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The Chemeketa Park Newsletter

Back on a quarterly schedule and thanks to many contributors that helped to make this the best newsletter to date.

Here's a rundown of what you can find in this issue:

  • 'Autumn Fire' passage - vivid capture of our mountain autumn
  • SPUG propane prices as of November 1st
  • Preparing for Winter Around Here
  • Wine Wednesday
  • The New Water Tank Project - and update and suggestion
  • Community Garden Update
  • Help Your Community Create an Evacuation Plan Workshops
  • A Bit of History - the flood the destroyed the water treatment plant
  • Mountain Winter Emergency Checklist - plus link to download a complete copy
  • How About Forming a Firewood Co-op?
  • Autumn Gardening
autumn hand drawingImperceptibly, the days grow shorter and we may find ourselves with friends on a deck, when a sudden chill brushes up. Everyone moves into the house, and you light a fire. Well, it's time Autumn has begun.

This is the season of wind and rain, and in the livingroom the fireplaces are lighted every evening. The gusty winds make our tall redwoods waiver at the top like tall pampas grass, and the streets are sure to be strewn with boughs. This is the time for a good stew pot.

After the rains come days of brightness. The mountains show their beautiful mountain colors and are peaceful. Now is the time for pot roasts and hearty casseroles. the steam on our windows and the aromas throughout the house are part of the pleasure of long cooking meals.

Autumn continues over the woods like a chameleon changing its colors to fit his mood. Of course, leaves are falling, but also, the apple trees have reached their prime, and purple grapes and orange pumpkins are at their peak of fullness. There is excitement in the air as we prepare ourselves for the holiday season, which the autumn weather reminds us is coming.

This is the proper season for baking too. Our ovens were turned on reluctantly during the hot months, but now we are anxious for their warmth and the yeasty smell of bread. This is the season I wait hopefully for friends to come by and share a cup of coffee and something fresh from the oven.

An excerpt from the Chemeketa Park Cookbook. 'Autumn Fires'  written by Diana Crawford (lightly edited)
SPUG Propane Prices for November 1, 2017 (per gallon)

Amerigas $2.30   FerrellGas $2.195   Kamps $2.25
Suburban/SJ  $4.80  Suburban/SV $2.69

Become a member of the South Skyline Association to enjoy these prices. 

Preparing for Winter Around Here

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

As we watch in horror the total fire destruction of our neighbors up north, here are a few words of wisdom from a long time resident of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The old timers up here already know this but some of our new neighbors may not. As the evenings turn cold you may be tempted to start a fire in your fireplace, so before you light that first fire.
  1. Unless the fireplace is your only source of heat, please try to wait until after the first rains.
  2. Have your fireplace chimney cleaned by a certified Chimney Sweep.
  3. Make sure your roof and gutters are clean.
  4. Make sure your fire arrester is clean and in place.
  5. Have a safe and wonderful winter and holiday season!
Yours friends and neighbors,

Chris and Lynn
(reprinted from a post with permission)

Wine Wednesday

On a monthly schedule till the weather warms again. Next event is November 8th 5:30pm till whenever at the community clubhouse.

Bring your glasses, wine or your preferred beverage and if you'd like a snack to share. A wonderful way to really get to know your neighbors. See you there!

The New Water Tank Project

In the year 2010 and for five years after we all paid an additional assessment to raise funds for a new water tank at the corner of lower Ogawalla Warpath and Old Santa Cruz hwy. About $150k has been set aside for the new tank.  This equates to roughly $1000 collected from each household.

The tank installation has stalled for paperwork. The idea has been to drill a short well for water behind the proposed tank location. That project needs planning, permits, studies, and then the actual drilling.

The paperwork is for state low-interest rate loans to fund the next step. The application requires a ton of paperwork, including property deeds, operations manuals, maps of current water company property, policies, etc. Much of which we have, some of which we're waiting to have created (like a plan to install meters on every hookup...)

At this point, we could have raised the money for the short well project with an assessment faster than the time it has taken to gather the paperwork. In some ways, the application is a good exercise, as we really should have an operations manual or emergency plan, for example.

The money raised for the new tank is insufficient to build the new tank, so we're going to have to raise more funds to make it happen.

I suggest we vote as a community to allocate sufficient funds to get the well drilled and installed. Now. Plus, add an assessment to raise sufficient funds to actually build the new tank.

If you have an opinion on how your money should be used to improve the park, attend a water board meeting. Bring your ideas and suggestions. Roll up your sleeves and let's get this and other needed projects accomplished.

Board meetings are the second Thursday of each month at the community clubhouse. They start at 7:30pm with public comment time.

Fred Schenkelberg

Community Garden Update

We have a community garden. Space within the fenced (deer protection) area is limited and planting areas are assigned to individuals for their exclusive use. It is not a community harvest, so please ask the plant owner before picking.

From time to time space becomes available. If you’d like to get an assigned space or on the waitlist for space in the garden please contact Jody McClamont at

The garden has the potential to expand. Within the current enclosure, the group is talking about the potential of adding an area suitable for container gardening. If you’d like a spot in the sun for a tomato plant that space may be ideal for you.

(note: the expansion of the existing garden will require the construction of a retaining wall first, so it will take a few will souls to invest both time and resources to make it happen.) 

Another expansion possibility is behind the clubhouse. It would require a few industrious individual willing to invest in running a water line, fencing and the building of suitable raised beds. Just as the initial garden started with the work and funding of a few folks. If interested in helping to build the community garden plot number 2, then let Fred know at This is just an idea at the moment and the group is open to other ideas as well.

Jody McClamont

PS: image is of a few of the tomatoes grown in the community garden this year.


 Emergencies are happening all around us. Wildfires have devastated the North Bay this fall, and came very close to our community with the Bear Fire. We had flooding and mudslides this past winter.  Now is the time!
 Gretchen Hayes, our representative from the FireSafe Council, has volunteered to assist Chemeketa Park in developing an evacuation route as well as planning for a disaster.
Workshops held at the Clubhouse:
Thursday, November 16th at 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, November 18th at 10:00 a.m.
Workshop Objectives:
  • Collect information on evacuation routes and preparation.
  • Provide community input to the evacuation signage plan (arrows on signs and/or on the ground).
  • Workshops offer guidance in deciding what to take, how to meet your neighbor and start the conversation about helping each other.
  • Discuss the importance of keeping the vegetation clear along the evacuation route.
  • Workshop goal is to start creating a “Go Bag” and begin making your checklist.
Please RSVP to Gretchen Hayes if you plan to attend (in order to have an adequate supply of materials).  You can email her at:

Dana Hartzell

A Bit of History

If you've moved to CP recently you may be unaware of the flood that took out our water plant. In the winter of 82-83, during a period of heavy rain, Moody Gulch ran swiftly bringing with it a lot of "trash"--mostly downed tree branches. The branches eventually blocked the water in the culvert above 17 and quickly formed a reservoir behind it. When the pressure got too much. the log jam gave way rushing large amounts of water into our water purification plant sending our entire water system, pump and all, down the creek toward Los Gatos Creek.

Our watermaster at the time, Bruce Franks, blamed it on not removing downed trees. The roar was incredible and heard by many residents in the park who came running out to see what had happened. Residents Tom Winder and Bart Evans had been cutting trees in the creek and barely made it out in time. They were soaked up to their chests.

A new water-treatment plant was installed (upon which the loan is still being repaid) shortly after.

History reconstructed with inputs from Ted Hernandez and Lindy Meisenbach.

Mountain Winter Emergency Checklist

Anyone on Nextdoor last winter recalls the invaluable notes, advice, and information provided by Geri Markey. She has accumulated a wealth of notes concerning being prepared for a mountain winter.

Download and print the full copy. Place near your phone. The Winter Emergency Checklist

Here is an excerpt of Geri's checklist:


○ Check your roof for needed repairs

○ Clean your gutters and drains

○ Make sure that you have flashlights, extra batteries, NO candles due to fire hazard

○ Generator and enough gas to power it up

○ Chainsaw and enough gas to power it up and use to cut down branches and/or trees blocking the roads

○ PG&E emergency line 1-800-743-5002

○ Shovels

○ High Visibility Rain Gear

○ Old fashion phone with no electrical dependencies.



○ Please select a good friend or neighbor who you trust with your animals to take care of them in case of an emergency or if you cannot get home during one of the winter storms or if Highway 17 is shut down

○ Another option is to take your animal to a local daycare

○ For professional home services, use the Rover app that can be found on Google Play or Apple store

And the list goes on to include Resources, Emergency numbers, Car preparation, Chainsaw advise, Home maintenance, Road closure / alternate route information, and PG& Reimbursements (power outage related).

You can view and print the full checklist via Google Docs - visit Winter Emergency Checklist and let us know if anything is missing.

Checklist compiled by Geri Markey

How About Forming a Firewood Co-op?

This year a few neighbors took down trees and the tree service would have chipped the wood for removal. I asked if I could have the wood, and now have plenty of firewood for the next few years.

The work to haul, split, and store the wood is a good workout. There is plenty of available wood around the park and in the surrounding area. 

Let's gather the high-quality firewood and share the work to haul and spit the wood. My initial idea is to share the labor and thus the results. We could also provide wood to those neighbors unable to gather and prepare their own.

I've got space, about a cord or two of fresh cut wood to get us started, and will help manage tracking contributions and time.

If interested just hit reply and let me know, or email me at

Fred Schenkelberg

Autumn Gardening

Lori Morris has provided a detailed guide for what to do in the garden in the coming months.  Covered areas are tree-trimming, how to avoid pest infestations, how to care for California natives and rainwater collection.

Although not the ideal time for trimming, pruning wisely now could mean less broken limbs and major damage.  And never take more than 15% in any one pruning session.

Keep inside surfaces, entrances, and trash bins clean and sanitized. Make sure your compost bin doesn’t become a home for pests and rodents.

California Natives need some maintenance this time of year.  Find out which ones.

Learn the difference between grey-water harvesting and rain-water harvesting.  It’s amazing how much water you can conserve for use in your garden.

Find out more in the full document Landscaping and Gardening Article #1.pdf

Lori Morris
Let your neighbors know about the newsletter. They can sign up online on the Chemeketa Park Subscribe page.
Newsletter comments, suggestions, or contributions are always welcome. 

Let me know your thoughts and ideas for the coming issues. Contact me, Fred, at


The newsletter is for Chemeketa Park residents. It's another way we can stay in touch, share ideas, and improve life in the park.

The email list is for the quarterly newsletter plus occasional announcements for residents, owners, or renters.
Copyright © 2017 Chemeketa Park Mutual Water Company, All rights reserved.

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