I am sitting in the house as I type this and I must say it is a beautiful sight. Picked up all the branches that had fallen over winter, got the weeds squared away so the meadows is now ablaze with dandelion flowers that bloom about noon and close up again by six. I will pick up a couple more beehives tomorrow so the bees can work the myriad flowering plants on the property as well as poach some nectar from far away neighbors! I have been mountain biking now for six straight days and the funny thing is I hurt less than when I work for the week. I used to think it was endorphins but their half life is in minutes so I think the body is meant to move and just feels better with daily movement. Biking in west Sonoma county is like a balm on the senses.....so beautiful. Here is a road trip for you to do if you stay here; Go to Forestville and take Covey road toward the river. Look at google maps and get onto west side road driving toward Healdsburg. You will initially be on Wohler bridge road and will cross the river on Wohler bridge then take a right. Super pretty drive this time of year and multiple wineries along the way if you are into that. There are other roads that will get you back or just do an out and back. Stop by in Graton on the way back to the house for lunch or dinner at the Willow Wood cafe. I weed whacked the ivy down by the creek and put some chairs (humble chairs) down there. Great place for a glass of wine in the evening. Then it's time for the hot tub.I have two more humble chairs at the end of the meadow 20 ft or so from the hives. The bees won't bother you unless you skirmish their hive which of course you won't. They are quite busy. They are fascinating to watch as they travel in a "bee line" meaning they waste no time swerving around....they just go in straight line to where they are going. This phenomenon can be used to triangulate the location of wild hives just for the fun of it. If you look carefully you can see all the different colors of pollen they bring into the hive. Its a zen sort of thing. Anyway, off to Howards Station for breakfast. Will write more later......
Lets see...January, February, May. That's the way it goes right? I'm not sure how that happened but it did have something to do with my laptop going on the blink and my procrastinating about getting another one. I have always been an PC guy and I bought this MacBook Air because two of my three kids have one. Given the recent ransomeware outbreak I am glad to have a Mac! Ok, so I have some catching up to do! March and April happened. Questions? Ok let's move on. Sebastopol Redwood House has seen 112 inches of rain this winter making it the biggest winter rainfall I have ever seen up there. The biggest winter I remember was in 1969 when the water was up to the top of the bridge at Duncans Mills. So 112 inches translates to a fantastic spring and a wonderful summer. All the lakes are full, the Russian river will be flowing well all summer as will all the creeks in the area. The house did well with just a tree down here and there and a power surge that fried the washing machine and disabled parts of the lighting system for a few days. All is well now with all systems working fine so let's see whats going on.
Sebastopol Hopmonk Tavern: Here is the music line up. Great place to have a brew and listen to some live music in downtown Sebastopol.
Freestone Artisan Cheese: This place is only a ten minute drive from the house. Stop by the Freestone Bakery for bread and make sure to walk through their great vegetable garden. Then pick up a bottle of wine at Joseph Phelps Winery and top it off with some artisan cheese. Sign me up!
Go to Graton Ca. Check out this website for details. Graton has a few really good restaurants and is a short drive to LynmarWinery also on this website.
Restaurant of the month! This month it's Willow Wood Cafe in Graton. I had dinner there last night and it was great! I had the chicken pot pie and the Cesar salad. If you are looking for small, expensive ,and fancy meals, this is not the place. However if you are looking for great atmosphere, outdoor seating in the better weather months, close to the house, reasonably priced with a nice menu selection then give it a go.
Last winter there was endless talk about the "godzilla of El Nino" weather drenching the west coast with rain. Last winter was a bit below average in Sonoma County. Then we see this winter!!! The Redwood House has now seen about 50 inches of rain!!! Truly a remarkable winter, raining as I write this and due to continue throughout the week. But don't despair! The hills are green, the hot tub is warm, and we are heading into spring. In San Luis Obispo County where I live, we have had 30 inches of rain which is the biggest winter in the 24 years. All this rain means an epic spring!!!!
Occidental Center for the arts: Steve Gillette and Cindy Magneson 7 pm. Steve Gillette is a real talent. I saw him in SLO county and had a great time. Has has written many songs covered by various stars. He wrote one of my favorites, Darcy Farrow which was picked up by John Denver. If I was up there I would see these two for sure. Five minute drive!
Well, that's a start. I am a big fan of the bakery in Freestone (see nearby attractions tab). Fantastic vegetable garden, great bread, good coffee and a beautiful drive from the house. Have a great Feb!!
January in Sono ma County is the prelude to spring! We have had about 30 inches of rain so far this season without losing power or getting out the chainsaw. The rain has come in increments....frequent increments...so there has been no drama. All the creeks and seasonal drainages are gurgling nicely and the hills are green with what promises to be quite the crop of grass. The wild currants are blooming, the wild iris is blooming, and the mustard grass will soon turn the vineyards ablaze in yellow. This is a quiet time of year with few tourists. The coastline and hiking areas are very quiet and the scenery is spectacular! The boys and I took a hike up through Pomo camp around Red Hillat the end of Willow Creek road and were treated with great views and perfect weather. Ask me about that hike it you are interested. So let's take a look at any events that may be happening as well as outdoor activites you may enjoy, remembering as always that the best things in life aren't things.
Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November. So November is indeed famous for having thirty days. It's also Thanksgiving month, my favorite holiday. But November has now achieved a more provincial fame at Sebastopol Redwood house. You see, 15 gigs hath September, April, June but NOT November because November hath a terabyte....of internet data!!! Come November 1, you, dear guest, will have a terabyte,( that's 1000 giga bytes) of internet data to replace the truly pathetic 15 gigs of years past. This translates to Netflix streaming and basically unlimited Pandora music time. Data hath arrived and will maketh your stay more enjoyable!
That is what I call a first world problem. A surgeon I work with walked into the lounge the other day complaining bitterly that the air conditioning unit in his wine cellar was on the blink. I referred him to this video so that he might gain perspective on the situation. The Buddhists like to say that sometimes just being alive is enough. I really like that concept. So if your expectation for a November trip to west Sonoma County is sunny skies, don't sit glumly staring out the window in the rain. Put on a rain jacket and feel the rain up close and personal! A gentle rain is a great time to walk in the redwoods, but windy days not so much. Let's look at what November hath in store! Addendum: Seems that AT&T hath outsourced their Uverse internet customer service to the Phiillipines and in the process they totally failed. I drove up to the house to get the internet squared away after booking an install date. No record of any such date on their end. First world problem!!! So I am giving it a rest for now which means same 15 gigs until further notice. Plenty of data for music and email but not enough for video streaming. Will update. 7 inches of rain so far!!!!
Occidental Center for the Arts: Saturday Nov 12 8-10 PM: Bohemian Highway is a band I really like. I went to high school with the rhythm guitarist Nancy Irish. They are west Sonoma County all the way! AND they are playing at a venue on...the Bohemia Highway !! You will (hath) have a great time
October has to be one of my favorite months....but don't look at the archives as I say that a lot. October is a month of contemplation. As the leaves turn and fall and the breeze is brisk, don't you just feel like it's the end of something? I sure do. It is the end of summer. Forget about that Sept 21st beginning of fall thing. Summer is from June 21 to sometime in October.....and you never know when that sometime is. One day it is warm and summer like and the next day summer is gone and the wind and rain dispense with the last vestiges. That day usually happens sometime in the very last few days of October......so bring your jackets. Cozy up the the fire and welcome the California winter!
Occidental Center for the Arts: Saturday Oct 8th at 8 pm features the Pickpocket Ensemble. This is a professional group of talented musicians five minutes from the house (Ferrari), seven minutes from the house(1965 Ford F100 pickup).
Oh the shame of it all! What happened to June July and August?? Let's see....I was hiking through Northern Africa and was captured by Boko Haram and....uh...or was it Northern Canada through the MK wilderness and a bear......OK, I admit it...I just quit. How could I do that to such a large fan club? I bet at least one person has read at least one of these entries and to you, whomever you, I sincerely apologize. Now let's talk about one of my favorite months...
September used to be a lousy month, a back to school month, a summer is over month. The late apples like golden delicious that ripen in September had a somber taste, a melancholy inducing flavor that reminded me of that most useless experience....school. Well, there was flag football so it wasn't all bad...I digress. Now that I am 28 years removed from the vestiges of my academic training AND my dear boys have moved on to college..September has lost it's baggage. Apples are apples, and "back to school" has lost its emotional impact revealing a month that is in fact the beginning of summer, what I call the quiet summer. Traditional summer is frenetic while the quiet summer is like a balm. The leaves are turning, the great outdoors is recovering from the trampling masses and a relative calm descends upon the landscape like a blanket of cooling fog. The mornings are crisp and cool while the afternoons are warm and pleasant. Its a time to reflect a bit on the year and a time to be mindful and present. So let's see what is going on, knowing that the best things in life are unscheduled.
May. I must be getting old and distracted. Back when I was younger my wife and I would dance around a maypole on the first of may, ribbons flapping in the breeze along with the naked bodies of our three little boys who were big fans of our pagan holiday. Now the boys are big and hairy and the first of May passes with hardly a nod of recognition. Let's not let that happen again! So let's talk about May in west Sonoma County. But first let me say that I crawled under the house last month and sawed into some pipes and rediscovered the joys of plumbing while I built an outdoor shower by the hot tub. Don't worry....no one can see you down there. You can even dance around a maypole if you like. I will likely never use the indoor shower again except perhaps on those frosty winter mornings...but then again the shower head is huge so the water envelops nicely...give it a go! May is a great time of year in Sonoma County. Many of the fields are still covered in mustard blooms and the hills will be green and wavy with grass until the end of the month. The river is still way to cold to swim in, but the creeks are full and there are still wild flowers. Overall a great time!!
Ahhh. April! We all have our own gestalt on what April feels like. April fools day is a good way to start as April has a way of being a practical joker. You never really know what will happen with the weather except that you know there will be some rain but certainly not on YOUR parade! Nature is going crazy in April with meadows covered in wavy grass, vineyards ablaze with mustard flowers, trees beginning to leaf out and apple blossoms bursting out toward the end of the month. April and May are probably the prettiest months in Sonoma County but the other months would beg to differ I'm sure. So let's take a look at some things to do in April, not forgetting that the best things in life are free and unscheduled.
The Barlow: This is a Sebastopol venue that is quite popular.Shops, restaurants etc.
Occidental Center for the Arts: Ancient future april 9th from 8-10 pm. Ok, first of all they call their genre fusion music. If you dare call yourself that, you must be exceptional. Then add jazz...again, interesting. Then look at the man with the guitar....it has no frets! I'm not wooooooorthy! If I was up there I would go to this hands down, no competition!!
I have become a horrible slacker! Almost half way through March and nary a word. For shame! Lets see...what is the first half of March going to like in West Sonoma County? I suspect it's going to be a bit wet! In fact, I would guess it will rain about ten inches or so and the Russian river will hit flood stage and there will be widespread power outages complete with power surges that fry modems and trees that fall over phone lines so that the land line is out for over a week. How prescient! Palm reading is next. YUK. That part of the month was a stinker....and now for the second half of March. It has been said that March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb...and so it seems this year as the weather is sunny and warm and pleasant seemingly until almost the end of the month. Come to think of it....I have reserved the house for my family until the end of the month so no sense in posting to do's. I just couldn't stand having March neglected without even an entry....so off to April!!!