Monday, November 29, 2010

The Lone Cypress

The winter tree against December's sky
Has never stood more poignantly than now;
There is no leaf to soothe its tragic lines.
But far beyond the landscape of the eye,
Within the core, within the barren bough,
Faith lies with life, inseparably entwined.

Poem by Dora Hagemeyer (1891-1989)

A Poet of Nature, the late Dora Hagemeyer was a fixture of the Carmel, California literary scene. For fifteen years, her column the "Poetry Corner" appeared in the local newspaper, The Pine Cone.

Spending this December on the California Central Coast, not far from the scene in this painting.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Doing the Turkey Trot

Since Thanksgiving is here...

Let's talk Turkey.

These brave wild turkeys were recently sighted in downtown Marina, CA.

Checking in at the local mall and post office...

They then took to the sidewalks...

And paused for a political campaign endorsement...

Made a pit stop at the local Chevron station...

Then were off ... Scurrying into the bush.
Some nights when I open the bedroom window, I can hear the sound of wild turkeys in the back field. Some nights I also hear the howl of coyotes , and I wonder if they are having turkey for Thanksgiving dinner too.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Evening at the Mission ~ Night at the Hacienda

Travel down the Camino Real of California's Central Coast, and you will come upon the 18th century Mission San Antonio de Padua, the third of the missions founded by Father Junipero Serra.

Each year the Mission hosts an "Evening in the Garden" festival. The entire complex is adorned with church candles, swags of autumn leaves and tables with arrangements of nature's bounty.

Costumed musicians play music evocative of both the Colonial and the Hispanic heritage of the area.

The tables are laden with local food and wines.

And the paths in the Garden are lit with luminaries.

One mile down the road is the Hacienda Guest Lodge - a perfect place for a sleepover.

The Hacienda is a Spanish revival white stucco and red tile roof building. which was built by newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst in the 1930's. It was designed by Julia Morgan who was the architect of his San Simeon Castle. Hearst used the Hacienda as a working ranch, and as a guest house for his famous friends-Jean Harlowe, Clark Gable, Errol Flynn, Marion Davies, Will Rogers, and Dick Powell.

In 1940, Hearst sold the building to the US Army. Today the Lodge is located on the grounds of Fort Hunter Liggett Miltary Reservation, but is open to the public. There are 4 tower rooms, 2 garden rooms, and 5 cowboy rooms with bathrooms down the hall. So you can stay in a room once occupied by Clark and Jean, or Erroll. Oh if the walls could talk!

Many touches from Hearst's day remain-including this mural in what is now the breakfast room.

At the entrance to the base, is this old general store. It will soon be the site of a group tasting room for the wineries of the San Antonio Valley wine region. This undiscovered area produces some outstanding full-bodied red wines.

Already Planning a Return Trip,

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Happy Girl in the Kitchen

We knew that an eery scene lurked behind the door of the fruit cellar in the basement. Inside were shelf after shelf of old Mason jars filled with murky liquids of unknown contents, which seemed to continually bubble and ooze. To us kids these looked more like failed anatomy experiments,

than successful turns at domestic science.

No wonder that it took me years to appreciate the nuances of home preserved food.

But happily today I am a convert!

That is why I am so delighted with our new "foodie" neighbor...

This inspired food concept business was created by the husband and wife team, Todd and Jordan Champagne. Well-known on the local outdoor organic market scene, they are producers and retailers of fine preserves and canned goods sourced from local organic produce. Recently they opened shop in Pacific Grove, CA.

There in a state-of-the-art professional open-view kitchen, they prepare their popular Happy Girl Kitchen products, which are sold in-house and on-line,

and hold workshops on Home Canning and Preserving Techniques.

Workshops on Raspberries, Blackberries and Strawberries; Heirloom Tomatoes; Apples, Pears and Quince; Pickles; and Marmalades.

A cosy cafe serves excellent teas and coffee, and delicious old-fashioned cinnamon buns.

Proponents of "food that feeds your soul", the owners are very community minded, and envision this space as a multi-functional food event center.