Save the Cross

I feel compelled to add this petition to my blog in order to help save a beautiful white Cross overlooking Spring Lake in Santa Rosa, California. Once my sister and I stood by the lake and painted the lake with the mountain and the white Cross on it. I still have my oil painting albeit unfinished. Little did I know the touching story behind it until now. Please read this about a boy, a friend and a Vet!

Save the Cross

Lake Sonoma’s Yorty Creek

We are a Lake family. Tom and I raised our kids practically on Lake Sonoma, specifically the Yorty Creek recreational area. Every chance we could get we would hang out on the beach, by the lake with our kids and our dog. The kids grew up out there. We brought grandparents, cousins, friends, visitors. Everybody we were close to, had to come with us to the lake; where we played, swam, kayaked and picnicked for days on end.

Back on April of 2010 we were coming out of, I will say a mini-drought. I wrote a blog post with pictures of the lake under drought conditions, but was happy to report in the same post that there was plenty of water from the latest storms for our summer adventures by the water.

Not this year though. Never in 26 years have I seen the lake…empty. It’s dry, ugly, murky and pretty much looks like the dead sea. We walked along the dry, barren cliffs, kicking around dust and clods of dirt. Finding fresh water clams, of course dead. We were actually I think stunned, silent and just walking, each one of us in our own world of thoughts. Disoriented even, the landscape looked that different! Wondering what happened? Where was our beautiful lake? Where is the water? Why hasn’t it rained? Even the sporadic green bushes were gone. We tried fishing it to no avail. Weary hunters passed us by silently, looking like they too were disheartened by the whole day.

We are in a serious drought. I realized standing there, how we must never take our water for granted. How we need to thank God for it. How we really need to do a rain dance and pray for rain. This lake is our drinking supply and for our farming and wine industry. We have a fish hatchery connected to the lake and annual spawning, salmon runs. This year is really, bad. What will happen to us if we don’t get rain next year? I couldn’t bare to think past that… This is a depressing post, I know. But, the reality of it all is there and posted here for you to see.

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Sugarloaf Mountain

                           

                   

Last weekend for my daughter’s birthday we took a trip to Sugar Loaf Ridge State Park off Highway 12 in Kenwood,Ca. Spring is the perfect time of year to visit as the weather was just right! Hiking, picnicking, stargazing at the Robert Ferguson Observatory, and camping are fun activities available at the park. I noticed some campers braved the still, chilly nights and pitched their tents along the stream, but the best reason to visit the park in spring is to catch the wildflowers in bloom! The tall, willowy grasses are green this time of year, blanketing the hills and splashed with colorful wild flowers lining the trails that meander throughout the park. Deep shades of purple lupin, pale yellow lilies and pretty white faces of yarrow and California poppies are throughout the park, to name a few. http://www.calflora.org/ Dogs are not allowed on the trails so my dog and I had fun moseying along the road, photographing the wildflowers while the teenagers hung out at the picnic table chatting; too cool to walk with me I guess! The road leads to the Robert Ferguson Observatory where you can stargaze. http://www.rfo.org I could see the California Mule Deer grazing on the grassy mountains in the distance while I was enjoying the view. When you visit here, you are lower on the food chain, so be aware of your surroundings as mountain lions could be lurking! This is a perfect place to start your summer “hot bod” by hiking straight up the trail to the top of Bald Mountain! If you are super fit then park your car before the park entrance at the trail head that leads to a gorgeous waterfall. (I can never find the parking turnout and trail head so just drive up and ask the ranger). Once you find the pullout and trail head, hike down the mountain to the waterfall which takes you to a magical place lush with green ferns, moss and a beautiful canopy of trees. I think I just saw a leprechaun…moment. Bring your camera and take your family’s next Christmas photo here to send to your friends! Pack your lunch as you will want to hang out awhile before you make the steep climb back up. (I suggest you have your heart checked out first with your doctor before you do this hike!) Also, In the summer there might not be a waterfall, as the creek that feeds it gets low, so ask the ranger first before you go! This is a State Park and has a fee. Click http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=481 for more information. Have fun!

My Trip to Italy and France

Hi, Thank you Sonoma Harvest, aka Lynda for letting me blog today about our trip. My family and I spent ten days in Europe. The first stop was to Rome and Frascati, Italy. Then we spent time in Paris, France. Here are pictures from our journey. Bb

Roman Ruins:

Our trip to Rome was primarily for a sporting event, however getting the chance to visit the Coliseum, the Pantheon and the Forum and other ruins were but a few of the sites we gazed upon while contemplating what great people built them and what tragic events led to the fall of the Roman Empire. That said, it is still unbelievably beautiful and lends great thought to the imagination of who could create such colossal architecture and what will become of all that we know now around us in our great civilization today.
In the end, what remains are stories told by historians, paintings left in the Vatican, and ruins and relics of yesteryear. As you look upon these photos think of what you see around you today, be thankful, and realize that all that is green is not here to stay…and soon it too will fade away…leaving only memories.

Frascati Fresh:

Frascati is a village of gastronomic delight, more than what feeds the appetite and not less than what feeds the soul. Walking around the courtyard in front of the church in the city center or along the promenade that over looks Rome one gets the sense of walking back in time where three generations of Italian families have found a way to stave off the fast-paced fury of life that consumes most of us on a daily basis-no multimedia, iPod, iPad, computer, laptop, notebook, cell phone or television is needed here. Certainly there is no need for texting either. No, all you need in Frascati are a few euros, a fresh crepe with Nutella from the midnight vendor, or a gelato and a smile, and the time to watch their elders smoke cigars, while the teenagers move around the square sizing each other up, a first glance, a first kiss, or just hanging around, eyeing one another, all the while the young children scurry about making up games to play while the tourists meander around them obliviously disconnected from the bond that allows this to happen all at once…

Yes-spending time in Frascati will help you remember, or not if you never experienced it, what it used to be like when people enjoyed spending time with each other, three generations, all in the same house, and in this case the same village, in a warm winter night with laughter in the air….

Parisian Pleasure:

Paris certainly is busy, and offers many places to visit, but what stands out among the other places to visit is the Rue Mouffetard, in the Latin Quarter, a place for young writers, lovers, artisans, paysans, Parisians, tourists and the like.
What makes Rue Mouffetard special is not the dining pleasure and patisseries on every corner, which are beyond the norm of what culinary delights cross the palate, but a sense of walking into one of Monet’s impressionist paintings. Every light, store front, alleyway, bicyclist, and passer-by could be the next impression imbued on your mind which becomes a memory not to be forgotten.

Louvre Love:

If you are a romantic then you must spend some time in the Louvre where you will fall in love with the artists ability to capture every breadth and brush stroke of beauty that crossed their sight.
Art is an imitation of life, and life is present in art!
Bb

My friend Bb

Hello Friends, I’ve been indoors, it seems all month long in Northern California with deluges of heavy rain. I’m happy to say we are officially out of the drought! My surroundings are gorgeous and green like Switzerland or Austria, complete with snow-capped mountains! I haven’t been able to travel much, so I thought it would be fun to travel vicariously through my friend Bb. He will be posting soon through my blog on his fantastic trip to Italy and France. Stay tuned!