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Columnists

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Ginger Budrick
1 week ago
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]
Copyright © 2016 Amador Ledger Dispatch
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Joan Tarr
1 week ago
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
2 weeks ago
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
2 weeks ago
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
3 weeks ago
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
3 weeks ago
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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Ginger Budrick
04/21/2016 12:19 PM
Up until now, I’ve tried to make all of these 30-something articles about people I barely know, because I’ve felt like it might be disingenuous to interview someone who would tell me things I mostly already know. But, why? If I know a 30-something who is thriving in Amador, shouldn’t they be part of this series? Why should the fact that they are my friends keep me from sharing them with you, the readers of the Ledger Dispatch? This is why, this week, I’ve decided to feature my very good friends, Candice and Cameron Duggan. Given that... [Read more]
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Joan Tarr
04/14/2016 12:39 PM
Joan is an adventurous traveler. Photo courtesy to the Amador Ledger Dispatch
I must confess that it’s really hard for me to be ‘cool’ about these journeys of mine. When I return from one of my adventures, those friends who even remember that I’ve been away usually ask politely if I had a good trip, hardly getting the words out of their mouth before I can see the panic in their eyes reflecting the fear that I might actually want to tell them about it. Not wishing to sound like an idiot, I usually reply with something along the lines of, “Yes, it was a very nice trip” when what I want to do is jump up and down... [Read more]
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Ginger Budrick
04/14/2016 12:35 PM
Gabe Porto. ALD photo by Ginger Budrick
Before I begin, I’d like to touch on some things that I’ve learned while conducting these interviews. When my first article was published in the paper a few weeks ago, I asked the readers of the Ledger Dispatch to suggest 30-somethings for me to interview, and the emails started pouring in. People suggested their family members, their co-workers, their lovers and their friends. That was so wonderful to see, a community of people stepping up to say, “I know someone who is interesting and inspiring who I’d like you to meet.” I wish I... [Read more]
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Cathie Gernhardt
04/14/2016 12:21 PM
Black-headed Grosbeaks are stocky-looking songbirds with large, conical bills and black, white and bright orange feathers. Photo courtesy of utahbirds.com
Happy Bird Day, Peeps and happy IRS day. It’s been another amazing week in my birding world because; The Grosbeaks are here! The grosbeaks are here!! Yes my beautiful, bright-orange, black-and-white “Ugly Beaks” are finally here to nest and raise their young. Can you tell I have a tendency to get over-excited sometimes? I think one of the reasons I am such a big fan of the Black-headed Grosbeaks is because I am a lover of orange and black. In proclaiming my allegiance to the first SF Bay Area baseball team, I believe this could be... [Read more]
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Guest Commentator
04/07/2016 12:29 PM
Eliana and Isy Borjon. ALD photo by Ginger Budrick
On a chilly Friday morning, I drove out to Shenandoah Valley to meet Eliana and Isy Borjon for an interview. The early morning light illuminated all that the valley has to offer; the budding grapevines in perfect lines, the rolling hills as far as the eye can see, the multiple wineries, each with a different look and story. For the past seven years, I worked at a wine bar in Pasadena, so I clearly love wine and love the idea of making a living in the wine industry. But driving through the Shenandoah Valley that morning made me think... [Read more]
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Guest Commentator
04/07/2016 12:39 PM
The “web explosion” may provide some tasty worms and caterpillars for local birdies. ALD photo by Cathie Gernhardt
Happy Bird Day, peeps. It’s been an amazing week in the Mother Lode. As a fairly new resident of the area, migrating out of the Bay Area, I have been truly blessed to find birds of a feather to flock together with. I have my local family flock, my Sierra Madre Garden Club flock, my Tri County Wildlife Care flock and my work flock at JB’s where I am able to meet so many other wonderful folks in other flocks, all doing good works around the community. With the help of these flocks I am learning that this area is definitely the Mother... [Read more]
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Guest Commentator
03/31/2016 12:16 PM
Peter Hertzog making one of his great dirty martinis. ALD photo by Jerry Budrick
Hello, my name is Ginger Budrick and I recently moved back to Amador County. I’m 32 and I grew up in Amador, but I’ve lived away from the area for years — in San Francisco, San Diego, Pasadena and Los Angeles. After more than a dozen years of living various versions of it, I decided that I was tired of the Los Angeles way of life. In 2015, I worked more hours than I’ve ever worked before and made more money than I’ve ever made, but I still didn’t feel happy. I basically learned the hard way that the saying, “Money can’t buy you... [Read more]
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Guest Commentator
03/31/2016 12:00 PM
The White-Tailed Kite. Photo by Brian E. Small
Happy Bird Day, Peeps. It’s been another newsworthy week in the birding world. Last week I shared about the Eaglet hatchings in our nation’s capital, and now it seems there have been several sightings of rare boisterous turkeys also trying to relocate to Washington D.C. although I am happy to report this chickadee does not wander along the campaign trail. There is another arena I tend to avoid although a little bird told me that there was some madness going on in March and it is continuing on into April, culminating this weekend... [Read more]
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Guest Commentator
03/31/2016 11:58 AM
Joan and a local server in Crete. Photo courtesy to the Amador Ledger Dispatch
When I think about age and how it relates to my travels, I realize that to this point I have made very few concessions to the remoteness of my birth. Yes, there is a definite sag to the balcony, and the exterior is a bit crumbly, but that’s no reason to stop doing what I love. I still enjoy experiencing most of the same things I did when I first started to traipse around the world. While it’s true that I go to bed pretty early at night, if I am being honest I have to admit that I’ve always done that, and being one of the first... [Read more]
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Guest Commentator
03/24/2016 12:51 PM
Mr. President and the First Lady in their Washington, DC nest. Photo courtesy of Sue Greeley
Happy Bird Day Peeps. I trust everyone has adjusted to the time change and are full into your spring thing, whether it be cleaning, planting, nesting or resting. I haven’t had much rest this past week migrating between my flocks. I attended the TCWC Wildlife presentation over at the Feed Barn. A big thank you goes out to Susan Manning for giving the residents of our community the opportunity to get up close and personal with Great Horned Owls, Barn Owls, Screech Owls, Saw-whet Owls, Pygmy Owls, Red Shoulder Hawks, Red Tail Hawks,... [Read more]
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