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What’s Up This Week – 02.03.23

One thing that rolls around this time of year is the annual charity crab feeds and dinner auctions. The Clearlake Rotary hosts its in-person crab feed to benefit the local community, and boy, let me tell you, it’s unlike any crab feed I’ve been to. If you don’t have the time to set aside a full evening, the Lakeport Rotary is doing a drive-through crab feed and online auction, also benefiting the local community. And for all of you who love the Lake County Fair, don’t forget that their annual Wrangler Roundup Dinner and Dance are just around the corner. All of these dinners support our community. Pick one, or better yet, try to do them all! For more details, check out The Bloom’s Big Calendar. This week we’re excited to continue our RV camping adventures with you as we explore Harvest Hosts in Lake County. And Kathleen Scavone talks about rain power. And a huge shout out to everyone supporting our restaurants, wineries, and other small businesses during these slow months. This is the time of year they depend on us the most. Whatever your plans are for the weekend, make it a great one!

Camping in Lake County, Part 4: Six Sigma Ranch

By mid-summer 2022, We’d become experts at RV camping. We found some kind of compromise between the comforts of RVing and the nostalgia of tent camping. While we enjoyed the comforts of a bathroom and kitchen on wheels, glamping chairs, and carpet to boot, we decided the sleeping bags would stay. After years of tent camping, sheets seemed wrong, while zip-up flannel bags somehow seemed like a token to the good old days, even in summer. This was our final resolution between the two worlds.

Rain Power

Recent cloud cover over Lake County sets a hopeful scene for much-needed rain. Normally, our county is the recipient of around 37 inches of the elixir of life. It does a heart good to witness the greening of our hills and valleys. Then, deer, elk, and large avian species such as ravens and turkeys stand out like silhouettes amongst the greensward. With almost any amount of precipitation, the liquid that makes life on our planet possible prompts our creeks and lakes to gleam and flicker as flashes of water flow into the various coffers.

What’s Up This Week – 1.27.23

Yep, there are a lot of things I love about January. Not only do we celebrate a new year and new beginnings, but–bonus–things tend to move a little slower, and we sometimes have more time for them. It can take many forms, such as more time reading, trying out new recipes, visiting with friends, going on more walks, bird watching, photography, and the list goes on and on. Something I haven’t had time to do, or rather, take the time for, is sewing. A few years back, I took on quilting and spent every spare minute on my quilting projects. Then life happened as it often does, and recently I’ve only spent time looking longingly at my sewing machine. This week, I set aside a couple of hours and resumed working on a quilt that’s been sitting untouched for over a year. I can’t tell you how good it felt to get back to work on it. What’s your favorite thing to do when you have the extra time to do what you want to do. I’d love to hear about it. Just reply to this email and let me know. And let’s not forget to get out and about and support live music and the restaurants/wineries hosting them! Whatever your plans are for the weekend, I hope they are exactly what you want and need them to be.

Far From Ordinary: Andre’s Lounge

“Do you hear that?” I asked after just stepping out of the Gaslight Grill on Main Street Lakeport. It was an ordinary Thursday evening, or so I thought. The winter chill and seasonal lights brought a festive glow and the perfect ending after a delicious dinner. We’d just finished a mouth-watering bacon blue cheese burger, fried pickles, a fresh seasonal salad, and a pint of good beer. It’s always the perfect meal experience with the friendliest faces and consistently some of the best food in Lakeport.

What’s Up This Week – 1.20.22

For all you small business owners, you know how hard it is to take a break once in a while. And yet, that is exactly what we are supposed to do, according to experts in the field of mental health and self-care. It’s been three years since I truly unplugged from it all for any period of time. I went to visit out-of-state friends and chose not to bring my computer. The first day seemed weird and unfamiliar, and so did the second. By the third day, I became a pro of not caring and spent the rest of the week in that state of mind. And boy, what a difference it has made. I feel refreshed, inspired, and excited for the future and new adventures of 2023. The worst that happened was being a little late in replying to a couple of emails. The sun kept rising and setting, and the world seemed oblivious and unconcerned with my absence. Anyhow, I wish you the breaks you need so you can not only give a hundred percent at what you do but actually love what you do because you took a short break from it all! It certainly was the best start of the new year for me. This week I’m excited to tell you about a small treasure in Lake County. It’s one of my favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurants. Well, it’s actually its own building, but it certainly has that feeling. Then catch up with Kathy Scavone as she talks about nature and its repeating patterns. It’s definitely a good read. And, of course, we have some wonderful poetry from M. R. Mandell. I’m not sure if your plans for the weekend simply involve a lot of rest or adventures; either way I hope it’s exactly what you need it to be. Have a great weekend, Lake County!

That Hole in the Wall: Asian Dragon

I’ll never forget the first time I found my favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant. You know the place I’m talking about. It’s all about the food, convenience, comfort, and, most of all, consistency. No, this isn’t where you go for a business meeting. You go there because it’s quick, convenient, and your personal favorite spot for any number of reasons. 

Nature’s Repeating Patterns

A morning walk has me thinking about patterns in nature. The pinecone I happen upon has arranged itself into a swirl of notches and seeds. Logic and order lays itself out as though it is nothing out of the ordinary. Patterns in nature inspire both admiration and curiosity. Of course, human curiosity is nothing new, since philosophers and mathematicians have been pondering petals of a flower or observing the pattern of a tree’s rings for centuries.

What’s Up This Week – 1.13.22

Here we are in mid-January, and the year’s already off and running. The rain may have slowed down some of your plans, but there’s still plenty happening in Lake County. Even though the music scene’s a bit slow (see the Music Guide), there’s always something going on here. If the weather’s got you inside, you can always catch up on Lake County Poet Laureate Georgina Marie’s Rooted in Poetry podcasts. We’ve got a new episode this week. And, if you’re looking for a new experience, be sure to sign up for a music class taught by local musician Jeremy Jernigan. Jeremy’s a musical savant, and every class he teaches is worth its weight in gold. Plus, we’re also re-releasing The Bloom’s all-time most-read article. If you haven’t had a chance to tour the Geysers, it’s a spectacular place and one of Lake County’s unique treasures. Not only will you get a chance to learn about the world’s largest geothermal facility, but you will also get to see some of our county’s most amazing landscapes. Right now, they’ve got availability on some of their tours, but be warned, they fill up fast–we had to wait six months. Whatever your plans are for this new year, I wish you all the fun, joy, and laughter you can fit in. Happy weekend, Lake County!

Exploring the World’s Largest Geothermal Plant: The Geysers

The chartered tour bus winds up the mountain, swings around switchbacks, and groans against the steep grade before pulling out on a ridgeline that workers call the North Slope, referring to how cold it gets in the winter when the wind blows. Right now the clouds rest below the tops of the surrounding mountains, dropping a mist that promises to turn into full-blown rain. Tim Conant, Calpine’s Director of Engineering, steps out of the bus first, followed by Danielle Matthews Seperas, Director of Government and Community Affairs. Both hunch their shoulders against the breeze and walk to the edge of the ridgeline. Just below, one of many geothermal power plants hums away, turning treated recycled water into electricity.

“When you flush a toilet in Clearlake Oaks, we pipe it up here and inject it,” Tim Conant explained earlier at the visitor’s center located in Middletown. He pointed at a large, lit model stretching across the wall. “We get about eight million gallons a day from Lake County and twelve and a half million from Santa Rosa.”

Lake County Music Guide – 1.10.23

The actor who rode rodeo style atop a nuclear bomb dropped from a B-52, yee hawin’ all the way in the Stanley Kubrick serio-comic masterpiece, “Dr Strangelove”, went by the stage name Slim Pickens. One only has to read this week’s live music guide to see why this scene even crossed my mind – slim pickin’s, indeed… But maybe we can consider that what this brings us is quality, not quantity. Well, maybe… Here’s the “Slim Pickens” inspired Live Music Guide plus sage advice for the week of 1/9 through 1/16…

The Splendors of Cobb Mountain

South Lake County boasts a landscape of contrast with its bucolic Callayomi Valley set like a Grandma Moses painting when seen from Middletown’s Rabbit Hill. Placed along the Mayacamas Mountain Range to the east of the valley is beautiful Cobb Mountain, almost 5,000 feet in elevation and encompassing about 74 square miles of mixed pine forests, chaparral, and oak woodlands.

Three Ways to Handle a Holiday Hangover

New Year’s Eve is one of the best party nights of the year. It’s a great chance to get together with friends, enjoy some good food, and laugh the night away. If, like me, you enjoy having a good time on December 31st, you may have experienced a vicious New Year’s Day hangover. You go to bed happy, albeit a bit dizzy, and wake up the next morning in misery. Your head’s pounding, your stomach’s in knots, and you can’t quite remember the three hours leading up to midnight. But have hope! (Sorry for the exclamation point; it even reads too loud.) Here are three great ways to handle a hangover.

Holiday Reading from The Bloom: A Child’s Christmas in Wales

Over the years, our family has enjoyed some Christmas reading. We’ve read through The Little Match Girl, The Elves and the Shoemaker, A Christmas Carol, Sherlock Holmes and The Adventures of the Blue Carbuncle, and many other great stories. But one of our favorites is poet Dylan Thomas’ A Child’s Christmas in Wales, which we read every Christmas Eve. It’s a beautiful story that shares Christmas memories from over one hundred years ago. If you’re looking for an enjoyable short read, here’s a link to a public domain version:http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks07/0701261h.html

Lake County Music Guide – 12.20.22

The good news: it’s gonna be a pretty busy week in terms of holidays and observances, where Hannukkah started two days ago on Sunday, Winter Solstice happens on Wednesday, Christmas is on Sunday and the doubleheader of Kwanzaa and Boxing Day occurs on Monday. The bad news: because Christmas eve is on Saturday and Christmas Day is on Sunday, many places will be closed for these observances. But despite those days being sans live music, there’s at least one joint each day from Tuesday through Saturday to go out and get your live music fix. WOOHOO!!! Here’s the schedule, plus an updated NYE rundown for the week of 12/20 through 12/26.

Snowy Thoughts

With the first of the season’s snow appearing on Lake County’s mountains in November, I had the pleasure of running errands that took me across the county. South Lake County’s peaks, including Mt. Saint Helena, Schoolhouse Peak, and Cobb Mountain, were aglow with white good cheer. Through my camera’s viewfinder, I zoomed in on the velvety white cloak to spy on some superb beauty. Then, the coniferous forest’s intricacies appeared in my viewfinder, revealing fluffy white branches galore. From Lakeport, Cow Mountain and the ridge of Snow Mountain were also splendorous in their glowing white beauty.

Seven Great Places to Shop in Kelseyville (Plus Three Great Places to Eat)

Kelseyville’s a great place, perfect for an afternoon or a weekend away. Resting at the foot of Mt. Konocti, it has kept that small-town, country friendliness. Plus, holiday shopping doesn’t get any easier than on Main Street. Just park your car and spend the afternoon perusing shops filled with local goods, tasting at award-winning wineries, and enjoying some great places to eat. We’re highlighting seven great places here, but that’s just a start: Kelseyville’s chock-full of great shopping.

What’s Up This Week – 12.9.22

Hello, snow! Yes, we have snow in Lake County. And with it came a snow day for our family. Now being from Washington state, we are rather familiar with the white stuff that falls from the sky from time to time. But one thing that’s quite different in Washington is that no one in their right mind would have a forty-five-degree driveway leading up to their home. Most of the year, it’s no big deal. But once in a while, the combination of snow and ice makes us homebound for a day or two. And I would like to say all has been well since our wintery day at home. But that would make for a boring story, wouldn’t it? Now it’s no surprise to any of us that when temperatures rise, snow melts. You can shovel snow all day, and wherever it is, it still melts, then freezes into sheets of ice at night. That point struck home particularly hard when I heard the unmistakable clatter of a water bottle, a work bag, and a coffee cup tumble down our asphalt driveway. Sound travels exceptionally well in the pre-dawn hours of a wintery morning. No surprise to me, I stood looking out our living room window down at my husband’s bewildered form assessing his situation at the bottom of our driveway. He managed to retrieve his work bag and water bottle and looked longingly at his hot beverage, now de-icing a section of our driveway. There was no way he was coming back up that ice glacier of a driveway, and there was no way I was bringing him a fresh cup. We said our goodbyes again, and he very carefully trudged off to his car. So it goes living in the mountains. I’d say it’s a small price to pay for paradise, although it wasn’t my back end that so rudely and intimately met the rather hard and cold asphalt. In the end, I learned he had enough time to stop by one of our locally-owned coffee shops to ensure his morning consciousness. Hooray for our coffee shops saving his day! Another week of December is passing. But there’s still plenty of time to do some more shopping. This week we’re taking you to Kelseyville for your next holiday adventure. I hope today finds you warm and full of cheer. Have a safe and festive holiday weekend Lake County!

Lake County Music Guide – 12.13.22

“Eenie weenie chili beanie, the spirits are about to speak!” Anybody out there remember where this famous quote came from? Here’s a hint… Boris Badenov referred to this dynamic duo as “Moose ‘n’ Squirrel.” Okay, times up! It’s a line from the Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, which aired from 1959 through 1964. Like most kids, I would watch cartoons, but this was pretty much the only one I really liked because it was silly in a Three Stooges sort of way – full of puns, sarcasm, self-referential dialog, and other socially unacceptable wordplays, especially so for impressionable children like I was. I would watch the show with friends, laughing hysterically – but they didn’t really get it. I could relate to the patience and empathy of Rocket J Squirrel, marveled at the perseverance of Bullwinkle J Moose, who never stopped trying despite his constant failures, and sneered at the comic depiction of Boris Badenov, Natasha Fatale, and Fearless Leader. This, to me, was cartooning at its comic best. Okay, maybe I’m entering into my second childhood, but I hope you don’t mind me including references to the show throughout this music schedule. Here’s the live music guide for the week of 12/13 through 12/19…

Six Great Places to Shop in Lakeport (Plus Four Great Places to Eat)

Lakeport’s Main Street still has many original buildings, and it’s pedestrian-friendly and filled with shops. It’s simple to just park the car, hop out, and spend the rest of the day strolling through the shops, eating, and enjoying great food. Plus, if you’re looking for a diversion, swing by Lakeport–the Courthouse Museum’s one of the best in the county, and it’s right on Main Street so that the trip won’t slow down your shopping groove.

Five Great Places to Shop in Middletown (Plus Three Great Places to Eat)

Resting at the foot of Mt. Saint Helena on Highway 29, Middletown has long been the gateway to Lake County. The first stagecoaches entering the county came through town and stopped at the hotel before either heading up Cobb Mountain to the numerous hot springs resorts or continuing on to the shores of Clear Lake. In fact, Middletown’s called Middletown because it’s–surprise–the midway point between Calistoga and Lower Lake. But Middletown has more than just stories. It’s also got some great places to shop and eat.

Discover Local Artisans at maker.

Sebrina Andrus, owner of maker. in Kelseyville, reaches far above her head and pulls hard on the window shades, swinging the blinds high up the large windows of what at one time was Kelseyville’s Farmers’ Savings Bank. Winter light shines through them, illuminating the hand-crafted products of maker.

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