In that lull between spring and summer one of the best way to enjoy life is to venture out into nature and appreciate it. Gracie and I found a spot where the wild oats were up as tall as her back. Yes, it was a good Spring.

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Your Chance to Read Aloud

slide_OpenMicThis Saturday, May 28th, come on out and read YOUR WRITING or POETRY aloud at the Redwood Writers Open Mic. We invite all writers and poets to join us for this afternoon of literary treats.

The open mic will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. at Gaia’s Garden restaurant, 1899 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa, CA.

We ask that your limit your reading to 5 minutes maximum for the open mic portion. Our two featured readers for the day will be poet Juanita J. Martin and writer Mary Lynn Archibald.

Bring a friend!


Mary Lynn Archibald

Juanita J. Martin

Juanita J. Martin

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Blow the Siren

I am taking a short break from writing about horses, writing or reading. I have two posts on Firefighters to share. Today, the Cloverdale Fire District celebrates their 130th anniversary.

Let’s hope you never have to use the services of your local fire department. —Robin

The following is a guest post written by my husband, Kevin Moore. “Thank you, Sweetie!”

Blow the Siren!

by Kevin Moore

In the movies, it’s not uncommon for a panicky character to yell out, “Call 911” to emphasize the scene. If that movie was set in Cloverdale, before 1995, the character might have yelled, “Blow the Siren, Blow the Siren!”

Before cell phones and the 911 system, the signal of a real emergency in Cloverdale was the sound of the town’s fire sirens cycling on and off four times. When these WWII air raid fire sirens sounded, the volunteer firefighters responded to the station, jumped into protective clothing and climbed aboard the fire engines.

Everyone from the town’s dogs to the tourists driving on Highway 101, (that ran through the middle of Cloverdale,) reacted to the sound of the fire siren. It was said that the dogs were much less traumatized than the out of town drivers waiting in line for the town’s one traffic light to turn green when the massive sirens activated.

The Siren Blows Again.

The Cloverdale Fire District is planning to activate one of the sirens for the first time in 20 plus years as a symbolic remembrance of former firefighters, as part of the department’s 130th anniversary celebration.

The district’s Roger Fletcher and Kagan Davis are having fun restoring the 650 pound former air raid siren, but it is clear they are having more fun hearing the public’s stories that relate to the fire siren. Within a few days, the video on the Volunteer Firefighters’ Facebook page of them testing the siren motor for just a few seconds, had over two thousand views.

We asked about fire siren stories and came up with a couple to share:

We Dropped the Siren!

85 year old Tom Gurries, longtime fire volunteer and former city worker warned the firefighters that, “The fire siren is a lot heavier than it looks.” To emphasize the point, Tom told them, “I should know, I was there the day we dropped it on the city hall roof.”

Gurries then enlightened them with the story of how the city crew was installing the siren on top of city hall. The city was always trying to save money and wouldn’t rent a crane, so they used a long pole and a tractor to pick up the tower and move it to the roof.

“The tractor tires kept coming off the ground and scared us all to death. The boss gave the orders to keep moving, and finally over she went, right onto the roof.” Gurries told the firefighters, “We didn’t know if we should go look through the windows to see if the siren was laying inside the building or climb on the roof to see how bad the damage was. Luckily, the siren only dented the roof and the all the damage was repairable.

Stick the Scissors in the Siren or In Case of Fire – Remove Scissors

Joe Miller, a long time Cloverdale police and fire dispatcher recalled how the dispatcher had a fire alarm pull boxes, just like those found in a school, which activated the sirens.

Late one night a caller reported a house fire. Just as Miller pulled the alarm box handle, the reporting party realized they had made an error and there was no fire. Joe was faced with a dilemma. If he let go of the handle the town’s four fire sirens would wake everyone in town.

Thinking quickly, he reached for a nearby pair of scissors and jammed them in the alarm box handle. Slowly he released the handle and kept adjusting the scissors until they held the alarm handle in place.

Miller, well known for his wit, covered the sign that said, “Pull Handle for Fire” with a handwritten sign that read, “In Case of Fire – Remove Scissors.”

For weeks Joe worried that someone would bump the scissors or they would just slip out in the middle of the night and wake everyone. Finally it was decided that they would remove the scissors when all the fire volunteers attended a training session at the fire house.

The “Pull the Scissors” event gave the firefighters a chance to thank the dispatchers, and Joe was presented a cake with a huge pair of scissors on top.

Remember the Siren?

A large number of people tell about remembering the fire siren as a kid, and how their parents would go outside to look for the fire. Everyone agrees, you didn’t sleep through the siren when they went off in the middle of the night.

A surprising amount of people say they miss the noon siren test every day.

When I was Your Age

Fire Battalion Chief Rick Blackmon said, “I think some parents and maybe some grandparents are going to drag the kids out to hear the siren blow again, just so they can say, ‘I told you it was loud and when I was your age it blew for every fire.’” Blackmon said with a big grin, “To us, it’s a tribute to 130 years of volunteers. We are saluting our past members, but it’s going to be fun.”

If you have a siren story, the volunteers want to hear from you.  If you want to be part of the next siren story, come to the plaza on May 21st to enjoy food and music, and celebrate 130 years of your fire department. And of course, to hear the siren.

The old siren at City HallSiren 1-M


Justin McNulty readies the siren motor to be tested2016-04-18 18.19.22-M

Roger Kagen Siren 2-XLRoger Fletcher and Kagan Davis with the 1940’s Siren

2016-04-19 08.04.06-MKagan Davis, Mahkayla Raudio, Roger Fletcher and Justin McNulty with the siren motor and stand.


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Challenge Coins for Firefighters

I am taking a short break from writing about horses, writing or reading. I have two posts on Firefighters to share. Today, the Cloverdale Fire District celebrates their 130th anniversary.

Let’s hope you never have to use the services of your local fire department. —Robin

Cloverdale Fire District  Celebrates 130th Anniversary With  Coins

Inspiration comes in many forms. When Steven Allred, Volunteer Engineer for Cloverdale Fire District learned about challenge coins he was inspired to suggest the district begin to use such coins back in 2010 as an overall representation of unity.

According to Allred, history shows that challenge coins were frequently handed out to military personnel during WWI, but use of such coins is documented as far back as Roman times for their military use. Traditionally given to boost morale and prove membership, the coins also became a form of identification when the person was challenged to show their coin.

After learning the historical significance of the medallions, Allred was inspired to urge Cloverdale Fire District to draft and handout their first challenge coins to their members. The face side of Cloverdale Fire’s original coin depicts their historic seal, which pictures a firefighter carrying a child from a burning building. The coin represents their motto of serving, and their core values of readiness, integrity, dedication, example, and professionalism. That historic seal, while based on an old fashioned style of painting, aptly reflects CFD’s history dating back to their origin in 1886.

For Cloverdale Fire District’s 130th Anniversary Celebration, which will be held on May 21st downtown at the plaza, the district came up with a new challenge coin designed to commemorate their history with the community. The new coin has Northern Sonoma County and Cloverdale written on the front, an apt representation for the approximate 75 square miles the district protects and serves.

The new coin’s colorful artwork represents three key elements, a bear, a Maltese cross, and fire axes. He explained the bear represents the people, (a long standing California tradition,) the fire axes signify readiness and the ability to serve the public, and the Maltese cross represents protection and a badge of honor.CFD 135 Year Coin Front-SCFD 135 Year Coin Back-S

After conferring with Fire Chief Jason Jenkins, it was decided that past members of Cloverdale Fire will be recognized on stage for their service and presented with 130 Year Anniversary Celebration coins.

Allred explained the May 21st anniversary celebration ties back in to Cloverdale Fire District’s request of the community. The district still seeks the names of past fire volunteers who may not currently be on their historic rosters. They don’t want to miss anyone.—Robin Moore

Photo caTom Gurries and Steven Allred Coin-Sption: 

Steven Allred presents past Cloverdale fire volunteer Tom Gurries with anewly minted fire department coin.




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Here’s a Fun, Easy Chapter Book


Enjoy this romp across the stage with Lilah Dill as she digs into the contents of her new magic kit. Her Nana Belle bangs along on the piano, adding to the fun, then Lilah’s dad in his quest to help ends up taking over her magic show. Oh, no! Will Lilah have to “fire” her dad? Then who will be her assistant on stage for the school talent show? Author J.L. Jusaitis offers this magical read for kids who’re ready for beginning chapter books. The illustrator, Edytha Ryan, crafted drawings that add to the fun. Journey To Anderswelt51vaylZkkdL._SX310_BO1,204,203,200_

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Lazy Me Trail Ride


We had a great time yesterday riding  at the Redwood Empire Trail Riders annual Lazy Me Ranch ride and games. What a glorious spring day we experienced on Pine Mountain, just north of Cloverdale, CA. Enjoy!

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Love the Moment

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I LOVE where we live! I was lucky enough to snap this photo just a few minutes ago out my upstairs window. Yes, I know it’s fuzzy, but it was one of those moments that reminds one to love the MOMENT, right now. I’ll be smiling the rest of the day.

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Love Comes at Twilight

Book Reviews:

In honor of my writer friend Kay Mehl Miller’s continuing quest to help us better  understand life through her books, today I bring you book reviews from writers Alla Crone and Arletta Dawdy. We all need to remember Miller’s poignant messages that life goes on, and we can continue to thrive. I hope you will enjoy Love Comes at Twilight.

By Alla Hayden on May 26, 2014

Format: Paperback

This is a must-read novel not only for seniors, but the younger generations as well, who should realize that new love is possible in old age. This book is Kay Miller’s remarkable achievement in that she succeeded in telling a heart-warming story of budding love bridging two seniors whose casual acquaintance over the Internet grows into an emotional relationship and blossoms into love. Told with candor and subtle humor, Kay keeps the reader hooked to the very end wondering if these two lonely people will ever unite.

Alla Crone
Author of Captive Of Silence

By Arletta Dawdy on August 13, 2014

Format: Kindle Edition

An extraordinary and ageless love story fills the pages of LOVE COMES AT TWILIGHT. Kay Miller and Al Francis paint word pictures that stir the emotions, challenge preconceived notions and have the power to move the reader to tears, anguish and hilarity. Carol and El’s love-match starts in cyperspace, in an online bridge game. The evolution is tentative at first as the octogenarians grope their way forward. Shaking their heads across nearly 2000 miles, neither quite trusts the evolution of their love. He’s caught in a “dead” marriage to a woman he wished he’d divorced thirty years earlier but is now saddled with as her Alzheimers advances. Carol lost the love of her life and had no expectation of loving again and, clearly, not to love so completely. Both have health issues that compromise their lives; Ellis’ respiratory infection threatens his life. As with any new love, the couple struggles for honesty and clarity not quite believing what they are experiencing, even as their sexual urges are aroused.

The writing approaches poetic in places and cuts deeply into the exploration of the individuals’ feelings and intellects. He learns to cut lose some binding ties to an old friend, she discovers long-distance jealousy and together they weave a relationship of hope. Carol finds support and care within her women’s group for the doubts and questions raised by her growing love for El. For this reader, the group and Carol’s story mirrors my own group and the sharing that occurs within it.
A touching story of vulnerabilities and daring, LOVE COMES AT TWILIGHT is a very special reading experience.

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Come Out and Play

On Sunday, April 24th the Redwood Riders will host their opening day Play Day to kick off their 2016 horse show season. They have planned this day of horseback play for the whole family to enjoy as not only fun, but as a light-hearted fundraiser to purchase new sand for the arena footing. They hope all area horse owners will come participate or at least stop by for the BBQ and to peruse the silent auction items.

Sarah and Sierra prepare for the play day.

Come on out and join them for this fun day in Redwood Valley, California.  The play day begins at 10 a.m. Proceeds will help raise money for new footing for the arena, and other improvements to the facility.

There will be a tri-tip barbeque lunch available as well as a silent auction, and then the raffle drawing for the Ruger rifle with scabbard.

Note: admission is free for spectators. Bottled water will be available for sale, along with the barbeque tickets. It is not necessary to purchase BBQ tickets in advance.

Play Day Entry Form:

Please circle age division: Leadline, 10 and under, 11-17, 18 and over
Each event will run through the age divisions starting with 18 and over.
Anyone under 18 must wear a helmet while mounted on the grounds.
Prizes to first place winners and high point awards in each division.

Circle each event you’d like to compete in:
Musical Stalls
Egg and Spoon race
Slot Barrels
Dipper Race
Speed Trail
Hurry Scurry (must have helmet for all ages)
Bareback Dollar Bill Challenge
Mystery Event

Events are $5 each or $30 for the whole day.

Donations towards the footing and sponsorship for the year’s events will be greatly appreciated!!




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Correct Me If I’m Wrong

Where do you go when you want a quick reference on Grammar? I pull Correct Me If I’m Wrong from my book shelf.

Correct Me If I’m Wrong by author Arlene Miller offers readers a second, easy look at the basics of (American) English grammar. Miller is the undisputed queen of teaching grammar through the simplest methods. The book is not burdened with excessive examples or long paragraphs. Miller tells it in easy to understand language and often uses humor to help the lessons sink in. A MUST HAVE book for any writer or reader. I also recommend her first grammar book, The Best Little Grammar Book Ever! I keep both of her books on my shelf right next to Strunk & White’s Elements of StyleThe Best Little Grammar Book Ever!: 101 Ways to Impress With Your Writing and Speaking The Elements of Style: 50th Anniversary Edition

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