EDITORIALS

What’s Up This Week in The Bloom: 5.20.22

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.

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.

What’s Up This Week in The Bloom – 5.6.22

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.

What’s Up This Week in The Bloom – 4.29.22

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!

My Blue Zones Journey: The New Year

My hat’s off to those of you who kept your New Year’s resolutions regarding diet throughout the whole year. As for me, I didn’t go overboard, but I enjoyed every bite, morsel, and crumb of all my favorite holiday foods knowing January and healthier choices were just around the corner. And here we are, well into January and the start of our new year. Now I know a thing or two about vegetarian food and may share some of your concerns regarding, shall we say, the way it tastes? I was raised vegetarian, and I am pretty familiar with a vegetarian diet. I know for sure two things: I hope I never eat my mother’s lentil/walnut meatloaf again. And I will always have bacon in my home from time to time.

A RealAge Journey: The Holiday Test

How’s your RealAge journey going? If you’re like me, trying to fit in a health plan in the middle of the holiday season comes with its ups and downs. But I just downloaded the Sharecare App, and already I’m learning new things. Did you know that how long you can stand on one foot with your eyes closed is another indication of your real age? It is worth looking at once you’ve finished your RealAge test. Going back to the holidays, I can honestly say there are many things I did well over Thanksgiving and one thing I’m going to improve on during this Christmas.

What’s Up This Week in The Bloom – 10.22.21

While driving Highway 29 just past Kelseyville on a morning commute, my daughter commented, “Boy, Lake County sure looks different when it’s raining.” Big Valley opened up against the recent gray horizon hiding the normally clear blue sky ahead of us. I couldn’t help but feel like we were on our own tiny island. It was comforting to know the mountains surrounding Lake County are still there, just tucked away behind layers and layers of moisture. At that moment, I remembered how much I love Lake County no matter what season it is. I would be hard-pressed to pick a favorite. This week, we’re happy to share with you another one of Lake County’s treasures: its soundscape. Author Kathleen Scavone shares how the sounds of our county create a unique symphony you can’t find anywhere else. So whether you’re listening to the lap of the lake against the shore or the steady drip falling from the yellow-leaved oaks, have a great weekend Lake County and stay dry and warm!

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.

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.

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!

I Love Poison Oak

It’s springtime again, and all the bushes and flowers are slowly coming back to life. This slow budding of the new season also is happening with one of my favorite plants: poison oak. Even in its budding, it’s beautiful. Three small leaves poke out, bright green and red-orange. They spread across the ground, wind their way up trees, and work their way across fields. Then, as summer is followed by fall, they turn golden, red, and orange, covering those fields with a painter’s palate-worth of color. However, not everyone feels the same way that I do about this plant. “I hate it,” most people tell me. But that is something I could never, ever, do. You see, my love for poison oak is hard-earned.

Complimentary Tastings, Free Appetizers, Discounts on Rooms – Why Wouldn’t You Want to Get a Lake County Winery Passport?

Spring’s in the air, and it’s a great time to get out and support some of our local wineries and businesses. And what better way to do it than by getting a Winery Passport? It’s got complimentary tasting at eighteen Lake County wineries, plus a host of other perks. Pick up a free appetizer at the Saw Shop Public House when you purchase an entry, enjoy a complimentary kayak rental from Clearlake Campground, or get a discount on a room at one of several places, such as the Tallman Hotel or The Lodge at Blue Lakes. You’ll pay $66.95 per passport, and once you go to a couple of wineries, you’ll have paid for it already. For more information about the program and to purchase, head to the Lake County Winery Association Website.

Got Some Writing Skills and Want to Make Some Cash? The Bloom is Looking for Restaurant and Winery Reviews

The Bloom seeks quality restaurant and winery reviews. If you love Lake County’s food and wine and have the ability to tell a story, get in touch with us. We’re looking for storytellers, not reporters, and consider the ability to communicate an experience of vital importance. For more information, check out our submission guidelines.

It’s Easy to Help Out: Support The Bloom and Watch Us Grow

We want to thank you for being a part of our vision. It’s you, our readers, who make what we do possible. And we’re succeeding! In our first two years, we’ve shared our vision with over 104 countries and tens of thousands of different people.
However, our mission still needs some love to grow. With your support, we can add more columns, write more restaurant reviews, profile more of our best businesses, and showcase the tremendous outdoor opportunities our county has to offer.
That’s why we’ve set up an option to support The Bloom financially. It’s a great way to help promote our positive message and further The Bloom’s vision. We’ve set up donations to be simple: starting at $5/month, you can help us move forward. Once you donate, then comes the fun part: watching us grow. The Bloom has lots of plans in the works, and your support will allow them to become a reality.
We believe that when we help each other, we will all succeed. Financially supporting The Bloom will not just help us grow; it will also help our local economy, as we are all about encouragine local businesses. We are a community-focused organization, and none of our efforts would be possible without the help of people and businesses like you. Your support is greatly appreciated and will make a difference.
Thank you for being a part of our community and our story.

TO SUPPORT THE BLOOM, VISIT https://www.lakecountybloom.com/support

The Thankfulness Game

Right now, our nation is being challenged. At times it seems like our current crisis can bring so much division that we forget what we have in common. We all want a roof over our heads and food on the table. We all search for happiness. We all want to feel hope.
Even so, we are in the midst of racial, health, and political issues that have yet to resolve. Each day seems only to stir the pot more. These in-between moments when everything is uncertain are the most discouraging. It’s hard to stay happy with so much fear, anxiety, and anger happening in our world.
On the days our family gets down, we like to play the Thankful Game. We call it a game, but it’s more like an idea. The only rule is to think of things we’re thankful for. No, it doesn’t solve the world’s problems, but it helps us remember the good things we do have while we address the stressful issues happening in our society.
Here are five things that we at The Bloom are thankful for, in no particular order:
1. We are thankful that we have the right to gather in peaceful demonstrations. No matter what we believe, we have the right to be heard.
2. We are thankful that as a community, we have looked out for small businesses and supported them when they might have otherwise closed their doors permanently.
3. We are thankful for our essential workers making sure our basic needs are met.
4. We are thankful for countless volunteers who look out for those who are most vulnerable.
5. We are thankful for you, our readers.
We realize that the Thankful Game doesn’t change anything, but it does remind us that we still have hope. It shows us that beauty and goodness can speak just as loudly as hate and fear. It shows us that even though the world is in turmoil, we can still find peace. We are surrounded by beautiful things. Let’s not lose sight of that.

The Lake County Howl: Letter from the Editor 4.3.2020

The day has finally closed; it’s eight o’clock in the evening. Daylight has settled into twilight, and the sky, purple-grey, slowly dims to black. Then, off in the distance, a loud, lingering noise rises from the valleys, bounces off the mountains, and echoes through the night air. It’s time for the community howl. People all over the county pop out of their homes, stand in their backyards, and do their best wolf imitation.

A little over a week ago, the howl came to Lake County, echoing across the rooftops in Hidden Valley Lake, reverberating off Cobb Mountain, and bouncing off the waters of Clear Lake. Perhaps it’s a whim, but every night, like clockwork, it happens. It’s true; we’re all cooped up right now. The evening howl is a great way to work off some steam and to remember that we still do have neighbors, and they may be a bit weird, too.

Our family looks forward to the moment when the clock strikes eight. Then we pop outside, stand on our patio and let go. “Hawoooo!” we yell, and our dog chips in for good measure. Then we stop and listen. There, in the valley below us, an answering “Oooooooo” rises in the night air. There’s another human out there! We howl back and forth for a few minutes, sharing a small connection during a time when our entire society is disconnected. Sure, it seems a little bit silly, but it’s so lovely to let all the frustrations and worries out and just howl. For those few moments, there’s no SIP, no COVID, no stress, just a call into the evening air. You can call it cheap therapy, a sure sign of our county’s loneliness, or just plain strange. Whatever you think of it, it’s happening all around you. And oh, it feels so good just to let go.

So, tonight at eight, head out to your backyard and give your best wolf imitation. And if you’re too cool to make a fool of yourself, don’t worry. We’ll howl louder for you.

I LOVE POISON OAK

It’s springtime again, and all the bushes and flowers are slowly coming back to life. This slow budding of the new season also is happening with one of my favorite plants: poison oak. Even in its budding, it’s beautiful. Three small leaves poke out, bright green and red-orange. They spread across the ground, wind their way up trees, and work their way across fields. Then, as summer is followed by fall, they turn golden, red, and orange, covering those fields with a painter’s palate-worth of color. However, not everyone feels the same way that I do about this plant. “I hate it,” most people tell me. But that is something I could never, ever, do. You see, my love for poison oak is hard-earned.

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