Monday, August 31, 2015

Save The Date! Mother Lode Highland Games and Gathering - June 18-19, 2016

SCOTLAND is coming to Amador County with the inaugural Mother Lode Highland Games and Gathering. The Highland Games will take place at the Amador County Fairgrounds June 18 & 19, 2016. This two-day event is great for the whole family, from the young to the young at heart.
The Highland Games will have events such as caber tossing (throwing what looks like a wooden telephone pole one end over the other), putting the stone (similar to shot put but with an irregular-shaped, 16-pound stone), weight for distance (a 56 pound weight thrown with one hand while keeping the feet within a very small area) and tossing the sheaf (picking up a bundle of straw with a pitchfork and tossing it over a bar), Carl McDanel, Chief of the Mother Lode Scots says the games are fashioned after those believed to have taken place during ancient times to help chieftains in the highlands of Scotland find the strongest men for their armies. The Games are played by competitive men and women from around the nation and from other countries.

If you are wanting to find your roots you can visit the Clan Village where many clans will be available to assist in that search. They will have books and information on the various clans.
For the kids there will be a Children's Glen with their own games, such as potato sack races, tug-of-war contests, they can even throw a mini caber. A children's tent will have crafts for the kids and other fun things to do throughout the day.

During this weekend event one can hear Scottish music, bagpipes and entertainment. The lineup of entertainers is The AnGry Brians, Black Irish, Golden Bough, Cooking With Turf, Michael Mullen a Trio of One, and Tempest. These bands will perform at the various stages and venues throughout the fairgrounds.

For the animal lovers there will be Miniature Highland Cattle (or Coos as they're called in Scotland), Sheep Dog Demonstrations along with other animal displays and demonstrations. In the dog arena there will be deer hounds, border collies, along with several other breeds.
Along with the competitive games and music, animals, and children's activities there will also be a classic car show.

For those who have never tried Scottish foods come on out. In our food court there will be fish and chips, pasties, meat pies and of course haggis (the Americanized version which is a “sausage of meat and oats along with some spices). The Games will have a number of Scottish food vendors along with other foods as well.

And for those of you who like to shop you can visit the Village Marketplace where you will find 30 plus craft vendors, kilt makers/dealers, Scottish and Irish candies along with English Toffee, glassware, clothing, imports and much, much more.

Since Amador County is rich in viticulture the Games will offer wine seminars throughout the weekend. These wine tasting seminars will provide you with a greater understanding of the Shenandoah Valley and Fiddletown Appellations, characteristics of various varietals, wine styles along with much more.

Scotland, with its long history in the distillation of Scotch (or malt as its called in Scotland), will offer whisky tasting seminars. These seminars will provide you with a greater understanding of the history of whisky, it's distillation process and the various characteristics of whisky varieties.
Last, but not least, will be the Living History Village where you may run into Mary Queen of Scot to weavers and craftsmen to Mountain Men. In the Living History Village one can also pan for gold, view the ore crusher and watch lumber being cut on the Gold Rush Era Sawmill.

Mother Lode Highland Games and Gathering
Amador County Fairgrounds
June 18 & 19, 2016
For more information please visit The Mother Lode Highland Games website at

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Job Opportunities at Steve Stymeist

NOT LOOKING FOR WORK? Please forward this to someone who is. Thanks!
Stymeists in Placerville has immediate job openings.
We have immediate openings for these positions:
Outside Sales
An exciting opportunity for a cheerful person with creative ideas. Establish relationships with community and local business leaders. Create and carry out marketing campaigns. Includes a nice car for working hours. Professional appearance, people skills, and business-to-business sales experience best qualify you.
Auto Detailer
Your start to a great auto body career. Dependable, hard worker with a knack for finishing the fine points. High-school grad preferred. We will train.
Full-time Hot Dogger
We have a professional-grade hot dog stand on wheels. We supply the truck, you drive to area locales to cook and serve. Make friends for Stymeists as you represent us at community and business events. We'll help you get food-handler certified.
aplly online
Stymeist Auto Body Collision Centers

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Amador County Recreation Agency (ACRA)

Amador County Recreation Agency (ACRA)

Saturday September 12th, starting at 4 pm The Old HWY 49 will closed down for the Downhill Extravaganza !  Unlimited Big Wheel rides down the big hill in downtown Amador City.  Only $5 person or $20 for a family!  Bring your own big wheel or borrow one.  Have fun and spruce it up.  Many of the riders dress up in colorful fun costumes.
All Riders must have a helmet, closed toed shoes and signed waiver.
For more information call 223-6349 or email
ACRA-ARCD Community Garden presents
Backyard Composting Systems & Techniques is be offered Saturday August 22nd, 2015 from 8-9am and 9:30-10:30 am at the the Historic Chichizola/Cuneo Ranch, 1334 Jackson Gate Road, Jackson.  Why Compost?  It is nature’s way to turn fruits, vegetables, and yard trimmings into a dark, crumbly, earthy smelling soil amendment.  Learn about bins, drums, open piles, rapid, slow or mixed compost.
Call ACRA at 223-6349 $15 donation. Grant funding provided by Amador Community Foundation.
Dodgeball Tournament Saturday August 29th at 5 pm is being held at Argonaut High School.  This event is for adults and high school students, – Co-ed.  Each team will play a minimum of 3 matches.  We use Rhino Skin foam Dodgeballs 6” & “ 8. Teams can be all male, all female or mixed.  Cost is $50 per team.  Call 223-6349 and ask for John.
Adult Flag Football 6 on 6 is coming Saturday September 5th.
Games will be played at Jackson Jr. High on Saturdays. Call for game times.  The Cost is $350 Per Team for an 8 week league.  League meeting is August 20th at 6 pm at the ACRA office.   Call John at 223-6349 for more information or to register.
Men’s Basketball League starts up on Sunday September 20th.  The Managers Meeting is Wednesday September 9th at 6pm at the ACRA office.  Games will be played on Sunday evenings at Amador High School.  The Cost is $400 per Team for a 10 week league.  Call 223-6349 or email  Info also available on our website Or visit

Sutter Creek, Ione, and Plymouth Pools are Open! Please refer to fliers for details or go online at
Volleyball open gym is ongoing every Sunday 1:30 to 4:30 pm on going at Argonaut High School.  Open gym is open to Co-ed adults and High School students. There will be two nets set up and all skill levels are welcome! The price is $2 per person and your first visit is free.  Any questions please contact John at ACRA 223-6349 or email
ACRA-ARCD Community Garden in Jackson is now taking Plot Reservations.  Small plots, 4x12, with annual fee of $50. Large plots are 4x24 with an annual fee of$100.  There is a $100 refundable deposit. Located at the Historic Chichizola/Cuneo Ranch, Jackson Gate Road, Jackson Please call ACRA at 223-6349  
This Year’s Tri-Amador Triathlon will be held on Sunday October 4th, 2015.  This is an USAT Sanctioned Triathlon.  If you are not a member we will sign you up, included in the price.  The swim takes place in the waters of Lake Camanche, the bike ride features a loop through the beautiful hills of Buena Vista, and the run is an out-and-back on the lakeview China Gulch Trial.  Race shirts are guaranteed to sign ups prior to Sept. 15th. Sprint Individual is $75 and Sprint Relay is $100. Check in begins at 6:30 am Race starts at 8:30am,  Olympic Individual is $90 and Olympic Relay $130.  Check in begins at6:30 am and the Race starts at 7:30 am.
Register online and view the course at, or contact John at ACRA 223-6349 or email
”Finding the Mother Lode” Movie made for PBS! Italian Immigrants in Amador  County and the West Coast … By Gianfranco Norelli and Suma Kurien
Available for purchase now!
This movie is slated to be shown on PBS sometime in the Future….Featuring Amador historians Carolyn Fregulia, Doug Ketron and John Leggett.
This Movie features the unique migration of the Italians to Amador County and the west coast.
Unabridged copy
For more information call 223-6349
$25 total…at the ACRA office
Amazon….$28.95 plus tx. And handling.
American Legion Hall
   Aug. 4& 18, September 1 & 15, Oct. 6 & 20, Nov.*17 & Dec 1 & 15
Doors Open No later than… 5:30 !!!
6:15 Early Bird Bingo
6:30 Regular BINGO
Buy in $10 for $10 games – 6 top
Black out is up to $250!
Sodas are available for purchase (no alcohol served)
Feel free to bring your own dinner (no food available)
Many Raffle Prizes !!!
We have Pull Tabs….Another chance to win!
Complimentary Cookies and Coffee!
Proceeds go to support Amador County Recreation Agency. After School Program Please Call 223-6349 for more information.
Thank You to the American Legion Hall for accommodating ACRA’s Bingo!

ACRA’s After School Programs are starting up once again. The HUB in Jackson is Monday –Thursday 2-5pm starting August 10th…Plymouth at Lodge Hill is Tuesday – Thursday starting August 11th.   Check out for more information.  For Plymouth call Katelyn at 223-6349.  For Jackson call Barbara at 223-2300.

It's all at:

Community Center Playgroups offered Aug 20 & 29

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Master Gardeners: "Shady Characters"

Many homeowners plant shade trees to escape the blazing summer sun, but then struggle with what to plant in the shade under those trees. It's not uncommon to see ferns, fuchsias, camellias, and hydrangeas struggling for survival when it's 105°, even with thick layers of mulch and continuous drip irrigation. Some of our most commonly planted shade trees are so thirsty that there is little hope of sufficient available moisture to keep damp shade plants thriving beneath them. At the other end of the spectrum, drought tolerant low water trees will suffer greatly from the irrigation required for a damp shade garden. With some planning it is possible to have healthy shade trees, and lovely shade gardens, by creating hydro-zones.

As Master Gardeners we encourage the creation of hydro-zones when planning any garden. A hydro-zone is a landscape area where plants with similar water needs and soil characteristics are grouped together. This minimizes the risk of over watering, which is the most common reason for the decline of landscape trees and shrubs.

Creating a favorable hydro-zone includes:
(a) Mulching to conserve soil moisture, control weeds, and maintain a uniform soil temperature;
(b) Appropriate irrigation practices to avoid root and crown diseases by watering established trees and shrubs at their drip line instead of allowing water to pool in basins at the crown; and
(c) Planting appropriate plants with similar moisture needs that won't compete.

While drought tolerant trees such as Arbutus, Birch, Camphor, Carob, Elder, Hazel, Holly, Honey Locust, Madrone, Magnolia, Manzanita, Mulberry, Olive, and Tulip trees have low water needs and provide shade, planting a damp shade garden around a low water tree can jeopardize the health of the tree. The presence of too much moisture will cause long term problems with fungus, crown or root rot, weak limbs subject to wind breakage, and an increased vulnerability to insect attack.

A dry hydrozone, an illustration of how to change
a small strip of grass into something water friendly,
and friendly to the existing trees.
Thirsty trees such as Alder, Ash, Bay Laurel, Beech, Cedar, Cottonwood, Dogwood, Douglas Fir, Elm, Eucalyptus, Hawthorne, Maple, Mountain Ash, Oak, Pine, Poplar, Redwood, Salt Cedar, Sequoia, Spruce, Sycamore, Walnut, Willow, and Yew are so thirsty that although they are creating a shady cool oasis in an otherwise arid environment, they are sucking up every drop of water in the soil in order to do so. They are not good candidates for damp shade gardens because the damp shade plants will be forever competing with the tree for moisture. There are steps to conserve precious moisture, such as mulching, but even mulching won't be sufficient to keep a damp shade garden hydrated under a thirsty tree without a high volume of water application.

Mulching has benefits other than just moisture conservation when applied correctly. While mulch actually improves the soil health and is important for optimum tree growth, it's critical that it never be piled around tree trunks. Keeping mulch back 4"-6" will maintain air circulation to prevent pest and moisture damage to trunks. Research shows that even thirsty trees will thrive in hot, dry summer climates when mulched out to 2 feet beyond their drip line because cool, damp soil beneath a deep mulch favors the growth of necessary mycorrhizae.

The word mycorrhiza describes a symbiotic association between a beneficial soil fungus (Myco) and
Three hydrozones next to each other.
the roots (rhiza) of the plants. This relationship is advantageous for both organisms because the plant gains increased water and nutrient uptake from the soil by the intricate net of the fungus. The fungus uses the carbon provided by the plant for its physiological functions, growth, and development.

By utilizing the hydro-zone principles of grouping plants that won't compete for moisture, and appropriately mulching to conserve existing moisture to maintain a cool favorable soil environment for the mycorrhizae, you can have healthy vigorous shade trees and beautiful dry shade gardens.

A Selection of Dry Shade Plants

Acanthus spinosus Bear's Breeches. Tall white and purple spires of somewhat thorny flowers. Hardy. [A. spinosus will take more cold than A. mollis]
Aegopodium podagraria Bishop's Weed. Hardy, can be invasive.
Ageratina altissima White Snakeroot.
Anemone sylvestris Wood Anemone. White flowers.
Antennaria Pussytoes.
Aquilegia chrysantha Western Native Columbine. Yellow flowers look better and tougher than other colored hybrids.
Arabis Rock Cress.
Artemisia ludoviciana.
Bergenia cordifolia Heart Leaf Bergenia. Pink flowers.
Blepharoneuron tricholepis Mountain Mist Grass.
Brunnera macrophylla Siberian Forget Me Not. Sky blue flowers.
Campanula punctata Spotted Bellflower.
Campanula rapunculoides Creeping Bellflower. Hardy, can be invasive.
Cheilanthes Lip Fern.
Crucianella (Phuopsis) stylosa Crosswort. Pink flowers.
Cyclamen hederifolium, C. purpurascens Hardy Cyclamen.
The conversion of a front lawn into a dry hydrozone,
keeping the planted areas and removed the grass,
planted crape myrtle trees, and covered the soil with
compacted decomposed granite.
Drip lines were buried in the granite, and water was very minimal.
Cynoglossum nervosum Hound's Tongue.
Digitalis grandiflora Yellow Foxglove.
Digitalis lutea Straw Foxglove. Long blooming yellow spikes of flowers.
Dryopteris x complexa Hybrid Male Fern.
Duchesnea indica False Strawberry.
Epimedium spp. Barrenwort. Yellow/white/mauve flowers.
Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbia Daphne Spurge.
Festuca arizonica Pine Fescue.
Filipendula vulgaris Dropwort. Ferny foliage.
Galium odoratum Sweet Woodruff.
Geranium macrorrhizum Creeping Cranesbill. Rose pink flowers.
Geranium x cantabrigiense Cambridge Cranesbill.
Heuchera x 'Pewter Veil', 'Chocolate Ruffles', 'Raspberry Regal', 'Pewter Moon', and 'Palace Passion'. These Coral Bells have leaves of bronze, plum, and beet red.
Hypericum St. John's Wort.
Iberis sempervirens Candytuft.
Jamesia americana Waxflower.
Juniper communis Mountain Juniper. Provides good shrubby structure and can take shade.
Juniper squamata 'Blue Star'. Provides good shrubby structure and can take shade.
Kolkwetzia amabilis Beauty Bush. Pink blossoms.
Lamium galeobdolon 'Hermann's Pride' Yellow Archangel. Aluminum color netting on foliage.
Lamium maculatum cultivars 'White Nancy', 'Shell Pink', and 'Beacon's Silver' have silver streaked foliage. Pink/white/lavender/rose flowers.
Luzula nivea Snowy Woodrush.
Luzula sylvatica Woodrush.
Lychnis coronaria Rose Campion.  Silver leaves and scarlet flowers.
Mahonia repens Creeping Grapeholly.
Malva moschata Musk Mallow. White flowers.
Mertensia lanceolata Narrowleaf Chiming Bells.
Microbiota decussata Russian Arborvitae. Looks somewhat like a juniper, but will go brown over winter, well suited to dry shade.
Origanum Oregano.
Paeonia tenuifolia 'Rubra Plena' Fern-Leaf Peony. Ruby red flowers.
Paxistima canyi Mountain Lover.
Penstemon hirsutus var. pygmaeus, P. procerus, P. richardsonii, P. smallii, P. virens.
Persicaria (Polygonum) affinis Border Jewel, Himalayan Fleeceflower.
Phlox bifida Sand Phlox.
Phlox douglasii.
Phlox subulata Moss Phlox.
Prunella vulgaris Self Heal. Will happily spread throughout the garden.
Pulsatilla patens Western Pasqueflower.
Ribes x gordonianum. Hybrid flowering currant. Raspberry pink flowers with yellow throats.
Rubus deliciousus Boulder Raspberry. Showy white flowers.
Rubus x tridel 'Benenden'. Showy white flowers.
Salvia bulleyana.
Salvia forskaohlii Woodland Sage. Long blooming navy blue spikes of flowers.
Salvia glutinosa.
Salvia sclarea Clary Sage.
Sedum acre, S. album, S. nevii, S. ternatum Stonecrop.
Sedum kamtschaticum 'Variegatum'. Creamy edges.
Sempervivum Hens and Chicks.
Solidago caesia Wreath Goldenrod.
Solidago sphacelat 'Golden Fleece'.
Spidelia marilandica Indian Pink.
Stachys byzantina 'Helene von Stein'. Lamb's Ears. Velvety sage green foliage and lavender flowers.
Stachys macrantha Showy Betony.
Symphytum grandilorum Lesser Comfrey. Creamy bell shaped flowers.
Tanacetum parthenium aureum Golden Leaved Feverfew.
Teucrium scorodonia 'Crispum' Curly Wood Germander.
Thymus pseudolanuginosus Woolly Thyme.
Verbascum phoeniceum Purple Mullein.
Viola odorata Perennial Violets. Purple/white flowers.
Waldsteinia fragarioides Barren Strawberry.
Xerophyllum Turkeybeard.
Yucca pallida Pale Yucca.
Yucca rupicola Twist Leaf Yucca.

Photos provided by Master Gardener Stacy Ryerson.


Ogden, Lauren Springer., and Rob Proctor. Passionate Gardening: Good Advice for Challenging Climates. Golden, CO: Fulcrum Pub., 2000. Print.

"Quick Tips Landscape Plants: Fertilizing & Watering." UC IPM Program, University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, Pub. Mar 2011. Web. 13 Jul 2014. <>.

Springer, Lauren. The Undaunted Garden: Planting for Weather-resilient Beauty. Golden, CO: Fulcrum Pub., 1994. Print.

"Wide Mulch Rings Speed Tree Growth." MU IPM Program, Missouri Environment and Garden, Division of Plant Sciences. Pub. 1 Feb. 2010. Web. 13 Jul 2014.

by Stacy Ryerson
UCCE Master Gardener and Master Food Preserver, Amador County