What the hell is Kitkitdizzi and how do you say it? It's pronounced: kit-kid-dizzy, but without heavily spacing or over annunciating those four syllables. It's native to the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada. It's also known as Bear Clover, Tar Weed or Mountain Misery - reportedly because of the way it would inhibit the smooth functioning of passing wagon wheels. It was used traditionally as an herbal remedy for colds and coughs, and later for rheumatism, chicken pox, measles, smallpox and other diseases. It makes a mean cocktail addition, is a nitrogen fixer and a member of the Rose family.
We chose this name being the children of the first wave of back to the landers, of which famed poet Gary Snyder was a part. He took up residence in the woods outside of town and named his home Kitkitdizze in honor of the original Miwok peoples' name for the plant. It was a gesture he referred to as the "reinhabitation" of the the area, meaning, "moving back into an area that has been abused and half-forgotten - and then replanting trees, dechanneling streambeds, breaking up asphalt." In this mythos the home becomes the symbol of ecological integration with the larger surroundings. The counter culture revolution in which he was a part has a hand in the Nevada City we know and love today, a town that despite it's roots in logging, mining and cultural atrocities, has attracted a fierce presence of free thinking, ecologically minded, creatively driven individuals. We took off the last "e" and replaced it with an "i" because of symmetry and just because. The shop is our own symbolic gesturing of reinhabiting our town, bringing in new life, participating in the health of our local economy and supporting artists as best we can as they are the leaders in transformation and change.
If you've hiked in these woods and haven't noticed it underfoot, it's resinous leaves adhering to your pants and shoes, you've most certainly taken in the scent of this highly aromatic little fernlike shrub carpeting the forest floor. Kitkitdizze is essential to the health of the forests in the mountains here in Northern California and for many of us, is the smell of home. ❤️