Thursday, May 31, 2018

Tommy Tucker Cave

There is a great road bike ride along the Skedaddle Mountains out to the Nevada state line. Years ago riding along the range Jim Chapman pointed out the Tommy Tucker cave. This came back to me when I was looking for a Memorial Day subject to write about. Tommy Tucker was a Maidu, as a young man he was gifted in music and athletics, he also excelled in his studies. He enlisted for service in World War I and was killed in action in France. He was the first Susanville resident to die in WWI. I still have no idea what his connection was with the cave that is named for him. if anyone out there knows give me a call 257-5136, I’ll do a follow up.

I asked LoCaL Historian, Tim Purdy, how to get there. Our bookkeeper and my new best climbing buddy, Heather, lives out that way so she agreed to be my guide. Trust me when I tell you this IS a climb and not for anyone who’s afraid of heights. Though we saw the trail from the road we totally missed it on the way up and made our way up the rock draw. When we reached the area where we thought the cave should be we found the trail. Sure, now we find it.

Guess what? There were 2 people there. And not just anybody but an Archaeologist from BLM, Marilla Martin and an Archaeologist that specializes in rock conservation, Jannie Loubser. The pictograph at the entrance to the cave had been vandalized with spray paint, which we had heard about BUT they had just finished the removal and restoration. THANK YOU to everyone involved in this project. *These caves are sacred to the local Native American tribes, vandalizing them is no different than vandalizing a church.

We were so lucky (blessed) to see the pictograph with these archaeologists. Jannie Loubser showed us the pictograph on his phone using an app that enhances the image. According to BLM “Native American people used pigment derived from minerals to paint the pictographs onto the cave walls within the last 500 years. They are the only known pictographs in the region where petroglyphs, images pecked into rock surfaces, are the more common form of Native American rock art." What an amazing experience.

It’s up to us to protect these historical sites for future generations. Please be mindful of their delicate nature.

Thank you to Tommy Tucker and all for past and present service to our Country on this Memorial Day!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

SuPeRhero Fun!


Transitional Kindergarden Teacher Maria Mankins comes in frequently in the morning. Kind and friendly, always quick with a smile and a greeting. One day I noticed her buying lunch for the high school kid in line behind her, just a pay it forward thing. I absolutely love that. So it wasn’t surprising to me at all to see that she participated in the last Superhero fun run to benefit child abuse victims through CASA. She is a LoCaL Superhero for sure!

We certainly have a lot of heroes in our town and many of them volunteer with CASA. CASA is a Lassen Family Services program that provides children who are victims of abuse a court appointed advocate. These are people from our community who go through a training program, commit show up in court as an advocate and in addition spend at least 8 hours a month with a child in need of CASA’s services. One volunteer even took the child chosen for them to swim lessons CASA paid for in our brand new pool! They really go above and beyond. The Superhero Fun Run honors those deserving volunteers and helps raise always needed funds. What a SuPeR fun way to help!

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So grab your cape, don a mask and give us your best SuPeRHeRO pose! Who knows, maybe you even have what it takes to be one of these INCREDIBLE volunteer advocates!


Monday, May 14, 2018


Our store staff is very much like a family. In that family we have been honored to have some of the finest ‘Moms’ anywhere. Women who watched out for us, guided us and cared for others. A few that spring to mind from early days are:

Nancy Madigan, always looking out for others before herself.
Carla Reddin, small in stature but HUGE in character, teaching was her specialty.
Carol Heil, quick with a joke whenever we needed it most.

Some (by no means all) of today's ‘Moms’ we count on:

Debbie Oschner~organized and caring. A woman you can count on.
Hope Browning~ making sure her crew has everything they need to be successful including making sure they eat and stay hydrated during busy days. Hope has been known to deliver soup to co-workers when they were home sick.
Kailie Shoemaker~ a nurturer through and through. Accepts others as they are and loves them.
Sherry Perry~ puts her head down and works to make sure no one ever has to pick up slack in the Bakery.
Toni Iba~ kind and giving, if a fellow IGAer doesn’t have a place to go on a Holiday they will find a seat at Toni’s table.
Jessica Eid~ capable and caring. This is the woman to get to call if we need just about anything done.

Recently Rick reminded me of a certain Mom that used to work for us several years ago, Kim Hay, and how giving she has always been. One day a little boy in the neighborhood came in, as he frequently did, he would ride his bike to the store and shop for his mom. After going through Kim’s check stand he left but a couple of minutes later he was back and very upset. Someone stole his bike. In the days following Kim took it upon herself to start a collection among the employees and the next time he came in she presented him with a brand new bike.

Lots of women are out there Mom-ing so hard, we honor and thank all of you! Happy Mother’s Day!

Friday, May 4, 2018

Tamale Casserole without the guilt~

Confession. I still crave the food of the 70s. All those calorie laden casseroles, so much cheese, cream, butter, even lard. Yum. Don’t judge. And these old recipes were not about convenience, they were a lot of work. I don’t eat that way now, darn it. Plus who wants to spends even more time in the kitchen? Not me. And I like to cook.

Fortunately you can now find updates on old favorites easily. Take classic Tamale Pie, dicing, simmering, cooking the corn meal until smooth, then baking, probably 1 1/2 hours all together. I have 1 hour tops on a weeknight. I've found versions that use cornbread mix, and chicken, lighter and faster. YAY. Sounds good. Right? Probably half the calories of the original too! Cooking Light had my top version but I still added a couple of tweaks ~

1 box Jiffy cornbread mix
15 oz Del Monte can cream corn
4.5 oz Ortega green chiles
1 cup Tillamook Mexican 4 cheese shred
1 egg white
1/3 cup fat free milk
10 oz enchilada sauce
1/4 tsp cayenne ( I like it kinda spicy, you can dial this back if you don’t )
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 of Hope’s most FABulous baked chicken breasts, deboned, skinned and shredded.
3 sliced green onions
Optional, fat free sour cream and John’s FrEsH house made Pico de Gallo which has quite a cult following!

Oven 400*
In a medium bowl combine cornbread mix, corn, egg, chiles, milk, 1/2 cup cheese, spices. Mix well. Spray a 13x9 pan with Pam for baking. Pour mix in pan. Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven, poke holes all over cornbread, pour enchilada sauce over, top with chicken, cheese and onions. Return to oven for 15 minutes or until completely set.

Serve with pico and sour cream. Rick tops his with Chipotle Tabasco, it adds a nice smokiness.

Have a HaPpY, Healthy, Hometown Cinco de Mayo!

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