Published November 30, 2013
Sonoma County Life
For the last five years I have imposed upon my wonderful friends, Sally and David, and joined the festivities they host for Thanksgiving. They have a wonderful tradition of inviting long time friends to share in a day that cannot be topped. I am easily the newest addition to this event – well maybe not, come to think of it. It is a collection of couples and singles who had paths cross in Silicon Valley and most have some sort of technical background. This adds to dinner conversation and actually does liven up the event as things are discussed in that scientific detail only the technical truly appreciate. Part of the tradition is the playing of Sock Golf. It is a great activity that gets one out and moving between lunch (yes, there is lunch!) and the Thanksgiving Feast. This year my son-in-law donated two kegs of home brew beer – one dark lager and a pale ale – for everyone to enjoy. I usually stick around home to avoid the lunch but this year the kegs were there and I had the spigots! So I needed to get there for the quenching of early thirsts. The beer was a real hit and may need a repeat someday.
Hole 1 – with socks so very close!
The first reaction when I discuss the activities of the day is, “What is Sock Golf?” I had never known the origin of the game and wondered if it was an invention of our hosts. The premise is similar to golf – there is a Tee Box (in this case a rectangular area) where you can begin your turn, you count the number of strokes (this is tosses) that it takes to get into the hole (which is an above ground bucket). The major difference is that instead of hitting a ball with clubs, you toss a sock that has sand tied up in the toe. This may seem easy but it is actually quite difficult. Definitely there is no rolling into the hole. And then there are the penalties. My partner had to count a penalty toss because his sock became entangled in an olive tree and did not return to the ground. There are tosses given if you hit the roof of the winery which happens to be in the path of hole 9. And if you hit a grapevine there is not only a toss to count but hell to pay!
We all had great fun. I found it much easier to carry my beer cup than the wine glasses of previous years. It may have helped me as Roger and I won this year! Since the score is a “best sock” scoring such as “best ball” in golf, Roger’s penalty was not a factor and he played quite well on the rest of the course.
Out on the Course
Hole 5 is a Challenge with the Hole Next to the Vines
After the game the crowd gathered on the terrace for refreshments and lunch leftovers while the turkey rested and the side dishes were heated. The winners were announced and much to my surprise it was Roger and me. I felt that David must have made an error but Roger told me to accept the bottle of Siduri Ewald Vineyard Pinot Noir graciously which I readily did. We learned that prior to moving to Sebastopol, David and Sally were introduced to Sock Golf on the beach in 1997 while visiting other friends for Thanksgiving. This was the 13th Annual Sock Golf Tournament at Ewald Vineyards.
The feast was amazing with each person bringing their best. A wonderful day, topped off with a scrumptious array of desserts. This is Thanksgiving in Sonoma County like no other.
Sally with Desserts
This year has sailed by and I am somewhat aghast that it is November and only days until Thanksgiving. I started the month with a party to thank all of my clients who have stuck by me through all of my travails. It was a joy to open my new little home and share the life that I manage with friends. The party went most of the day and at the end I was happy and very tired.
I spent a couple of days on the Central Coast this month. It was nice to be away from my phone and not dealing with escrows and listings for two whole days. It really seemed like a vacation. The scenery was beautiful and the company excellent. It was great to get away and just as terrific to come back home.
The weather has been very odd this year. It is still warm during the day but very cool at night – down in the 30s. What amazes me is all the plants that are in bloom. I have roses in the back yard and azaleas in the front. Last week there was a beautiful camellia blossom in front and the plant is about to burst with hundreds of bulging buds. Usually in November I am looking to find a couple of poor examples of roses in the garden to bring a festive air to the table. This year it has not been a problem at all. Jan Tolmasoff of Russian River Roses fame had a rose evening in celebration of her recent published article in the American Rose, the official publication of the American Rose Society. She discussed the pairing of roses and wine (these roses don’t look like November stragglers!) and the rose perfume and oil that she and her husband, Michael. produce. Russian River Roses is located outside of Healdsburg and is the real thing for rosarians looking to purchase high quality bushes and visit a beautiful extensive garden. There is a rose allee of eight 12′x12′ arches that can take my breath away.
How I know that it is about Thanksgiving is that the Joy Road Art Walk was this last weekend. The weather was fabulous and the people came out in droves. It was wonderful to see. I managed to get in and out without buying anything but not because there wasn’t great things to acquire. I am still remembering how I had too much “stuff” to fit into my new home. That will seem even more so when I start decorating for Christmas. I have not done more than hang the stockings for the last two years since I was off to Hawaii for Christmas – but this year I will be home and spending time with my family.
Only two more days until one of the happiest days of the year. I have made my cranberry sauce and started buying for the Thanksgiving feast. I plan to do my best at the yearly sock golf (yes, that has become a tradition) and not overeat.
I look back on everything I have done this month and wonder how I fit it all in. But then I am gearing up for a busy December.
I have been remiss in getting this lovely listing on this blog. I have no good excuse. The listing has been promoted every other way that I know and I have let my blog lag. 2250 Joy Road is about a half mile down the road from where I lived before my move into Sebastopol. The current owner has loved this home and spot but has come to the realization that it is time to move into town. Does that sound familiar? While I drove passed this home every day on my way to and from work, I did not know it was there. Situated on the back half of a 1.18 acre lot, there is a cover of trees and a lovely meadow between Joy Road and the home. Ample parking is along the driveway and a large paved turn around area at the front of the house that leads to the two car garage.
The home has three bedrooms and two baths to the right of the entryway. The entryway has oak flooring with inlaid detail to give a touch of style to the home. The oak flooring extends into the hallway to the bedrooms, the kitchen and the den/office. The living room, dining room and master bedroom open to the sunny meadow with a deck off of the master bedroom for lounging in the sun. Off of the den is a large deck for shaded afternoon entertaining or just a nap in nature.
Living is easy in this home. The laundry room and powder room are off of the den which is easily accessible from the kitchen, side deck or garage. The den is currently used as an office but I see it as the place I would live year round with its oak floors, great lighting, slider to the deck and spot for a wood burning stove. Of course, there is the sitting area in the kitchen with cabinetry and TV unit where I could sit right in the middle of the household activity.
This is a beautiful home on enough land to feel private but not so much that it is a large undertaking to maintain. I can dream about living here – maybe you can, too, If you want to see additional pictures, let me know. Of course, I have them.
When I moved to Winding Wood Way, I expected that I would learn to live with neighbors and hear the sounds of human existence over the hoots of owls, growls of raccoon and wind in the redwoods. I have been surprised at how quiet my new neighborhood is. I see folks walking their dog or pulling out in their car but other than those activities, I hardly see anyone and seldom have the chance to meet.
So I was very excited to learn that a workday and potluck was planned for last Sunday. The entrance to our little street was flanked by grass and with a group of frustrated gardeners in residence, this was not an acceptable situation. The homeowner’s association had planned a perennial garden to spruce up along the sidewalk and the ground was prepared by the maintenance fellows. At around 11 AM the group was gathered and the planting was underway.We were finished in no time. I had planned to spend the whole day and decided that I should use this time to work in my own little back yard. It is still a mess so you will not be seeing a picture of it as yet. I planted a rose which generated a tub of topsoil that I have no idea where to dispose. I then decided that it was time for the privet growing along the back fence to go. Soon my yard was not only full of pots, plants and topsoil but the debris of a 10 foot privet! By this time I was totally exhausted and a bit downtrodden. How was I going to dispose of the mess I had just made?
Off I went to the picnic at the common area by the vegetable gardens. I am going to have to sign up for one of these gardens and hopefully next year I can grow eggplant and peppers and onions and zucchini. There is no time for that until I get my own garden habitable.
I met neighbors whom I had never seen and shared a wonderful meal. I shared that I had just generated a great deal of debris and did not have a green bin for disposal. I was told of someone who had offered theirs for the communal workday but was not needed. I drove home yesterday thinking about how I might need to go door to door until I found the person with the empty bin.
What a wonderful surprise when I got home and a green bin was in my driveway! Community is a wonderful thing.
While I do not live on the coast, Bodega Harbour is one on my favorite hangouts. The Links golf course is beautiful and usually one of my best scoring courses. That is a surprise to most golfers as the Links at Bodega Harbour has a reputation of being a ball eater golf course. I do well because I don’t hit the ball very far and I mostly hit it straight. I am lucky enough to be invited to the annual Invitational tournament. This is a money maker for the local charities and I do my part.
Monday evening is the cocktail reception and auction which benefits the Analy High School (which is in Sebastopol) Girls Golf program. The theme this year was Midnight in Paris and the Parisian magic was in the air. The Invitational chair is none other than the lovely Katy Karrenbrock who spun her hostess web with all things French. A good deal of French champagne was consumed to provide the flower vases for tables.
My Team – Pat, Lorraine, Jean and me
Foursomes dressed in the theme and I was part of the French Maids. We were a big hit at the party and were a contrast to the stripped shirts and red neck scarves. With the gale winds, we did not play very well but we had a great deal of fun and were pleased to not come in at last place!If you are out at the coast and have a morning to play golf, you cannot pick a better activity. The scenery is beautiful and the course is interesting. I definitely suggest a cart as the hills are significant and the folks behind you will be unhappy.
The Bluewater Bistro is a cut above the usual golf course fare. It has the best view in Bodega Bay. We ended our round with a luncheon of prizes, wine and great food – all with wonderful company.
The Sign of a Good Party
Did you know where the term Dog Days comes from? I had no idea until I heard it a few weeks ago in conversation and decided that I needed to know. It turns out that the term was introduced before the Bible was written. The Greeks and the Romans believed that the warm, sultry days were caused by the rising of Sirius, the DOG star, in the constellation of Canis Major (Big Dog). They sacrificed a red dog to appease the star in hopes of avoiding many hot days. I wonder if the dog was a Basenji? Having spent about 15 years with a Besenji, Zephyr, I can imagine them being victim to this fate. But that is another story all together. t I loved Zephyr and mourned his death. But he was a handful. Historically, this time was July and August but I have remembered the sultry days in California to always be in September and often encompassing Labor Day.
We certainly experienced the warm and sultry days the first week of September. And how better to embrace them than to have an evening enjoying the beautiful landscape and glorious foods of Sonoma County. Russian River wines, local cheeses, Forestville bread, home grown vegetables and Bodega Bay salmon made up the menu. The temperature was perfect. The setting was lovely. The company was entertaining. The sunset was inspiring.
I love going to the Sonoma County Fair. This year’s Fair was focused on “Home Spun Fun”. I love the emphasis on home and fun because that is what the fair is really about. While it is mostly the same each year, the flower gardens, the pictures, the quilts and the animals are different. My favorite is the roses. But a close second is the Hall of Flowers with the gardens. The theme this year is “Backyard Blossoms” and the flowers were magnificent. The Men’s Garden Club out did themselves and took home the Best In Show trophy. What a spectacular display of plants! My favorite was the wall of succulents with a water feature made of quarter inch mesh screen. Simple and inexpensive with a real impact. I would love to have this in my backyard. The rose show was once again dominated by my wonderful friends of Redwood Empire Rose Society. Gail Lee brought home the Best in Show for her arrangement. Each year the Rose Society has an information table during the rose displays to answer questions on roses and keep the displays watered. We got one new member this year during the fair which is always a bonus. I love this group of people. Many blue ribbons were given out and the information table was well visited even though we were allocated space behind the jams, pies and sewing projects.
Speaking of pies, the Gravenstein Apple Fair was in Ragle Ranch Park this last weekend. Visitors were greeted by the Patrick Amiot ram pictured above and the park was filled with artisans, chefs, antique apple machinery and bands. It was the County Fair petite! The one thing that the Apple Fair had that was not available at the county fair was homemade apple pie from the Community Church of Sebastopol. I must admit that it was my lunch that day!
A benefit of my new home is that I can walk to Ragle Ranch Park and I do so about three times a week. I took advantage of the proximity to go to the Apple Fair and avoided the parking struggles. They do have parking within the park but it is $7 and the cars parked outside of the gates reached almost to my home. I am loving living in Sebastopol.
Walker Apple Display at the Gravenstein Apple Fair