Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Red House Replacement Underway
  Nearly 3 years ago, we were awarded funds from a competitive program in the National Science Foundation. By waiting until now, we can match those funds 1:1 with state Prop 84 funds. So finally, we started the process of replacing the crumbling, rodent-infested Red House. The first steps are site preparation. We saved as much of the old house as possible- cast iron tub, space heater, some windows and doors, etc. The rest is being removed by Lindsey Friday. We will be preparing a level site to provide good parking, handicapped access and west-facing deck. We are replacing the 600 sq. ft. shack with two modular 800 sq. ft. cabins. They will share a deck and the view. The new buildings will provide excellent housing.  A few documenting photos for all you folks who stayed in the Red House over the years. We are saving a section of the old red wall and will put it up on the new buildings. 
Here is an example of the wiring in the attic- notice how the mice and wood rats have chewed the insulation almost entirely off the wires. Yikes!
We also found that a single-wall stove pipe went through the attic from the back bedroom and the attic walls were black with charred wood. It almost burned down at least once in its long career. 

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Roofers-Carpenters From UCB Physical Plant at Stucco House
Brent Kindle, UCB Physical Plant, a master roofer and planner, visited Hastings with Seth Higby and Stan Richardson to start work on the rot in the roof of the stucco "Bell" house. Build for Jimmy and Lois Bell, the house has had roof problems for a long time. Brent, Seth and Stan removed the roofing from the outer edge of the roof. Carpenters Daniel Valdez and Joe Best joined the group later and removed and replaced the old decking and rotted rafters. Brent, Seth and Stan then re-roofed the edges and the ridges and valleys. These guys are pros and would continually find places where previous local contractors had done the roofing improperly. By fixing these previous mistakes and installing a new roof properly, we expect another good 20 years of dry life in the old Bell house. Thanks to the Brent and his crew from Berkeley!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Aerial Views of Basin Complex Fire Interior

       On Aug 7, the USFS provided helicopter flight time to a group of local firefighters, including Jaime del Valle. Jaime took a series of photographs. We here at Hastings were very interested in estimating what happened to the wildlife? Were there refugia of green? Was it all burned?

      Jaime returned with 74 photos, and we can say that in some places, it was burned to the soil. In many other places, often in a complex matrix or mosaic, areas of green persist. As much of the area is wilderness, we are still seeking good titles for the photos. Some have names. The photos were taken in sequence- in a counterclockwise flight along the fire perimeter starting near the Los Padres Dam. It continued west to White Rocks, then south to Big Sur and eventually Dolan Ridge at the Big Creek Reserve. Then west toward the Indians Fire, and over that the southeast corner of the fire complex. Some camera technical difficulties over Tassajara meant no photos there (Jaime reports that area was a mosaic burn with large areas still green). They ended up where they started at the helicopter base at Tassajara Road and Carmel Valley Road. If you can identify some of the photos, e-mail us with titles for the photos. Thanks. 

So, click here to see the gallery of Jaime's photos.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

News from UC and State Budget
    Due to increases in our operating expenses, and cuts in the state budget, we are forced to increase our user fees to $15/person/night. This will take effect as of billing after July 1, 2008. We are probably going to have to increase fees again in July 2009 to $20/person/night. So, if you are an ongoing researcher, or are interested in working at Hastings, please note and plan accordingly. 

Monday, August 04, 2008

Walt Koenig Retires from UC, Hastings

   Starting as an undergraduate student at Stanford, and then through a graduate career, and over 25 years at Hastings, Walt Koenig retired Aug 3. A party was held at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology in Berkeley last Friday. Hosted by his recent graduate students, and featuring Top Dog sausages, we all told "Walt" stories and recalled his many adventures at Hastings and MVZ. Walt has an amazing record of rigorous science; in publications, contributions as an editor and in teaching. (see list). Walt will be moving to a new position with the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology in Ithaca, NY. We expect to see Walt in the fall  to count acorns and in each spring for a month or two keeping track of acorn woodpeckers. Bon Voyage, Walt!