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"Those poles must be all o' ten feet high," the driver remarked, pointing toward them with his whip. "You'd hardly believe it, but a young smarty from the State University came here a year or two ago an' bought up a lot of old telegraph poles to start his hop patch. He said science taught him that the higher you made the vines climb, the better would be the crop. I hain't heard of his getting anyone fool enough to plant his poles for him yet, an' guess likely he's cut his wisdom teeth since an' give up the notion."

The hop plantations along Russian River are the most romantically situated of any in the State. Everywhere, the white oaks stand singly or in groups about the fields, or spread protecting arms over the home eaves of the farmer. In the orchards, clusters of baby fruit were already visible, sheltered by new leaves so flushed they were all but flow


Crossing the river on the long bridge several miles out from Ukiah, we turned hillward up a charming pass, through thickets of blossoming chemisal and wild white lilac. Here that loveliest of forest trees, the madroño, rivals the oak in girth, the graceful, twisted branches shining like lustrous cinnamon satin through the parting folds of its worn. winter jacket. At this season it is gradually replacing the old leaves by fluted bunches of new, resembling nothing so much as velvety blooms of a lively shade of crimson.

Aside from its undisputed right of beauty, the madroño has a commercial value hardly estimated by even its most ardent admirers. The wood is of exquisite color, grain, and hardness, and susceptible of a beautiful polish eminently desirable for indoor ornamentation. The Indians hereabout are not ignorant of its virtues. One of their number, who has become shrewd from years of asso

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ciation with the whites, is now bringing to a marvelous finish some hundreds of madroño canes, which he declares he will exhibit in person at the World's Fair.

The fences on the pretty farms along Robinson Creek are of rails about which an old superstition is still extant. Jack Crow obligingly explained it,

"Why, you see, folks will insist that if them rails was set in the dark o' the moon they would jest naturally bury themselves in the ground, so you may depend on it they don't run no risk, but jest carefully pick the time for fence building.'

We climbed to cool uplands where sheep love to pasture, far above the farms and cattle ranges. Between the stationed trees the grass grew woolly soft like moss, with ruddy plats of blooming clover. Here the ewes and young lambs nibbled, pausing anon to gaze at us in mild wonder. These innocent outlaws are the true pathmakers of solitary mountain wilds. Their narrow, beaten trails are sure to lead the thirsty wanderer to copious, hidden springs.)

Ten years ago there were many thousands of sheep in the Mendocino ranges, but now the number is greatly reduced. Before the general survey of

the country, sheep men had their choice of government lands for pasture, and their wool brought them forty cents a pound. They had no taxes to pay and no improvements to make. Now there is more or less fencing required in order to control a range, and the price of wool has gone down to half its former figure, owing to the immense importation from other countries. Add to these disadvantages the appropriation of the best lands by settlers, and it is easy to see the general interests of the country have advanced at the expense of the sheep owners. Notwithstanding these drawbacks, however, the wool produced in Humboldt and Mendocino has the reputation of being the finest in the State.

There is something indescribably harmonious in all pioneer life, with its obedience to rude necessity and its

primitive makeshifts. The means employed are always so aptly fitted to the end, and savor so directly of human needs and affections. A shepherd's cabin on a wind-swept height gave us a bit of artistic effect. This building was made of short sections of unbarked logs. piled up like cordwood, a rough stone chimney in the rear, and the knotty boughs of a handsome oak thrown carelessly across the unpainted roof. There was nothing short of art in the unpremeditated picturesqueness of this simple dwelling.

On reaching the summit we gave a farewell glance at the glorious chain of peaks separating Ukiah Valley from Clear Lake, with old Sanhedrim rearing a frosty line above the others. Below us, on either hand, we saw through a sudden mist of rain the great, green bowls of the valleys. A moment, and

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the sun broke out afresh, dashing a torrent of gold across the dripping wildwood. The air steamed up in fragrance, - a delicious mingling of flower-breaths with the balsam of rosiny bud and leaf, and the faint smell of rankly growing ferns.

Under the fluttering groves of oak and maple saplings, the thimbleberries clambered riotously, their snowy, silklike flowers resting flat on the soft, serrated leaves. The buckeyes thrust up their curving plumes beside straight young firs, looking blither than their wont in a fresh drapery of pea green needles.

These Coast Range oaks present a fantastic venerableness, with their Alpine beards of grizzly moss trailing a yard or more from underneath their huge, gnarly limbs. Many of them

carry more moss than leaves, all the branches being thickly wrapped in the coarse gray fiber. An entire landscape of these veiled oaks is a weird picture, especially when beheld through the muffling fog so common to this region. When winds are up, the gray, weblike tresses are loosened and fall to the ground, much to the delectation of sheep and deer, which munch them greedily.

Descending the grade, we passed piles of tan-bark newly peeled from the trunks of numberless chestnut oaks. A week or two later when the roads have dried, this bark is teamed to Cloverdale or Greenwood for shipment.

The tracks of the tan-bark hunter can be traced through all these Mendocino forests, by the reckless felling of the choicest trees which are afterwards left

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