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.
Our latest Lake County business feature was Gillian Gallagher, owner of The Angry Baker Kitchen Store, who chose to Pay it Forward to Sandra Campos, owner of Fixin’ It Up with Sandra. The catch is that I will not choose the next business to interview, but the current spotlighted business will choose who I will interview next. Local businesses will Pay it Forward. Fixin’ It Up with Sandra is a unique store offering homemade and hand-selected distinctive gifts – everything from homemade festive wreaths to room sprays to a wide array of homemade candles and more.
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.
As I was juicing some fragrant apples left for us by the visiting black bears, I held some of the shiny mahogany-colored apple seeds in my hands. I recalled the kids’ entertaining themselves by stringing seeds for necklaces after using my super heavy, old Champion juicer back in the day. Simple pleasures. The apple seeds also brought to mind the diverse ways nature has of distributing seeds. Seed dispersal is unique to each species.
There we sat week after week, watching the surf and our kids attempting to catch the perfect wave to ride into shore. Occasionally they got carried in standing, but more often than not, they came into shore tumbling and rolling. The thought of joining them in the wash cycle of the ocean didn’t seem all that appealing. Onlookers looked on with a little envy and wonder. There is definitely the feeling that those in the water were the cool people, and those of us on the beach in our dry clothes were definitely missing out. They were in the water, and we were not. Plain and simple.
I am happy to present to you our second local business spotlighted in the Pay it Forward feature – The Angry Baker Kitchen Store. The Angry Baker Kitchen Store is a boutique kitchen store offering unique gifts, expansive classes, gift registry and gift cards. Gillian has been known to create some mouth-watering temptations available at her store – everything from shortbread cookies to vanilla white chocolate cupcakes and much more.
The cool crisp air and clear nights make winter a great time of year for RV exploring. A stillness can almost be felt as nature slumbers in these shorter days and long nights. But it’s no bother with the added layer of a blanket and a hot beverage next to the crackling campfire, the only sound to be heard on this dark, peaceful night. Welcome to Quail Mesa Ranch, your Harvest Host for the evening.
January’s rains brought out a bevy of newts. Rather, I should say an ‘armada’ of newts, as the collective noun is called! According to the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website, up until now, the newts have been undercover, hiding beneath stones, leaf matter, in crevices, and under stumps where they hibernate during the cold weather.
Our local businesses deserve some love after the challenges from Covid-19 and our recent struggling economy. Every month two Lake County businesses will be highlighted through a unique series of questions. The catch is that I will not choose the next business to interview, but the current spotlighted business will choose who I will interview next. Local businesses will Pay it Forward.
Ten years ago, local theatre couple John Tomlinson and Barbara Clark shared the stage “examining love, lust, dating, and romance” in the two-person comedy Romantic Fools by Rich Orloff. Now, a decade later and married to each other, they are re-examining these characters and taking us along for the ride.
By mid-summer 2022, We’d become experts at RV camping. We found some kind of compromise between the comforts of RVing and the nostalgia of tent camping. While we enjoyed the comforts of a bathroom and kitchen on wheels, glamping chairs, and carpet to boot, we decided the sleeping bags would stay. After years of tent camping, sheets seemed wrong, while zip-up flannel bags somehow seemed like a token to the good old days, even in summer. This was our final resolution between the two worlds.
Recent cloud cover over Lake County sets a hopeful scene for much-needed rain. Normally, our county is the recipient of around 37 inches of the elixir of life. It does a heart good to witness the greening of our hills and valleys. Then, deer, elk, and large avian species such as ravens and turkeys stand out like silhouettes amongst the greensward. With almost any amount of precipitation, the liquid that makes life on our planet possible prompts our creeks and lakes to gleam and flicker as flashes of water flow into the various coffers.
“Do you hear that?” I asked after just stepping out of the Gaslight Grill on Main Street Lakeport. It was an ordinary Thursday evening, or so I thought. The winter chill and seasonal lights brought a festive glow and the perfect ending after a delicious dinner. We’d just finished a mouth-watering bacon blue cheese burger, fried pickles, a fresh seasonal salad, and a pint of good beer. It’s always the perfect meal experience with the friendliest faces and consistently some of the best food in Lakeport.
I’ll never forget the first time I found my favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant. You know the place I’m talking about. It’s all about the food, convenience, comfort, and, most of all, consistency. No, this isn’t where you go for a business meeting. You go there because it’s quick, convenient, and your personal favorite spot for any number of reasons.
A morning walk has me thinking about patterns in nature. The pinecone I happen upon has arranged itself into a swirl of notches and seeds. Logic and order lays itself out as though it is nothing out of the ordinary. Patterns in nature inspire both admiration and curiosity. Of course, human curiosity is nothing new, since philosophers and mathematicians have been pondering petals of a flower or observing the pattern of a tree’s rings for centuries.
The chartered tour bus winds up the mountain, swings around switchbacks, and groans against the steep grade before pulling out on a ridgeline that workers call the North Slope, referring to how cold it gets in the winter when the wind blows. Right now the clouds rest below the tops of the surrounding mountains, dropping a mist that promises to turn into full-blown rain. Tim Conant, Calpine’s Director of Engineering, steps out of the bus first, followed by Danielle Matthews Seperas, Director of Government and Community Affairs. Both hunch their shoulders against the breeze and walk to the edge of the ridgeline. Just below, one of many geothermal power plants hums away, turning treated recycled water into electricity.
“When you flush a toilet in Clearlake Oaks, we pipe it up here and inject it,” Tim Conant explained earlier at the visitor’s center located in Middletown. He pointed at a large, lit model stretching across the wall. “We get about eight million gallons a day from Lake County and twelve and a half million from Santa Rosa.”
South Lake County boasts a landscape of contrast with its bucolic Callayomi Valley set like a Grandma Moses painting when seen from Middletown’s Rabbit Hill. Placed along the Mayacamas Mountain Range to the east of the valley is beautiful Cobb Mountain, almost 5,000 feet in elevation and encompassing about 74 square miles of mixed pine forests, chaparral, and oak woodlands.
New Year’s Eve is one of the best party nights of the year. It’s a great chance to get together with friends, enjoy some good food, and laugh the night away. If, like me, you enjoy having a good time on December 31st, you may have experienced a vicious New Year’s Day hangover. You go to bed happy, albeit a bit dizzy, and wake up the next morning in misery. Your head’s pounding, your stomach’s in knots, and you can’t quite remember the three hours leading up to midnight. But have hope! (Sorry for the exclamation point; it even reads too loud.) Here are three great ways to handle a hangover.
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
The good news: it’s gonna be a pretty busy week in terms of holidays and observances, where Hannukkah started two days ago on Sunday, Winter Solstice happens on Wednesday, Christmas is on Sunday and the doubleheader of Kwanzaa and Boxing Day occurs on Monday. The bad news: because Christmas eve is on Saturday and Christmas Day is on Sunday, many places will be closed for these observances. But despite those days being sans live music, there’s at least one joint each day from Tuesday through Saturday to go out and get your live music fix. WOOHOO!!! Here’s the schedule, plus an updated NYE rundown for the week of 12/20 through 12/26.
With the first of the season’s snow appearing on Lake County’s mountains in November, I had the pleasure of running errands that took me across the county. South Lake County’s peaks, including Mt. Saint Helena, Schoolhouse Peak, and Cobb Mountain, were aglow with white good cheer. Through my camera’s viewfinder, I zoomed in on the velvety white cloak to spy on some superb beauty. Then, the coniferous forest’s intricacies appeared in my viewfinder, revealing fluffy white branches galore. From Lakeport, Cow Mountain and the ridge of Snow Mountain were also splendorous in their glowing white beauty.
Kelseyville’s a great place, perfect for an afternoon or a weekend away. Resting at the foot of Mt. Konocti, it has kept that small-town, country friendliness. Plus, holiday shopping doesn’t get any easier than on Main Street. Just park your car and spend the afternoon perusing shops filled with local goods, tasting at award-winning wineries, and enjoying some great places to eat. We’re highlighting seven great places here, but that’s just a start: Kelseyville’s chock-full of great shopping.
“Eenie weenie chili beanie, the spirits are about to speak!” Anybody out there remember where this famous quote came from? Here’s a hint… Boris Badenov referred to this dynamic duo as “Moose ‘n’ Squirrel.” Okay, times up! It’s a line from the Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, which aired from 1959 through 1964. Like most kids, I would watch cartoons, but this was pretty much the only one I really liked because it was silly in a Three Stooges sort of way – full of puns, sarcasm, self-referential dialog, and other socially unacceptable wordplays, especially so for impressionable children like I was. I would watch the show with friends, laughing hysterically – but they didn’t really get it. I could relate to the patience and empathy of Rocket J Squirrel, marveled at the perseverance of Bullwinkle J Moose, who never stopped trying despite his constant failures, and sneered at the comic depiction of Boris Badenov, Natasha Fatale, and Fearless Leader. This, to me, was cartooning at its comic best. Okay, maybe I’m entering into my second childhood, but I hope you don’t mind me including references to the show throughout this music schedule. Here’s the live music guide for the week of 12/13 through 12/19…
What is it about Christmas that leaves most of us feeling nostalgic? Is it a notion or a magical childhood for the fortunate filled with wonder looking back as they grow old? But what about those who struggle with overwhelming sadness during the long holiday season?
Lakeport’s Main Street still has many original buildings, and it’s pedestrian-friendly and filled with shops. It’s simple to just park the car, hop out, and spend the rest of the day strolling through the shops, eating, and enjoying great food. Plus, if you’re looking for a diversion, swing by Lakeport–the Courthouse Museum’s one of the best in the county, and it’s right on Main Street so that the trip won’t slow down your shopping groove.