Posted by: Bonnie Phelps | April 6, 2023

Free Pine Wood, Needles and Cones

Do you like to cut your own wood? Make pine needle baskets? Use cones for fire starters or décor? Dry cones make great fire starters in your wood stove or campfire; guessing there are several hundred cones on the ground.

A couple big Coulter pines came down in that last storm on a client’s land. The trees are limbed and ready to buck into logs or cut some large pieces and have them milled. It’s up to you. Pine dries fast once it is bucked up so you could have the wood for next winter.

There are lots of branches and cones on the ground just waiting for the chipper. Would you like to get in first to glean? You are welcome. Can’t take too much. The snow is melted on this property now so very easy to access. You are on your own with cutting and hauling, First come, first dibs.

Just let me know and I’ll point you in the right direction.

Bonnie Phelps, Realtor

Posted by: Bonnie Phelps | April 3, 2023

Housekeeper with animal care needed

Beautiful Palomar Mountain Ranch seeking

Job description:
• Daily house cleaning and weekly deep cleaning • Meal preparation as needed
• Assistance with animal feeding and general outdoor cleanup • General help with light chores and gardening
• Must love animals including dogs, cats, horses and chickens
• Must love remote country living on beautiful ranch
• Must be service minded, honest and trustworthy
• Positive “CAN DO” attitude (willing to help with all projects)
• Must have own vehicle (all-wheel drive a plus)
• References and previous cleaning experience a MUST
• Prefer single, healthy, unvaccinated women, no smoking, drugs or drama 

We do have a full time ranch hand on site to care for barn, horses, ranch and heavy lifting jobs…etc.

• Beautiful 900 sf living quarters on second floor of home to yourself:

Large living/office area with panoramic view and privacy

Upscale furnishings for living, bedroom and full bath
• Shared kitchen on main level and shared meals
• Internet
• Monthly salary (to be determined)
• Random perks

Owner and mostly full-time Resident Jana

Posted by: Bonnie Phelps | April 1, 2023

Grab the lamps! It’s an earthquake!

Standing at the scanner upstairs at Nathan’s place, we experienced our latest earthquake. Those chimney lamps would not have survived if I hadn’t been right there. I grabbled the tops of each as they were tipping over. That first one was a wedding gift to my grandparents in South Dakota at the beginning of the last century. It is turning a lovely shade of purple. The other was always on this same dresser, in my grandma’s house in Vista; nice they both survived.

I did happen to think back to what we were taught to do in elementary school during those split seconds; “Duck and Cover”! After being in quite a few earthquakes now, I am quite certain that whoever made up that idea of duck and cover has never been in one. I always saw it as an exercise to get my pretty dress dirty crawling under my desk. With my experience, when a quake starts to rumble, I’ve never felt I had the time to duck anywhere. It is amazing what we have been taught to “grab on to”. Think I will stick to the lamps.

Just thought of another earthquake experience up here. We were talking to the County Road Forman at the time, Andy and his wife, Nell Ridge about buying this home in September of 1975. We were in the living room and heard a ‘train coming’. I know we don’t have trains up here, but that low rumble was coming from way out to the west. I looked out the window at more apple trees than we have now, down in out little orchard. Row by row, they lifted about 3 feet out of the ground, like a wave coming toward us. I knew we should ‘duck and cover’ or at least run outside, away from under our second story and the huge beams. I remember thinking it might be my last seconds on earth. That ‘wave’ came up to the bottom of the bank and the ‘train’ stopped. Andy and Nell were content on sitting on the couch but Don jumped up to look out the window, too and saw the orchard wave coming toward us. So thankful that train stopped right at the bottom of the bank about 40 feet out from the house.

This quake was apparently a 4.2 on Palomar, maybe 3 miles from north west of our house.

All is well…


Posted by: Bonnie Phelps | March 31, 2023

Danny’s Cabin Run

Hooray for the SUN this morning! I think everyone on Palomar is so glad to see the bright blue sky after another foot of snow yesterday. (I think that makes a total of about 8 feet of snow since the first of the year!)

Danny and his family live full time, down one of our little dirt roads, way back in, way down a steep driveway. For those of you who follow Danny, you’ve seen photos and heard about his good-natured struggles getting his family and Costco runs to their cabin. Recently, he got back up to the mountain later than expected, it was dark, and had three big bins full of groceries to get home. Up and down the driveway, lots of work, and then what happened? One of those bins took off on it’s own! Ah, life on the mountain!

If only he could figure out how to strap those bins full of Costco-must haves on to his snow board! If only…

Snow boarding down the road and through his property is a refreshingly fun example of turning lemons into lemonade. Great photography!!! (Danny is available for some wonderfully creative drone photography for you, too!)

Thanks for brightening our day, Danny! So impressed with your fun run!


Posted by: Bonnie Phelps | March 21, 2023

Need Sand Bags?

There’s those free sandbags! The snow finally melted enough so you can see the bags to the right of the the big oak in front of the Fire Station. The pile of sand is a few feet away. Guessing some of you neighbors might need to help yourself with this new storm just starting up again. BYO shovel for the sandbags.

Posted by: Bonnie Phelps | March 17, 2023

Miracle March Memories from 1991

Many of you remember Karl and Celia Dunscombe. Karl worked at the Observatory for 22 years and Celia was the smiling face at the General Store and Lake Henshaw. They raised their two sons on the mountain and owned that soft A-Frame down Road Marker 24. After the guys sprouted wings and went off to college, Cuca Ranch property was calling at the base of the mountain. So, they built a beautiful home there. Retirement came and they moved near their grandkids in Arkansas.

Celia still subscribes to Palomar Mountain News and saw a post about me being in Missouri. Were were practically next door so had to meet up. A new Costco was built in Missouri last spring. Karl and Celia did a happy dance for their grand opening as it is only 2 1/2 hours from their cabin on a lake! They sometimes cross Bull Shoals on a ferry, which happens to be the last free ferry in the USA! (We thought Palomar was rural). Our Missouri house is right on the way so they picked me up to tag along on their shopping day. That new Costco? It is only 15 minutes down the road. We had so much fun with lunch, our shopping adventures and catching up.

Celia saw my recent post about Miracle March but I stand corrected as it was 32 years ago in 1991.

She the following:

Palomar had snow almost every day for a month.

Karl helped our part-time neighbor Howard Pake because we had a snow “rake”. Howard only came up on weekends to open his ‘hardware store’. The roof was sagging and in danger of collapsing from the heavy snow load. So when it was fresh snow, they raked what they could then got up on ladders to keep it cleaned off between snows. Howard did some shoring up and I understand that roof is still doing just fine.

32 years ago was long before cell phones and internet. One day when the snow was so deep, our dog easily walked over his five foot fence and got lost, I made phone calls to a couple of people in our “neck of the mountain”. I eventually found him by walking around and asking people.  Some kind folks had taken him in their house, but their phone was out so they couldn’t call our phone number on the dog tag.

At times, the snow was coming down so fast that the county road crews couldn’t keep up. They loaded it up in big dump trucks and hauled the snow and dumped on some lookouts along the grades and also to the foot of the mountain by Oak Knoll campground. They couldn’t push it off the road on Crestline anymore because it was piled more than head high on both sides and in some places and only one narrow lane down the middle. No room to pass. Fortunately there weren’t that many full-time people living there then so parking wasn’t as much as an issue as I understand it is now.

From the San Diego Union Tribune archives:

“March 1991 gave birth to the “Miracle March” phrase. California was mired in its fifth year of drought. December, January and February were drier than normal around the state. California needed massive deluges in March to pull out of drought, and it got them. Some key watersheds in Northern California recorded 17 to 18 inches of rain that month.”


Posted by: Bonnie Phelps | March 9, 2023

Biggest snow fall in 30 years!

Driving across Crestline yesterday, I saw Scott Morningstar walking along the road. Gave him a ride down to the Summit. His car is still snowed in and he explained because it is so deep and frozen, it was still going to be awhile to be driving again. He moved to Palomar in 1990 and told of the last BIG storm. It was back in 1993. Scott remembers how trees fell on cabins and cars and blocked roads for weeks.

Visiting with Ray and Sue Carpenter the other day, Ray also remembers that storm vividly. That is when a tree crushed their big trailer.

Well, the same things are happening now. NOAA Weather showed 58 inches for this storm. Of course, the berms and drifts are much higher in places.

The difference in these past 30 years is we have more personal snow plows rolling. Neighbors are helping neighbors carve out parking spaces to get the stranded cars off the roads so propane trucks, trash trucks and crews can get in for tree work and repairs to cabins, decks and driveways.

Glad this only happens every few decades. Hooray for all the helpers!

Do you live in the city and long to come visit the snow? Please be respectful of the “Residents Only” signs on the roads for the neighborhoods. Weekdays are the BEST times to visit the snow. The Summit area at the top of the grade and the State Park are great for snow play. Please only park only on the outside of the white lines so you don’t block the roads. Thank you for your consideration.

Bonnie Phelps, Realtor in the Snow along with the locals

Posted by: Bonnie Phelps | March 3, 2023

Like to warm up to some Music tonight?

Who is open to a nice evening with family and friends tonight? The Smith Mountain Boys are playing at Henshaw. Who wants to ride along? Just let me know! Connect on my cell: Bonnie at 760-533-1742

Here is their March schedule:

March 2023 Gigs

Friday, March 3, 2023
4:30pm – 7:30pm
Lake Henshaw Cafe
Santa Ysabel, CA
*dinner reservation encouraged

Saturday, March 11, 2023
6:00pm – 8:30pm
Heroes Wood Fired Pizza
Julian, CA

Saturday, March 25, 2023  –  Steak Night
American Legion Post 853 – Open to the Public
Borrego Springs, CA

Thursday, March 30, 2023
5:00pm – 8:00pm
Lazy H Ranch 
Pauma Valley, CA 
email =
**Reservations recommended by email

We have our CD’s, Cover Stories,  available at each gig for purchase or via our website, If you are local, just send us an email if you want a cd or two,

We are booking private gigs too!  So if you have a wedding, anniversary party, birthday celebrations or any kind of special event that you want music, please feel free to email us at  We’d love to hear from you!

Posted by: Bonnie Phelps | February 28, 2023

Plow Guys at State Park and Camp + SDG&E Update

When the plows at the State Park and the Christian Conference Camp both broke down, Jim McCarthy and Don Phelps answered the call for help. There was a group of 80 people at the camp. About 60 people flew in from out of state so were to get on a bus as they had airline flights to catch Sunday afternoon. Plus, there were about 10 vehicles to get out.

After a few hours of not seeing camp cars covered in snow go by, I went down to see how they were doing and make sure the Plow Guys made it down to the camp. Of course I took pix for you and they’d arrived just in time for breakfast. Three days of plowing got the road open enough for the vehicles. The bus with chains could have made it but branches were so low with the weight of the snow and turns were pretty tight. The toughest part getting the bus up might have been trying to get through the tangled traffic jam at the Summit. CHP was wise and kept the huge bus down by Oak Knoll, so the bus folks were shuttled.

So what does that have to do with our power still being out today? A repair was promised for midnight. We saw trucks go by last night about 9pm. This morning Don drove down to chat with the the crew. The outage is up at Boucher Lookout. But that big loop road hadn’t been plowed. SDG&E brought up a D5 cat that worked through the night to open the road so the repair crew could get up there. The cat finished up about 7 am and was sitting there idling. Don asked the operator when our power might be back on and he said, “I’m just the cat crew, you need to talk to the big boss over there. Those guys walk on water!”

According to the Big Boss, power should be on about noon. We are so thankful we didn’t get more promised snow last night and hoping plowing won’t be necessary before the mountain has power again.

Bonnie Phelps, enjoying the Views

See also 20 + inches of snow this week Plus more Snow Tips for You

Looking for work? Job available at Henshaw Café

Snow Info to make your time on Palomar even better

Would you like to subscribe to Palomar Mountain News? You’re invited to search for info and scroll and see the archives since 1998. Simply subscribe at the upper right of PMNews.

Posted by: Bonnie Phelps | February 28, 2023

20+ more inches of snow this week? Here are some tips…

With this forecast, I just added up the potential for maybe up to 20 more inches of snow?!? What if we only get half of that? We will still have a lot more snow to deal with.

This afternoon, I was just clicking ‘publish’ to get this message heading your way, when the power went out. So I’ve updated a bit with our generator running. I’m told we’re to have power back about midnight. A couple SDG&E trucks just went by toward the State Park. (THANK YOU!)

My tractor driver has been out plowing and I think we are going to see a lot more situations like this branch blocking a little dirt road. There is so much heavy snow in the trees now. With more weight, and the promise of maybe 75 MPH wind, we could have a lot more branches down as the storm continues. Careful where you park.

Today’s Tip #1 – If you must be out, always have a shovel, a good chain saw and some kitty litter with you. It might help keep you moving. Of course, a couple nights ago when State Park Road was totally blocked by huge branches, it would have taken awhile to open up the road on your own. But, we saw the County Road Heroes pull in to their station, we told them about it, so they turned around and got that tree out of the road quick as can be with their big equipment. Kitty litter? Yes, stuck on slippery ice? Dig out a bit and then sprinkle kitty litter on the ice, works great to get going again. No kitty litter? You can always use your your car floor mats for great traction. They have worked for me but end up pretty muddy!

Tip #2 – I am so spoiled. You might appreciate these foot warmers I slip in my boots. (I don’t get a cut, just sharing info for a couple great products.) You might have them delivered to a friend in the Flatlands or you are welcome to use our address…. those delivery guys know they can always pull in our place. Just message me if you’d like to try it and I’ll give you our info. Several folks have had packages delivered here.

Tip #3 – While you are at it, you might order some of these ice cleats for your boots, too. I’d seen several neighbors walking so confidentially so had to get some for myself- no more slipping on the ice! They have been wonderful!

Tip #4 – If you are up to it, between storms you might consider shoveling as much of your snow as you can off your vehicles, the tops of those travel trailers, sheds, stairs and walk ways. We are looking at below freezing temps and it is so much easier to clean up a bit before the snow is very heavy ice. Remembering back to a heavy snow years ago, several folks up here had their small storage sheds and travel trailer roofs cave in…

Tip #5 – The Big Guys out! That huge loader has done a great job ‘shaving’ the road. I’ve been driving all around with my 4WD today, just fine. We do get new snow tires every year (and might have all of Tip #1 with you).

Tip #6 – When it starts to get dark, I’ve been lighting a few of candles in glass containers, just in case. If the power goes out after dark, the candles are giving plenty of light to do what needs to do be done. Nice ambiance with the view from my desk, so enjoy them during the day, too.

Tip #7 – Be sure to always stock all the fixings for hot chocolate. Oh you know, milk (instead of water!), marshmallows, whipped cream and some cinnamon. Yes, very important. You just never know when neighbors will pop by.

Bonnie Phelps, always thinking up more tips to share!

Real Estate News?

Yes, lots of new listings coming your way when the snow melts!

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