Monday, May 10, 2010

Day 130: The Bulldozer...

I was awakened at three a.m. this morning by gunshots. Seems that one of our neighbors with alpaca were doing the "shoot, shovel and shut up" thing and firing at a bear that was interested in their livestock. Last week they tried to kill a mountain lion. One of their children reported the occurrence at school today. Kids never do shut up.

Then on the way to do an errand in Oroville today, I saw a bulldozer driving on the gravel road. It was raining, so the bulldozer chewed up the road.

I met the bulldozer on the little, idyllic bridge that leads to the ridge:

The bridge presides over our swimming hole;

I watched as the bridge groaned under the D6's weight. The bridge literally buckled underneathe it.

And the pavement got all cracked up. Worried about the integrity of the bridge, we called the police.

Back from my errand in Oroville, I followed the bulldozer's tracks up to the place where they are working. I hiked around (nobody there) and took photos. A new homestead is going in.

Time to talk to the neighbors.

I visited one of our neighbors who informed me that you can't get a bulldozer in on a "low boy". The only way to get a bulldozer up here is to drive it in. A pretty common thing; during the fires of 2008 they drove 50 D8's across the bridge (or so I'm told).

I stopped and talked to another neighbor, a contractor, who has lived on the Ridge for thirty years. He got all grumpy with me: "Don't you be sticking your nose in other people's business" he said "or paybacks will get you!".

He went on to tell me that the bridge is fine and that the pavement has been torn up for years. When I showed him photos of the fresh damage, he blew it off.

I told him we don't need bulldozers up here. He said "How are you going to stop it?". I made a stupid reference to sand in the crankcase which made him lose his temper:

"Don't you do anything radical around here---or I'll have you off this Ridge in a heartbeat!". He went on to say that we don't need any government people checking out our lack of building permits. His face turned a bit red and he took another sip of his beer. He meant all of this as a threat.

Laughing, (I am a psychiatric nurse and am used to dealing with people who are irrationally angry), I told him to relax and that, yes, I am a radical but I came to ask his opinion on the matter of bulldozers tearing up our road and our bridge?

So today has not been a good day. It started with the illegal poaching of wildlife; was followed by a bulldozer tearing up the bridge, road and a property on the Ridge; and that led to me being threatened to keep my nose out of other people's business by a neighbor who is concerned about having some "Sahara Clubber" on the Ridge.

Discussing the matter with Joni, it seems that we are with a few Unfriendlies. It didn't help that I spoke out in support of the Migratory Wildlife Overlay in support of the Butte County Thirty Year Plan at a crowded town meeting. Problems started then, as most of our neighbor's support their right to do anything to our public roads and our private space. Bridges and Wildlife be damned!

Allan's Note: I've been notified that the gunshots were meant to frighten the mountain lions away. That is reasonable and a technique often used to discourage mountain lions from discovering a new food source.


lph said...


There you go again...irritating the irritable. It sounds like the only way you are going to fit in up there is if you get yourself a shotgun, point it at the crazies, and tell them to get the hell off your property.

A terrific yarn. I admire your brashness. Just don't getting yourself hurt by these neighbors of yours.

And by the way...are there any trout in that stream there? Certainly looks like good water!


Patrick of Eagan said...


Remember, discretion is the better part of valor....and don't these guys all have guns?

Allan Stellar said...

What is it Thoreau said:

"The greater part of what my neighbors call good I believe in my soul to be bad,
and if I repent of anything, it is very likely to be my good behavior.
What demon possessed me that I behaved so well?
from the chapter "Economy" in Walden

greentangle said...

I guess syphilization's not all bad!

joni said...

Apparently, kids aren't the only ones who 'never shut up'...nor lacking the ability to discern where and to whom it's safe and appropriate to speak out.....
Yes, neighbors all have guns (except us) and yes, there are trout in Concow Creek - I've seen plenty of fry, but nothing substantial size yet - maybe the larger ones migrate downstream?

Slatts1962 said...

Allan- Good for you! You're doing the neighbors a big favor by challenging the dangers of unchecked development (even if some of your neighbors are forever looking skyward in search of those black U.N helicopters). I greatly admire your passion for the environment and your courage to question those practices that would harm everything you've worked so hard for.

Allan Stellar said...

Thanks Slatts! :)