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Reprinted from The Antler Newsletter (Spring 2011)

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One of the best-kept secrets about our backcountry living is that we get to celebrate the change of season! Our blooms and critter change with the seasons, and it doesn’t take long to begin marking the months by blooms and bird sightings!

Suzanne Malden was in England for two weeks in March and treated to the sight of their swallows returning (do they chirp with British accents?) She returned to DV to find “a lovely pair of wrens in the scrub oaks down by the propane tank.  I hope they are nesting there so that I can see them again, and I am hoping to see the Bullock's Orioles again when the yellow-bloomed tree comes out.”

Suzanne also had a lucky sighting of a Horned Lizard (horny toad to the over-50 crowd!). These secretive guys are very scarce and protected under state and federal laws. “When I dismounted from the horse to get a better view he just stayed in place, and I got a very close look at him.” Suzanne misses our local tarantulas, though. It seems these spiders have become even scarcer since the fires. Fall brings out the males who travel miles in search of love, so we’ll look then.

Rattlesnakes are definitely out! Ariele on Mother Grundy had a baby rattler show up under a tiny pine tree by the water spigot and the sheep's water. Her granddaughter had been playing with the hose filing up the buckets and watering the little tree the day before. Don't be complacent just because you might not have seen one on your property for a couple of years.

Antler27JillHorseJill Powell’s Rocky Mountain Horse, Mr. Bojangles (AKA “Bo”) participated in the elite Equine Affaire– a huge 4-day gathering of some of the best horsemen and horsewomen from through the United States and abroad. Jill reports that  “Bo” earned nothing but praise for his beautiful “foundation” build from Ms. Liz Graves, a world-known Gaited Horsewoman.  Bo and Jill rode in two clinics with 3 other gaited horses on Friday night and Saturday afternoon, once again winning accolades for gait and correctness.  The highlight of the weekend, Antler27JillMinishowever, was when Bo was selected to attend a clinic with Lydia Hibby, horse communicator.  Via Ms. Hibby, Bo related that he really liked trail riding but he is getting very tired of looking at his trail buddy’s big butt; nor did he appreciate Max’s flatulence in his face… So could he lead more often?   Jill says, “It was a great experience for us both, and I want to thank my ‘grooms’ Peg Hance and Stevie Dillon for caring for both horse and rider!“   We are so proud of you, Bo and Jill!

Jill’s horses come in a variety of sizes: Obie, the mini; Little Bit the Shetland; and Bo, the Rocky.  With the warmer weather and longer days she puts the horse hair in orange or avocado bags so the birds can use it to make nests. Great idea for those dog clippings, too!

DV resident Michael Lumpkin was recently selected by the White House to become the Senior Advisor to Ret. Gen Eric Chinseky, Secretary of Veterans Affairs.  Now Michael has been tapped by the White House again to become the Acting Assistant Secretary of Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict at the Pentagon for Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.  Although very honored to be serving our nation’s veterans while at the VA, he is  looking forward to being involved in defense planning and policy making. DV is so proud of you, Michael!

Sandra Ignosci has been adopted! The Jamul Girl Scout Daisy Troop #6743 now have their own Special Grandma, and Sandra is enjoying every minute. Along with their very enthusiastic leader, Stephanie Petitt and several parents, Sandra and the “Daisies” planted 60 young California Live Oak trees at the Jamul Primary School. The girls used their cookie sales for the project and also participated in the Jamul Chili Cook Off and Earth Day. Sandra said, “Seeing these youngsters involved in re-establishing our oaks just brightens up our world. Being a former Brownie and Girl Scout, and now a grandmother of four boys, it is really enjoyable watching their enthusiasm.” Congratulations to the Daisies and Grandma Sandra!

Antler27StrawbaleRob & Kim Deason on Elena Lane & DV Rd are building a straw bale workshop and studio. They say it is more sustainable, energy-efficient, and fire-resistant than traditional stick-built homes. The basic structure is post and beam with straw bale infill, plastered inside and out with a clay-earth-lime mix. Local talent is contributing: Builder Paul Turner (TNT Custom), “Tractor Dave” Hradecky, and Florencio Rupely, rock/concrete specialist. You can follow their progress at or just stop by to say “Hi!”



One of the best things about living in the backcountry is knowing the folks who make things work by name: Archie brings our mail, David is the Fed-Ex guy, Oscar gets the morning papers out, Enrique and Dane are our local sheriffs. Who else can we give a tip-o-the-hat to?


Archie --- Our Rural Mail Carrier. Don't forget to wave!

Another DV'er (Sandra Ignosci) writes...

During all the rains and flooding, I was amazed that everyday mail was coming through-- even on the days where the Dips were almost impassible, and Mother Grundy was flowing. Our own Rural Carrier is ARCHIE.  When you see him on the road in his (self-purchased) mail car, give a wave. He ALWAYS waves back. He along with the others at Jamul PO did an outstanding job making sure we got our mail each day.  When the roads were closed off, flooded, etc. didn't we got out to our mailboxes and expect to open them and find mail?  And when we did, like magic it was there! And when I tried to Thank Archie all I got was 'That's my job'.  I think they all deserve a tip of the hat!


Sandra Ignosci (The Elenas) is a former Jamul rural postal carrier. She knows all too well that rural carriers have unique challenges delivering mail to our backroads, dirt roads, and by roads.



-by Sharon Gladding

antler27pattimaxiePatti Maxe has lived in this area for 33 years. When I asked her why she and her husband Paul moved out here, she said, ”We came to visit our good friend Herb Honegger.” As long-time residents will remember, Herb & Thelma Honneger were remarkable DV’ers who were mainstays of the community back in the 70’s and 80’s.

As Patti and her husband made the drive to Deerhorn, she wondered why in the world would anyone would move way out here - it was so far to drive to work! But they both fell in love with the place (and we all understand why!). On the way home, they decided to put their house up for sale and look for a place out here. She then found herself driving to work in the Clairemont area for the next 30 years.

Patti lost her home in the 2007 fire and she said, “The most important thing I lost was the home my late husband put so much love and work into.” The best thing that came from it is the love she’s received from her church friends and fellow neighbors.

Patti enjoys quilting and volunteering at her church. Because of the fire, she became more involved in the community and is a member of the Deerhorn Valley Community Association. She is even learning woodworking skills in her limited spare time. (She is the first to laugh recalling her first birdhouse assembly... backwards!) Patti now has a beautiful Spanish-style home off Bratton Valley Road where she enjoys a great view of the ocean on clear days. She and her husband always wanted to name the old ranch, but never came up with one. Today the new home is known as “The Phoenix,” like the mythical bird reborn from its ashes.

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