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In 1975, at age sixty-one, A.J. Gray began to handwrite the materials that compose much of this book, not just to record his treasured memories but to chronicle a period in Mendocino County history that he realized was drawing to a close—a time he knew would never come again.
A.J. was raised on a 3,500-acre ranch near a vast tract of land managed by the Union Lumber Company. On that expanse were more than forty logging camps devoted to harvesting a seemingly endless reserve of first-growth redwood and fir. Loggers, carpenters, and blacksmiths had to be fed, and A.J. s father, Arthur Gray Sr., grew the crops and raised the beef that fueled their labors.
This was the world A.J. Gray was born into. His friends and schoolmates were the children of loggers and ranchers, his playground the territory occupied by logging camps, and in that rustic setting his dreams for the future were born.
In the words of Jay Gray, daughter of A.J.: Being able to run the family ranch the way my father did is my lifelong dream come true, and it s an honor to be able to publish this book for him.
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