9 Bill & Tina Hodge

Audio

  • Bill Hodge. South Warner Wilderness, Modoc County.

  • "Both of us grew up in places, me in California, near Stanford University, and Tina in Illinois, that were beautiful places. And we watched them get destroyed in front of our faces. Just more and more housing and this and that. So we decided to go somewhere where that was never going to happen, and I think we found it."

    For thirty years, Bill and Tina Hodge have lived in the South Warner Wilderness. From their hillside aerie, they can see for eighty-five miles across the desert into Nevada; at night, there’s not a single light in their view. In a sort of reciprocation, their home is dug into the side of the hill—literally in and of the earth, their roof covered in dirt. Their intention is to be as much a part of this place as possible. 

    While what drew the couple here was wanting a safe and natural environment in which to raise their children, today their focus is less on serving themselves than on serving this place. Their most formal contribution is rehabilitating wild birds of prey. Next to the house is a half-finished aviary, a structure composed of loopy plaster lines and devoid of right angles. At one end, large crates house the sick: today, a golden eagle, a short-eared owl, a northern goshawk.

    The Hodges keep a freezer in town, where people drop off hunted squirrels and jackrabbits and road kill to feed the birds. They take other donations, too, but mostly they support the work through their modest home business growing, wildcrafting and preparing medicinal herbs. Listening to Bill and Tina describe their experiences treating these animals, it seems clear that they feel it’s an equal exchange. In the accompanying audio clip they explain some of what they’ve learned from their patients.

  • Tina Hodge. South Warner Wilderness, Modoc County.

  • Looking across the Hodges’ earthen roof to Lower Alkali Lake and Washoe County, Nevada. South Warner Wilderness, Modoc County.

  • The Hodges' half-finished aviary. South Warner Wilderness, Modoc County.

  • Bill Hodges and golden eagle. South Warner Wilderness, Modoc County.

  • The Hodges' half-finished aviary. South Warner Wilderness, Modoc County.