EDITORIALS

What’s Up This Week – 3.24.23

Five years ago, if someone told me I’d be co-owner, writer and editor of a local online paper, I would have laughed till tears ran down my face. And yet, here I am. Turns out, I absolutely love what I do. I get to experience so many new and interesting things in Lake County. My life is far from boring and full of surprises like this one, Operation Tango Mike. Last week I was fortunate to attend one of their packing parties and celebrate their twenty-year anniversary in Lake County. I knew what they do is amazing, but I had no idea the impact it has made in our community and the impact it would make on me personally. I’m happy to tell you all about it; I can’t say enough good things about this organization. And here’s another one for you! The Soper Reese Theatre in Lakeport is hosting New York Vocalist Astrid Kuljanic and Lake County favorite Ben Rosenblum on the 26th. They are kinda a big deal, and it’s not too late to get tickets! It looks like sunshine is in the forecast for the weekend. Here’s hoping for some great adventures. Have a great weekend Lake County!

What’s Up This Week – 3.17.23

This week, we’ve seen it all weather-wise. My husband and I had the pleasure of eating at Grilligan’s Island for the first time on Tuesday. While waiting for our meals, I looked out the window at the turbulent water on the lake. The wind was blowing, and the waves rolling as if we were at the ocean. What caught my eye was a pair of ducks floating on the surface as leisurely as if it were a fair day in May. The contrast astonished and delighted me to see nature unamazed or befuddled by some wind and rain. It put a smile on my face for sure. Another strange sight I saw this week during my travels was vineyards completely submerged by standing water on the Russian River. I guess that when we pray for rain, we need to be more specific on how much we would like at one time. This week we’re happy to tell you about our fantastic meal at Grilligan’s Island. Plus, Kathleen Scavone talks about banana slugs. Turns out that they do have a purpose in nature besides sharing their slime on hands or bare feet! Nope, I’m not a fan of them, but not everything in nature has to be my cup of tea. I hope we’ve all had a chance to enjoy the sunshine before we hunker down for more rain. Stay safe and have a great St. Patrick’s Day and weekend, Lake County.

What’s Up This Week – 3.10.23

Having lived in snow country, it’s easy to reminisce on its beauty and some of my favorite snow memories. I’ve even wondered if I would like to live further north someday just to have that experience again. I can honestly say the past two weeks have cured me of ever wanting to live where it seriously snows, and it becomes a very real and intimate part of my life. No, I think I prefer visiting the snow on occasion and having the snow visit me a few inches at a time before quickly melting away. Just today, the family took bets on when the three feet or more of snow piled on our patio will melt in these warmer temperatures. Mind you; it has to be all gone. My guess is Saturday, and if I win, I get a beer! If I lose, I might get a beer anyway, especially if it’s from Kelsey Creek Brewery. My husband and I stopped by only a few days ago, and I can tell you their spirits are as good as ever. On that note and considering this weather, it seems fitting to re-release a little piece we wrote on Buskin’ For Brewskies. It’s a great thing to do when the weather has you blue or thirsty, for that matter! We’re also excited to bring you our next Pay It Forward article, where Lori Armstong introduces us to Fixin’ It Up With Sandra. And if you’ve met Sandra, you know what a lovely person and business owner she is. It seems we are going from drought concerns to flood concerns this winter. Go figure. All I can say is, have a safe, dry and warm weekend, Lake County!

What’s Up This Week – 3.3.23

Well, I can’t say that snow is all that unusual in Lake County, especially for those of us who live in the higher elevations. But, I will also mention that I don’t know that I have seen that much snow accumulation in a twenty-four-hour period of time since I’ve lived on Cobb. There’s being snowed in, and then there is twenty inches of snow and ice snowed in without power just to add to the fun. Luckily there were no emergencies at our home to cause us too much distress. It was much more of an adventure than drama. We finally got to do the one thing we’ve always wanted to do–sled from the top of our property all the way down to the street. And when I say “we,” I really mean “my kids.” Never mind, they are all either teens or young adults. But when it snows, age really doesn’t matter, does it? This week I can’t think of anything better to write about other than our recent snow days, just because. I hope you had your own epic snow adventures to remember, especially when we hit the triple digits in just a few months! Hard to imagine that for sure. This week we’re also excited to publish a local, emerging author, India Akua Mendonça. Her piece is where we usually publish poetry. And be sure to catch up with Kathleen Scavone as she talks about seeds. Happy almost spring, everyone, and have a safe and great weekend!

Snow Day

The early morning sun’s bright winter yellow-blue hues glow between the slats of the window shades. There’s a stillness and unearthly quiet that can only mean one thing–the world is covered in a blanket of snow. Consciousness continues to drift in as a low hum of a generator from a distant neighbor pierces the stillness telling everyone the power is out. The realization that today is a snow day announces itself as a fact, not a maybe. No one is going to work or school today. Mother nature has decided that for us. Another reality sinks in–there’s no rush, no hurry to start the day or to leave the comfort of a warm bed. A smile and sigh seem the only definite choice for this moment.

What’s Up This Week – 2.24.23

This week we’ve gone from T-shirt weather to snow again in Lake County. It’s a gentle reminder it’s still very much winter here in Northern California. The highlight of my week was tasting a twenty-year-old port wine when I picked up my wine club shipment. My husband and first tasted this port when it was ten years old and have been waiting in great anticipation for its twenty-year release. All I can say is it was like a Christmas present in a glass. There was no denying I was a fan of how it turned out. My only regret was not bringing home a second bottle so I wouldn’t have to decide whether to save this bottle for a “special” occasion or to enjoy it now. These are just some of the great joys and burdens of living in arguably one of the world’s best wine regions. How lucky are we! This week we wrap up our winter camping series with a surprise. It’s not often we leave Lake County, but this adventure does just that. We’re also excited to share the next Pay It Forward article featuring another locally-owned business. A hats off to you for braving the weather and supporting our local businesses this weekend. Whatever your plans are, please be safe out there and have a great weekend Lake County.

What’s Up This Week – 11.11.22

With even shorter days and cooler weather, it seems to be getting more wintery despite the sporadic fall-colored leaves still appearing on our oak trees. I can remember several Thanksgivings we’ve enjoyed dining on our patio, but I’m thinking this may not be one of those years. So when we have a stormy, wet fall season, I can’t help but get in the holiday spirit despite the calendar telling me otherwise. Don’t get me wrong; I do not want to rush the holidays. No, I plan to enjoy every moment of November and my leisurely time before things get crazy busy. And yet, I’m kind of enjoying holiday music playing in the background while I’m working on dinner. I think any time of year is a good time of year to welcome happy memories and soak in their warmth and all those warm fuzzy feelings they bring. It’s wonderful to be thankful and to look forward to new memories still to be made. So, to all of you enjoying a little holiday cheer, know you’re not alone! Speaking of thankful, this week we celebrate eight local businesses that competed in the 2022 1Team 1Dream business competition. And Kathleen Scavone is going to tell us a few fun facts about fall. Have a great weekend, Lake County!

What’s Up This Week – 9.2.22

Whether we like it or not, this weekend marks the end of summer and the start of fall. I always have mixed feelings when Labor Day rolls around. I love summer and all of its distractions. It’s always a fun challenge to see how much fun we can fit into those summer months. But, I also love transitioning into cooler weather and all things pumpkins and autumn. What I love most about September in Northern California is the chance to fit in the extra summer things. Whether it’s a BBQ with friends, a quick trip to the ocean, more time at the pool, or kayaking and bird watching, the weather is more than accommodating. How lucky we are. This week we’re excited to announce the winners of our Second Annual Poetry of the Outliers Competition! Be sure to read the winning poem below. Also, we can’t wait to tell you about the first Blackberry Harvest  Dinner. The plan was to include the Festival all in one article, but that dinner was too special not to have its own feature article. If you couldn’t make it this year, mark your calendar for the last Friday in August, and you’ll be glad you did. Next week, we’ll wrap things up with a piece on the Festival. Lake County has a lot going on this weekend! I hope you have time for the Fair. Be sure to check out the Big Calendar to see what’s going on each day. There’s live music all weekend long, and let’s not forget about the boat races–you’re missing out if you haven’t seen them. And Saturday, the Lakeport Auto Movies celebrate National Cinema Day with $3 everything. How fun is that? Enjoy your holiday 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 – 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.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN THE POWER’S OUT AND THERE’S FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN? A STORY OF LAKE COUNTY

It’s getting dark outside, and inside the Rosenthals’ tasting room, it’s even darker. The power’s already off in Middletown, and battery-powered lanterns, LED candles and glasses of wine sit on the tables, around which sit groups of women committed to our county and part of the local Soroptimist group.

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