Santa And His Sleigh In Christopher Creek Saturday

Another Week in the Creek

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Christopher Creek is a stop on Santa’s itinerary tomorrow. Boys and girls will gather at the firehouse at 2 p.m. to decorate food boxes and eat cookies.

A bit later, for the 12th time, Santa will read Clement C. Moore’s 1822 story of The Night Before Christmas. For the 12th time, the Ol’ Boy will ask each and every boy and girl to remember Santa’s three rules. For the 12th time he will remind everybody that the reindeer’s name is Donder. And, once again, his elves, Morgan and Mallory, will hand out a stocking for each youngster.

But for the first time, Santa will arrive by sleigh, chauffeured by the president, himself. No, goodness, not that one! Chuck Schmidt, president of the CCHA, has spent countless hours working on Santa’s conveyance over the past two years. Everybody remember to bring three cans of food. Big kids can come join the party, too.

Sunny and seasonal with a high of 45 is the Saturday forecast for the Christopher Creek Christmas Carts and Quads Electric Light Parade. That means dress warmly for the 6 p.m. start time, ’cause it’s likely to be a bit nippley before the parade winds up at the big Landmark campfire. Bud Light John will be playing his Christmas song list and there will be plenty of hot chocolate to mix with whatever you pleasure. We’re pretty sure Santa will make a brief appearance there before he’s off to prepare for his big night.

Lunch with the Wildflower bunch is always a stroll down memory lane. The group is made up of both current and former Creek residents ... more of the latter than the former. Joining me at Journigan’s were Olive Matus, Karen Elerich, Jeannie Moore, Margo Holmes, SamBob Conklin, Penny Wells, Dean Shields, Rhea Hoedl, Debbie Farrell and our old friends from Tonto Basin, Charles and Willene Byrnes. The monthly lunch is held at different venues. Come join us sometime.

It has been a bit chilly around here. CKFD finished burning the slash piles down on the Ashby meadow last week, but that did little to warm us up. The piles were from the clearing of fuels from along the ridge above the homestead last summer. Good job, fellas.

After 27 seasons of buying fuelwood cutting permits, my first visit out in the woods from a representative of the U.S.F.S. came last week. While sitting on the tailgate listening to sports-talk radio and enjoying my cigar, this gal walks up the trail carrying a spray paint container and wearing an orange traffic vest. She didn’t have any of the trappings of U.S.F.S. officialdom, but she didn’t exactly look the part of a graffiti artist either. She asked to see my permit and you know me ... my answer was could she show me a badge. That behind us, we introduced ourselves. We discussed illegal commercial cutting and the lack of enforcement. During a 10-minute chat, Cheryl told me of a fuels reduction program on the west end of town and north of the Loop. That area is one of the last weak points in the fire perimeter of the Creek. Though the official line was what she was all about, the Payson gal was pleasant enough. She talked about the fuels cutting, chipping and chip removal program. She further explained the Forest Service position that residents are adamantly adverse to pile burning. Hockey pucks! A little smoke for a couple days is small price to pay for the protection gained. Dare we mention a soil nutrient depletion consideration in the U.S.F.S.’s haste to sell the product of chipping to the pellet manufacturers?

You can call it a conspiracy. You can call it an unkindness. The jury is in. Mind you, it’s not as bad as the Alfred Hitchcock movie, but no matter what you call it, the ravens have invaded the Creek. There are 25 to 30 or more of the big black birds hanging together working on the remaining apples or maybe an unfortunate squirrel or two on the Loop. Just as one would refer to a murder of crows, a flock of ravens is known as a jury, a conspiracy, or my favorite ... an unkindness. How ’bout a gang of elk, a wake of buzzards, a parliament of owls, a prickle of porcupines, a convocation of eagles, or a scurry of squirrels, who, by the way, need to remember to look both ways before they cross.

Another recent invasion has to do with a certain type of fly called a cluster fly ... bazillions of them. They don’t seem to be interested in food. They are lethargic. All they seem to want to do is sun themselves on the windowpane. A pain is what they are and we hope the cold snap will be the end of them. Maybe it should be an unkindness of cluster flies ... and that’s another week in the Creek!

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