Trudy Wakefield

Trudy is the owner and editor for The Bloom. The Bloom's dedicated to showcasing all the good parts of life. If it's good news, you'll probably find it here.

What’s Up This Week – 3.1.24

The irony struck me when I made the wrong turn in Lakeport and found myself in the lake. Yep, the lake had flooded part of a street that I was driving on. It’s not every day we get to drive in our lake, and yet, very recently, I did just that. Winter seems to be in its prime, and yet the yellow daffodils are everywhere. Cherry blossoms are at their peak, and the sweet songs of birds can be heard between these storms, all promising us that Spring is already here and will win in the end, and the drought is that much further behind us. See, I’m still not complaining about the rain!

This week, I realized that I’ve written another Mexican restaurant review. I usually try to spread things and themes out a bit. But in my defense, it’s a taqueria and not a restaurant this time. Then catch up with our most recent Pay It Forward article, a new piece in the Our Voice column, the Music Guide, some good news, and a bit of local history. Stay safe, dry, and warm, Lake County!

The Ultimate Burrito

Now, I’ve been in pursuit of the perfect burrito, and it turns out I’ve already found it! 
It’s a hot summer’s night on Main Street in Kelseyville, Lake County, when the air is still, and vapors of sunlight have already saturated the earth. Music plays from the stage where friends gather, swaying to the tunes. Patrons enjoy local fairs before joining in the fun at one of the Keleyville’s Kickin’ it in the Country street dance. My family and I are one of them. And at every street dance, we get John’s Market Taqueria burritos.

What’s Up This Week – 2.23.24

Have you ever self-diagnosed? I was sure I had allergies until I saw a pulmonologist who said I had a treatable case of asthma leftover from Covid. Then, I found myself with an ENT because my ears were bothering me. After she searched, probed, and explored every orifice on my head, I found out I have a complete blockage of my sinuses, which can be easily fixed. But before I could address that issue, my doctor sent me to see a cardiologist (yes, another doctor) because I have a non-threatening heart murmur. After a jovial conversation with her, she sent me to get an echocardiogram and a stress test for my heart. I wanted to decline the offer but decided to go ahead with it because doctors so love their tests. Fun Fact: Did you know that when you are getting an echocardiogram, and the clinician says to squeeze your stomach, they don’t mean with your hand? Yes, I’ll keep that thought just between us. Here’s another Fun Fact: Did you know that when you do a stress test, you wear nothing but your birthday suit from the waist up? Yes, I wore a gown, but I don’t count a barely tied-together open-in-the-front hospital gown as an article of clothing. It makes sense when you consider the number of bells and whistles connected to me. 

As I ping-pong between my doctor’s appointments and they review each other’s tests, you should see the satisfaction on their faces, marveling at each other’s handiwork on me, their guinea pig. The good news is other than my sinuses, I am healthy and well, and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel after nearly a year of tests, tests, and more tests. Soon, I will go back to just annual check-ups. That is if I don’t self-diagnose again!

This week, I continue my Blue Zones journey with you, and Kathleen tells us all about Lakeport’s newest park! Then we have a lovely short story in the Our Voice column, the Music Guide, some good news, and of course, more local history. Have a great weekend, Lake County, and stay safe and healthy!

Power Nine: Part 1 – Food

Well, I thought we’d get the “diet” out of the way when I tell you about my two-year Blue Zone journey with food–one of the Power of 9 principles. Two things that I love about the Blue Zones are that it’s carb-friendly and loves wine. Whew, that was a close one! First of all, this is a lifestyle, not a diet. Instead of forcing you to remove carbs or drink shakes, Blue Zones encourages increasing your plant-based foods while eating smaller portions of meat and dairy. I realized I had to live with the changes I made forever, not just for a short time like I would on “diets.” That took some real thought. And here are some tricks I’ve learned so far.

What’s Up This Week – 2.16.24

This week, life has gone back to normal in our home: meaning, life with Wifi and electricity, of all things. And although the weather is telling us we are still in the middle of winter, I noticed the calling and “tweet tweet” of our birds’ return and the first bit of green from our tulips. Spring is in the air. For those of you who commute to Mendocino, Napa, and Sonoma, you are already seeing wildflowers! And one more thing I’ve seen this year: so much color in gray. I know how weird that sounds, but with enough visibility, rolling hills bring layers and colors of gray that have captured my attention. It is sheer beauty. There is no doubt that this rain will bring a spectacular spring!

This week I am happy to tell you about a new restaurant. Well, it’s new to me, not to Lake County. Then we’ll catch up on the recent Pay It Forward article, a poem in the Our Voice column, and all the usuals. And for those of you who are small business owners, The Bloom is offering special ad rates just for you! Contact The Bloom for details. We would love to help your business grow. Have a great weekend, Lake County.

What’s Up This Week – 2.9.24

Well, Cobb got its first snow day of the season. Unfortunately, it also brought damaging rain and a windstorm along with it. The devastation is unspeakable. We were lucky; only an oak branch broke and fell on our roof, hanging over our electrical wires. Thanks to PG&E and a local arborist, we have a plan to get it removed without causing more damage. 

Others did not fare so well. Trees blocked roads, preventing people from leaving their homes, and numerous homes had trees fall on them. In areas where so many trees fell, it looked like matchsticks blown over, leaving massive power outages and no internet for days. That’s the bad news. The good news is the stories of neighbors helping neighbors and everyone coming together to do what they can to help. And in record time, considering the massive damage, PG&E and our county have been tirelessly working to restore power, clear roadways, set up a warming shelter, give away food bags, provide showers, and so much more. And so, as this week comes to an end, I can’t help but feel grateful. So many lives threatened have been spared. Sure, there’s a lot of damage, but that can be fixed. Sometimes, we are reminded that every day is a gift, and today is no exception. So, I will continue to be grateful for life and the community I live in and thankful for all who have lent a helping hand this week.

With a whole lot of distractions and days without power and internet, I’m going to keep things short and simple this week and let Kathleen take the lead when she tells us all about feathers. How calming and wonderful is that! Then we’re going jump right to the Music Guide, a little bit of good news and some local history. I’m going to take more than a minute to focus on gratitude as things slip back into the ordinary and life resumes its normal rhythm and routine. I hope you do, too. And whatever your plans are for the weekend, be safe, Lake County.

Experiencing Boggs Lake Ecological Reserve and Project of the Nature Conservancy

Lake County is far from boring, even in the winter months. Between the rain storms, the sun always returns and graces us with winter’s cooler temperatures, making it quite possibly the most comfortable time of year for hikes of all abilities. And winter may be the perfect time to experience the wonders of Boggs Lake Preserve. This forty-six-acre mountainous lake echoes times past when water slapped the tree-edged shoreline, providing a scenic place for hunting and fishing for its first caretakers, the Native Americans. Its natural habitat still attracts waterfowl and animals of all kinds. 

The Power of 9: The Key to a Full and Happy Life

Well, it’s that time of year again. We’re either still fully committed to our New Year’s resolutions, we get to them when we think about it, or we just don’t get to it at all (We can live with the guilt just fine, thank you.) Or maybe you’re the one who is already living out your fullest potential! Wherever you are in the spectrum, have hope; this isn’t a diet article! The Bloom has partnered with the Blue Zones Project – Lake County because it’s all about living the fullest and happiest life possible. That doesn’t mean focusing on clothes size but rather considering all aspects of our lives, including our mental and emotional well-being.

For the next few months, I’ll be exploring the Blue Zone’s Power 9 principles. And did I mention it’s not a diet? Well, I’m saying it again. Rather, it’s a total well-being process. Look at the nine principles and see for yourself.

Coffee Cake to Impress

Nothing says comfort food more than what comes out of the oven, right? One of our family’s favorite breakfasts starts with a Betty Crocker-inspired Sour Cream Coffee Cake. With the help of a bundt pan and a little glaze, it becomes nothing short of decadence not only to the eye but, most importantly the tastebuds. 

Holiday Reading from The Bloom: A Child’s Christmas in Wales

Over the years, our family has enjoyed some Christmas reading. We’ve read through The Little Match Girl, The Elves and the Shoemaker, A Christmas Carol, Sherlock Holmes and The Adventures of the Blue Carbuncle, and many other great stories. But one of our favorites is poet Dylan Thomas’ A Child’s Christmas in Wales, which we read every Christmas Eve. It’s a beautiful story that shares Christmas memories from over one hundred years ago. If you’re looking for an enjoyable short read, here’s a link to a public domain version:http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks07/0701261h.html

Wishes and Longings For the Holidays

This week, some of us are missing those we’ve lost. For some, it is a loved one taken from us too soon. For others, it may be a lost relationship of our choosing or theirs. Many of us just wish things could be different for one reason or another. Oh, sure, we put off or disconnect the unpleasant feelings in any way possible despite being inundated with holiday cheer. We tell ourselves, “If only I had. . .” or “If only this were true. . .” But it’s not that simple. 

Breathtaking Wine, Amazing Food, Fantastic Experience: On the Waterfront

The November evening rests calm and crisp. The hustle and bustle of the weekday has turned into a peaceful twilight. In Library Park, the gazebo shines, gently lit by the reflections of streetlights. Even the lake, now dark purple and shimmering, seems at ease. And just across the street from the park, you’ll find On the Waterfront, Lake County’s new tasting room and restaurant. Warmly lit, it welcomes visitors to come in, sit back, and relax for a while. The back wall is filled with hundreds of bottles of Sol Rouge wines, known as some of the best in the United States and winners of more awards than you can count. To the left is the tasting room, but we’re headed to the right, where we sit at a table in the dining area. Behind us, a wall of backlit bottles glows warmly while big band music plays quietly in the background.

Three Must-Visit Antique Stores in Lake County

Not too long ago, I found myself lost in time in one of our local antique stores. There in front of me stood a cream and brown metal range and oven kitchenette, every detail thoughtfully in place from a little sink to two burgers, oven, and shelves with storage. Once I got past the shock and realization that, yes, I am old enough to see some of my childhood toys in an antique store, acceptance set in. Suddenly, I was six again, making muffins, pies, and cookies in my own playroom, serving my tasty morsels to my imaginary company, and having the best time!

If you are an antique lover, we’ve got some great places to explore. Here are three must-visit antique stores in Lake County.


“Do you think we’re going the right way”? I ask, brushing a leaning corn stalk from my face. The Fall sun filters through the maze around us as we turn down a trail cut through the never-ending cornfield. I hear chatter and voices of other visitors coming from somewhere just out of sight.

“I have no idea. I’m not the one leading the way,” David chuckles as we shuffle along behind our kids.

“It’s a dead-end,” announces our son. We all turn to retrace our steps. We’re about a third of the way in the maze, and our goal at this point is to get to the snack shack provided Wildhurst Vineyard. Walking through the fourteen-foot tall corn, it seems that the maze is bigger this year. More invisible shouts and giggles draw closer, then fade away again as others continue to get lost.

Mad Mac’s Knows Good Food

It’s a bright fall day. The first colors of autumn leaves reluctantly give way to the shorter days and cooler nights. It’s a quiet, calm evening at Mad Mac’s Bar and Grill just off Highway 20 in the heart of Clearlake Oaks. A young couple casually make their way inside, even though it’s cool enough to enjoy the spacious outdoor patio seating. Inside, a full bar welcomes locals for a quick bite and friendly conversation. 

The Ripe Choice Experience

Have you ever experienced something so wonderful that you struggle to find the words to describe it? That’s me at The Bloom’s Five-Year Anniversary party at Ripe Choice Farm and Catering. I’d been in contact with Tammy Lipps, owner of Ripe Choice, for several weeks leading up to the event. I knew I wanted it to be something unique and memorable. Although several of our restaurants promise all those things, I knew I was looking for something a little more intimate, quiet, and off the beaten path.

Welcome to the Ripe Choice Farm: The early evening glow reluctantly gives way to the onshore breeze that promises cooler temperatures. But for now, a glass of sparkling wine, under twinkling lights and the small chatter amongst friends, makes for a delightful distraction. The barn’s high ceiling helps absorb the day’s warmth amongst its exposed wood.

The setting seems right, country, rustic, and yet elegant. Locally grown flowers adorn the center of the tables. Linen napkins and a formal place setting all promise tonight is not an ordinary Sunday evening.

The Bloom Turns Five!

Well, well, well, The Bloom is turning five! Can you believe it? I feel like a proud parent bragging about their kid. And perhaps that’s appropriate when considering how The Bloom became The Bloom.

Five years ago, the editor of The Middletown Mercury announced his retirement. It was a huge bummer for us readers because it was one of the only sources of good news about Lake County.

So my husband and I had the crazy idea of taking over the Mercury, you know, as a hobby. Well, six weeks later, we became proud owners of a local newspaper. But, for a few legal reasons, we couldn’t keep the name or the subscription list, so we were on our own.

Blue Wing Celebrates Blue Zones Approval

Rarely have I had a meal so thoughtfully prepared and served. The Blue Wing serves consistently good food, so when I learned that they had just become Blue Zones approved in Lake County, I couldn’t resist attending their celebratory dinner; I have already learned that anything Chef Pablo Aguilar does will be nothing short of breathtaking.

The late August evening brings its predictable slow, leisurely pace when the days are still long, and dining under the late sun’s rays is almost a requirement for any dinner in Lake County. Welcome to the Blue Wing’s courtyard.

Escape to Finch Gardens

Just when one thinks they know all the hidden gems in Lake County, Lake County never ceases to prove one wrong.

The sun stands high in the firmament all summer long. Its rays bring radiant, glowing life to all it touches. All things green reach and lean toward its sustenance, and we gleam from their nourishing fruit while they tantalize our eyes with their glory. Gold embers of the sun’s hues frame and mold the weaving greens and bright floral colors of vines, branches, trees, and flowers, of Finch Garden. Helen greets my husband and me when we park in front of her home.

The Organ’s Breath of Life: Experiencing the Power of 7,455 Pipes

It is an unmatched sound that most of us have heard many times before. Its reverberating music fills the ear and body with notes high so high they prick the ears and so low they shake the ground. Collectively, its delicious music brings a full-body encounter. Nothing quite compares to an organ’s music, but absolutely nothing compares to listening to it in a cathedral. Welcome to the monthly organ recital at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. 

Get Away From it All: Wild Diamond Vineyards

Let’s face it; Lake County is truly the place you go to get away from the real world. There are few better ways to leave the city, relax, and enjoy some incredible wine. Let me take you on an adventure. 

It all starts on Spruce Grove Road–meander through rural Lake County before turning on the gravel driveway that winds upward towards Wild Diamond Vineyards. Traverse an oak grove, winding higher and higher in elevation as the oaks slowly turn to pine trees. That’s when you know you’re almost there. At the tasting room–or more accurately, mountain top–the world turns truly silent and still. A strong breeze greets you first as you step out of your car, a reminder that the world is far, far below.

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