COLUMNS

The Neighbor You Never Knew: Meet Jeff Warrenburg

Even though you may never have met him in person, if you’ve ever visited The Bloom, you’ve either seen Jeff Warrenburg or read about something he’s done for Lake County. He’s been a Rotary member for twenty-two years. He’s on the board for the Chamber of Commerce, is president of the Fair Foundation, and is on the City of Lakeport Planning Commission. He shows up in photos about once a quarter in The Bloom, most recently helping out the Community Kitchen Project. There he stands, second from the left, holding a check. That’s how you’ll usually bump into Jeff in Lake County. He’s always looking for a way to help: It’s part of his philosophy. “The biggest thing for me,” he says, “Is I feel a need to give back to the community. They give to me and help my business, so I want to help them out.” Without people like Jeff, the county would fall apart.

What’s Up This Week in The Bloom – 10.15.21

There’s no denying fall is here. We’ve even had a bit of rain in the past couple of weeks, and I haven’t heard one person complain about it. One of my favorite parts of fall is the anticipation of knowing some of the year’s best memories are still ahead. It would seem that Lake County is all in for making the most of fall with community events, parties, live music, and so much more! Maybe there was just as much going on in 2019, or perhaps we’re all trying to make up for 2020. In either case, you’ll be hard-pressed to fit in all the events happening in Lake County. Just check out the Big Calendar, and you’ll see what I mean. This week we’re excited because we get to tell you about Jeff Warrenburg. Jeff’s an amazing man who plans, hosts, and runs many of those great events we enjoy in Lake County. He lives a life of service, and it shows. Also, we’ve got a new Rooted in Poetry podcast. This week, Poet Laureate Georgina Marie interviews the winners of our Poetry of Outliers competition, who share more of their work.

I, for one, am in no hurry to rush fall. Instead, I hope to find a way to slow it down and make the very most of it. And here’s hoping for more of that rain!

A Celebration of life – T. Lee Cook

LEE COOK (1947-2020): Friends and family are invited to a celebration of life in remembrance of Lee on Monday, October 18, at noon at the Ely Stage Stop and Country Museum, 9921 Soda Bay Rd, Kelseyville, CA. Donations may be made to Lake County Historical Society Blacksmith Shop project. 

What’s Up This Week in The Bloom -10.8.21

Bright Fall days and cool evenings make fall an excellent time to be outdoors in Lake County. This is the time of year when our family trades swimming and days at the lake for walks and hikes, taking in the beautiful fall colors. Clear Lake State Park is a great spot for that; if you haven’t been recently, bring a picnic and make a day of it!
This week, we’ve got a great article about Bell Haven Flower Farm. David and I spent an afternoon with owner Laurie Dohring, enjoying the amazing flowers she has to offer. It’s wonderful to be able to pick up beautiful, locally-grown bouquets. Also, we have a new episode of Gathering—host Michelle Scully interviews Dr. Harry and Roberta Lyons, and it’s a good time. Listen in on The Bloom, or wherever you get your podcasts.
As always, be smart and follow all social distancing protocols to ensure your family stays safe while you have fun.

Epic Flowers: Bell Haven Flower Farm

A few miles past the state park in the heart of Soda Bay resides Bell Haven Flower Farm. Pull off the road and down the drive; Bell Haven Resort sits on the right and the flower farm on the left. A bright green lawn slopes gently down to the shores of Clear Lake; oaks and redwoods stretch overhead, shading the grounds from the bright Northern California sun. Just beyond the lawn, two piers push out into the lake’s waters. It’s idyllic, peaceful, and quiet. Lake County’s long been a special place for the Dohring family. “We’ve been married 41, almost 42 years,” Laurie Dohring, owner of Bell Haven Flower Farm, says as she strolls the grounds of their resort next door. “In fact, we honeymooned in Lake County at the Aurora Club. And my son got married in front of the house, just right here. That was back when we still came up for vacations. So when the opportunity arose, all of my children wanted us to buy the resort.

What’s Up This Week in The Bloom 10.1.21

I love everything fall. I love the colors, long walks, the cool crisp evenings, baking again, the first rain of the season, and the anticipation of the holidays still to come in the upcoming months. It’s a time when some of the year’s best memories are yet to be made. Speaking of memories to be made, we’re lucky in Lake County; there’s still a lot happening everywhere from live music to corn mazes and local festivals. And the slowly cooling weather also makes it a great time for picnicking at your favorite winery! This week we’re excited to share a new Rooted in Poetry podcast, and a review of Finley Market. If you, like me, can’t do gluten, have hope! You don’t need to give up great cupcakes and muffins. Every Friday, owner Karen Shippley creates a new treat. But get there early; they sell out quickly. Whatever your plans are for the weekend, it’s a great time to enjoy early Fall in Lake County.

Enjoying Gluten-Free Goodness at Finley Country Market

It’s an unusually cool summer afternoon in Big Valley. Outside the Finley Country Market, rose bushes and lavender pop out of planters, framing the red, farmhouse-looking store. Several picnic tables, shaded by umbrellas, stretch across the courtyard. Finley Country Market’s been around twenty-five years and serves as a hub for the small community. They’ve got a good barbecue, offering grilled chicken, burgers, or tri-tip sandwiches depending on the day of the week. And they’re popular; it’s not uncommon for the market to receive twenty-five or thirty pre-orders on Fridays for their tri-tip sandwiches.

And each Friday, another wonderful thing happens at the market. There, on the counter next to the register, sit Karen Shippley’s gluten-free muffins. Depending on Karen’s mood, you may find blueberry muffins, carrot cake or German chocolate cupcakes, all luscious and completely gluten-free.

An Abundance of Black Bears – By Kathleen Scavone

Accounts of black bear sightings around Lake County are on the rise. Many of my neighbors in South County have seen evidence of bears on their property. Bear scat, as you can imagine is quite large! Other evidence of the brown-to-black mammal is appearing on private game cameras from Loch Lomond, to Jago Bay, to the Oaks and more. These hungry critters, omnivores, are helping themselves to chickens, ducks and other fresh ‘snacks’. They are leaving behind broken branches on fruit trees, copiously consuming grapes in vineyards and, just like a cartoon-bear, but not a bit funny, they have helped themselves to privately owned bee hives and bins of pet food which has carelessly been left out.

Backstage Lake County: Meet Tim Barnes

I’m happy to report that there is another new drama teacher in town!  If you are a theatre goer, you may recognize him as Curly from Oklahoma!, as a member of the Lakeport City Council, as the former Mayor of Lakeport, as the former owner of Cheese’s Mainstreet Pizza, as a former Mr. Lake County, or as a DJ you’ve seen around the lake.  No matter where you’ve seen him, Tim Barnes is always looking for new challenges.

What’s Up This Week in The Bloom – 9.17.21

Well, it’s finally here. It’s the weekend of the Big Valley, Small Farms Tour. As you know, we’ve been promoting it for the past month. That’s because it’s a great event. Big Valley has several great places to visit, from Ripe Choice Farm and Catering (mind the tortoise) to Peace and Plenty, North America’s Largest Saffron Farm. It’s coming this Sunday—for more information, visit their Facebook Page. Also, we’ve got a review of Richmond Park Bar and Grill, a Lake County staple. Situated on the water, it’s always got live music on weekends and massive burgers. It’s a great place to hang out for a few hours, dance a bit, and overeat. And if you’re still bored, check out our Party Calendar. You’re sure to find something to do. Whatever you’re up to, have a great weekend, and be sure to stay safe.

It’s Your Last Chance to Enjoy Clearlake’s 2021 Summer Concert Series

The summer sun has finally started to set, and the day’s cooling down. Just across the street, the late afternoon breeze splashes waves against the beach. And in Austin Park, live music’s playing.  When they recently remodeled the park, the City of Clearlake committed to bringing live music to town. So they put in a covered stage on the corner of Olympic and Lakeshore Drive, and this summer started hosting concerts. The city couldn’t have placed it better. The swoop of the stage’s covering swoops with the mountain and lake, framing the picture. And as the sun sets behind Mt. Konocti, it turns the park shades of pink and purple, backlighting the musicians.

Local Community Supports International Overdose Awareness Day

Last year overdose killed more people nationally than breast cancer, car accidents and guns combined, and Lake County has the highest overdose rate in California. To help transform these stark numbers, Hope Rising, a Lake County health collaborative, hosted an event with its partners in Library Park, Lakeport, on August 31st in support of International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) – the world’s largest annual campaign to end overdose, remember without stigma those who have died, and acknowledge the grief of the family and friends left behind.

Quality Products, Quality Service: Premier Flooring

“Did you see that dog?” Sufi asks. “That was a big Rottweiler. I could do whatever and sell him the cheaper stuff, but I have to live with myself. We only sell quality products here,” Sufi continues her thought. “And we’ve got the best installers. They’re the cream of the crop. We’ve had to clean up a lot of mistakes that other installers have made. When you get too big, you lose quality. So Justin and I want to keep it small and continue to provide the best product and service possible.”

BIG VALLEY, SMALL FARMS, PART 4: CAMPODONICO OLIVE FARM

The sun blazes overhead, searing my skin; It’s August in Lake County, and the olive trees soak it up. Lianne and Richard Campodonico of Campodonico Olive Oil walk next to me, well-covered from the bright yellow glare of the sky. “They’re more like bushes than trees,” Rich says, looking down the row of various-sized olive trees. “Look at that one!” He points towards a fifteen-foot-tall shrub of an olive.“We planted them in blocks,” he continues. “One quarter, the first year, one quarter the second year. Then we had a hard winter that killed 40% of the trees.” He shows me a tree springing out of a broken stump. “Several of them grew back, like this one, but we had to get more.”

What’s Up This Week in The Bloom – 8.20.21

Well, Lake County made the news again. Say the word “fire”, and we’re suddenly famous. All of us have at least one story of how fires have affected us. This week was no exception. Once again, I found myself in awe of how quickly our first responders met the challenge to save property and lives. As a community, we have shown that we will continue to come together to help where help is needed. I’m beyond blessed to call this my home when I see everywhere individuals and organizations doing everything they can to help. These are the times that Lake County shines. A special thanks to our Fire Fighters and local law enforcement for all you continuing to do to protect our homes and well-being. If you want to help out, Clothing Closet in Middletown is looking for donations—you can find out in the Press Releases section of The Bloom.
Here’s what’s going on this week in The Bloom. The Big Valley, Small Farms tour is coming up. Over the next month, we’ll be re-releasing stories we’ve written about the farms; this week you’ll get to read about Peace and Plenty, North America’s largest saffron farm. Also, you can read the winning poem from the Poetry of Outliers competition we just held. It’s beautiful. And we have a new Gathering Podcast. This week, host Michelle Scully talks with canine coach Val Stallings about dogs—I’m certain you’ll learn something if you listen.
When you make your plans, be sure to call ahead of time as there have been many last-minute cancellations, and understand that many still are evacuated. Whatever you’re up to this weekend, please be safe.

FARMING SUNLIGHT AT THE FOOT OF MT. KONOCTI: PEACE AND PLENTY SAFFRON FARM

Simon Avery of Peace and Plenty Farm turns his head sideways, looking at the saffron plants stretching down several rows. It’s a cold day, and clouds shroud the top of Mt. Konocti, scudding quickly across the sky. He shudders as a chill wind whips across the fields. “It’s a mile walk if you take all the rows,” he tells me, hunching his shoulders inward to keep warm. His cracked, farmer’s hands rub against his shirt. “And you’re bent over like this,” Melinda Price demonstrates, her tall form reaching down past her knees, her blonde hair pulled back into a bun. “All day. Picking the flowers.” “Sometimes I finish picking all the rows, only to see more flowers appear, and I have to do it all over.” Simon’s eyes glaze over, recalling the days and days of harvesting.

Buy Mike and Danny a Beer: Busking for Brewskis at Kelsey Creek Brewing

Tuesday afternoon in Kelseyville, August. Mike Guarniero and Danny Prather perch on barstools next to the front window, half-full beer glasses on the floor next to them. Danny’s taken the lead on a Neil Young tune he’s finishing, and odds are they’ll switch it around on the next song. Between the two of them, they could play all day and never repeat a tune. Danny gives a hearty strum on his guitar as the song ends, then grins as he leans over and takes a sip of his beer. Caroline Chavez, co-owner of Kelsey Creek, sees his glass empty and quickly brings over two full ones. “Now everybody,” she says, walking the smooth walk of a skilled bartender, “You all need to pitch in. I’m the only one buying them beer right now.” Mike and Danny happily grab their full brewskis, sip off the foam, and start a new song.

What’s Up This Week in The Bloom – 8.5.21

Well, folks, it seems we’re not done with Covid. Well, we might be done with Covid, but it looks like Covid isn’t done with us! I am grateful we live in a place with plenty of room and lots of outdoor things to do no matter how long it hangs around. We’ve already proven we know how to look out for each other over the years, no matter how grim things have been. I am reminded that our businesses, restaurants, and the many musicians we know and love need our support as much now as ever before. If there’s one thing for sure, we’ve had plenty of practice learning how to be Covid-safe in our community. This week we’re excited to share a story about Konocti Vista Casino’s concerts; they’re right on the lake and always a lot of fun. Plus, we’ve got a great podcast by Lake County Poet Laureate Georgina Marie, the Lake County Music Guide, and some history you can also enjoy. Whatever you’re up to, save a fun weekend and stay safe, Lake County!

Jammin’ at Konocti Vista Casino

The sun’s setting behind the casino, leaving imprints of red and orange on Hogback Ridge across the lake. Kids swim in the pool, laughing and splashing each other. People spread across the grass, swaying to the music while on the stage, the Higher Logic Project, Lake County’s local reggae band, has just finished their set. Now it’s time for reggae legend Pato Banton. “We’re going to chill the vibe for a bit here. Antoinette ‘Roots Dawtah’ Hall kicks in on the keyboards. Sing with me,” Pato begins. “Life, oh life. Life is a miracle.” He stops for a second and holds the mic out to the audience. “Now you know the lyrics. It’s your turn.”

Remembering Gene Paleno’s Life on this “Little Blue Ball of Mud” An Obituary by Christina Paleno Ericksen

Gene Paleno grew up in the 30’s on his family’s farm near Detroit, Michigan. As a boy, he learned to drive an old Model T Ford, hauling hay and feeding the cows at dawn. Gene was the eldest of six children to Eugene and Alice Paleno, with a work ethic that was incumbent upon his role as the eldest boy. After high school he served in the US Navy during WWII, and as a Lieutenant in the Naval Reserve until 1966. Gene taught school after graduating from Michigan State University in 1946. In the early 1950’s during the aerospace industry boom, the entire Paleno Family (parents, sisters, brothers, spouses, and children) packed up and moved to California. Gene was employed by Douglas Aircraft Corporation as a Commercial Artist. While with Douglas, he traveled to a Paris airport hangar to participate in a marketing demonstration. The company had him wearing a helium balloon to simulate walking on the moon. He would recall how the wind almost carried him into the busy landing path at Le Bourget Airport.

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