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Ginger Budrick
6 days ago
The Amador County Fair is quickly approaching and I’m so excited. I’ve been going to the fair since I moved to Amador County in 1987, when I was four years old. I’ve been through lots of fair phases. When I was a young kid, I couldn’t get enough of the carnival rides and would be ecstatic when my grandparents bought me oodles of tickets. Then, when I got a little older, I was obsessed with the carnival games, especially the water balloon game and the one where you can win a goldfish. When I was around seven or eight years old, I won... [Read more]
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Cathie Gernhardt
6 days ago
Happy Bird Day, Peeps, and what a difference a week makes. Last weekend, I experienced some pretty chilly weather while camping at Silver Lake, and now it seems that summer has arrived full force, kicking into full swing with a full moon, some hot days and nice warm nights. The forecasters are saying we are in for a few days of triple digits, so get out your sunscreen and drink lots of water. Also, don’t forget to put out water for our feathered friends. I picked up a couple of saucer-type bowls at the Hospice Thrift Store the other... [Read more]
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Ginger Budrick
2 weeks ago
Is there anything in the world better than a good girlfriend? Well, I can think of a few things, actually, though I’d certainly put good girlfriends on my list of the top five best things in life. I’ve never had a sister, but I’ve always wanted one. So, a long time ago, I set out into the world and made my own sisters by finding and nurturing really wonderful, lifelong friendships with other ladies. Some of my favorite memories are of me and my girlfriends in really unassuming locations, like a beat-up couch or a run-down car, just... [Read more]
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Cathie Gernhardt
2 weeks ago
The Hooded Oriole. Photo courtesy of backyardbirdphotos.com
Happy Bird Day, peeps, and a big Happy Father’s Day chirp to all the papa birds out there, and blessings to the momma birds who made it possible. It has been another amazing week in the bird world around the Mother Lode. I was joined at my Preston Castle bird walk by Greg H. who is a top notch birder, and easily spotted and identified several birds including a pair of Hooded Orioles, a Western Bluebird and a Violet-green Swallow to name a few. Greg holds the eBird record for the most birds seen in a single day during last year’s bird... [Read more]
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Cathie Gernhardt
3 weeks ago
The Great Blue Heron. Photo courtesy of Audubon.org.
Happy Bird Day, peeps. It’s been another hot and humid week here in the Mother Lode, and it isn’t even summer yet. I’m feeling the urge to find some water to cool off in. Water is such an important element to us humans and to our wildlife friends as well. Putting up feeders is all well and good for those people who care to attract birds and other critters to their yards, but more important than feeders, is supplying water. Putting out a fountain, a bird bath, a bucket, or an extra saucer filled with water among your plants will... [Read more]
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Ginger Budrick
3 weeks ago
The 30-somethings of Amador all seem to have something in common: Parents who really believe in them. I’ve gotten loads of emails from parents who want me to interview their children, and every single one of them warms my heart. Some of the emails I’ve received from mothers and fathers have been so poignant that I tear up a little. So, if you want me to interview your child, I’ll let you in on a little secret — if you send me an email and throw in some personal details about why your child is awesome, or how you thought you’d never... [Read more]
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Cathie Gernhardt
4 weeks ago
Phainopeplas may look like a Stellar’s Jay at first glance. Photo courtesy of Lynda Goff
Happy Bird Day, peeps. Do you believe it is June? Summer is upon us, and we got a taste of the warm weather this week for sure. ’Tis the season of brides and grooms, and dads and grads; already there are several flocks of graduates around the area dawning caps and gowns of many colors, from kindergarten to college. There are brides in white dresses and grooms decked out in tuxedos. hopefully rented at JB’s in downtown Jackson. Congratulations to all, as they proceed to the next step on their ladder of life. June also brings election... [Read more]
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Ginger Budrick
4 weeks ago
I’d like to start by saying thank you to all the people who read these articles. Week after week, I’ve been getting emails from readers, running into readers while I’m at work or out and about, and getting feedback from readers when I share the articles on Facebook. Your support makes me feel really connected to you and the community and for that I am so very grateful. I keep thinking that you will all get tired of reading about 30-somethings, but every week I get more suggestions for new people to interview, so I keep writing them.... [Read more]
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Ginger Budrick
05/26/2016 12:21 PM

My memory is terrible. I have all these vague memories of my childhood in Amador County floating around in my mind, but none of them are very firmly planted. Friends of mine will ask, “Remember that one time, in high school, when what’s-his-name did that one really ridiculous thing and we laughed so hard?” My answer is usually “nope,” sometimes “kind of,” and often “huh?”

One of the very vague memories that I have floating around in my head is of a girl named Caitlin, who lived in Volcano. In the memory, we are in Volcano, playing...

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Cathie Gernhardt
05/26/2016 12:43 PM
The Pileated Woodpecker. Photo courtesy of the National Wildlife Federation

Happy Bird Day, peeps. I’m happy to be back after a week off taking care of some un-fun business dealing with one of those pesky turkeys, although, I have met a nice new flock of short haired, muscular, khaki tan bodied fellows who sport a bright shiny star on their chest. This flock doesn’t normally flap their wings much or take to the air, and prefer to roll around in specially marked cars, so this is a shout out and big chirp of thanks to the Amador County Sheriffs’ for being so very helpful.

We, (that being me, myself and I,...

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Ginger Budrick
05/19/2016 12:35 PM
I’ve been searching high and low, trying to find someone for this interview series who moved voluntarily to Amador as an adult. Most people I’ve met or interviewed either grew up here, moved away and then came back, moved here when they were a kid, or they’ve just always been here (grow where you’re planted, they say). But, for the sake of diversity, and to keep things interesting, I really wanted to find someone who grew up elsewhere and made an educated decision to move here as an adult. I’ve asked every person I’ve interviewed if... [Read more]
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Joan Tarr
05/19/2016 12:31 PM
Travel for me has become less and less about the trappings of civilization, and more and more about the natural beauty of the land and the people who live there. Photo by Joan Tarr
You see them in every country. They gather in little clusters outside their places of worship, or in the local plaza, piazza or square, usually lined up on benches of some kind. They have probably been doing this same thing daily for years, repeating the conversation they had just yesterday with the same little group. If I had to bet, I would wager that the individual stories of these women vary only slightly. She married young, cooked for him and cleaned for him, shared his bed, raised his children, and probably nursed him through... [Read more]
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Cathie Gernhardt
05/12/2016 1:00 PM
Amador’s wild turkeys. Photo by Aaron May
Happy Bird Day, Peeps. I pray all the moms out there had a wonderful Mothers’ Day. I was blessed to see a couple of my fledglings; they are grown and gone from the nest, but live close to my heart every day. This is a busy time in the bird mom world, too, because those eggs have started hatching and bird parents are busily foraging for food to feed their hungry little chicks. Watching nests can be a good experience, and it can also be a disappointing experience when things happen to disrupt the expected outcome. Nests can be raided... [Read more]
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Ginger Budrick
05/12/2016 12:36 PM
Have you ever heard a name and thought, “How do I know that person?” That’s what happened to me when multiple different emails and people I ran into in public kept suggesting that I interview Terra Easton Forgette. I knew the name sounded familiar, but I couldn’t pinpoint why. So, after I received an email from a woman who worked with Terra and had nothing but great things to say about her, I asked my parents if they knew who she was. Turns out, she used to work at Caffe Via d’Oro, the restaurant my parents owned while I was growing... [Read more]
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Ginger Budrick
05/05/2016 12:39 PM
As you know, because I’ve told you, I’ve gotten a lot of emails with suggestions about people to interview for this series. A couple of weeks ago, I got one that really stood out to me. A woman emailed me about her husband, Logan Carnell, and I could actually feel how much she cared about him while reading the email. She told me about a man who owned a successful local business, ran a non-profit that was doing good in multiple countries and somehow still had time to be a pastor and an amazing husband and father. Truth be told, I was... [Read more]
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Cathie Gernhardt
05/05/2016 1:02 PM
Swallows build their nests using mud. Photos courtesy to the Amador Ledger Dispatch
Happy Bird Day, peeps. I’m hoping your bird week was as exciting as mine was, although I am easily entertained by my everyday interactions with that most-fortunate species gifted with flight. Yes my feathered friends are out and about in abundance, pretty much everywhere, for our appreciation and enjoyment. I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon at Castle Oaks Golf Club this past week for a golf tournament benefiting the Preston Castle Foundation. There were birdies galore around the golf course and even a few from the golfers,... [Read more]
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Joan Tarr
04/28/2016 12:49 PM
Spinalonga, the former leper colony. Amador Ledger Dispatch photo by Joan Tarr

Spring was kind to Crete that year. Abundant rainfall had produced lush vegetation on the mountainsides and in the valleys, and everything was blanketed in wildflowers. Yellow and white marguerites bloomed in profusion, grape vines were sprouting, and the olive trees which were recently stripped of their harvest were making babies. Pink oleander and yellow broom were flaunting their colors, in competition with the highly pregnant orange trees, and as if all of this needed more color, red poppies inserted themselves everywhere.

I...

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Ginger Budrick
04/28/2016 12:31 PM
Brandi Oneto is the owner of Brown Eyed Girl in Sutter Creek. Amador Ledger Dispatch photo by Ginger Budrick
One day, as I was walking into work, I saw a girl with long, blonde hair waving at me from down Eureka St. As she got closer, I saw that it was Brandi Oneto. Brandi and I graduated from high school the same year, she from Argonaut and I from Amador, but we have always just been acquaintances — the kind of people who are friends on Facebook but don’t actually know much about each other. We stopped to chat that day in the street and, after we parted ways, I realized that she would be a great person to interview for my 30-something... [Read more]
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Cathie Gernhardt
04/28/2016 12:46 PM
Happy Bird Day, peeps, and a big shout-out to my favorite flock of all, you, the people reading my ramblings about birds and nature. Mother Nature sure has been busy lately, and I have a new respect for April showers. Not only did we get a few crazy rain, hail, thunder and lightning storms this month, I was also witness to several showers of web-spinning worms falling from the trees, which created amazing rainbows in the sunlight. I heard this happens every year, although I don’t remember it from last spring, so I was either not... [Read more]
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Cathie Gernhardt
04/21/2016 12:45 PM
White-breasted Nuthatch (top) and Red-breasted Nuthatch (bottom). Images courtesy of allaboutbirds.org and kootenaynaturephotos.com
Happy Bird Day, Peeps. I am happy to report that all is well in my birding world and the Grosbeaks are serenading me daily from dawn to dusk along with several other local residents. I haven’t located any nests yet, although I am always searching. So many of my friends are blessed to have nests in their yards. They send me posts and photos of their owls, White-tail Kites, Western Bluebirds, robins, House Sparrows, House Finches, and the list goes on. I, on the other hand, am not so blessed, and have not found one nest of any kind... [Read more]
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