MEHER MOUNT

9902 Sulphur Mountain Road
Ojai, CA 93023-9375

Phone: 805-640-0000
Email: info@mehermount.org

HOURS

Wednesday-Sunday: Noon to 5:00 p.m.
Monday & Tuesday: Closed

MANAGER/CARETAKERS

Buzz & Ginger Glasky

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Sam Ervin, Preident
Ron Holsey, Vice President
Ursula Reinhart, Treasurer
Jim Whitson, Director
Richard Mannis, Director

OFFICERS

Margaret Magnus, Secretary

9902 Sulphur Mountain Rd
Ojai, CA, 93023
United States

(805) 640-0000

Story Blog

Anecdotes, activities and stories about Meher Mount - past, present and future.

Neither Rain, Nor Drizzle, Nor Fog Stops Meher Mount's Volunteers

Margaret Magnus

BY MARGARET MAGNUS

The forecast was for rain. But with some luck and planning, it was hoped the group could work around the rain. Despite the weather forecast, Meher Mount went ahead with Restoration Weekend – March 10 & 11, 2018.

It was a good decision. A number of tasks were completed as part of the ongoing recovery from the December 4, 2018 Thomas Fire. And as usual, a few more tasks were added to the "to do" list as a result. 

DAY ONE: MULCH, LOGS and ROCKS

 ERIC TURK AND JIM WHITSON load the wheelbarrow with mulch to spread under Baba's Tree at Meher Mount to help hold in the moisture. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, March 10, 2018)

ERIC TURK AND JIM WHITSON load the wheelbarrow with mulch to spread under Baba's Tree at Meher Mount to help hold in the moisture. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, March 10, 2018)

 TIM HURLEY spreading the mulch under Baba's Tree at Meher Mount. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, March 10, 2018)

TIM HURLEY spreading the mulch under Baba's Tree at Meher Mount. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, March 10, 2018)

On Day One – Saturday, March 10, 2018 – Meher Mount was engulfed in the clouds most of the morning. At 2,500-feet, it’s not unusual for the top of Sulphur Mountain to be immersed in fog, generally in the Spring.

The first tasks revolved around Baba’s Tree.

Several weeks earlier, 24-cubic yards of mulch for Baba’s Tree had been delivered to Meher Mount and were now waiting to be spread around the tree.

The mulch creates a "living soil" which sustains microbes that interact with the tree's roots and it helps to hold in moisture - both of which promote the potential recovery of Baba's Tree.

As the group worked the clouds drifted over Avatar’s Point creating a slight mist. Just as this task was finished, the drizzle started.

 JIM WHITSON AND OANH HURLEY smoothing out the mulch under Baba's Tree at Meher Mount. The white material wrapped around the limb of Baba's Tree is for sunburn protection while the protective canopy grows back. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, March 10, 2018)

JIM WHITSON AND OANH HURLEY smoothing out the mulch under Baba's Tree at Meher Mount. The white material wrapped around the limb of Baba's Tree is for sunburn protection while the protective canopy grows back. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, March 10, 2018)

 LOGS HARVESTED from Baba's Tree in early February 2018 that need to be moved to the storage area. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, February 7, 2018)

LOGS HARVESTED from Baba's Tree in early February 2018 that need to be moved to the storage area. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, February 7, 2018)

In addition to the mulch, there were still several piles of logs that had been harvested in early February from the dead and fallen parts of Baba’s Tree.

They needed to be transported to the storage area, covered with tarps, and left to age for future use.

Using the tractor for transport and doing some heavy lifting, the team completed the task.

 THE LOG TRANSPORT and storage team. (Left to right) Eric Turk, Sam Ervin, James Whedon, Bing Heckman and Jim Whitson. Not shown is Kyle Morrision who is at the storage area waiting to unload and stack this last bucket of logs. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, March 10, 2018)

THE LOG TRANSPORT and storage team. (Left to right) Eric Turk, Sam Ervin, James Whedon, Bing Heckman and Jim Whitson. Not shown is Kyle Morrision who is at the storage area waiting to unload and stack this last bucket of logs. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, March 10, 2018)

 A FORMER HOLE IN THE GROUND with board planks covering it turned out to be a water junction. The hole was cleared of leaf debris and plastic valve box was added for protection and future identification. But there needed to be a better solution to the unsightly warning cones. (Photo: Sam Ervin, February 22, 2018)

A FORMER HOLE IN THE GROUND with board planks covering it turned out to be a water junction. The hole was cleared of leaf debris and plastic valve box was added for protection and future identification. But there needed to be a better solution to the unsightly warning cones. (Photo: Sam Ervin, February 22, 2018)

The Thomas Fire fire not only created its own projects - such as the recovery of Baba's Tree and the harvesting of wood - but it also has helped motivate volunteers to address other tasks as part of an overall restoration and rejuvenation process for Meher Mount. 

Thus, a hole in the ground covered by wood and a warning cone was put on the "to do" list. Earlier, Sam Ervin and Ray Johnston had dug out the hole to find a pipe junction.

They covered it with a valve box so that the junction was protected and could be easily found. Sitting next to the driveway it needed to be protected. The warning cones were an unattractive temporary solution.

 JAMES WHEDON taking a turn at the tractor to haul rocks that been hidden under the brush before the Thomas Fire. These rocks were used to create a more decorative barrier and outline the driveway. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, March 10, 2018)

JAMES WHEDON taking a turn at the tractor to haul rocks that been hidden under the brush before the Thomas Fire. These rocks were used to create a more decorative barrier and outline the driveway. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, March 10, 2018)

So the volunteer team moved rocks from another part of the property to create a protective barrier.

 THE ROCKS outlining the driveway and providing a protective barrier for the plumbing junction box. The removal of the old, rotten utility pole in the background is on a future "to do" list. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, March 11, 2018)

THE ROCKS outlining the driveway and providing a protective barrier for the plumbing junction box. The removal of the old, rotten utility pole in the background is on a future "to do" list. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, March 11, 2018)

As the rain started to pick up, the group covered the existing pool cover - which had burned holes from the fire - with another cover. Then, in the rain, they finished tying up the tarps protecting the wood harvested from Baba's Tree.

 DAY ONE of the Restoration Weekend. (Left to right, back row): Sam Ervin, Lizzy Morrison, Tim Hurley, James Whedon, Eric Turk, Bing Heckman. (Left to right, front row): Kyle Morrison, Oanh Hurley and Jim Whitson. Not pictured are Cassandra Bramucci, who is setting up for lunch, and Lisa Morrison, who is making homemade chocolate chip cookies. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, March 10, 2018)

DAY ONE of the Restoration Weekend. (Left to right, back row): Sam Ervin, Lizzy Morrison, Tim Hurley, James Whedon, Eric Turk, Bing Heckman. (Left to right, front row): Kyle Morrison, Oanh Hurley and Jim Whitson. Not pictured are Cassandra Bramucci, who is setting up for lunch, and Lisa Morrison, who is making homemade chocolate chip cookies. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, March 10, 2018)

DAY TWO: A SURPRISE AND CLEARING THE ACCESS ROAD

 A BURNED TOYON that is showing signs of new life and growth around the base. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, March 11, 2018)

A BURNED TOYON that is showing signs of new life and growth around the base. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, March 11, 2018)

Day Two - Sunday, March 11, 2018 - started with the sun peeking through the clouds, and although it never really broke through to create the new forecast of 70-degrees, the temperature was just right right for the workday.

The team decided to start with an easy and quick task - trimming the burned Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) to give the new sprouts room to grow and regenerate. 

Toyon, or Christmas Berry, is an evergreen shrub bearing clusters of bright red berries. It typically can grow to a small tree about six-to-eight feet high and four-to-five feet wide. It is compatible with Coast Live Oaks (Quercus agrifolia). 

James Whedon ran the chainsaw while other team members disposed of the limbs down a slight hill under the canopy. Walking back up the hill to grab another branch, Margaret Magnus noticed water coming out of the ground. "It's a spring," she said, even though that wasn't logical. "Or a leak," said Gina Franz Martenson, which was more logical. Indeed, it was leak. 

 KYLE MORRISON AND HOMAYAR GANDHI digging to find the source of the leak - a broken pipe. But why did it start now, after all these years? (Photo: Margaret Magnus, March 11, 2018)

KYLE MORRISON AND HOMAYAR GANDHI digging to find the source of the leak - a broken pipe. But why did it start now, after all these years? (Photo: Margaret Magnus, March 11, 2018)

Earlier, former Manager/Caretaker Buzz Glasky had noted that there seemed to be a leak somewhere from the agricultural water tank, but had not been able to locate it.

Now, having located the leak, it was still unclear which of several shut-off valves would stop the water flow. So all the water valves to the agricultural tank were turned off. The puzzle became another task on a future "to do" list. 

The next project was clearing the back, emergency access road off the property which connects back to Sulphur Mountain Road. Both recently serviced chainsaws stopped working, adding a new "to do" item to figure out why. So armed with loppers and saws, the team successfully tackled the overgrown area. 

 CLEARING THE EMERGENCY access road at Meher Mount. (Left to right) Homayar Gandhi, James Whedon, Brad Spurr, Sam Ervin (on the tractor), Kyle Morrison and Khushnam Crawford. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, March 11, 2018)

CLEARING THE EMERGENCY access road at Meher Mount. (Left to right) Homayar Gandhi, James Whedon, Brad Spurr, Sam Ervin (on the tractor), Kyle Morrison and Khushnam Crawford. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, March 11, 2018)

 LOOKING BACK on the group's handiwork in the clearing the back, emergency access road at Meher Mount. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, March 11, 2018)

LOOKING BACK on the group's handiwork in the clearing the back, emergency access road at Meher Mount. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, March 11, 2018)

 DAY 2 of Restoration Weekend, March 11, 2018.. (Left to right): Khushnam Crawford, James Whedon, Cassandra Bramucci, Kyle Morrison, Sam Ervin, Margaret Magnus, and Brad Spurr. Not shown is Gina Franz Martenson. Homayar Gandhi is taking the photo.

DAY 2 of Restoration Weekend, March 11, 2018.. (Left to right): Khushnam Crawford, James Whedon, Cassandra Bramucci, Kyle Morrison, Sam Ervin, Margaret Magnus, and Brad Spurr. Not shown is Gina Franz Martenson. Homayar Gandhi is taking the photo.



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