Last weekend, David and I had the pleasure of enjoying dinner at The Boathouse Bar and Grill on the beautiful shores of Clear Lake. We made a point to sit on the deck. A family sitting near us finished up their dinner and struck up a conversation with us as they left. Before we knew it, we were talking about our favorite places in Lake County. The chat lasted only a few minutes, but I knew that if we ever see each other again, we’ll strike up another conversation on the spot. The thought occurred to us: That would have never happened in our previous life in the city. The best part was realizing I wouldn’t go back to that lifestyle for anything. We’re neighborly here. Plus, we’ve also got great wine. Does it get any better? This weekend is the Wine Adventure. It’s your chance to visit your favorite wineries, ones you’ve heard about but haven’t had the time to visit, and others just for the heck of it. Either way, it promises to be a great time. We’re also excited to share more about The Blue Zones Project in Lake County and what’s going on with our Youth Poet Laureate. Whether you plan on enjoying Wine Adventure or have other plans for the weekend, please plan ahead and be safe out there.
The late spring sun still sits high in the sky when people begin showing up, parking their cars in the walnut orchard, and walking towards Gary and Pam Mae’s barn. Outside, people sip on glasses of wine and chat with old friends. There’s a hint of anticipation in the air. Georgina Marie, Lake County’s current Poet Laureate, makes her way through the crowd, talking with people and sharing in their excitement. Lake County’s about to get something new: A Youth Poet Laureate.
By noon, the hula hoop competition has ended, and they’re moving on to the raffle. Kids scale up a climbing wall, while others spend their time in the bouncy house. Vendors, community organizations, and food booths circle the area while live music pours from the stage. Austin Park in Clearlake’s filled with people, nearly bursting at the seams. “I think this is the best event we’ve ever had,” Clearlake resident Katie Sheridan says. Is it the fourth of July? Nope. It’s the first annual Hope4Health event sponsored by Adventist Health, and this year, they have combined with Blue Zones to help create a healthier, happier Lake County.
Clearlake is a large natural warmwater lake with a small dam, a shoreline surrounded by homes with docks, roads built around the waters’ edge, small communities and two cities with hardened street surfaces focusing rain water toward the lake forming the picture today. It’s sometimes a beautiful scene with abundant wildlife including the best fishing in the state and inhabited by several hundred bird species. But it does have some noticeable cyanobacteria blooms during warm periods and this can dampen the lake tourism industry. Has it always been this way as you sometimes hear?
This week’s activities should run the gamut between Shredding and a Car Show, with lots of live music events scrunched up in between. With Friday, Saturday and Sunday predicting good weather, the outdoor events are stacking up, while the indoor ones are gonna be just as busy. Enough prattle – here’s the live music schedule for the week of May 19th through May 23rd…
What happens when someone clearly expects us to fail? Depending on your personality, it motivates us to either prove them wrong or prove it to ourselves, which often leads to performing better. Underdogs are humble by nature. Remember that we all fall short at times in this life and expectations can make or break us. Life is filled with insurmountable obstacles and a supportive and determined framework of believing in yourself, against all odds, can clear the fear and doubt that hold you back.
This month another school year comes to a close, bringing with it an eighth-grade graduation, a high school graduation, and a college graduation in our home. We didn’t plan it that way; it’s just how life works sometimes. It would seem our family has a lot to celebrate in the upcoming weeks. The past two years have been challenging to say the least. And yet, another spring brings new beginnings as it always does. So I just want to give a shout-out to all the graduates in our community. You did it! You have proven you can overcome any challenge life may bring and still achieve your goals. Hooray for you! Don’t slow down in your on your journey to new beginnings. This is also the time of year family calendars start filling up with adventures and new discoveries to be made. So a huge thank you in advance for supporting our local small businesses; they can’t do what they do without your support. This week we’re excited to share a lovely piece on the Catfish Derby happening in Clearlake Oaks. It’s a Lake County tradition and well worth experiencing. And be sure to catch our new Gathering Podcast. This week, host Michelle Scully talks about the Blue Zones Project currently happening in Lake County. And if you get a chance, visit them this weekend at their event at Austin Park in Clearlake and bring the family. Enjoy your weekend, Lake County.
The western, or California redbud, or Cercis orbiculata, is in the legume family and reaches a height of about 20 feet where it grows in pine forests, riparian and oak woodlands, and in poor soils. Since it is a drought-tolerant plant, it is well adapted for California. The redbud has been, and still is, a key plant for Indigenous culture for centuries. It has been utilized by dozens of Native groups, or tribes as a plant of significance in basket weaving. Tribal elders speak of redbud’s use over its lifespan when the trees are maintained, cared for, and pruned regularly in order that they produce long, fresh sprouts for switches in basket making. This practice also assures that the plants grow and thrive with fewer scars.
On the shores of our highly productive ancient lake, the little town of Clearlake Oaks transforms once a year when the best catfishing tournament west of the Mississippi draws hundreds of fishing enthusiasts and their families into town for the ever-popular Catfish Derby. The traffic along state highway 20 through the Clearlake Oaks community gets heavy at times but increases substantially at Derby time as trucks hauling fishing boats line up to check in for the 3-day Derby. “It gets pretty congested, but nobody complains,” said Dennis Locke, the Catfish Derby Committee Chairman. “It’s like a festival setting in any small rural town, where people gather and excitement builds in anticipation of a grand finale. In the case of the Derby, the grand finale occurs on the last day at noon, when the announcement ceremony draws a huge crowd.”
This week’s activities should run the gamut between Shredding and a Car Show, with lots of live music events scrunched up in between. With Friday, Saturday and Sunday predicting good weather, the outdoor events are stacking up, while the indoor ones are gonna be just as busy. Enough prattle – here’s the live music schedule for the week of May 12th through May 16th…
This week I had the rare and unique privilege of watching a PG&E crew fall an exceptionally tall tree right outside our living room window. It wasn’t surprising to have them show up since we reported the dead pine several months ago. What I didn’t realize was how distracting this project would be for me. Up, up, and further up the climber went, cutting branches all the way to the wobbly part of the tree. He swayed in the gentlest of breeze. I held my breath and had butterflies in my stomach. By now, I was fake working because I was mesmerized watching him sway back and forth, back and forth in the top of that tree. It was like watching an action movie that you know ends well, but you still bite your nails. He cut every single branch, even the toothpick branches at the tippy top before committing to the trunk. Then, with the help of a pulley system and the crew on the ground, he began cutting the tree section by section. Boom! Our house shook, and the climber more or less vibrated as the trunk recoiled from the cut. And yet, there he stood, king of the tree. I could go on and on in detail, but you get the idea. It took the crew a day and a half to drop that tree, and no doubt, I will sleep better at night for their efforts. Tree mortality is a major issue in Lake County, so make sure to read the press release in The Bloom for how you can help. And now for something a little more peaceful. We’re excited to tell you about another Farmer’s Market in Lake County! Plus, Lake County has a lot of foster families in need of assistance. The Neighbors Program provides a way for everyone to lend a hand. Be sure to take a look at the press release and check them out next weekend at the Blue Zones event in Austin Park. Lastly, here’s a shout out to all the mothers and moms in spirit for just being you! Have a safe, happy weekend, everyone.
Clear Lake’s cool water laps gently on the shores of Redbud Park; it’s still too early in the season for the sounds of jet skis and wakeboarders. Soon they’ll be here too, but not today. The shores are calm and quiet as people and vessels come and go from the boat launch. A warm, gentle breeze blows, reminding me that summer is not far away. A short distance from the water, a large circle of pop-up canopies form a large ring in the massive parking lot, separating themselves from the boat traffic nearer the water. This circle is why we are here—to visit Lake County’s newest Farmers Market.
There are times in life we may feel like sitting on our pity pot, which is understandable. The damage to our psyche comes when we forever sit on that pity pot. Life isn’t perfect. Try your best to find that rainbow.
It’s the week of Cinco de Mayo and I just uncorked a bottle of Smiling Dogs’s 2017 Zin and I’m all ready to create and post this week’s live music guide. Whoa – good stuff, Maynard! I’m still buzzin’ from the Big Jam that happened at The Riv this last Sunday night – some over the top jam sessions that completely highlighted an evening of great performances. By the end of the night, nobody was sitting… Dayaaaaamn! Anyways, this next week is gonna prove to be another excellent week to get out and check out our local live music, (be sure to bring a small empty wrinkled lunch bag in case of sudden bouts with hyperventilating…). Here’s the live music schedule for the week of 5/4 through 5/9…
A funny thing happened this week. In the middle of our Wednesday, the power went out. I happened to be preparing lunch at the time. At first, there was a moment of denial and the blank stare that followed. “I think the power went out,” and “I have no internet,” came the kids’ responses. I continued chopping lettuce for our salad. Next came, “But I need to finish . . .” and more “but I. . .” before the inevitable acceptance of it all settled in. Luckily, lunch was ready. Soon the grumbling stopped. By the time we had finished eating, we had music playing on our Bluetooth speaker and a deck of cards was being dealt for a spontaneous game of hearts. It was a beautiful escape from reality. All too soon, the power came back on, followed by more grumbling that we had to return to our normal lives. The funny thing is how much we enjoyed our two-and-a-half-hour lunch break. It was delightful to know we could do nothing about it; an unexpected inconvenience turned into an opportunity. Go figure. If you’re looking for a break from reality that doesn’t necessarily require a power outage, check out our recent visit to Small Town Ceramics in Lower Lake. It truly is a delightful break from reality and something I know we’ll be doing again soon. It seems we are transitioning into May this weekend. I’m not sure about you, but this is when our lives begin to get busy. I hope you have some fun things planned as Spring comes to a close. Have a great weekend Lake County!
Small Town Ceramics is a small, local business where people can paint pre-made ceramics and they do the firing. A person can come in, look around the shelves, find something that speaks to them, paint it then have it fired. I did that exact thing, still looking through the overwhelmingly many choices ranging from ceramic animals, bowls, platters, mugs, and more, waiting for an unpainted ceramic to speak to me. After some time searching, I found it: two little turtles.
A late winter walk along some of Lake County’s creeks, ponds wetlands, and lakes may reward you with sightings of the only native freshwater turtle along the west coast region of the United States on down to Baja California. This once-prolific reptile is a slow-mo treat to watch as it s-l-o-w-l-y emerges from Cache Creek to sun itself upon a long, warm log. There it will sit, striking a pose until- kerplunk! It takes a turtle leap into the water until the perceived threat has passed.
I watched The Bee Gees special on PBS the other night. When it comes to vocal harmonies, they rank up with some of the best; Everly Bros, Beach Boys, Beatles, Hollies and CSN, just to name a few – pretty much the top shelf… Even if you eliminate all their Disco era hits, they still have quite an extensive music catalogue, all written by the band. During a career that has spanned the better part of seven decades, they have accumulated seventeen #1 hits in the US alone. Pretty good stuff, Maynard… Anyways, we’ve got some pretty impressive music going on also this week in The LC and Mendo Co. Here’s the live music schedule for the week of 4/28 through 5/2…
It’s springtime; the birds are back and busy building nests, the wildflowers are blooming, and the weather’s getting warm. There’s no better time to take a road trip around Lake County. If you’ve got a free day, hop in the car and enjoy some of the county’s most beautiful, unique, and tasty places.
Anderson Marsh State Historic Park resides just off Highway 53 in Clearlake and across the street from the Walmart. The highway busily passes around the park’s edge, but once you step into the parking lot, all that disappears. Next to the parking lot stand several outbuildings and the original farmhouse that J.M. Grigsby and his brother built in the 1860s. You may be familiar with the Grigsby Riffle, the rock located at the conjunction of Cache and Siegler Creeks that determines zero Rumsey of the lake. And, if you’re a history buff, you’ll know that the same J.M. Grigsby, along with a mob of people, tore down the dam built there in 1868.
We are on this earth for a short visit and disputing senseless battles take up your valuable time and energy. Sometimes being victorious is not the most important aspect in life, but making the best use of your time while here on earth can do wonders for you.
There’s nothing new about celebrating wine and art together. It’s been a uniquely human experience since the beginning of time. And today is no exception. A warm, gentle spring breeze and bright orange-yellow California poppies welcome us as we head towards Six Sigma Ranch and Winery’s wine cave. To the left, winery equipment rests for the time being, while the vines are just beginning the hard work of producing this season’s harvest. Ahead, friends gather in conversation on the broad concrete patio outside the cave’s large open doors. Inside, a table lines one wall, filled with various hors-d’oeuvres, wine, and chocolate. Rows of full barrels fill the back of the cave. Their contents perfume the air, a reminder that this is a working wine cave. And to the right, the recent artwork of Ben vanSteenburgh covers the wall, reaching far into the depths of the cave. It’s the reason for this celebration.
The formation of Lake County’s obsidian gave the Indigenous people here material for innumerable tools and trade items. Anthropologists called the villages which once lined lakes, streams, and valleys here for thousands of years in what is now Lake County ‘city states’. Then, the Pomo, Wappo, Miwok, Yuki, and Patwin peoples thrived here. Famed anthropologist A. L. Kroeber described this area as one of the most diverse cultural areas in all of the United States.
Yup, it’s springtime, and Lake County is at its most beautiful. The fruit trees are blossoming and people wander around humming, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” Yes, it’s that kind of beautiful. There’s no better time to hop in the car and enjoy a tour of one of the world’s beautiful places.
Sometimes in this life we encounter individuals, often family, that challenge our patience and attempt to hurt our feelings; without meaning to do so. We can maintain a healthy balance in our minds by understanding those who have good intentions and also removing those from our elevator that are toxic. Know the difference. Life is short and your peace matters.