I’m not old enough to have really “lived” the Sixties other than to have had baby sitters who played Doors records and whose boyfriends talked about possibly going to Canada if their draft numbers came up. But from my “once removed” perspective, I think of the Sixties as a time when people could make a living, such as it was, from weird esoteric crafts such as tie-dying clothes, baking organic Vegan cookies, assembling Dream Catchers or selling market goods they picked up on their last trek to an Ashram in India. It seems you just had to have a talent, set up your blanket in Golden Gate Park on a busy day and you were in business.
Luckily, Sonoma seems to be a place where the Sixties never ended. The most wonderful practitioners of esoteric arts wander through these hills. No matter what you need — especially if it’s ethnic, organic, earth-friendly and cosmically correct — there’s someone who knows someone who knows someone who does, makes, or sells it.
Bug, one of our artisan finds, is the most rooted in the Sixties. I’m sure he doesn’t really remember the Sixties, because if anyone looks like he really WAS there, it’s Bug. (See him looking dapper at the top of this post.) Bug is the owner of Heritage Salvage (visit the site here) and wood is his game. It all started with salvaged wood from the thousands of old chicken coops and barns that used to dot the Petaluma area (known as “The Egg Basket of the World” or the “Capital of the Chicken Universe” ever since it achieved riches almost overnight supplying eggs to a burgeoning San Francisco during the Gold Rush). But Bug didn’t stop there. Now if there’s an interesting barn, historic building, railroad trestle or windblown tree that falls in Sonoma — Bug seems to be there first. (In fact, some might ask, “If a tree falls in Sonoma and Bug doesn’t hear it…?”)
Andy wanted to have the outside of the building clad in old wood, so the barn looked as if it had been there for years. But ANY wood salvage yard can find you wood. Here’s what Bug found us:
A 370 year old redwood tree fell during a storm in Occidental on the grounds of Salmon Creek, an experimental school (what other kind of school would be in Western Sonoma?) Bug to the rescue. He offered to donate his services in milling the tree for salable lumber so that the proceeds could go to building an Environmental Center at the school. The kids named the tree Windfalla, marked a cross-section with events from the birth of Isaac Newton to the death of John Lennon and brought out a Shaman to perform a traditional Native American blessing. Then Bug contacted us. We bought it all. Now our barn is clad with the wood of a single ancient Redwood. When construction is done, we’ll have the kids and Bug out to see Windfalla’s new form. Because in Sonoma, reincarnation really does happen!
See our barn (under construction) to the right. And more pix from this weekend at Flickr.
Again, visit Bug’s Heritage Salvage site here to read more about how he was influenced by the Native American actor, Chief Dan George; how he kitted out a biodiesel bus for activist Julia Butterfly Hill (remember her sitting atop a Redwood to save it from logging?); plus how he can build you anything from any kind of great salvaged wood including old wine-soaked redwood from hundred year old wine barrels.