand was completed, the base of the tree was cut level – after two or three tries and lots of loud discussion – and the stand was firmly nailed on with no less than four huge nails.

Most bridges weren’t that secure and the stand was on the tree for eternity, unless of course, it had to be taken off and the tree re-cut because the tree proved to be too tall for the house.

We proudly carried the tree into the house, in an operation fully choreographed by my grandfather, where it was stood up in the corner of the living room and bent as it hit the ceiling because it was always too tall. Six to seven foot trees were always at least nine feet tall. We knew that, but we never learned – or maybe we never cared – because it was part of the ceremony.

Knocking over at least two objects that my grandmother cherished in the process, we took the tree outside again, hammered the stand off and cut a few more inches off the bottom of the tree. Once the stand was reattached, we marched the tree back into the house, where it finally stood in the corner, always leaning badly to one side. We shimmed it, bent it, pushed and shoved it, and, finally brought it to straight by fastening it to nails in the wall – nails left over from previous years – with fishing line.

Usually at that point, Blackie, the dog that belonged to the Johnsons next door but often came to our house to eat, chase mice and have puppies, would get up from her favorite spot near the gas heater, sniff around the tree and go back to sleep, apparently giving her approval. With that, we were ready for the lights.

Christmas lights used to come in strings in which if one burned out, they all went out. Of course, ours never worked the first time we tried them in spite of the fact that they worked when we put them away the year before, and we would have to remove each bulb and replace it with a good one we bought last year at the after- Christmas sale (frugal we were). For some reason the bulbs shaped like a snowman or Santa Claus, which were ancient even in the 1950s, always seemed to work and never burned out. A comment about this always brought out the “they don’t make things like they used to” statement from my grandfather.

Once the working lights were on the tree, my grandfather would get out his ancient extension cord – the scariest extension cord you ever saw. It wasn’t red, green, black or even brown, it was made of twisted wires covered in a badly worn tan cloth with a poorly replaced plug on one end and on the other end a brass socket which had a turn-switch, that sometimes, but not often, worked. That is what made it scary, since when you turned the switch, it made funny, popping electrical sounds and even smelled a little. Thank God that is all that happened.

Finally, plug lights into cord, plug cord into wall plug, carefully turn switch and…nothing. Somehow, in the time between when we had tested the lights and that moment, the bulbs had loosened, burned out or maybe just given up.

After fixing the lights and putting the tree-topper in place, my grandmother went to a drawer in her bureau for the first ornament. No, it wasn’t the Christmas tree candle holders which has been banned from use for years, those were in a drawer in the kitchen and although she would let me put them on the tree, lighting the candles was forbidden. What she was after was an ornament that she had received on her birthday – her real birthday – in 1878. It was glass, blue, about five inches across and must have been a quarter of an inch thick. It weighed half a pound or more. She carefully hung it on a large branch, close to the trunk of the tree, where it would be safe from everything and everyone, including Blackie, who often wobbled the tree while trying to nibble on candy canes or strung popcorn and cranberries.

With that ornament in place, the Christmas season was here.

Georgia Slide

Written on November 21, 2012 at 3:43 pm, by

Many history books paint the incorrect picture that until Marshall picked up a few flakes of gold at Coloma in 1848, gold mining was unknown in the United States. But, this is far from true.

In Southern California, at a place called Placerita Canyon, gold had been discovered and mined, to some extent, several years before Marshall even arrived in Coloma. But, even before that, in 1828 a significant gold discovery had occurred in the state of Georgia, near a town named Dahlonega. This town had its own gold rush and soon became the center for gold miners in the southeast. The discovery of gold at Coloma drew almost all of these miners west, leaving Georgia and its gold almost forgotten.

It was these experienced Georgia miners who were some of the earliest in the gold fields of California and who brought with them, and fortunately shared with others, much of the needed mining knowledge and experience. It is also these men who left their name on numerous mining towns in California’s Mother Lode – Georgia Slide, northwest of Georgetown, being but one of them.

The town of Georgia Slide (originally known as Georgia Flat and Georgia Flatts until a large landslide occurred at the site), had its beginning in the fall of 1849, when several miners from Georgia staked out claims along Canyon Creek, planning on working them the next spring.  By the middle of 1850 Georgia Slide had become a lively mining camp with a saloon owned by one Yankee Sullivan and a store first owned by B. Spencer, a brother to Patrick Spencer of Georgetown, and later, G. F. Barklage, who also had a saloon and a large warehouse.

The community never reached the size needed to have a Post Office or a school of its own, relying on other communities in the Georgetown area for these services.

The gold in the Georgia Slide area was in what are called “seam deposits”, which were in one inch to one foot wide veins of gold bearing quartz within the highly weathered rock.

At first, gold was easily picked up from the surface or in the streams, where it had been deposited when the surrounding rock weathered away. Placer mining of these deposits continued where feasible. However, where the material had not been weathered sufficiently, a number of tunnels were dug, in an attempt to follow the quartz veins.

Tunneling was replaced in 1853 by the newest mining process of the day: hydraulic mining – a popular mining method that would continue until 1895, when the State Legislature banned it because of its claimed silting effect on the Sacramento River and its tributaries.

The first mine to use the hydraulic method in the Georgia Slide area was the Beattie claim on the south side of Canyon Creek. In 1853, the owners of the claim, three Scotsmen named George, Daniel and John Beattie, brought water by ditch from Canyon Creek, North Canyon and Dark Canyon, and then piped it into huge nozzles, which washed the gold bearing materiel into long sluices where the gold was captured.

Two other claims, the Blue Rock and Pacific, would also use this process to remove the gold and later, along with the Mulvey Point and Parson mines, would be consolidated with the Beattie to become the Georgia Slide mine.

Because only about one-half of the gold was removed by the hydraulic mining process, miners often worked the gravel downstream of these operations.

From 1896 to 1934, the Gold Bug (Canyon Creek) mine did just this, processing the detritus and tailings of the Georgia Slide Mine,  along with some virgin gravels,  along a four mile section of Canyon Creek. This mine is reported to have recovered some $1,500,000 in gold during this 38 year period.

It is estimated that 3,500,000 cubic yards of material were removed from the Georgia Slide mine by the hydraulic process, leaving a huge open pit about 1000 feet long and nearly 600 feet wide. $6,500,000 of gold, at $16 to $35 an ounce, was removed.

After the laws against hydraulic mining were enforced, the water that flowed in the ditches to the mines continued to be used for other types of mining, and also diverted for agriculture and even domestic purposes. There are even reports of the water in the ditches being used to carry fire wood to town from the forest, thereby saving the labor of hauling it in by wagon.

No one is sure how much gold remains in the tailings at Georgia Slide, was overlooked in the gravel of the creeks or still lies untouched in the ground. Perhaps Georgia Slide is still the largest unmined deposit of seam gold in El Dorado County.

Sources for this story include: “History of California,” by Theodore Hittell (1897); “California Gold Camps,” by Erwin Gudde (1975); “California Place Names,” by Erwin Gudde, 3rd Edition (1974); “I Remember…, Stories and pictures of El Dorado County  pioneer families,”researched and written by Betty Yohalem (1977); “Mines and Mineral Resources of El Dorado County, California,” California Division of Mines (1956); “Georgia Slide and the Pacific Mine on the North Side” and “Georgia Slide once a busy community,” both compiled and arranged by Peg Presba (1996); “History of El Dorado County,” by Paolo Sioli (1883), reprinted and indexed by the El Dorado Friends of the Library (1998) and the wonderful people at the reference desk of the El Dorado County Main Library.

Gold Hill

Written on November 21, 2012 at 3:41 pm, by

Gold Hill is one of the more common names for early Gold Rush towns in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Towns with this name are found in Amador County, Calaveras County (several towns), Mariposa County, Placer County, Nevada County (two towns), El Dorado County and perhaps even more counties. In fact, there were so many, that the San Francisco’s “Alta California” newspaper of December 17, 1855 states that the citizens of El Dorado County’s Gold Hill had changed the name from Gold Hill to Granite Hill in order to avoid the enormous confusion that had resulted from this proliferation of towns with the same name. In spite of this confusion, the name would soon change back to Gold Hill.

The actual town of Gold Hill was located near the intersection of Gold Hill Road and Cold Springs Road. However, today the name Gold Hill is generally associated with that portion of El Dorado County between Coloma and Gold Hill Road on the north and south and Highway 49 and Lotus Road on the east and west.

During its heyday Gold Hill was one of the county’s larger mining towns. With more than 1000 residents – albeit temporary – it boasted banking and telegraph facilities, hotels, bars, stores and even a daily stage coach to and from Sacramento.

The miners that lived around Gold Hill found gold most everywhere they looked. They were on top of an ancient river bed, that ran in a north-south direction, and the many ravines, creeks and even open fields, often gave up riches to those willing to work for it.

Although it wasn’t fully developed until much later in the 20th century, one of the larger gold mines in the area was the Funny Bug (Pendelco) mine, which was located south of Gold Hill Road, just north of Weber Creek. It was an underground mine, developed by crosscuts from a 200 foot deep shaft.

What the area around Gold Hill had, that was missing from many other early mining towns, was fairly level, fertile soil and a “banana belt” climate which made it an excellent place for the growing and raising the tons of food needed to feed the hungry population in the many mining camps of California and Nevada. This is one of the major reasons that brought many families to Gold Hill.

As the population grew, the town needed a school, so on February 4, 1858, the Gold Hill School was organized. In 1897 it was destroyed by a tornado that carried parts of the building and its contents as far away as Pleasant Valley, miles on the other side of Placerville. For some unexplained reason, the school’s piano was spared and stood as a monument to the missing building. The school building was rebuilt and used until 1956 when the Cold Springs, Coloma, Springvale and Gold Hill schools became part of the Gold Trail Union School District.

On June 11, 1874, the Cold Springs Post Office was closed and moved to Granite Hill, with William P. Vernon serving as the first postmaster. On February 29, 1908, it was closed and then moved to Coloma.

No story of Gold Hill would be complete without at least a mention of the Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Farm of Gold Hill and a young lady named Okei San.

John Henry (Edward?) Schnell, a Dutch soldier of fortune, had been a longtime confident and adviser to the Lord Katamori Matsudaira of Aizu Wakamatsu, an area in the mountains of northern Japan. Lord Matsudaira choose the losing side in a civil war and believing the honorable thing would be to flee (falling on his own sword – seppuku – was the alternative), sent Schnell to California to make plans for the first organized emigration of Japanese to the United States. Schnell, accompanied by about ten farmers, tradesmen and a few Samurai, arrived in Gold Hill in June of 1869, followed shortly by sixteen more Japanese, including a seventeen year old girl named Okei San, who had been a nursemaid for Schnell and his Japanese wife.

With them they brought thousands of three-year-old mulberry trees for silk farming, tea plants and seeds, large quantities of bamboo roots, wax tree stocks and grape cuttings.

The group settled on 160 acres of land that Schnell had purchased from Charles M. Graner, adjacent to the Veerkamp farm. For a while, everything looked like it was going well, but then the lack of adequate irrigation water and the failure of promised financial assistance from Japan, brought doom within two years. Schnell, accompanied by his Japanese wife and two children, sailed back to Japan, promising to get funds and return. He never returned.

Soon most of the original Japanese settlers returned to Japan or went elsewhere to find work. Finally, only Okei San and Matsunosuke Sakurai were all that remained. The Veerkamp family hired Matsunosuke to work on the farm and Okei as a housemaid. It is said that Okei often went to the top of the hill in the evening to watch the sunset and gaze in the direction of her homeland, patiently waiting for Schnell’s return. In 1871, at the age of nineteen, Okei died, perhaps from malaria contracted on the trip from her homeland or, as many say, from a broken heart.

The land, including her burial site, was recently acquired by the American River Conservancy and is under restoration and preservation. There is a monument to her and the colony on Cold Springs Road, near Gold Trail School.

Once a booming mining town, then a noted agricultural area, Gold Hill soon faded into being just another rural part of the county. However, in recent times it is being reborn as an expanding and very important agricultural area in El Dorado County, where premium wine vineyards flourish alongside acres of fruit orchards – including those bearing oranges and avocados.

Sources for this story include: “History of California Post Offices, 1849-1976″, researched by H. E. Salley (1976); “History of California”, by Theodore Hittell (1897); “California Gold Camps”, by Erwin Gudde (1975); “California Place Names”, by Erwin Gudde, 3rd Edition (1974); “Mother Lode of Learning – One Room Schools of El Dorado County” by Retired Teachers Association of El Dorado County (1990); “I Remember…, Stories and pictures of El Dorado County pioneer families”, researched and written by Betty Yohalem (1977); and the “History of El Dorado County, by Paolo Sioli (1883), reprinted and indexed by the El Dorado Friends of the Library (1998).

Doug Noble visits Loco BBQ Co. in Georgetown

Written on November 21, 2012 at 3:40 pm, by

Loco BBQ Company is a relatively new restaurant in Georgetown that is located at 6259 Main Street, in the old Armory building, a building that was constructed in 1862 for a military group called the Georgetown Blues. But that is another whole story.

Lee Salvidar is the owner, chef and everything else at this small business, although his father, Jesse, comes in to help so he can cater and spend time with his family. Lee is a student in the culinary arts program at American River College, but his expertise in the art of barbecue comes from experience and a good teacher.

“For years I did production lighting for events, but I did do some catering on the side,” said Salvidar. “A good friend of mine, Chef Paul Terry, and I came up the concept for this kind of a restaurant in 2005. I lived in the Bullhead City (AZ)- Laughlin (NV) area at the time and that is where we were going to start the business. He has 25 years experience as a chef had done something similar to this in Houston. Then fate brought me to this area, so I decided to continue with the idea here.

“This is an authentic Memphis smokehouse. Everything is given a dry rub, smoked for hours over hickory until it is perfect, and then served with our homemade sauces on the side. It is not a grill and I do not serve burgers and the like. You can eat here or take your food to go.

“I knew that this was beef and potatoes country, so I added beef brisket to the menu. I had thought about beef ribs, but they have so little meat I decided against them.”

“Chef Paul Terry is now helping me here and we are in the process of opening a second place in Yuba City. We found a perfect building like this one and and right now my father is there getting everything ready. We hope to open in as little as 60 days.

The Loco BBQ menu includes: pulled pig, chicken, beef brisket, turkey leg and baby back ribs; for sides you have a choice of: coleslaw, potato salad, macaroni salad, pit beans (heavenly) and corn of the cob. To accompany your meal they serve lemonade, bottled water, sweet tea, blackberry lemonade and fountain drinks.

You can order meat with one side, two sides or by the pound. Believe me the servings are all generous.

My friend Russ Salazar again accompanied me on our search for the ultimate meal and we shared a Loco Box, with pulled pig, chicken, beef brisket and baby back ribs. We also had a serving of coleslaw, potato salad and macaroni salad to try. About half way through the meal Salvidar brought us some pit beans to try.

We also had a chance to try all four of the sauces and especially liked the House and Chipotle ones.

Everything was very good, Salazar preferred the brisket and I the pulled pig. We both liked the ribs which were extra meaty, but a bit dry (a little more sauce takes care of that). The coleslaw and potato salad were excellent (macaroni salad is not a favorite of either of us) and the beans, well they were to die for. “I soak the beans and then put them in the smoker with the pulled pig,” said Salvidar. “The drippings really make them good (you bet they do!).

“We are a family restaurant in a great community,” added Salvidar. “It isn’t tourism but the community that supports us; without them we couldn’t stay open.

“We have a lot of  events for community groups here in the restaurant and also do a lot of catering of all kinds. Catering is our speciality and we can prepare just what you need for your event, big or small. Right now I am at Jack Russell Brewery in Apple Hill on weekends doing sandwiches.”

Loco BBQ Company is open daily from 11 until 6 (winter hours) and can be reached at 530-333-9535. Also, check out their webpage ~Tell ‘em Doug and The Windfall sent you!

I’m on a mission…

Written on November 21, 2012 at 3:17 pm, by

                As a teen, I don’t have an abundance of spending money. What money  I do earn either goes into my gas tank or my savings account for college. I usually give myself about a budget of 30% from what I make in a month for spending, so I have to be careful. Normally the spending money goes towards food (I’m an In N’ Out addict) or clothing (sweat pants are my favorite garment), but this month is different.

                In September, I decided I no longer wanted to spend all of my money on food and clothing. I thought about Black Friday, and started to save my money. And as I’m writing this on Wednesday, the 21st, I’m preparing for my 1st camp out.

                I’ve saved up about $250 for spending, and over the past week or so, I’ve been scouting out the best places for savings. I’ve settled upon the Best Buy in Folsom. Because they only carry electronics, they cater to a certain demographic, and thus they’ll have less people in line. The item I’m looking for is also being offered at Target and Walmart, so I think Best Buy gives me the best shot of getting it. So tonight (Wednesday), I’m embarking on a trek I’ve never experienced before.

                I’m packing right now. I won’t be bringing that much with me. Pretty much all I’ll be bringing along is a sleeping bag, pillow, a cooler with some sodas and food. I stocked up on Twinkies and Ho Ho’s, so I’ll be utilizing a large percentage of those. So from about midnight tonight to 9 P.M. on Thursday, when Best Buy opens, I’ll be withstanding the weather or whatever the world brings me, for that one item.

                I will report on Mission Black next week. Until then, wish me luck.

Invitation to Bid 11/21/12

Written on November 20, 2012 at 5:42 pm, by


Sealed Bid Proposals will be received at the Food Bank of El Dorado County, 3291
Coach Lane, Cameron Park, California until 3:00 p.m. local time on December 21, 2012, or such
later date as may be set by addendum, for the construction of the following:

Design and Construction (design-build) services for the new El Dorado County Food
Bank Warehouse facility located on Business Drive in Shingle Springs, CA. The Owner
will retain one firm to complete the design and construction of the project. The project
design is approximately 25% complete.

The Contract Documents, including the Project Requirements and the plans and specifications,
for the work, may be examined at the Food Bank office, 3291 Coach Lane, Cameron Park,
California. Up to 2 sets of Bid Documents can be obtained (for a non-refundable fee of $50)
from the Food Bank. Additional sets may be purchased directly through the Food Bank’s
Printer. This information shall be furnished upon request. The Bidder’s attention is directed to
the Project Requirements for complete instructions regarding submission of a bid. The plans and
Documents will be available by November 30, 2012.

Each Bid must be submitted on the prescribed forms and accompanied by cash, a cashier’s check,
certified check or bid bond executed on the prescribed form payable to the District in an amount
not less than 10 percent of the amount bid.

The successful bidder will be required to furnish a payment bond and faithful performance bond
each in the full amount of the Contract price, and insurance with certificates of insurance, as
provided in the Contract Documents. The required bonds must be provided only by a surety
insurer that is duly admitted by the Insurance Commissioner of the State of California.

The successful bidder must possess the following classification or type of contractor’s license
issued by the State Contractor’s License Board: Class ‘B’.

The Food Bank reserves the right to reject all bids. Any bid not conforming to the intent and
purpose of the Contract Documents may be rejected. The District may extend the time to award
the Contract for a period of time which shall not extend beyond 60 days from the bid opening

Dated this 21st day of November, 2012.

Hundreds Show Support of the Food Bank of El Dorado County in Grand Opening Gala

Written on November 19, 2012 at 11:18 am, by


Food Bank of El Dorado County 

  Contact: Bill Sullivan

For Immediate Release                                                                                                                

(530) 621-9950

November 16, 2012                                                                       

Hundreds Show Support of the Food Bank of El Dorado County in Grand Opening Gala

 CAMERON PARK  (11-16-12) – Just a few months ago, the Food Bank of El Dorado County was facing certain challenges in its current facility and Food Bank Founder Mike Sproull reached out to one of organization’s community partners, Wells Fargo to inquire if the large banker would be willing to donate its vacant facility to the Food Bank’s administrative offices.

Thursday night, clearly illustrated the what the Food Bank means to El Dorado County as members of the community turned out in mass to witness of Wells Fargo Bank joined the Food Bank staff and Board of Directors to celebrate the grand opening of the Food Bank’s new administrative offices in Cameron Park and recognize Wells Fargo Bank for their generous donation of the facility for the next four years.

The grand opening was a collaborative effort between Wells Fargo and the Food Bank. The event began with a heartfelt speech by Ray Nutting, District Two Supervisor Mr. Nutting spoke in depth about the success of the Food Bank and the commitment of its Executive Director, staff and volunteers over the years and stressed how vital the organization is to the community and then passes the microphone over to Mike Sproull.

“This Food Bank belongs to you, the community and we can’t thank Wells Fargo enough for their donation,” said Sproull. “At this time the Food Bank of El Dorado County is in a very positive light and that is accredited to a great deal of hard work and strategic planning. While many charities have been struggling the Food Bank has been conservative and now we are in a good position to reach out to our at risk population at a time when it is needed most.”

Sproull was joined by Lia Rodriguez, Community Banking District Manager, and Kevin Barri, President of Wells Fargo Community Foothills Market, to join with the Shingle Springs-Cameron Park Chamber of Commerce and the El Dorado Rose Court for Thursday’s official ribbon cutting. Barri was instrumental in securing the once vacant Wells Fargo building for the Food Bank.

“A lot of people ask us why we reach out to the community like we do,” said Barri. “Wells Fargo understands that families are struggling during these tough economic times. Investing in this organization will ensure that crucial services continue for the people in our communities.”

Once doors opened, the crowd entered the new Food Bank office and enjoyed catering provided by Applebee’s and Wells Fargo, cocktails provided by Motherlode Rehabilitation Enterprises, Starbucks Coffee and the music provided by both DJ Ted Robertson and singer Bob Rawleigh. The large crowd gathered to enjoy a true community event that showcased a culmination of hard work resulting in an efficient and effective facility that provides an emergency food assistance safety net as a whole.

If you missed the grand opening stop by and visit the Food Bank’s new administrative offices at 3291 B Coach Lane in Cameron Park and check it out. Watch for the Food Bank’s Newsletter in your mailbox for more information or you can call them at (530) 621-9950 or visit

Walk for Life – West Coast 2013

Written on November 19, 2012 at 9:27 am, by

Walk for Life—West Coast 2013

Mark your calendars for Saturday, January 26, 2013. Holy Trinity Knights of
Columbus, located at 3111 Tierra de Dios Drive in El Dorado Hills, will join more
than 50,000 pro-lifers for the 9th Annual “Walk for Life” in San Francisco, as we
peacefully proclaim our message that abortion hurts women and we all deserve
better than abortion. It is a 2.07 mile casual & healthy walk along the scenic
downtown Market Street. The walk begins at Civic Center Plaza and ends at
Justin Herman Plaza (Ferry Terminal). Enjoy the camaraderie of other walkers
who participate from various cities/towns in Northern California. The “WALK” is
open to the public and all faiths. We plan on 3 buses departing Holy Trinity Parish
and we need your RSVP as soon as possible to order additional buses, if needed, by
January 10, 2013. Bus fare is $25.00 pp round trip. Credit cards, AE, Visa, Master
Card and Debit cards accepted. The Bus boarding will begin at 7:30AM at the
rear roadway behind the Social Hall. Buses will depart at 9:30 AM and return to
Holy Trinity between 5:30 & 6:00 PM. There will be shuttle bus availability in San
Francisco for Handicap and Elderly.

The “Walk” is a great example of natural and manmade beauty, as we
demonstrate for that most beautiful gift–LIFE! As we hear that call to speak up for
those who cannot speak for themselves, we have a decision to make. Will we ignore
the call and pretend it didn’t happen, or will we say YES?! What are you going to
say today?! We call upon all people of good will to join us!

For more info, visit our website at or contact Gene Savage

Moore Chiropractic

Written on November 16, 2012 at 8:42 pm, by

Moore Chiropractic
With two clinics in El Dorado County, and one in the Bay Area, Dennis J Moore, B.A., D.C. is passionate about providing chiropractic to his patients both far and wide. He is at the EL Dorado Hills office from 11am to 1pm on Mondays and Fridays and the Placerville Office on Mondays and Fridays from 3pm to 5pm.

Alternative Medicine – Do you understand the difference between a Doctor and Practitioner?

Written on November 15, 2012 at 5:35 pm, by

Alternative Medicine – Do you understand the difference between a Doctor and Practitioner?

I will be the first to tell you that I love Alternative Medicine, at the end of the day we
are talking “Prevention”. I firmly believe that we no longer live in a world where we can
be holistic all the time; we need to integrate traditional medicine and a licensed MD and
compliment with some alternative care.

There are many different “natural modalities” that can compliment your health but it is
important to understand the “scope of practice” that goes with those modalities. I will use
myself as an example.

Dr. Deb is mainly a nickname that comes from the early 1990′s when I began using herbs
for animals it was Dr. Deb Doolittle. I do have a degree as “Doctor of Naturopathy” which
means I have completed 4 years of natural medicine studies. At my office, I work as
a “Naturopathic Practitioner”. A naturopath is an educator, one that can guide you to better
health by suggesting diet and lifestyle changes, understand the physiology (the way the body
works) to help you understand in simple terms. It is important to know that a practitioner
does not diagnose, nor do they prescribe traditional medications, and they are not licensed by
the State.

Additionally, I have completed a 2-year program for herbal medicine in addition to the 4
years for naturopathy, and have certification as a Master Herbologist. Many natural medicine
people recommend herbs and supplements, so it is important to find out some background
on the person recommending this type of treatment. “All natural does NOT mean safe” herbs
are medicine as are over the counter supplements. Many may interact with the way your
traditional medicines are working, as will many vitamins. So be sure that the person who is
recommending natural supplements has sufficient training and experience to ‘educate’ you in
the proper use. For myself I spend many hours every year studying possible interactions and
learning how new medications work so that herbs can be used safely, over the years I have
made many changes in my recommendations based on what works with my clients as well as
the hours of studying. When in doubt, I will in fact suggest that you speak with a physician.

I have a lot of people call looking for a “natural doctor” and I explain the difference. The
natural doctors that carry the initials, N.D. Are in fact Physicians (M.D.) that have achieved
additional training in natural medicine and nutrition, they are licensed by the State, and can
order lab testing, prescribe traditional medications as well as suggest supplements for you.
This type of doctor can be located by going to the website: and click
on find Physicians.

Other wonderful natural modalities include Chiropractors or Acupuncturists; these are
licensed doctors that manipulate the body. They have specialized training to help with injury
and good health.

Massage therapy and Bowen therapy are complimentary to chiropractics. These people
should carry a license by the State to be sure that they have proper training to work with
the body. Any time you manipulate the body it can improve your health. The alignment of

the body can affect the organs and internal working you want to be sure that this type of
practitioner is qualified and licensed.

The list of natural healers could go on for pages, one good resource to look at is: (Foothill Health and Wellness Network). This is a group of local healers
that come together to learn and share information with each other the website not only lists a
lot of wonderful, serious minded healers but is also a good resource to read and understand
what each person does, look at their qualifications, etc.

Just remember good health starts at home, even better when you are taking some
responsibility to address those health issues you empower yourself to be healthy. If you
have questions about natural health or practitioners, I am happy to educate and answer those
questions for you at or (530) 622-1124 or visit

The biggest mudslide ever!

Written on November 15, 2012 at 3:01 pm, by

I remember when Highway 50 was closed for the biggest mud slide ever. The locals couldn’t get home for days without going the back way to get to Kyburz. The night was a torrent of rain and the roadway was quickly slipping away. The mud slide was so large that we thought there might have been travelers buried beneath it all. Large boulders were rolling down the hill as the river kept rising. People actually saw homes floating under the Coloma Bridge. It had rained so hard it was hard to imagine when it would stop. When it did stop, no one would believe the extent of the damage or just how many homes were actually lost. Thankfully no one perished. It was not until the following day that we awoke to see just how bad it was.  As I recall, it was the worst site imaginable and the county faced the most daunting clean up ever witnessed in our local history. Now several years later it’s hard to remember just where that stretch of highway was, except that when traveling Highway 50 today you can still see a little of the hillside slippage and the old section of highway laying alongside the new bridges. The most shocking site to me was that an entire house and its foundation fell into the river below Kyburz. It was completely swallowed up by the powerful force of the river that day, having been built too close to the water’s edge. One thing I know for sure, Mother Nature has always shown us just how she can change the country in a single event and just how much force she holds!  I take pleasure in knowing that we have examples such as this in our own local history and that we have learned and continue to learn from them. So much history is right here in our own backyards, go check it out!

~Larry Hennick, Pollock Pines

Lumber was our mainstay…

Written on November 15, 2012 at 2:58 pm, by

I remember when El Dorado County was small! Lumber was our mainstay and everything revolved around its production and the forest was the best resource we had. I was taught that lumber was our way of life and living in Camino, we only had to take in that deep breath of air each day and throughout the day to let the smell of fresh cut trees and the mill’s production to feed our soul. My grandfather would give me a history lesson at a moments notice and the town was alive with all those who lived off of lumber. My Grandmother ran the local restaurant and Grandfather ran the bar that my Uncle owned, both of which served the people who worked at the mill. The days were long and the production at the mill could be heard around town by the mill horn, indicating the start, middle and end of the work day. It also sounded when an injury happened and we all held our breath or ran to assist as it was most often a serious one. The life we had was a great one and the long history of families who worked there have faded now with time. Stop in at the County Museum here in Placerville and see the wonderful pictures of the lumber production of days gone by. Remember the life blood of this great area, as I do when I see the logging trucks roll towards the final stop in lumber production, a mill that is now outside of our County.

~Larry Hennick, Pollock Pines

Let’s talk Turkey…

Written on November 15, 2012 at 2:32 pm, by

Since the holiday season is almost upon us, maybe you would like to know a bit about our favorite holiday dinner, the turkey.

The wild turkey is native to northern Mexico, portions of the very southern edge of Canada and the eastern United States. Over the past several decades, the turkey has been introduced into nearly all of the “lower 48″ states, yes, including California.

There are several different opinions as to how the turkey got its name. Some say Columbus thought the land he discovered was connected to India which had a large population of peacocks. Thinking they were part of the peacock family, he decided to call them tuka, which is the word for peacock in the language of India.

Others say that the name turkey came from Native Americans who called the birds firkee, which sounds like turkey. And then there is a third opinion that the turkey name came from the sound turkeys make when they are afraid – “turk, turk, turk.”

The turkey was originally domesticated in Mexico. Early explorers that arrived there quickly acquired a taste for it and took birds back to Europe. By the 1500s, turkeys were being raised domestically in Italy, France and England.

When the Pilgrims and other settlers arrived in America, they were already familiar with raising and eating turkey and even brought several domesticated turkeys with them. In spite of all of this, whether or not turkey was served at their famous Thanksgiving dinner is still being questioned.

On top of that, the Thanksgiving dinner that was served by the Pilgrims in 1621, may not have even been the first. The earlier settlers of Virginia’s Jamestown may have celebrated the first Thanksgiving as their version of England’s ancient Harvest Home Festival, somewhere around 1608.

Between 260 and 300 million domesticated turkeys are consumed annually in the United States, according to USDA statistics. Of these, approximately 45 million are eaten at Thanksgiving and 22 million at Christmas.

Per capita turkey consumption, which has increased steadily in the United States, has now stabilized at just below 18 pounds per person per year. As a comparison, in 1970 turkey consumption per person averaged just 6.4 pounds.

Most of the turkey meat, because it is high in protein, low in fat and permitted in many diets, shows up in places other than roasted and dressed at our holiday meals. Today you can buy ground turkey, turkey ham, turkey hot dogs, turkey sausage, turkey pastrami, turkey bologna and turkey nearly everything else.

Among Americans, the most prized portion of the turkey is the white meat of the breast, while Europeans favor the darker leg meat. Because Americans like the white meat so much, turkeys are especially bred to produce larger and larger breasts. Our domesticated turkeys now have such large breasts that the male is not able to fertilize the eggs of the female in the natural mating position. Thus, today turkey eggs are fertilized by artificial insemination for the hatchery.

It takes about 14 – 18 weeks, and about 60 pounds of feed for a young turkey, or poult, to grow into a 16-pound hen or a 24-pound tom.

Today’s domestic turkeys grow twice as fast, and twice as large, as their ancestors. It is said the if a seven pound human baby grew at the same rate that today’s turkey grows, when the baby reached 18 weeks of age, it would weigh 1,500 pounds.

Benjamin Franklin fought fiercely to make the native turkey the symbol of the United States. In a letter to his daughter, referring to the eagle’s “bad moral character,” he said, “I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country! The turkey is a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original native of America.”

A large group of wild turkeys is called a rafter. This is in reference to them looking like a “raft” while moving together as a group while feeding

Turkeys are “opportunist” feeders, with a diet of acorns, plants, seeds, insects, snails, slugs, small lizards and frogs, and most anything else they can catch. They will peck at just about anything, including each other.

In England, during the 1700′s, turkeys were walked to market in large groups. Turkey farmers often covered the birds’ feet with little booties to protect them on the long journey to the London market.

And finally, Big Bird, of Sesame Street fame, is actually dressed in turkey feathers. Although he is not a turkey, his costume is made of nearly 4,000 white turkey feathers which have been dyed bright yellow.

~Doug Noble

Braided rugs bring back memories of my Grandmother…

Written on November 15, 2012 at 2:29 pm, by

My grandmother grew up in The Great Depression. Needless to say, she was very thrifty, saving every bit of old clothing, sheets and bedding or her sewing scraps. Why you ask? To make braided scatter rugs. Year round she would save these strips of fabric. No matter the color. No matter the pattern. Back in those days, there was no indoor carpeting. Hardwood floors were the norm. So these braided rugs were not only a hobby to pass time, but a necessity! When she had enough fabric, she and her sisters would sit down and start sewing the fabric end to end and roll them into big balls. Once they had enough, they would start braiding them together, round and round and round to fit the dimensions you needed. All of the colors and patterns and textures created an eye catching effect. When I was a child, visiting my grandparents home was a real treat because after the end of a day, dinner dishes done, we would lie down on one of these scatter rugs and listen to their stories. Grandma would point out her own fathers pants suit, her old curtains, her old prom dress and her mama’s apron…seamlessly blended together within the rugs we laid upon. When I see a braided scatter rug in antique stores now, I smile and know what a treasure they are. Imagine if grandmother could have made money for her rugs! She would never believe it so!

~ Emmy Gould, El Dorado Hills

Happy Thanksgiving! This kid is on break…

Written on November 15, 2012 at 2:26 pm, by

Hallelujah. It’s Thanksgiving break at Oak Ridge next week and I am pumped. We’ve only had a couple days off prior to this week, so I’m going to live it up. Here’s what I have on my calendar:
Saturday/Sunday: This is the same as every weekend. I sleep in and watch football. So nothing new here.
Monday: This is the first day of the actual break, so I have to sleep all day. I’ll probably wake up around ten, then I’ll put on some sweatpants and eat, then go back to sleep. I’ll awake again around 1, and will watch some TV, and then sleep again till 5, when Monday Night Football airs. After that’s over, I’ll sleep.
Tuesday: I’ve been waiting for snow season all year, so I’m going to drive up with some friends to Sierra at Tahoe and snowboard all day. I’ll be rusty, but it will be worth it.
Wednesday: Snowboarding is very taxing, so I’ll probably have to rest and recover on Wednesday. Easy Mac, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and my computer will be my best friend that day.
Thursday: It’s Turkey Day, which means it is a perfect day for some more snowboarding. Ever go up on a holiday? The places are empty! It’s perfect.
Friday: Sleep, and do more of the same that I did on Wednesday.
Saturday: This will be a different Saturday from what I usually do. I do have homework over the break, and then is the time that I’ll have to do it.
Sunday: Sleep, wonder where the break went, and watch football.

The Monday afterwards: Start counting down the days till’ Christmas Break.

Oh…the life of a teenager!  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Dollar Plus Outlet

Written on November 10, 2012 at 2:00 am, by

Dollar Plus Outlet, Grand Opening Celebration!
Saturday, November 10th – 10am – 4pm

I remember…Armistice Day 1945

Written on November 9, 2012 at 10:00 am, by

I remember…Armistice Day 1945                                                                                      

            I was seven and my grandfather held my hand as we walked the few blocks to Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena, CA, the city were I grew up. I believe it was Armistice Day (now Veteran’s Day) in 1945, but because that is the year that World War II ended, it may well have been one of many celebrations of victory that happened following the defeat first of Germany and then Japan.

            Pasadena loved parades and every Armistice Day and Memorial Day there was one. I went to many of them, but this parade was like none other I can remember. It was made up of bands, color guards and hundreds and hundreds of soldiers and veterans.

            My grandfather had told me, as we walked from our house, that like I had learned to do while reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, it was proper to stand tall, take off my hat if I had one and place my right hand over my heart as the American Flag passed by. And there were many that passed by that day.

            I can even recall at a later date my grandfather doing that in a movie theater when our National Anthem was played and an American Flag showed on the screen. As he pulled me up to stand beside him in that darkened theater, I remember that slowly others stood to join us. It was a different era.

            The first soldiers to march by in the parade that day were young American men fully outfitted in the uniforms of World War II, all in neat rows and marching proudly in precise step.

            They were the heros of the hour, part of the 16.5 million Americans we now call the Greatest Generation. At great cost they, and millions of others like them, had brought freedom to the world.

            Following a bit behind them were some men and women I now know were in their late forties and early fifties at the time. Some were dressed in a different uniform, a uniform that on many didn’t quite fit. They were American veterans of an earlier war, World War I, the “Great War,” the “War to End All Wars.” Some marched, some walked and some were helped along by others.

            They were less organized than the first group and appeared to be having a great time. One man, I recall, drove a motorcycle with a sidecar that was a relic from that war. To the delight of the crowds gathered along the street, especially this seven year old, he would tip the motorcycle so that the sidecar was in the air and drive circles in and around his group of scattering comrades.

            Later in the parade were a group of men mostly in their sixties and seventies. They, like my grandfather, were American veterans of the Spanish-American war. There were not so many of them as were in the preceding groups and some rode in cars. But those that walked stood just as proud as the others and my grandfather, also standing a tall and proud as they walked by, saluted them over and over.

            Toward the end of the parade was a single car in the back seat of which sat either one or two men, but the number is not important. I remember very distinctly an old man waving to me and my grandfather saluting him. I asked, “Grandpa, who is that man?” Somewhat emotionally he replied, “A Union veteran of the Civil War.” His father, who had died in 1908, had been one of them.

            At seven I didn’t know much about the wars, other than World War II, which I had lived through, collecting aluminum, old tires and bacon fat and buying saving stamps and war bonds for the “war effort.” And on the day it ended, my brother and I, donning cooking pots as helmets, carried our American Flag as we marched up and down the street while church bells rang and car horns honked all over America.

            As I grew up I learned  that in the 1940s veterans of both sides of the Civil War were still annually gathering together, the Union soldiers calling their gatherings  “The National Encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic” and the Confederate soldiers calling theirs  “The Reunion of the United Confederate Veterans.” Mostly they had separate gatherings, but 24 times they held met jointly, once even at Gettysburg, on the 50th anniversary of that battle.

            1949 was the year the Union soldiers held their last one and 1951 the year the Confederate soldiers held their last. There were just too few of them left.

            Recently, as I thought about those men that I watched march by that day in 1945, I wondered what happened to them.

            Albert Woolson, a drummer boy and the last surviving Union veteran, died in 1956. He is considered by many to be the last authenticated survivor of that war. John Sailing, who died in 1958, and Walter Williams, who died in 1959, are both claimed to be the last surviving Confederate soldier. Unfortunately, birth and military records being what they were in those times, scholars will probably continue forever to disagree on who was the last surviving veteran.

            Nathan Edward Cook, a sailor who died in 1993, is considered by many to have been the last remaining American veteran of the Spanish-American War, although Jones Morgan, an African-American soldier during that period, who died in 1992, may also hold that title. Again, birth and military record issues.

            Frank Woodruff Buckles was the last living American veteran of World War I. He entered the U.S. Army at 16, but claiming to be 18 as his state of birth, Missouri, did not issue birth certificates. He resided in Charles Town, West Virginia until passing away on February 20, 2011 at the age of 110.

            The Department of Veteran’s Affairs estimated that in November of 2011 there were 1.7  million surviving American veterans of World War II. With about 700 passing away each day, way too soon they too will be reduced to only a few and then there will be none.

            I have ancestors who fought and died, sometimes on both sides, in wars as far back as the American Revolution, and maybe even further. I am sure all of us have similar connections with ancestors, relatives and friends who have fought for their country or are doing so in wars today.

            We should take the opportunity of Veteran’s Day to personally thank the living and remember the brave millions of others who fought and died, for the freedom we hold so precious. ~Doug Noble, Placerville

Chicago Pizza, Burgers and Indian Food in Historic El Dorado

Written on November 9, 2012 at 9:58 am, by

“I like food. I like eating. And I don’t want to deprive myself of good food.” ~Sarah Michelle Gellar

Okay, I know it is a different name for a restaurant, but that is the name of this very popular restaurant at 6246 Main St. (Highway 49) in the town of El Dorado.

It is so popular on the Internet that Urbanspoon gives it a 98 percent rating, Yelp gives it over 4.5 stars and I just think it is wonderful.

Owners Bobby and Rani bought the place with its wood-fired pizza oven in early 2009, and started out with just pizza and burgers, later adding Indian cuisine. All the food is good, but the Indian food, according to everyone I have talked to (including myself), is the best around.

As you may know, I have enjoyed the burgers, pizza and numerous Indian dishes over the years and everything has been excellent. Because the kitchen, the wood-fired pizza oven and the seating area are small, if the place is full you might have a wait, but it is worth it. Remember, good food takes time to cook.

The menu starts with a large list of eight meats, three sauces and a dozen toppings you can put on your hand-tossed pizza. But, if you don’t want to design one for yourself, there are eight speciality pizzas, such as the Chicago Supreme, Meat Lovers, Garlic Chicken, Hawaiian and even a Veggie Lovers.

The burgers, which are made to order with fresh lettuce, tomato and onion, and come with an order of fries and a fountain drink, include: the Chicago Burger, Veggie Burger, Jalapeno Burger, Avocado Burger (yum), Western Burger, Bacon Cheese Burger, Mushroom Swiss Burger and more. They also have fish or chicken sandwiches and, to accompany all the sandwiches, quite a list of side orders and appetizers.

If you aren’t hungry by now, I am, and I still have the Indian food to describe.

The list of Indian dishes takes up half the menu and includes first a list of appetizers such as Papadum, a crisp spicy cracker made from lentil flour and the Samosa, a treat stuffed with spiced potatoes and peas. Following that are the main dishes including just in the chicken dishes, Chicken Curry, Vindaloo, Bhuna, Tikka, Kandari, Saag, Tikka Masala (the most popular dish in Great Britain), Makhni and Mushroom. And there are also two beef dishes, Meatball Curry and Meatball Bhuna. (If you would like a breakdown on what each dish contains, check at their website where you will find everything listed).

There are also a dozen vegetable dishes made with potatoes, lentils, garbanzo beans, cauliflower, eggplant, peas, spinach, mushrooms and even okra, cooked a number of delicious ways.

Listed under “From The Sea,” is Fish Curry, along with Fish Masala, Shrimp Curry, Shrimp Saag, Shrimp Masala and Shrimp Vindaloo.

No, I am not finished yet.

Breads, which are an excellent accompaniment for their food include: the pan baked Roti, deep fried Pooris, pan fried, multi-layered Parantha, a spiced flat chickpea Missi Roti, and Parantha stuffed with potatoes or cauliflower or just sweetened.

Oh, there is more, such as plain rice and rice with vegetables, nuts and raisins, along with several kinds of dessert.

They also have fountain drinks, domestic and Indian beer and wine, Indian drinks like Sweet Lassi and Mango Lassi and even a Mango Shake.

As I mentioned before, I have eaten there a number of times and have never had anything that I didn’t love. Also, the people are so friendly and nice, and will take the time to explain each dish to you and prepare it to your liking. In a nutshell, it is a is a family owned and run business that makes great food.

Because they serve pizza, burgers and Indian food, it is very family and group friendly. Get together a group, order several things and share. I have seen people doing that almost every time I have been there and they always seem to be enjoying themselves.

The hours are from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. every day except Monday. For more information call 530-621-3900 or visit

Oh, I should add that there is a lot of additional parking in the lot behind their business and Annabelle’s Chocolate Lounge, which is almost next door. So, if it looks crowded out front, there is always room to park in back. ~Tell em Doug sent you!

Why don’t we just use a popular vote?

Written on November 9, 2012 at 9:54 am, by

Well, thank goodness that’s over. The Election is finished and I am so glad to not have to watch another political ad until 2014. And yet one thing about the election still makes me very curious, which is, Why don’t we just use a popular vote?

I mean, think about it. Utilizing a popular vote would make things so much easier! Instead of worrying about getting to 270, the candidates are only concerned with getting more national votes than the other guy. We would avoid another controversy like in 2000, where George Bush lost the popular vote to Al Gore, but won the Electoral College because a few hundred votes win in Florida. Getting rid of the Electoral College would ensure that America’s President would win, not the guy who won a couple swing states. If this past election was just based off a popular vote, the result would be the same, but it wouldn’t be because of Ohio or Virginia, it would be all of America.

Also, just over 100,000,000 people voted. There are roughly 300,000,000 million people in America. Take away about a third of those who aren’t eligible, and that leaves you with half of the eligible voters choosing not to take part in the election. And can you really blame them? Does a liberal in Alabama or a conservative in California really have much of a say? A popular vote would change that. Instead of campaigning for swing states, the candidates would try to suck every last vote from every state. Romney would have campaigned in California further, as would Obama in Texas. It would give everyone who votes the chance to say, “I actually made a difference.”

I’m not the first, and definitely not the last to argue for a popular vote, but the reality is that unless we can piece together a Constitutional Amendment to change it, we’re stuck with the Electoral College. However, if we really want to make that change, we can. It’s all about how badly you want it.

2013 Master Gardener Volunteer Training Program

Written on November 7, 2012 at 3:01 pm, by

2013 Master Gardener Volunteer Training Program
16 Fridays, March 1-June 28, 9am-3pm, Jackson, California                              

The University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) invites adults interested in helping others learn about gardening and landscaping to apply to train as a Master Gardener volunteer. UCCE Master Gardener volunteers learn University-based scientific information and then share that knowledge with the gardening community. Master Gardener volunteers are people of all ages and from all walks of life with a common desire to help others learn about gardening and landscaping.

 Who Can Apply?
  • Any resident of Amador or El Dorado County for the 24 available openings in the training program.  First priority is for Amador County residents.
  • Residents of El Dorado County will train in Amador County but will be El Dorado County Master Gardeners.
  • Applicants need internet access. Most communication will be through email and websites.  Weekly class quizzes and homework will be online.
  • Sign up on our MG Training interest list at
  • Attend one of our two Master Gardener orientation meetings to learn about the Master Gardener Program, our community involvement, and your participation requirements.  These meetings are scheduled for Wednesday, November 28 and Friday, November 30, from 9-11am at the GSA Building, 12200-B Airport Road in Jackson. Please RSVP to 530-621-5528.
  • Schedule an interview at the orientation meeting and get the link to the online application.
  • Complete and submit the online application by Friday, December 14, 2012.
  • Review applicants.  Main criteria for acceptance: 1) prior community service, 2) experience teaching others, either by giving presentations, writing, or in one-to-one situations, 3) passion for helping home gardeners, 4) experience successfully gardening.
  • Conduct interviews during January.  We will contact you within a week after the interview with your acceptance status.
  • If you are accepted, we will email you a Live Scan form and list of Live Scan locations. A background check, including fingerprinting, is required to become a Master Gardener.  We will also offer a Live Scan session at the Amador UCCE office in February.
  • Teach you how to garden successfully. Topics and activities will cover basic plant science, propagation, fertilization, irrigation, soil, compost, vegetable and fruit gardening, trees, Integrated Pest Management (diseases, weeds, insects, small animals), research tools, and outreach techniques.
  • Provide you with plenty of Volunteer and Continuing Education opportunities.
  • By January 25, 2013 pay course fee of $185 online or mail a check made payable to “UC Regents” to Robin Cleveland, UC Cooperative Extension, 311 Fair Lane, Placerville, CA 95667.
  • By February 22, mail the Live Scan form completed by the Live Scan operator to Robin Cleveland at the above address.
  • Attend 16 classes on Wednesday, February 27 and most Fridays, March 1 through June 28, 2013, from 9am-3pm in Jackson.  Only one class may be missed.
  • Answer gardening questions at farmers markets, at the county fair and other local events, at the Master Gardener office, at the upcoming Master Gardener Demonstration Garden, or at public classes.  Help with program activities offered through a variety of internal committees.
  • Complete 50 volunteer hours your first year, then 25 volunteer and 12 continuing education hours annually.
  • Post your volunteer and continuing education hours on our online Statewide MG Volunteer Management System. (We provide instructions).
  • Attend your county’s monthly MG Continuing Education meetings as often as possible.
  • Five University of California publications including the California Master Gardener Handbook; discounts on other UC publications.
  • Certificate of Completion of Class Instruction after completing the 16-week training program and passing the take-home, open-book examination.
  • Monthly Continuing Education meetings with speakers and activities on in-depth gardening topics.
  • Frequent notifications of Volunteer and Continuing Education opportunities and other program information.
  • Annual recertification as an active MG after you post online at least 50 Volunteer hours by June 30, 2014.  (Future years’ annual requirements are 25 Volunteer and 12 Continuing Education hours.)
  • Joy and satisfaction that you’re helping other gardeners grow more nutritious vegetables and fruits, you’re making new friends, and working with others to help create a more sustainable environment.

For more information, contact Robin Cleveland at 530-621-5528 or

 The University of California Division of Agriculture & Natural Resources (ANR) prohibits discrimination or harassment of any person in any of its programs or activities. (Complete nondiscrimination policy statement can be found at   Should you need assistance or require special accommodations for any of our educational programs, please contact us at 530-621-5502.

“Hot Dish” visits Ruffhaus Hot Dog Co. in El Dorado Hills

Written on November 5, 2012 at 8:56 am, by

Welcome to The Windfall’s new feature – Hot Dish! The idea for this supper club came about last summer while I was dining with a few friends one lazy evening. It was a rare opportunity to collectively step away from our busy schedules filled with work obligations and family commitments. By the end of the night, we came to the conclusion that all work and no play makes for a very dull girl!  Since September 2011, we have shared some great meals at local restaurants and enjoyed lots of ‘hot dish’!  Let’s be honest, none of us in the group claim to be formal food critics by any means! However as everyday consumers we do know how to judge good food, good value and good service! In this economy it is a real treat to eat out, so the challenge is to find places that everyone can afford and enjoy! So here it is…our first review. We will spare you the table talk! ~ Tina Henderson, Editor/The Windfall

RUFFHAUS Hot Dog Co  4355 Town Center Blvd. #114 El Dorado Hills, Ca 95762

Many of you may not even consider the ‘hot dog’ a food worth eating, let alone worth talking about. At Judy’s suggestion, we visited Ruffhaus Hot Dog Co. and all of us were pleasantly surprised and glad we did! Located in the El Dorado Hills Town Center, Ruffhaus Hot Dog Co. is the brainchild of brothers and chefs Frederick and Charles Knight. With a combined experience of over 50 years they offer creatively prepared, classic American fare presented in a trendy yet laid back atmosphere. Catering is available too. We visited Ruffhaus at dinner time, midweek and without a reservation (which is not necessary). We immediately found a table that could seat us all and before we sat down, we were greeted by Grace who was our hostess/waitress/server. She was sweet, attentive and appeared genuinely happy to see us while explaining how ordering works. Fountain drinks are self serve and they have a great variety of beer on tap, by the bottle and wine by the glass. They even have a small bar with a handful of seats for those stopping in for happy hour and appetizers. The menu is big, but not too overwhelming and includes specialty dogs, sausages and make your own hot dogs with endless topping choices. They also have ‘non dogs’ which consisted of fish and chips, philly’s, pita’s and a vegetarian option. Jodie pointed out that the music playing in the background was really good and we all agreed Ruffhaus had a great vibe with lots to look at while waiting for our food. The wait was short by the way, and before we knew it our table was filled with appetizers! You only live once, so we tried the deep fried pickles, a scotch egg (hard boiled egg wrapped in sausage, breaded and deep fried), garlic and sweet potato fries. Everything arrived hot and surprisingly not at as greasy as you would expect. As we sampled each item, all of us agreed – Yum! Grace returned within 15 minutes and served our dinners. The portions were very generous and priced just right. The Montecris Dog was the overall favorite of the group and budget friendly at just $5.95.  A battered turkey frank, apple wood smoked bacon, melted monterey jack and blackberry jam, dusted with powdered sugar. Dawn said, “Who would of thought that jam on a hotdog would taste this good?” A more traditional choice was The Chicago Dog  priced at $5.45 which placed 2nd. The Big Tex, a hot link with bacon, grilled onions, bbq sauce, white cheddar and jalapenos placed 3rd at just $5.95. The non-dog top choice of the evening was the fish and chips priced at $9.95. Bass Ale battered fillets, hand cut fries and house made tartar – and we all shouted – Yum again! For dessert we tried Dog Balls. Laugh if you must, I admit we all were howling! Battered vanilla ice cream deep fried, drizzled in chocolate and powdered sugar. Dorothea and Linda in our group pointed out that they were undercooked and not as good as we hoped.  We ordered a back-up dessert and were quite pleased we did…Warm Brownie Sundae. It was a perfect ending to a fun night out! The ladies of “Hot Dish” gave Ruffhaus Hot Dog Co. a score of 9 (10 being the highest rating possible). Plenty of parking, clean facility, great atmosphere, friendly customer service, fair pricing, ample menu. It just might change the way you think of hot dogs!  ~Tell ‘em The Windfall sent you!

Phone (916) 941-DogS  View their menu online:

Written on November 2, 2012 at 6:13 pm, by

Visit our newly revised website. FREE UNLIMITED ONLINE Classified Ads and up to 5 pictures per post!

Lotus-Coloma Certified Farmers’ Market

Written on November 2, 2012 at 12:16 pm, by

Lotus-Coloma Certified Farmers’ Market
Inside the Grange in Coloma Sundays new hours 10am to 2pm
Local produce, live music through Dec 16th 2012  at 319 Hwy 49 Coloma
Deb Mason
LoCol Farmers’ Market Manager

Ask the Auto Tech feat. Terry Rogers of Kneisel’s Collision Centers/Shingle Springs

Written on November 2, 2012 at 11:59 am, by

Q: What kind of warranty can I expect from Kniesel’s Collision Centers? By John A.

A: Thanks for your question, John. At Kniesel’s we stand by our workmanship 100%.
We have a long history of quality that stands the test of time; but if you experience an
issue with our paint or bodywork, we’ll make it right. We offer a full warranty on all paint
and body work for as long as you own the vehicle.

Integrity is important to us, so I’ll note a couple exceptions that alter the terms of
the warranty. The warranty covers normal vehicle use and does not apply to work
performed on vehicles used for racing, off road activities, or any unusual purpose. Also
new issues, like a subsequent accident, and normal paint deterioration due to exposure
are not covered.

At Kniesel’s we believe in making repairs the right way, so we don’t provide a warranty
for work requested by the customer that is, in our opinion, unsafe or sub-standard. We’ll
be sure to discuss that before we begin the work. We also insist on using quality, new
and used parts and honor the warranty that the parts vendor & manufacturer offers.

Basically, if you are using the vehicle under normal conditions and you’ve agreed to our
quality standards, then you are covered. We guarantee our work 100% for as long as
you own the vehicle.

Do you have questions needing answers? Don’t miss an issue of The Windfall! Once a month I will be answering a question in their Ask The Auto Tech feature . Submit your questions by posting them online at or contact me at: or call me at 530-676-1888.  ~Terry Rogers, General Manager 

Ask the Auto Tech feat. Seth Hensley at The Auto Analyst/Placerville

Written on November 2, 2012 at 11:52 am, by

Q: Why is my “check engine” light on?

A. The Check Engine Light strikes fear into the hearts of some  and is totally ignored by just as many. Just what it means is a mystery to most  drivers.

Let’s get the urgency issues out of the way first. If your family car’s check engine light is flashing, that means that something is wrong that could cause severe engine damage. Naturally, drivers should get that taken care of right away at The Auto Analyst.

If your check engine light is flashing, you shouldn’t drive at highway speeds, tow or haul heavy loads. Take it easy all the way to your service center.

If the light is glowing steadily, auto owners should keep an eye on it for a day or two. If the light doesn’t go off, schedule an appointment with The Auto Analyst to get it checked out.

An explanation on how the Check Engine Light works may be informative. Most of your family car engine functions are controlled by a computer, not surprisingly, called an engine control computer. The computer is able to adjust many engine parameters for environmental conditions, engine condition and even the way you drive.

In order to make these adjustments, the computer relies on a network of sensors to provide data. The computer knows the proper operating range for each sensor. When a sensor reading is out of range the computer runs some tests and may turn on the Check Engine Light.

A simple example is a loose or missing gas cap. This may cause one of the sensors to read out of range. The family car’s computer doesn’t know if it’s a serious condition that caused the reading or just a loose gas cap, so it stores a trouble code and turns on the Check Engine Light.

Now when you tighten up the gas cap the sensor readings will be in the correct range. The computer will keep checking on the report for a day or two. Since a bad reading didn’t come up again, it turns off the Check Engine Light. The computer will also try to make adjustments to compensate for some readings. If it can do so, it’ll then turn off the Check Engine Light. If the problem can’t be resolved then the light will remain on and you should get your family car looked at at The Auto Analyst.

Your  Auto Analyst technician will plug a scanner into the on-board diagnostic port and read the trouble code stored in the computer. The trouble code will give the AutoAnalyst technician a starting place as he diagnoses the cause of the problem.

Do you have questions needing answers? Don’t miss an issue of The Windfall! Once a month I will be answering a question in their Ask The Auto Tech feature . Submit your questions by posting them online at or contact:  Seth Hensley at The Auto Analyst  530-621-4591 

Ask the Auto Tech feat. Terry Rogers of Kniesel’s Collision Centers/Shingle Springs

Written on November 2, 2012 at 11:45 am, by

Q:  Do you do complete paint jobs? -Robert W.

A: Thanks for your question, Robert.

We deliver superior paint jobs on vehicles, but compared to many “complete paint job” outlets, our
approach is a bit different. We break the job into more steps and use superior paint products that help
ensure a perfect finish while protecting our environment.

First, we always disassemble all the exterior parts that don’t get painted, such as mirrors, lights, and
door handles. “Complete paint job” outlets just tape over them which can impact the final finish.

Next, we paint the vehicle using a two-step process. First we apply a low VOC (Volatile Organic
Compounds) waterborne basecoat. Compared to conventional solvent-based paint finish systems, our
waterborne system reduces basecoat-sourced VOCs by up to 80%, decreasing ozone pollution and
smog. Then we apply a high-gloss clear coat that adds shine and extends the life of the paint. Complete
paint job outlets skip this step, which impacts the quality and durability of the paint finish. Finally, we
reassemble mirrors, door handles, and other external parts.

Our higher-quality paint, environmentally conscious products, and two-step process make our complete
paint jobs truly superior.

Do you have questions needing answers? Don’t miss an issue of The Windfall! Once a month I will be answering a question in their Ask The Auto Tech feature . Submit your questions by posting them online at or contact me at: or call me at 530-676-1888.  ~Terry Rogers, General Manager 



Amador County Women’s Network Fundraiser November 3rd!

Written on November 2, 2012 at 11:31 am, by

Press Release

Contact:  Allison Wright

Phone:    (209) 559-5606



October 29, 2012



Amador County Women’s Network is raising funds to help the young women entering the workforce get started by providing Scholarships to each of the local High Schools. One of our projects is a Craft/Vendor Show on November 3rd from 9am to 3pm. at the Large Building at the Italian Picnic Grounds.  There’s still time for YOU to have a booth and promote your business with us, while we raise funds through raffle prizes and donations. Our hopes are high for a fantastic turn out.

Vendor or not, we hope you will visit the show and support our local businesses as well as help support a local service program that benefits our county residents!

For more information and to apply for a table, contact BETH PLATZ, Tel:  877-942-4111

 November is the start of the Holiday Shopping season – Here’s a great way to get a head start! Please share with your friends, family and local business people. 

See you Saturday, November 3rd, 2012 9am to 3pm. at The Italian Picnic Grounds, 581 S Hwy 49 Sutter Creek CA 95685 

 Submitted by Beth Platz

Event Coordinator

Amador County Womens Network

Snowline Hospice Thrift Store Holiday Spectacular!

Written on November 2, 2012 at 11:28 am, by

Contact: Laurine Burns Estreito
Retail Operations
Phone: (530) 344‐4416
Fax: (530) 621‐4503

Weekend of Discovery Shopping at the 9th Annual
Snowline Hospice Thrift Store Holiday Spectacular!
Imagine the doors of Santa’s Workshop opening for an extraordinary day of holiday
shopping – aisles brimming over with holiday décor, a vast assortment of collectibles, musical
instruments, cozy coats, tempting toys, fine and vintage jewelry, themed merchandise and
other like‐new and gently used items. That’s what you’ll find at our 9th Annual Holiday
Spectacular which will be held at each of our six stores the weekend of November 9th – 11th.
It’s the highly‐anticipated social and shopping extravaganza of the year!
Make plans to come to each store, and enjoy socializing and shopping! We’ll have
holiday treats and music to usher in the season. You might even meet a couple of Santa’s elves
rushing around to assist you.
Times and locations of the events are as follows:
Placerville 455 Placerville Dr. 530‐621‐1802 Fri, 11/9 3pm – 10pm
Placerville “Just off 50” 3961 El Dorado Rd. 530‐622‐1710 Sat, 11/10 10am – 8pm
Cameron Park 3300 Coach Ln. 530‐676‐8708 Sat, 11/10 11am – 6pm
Cameron Park Green Valley 2650 Cameron Park Dr. 530‐344‐4480 Sat, 11/10 10am – 4pm
Folsom 616 East Bidwell St. 916‐984‐5853 Sat, 11/10 10am – 6pm
Camino 3550 Carson Rd. 530‐647‐2703 Sun, 11/11 10am – 5pm
If you cannot attend these events, rest assured we will be replenishing the stores with
holiday merchandise daily through the end of November and as long as it lasts into December
for your shopping enjoyment! Mark your calendars, come celebrate the season with us, and
“Discover the Good!”

Cameron Park Community Services District

Written on November 2, 2012 at 11:24 am, by

Press Release

Contact: Cameron Park Community Services District
(530) 677-2231

Old Fashioned Christmas Craft Faire: Saturday, November 17, 10 am to 4 pm. Cameron ParkCommunity Center; 2502 Country Club Drive, Cameron Park, CA Over 52 vendors will be in attendancefor this spectacular event! Join us to look for that perfectly unique holiday gift. Everything is handmadeand the best part is entrance into the event is FREE to the public! Please call (530) 677-2231 for moreinformation or visit our website at

Holiday Kick-Off: December 1 Cameron Park Community Center, 2502 Country Club
Drive, Cameron Park, CA.

On Saturday December 1 the Cameron Park Community Services District along with
Marshall Medical are sponsoring a Santa Run. The 5 K run/walk starts at the Community
Center and will travel along the neighborhood streets near the community center, by
Christa McAuliffe Park, Blue Oak School then onto Bass Lake Road and back to the
Community Center. The fee for the run is $25 for adults and $15 for children 17 and
under – includes breakfast. After the run participants will enjoy a pancake breakfast
hosted by Cameron Park Explorer Post 89. Breakfast includes pancakes, bacon, eggs,
orange juice, coffee and raffle prizes. $5 per person. Register now!! First 50 runners
will receive Santa hats provided by Marshall Medical. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be
here to help kick off the holiday season. Please Call (530) 677-2231 to register or visit
our website at

Youth Basketball
Cameron Park Recreation Department is offering its Youth Basketball League. Sign ups
have begun. The league is open to grades 1st to 12th grades. The 1st & 2nd grade is an
instructional league and will consist of one hour games on Saturdays. There is no practice
for this league. Fee is $95 resident, $100 non-resident. Price includes t-shirt Registration
deadline for 1st/2nd grade is December 5. The 3rd through 12th grades have practices once
a week and games. Registration is being accepted. Limited weekday practices will begin
the week of December 10. Registration deadline is November 9. High School registration
deadline is November 20 with their skills clinic TBA. Games are scheduled to begin
in January 19. The registration fee for grades 3rd – 12th is $105 and $110 non-resident
fee. Price includes jersey. We are also looking for volunteer coaches. Pre-registration is
required and can be done online at or at the Cameron Park CSD
Office at 2502 Country Club Drive. For more information please (530) 677-2231.

Tribute to our Veterans Sunday November 11th EDC Veterans Monument

Written on November 2, 2012 at 11:19 am, by

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE- Tribute to our Veterans

CONTACT: Richard W. Buchanan, NC, (530) 626-7762

The Friends of the El Dorado County Veterans Monument will host the 7th
Annual Veterans Day ceremony in celebration of our Nation’s Veterans

WHEN: Sunday, November 11, 2012 11:00 AM

WHERE: The El Dorado County Veterans Monument
360 Fair Lane (El Dorado County Government Center) Placerville, CA 95667

Friends of the Veterans Monument will sponsor the annual El Dorado County
(EDC) Veterans Day Ceremony on November 11th at the El Dorado County
Veterans Monument, 360 Fair Lane, Placerville. The ceremony commences
precisely at 11:00 am with the call to order and present colors. The singing
of our National Anthem follows, during which the distant rumbling of vintage
radial engines will be heard as a flight of WWII-era war birds approaches the
monument. Their radial engines become a thundering sound – felt as much as
heard – as they soar over the monument in a fly-by salute to those who have
served the cause of freedom.

As part of a special tribute on Veterans Day, two engraved granite benches will
be dedicated and placed in the EDC Veterans Monument Plaza:

One honors SSgt. Sky Mote USMC who was mortally wounded August 10,
2012 while serving as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician in support
of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. SSgt. Mote served as a member of the
Marine Special Operations Team 8133 in Company C of the 1st Marine Special
Operations Battalion. Marine Special Operations Company teammate Sgt. Brian
Jaques will assist the Mote family in the dedication of the bench.

El Dorado Community Foundation Executive Director William “Bill” Roby will
officiate over the dedication of the second engraved granite bench which honors
those who served in the Korean War. Former Lt. Larry Hyder USA, a Korean
War veteran and owner of the Indian Creek Tree Farm, will accept the bench on
behalf of all who served in the Korean War. The bench was designed and funded
by Hayden Cooksy, Eagle Scout hopeful, as a project for his Eagle Scout badge.

Highlights of this year’s tribute include:
• Special guest speaker and guest of honor, Lt. Colonel Richard Crevier
USMC, Commanding Officer 2nd Battalion, 23rd Marines.
• Presentation of a bronze plaque, donated by Carl Hagen USAF, paying
tribute to those who were lost in the Vietnam War.
• The T-6 aircraft fly-by salute honoring all EDC Veterans
• California Department of Veterans Affairs Chief Counsel Richard Irby,
former USAF, presenting Governor Brown’s Veterans Day Proclamation

•Participation by local Girl Scout, Cub Scout, and Boy Scout troops as well as veteran service organizations.

Announcement and presentation of the El Dorado County Veterans
Monument “Veteran of the Year Award.”
The Foothills Women’s Chorus singing of the National Anthem.

Many generations of veterans and their families will attend this event at the
picturesque El Dorado County Veterans Monument which will include military
regalia, patriotic songs, bagpipes, buglers and a 21-gun salute to all veterans.

Thank you for your support El Dorado County

Written on November 2, 2012 at 11:16 am, by

Letter to the Editor / TheWindfall print date 11/2/12

Ref; Staff Sergeant Sky Mote USMC KIA Afghanistan

One evening two months ago my family received word that my son was killed in
combat. A group of Marines stood on our porch and in the dim light I didn’t know
which branch of the service they were from. I didn’t know which son I had lost.
Since that confusing moment one thing became clear: people in this community
care. They care not only for those who have given their lives but also for those
who have and continue to serve this country.

On behalf of my family, I would like to thank everyone for all the support. I have
not had a chance or forum yet to do that. I would like to thank all the members of
this community that have been a part of Sky’s life….his friends and their parents,
his teachers at Silva Valley, Rolling Hills, and Union Mine High School; his cub
scout, 4-H, and Civil Air Patrol leaders, his cross country, track, soccer, baseball,
and Jr. Trojan football camp coaches. You know who you are. You did a great
job. Thank you.

I would like to thank everyone in this community who sent my sons letters and
packages during their deployments. This includes students and teachers of the
Buckeye Union School District, the El Dorado County Board of Realtors, the Blue
Star Mothers, Golden Spoke bike shop, Beretta Physical Therapy, many friends
and individuals, and the El Dorado group that even sent Christmas trees abroad.
Your packages of drink mixes, socks, jerky, etc. were greatly appreciated.

Additionally, I would like to add a thank you for all the law enforcement, fire,
EOD, and other emergency services that participated in Sky’s arrival home. A
special thank you to the Friends of the EDC Veterans Monument and the pilots of
the fly-by salute lead by flight leader Chuck Wahl in honor of my son.

I would like to personally encourage the community to come out to the Veterans
Day celebration at the El Dorado County Veterans Monument on November
11 th at 11:00am. We will honor those from our community who currently serve
the cause of freedom and those who have in the past, including Sky. He will be
honored with a dedication of a granite bench that will forever stand as a reminder
of his sacrifice.

Russell and Marcia Mote and family

Team Toys for Tots 2012

Written on November 2, 2012 at 11:12 am, by


All prospective volunteers for El Dorado County’s 32nd Annual 2012 Toys for Tots – Toy

For more info:

Volunteer Coordinator Nancy Hansen (530) 622-8229
Coordinators: Sue & Hollis Henderson (530) 344-9384 Chris Landry

Our LOCATION is Indian Creek Elementary School, 6701 Green Valley Rd, Placerville

Please come celebrate the holiday season by organizing a group of friends, businesses, scout troop,
school group and family to share good cheer and bring hope to young hearts! Gather together and join other volunteers in bringing “renewed hope to young hearts: our children!” Making a difference in a child’s life, one toy at a time!

Please contact Nancy Hansen (Volunteer coordinator) and let her know, to COUNT YOU IN! Indicate
to her, if you are coming in as a group so we can properly assign you to a time slot, yet please keep in
mind if your desired slot is “booked,” then please consider another available time slot (we need people
in ALL time slots, particularly Sunday!) Call early since there’s a better opportunity for you to get your
desired time slot.

1. Arrive at the time indicated on the chart for the shift(s) you have chosen.
2. We will provide some snacks, coffee, water and other refreshments. We can’t let you go hungry
and have low energy, so please help yourself. You may bring a snack to share, and if you
wish to donate a few dollars towards refreshments, there will be a donation container at our
3. Please leave valuables at home or locked (hidden) inside your vehicle.
5. BRING your signed release form! (Gratuitous Service Agreement)
6. SHARE your good cheer, your loving heart and beautiful smile!
7. IMPORTANT! If you come in as a group or business, consider wearing your colors! What a
terrific way to let other volunteers know that your business CARES!
8. Feel free to BRING A TOY, if you wish! Let’s make this a Christmas our children will
9. Wear comfortable shoes.

The Toys for Tots Foundation, Marine Corp Detachment 697, El Dorado Hills Fire Department,
Rotarians of El Dorado County, Placerville Kiwanis, Mother Lode Lions, Christian Motorcycle
Association, Georgetown Native Sons, and American Legion believe that every child deserves the
very BEST CHRISTMAS! All of us will be taking time for our children, uplifting their spirits by giving,
so they too can know the full meaning of the JOY of CHRISTMAS! It’s our passion. We are working
to create a more meaningful, beautiful world, since these children are our future. What more perfect
way, than to give your time so our children receive our love and a new toy!

“Hot Dish” visits Selland’s Market Cafe in El Dorado Hills

Written on November 2, 2012 at 10:35 am, by

It’s time again for some “Hot Dish!” The idea for this supper club came about last summer while dining with a few friends one lazy evening. It was a rare opportunity to collectively step away from our busy schedules of work obligations and family commitments. By the end of the night, we came to the conclusion that all work and no play makes Jane a dull girl! So as often as possible, we get together for a meal and some “Hot Dish”. We do not claim to be food critics by any means, however, as consumers we do know all about good food, good value and good service! Here is our latest review, we will spare you the table talk! ~Tina Henderson, Editor/TheWindfall

Established in Sacramento in 2001, Selland’s Market Café is a family restaurant owned and operated by Selland Family Restaurants co-founders and owners – Randall Selland and Nancy Zimmer - and their grown children, Josh Nelson and Tamera Baker. The Sellands have been providing high quality dining experiences in the Sacramento region, using products andingredients sourced largely from local producers and the area’s farmers markets, for over 20 years.

Last month at the request of Hot Dish member Judy Onorato, we headed to the newly opened Selland’s Market Café in El Dorado Hills at Town Center. She had recently been there for the ‘$25 Dinner for Two’ special, which changes weekly andincludes a bottle of wine. Although none of us ordered the special while we visited, we found plenty to eat and the prices were more than reasonable. Immediately upon entering the restaurant, we noticed how clean it was. The light and bright décor appealed to all of us and the staff welcomed us to our table without delay. Jared and Mickey, our waiters, explained the ordering process. All menu items are available at the counter, a’ la carte for dine in or take out. With everything on display in a deli case, it is easy to see what you are ordering and reminiscent of a buffet. The kitchen is located beyond the counter and in full view of the guests. All the members of our group loved it, and as Hot Dish member Dawn Durrett pointed out, it was fun to see the food being prepared right before you. The kitchen was sparkling clean too. Wine is available by the glass or by the bottle, however, there wasn’t any El Dorado County wine for sale. As you can imagine, we were all disappointed when these local girls heard that and quickly pointed it out to the manager Ryan. He responded with, “We’re working on it.” We replied by ordering iced tea, water and soda…subtle, right?

As a group, we ordered a little bit of everything to sample together. We tasted salmon, prime rib, meatloaf, chicken, carnitasand brisket. Hands down, the salmon filet and the beef brisket were our favorites. For our side dishes, we ordered a few different cold salads, potatoes au gratin, roasted vegetables and mac and cheese. Do yourself a favor folks…order the potatoes au gratin! One word to describe them: Amazing. The roasted veggies were delicious as well, especially the brussel sprouts. For dessert, we ordered the fruit basket cake, chocolate mousse, and a dream bar. In the words of one of our members, the chocolate mousse was ‘orgasmic.’ Enough said!

Overall, we rated our experience at Selland’s a 9 out of 10. Food was great. Service was great. Not offering El Dorado County wine for sale, not so great. Lack of air conditioning that day was not so great either, considering it was 105 outside and we sat under a broken vent. Otherwise, we highly recommend you visit Selland’s Market Café and experience it for yourself! to view their menu online or call 916-932-5025.  ~Tell ‘em The Windfall sent you!


“Hot Dish” visits Los Hermanos…

Written on November 2, 2012 at 10:31 am, by

It’s time again for some “Hot Dish!” The idea for this supper club came about last summer while dining with a few friends one lazy evening. It was a rare opportunity to collectively step away from our busy schedules of work obligations and family commitments. By the end of the night, we came to the conclusion that all work and no play makes Jane a dull girl! So about once a month or so, we get together for a meal and some “Hot Dish”. We do not claim to be food critics by any means! However, as consumers, we do know how to judge good food, good value and good service! Here is our latest review, we will spare you the table talk! ~ Tina Henderson, Editor/The Windfall

Statistics show that millions of families every week sit down at the dinner table to enjoy homemade Taco’s or “Taco Night” as we call it. In fact, there are several local cafe’s and bistro’s promoting Taco’s on various days of the week, inviting us all in for this yummy and inexpensive favorite. Last month, while in Pollock Pines to visit another restaurant, we learned that their hours had changed and on that particular day and time, they were closed. We quickly decided on our back up plan, and headed on over to Los Hermanos Mexican Restaurant and Cantina for a cold drink and Taco’s!

We were greeted at the door by the hostess who immediately welcomed us to our table. There was no wait and not a whole lot of people eating dinner at that time, which was about 6:15 on a Wednesday. The Bar on the other hand, was quite busy. Our hostess informed us that they host Karaoke and live music on most weekends. Los Hermanos is really quite charming in decor, you can follow the foot prints in the sand-like flooring as you walk to your table and you feel like you are on a beach somewhere in Paradise. We liked the sound of the indoor fountain during our visit and the tropical fish tank in the lobby was a nice touch. The restrooms, lobby and dining room were well kept and pleasant. Our servers name was Tim and we were all in agreement that he was a charmer. Attentive, polite and very sweet, he swiftly took our beverage and appetizer orders and before we knew it, returned to serve us all. By the end of the night, we all agreed that Tim earned a 10 out of 10 overall for his level of customer service and patience with our separate tabs.

Our appetizers consisted of Jalepeno Popper’s, a Steak Quesadilla and the usual chips and salsa. The chips were fresh andhot, the consistency of the salsa was too blended for our liking but the flavor wasn’t bad. The poppers were prepackaged, frozen and heated, so nothing special. The Quesadilla seemed to be everyone’s favorite although there was more cheese in them then steak. Prices seemed reasonable and overall, we gave that round a 6 out of 10.

Judy ordered the Tortilla Soup and a Beef Taco and was quite pleased with her choice. Tina ordered the Chile Verde dinner plate and found it to be tender and tasty but too salty for her liking. In fact all of us felt our rice and beans that accompanied our meals were too salty. Between Dawn, Dori; Linda and Jodie, they shared Fish Taco’s, Carnitas Taco’s, an Enchilada and a Shredded Beef Burrito. Other then the salty beans and rice,  we collectively gave our dinner choices a 7 out of 10. Prices seemed fair for the portion sizes, and our entrees ranged from $8 to $12. Check out their menu and specials online at

Dessert was a Churro and a few slices of previously frozen cheese cake. Nothing to write home about. A few of the ladies just plain like dessert so they gave it a 5 out of 10. 

 NOTE: Los Hermanos Cantina has closed since the date of this review.

“Hot Dish” visits Bones Roadhouse in Placerville

Written on November 2, 2012 at 10:25 am, by

It’s time again for some “Hot Dish!” The idea for this supper club came about last summer while
dining with a few friends one lazy evening. It was a rare opportunity to collectively step away from our
busy schedules of work obligations and family commitments. By the end of the night, we came to the
conclusion that all work and no play makes Jane a dull girl! So about once a month or so, we get
together for a meal and some “Hot Dish”. We do not claim to be food critics by any means, however, as
consumers we do know all about good food, good value and good service! Here is our latest review, we
will spare you the table talk! ~Tina Henderson, Editor/The Windfall

This past month we headed out to Bones Roadhouse in pursuit of their famous cheeseburger and an ice
cold adult beverage. A few of our members were on vacation or could not attend, but let’s just say they
missed out! We picked up a stray a long the way, Tina’s husband Robert, who filled in for the missing
ladies and was a great addition to the mix! Too bad he did not fit in the customary Hot Dish t-shirt!

Every Monday night at 5:30, Bones Roadhouse hosts Trivia Night with Jessica the bartender in charge
of the game. We dropped in about 6:00 and were able to find a table near the action. Jessica greeted
us with a welcoming smile, an invitation to join the game and an explanation of how to play. Basically,
your name gets written down on your beverage receipt and then placed into a jar. If your name gets
pulled, the trivia question is yours to answer. If you answer correctly, your next drink is on the house.
Needless to say, this is a popular night to visit Bones. Second only to Karaoke on Friday, although I
must say the wonderful smells coming from the grill convinced us that ANY day is a good day to visit
Bones! Felicia was our server and was very friendly. Everyone loved her and both she and Jessica
were given a 10 out of 10 for customer service.

The menu is pretty straight forward with burgers and sandwiches. You have your choice of cheese, raw
or grilled onions, bacon and avocado to top your burger. We ordered cheeseburgers with the works and
a philly and pastrami sandwich to sample as well. We added onion rings and garlic fries as our sides.
Bones offers a full bar and a few of us ordered well drinks, but I opted for a beer on tap which was
served in a very chilled mug and ice cold. Our dinners were served within minutes it seemed, and just
as we had ordered. With our very first bites, talking ceased. Indeed, this was one of the best burgers
any of us have enjoyed; flavorful, juicy and just damned good! The same could be said for the pastrami
and the philly. In between bites, we all mumbled, “This could be addicting!” Needless to say, 10 out of
10 was the unanimous vote for the food and reasonably priced at under $10 per meal, we are sure you
will be very satisfied with the generous portions.

Don’t let the word “Bones” or “Roadhouse” intimidate you. Although Bones is a bar and grill,
complete with big screen t.v.’s and a pool table, this place is clean inside and out with plenty of parking
for cars and steel horses! The owners and staff make every effort to make your visit a great one. Bones
Roadhouse is the perfect destination for lunch or dinner, or, just a pit stop on your journey through the
foothills. Call them for upcoming specials, events and directions.  ~Tell ‘em The Windfall sent you! (530) 644-4301  4430 Pleasant Valley Rd. Placerville

Just the right fit…

Written on November 2, 2012 at 10:10 am, by

Nowadays in the job market you always hear “not a good fit” if the employer doesn’t want you. Now with 60 on the horizon I wonder if age has something to do with that “fit”. There will always be job jargon to go with the times. I remember when I was looking for work as a teenager, it was a different world. The signs said, “Help Wanted, Experience Required.” It was a Catch 22. If you don’t have a job how do you get experience?

Still wet behind the ears I walked into Denny’s restaurant when it was in downtown Placerville looking for a job. No experience.  I asked the manager for work and she asked what I wanted to do. I said anything. She told me to get a haircut and she would hire me. I got a hair cut and was back in less than an hour. She knew I really wanted a job. She gave me the graveyard shift. I went in and the first task I was given was to scrape the bubblegum off the bottoms of the tables. Didn’t need much experience for that. When things slowed at about 3am I was told to go clean the parking lot. There were no leaf blowers back then. It was swept by hand. I know what your thinking, “Yeah sure you walked to school 5 miles in the snow uphill both ways.” Not quite. It was the experience of learning to be subservient.

I worked my way up to busing tables, dish washing, and finally cooking and continued to learn along the way. Vacuuming the seating area I noticed a homeless man who was younger than I am now sit on the stool at the counter. He asked for a cup of hot water. He then added some ketchup. I learned compassion. One night someone brought in a paper bag. It had a rattlesnake in it. The restaurant was in a panic. I learned about human nature. When I was allowed in the kitchen the head cook taught me how to flip eggs. I flipped a piece of bread for a while before I was allowed to do eggs. I learned to have patience and to be humble. On another occasion that same cook who taught me to flip eggs went after four customers who ran out on their bill. I learned to do the right thing no matter what perils lurk. That cook and I are still friends. I learned how to maintain friendships.  When I left that job I had gained a lot of knowledge; not just restaurant work, it was a life lesson. Quite an experience. It fit well. ~NickPesola, Placerville

Best seat in OR on the house!

Written on November 2, 2012 at 10:07 am, by

Other than Christmas and Easter, my favorite holiday of the year is Independence Day. It just so happens that my birthday is on July 1st…and back in 1977 I turned 10. My favorite song was Dancing Queen by ABBA and my friends and I played it over and over on my 8-track while we roller skated in the driveway. My siblings and I lived for Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley on the T.V.  I remember that particular birthday in 1977 because my party was held on July 4th. Back in those days, the neighbors all knew each other. Everyone got together for a “block party” each Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day. The streets were barricaded with coolers and bikes, and slip n’ slides were on every lawn. It was the one time of year you could get away with things like running in the streets, swimming right after eating and lighting things on fire (fireworks). We were walking on the ‘wild side’ I tell you but no one ever got hurt! My favorite part of that day was when my Dad let us kids climb up on the roof of our two story house to watch the sunset and to see the neighbors fireworks display. It was the best seat on the block! I cannot imagine that happening these days, I am sure there are rules against it now. I realize that times of changed since way back then…but I remember when!  ~Tina Henderson, Placerville

I remember “King Cocka-Doodle-Do”

Written on November 2, 2012 at 10:01 am, by

I was 9 years old in 1946 and my entire family lived in an old 1 ½ room home without indoor plumbing. The rent was $10 per month, a lot of money in those days. My Dad was Cherokee and he had a strong belief in earth, god and animal spirit. My story is about his pet rooster. Dad would sit and talk to it every chance he could, I mean he loved this rooster and Dad was the only one of us that could stand him! When my Grandmother would visit us, she would take over the chore of feeding the chickens. Well she walked into the chicken coop one morning and the rooster attacked her from behind with his 3” spurs and really injured her. My Mama was furious! A few days later, Mama was wearing her brand new pant suit (fancy stuff because dresses were the style for women) and went to feed the chickens for Grandma. The rooster caught her off guard and attacked her, ripping holes and drawing blood onto her new suit. You can bet between the tears of anger she and my Dad exchanged some loud words about that rooster. Dad refused to kill him, the rooster never bothered him none. The final straw for Mama was when I came home from school the next day and walked up the lawn to my front door. That crazy rooster had gotten out of the pen and caught site of me. I ran as fast as I could to the front porch with my heart pounding out of my chest and what do you know? Mr. King Cocka-Doodle-Do attacked the back of my leg and shredded it to down to the bone. I am 74 years old now and still have the scars!That night my Dad got home from work and sat down for our family dinner. My brother and I did not know whether to laugh or cry when he told Mama “Faye, this is the best tastin’ chicken you have ever made!” It was then she told Dad about his Rooster. He grieved for years over it. I still giggle a little when I hear the sound of a rooster crowing!

~Etta Carlson, Camino

The facts about Olive Oil

Written on November 2, 2012 at 9:54 am, by

By Doug Noble

Recently I was invited to take a class on olive oil at Miraflores Winery. It was taught by Orietta Gianjorio who is a member of the UC Davis Olive Oil Taste Panel and the Sacramento Delegate for the Accademia Italiani della Cucina (Italian Academy of Cuisine). She also holds a diploma of Sommelier from the Associazione Italiana Sommeliers.

Here are a number of interesting facts about olive oil.

There are many varieties of olive trees, all of which produce a slightly different oil, which can vary even more depending on the environment in which the tree is grown.

Olives for oil can be picked when green, purple or black (fully ripe). Green olives produce an oil that is more robust and “grassy,” purple and black olives produce an oil that is milder and often more “tropical.”

The olives must be rushed to the processing area and kept cool so that they neither mold or ferment. The processing (milling, pressing and bottling) must be completed in just a couple of hours.

The majority of olive oil is made in November and December and the most important information on the bottle is the date of production. If it doesn’t have one, don’t buy it.

If properly stored, it is good for 12 months. Once it is open, it should be used up as soon as possible. Oxygen, heat and light are its enemies.

The most common problem with olive oil is rancidity, brought on by oxidation. It gives it a “crayon” kind of taste. A lot of the oil used in homes and restaurants is rancid.

Bread is sweet and affects the same receptors in the mouth as olive oil, so you should taste it directly from a glass, cup or other suitable container, not by dipping bread in it.

In California olive oil can be rated “Extra Virgin,” based on free acidity, by a California Olive Oil Council (COOC) certified laboratory or tasting panel. Lesser ratings include “Virgin,” “Refined” and “Pomace.” In Europe the International Olive Council (IOC) creates the standards.

Buy locally. California has a lot of good olive oil producers and the product is fresher. Check the date, buy in small quantities so you can use it up while it is still good and store it carefully, away from heat and light. Like with wine, buy the best you can afford and use it on salads, in dishes and for cooking. It will be worth it.”

Check out Orietta Gianjorio’s webpage at for more information on her classes, her background and her books.

Check out Miraflores’ webpage at for information on their upcoming classes and events. You can also call them at 530-647-8505.

I remember…The Pit

Written on November 2, 2012 at 9:48 am, by

I grew up in Pasadena, CA, on a residential quarter acre lot that had on it two houses and a three-car garage. The houses had been built out of redwood around 1900 and over the years had been occupied by my grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousin, my great aunt and uncle and my father, brother and myself, sometimes all at once.

The garage, which was about 35 feet wide, and had swinging doors that never closed easily, was made from new and old wood, the main beam coming from a barn that had been torn down on the property.

Most of the inside space was occupied by old furniture, car parts and the such, including odd jars and cans of mysterious chemicals my uncle had accumulated when he was studying chemistry in college. One bay of the garage had a pit in the floor so you could work on cars from underneath.

The pit was about three by four feet wide, around three feet deep and had concrete walls and a dirt floor. It was covered, when not in use, by creosoted two by eight planks that protected us from falling in and from the Black Widow spiders that lived there. No matter how often we cleared the pit of them, the next time they were back in numbers. Apparently it was their ancestral home, or at least we thought so.

If you wanted to work on a car you had to go through a careful process. First, using something like a tire iron or crowbar,  you lifted the planks, one at a time, turned them over and with a hammer dispatched any spiders and egg sacs you came across, and there were always lots of them.

Once the planks were off, you poured a little gasoline into the pit and threw in a lit match to get rid of those you missed. That made it safe.

One afternoon a friend of my older brother brought his car over to work on it. My brother, with an audience of friends, got a hammer and dramatically went through the process of clearing the spiders from the boards. Then he poured some gasoline into the pit, waited a bit and then threw in a lit match. It went out.

Puzzled, he poured in some more gasoline and threw in another match. It too went out.

We all believed that more gasoline was needed but apparently there was now so much gasoline in the pit that the fumes had pushed out all of the oxygen.

Well, you know what happened next, in went more gasoline and another match that went out. Then my brother rolled up a newspaper, and I think dipped it in gasoline. I don’t know this for sure because by that time I was facing the other way while  running up the driveway away from the garage.

He lit his “torch” and the next thing I remember is a very loud roar as the pit ignited. Stopping and turning, I saw everyone else now running away and a column of flame emanating from the pit, spreading about two feet deep on the ceiling throughout the garage and leaping out the open door and through a window.

Needless to say I had visions of the neighborhood in flames and the police department hauling us off to jail. And then it stopped as fast as it started. Apparently in this great imitation of Mt. Vesuvius all the the gasoline had been consumed. The garage had not caught fire, nothing in the mysterious jars had exploded and, on a brighter side, all the dust and cobwebs were gone.

Fortunately, no one was hurt and no one else in the family realized what had happened. And, we never told them. ~ Doug Noble, Placerville




I remember Jan’s Frosty in El Dorado…

Written on November 2, 2012 at 9:43 am, by

I was in grade school back in the 1970s. My family and I lived out on Hwy 49 at the Amador/El Dorado County line. My parents used to have an old Chrysler convertible at that time and for some silly reason we named our cars.  We called that car, “Junior Bonner”.  It was named after an old western movie of the same title and featured the actor Steve McQueen. Junior was the cowboy in the movie and he drove an old beat up white and red Chrysler convertible that looked just like ours. My three siblings and I loved that car! Well, that is until it caught fire on the railroad tracks in downtown Placerville…As I recall, my mom was on crutches and she would tuck them on the floorboard in the back seat while driving. She was yelling at us kids to hurry up and get out of the car to get to safety. Unbeknownst to her, one of the crutches was stuck on my brothers pant leg.  As she was pulling on her crutches to get them out of the car, it kept pulling my brother back in the car…and my mom kept yelling at him, “Stop kidding around and get out of the car!”

Before that crazy day, ever so often my parents would pile us in Junior Bonner and head to town for a day of shopping. It was a great day for us all if they would stop at Jan’s Frosty for a treat. Jan’s Frosty was one of our favorite places to go for a great hamburger, fries and a milkshake back then.
Of course you had to have a frosty for dessert! Jan’s was owned and operated by Jan and Hank Bott who were well loved in the area.  Even though it was a small little place tucked back in the corner beside George’s Pit Stop in El Dorado, everyone knew where it was and loved it!

One of my favorite and funniest memories from that old convertible was when we would stop at Jan’s to get our frosty and then pile in the back seat of Junior Bonner for the long windy ride home. At that time my sister and I had very long hair. Once we were on Hwy 49 and we started picking up speed,  the wind would start blowing our hair around. It used to make our brothers mad because it was flying in their ice cream cones. Well, it was flying in ours too! Aside from that, if you weren’t quick enough when licking the ice cream, it would blow off your tongue! So, once you licked the ice cream you had to close your mouth FAST. To be honest, every now and then we would let it fly off our tongue on purpose just to watch it fly! Needless to say, by the time we got home, me and my sisters hair was an absolute mess! Not only was it tangled and matted from the wind, but hard and sticky from all the ice cream in it.  This happened EVERY time we got to stop for a frosty, but we did not care! Jan’s Frosty and Junior Bonner are long gone now, but I remember when! ~ Dawn Durrett, Placerville

I remember Oak Hill Grammar School

Written on November 1, 2012 at 8:23 pm, by

The year is 1940, and I am starting first grade at Oak Hill Grammar School. This year there are 10 students (Grades 1 – 8). Our teacher is Miss Ruth Jones. District Trustees are: Anton Walker, Helen Cosens, and Ramona Donn. Kenneth W. McCoy is El Dorado Superintendent of Schools. Back then Miss Jones was not only our teacher, but the school nurse, play ground supervisor, and she played many other roles too. She was a wonderful person and a great teacher. In 1940 there was no electricity in the Oak Hill area. The school house had many windows on the East and West sides of the building, but on rainy, dark days the kerosene chandeliers were lit. This was always a real treat for us kids. Didi Waggoner lived not far from the school, she was the janitor. For heat there was a pot bellied wood stove. Fathers of the students supplied the wood. Didi would come early every morning and start the fire, so it would be warm by the time we arrived. Either Miss Jones or one of the older boys would keep the fire stoked. Didi also packed water in galvanzied buckets from the school well. These buckets were placed in the anti-room (one side for boys and one side for girls). Each bucket had a tin dipper, each child had a “cheese” glass with their name on it. This water was used for drinking and washing hands. It was mandatory, hands were washed after each recess and before lunch. Today, I wonder if kids ever wash their hands. Of course, there was no indoor plumbing, so there were two out houses (boys and girls). Most of the students walked to school, some as many as 3.5 or 4 miles! I believe John Donn had the greatest distance to walk. His father built a corral at the school, and that year John started riding his horse. Some of the fathers, including mine, got together that summer and built a garage for Miss Jones’ 1937 Chevrolet Coupe. Each year before school started in the fall, a couple of fathers would come and oil the wood floors, and mothers and children would come and clean all of the desks and polish them with Old English scratch remover. They would wash the windows and have everything spic and span for opening day of school. Certain duties were assigned to the students. It was always an honor whenit was your turn to raise and lower the flag. An older student would assist the younger ones with this, or any other chores, if need be.  I was always fascinated by this funny glass bulb filled with red liquid, that hung on the wall above one of the blackboards. We were told it was a fire extinguisher. Thank goodness we never had to use it, but to this day I question whether it would have worked. In 1940 I can recall there being only 18 homes in the Oak Hill area. Today we have in excess of 255 and new ones springing up every few weeks. I have so many wonderful memories of my eight years at Oak Hill School. It was a time when drugs, gangs, and even T.V. were unheard of. I only wish we could roll back time for a month, and my grandchildren could live a month not in “Outer Space” but “Back Then” in 1940. ~ Lorine (Cosens) Petty

I remember “Work Experience” at EDH

Written on November 1, 2012 at 8:22 pm, by


I remember when high school students participated in the “Work Experience Program”. I attended El Dorado High School but the surrounding high schools offered the program as well. The students, myself included, were allowed to work at various businesses in El Dorado County and were given credit for the work we performed. We were given the chance to fit into the work place and establish a work ethic that as far as I am concerned, has lasted my lifetime. Quite often we were hired by that business afterwards or even during our school year. All the businesses who did this got a special look at a great number of young workers and were able to showcase their business in our school yearbook. We all looked forward to showing the business off in the pages of our newsletter and in turn, the population in our County would respond by using that business. It was a great opportunity to see what you wanted to be in life and to ‘try out’ a job before you applied there, a win win situation for everyone. Throughout our four years of high school there were hundreds of students who took part in this great program. I also remember when we had a local newspaper that offered free press to benefit those businesses that supported our local youth, back when we also had our own radio station and local DJ! ~ Larry Hennick, Pollock Pines


Wendy Mattson remembers Almie

Written on November 1, 2012 at 8:17 pm, by

My great grandmother, Elma Wilhemina Bosquit (I called her Almie) was a beautiful woman. She passed away at the age of 92. She was gracious, intelligent and in all the time I knew her, I never heard her utter a negative word about anyone. Not once. She was born in Placerville and attended high school here in town. In 1909, she entered a popularity and beauty contest put on by the local newspaper, The Nugget. She was visiting friends in Sacramento when her father called her to tell her that she won! The prize was a 1909 REO Automobile, making her the very first woman to own and drive a car in Placerville. At the time, homes did not have a ‘garage’ and very few people even knew how to operate a car! Almie learned to drive her ‘prize’ in her backyard with her father reading the instruction manual that came with the car. The next year, she was selected to serve as the “Goddess of Liberty” in the annual 4th of July celebration. For her costume, she was given a whole bolt of beautiful white satin to be used for herself and two friends that served as maids. This was the first time that an automobile was used in a parade down Main Street. An interesting side note: While my great grandmother was beautiful and captivating, the purpose of the newspaper contest had more to do with who could sell the most subscriptions and less to do with beauty and popularity. We recently learned that Almie’s father had actually called the newspaper to see how many subscriptions were needed to win. He made sure the winds of fortune blew her way! ~ Wendy Mattson, Vice Mayor of Placerville

Robert Henderson remembers

Written on November 1, 2012 at 8:15 pm, by

Recently I drove down the old street that my wife and I lived on when we were young parents. As I caught a glimpse of the little house in front of me, I was transported back in time. The house was built in 1929, and we bought it in 1992 when it was well worn from others living in it. She and I had remodeled the old front porch so that we could sit together and watch the kids grow up. We lived there about 4 years until moving to El Dorado County. Never the less, it still looked the same. I remember when…my kids were little and I would arrive home from work everyday to chaos. All of my kids would burst out of the house onto that porch (kind of like Dino would get Fred Flintstone) and run up to tackle me, telling me about their day. Of course they would all talk at the same time! I would stumble into the house, with one or two kids in my arms and usually one still wrapped around my legs. As I attempted to give my wife a hug and a kiss hello, there would always be a child stuck between us looking up. It was then that one of them would say, “Mom’s got a surprise for you!” Within seconds they were all blurting out that Mom had baked a cake or cookies for dessert that night. So much for surprises! Now I am a Grandpa and I can only hope my children get to make as many wonderful memories with their kids as I did with them. Funny how it’s the simple things like this that bring back those memories, not the great vacations or big things, but the little things day to day that stick with you. Happy Anniversary Tina Henderson, “We’ve not missed you and I, we’ve not missed that many splendored thing.” ~Robert Henderson, Placerville

Nick Pesola remembers and relives days gone by

Written on November 1, 2012 at 8:07 pm, by

Although the calendar says fall, summer still hangs on. Now days the seasons seem to be just a measure of time but in days gone by summer was a special time. As a youngster it lasted forever. It was an innocent affair; seeking out fun as that was always the ultimate goal to achieve.
Many summers came and went. Things changed over time but I’ve recently learned the warmth is forever in the air. It was when my wife and I went for a drive and we passed  Happy Valley Rd.. I reminisced sharing my thoughts about spending all available time as a teenager at swimming holes like the one we just drove by, Jericho, Rising Hill, etc..
She was curious so we turned around, negotiated the switchbacks and wound up on the wood planked bridge looking down at the swirling water over the many smooth contours of shinning granite with the calming sound of the water heading downstream. Looking up the river I mentioned I had not been to my favorite spot in over 36 yrs..
She wanted us to hike in but I was reluctant as her physical condition did not favor such a trek. In the day I would run the mile in knowing where every step would land reaching the boulder hanging over the waterfall good and warm from the run and dive in. From the car to being in the river took about 10+ minutes.
Now it was different. With caution and perseverance I was able to walk her in. It took 2 1/2 hrs.. She was hurting but was awed by the beauty of it all. I did a very slow 360 degree scan absorbing it all again. I then shimmied over the boulder to the other side. I wanted to dive in but it wasn’t meant to be. I lied down with my head hanging over the edge enjoying the mist and crashing sound of the waterfall. When I got up I took a long deep breath and my wife said you look so happy. She was so right.
The peace of the place, the happiness felt, the memories of those summers, and the people in it came flooding back. It was a poignant moment to cherish forever. There was just one thing missing. The care free kid. That’s where responsibility filled the void. That’s OK. I was able to share what it meant this summer.
We made the journey back to today’s reality. Next summer we will be there again. More memories to be made.