Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, August 8, 2020

MVNews this week:  Page 10


Mountain View News Saturday, August 8, 2020 

All Things By Jeff Brown

For a moment, I forgot. Karla and I were out at an outdoor restaurant on a summer evening, 
surrounded by tables of chattering families and relaxed couples. In the waning yellow sunlight, 
we sipped wine, enjoyed our halibut, and soaked up the life around us. Giddy liberation was in 
the air. The entire main street of this small suburban town north of New York City had been 
closed to cars, so that restaurants, a pizza place, and an ice cream joint could set up distance tables 
outside. People wore masks on sidewalks and while making their way to their tables, taking them 
off when they were seated. 
Similar successful adaptations to the pandemic can be found throughout the Northeast, where 
the test-positivity rate has fallen to about 1% and deaths and hospitalizations have plunged. The 
coronavirus is a formidable foe, but we now know how to minimize person to person spread. 
How many people get sick and die between now and a vaccine is largely under our control. “We 
can virtually eliminate the virus anytime we decide to,” says Andy Slavitt, a former head of the 
Center For Medicare and Medicaid Services. Several other countries in Asia and Europe have 
largely done so. 
To undo the damage of premature re-opening in the South and West, Slavitt says, these states 
would need a second lockdown, closing all bars, indoor restaurants, churches, and public transit 
for about 50 days period. Masks should be mandated and interstate travel shut down. These 
policies, Slavitt calculates, would drive the reproduction rate of covid-19 down to 0.5.Then 
exponential pandemic math would take over and the communities with 60,000 active cases 
would, 50 days later, have just 58 cases. 
At that point, testing and contact tracing become fast and effective. Life could safely resume, 
with some prudent restrictions. The alternative is now on display in ICU’s in Florida, Arizona, 
and Texas. 
Will successive surges define our lives into 2021? Our choice. 

William Falk-Editor in Chief “The Week”

Pet of the Week

Six-year-old Mina loves attention, treats, and toys! 
Her foster family reports that she loves following 
everyone around and getting pets. If you stop 
petting her, she’ll gently put her paw on you to say 
“please pet me some more”. Mina enjoys walks 
and exploring, and has a tail that wags so fast, she 
almost can’t keep it still. Mina would do best as the 
only dog in the home, but she promises she’ll give 
you as much love as two dogs. She’s having a great 
time in her foster home, but she can’t wait to find 
her forever family soon! 

 The adoption fee for dogs is $140. All dog adoptions include spay or neuter, microchip, 
and age-appropriate vaccines.

 New adopters will receive a complimentary health-and-wellness exam from VCA 
Animal Hospitals, as well as a goody bag filled with information about how to care 
for your pet.

 View photos of adoptable pets at and fill out an online 
adoption application. Adoptions are by appointment only.

 Pets may not be available for adoption and cannot be held for potential adopters by 
phone calls or email.


Smokey is a 4-year-old blue American Pit Bull Terrier that 
came to us from a homeless situation. At first, he was a 
bit nervous and scared. Since his arrival at the San Gabriel 
Valley Humane Society, Smokey has improved tremendously. 
He is now a more social, happy dog that loves to be 
pet, play fetch and go on long walks. He hasn't shown any 
further signs of discomfort toward our staff since working 
with him. Smokey would do well as the only dog in 
the home. His adoption fee is $145, which includes neuter 
surgery, microchip, first vaccinations and a free wellness 
check-up at a participating veterinarian. Call the San 
Gabriel Valley Humane Society 626-286-1159 to schedule 
a "Meet and Greet" appointment with Smokey. Website:



 [Nyerges is the author of “Foraging California,” “Guide to Wild Foods,” “How to Survive 
Anywhere,” and other books. He can be reached at, or 
Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041]

My latest book, released without fanfare due to the focus upon the pandemic, 
is called “Guide to Getting Around with or without a Compass.” I believe 
readers will find it both interesting to read, and useful in developing a sense 
of natural navigation.


The book is fully-illustrated 
with color photos, and 
begins with how ancient 
people observed their environment 
and learned to 
read the landscape for directional 
and other clues.

Ancient people did not have 
any of our modern technology, 
and so they developed 
an acute awareness of their 
environments, including 
the movement of the sun, 
the moon, and the stars. 
They knew where they were 
in relation to other things, 
and they developed unique 
tools for maintaining this 
sense of awareness.


Modern people rarely think 
about north vs. south, the divisions of time, or how these things are figured, adjusted, or 
corrected. Why? We’ve let our technological tools do this work for us, and as an unintended 
consequence, we’ve grown increasingly unaware and ignorant of our surroundings.


In this book, my hope is to awaken in you that excitement that comes with learning how to 
determine north from the stars, how to determine east from the sun, and how to use your 
natural sense of awareness to guide you.


In fact, there is no single natural observation that will tell you directions. You need to be 
observant of many features and understand what they mean. You need to use your common 
sense and you need to be able to “think on your feet.” Then, with practice, you stand a 
good chance of determining compass points and knowing how to get around without modern 


The best way to understand the landscape you’re in is to get to a high spot where you can observe 
as much of the local terrain as possible. Get up to a rocky peak, or some high area with 
an unimpeded view of the terrain. Once, when there was no such high spot, I actually climbed 
a tree in order to get a look at the lay of the land.


Moss on Trees

We have long heard that moss 
grows on the north side of trees. 
We have all heard this so often, in 
so many formats, that you’d think it 
was some sort of absolute dogma. I 
still recall in my high school years 
when I was taking backpacking and 
survival classes from Abbey Keith 
of the Sierra Madre Search and Rescue 
Team. Keith liked to ask us a lot 
of questions.


On one Saturday morning, he asked 
all of us, “Does moss grow on the 
north sides of trees?” The room 
was somewhat silent. Everyone was 
leaning towards a strong “yes,” but 
no one answered. “Yes,” said Keith 
loudly with a broad grin. “It does! 
But it also grows on the east side, 
the south side, and the west side of 
trees, especially in a dense forest 
where there is little light.” Everyone 

Though there is logic to this idea, 
and though in a clearing the moss 
is predominantly on the northern half of the tree (there’s less light and more moisture there), 
it is not a precise, nor reliable, method of direction-finding. Keith would later tell us that 
if it’s a pine tree, and if you’re in California, and if the tree is in a clearing, then the moss 
is probably on the north half of the tree. Somewhat useful, but not very good for precision 

This new book deals with how to make a shadow compass with a stick in the ground, how 
to recognize key constellations for direction-finding, and dozens of ways to tell directions by 
observing nature. Of course, I also describe how to use maps, and how to use a compass, and 
a few unique ways to get around with only a compass.


We have not closed our 
doors! It’s a difficult time, 
especially for pet owners 
who are laid off, and heartbreaking 
that many have 
been forced to surrender 
their beloved pets. We receive 
daily requests to rehome pets whose owners are 
either no longer able to keep them or who, sadly, have 
died. Pets in shelters will increase, while adoptions will 
decrease. Yet, pet care must go on. Lifeline for Pets would 
love to help, but we are greatly in need of local foster 
homes and adoptions for cats. Every time we place a kitty 
in a foster home, we make room for another one in need, 
such as young twins, LUCIE & LALA here, only a year 
old, and very sweet. If you are looking for a way to make 
a difference, this is it! If you have room in your home and in your heart to foster or 
adopt, please look over our website at Our foster application 
is at, and our adoption application is at

Diann Benti shows the latest book. Available from Amazon, or from 
the Store at

Parker Davis looks at woodpecker holes? Are woodpecker 
holes a good sign of direction? Supposedly, they are found 
on the east side of trees, but these were found on the west side 
of an old pine.


Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: