My Favorite Businesses: Jeff W’s Lawn Service

I’d like to give a shout out to a business in which I have no financial stake at all. Jeff Wickizer has been doing my lawn for three or four years now and does a great job. He shows up when he says he will and works quickly. His cleanup is great and his suggestions are helpful.  In other words, he gets five stars.

You can reach Jeff by email to or on his cell which is 601-2090.  He’s also the General Foreman and Estimator at Professional Tree Services and you can reach him there at 839-TREE (8733). Jeff is a hardworking young guy with a family (they just had a baby a few weeks ago) and I say anyone ambitious enough to start their own company on top of a full-time job is the type of entrepreneur who deserves your support. Besides, he does good work. Give him a call and tell him I sent you. You won’t regret it. 


Tidbits and Gossip 8/5/15

The Cutten Inn reno that was supposed to be completed in July has obviously not been completed.  From the look of things it could be many months.

The Cutten Murphy’s s having their annual summer BBQ season in front of the store M-F until at least the end of August. Easy to grab on your way home! Grass-fed cheeseburgers $5.99 and the half-chickens at $4.99 are a real deal.  Support your local grocer!

CNBC’s new series The West Texas Investors Club is kind of a Shark Tank meets Hee-Haw and the shark/investors don’t have the cred of the originals but after you watch it for half an hour or so it all starts to make a loony kind of sense.  One of the sharks is Matthew McConaghy’s uglier brother.  Tuesday nights on CNBC (Ch 51 on Suddenlink).  Let us know how you like it.  Coming up on August 12 is their latest,  Make Me a Millionaire Inventor  which has to be the worst title ever but let’s hope for the best. 


Summer Sounds- Brian Wilson, Black Keys

I can’t settle down to mundane matters such as business and the economy while summer is bustin’ out all over. Instead, let me share with you the music I’ve been playing the last couple of weeks.

Brian Wilson is everywhere these days, including the movies and my CD player. The magnificent “That’s Why God Made the Radio” from 2012 is up there with Sergeant Pepper in my book but his newest,  “No Pier Pressure”, is also a beautiful, meditative work. It features a bizarre company of guests, including Zooey Deschanel and Kacey Musgraves along with Don Was and several cellos. Yes, that’s Al Jardine you hear on the vocals.  “Whatever Happened” is a beautiful ballad you will be hearing a lot. You’re supposed to stream music these days,  but streaming isn’t as much fun as going down to The Works.  Plus streaming doesn’t get you the lyrics and photos and you want these. Wilson’s battered jalopy of a face shows every one of his seventy-three years. The notes contain a special thanks “To Capitol Records my musical home for 50 years.”  That says it all. What a magnificent career!

My other recent purchase is Black Keys’ “Turn Blue” which is a much different kind of work and which I am still trying to get my mind around. I LIKE it but it’s going to take a while to assimilate. Anyway I would recommend either CD for driving around with your windows down annoying as many folks as possible. That’s what you do in the summertime.  If you don’t have a convertible, rent one. 



Some Thoughts on Wild Oaks Grill

I had been driving past the Wild Oaks signs in front of the Vets’ Memorial in Eureka for several weeks when I finally got a chance to stop and see what they had.  It was pouring rain but the two fellows at the grill were cheery and efficient.

This is not your ordinary food truck. They don’t sell sandwiches, just meat- in big chunks. Like all food trucks they have a website which explains the situation. No sides, no fixin’s, just meat. Well prepared meat, but in large quantities. You can get pastrami and brisket by the pound, but a lot of the other meats require a three to five pound purchase.  I had hoped to try their brisket but Rob, the friendly honcho,  said they were about half on hour away from finishing . I would have waited if it weren’t raining- the company was pleasant enough- but in the end I went home with about two pounds of pork belly which had been rouladed with peaches and other interesting flavors and then smoked and grilled. It was creative and well-executed, and I look forward to tasting their other wares. Next time I’m having company for dinner, I’m going to call ahead to pin down a time for getting brisket and let Rob and his staff do the prep. Their prices may seem a little spendy but you’re getting hours of real smoke.  Serve with a twice-cooked potato and fruit salad from Murphy’s and  you’ve got a no-fuss meal.

Wild Oaks has a few challenges.  Their website is a mess.  Their ever-changing locations and lack of sides or sandwiches may not be a sustainable model but for now they’re kicking butt.  The aroma from the grill will convince you. I asked Rob which location did the most business.  It’s McKinleyville,  with all those two-income commuters. 

So check them out and tell them I sent you. I note with interest that two of their three Yelp reviews to date were negative and focused more on the appearance of the staff rather than the quality of the food. The day I was there, we all looked like hell. It was raining!


Arcata Business Closures

The Mad River Union has a helpful summary of recent business closures in Arcata. These include McKenny’s DIB, the St Vincent de Paul store on K Street, the Hunan Plaza Chinese restaurant (after 27 years!!), the Essence of Humboldt gift shop and , at the end of the month, the Eden seed and gift shop on Ninth Street.  It looks worse when you list them all together. Thanks to the Union for compiling these. No link available. 

Happy Retirement, Wally Cunningham

I took my car into Old Town Brake and Auto at 4th and D as I have for the past 15 years and Wally told me he’s retiring at the end of the month, turning the shop over to his son Brian (whose own shop, Eureka Brake & Automotive, on Second Street, will remain open.) Wally has achieved the American dream- a successful business to pass on to his kids and as far as I can figure he did it the old -fashioned way-through hard work. Keeps the same employees around for years too. Stop by and say goodbye to Wally and Sharon, who are remaining in the area. We’ll miss ya, Wally. 

And I’ll be offline for a few days while St. Joseph’s installs my new knee. Or should that be, my knew knee?  Blessings of the season to all of you.

The Eagerly Awaited Humboldt Soup Company holding its official opening tomorrow. Here’s a link to the menu as posted on Facebook (they don’t have their website operational yet) so you can check it out before lunch tomorrow ’cause it sounds like there’s going to be a stampede. You have to scroll down aways to see the whole menu. The beet salad sounds incredible. Good luck to them!

Dinner with Dogs??

Do you love dogs?  Sure.

Do you love OPD (Other Peoples’ Dogs)?  Uh, not so much.  

Well, as of January 1, California restaurants with patio spaces will be allowed to serve dogs right along with their owners, assuming the owners are human. This “change” will probably affect Humboldt less than more urban regions  because plenty of local eateries are already allowing dogs. The rules are that the patios must have separate entrances so that the doggies don’t enter the restaurant itself and they continue to be banned from food preparation areas. The new rule does NOT mandate that dogs must be allowed on patios; that’s up to the proprietors.  Nor does it change any of the rules on bona fide service animals. 

I’m a dog owner who does not envision taking my dog to a restaurant in this lifetime. For one thing, she’d eat everything in sight.  For another, she’d never be able to share space with one of those cute fuzzy little dogs that look and sound exactly like her squeak-toys. The other question is, do I want to share a table with someone else’s dog?  When MY dog drools  on the table, it’s cute. When YOUR dog does it, it’s disgusting.

I’m all in favor of consumer choice, so when I pass by a patio cafe where chows are chowing down in favor of a human-only environment, that’s a valid choice. I wonder how the majority of Humboldt diners will react to their new dining companions.

Humboldt Economic Index for June 2014

The hardworking crew at HSU has published its Index , which shows a sharp drop in housing sales, down 12.4% since last month. Most indicators were down or flat although Retail held steady.  Unemployment rates: National 6.3 (May figures), California 7.6, Humboldt unchanged at 7.1. Many thanks to Dr. Eschker and his researchers.