COLUMNS

What’s Up This Week – 7.1.22

Today we say goodbye to June and hello to July. I’m trying my best, but I can honestly say that in the decade that we’ve lived in Lake County I don’t think I can recall more things going on for the 4th of July weekend than this year. All I can say is I’m glad to call myself a local. We’ve got five firework shows, a parade, carnivals, worm and car races, a street fair, and more live music than you can possibly imagine. And who’s better at packaging all the fun in Lake County than Mike Guenerro, writer of the Lake County Music Guide? I have a feeling we’re all going to need a weekend to recover from this weekend when it’s all said and done. With that, I leave you with Mike and all the fun things you can do over the holiday. Whatever your plans end up being, be sure to plan for a safe, fun weekend in Lake County!

Lake County Music Guide: Your Fourth of July Party Planner

As I’ve said many times in the past, I have a used “Acme Clone-a-Matic” for sale, and it might just come in handy this 4th of July weekend in case you’re having a hard time deciding where to go for live music. As you read through the schedule you’ll see why you might have a need for it. And I really gotta sell it! So as I was sayin’, there’s gonna be a shipload of live music events this week! (If you wait until Saturday to decide on the ACM, the price goes up…). Here’s the live music guide for Lake County for the week of 6/30 through 7/6…

Tuleyome Tales: The Story of a Forest Alligator Lizard

As I take a late spring, early morning walk at the edge of the woods not far from the creek in southern Middletown, it feels like a luxury to drink in the sounds of these surroundings. I note the scolding squawks of several blue jays in the oaks. They appear to be distressed at the sight of a pair of crows as they near the jay’s nests. In contrast to the cacophony above, the mellifluous sounds of the creek invite me to come closer. As I arrive at a clearing, a Forest Alligator Lizard is sitting as still as a stone in the sunlight. This is the second one I have seen this month! Wanting to watch this elusive and long-bodied creature I step ever closer.

What’s Up This Week – 6.24.22

Don’t you hate it when there are more things going on in Lake County than there are hours to fit them all in? It’s almost a guarantee that your favorite winery, small farm, and musicians have something going on every weekend. It gets a little overwhelming for those of us who don’t want to miss out on the best of what Lake County has to offer. What’s the solution? Party hopping in Lake County! You may not fit in everything, but you’d be surprised how much fun you can have trying. This week we are thrilled to share with you how we fit in two wineries, one summer solstice dinner, two desserts, three bands, and more dancing than our feet could handle in one evening. I know for some of you who are more experienced, this sounds like nothing and my hat’s off to you. But for the rest of us, six hours of party hopping isn’t all that bad. And it goes without saying, the best evenings out start with a designated driver. A special thanks to my husband David, who was the DD for the evening. Whether you have your own parties planned or plan on being out and about in our beautiful county, have yourself a safe and fun weekend everyone!

Lake County Music Guide – 6.23.33

I was a volunteer for Baconfest in K’ville on Sunday where I had the second-best job at the event – selling beer and wine tix. Of course, the best job would have been pouring the afore-mentioned beer and wine. What a great event! They sold out the bacon-themed food contest, which is probably the biggest draw aside from the musical performance from Hot Roux. Of course, my selling partner, Maile Field did all the work – I mostly smiled a lot, carried on the banter and enjoyed the heck out of the day. Woohoo! Looking forward to next year! Anyways, the music listings for this week are going to be as exciting as they were last week, with a couple of new venues beginning their summer schedule. So, without further ado, here’s the live music guide for the week of 6/21 through 6/29, (I know that’s more than a week but you’ll understand why when you read it…).

Bird Nests: Nature’s Intricate Architecture

You have, no doubt seen some of the many tremendous osprey nests throughout the county. There are fine examples of osprey architecture near the roundabout at Hartman Road in Middletown, both Rodman Park and Rodman Slough, Clear Lake State Park, and more. These impressive birds build magnificent structures in which to lay eggs and raise their young. With an unmistakable cry the osprey calls out, then the 26 inches-in-length bird can be viewed at its nest as high as 60 feet above the Earth, where it constructed its nest near a fishing hole.

What’s Up This Week – 6.17.22

It dawned on me when I was writing the date down the other day that we are already halfway through the calendar year. I’m not exactly sure how it can go by this fast, but here we are. The good news is there’s so much going on in and around Lake County that you won’t have a dull moment unless you just plain need to rest. As it turns out, last weekend, our family did a little bit of swimming at our local pool and did a whole lot of resting. Now that we’re rested, we’re off to the races to see just how much we can fit into our summer. I’m sure you are, too. If you’re still looking for things to do this weekend, check out the Lake County Music Guide and be prepared to be overwhelmed. There are things to do just about everywhere, even if you want to venture outside of Lake County. But there’s no need to go too far from home, especially if you live in the south part of the county. In case you haven’t heard of The Spot in Clearlake, this is your lucky week to read about their great food, views, and live music. It’s definitely worth the visit, and I recommend a lot of dancing, especially if you order one of their burgers; they are perfectly flavorful and perfectly sinful to your waistline. Here’s wishing a safe and happy Father’s Day weekend to all the great dads out there!

Lake County Music Guide – 6.15.22

THIS IS A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT! WARNING! THE FLOODGATES HAVE BURST OPEN AND TONS OF GREAT LIVE MUSIC IS FLOODING YOUR WAY THIS WEEK! THIS IS NOT A JOKE. PLEASE BEWARE (or at least be aware…)! So, did I get your attention or what?!? Donovan once wrote a song called, “Season of the Witch”, but this is clearly the season of the “Concert Series” and/or “Festivals”. Here’s the local music schedule for the week of 6/14 thru 6/20, (and I hope I’ve gotten it all…).

Dress Me Slowly Because I’m in a Rush

For most of us, when we rush our tasks, they are usually not completed as well as when we take our time. Whether it be taking the kids to school, getting ready for work, writing that essay; we miss key points, lack that polished project, become sloppy and sometimes are even responsible for accidents.

What’s Up This Week in The Bloom – 6.10.22

The other day I was talking to our neighbor who volunteers her time picking up garbage on Highway 175. Our family drives that road nearly every day, and it happens to be, in my opinion, one of the most majestic and scenic drives in all of Lake County, complete with panoramic views, pine forests, and vineyards. It’s the perfect way to start and end my day. But there’s no doubt in my mind that part of what makes that drive so beautiful is because there’s no garbage distracting the eye from its natural beauty. So I just want to give a huge thank you to my neighbor Debbie for doing what she does. And I want to extend that thank you to all the people in our community who volunteer their time to make the world a little better and brighter place. Lake County and the world are more beautiful because of you. This week we’re excited to tell you about the Lower Lake Schoolhouse Museum. If you’ve driven down Main Street in Lower Lake, you’ve probably seen the museum; it’s hard to miss. Plus, we’ve got a great article by Kathleen Scavone on Anderson Marsh and part two of Jim Steele’s Window on Lake County column. Enjoy your weekend Lake County!

The Many Lives of Lower Lake Historic Schoolhouse Museum

The Lower Lake Historic Schoolhouse Museum’s a place that has lived multiple lives. It first began as a school, built by Leslie Nichols and his brother in 1877. It not only was the only school in the area built from locally fired bricks, but it also was the largest in the county at the time. The school at that time had three classrooms, two large ones on the south end, and one central one, with a large bell tower mounted on the front. Back then, lower Lake wasn’t a sleepy small town; it was an up-and-coming place fighting for its rightful place in the county and, if it weren’t for some foul play on Lakeport’s part, would have ended up the county seat.

Prickles, Thistles, and Foxtail: Taking the Invasive Weed Walk at Anderson Marsh

Since our state enjoys a temperate climate we play host to a variety of plant species, both invasive and native, who also thrive here. Paul Aigner explained, “Most of the state’s grasslands are dominated by non-natives.” He went on with some questions for us that also interest farmers, State Park’s Departments and many others, “How realistic is it to get rid of a particular invasive? How does it reduce biodiversity here?” What helps ranchers may hinder places like parks and preserves. The study of invasives brings up the question of just what defines a weed or a problem plant?

Lake County Music Guide 6.9.22

There was so much going on last week I barely had a chance to catch my breath! Now I’m hyperventilating when I see what’s happening this week. And that ain’t nothing compared to what’s happening next week – GASP! – it’s never-ending, folks! There’re some old venues re-adding to the mix with some changes, and lots of other exciting live music events. Don’t plan on going out of town if you don’t wanna miss anything! Also, since I’ve got your undivided attention, I’ve been posting live music events from the Eastern Mendocino County areas and haven’t gotten any feedback from Mendo locals. Should I continue posting Ukiah/Willits/Hopland events? I don’t mind, but things are heating up here in The LC so much that it has become a time-consuming effort to include both Counties. Any input, Mendo denizens? In the meantime, here’s the live music schedule for the week of 6/9 through 6/13…

Window on Lake County: Clear Lake – Re-Engineer or Re-Wild? – Part 2

What are those questions that would guide better decision making to a rewilding of the Clear Lake watersheds ecosystems? The first might be to determine how to restore the Middle Creek area to its most effective wetland attributes without creating more problems of flooding or mosquito invasions. Basically, how much landform change is needed to best support the interactions of wildlife, human enjoyment and sediment trapping. Right now the operating principle is to purchase all the land back to a public ownership and only then turn the designing and construction over to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.

What’s Up This Week in The Bloom – 6.3.22

Well, summer is in full swing, and there’s no going back until Labor Day! This is when Lake County comes alive. For us, summer began when we attended the season’s first property owners’ dinner in Loch Lomond, a tradition that’s spanned generations. The firehouse doors were open and lights shone beneath the overarching pine trees. Inside, tables and chairs replaced the various fire trucks now parked outside. People filled the firehouse: some were locals like us, about twenty were the Prather family, founders of Loch Lomond, and the rest of the room was filled with at least four generations of Italians, many of who have been spending summers in the mountains of Lake County since the 1940s. A small group of dedicated men gathered in the back, stirring simmering pots of pasta and sugo. You could call it spaghetti sauce, but that would be an insult. It’s absolutely nothing like you’d ever find at a grocery store. It’s a delicacy, and each family prepares it according to their own tradition. The room filled with noise as the wine flowed. Some conversations still took place in Italian. I’m not sure if it was the food (which was exceptional) or the fact that many of us haven’t gathered in person for over two years. But it felt more like a family reunion than an ordinary homeowner’s association dinner. These uniquely Lake County experiences set us apart and bring us together, whether we’re locals or visitors. Speaking of great food, we finally get a chance to share a favorite Mexican restaurant with you: La Parrilla in Middletown. Plus, we’ve got a great Rooted in Poetry podcast, where you’ll get to hear several poets who have had work published in The Bloom read aloud. And we’ve also got a great column by Lori Armstrong about what not to say to someone with Alzheimer’s. I’m not sure what your plans are for the weekend, but I hope it involves great food and good company. Have a great weekend, Lake County.

Lake County Music Guide 6.2.22

As I predicted last week, after the Memorial Weekend the floodgates have opened and live music is gonna be happening big time here in The LC. Won’t be hearing too many complaints from here on out about nothing to do in Lake County. And every week after this one we should see something new happening which just adds to the stressful situation of making a decision on where to go. There’s just gonna be too much fun stuff happening this week, Maynard! And I mean it, Peanut! Here’s the live music guide for the week of 6/2 to 6/6…

Never Say This to Someone with Dementia or Alzheimer’s

It was in that moment we all agreed Grandpa needed an immediate medical diagnosis as the dreaded disease reared its ugly head. That same month Grandpa was diagnosed with an early onset of Alzheimer’s; marked by symptoms of dementia, which grew increasingly worse. We gathered mountains of information about the disease, being most grateful for the opportunity to spend time with Grandpa and understand the condition doesn’t change who they are.The positive information that remains vivid in my mind is what NOT to say to someone with Alzheimer’s disease.

We Can’t Fix Everything, But We Can Fix Dinner

Hope Forti, director of Families Together and former Lake County kid, sits underneath an oak tree, twenty feet from the shores of Clear Lake. The afternoon sun’s still bright, but filters through the still-bright green oak leaves, reaching the grass in specks and spots. Hope’s holding a training for the Neighbors Program, a simple way that people can help foster families. Right now, she’s sharing some sobering statistics for Lake County. “There were nine hundred and thirty reported child victims of abuse and neglect in Lake county in 2018,” she says. “That is one child abuse report every ten hours. Some of those cases never get looked at,” she continues. “Right now, on a given day, eighty of Lake County’s children are in foster care. And people feel that if they can’t save the situation, they won’t do anything to help at all.” But Hope has created a program to allow people to help without having to rescue anyone: just deliver one meal a month to a foster family.

Ladybug Love – by Kathleen Scavone

What’s not to love about these charming little beetles? Birds love them, gardeners are devoted to the creatures; and children love to get up close and personal with the crimson cuties. While walking with friends at Anderson Marsh on the McVicar trail we began to note a small swarm of what we called ‘ladybugs’ flitting and flying along the trail with us. Later, we learned that insect geeks or entomologists are using the name ‘ladybird beetle’ or ‘lady beetle’ since they are not true bugs. A bug, which is a type of insect, has a three-part body and belongs to the order of insect called Hemiptera. It’s amazing to know that these creatures belong to the almost 6,000-species ladybird beetle family, or Coccinellidae. I neglected to bring my hand-lens on the hike, but these may have been convergent ladybugs, the most common species in North America. In 2019 a cluster of ladybugs, known as a bloom or a loveliness,  was so large it was spotted on the National Weather Service radar in southern California. This bloom was noted at 5,000 to 9,000 feet in the air.

Bringing Beauty to the Community: Lake County’s Youth Poet Laureate

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.

Towards a Healthier Lake County: The Blue Zones Project

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. 

Window on Lake County: Clear Lake – Re-engineer or Re-wild?

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?

The Positive Benefits Behind Rooting for the Underdog and Why I Embrace Being One

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.

What’s Up This Week in The Bloom – 5.12.22

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.

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