Sportsmens Report
June 22, 2018
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Local heroes and abalone

By: Bill Hanson
April 6, 2018
Sportsman's Report

Last Friday farmers, ranchers and wine industry folk met for lunch for the first time since the fires of last October. When asked how many lost their homes, too many raised their hand, far too many. There were some hair-raising stories of heroic deeds, one had a ride-along with a sheriff deputy, he said it was HOT. The next day the car’s paint was blistered, that’s hot. One stood and spoke of his son, knocking on doors in the Larkfield neighborhood, some sleepy-eyed people answered the door to find their house already aflame. No telling how many lives were saved that night by that simple act, an action taken without regard for their own safety. This falls into the category of hero no matter how you slice it. 

Jim Frizzell had to leave his home on Mark West Springs Road in a blaze of fire raining down. They had to leave their horses in the hasty exit, he left the gates open and hoped they would do the right thing. He and his son-in-law Mike Rosenberg, a local farrier, spent the next week rounding up horses imperiled by the fires. Four days into their work, while unloading horses at the fairgrounds, Jim saw his own horses in the paddock. 

He has no idea who saved them or when, “I would sure like to thank them for saving my horses.” 

Do we live in a great community or what? The club-president Phil is a retired fireman, he said he had never seen or imagined a fire that could be that hot or move that fast. 

One gentleman said during the clean-up process they found only five-eight size bolts in the framing, everything under that size had melted away.

Driving back from the meeting on a fine spring day through a riot of mustard plants, growing in miles of yellow carpet, their wild scent wafted in the windows, it occurred to me nature and man are resilient, reborn each spring to take in the beauty of the world on a fine, blue day.

On the ocean front

April 1 has been the first day of abalone season since I started diving in 1976, not this year. In 2017, California Department of Fish and Wildlife surveys found low abalone abundance, starving abalone and many fresh empty shells, which indicate recent high mortality. The closure is the result of extreme environmental conditions, including “a widespread collapse of northern California kelp forests”.

There should be some very fat Cabazon on the bottom, they love abalone, they are uglier than a bucket of mud but taste great. Check out their ugly mugs on a Google image search. Fillet them but don’t give the heads to your cat, it will scare your kitty out of one whole life. Make a nice fish and chips dinner with the fillets, you will be looking for them again.


Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is the former president of the Mycological Society. Look for his column in The Community Voice each week.