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Compilation of tips from the 95033Talk community on what people need to know to live in the 95033 / Loma Prieta Mountains.

Compiled July 2021

1. Mountain living is different. This is Silicon valley adjacent, true rural living. Be prepared for it. Put another way, 95033 is not for everyone! You’ve got to have a certain confidence in yourself to live here. 
2. Get to know your immediate neighbors.You will need to rely on each other in an emergency.  If you have a question, ask a neighbor. You very likely will get a helper to teach you how to run it / fix it / do it better; and may get a friend for many years!
3. You will experience an emergency if you live up here. Whether it is earthquake, fire, rain, road closures, tree being down across the road or something else.
4. Many carry chainsaws and axes in our cars in the winter. It's for trees that are down, not just to show how cool we are.
5. When you go to buy a tool, get the next size up from what you think you need. Trust us on this.
6. Make an emergency plan. Yes, you will need it.
7. On its best days, this is paradise. At its worst, it is very stressful.
8. The government (county) will respond slower than you want, if at all. They think of this area as nomad lands and would prefer not to deal with us. Easier and faster to deal with things yourself.
9. The police / sheriff will respond slowly and may have trouble finding your place. Plan accordingly.
10. Utilities will respond slower than you expect, especially when it is a widespread outage.
11. Your options for almost anything will be more limited than the flatlands, including for cellular and internet providers.
12. The few things we complain about the most to our County Supervisors are roads, water, fire services. We don't expect much more from them.
13. Not a good idea to come up the hill with an empty gas tank or a full bladder.
14. Beach traffic is bad. It's been that way for years and is not going to get better.
15. Highway 17 will eat up your tires. They won't last as long as you were used to. Brakes too.
16. Don't be afraid to ask. The collective wisdom on the mountain is pretty amazing.
17. Flatlanders may not like to visit. That includes many contractors. Mountain roads are scary.
18. Your kids will learn about nature in all its glory.
19. Learn how your water system works, treat it gently. Maintain it..
20. PVC is easy.
21. Get some sort of power backup for when PG&E goes out. A generator or a few lithium ion battery packs to charge your phones with.
22. Learn the back roads while the weather is good. Know alternate routes to and from your home
23. Volunteer - it’s the best way to get to know the community and to get things done. You'd be surprised how many are there. Start a group if one doesn't exist.
24. Welcome to wildlife territory. We have mountain lions and coyotes and foxes and much more.
25. The deer will eat everything, even those deer resistant plants that the nursery sold you.
26. Don’t fear bugs, rodents or snakes.
27.Critters will find a way in. Find and fix the entry point, otherwise they will keep coming and start families and bring friends.
28. If you like to grow vegetables, ask an immediate neighbor what grows in your neighborhood. 
29. We have microclimates. The weather varies a lot all over the mountain. 
30. Think about raising bees and chickens!
31. A spirit of Independence will be a valuable asset. Approach living here as a “Grand Adventure”. 
32. This is a community of rugged individualists.
33. Maintaining your mountain property is constant. Mother Nature wants to reclaim what is rightfully hers. 
34. Hire local if you can. Mountain folks know what they are doing. Ask a trusted neighbor for a reference.
35. Be kind to one another. We all live in this paradise together. 
36. Check traffic before you leave or come home. Never assume it will be an easy ride over the hill.
37. Your spirit will grow every time you hear a hawk scream, an owl hoot, a coyote cry, or a horse nicker. 
38. Be aware of and respectful of private roads, especially during beach traffic weekends and traffic tie-ups on 17. Emergency vehicles may need to use them.
39. Always have extra food and water at home.
40. If you see a deer cross the road in front of you, slow down. There may be more following it OR it could turn around and head back.
41. Have at least one long 12 gauge extension cord on hand. Maybe 2.
42. Take out will mean you driving to the restaurant. Delivery doesn't happen for most.
43. Mountain living isn't for everyone. If you bought a big house with lotsa land for "cheap", think twice. You may not last long if you don't realize this ain't the flats and "live accordingly"
44. Just because it's O'Natural doesn't mean neglect your property. Be vigilant and walk your property to identify and address any possible hazards (wildlife included) to maintain.
45. Our mountain schools are great, small but mighty! They do the best with what limited resources they have. If you expect them to be a private school or have concierge service, please fork out the dollars and pay for private school.
46. Those with kids in local schools- make friends with other parents. In elementary school, the kids usually only have 1 class per grade and grow up together in a cohort. Other parents can be trusted adults to our kids and also can be backups for pick up when you can’t reach the school on time. 
47. Meeting people is not easy. It is worth it. Get involved.
48. You will be surprised how tightly knit the community is. It is common for people here to socialize with community members nearby and throughout the mountains. 
49. Don’t feed the birds. Just give them water. Otherwise they spread seed everywhere and the mice are grateful!
50. Any friends who are brave enough to come see you need to know that their GPS may not get them there. 
51. Tell visitors to be sure to stay on their own side of the road when driving, especially on the narrower roads.
52. We have mountain lions. And coyotes and foxes and deer and gophers and more. 
53. Just because you live in the mountains doesn’t mean that letting your pets roam free is a good idea—you may be providing a free buffet for mountain lions and coyotes. And your neighbors still don’t want your dog’s poop in their driveway.
54. Support the local volunteer fire departments and get to know the crews!  They are first responders and do much more than just fight fires. Join them if you can.
55. Ticks. Your pets will get them, your kids will get them, you will get them. Check yourself and them after being outdoors, especially on the scalp.
56. Beware of poison oak. It is everywhere! And it changes in appearance throughout the year. 
57. French / Scotch broom is not an ornamental bush but an aggressive invader that needs to be pulled, or else it will claim your land.
58. Know where all the turnouts are on your road, uphill traffic has the right-of-way, and always nice to give a courtesy wave to those you see on the road.
59. If you don’t want mountain lions or coyotes or coyotes or foxes, make your space less hospitable by deterring deer and protecting livestock and pets. You may find you actually get roses to bloom as a side benefit.
60. 4 wheel drive vehicles are handy, and if you’re bad at reversing, small cars can do 3 (or more) point turns on almost any road.

61. Protect your gardens below and above ground if you want the produce.
62. Don't expect daily newspaper delivery. Sigh.
63. Redwood trees drop 6 inches deep of "duff" every year from September until February. Bring your snow shovel along when you move here, it's the best way to move large piles of duff fast.
64. Look up. You might see hawks silently thermalling in the sky high above. Learn to distinguish between the two common hawks we have up here - the red-tailed hawk and the Cooper's hawk. Learn their calls and you'll enjoy knowing which one is nearby. And which one is eyeing your chickens  ;)
65. Look up at night and admire the stars.
66. If you drink wine, check out some of the local wineries. If you find one (or more!) that you enjoy, become a member. 
67. It snows up here (in some areas). 
68. Yes, it's a long way to town, but most of the time you're using roads through scenery that people who live in the valley think they have to go away for a weekend to see. 
69.  Learn to fix everything yourself. At some point you will need to.
70. If you need a replacement part, buy 2.

71. Delivery people are scared of our roads. When ordering large items, say at least three times “small truck delivery”.
72. People here don't agree on all things, but we have each other's backs during an emergency.
73. The Redwood Estates Store is convenience sized, but manages to have almost anything you need last-minute, like cilantro and ripe avocados, plus it is next door to a post office (also convenience size) and across the street from Nonno’s awesome pizza and deli. Summit Store rocks.
74. Use the 95033 groups, including 95033free and 95033market. Not only does it keep stuff out of landfill, but it’s an incredibly cool way to meet new friends and get to know the mountain.
75. Sign up for 95033talk then learn how to mute topics so you aren’t overwhelmed when it is something that doesn’t pertain to you.  NOTE: don’t hit that mute button too quick—people have learned a lot in threads they originally thought they would mute.