Posts Tagged 'Forestville'

Resorts In Bloom

Casa Panama - Vacation Rental in Jenner


Another week has flown by.  I really believe that we have entered into summer.  With the rain going on and on, I was not the only person who thought it might slip back into winter mode.  But now the mornings are warm with blue skies and the evenings are like having a light blanket wrapped around the world.  I love this time of year.  I want to roam the garden in the morning and take it in from the porch in the evening.  It is a great time to show property and I will be doing that today.  

Last Saturday I was given two tickets to a new fund-raising event in the Russian River area – Resorts in Bloom.  It was a great way to spend a few hours with my dear friend, Phyllis.  The advertised concept was to visit the gardens of various lodging options around the Russian River and raise money for local charities.  Being gardening people, we could not pass it up.  We saw some beautiful outdoor vignettes but mostly we saw some great get-a-ways.   

Casa Panama is a vacation rental in Jenner which is where Hwy 116 (the road that travels from Hwy 101 through Sebastopol, Forestville, Guerneville and Monte Rio) ends at Hwy 1.  Jenner is a cute coastal town with a couple of good restaurants and spectacular views of the Russian River and Pacific Ocean.  I remember when the house that is now Casa Panama was on the market a number of years ago.  Wow, what a difference!  The terraced garden is spectacular and the home was reconfigured to give maximum advantage to the views.  You can check it out at    

Russian River from Casa Panama


 Equally private and just as beautiful in a very different way is CazSonoma Inn outside of Cazadero.  This establishment has been around for many, many years as the Cazanoma Lodge.  Don’t let the bumpy dirt road deter you from making it out to this delightful oasis in the redwoods.  It is nestled up against Kidd Creek and offers in lodge rooms and private cabins.  The restaurant is open May through Thanksgiving for dinner and Sunday Brunch.  Thought provoking and informative talks from astronauts to filmmakers are offered throughout the summer.  This is a hidden West Sonoma County gem.  Learn more at  

The Deck at CazSonoma Inn


 The gardens at the Farmhouse Inn in Forestville were beautiful, labeled and informative.  We were sorry to see that the rose garden in front is replaced with a lawn.  We rose people are just that way!  Applewood Inn has lovely grounds and a great feeling of privacy.  Oh, I could go on.  But then what would be the incentive to come and stay at one of the wonderful places?  You can learn about Resorts in Bloom at  I bet that it will be happening again next year. 

We finished out tour with a wonderful lunch at Howard’s Cafe in Occidental.  Since moving to Joy Road, I am now a frequent eater at Howard’s.  Great place to get a super breakfast or tasty lunch.  The summer is starting out to be a great one.  

Driving Up to CazSonoma Inn

Artist Profile – Carla Sarvis

This Artist Profile is from May of 2007.  Wow – time flies.  Carla is still making great art.  Visit her this coming weekend at her studio for Art @ the Source.

Display of Glasswork in 2010

When life throws a curve, change seems to come from all directions.  Carla Sarvis has taken these changes and created a new life.  What was the curve?  After eighteen years of sharing the ownership of a Victorian-era home in the Castro District of San Francisco, Carla’s co-owners decided to move to Fort Bragg.  Unable to buy them out, Carla and her husband, Alan, were faced with the task of finding a new home.  This was not an easy decision.  Carla was born and raised in North Beach.  Her mother was a dancer and Carla followed her into the performing arts and eventually into art education.  San Francisco was the world. Carla’s aunt lived in the Avenues.  The Castro was like living in another state.  Leaving San Francisco took much soul searching.  During this period their son left for college in Michigan.  Looking for a venue to escape the chaos of change, Carla found a new passion.  She “met” glass during a Sharon Arts Studio class in Golden Gate Park.   Finally, Carla and Alan decided that they too would move north.  No quite so far north as their friends since Alan needs to commute to San Francisco but to the Russian River where Carla had spent many childhood summers at Brookside Lodge on Johnson’s Beach with her mother and aunt.  The perfect house was found in Forestville.  A great location, a porch and a studio that could hold a kiln – what more could a woman ask for? 

Carla’s relationship with glass has been fast and furious.  Her first experience at the Arts Studio was with mosaic.  She focused on tiles which related to her interest in hearth and home.   She explored “fusing” and embraced it.  She used whatever equipment was available to dip into any new technique.  Recently she has begun to create a version of stained glass.  These various creations expose a unique and compelling ability to coordinate color and design.  Whether it is a tile or a bowl, these pieces are beautiful.  I am not an expert in glass art.  Actually, I am not an expert in any art.  But I know what is good, what is unusual, what is inspired. 

During the first two weekends of June, Carla is making her debut voyage in Art@theSource.  Most of the readers of this column are veteran Art@theSource prowlers.  But for those few who are not, Art@theSource is a wonderful opportunity to learn the depth of talent that resides in West County.  This event is sponsored by the Sebastopol Center for the Arts.  For thirteen years local artists have opened their studios to share with the art loving public. It began with a few artists coming together and today there are 103 who are participating. A preview exhibition of the works of this talented group will be held from an Opening Reception on May 18 until June 10 at 6780 Depot Street, Sebastopol.  Programs are available at local merchants.  If you are interested in paintings, ceramics, textiles, sculptures, woodworks, photography, jewelry or glass, you will find it at Art@theSource.  Many new artists are participating this year.

Through the Sebastopol Center for the Arts program, Carla found a mentor in Laurence, a West County glass artist.  Carla has been in West County for less than two years but has made the most of her time.  She works once a week at Pig’s Alley in Duncan Mills.  She has utilized all local resources to expand her glass skills.  One never knows the outcome when a life takes an unexpected turn.  The creative and adventurous of us make the difficult decisions and take the unanticipated route to new adventures.  Welcome, Carla and Alan, to West County and we look forward to having you a long time part of our community.

June in My Wine Country Village


Graduate Taylor with her Proud Parents

June is the month of graduations, weddings and moving.  At least this year I experienced the graduation tradition thanks to the lovely Taylor who graduated from Christian Brothers High School last weekend.  The following day party brought together  family and friends for a delightful warm day in Sacramento.  One of those days that you expect in June with enough sun to get the boys in the pool and the rest of us searching for shade to keep cool. 

No weddings on my social calendar this year.  Probably a good thing since I am fully experiencing the opposite and could be less than upbeat at such an occasion. 

And, while I moved months ago, I am still in the final stages of moving.  The house on Conor Court was to have closed today but, alas, the loan did not go through and the buyers are trying a different bank.   (Read my post of May 18 on banks these days.)  We are now looking at June 24 for the close of escrow. That would be quite a birthday present.  I am not discouraged as this will happen and other movings are happening.     

Florence Avenue - with The Rabbit by Patrick Amiot

 A cute little yellow house on Florence Avenue in Sebastopol has new owners.  It is darling and will be transformed into a wonderful oasis by my friends and clients, Anne and Simon.   Florence Avenue is famous for the delightful sculptures by resident artist, Patrick Amiot.  I did an Artist Profile of him some years ago.  I will post it in the next few days so that you can learn more about Patrick.   Today I am off to San Jose for inspections at a condominium that will make a wonderful home for a young family.  New properties are coming on the market daily and there are buyers eager to find their perfect nest.  I showed property for the last two days and have other showings scheduled throughout the month of June.  It is the time when real estate is hopping.  Many people are anticipating an uptick in home prices but I am still seeing substantial price pressure.  Loans are still difficult to get even though the interest rates are remaining low and 95% loans have returned.  It is a good time to buy.  If you are planning on buying, it is a good time to sell.  The market is the market and you have to do what you have to do. 

What June 4 Should Look Like! The Forestville Parade Judge's Stand 2009

The weather forecast is rain for this afternoon and it is quite foggy as I look out the window but June is shaping up to be a great month.  The rainwill be gone for the year and sunny skies will be with us for the coming months. Tomorrow is the Forestville Youth Park Parade and Barbeque.  It is always great fun but I will not attend this year due to my commitments in San Jose.  I am sure it will be wonderful without me.  I love summer in Sonoma County.

Moving in Sonoma County – Part II

I thought that the first part of moving was a bit traumatic.   Clearing the house of all of my personal belongings – every last one but the coffee table that will not fit in my new home – was a bit more than even the stoic BShula could handle.  First, I have to report that it was raining.  At the time I made the appointment, the weather report had rain on Thursday and Saturday, clear on Friday.  Somehow the weather did not read that report and the week was clear on Thursday and Saturday, rain on Friday.  So the sprinkles were just beginning when the moving van and three energetic young men arrived.  In typical fashion, I had been there for some time – getting myself organized.  Fortunately, this was not a huge task as the previous night a crew of friends were there to gather, pack and load what would fit in a pickup and those items that the professional movers felt would add considerably to the cost.  What would those items be?  First thing was the flat screen TV.  This is a little thing – not the huge one – but it would cost $50 for them to pack it.  Not a good value since I could personally carry it out to my car and place it on the back seat.  The other pricey items to move were art pieces – particularly the 3 feet by 5 ft ones.  The art was bubble wrapped and gingerly strapped into the bed of the pickup.  Next went some tools, my bicycle and those odds and ends that just seem to keep showing up.  I do not know how I would have gotten everything together without the help of wonderful friends.  As the evening mist moved in, my precious belongs found a safe haven in the pickup owner’s garage to wait for clear weather and the trip to Joy Road.

So in the pouring rain (and I mean a torrential downpour!) the truck was loaded with club chairs, china cabinet, sofa, dining table . . . and all the large, heavy garden containers.  You get the picture – everything that needs young, strong backs.  After the short but curvy drive from Forestville to Occidental, the procedure was reversed and with all of us soaking wet, the rain stopped as we were finishing the work.  The potted plants are on the basketball court to save the lawn from being destroyed with ruts from the hand truck – mud is everywhere – no furniture is damaged.  It sounds so simple as I write about it now.  At the time I was freezing, wet to the skin.  My lovely landlords brought me hot tea and a chicken sandwich which were greatly appreciated.  I was fearful for the survival of the upholstery.

Oh, no! They do not fit!

The only true drama in the move was the stacking and placing of the washer and dryer.  I have wonderful energy efficient, front loading units that are huge!  My little house has a sweet kitchen with a space between the wall and the refrigerator to slip in my laundry.  Prior to the move, I measured and remeasured.  Yes, they were going to fit!  It was tight but it could happen.

After the explanation that as movers they were not to do installations, Johnny and Shamus removed the pedestals from under each of the washer and dryer and installed the stacking brackets that I found on the Internet.  I was lucky to find a place that had the brackets in stock and would overnight deliver them so that they were here for the move.  But when the movers tried to slip the stack back into the slot, it would not fit!  The lip on the cabinet was just oh-so too wide.  What were we to do?  With the fellows on the clock (yes, and I was paying that) and not having installations in their job descriptions, the stack was left for another day.  But I was not daunted.  I knew it would fit somehow.

Exhausted from the day, frustrated that I could not use the laundry and lonely in a house stacked from top to bottom with stuff, I did the only reasonable thing to do – called my daughter and son-in-law and asked them to join me for dinner at Barley and Hops in Occidental.  The only catch was that they needed to come pick me up as I was too tired to drive!  Considering the distance between their home and mine is about half of a mile, the drive was not a deterrent.  Off we went to a wonderful dinner with a great beer named Death & Taxes.  It was very apropos as an early April, Good Friday, celebratory drink.

Isn't this the office? Where is all of this stuff going?

Saturday was beautiful and I was able to take stock of my new home.  Mud was throughout the house.  I could not take two steps into what is to be an office.   The washer and dryer were far enough in that I could not move them but not so far that I could open the doors and use them.   No time to worry about all of that.  There was the detritus of unexposed surfaces in the vacated home that had to be cleared.  So off I went with the help of yet other friends (Who knew I had so many? With pickups – no less!)  to clean the house and do the last sweep of garden pots and statuary as well as truant items in the house unseen in the previous clutter.  With great perseverance, the potted Japanese maple was uprooted from the ground beneath and hoisted into the pickup.  The Buddha, the iron kitty cat, the Dodo bird – all moved to their new home.

Half way up the hill, I think about my bicycle.  Panic sets in. Did we leave it in the garage?  Was it already moved?  WHERE WAS MY BICYCLE?   As quickly as I panicked, I remembered that it was loaded on Thursday night and was safely residing in my friend’s garage.  This whole move is getting to me.  Once we unload this latest collection, I need to go visit the art and whatever else is in safe keeping.  I think I am loosing my mind and I cannot remember what is where.  Once I send off my friends after depositing the contents of their pickup on my porch and in the storage area, I head for Sebastopol to visit my remaining possessions.  Yes, the bicycle is there.  No, the sky is too dark to risk getting these delivered today.  But what are these gas cans?  They are not mine and I need to get them back to the house.  Rush – Rush- Rush.

Easter morning, more rain – I am taking the day off from moving.  The call comes – the gas cans did not belong at the house.  The pickup owner had placed them to get gas for his mower when he delivered my things.  A frantic retrieval of the cans and a welcome sigh of relief. I can now forget moving for the rest of the day.   A wonderful service at Church of the Good Shepherd in Cloverdale – A visit to Garrett Hardware in Healdsburg (I had to get an electric kettle before I burnt up my saucepan!) – Yummy rack of lamb dinner with Jen and Dan.  A wonderful day of renewel and relaxation.

Monday I was back to moving.  My landlords showed up with tool box in hand.  Of course three very vital, young at heart folks could move the monolithic laundry stack.  A Superbar lever, a block of wood and furniture slider feet do wonders for making a heavy load move easily.  I am in the laundry business!  With one passing shower, the skies become blue and the last load of precious things make the trip to Joy Road.  The art is hung.  The rugs are spread.  There is still time for lunch at Howard Station Cafe.

Calm and Clean - Just like a bedroom should be

Part II of the move was capped off with dinner at home with a girlfriend who supplied the bubbly and the feng shui of my bedroom.  This room is pretty close to being complete.  Someday I will get a new bedcover and my jewelry needs to find a better place.  But for right now it is neat, tidy and has a wonderful sense of calm.

The kitchen is mostly together, china is in the china cabinet and I can find a place to sit in the living room.  The Good Life may be the motto of Forestville but I am enjoying it here on Joy Road.

A well stocked kitchen makes a house a home!

Moving in Sonoma County – Part I

Dropping into the Fog Bank at the South End of Joy Road

Moving is never fun – even when you love your new place.  That is the situation I am finding my self in.  My home in the hills of Occidental is cute, comfy and unbelievably quiet.  The view outside my bedroom window is pastoral and green.  My past home in Forestville is beautiful, expansive and no longer mine.   (You can see the interior of the Forestville house in my February 22, 2010 post on this blog.) 

View from the Bedroom Slider in Forestville

 No it is not yet sold but it is in escrow.  Some things just have to be accepted.  There is always the question of when to vacate the old home.  In general, homes look better with a minimal amount of furnishings but not totally vacant.  So larger pieces of furniture such as the bed, sofa and dining set are still waiting for the final transport.    I have been camping out in my new digs with a blowup bed and a card table.  The walls are lined with boxes of books and stacks of clothing.   Stick ups indicate where various pieces of art will be hung.  Closets are brimming with clothes and those random boxes that are not needed daily.  The Christmas decorations are squirreled away in the attic. 

There are many things left to be retrieved.  My potted plants, garden art and garden furniture are still awaiting strong backs to load them onto a truck and drive them up the hill.  It is only six miles but the loading and unloading are the same as if it were six thousand miles.

View from the Bedroom Window on Joy Road

Of course, when moving locally, there is always the question of doing it a bit at a time or making one large move as when relocating to a different area.  Based upon circumstances, moving over a span of time has been the mode selected.  First there were boxes from a storage unit – packed up and stashed in early January.  Then there was another storage unit that held those furniture items that were unnecessary for staging the house for sale.  Eventually clothes and toiletries were transferred from my walk-in closet and spacious bathroom.   Next will be those yard implements and assessories.  Finally, the furniture will arrive and I will be willing to show pictures of the interior.

Allee of Camillias Past the Back Patio

Life goes on – where ever you go, there you are.  Part II will be coming soon and I can then share the interior of my little farmhouse.  I will miss my old home and my life within it. But I have great things going forward – still unknown.  There are moments when I know that life is good and I am in a better place.  I enjoy the drive to work in the mornings with the redwoods towering overhead and  the fog covering the small town of Bodega.  The peaceful environment will more than make up for the lack of living space.  And peace and serenity are what I am after these days.

Getting the House Ready to Sell

In my business, I am constantly letting people know what they need to do to get their home sold.  Have good curb appeal, pare down the possessions, take the family pictures off the wall, stow away valuables….  The list goes on.  Then there are the disclosures that need to be completed.  In a turn around of roles, I am dealing with these issues from the other side.   My home should be on the market within a week or so.  I have gotten most of the interior ready to show.  The front yard has a new cover of mulch.  The patio is neater than usual.  When did we put down those limestone floors?  Does the doorway into the master closet really need to be repainted?  Pity the poor Realtor who has a Realtor for a client! 

The peaceful red living room

I will keep in my bank of memories the many hours of peacefully reading in the living room with the shade of the oak tree adding a serenity to my day.  Red is not known as a soothing color but in this particular application, it envelopes instead of excites.   The beiges and warmth of the dark wood must be a huge contributor to this overall feeling because the dining room is the same color of red but with the inclusion of the blues from the oriental carpet and the large carborundum print, the dining room is stimulating and energetic. 

Dining Room during packing

Many a lively dinner party was held in this dining room.  The table would be set either formally with china or elegantly with pottery.  No matter what the dishes were, most every open space would have an array of  wine glasses filled with the best of California and French wines.   Friends and family would feast on terrific meals and the conversations would last for hours.  Thankfully the chairs are very comfortable. 

Those wonderful meals were prepared in the carefully planned kitchen.  The Dacor cooktop has handled multiple tasks simultaneously with the ability to provide raging fires and very controlled simmering.  The ease of cleaning is very important to me as that is the task that often fell to me.  The double electric ovens are great for baking as well as roasting the perfect turkey or pork loin.  A great deal of love went into the selection of every aspect of this culinary center. 

Cook Area of Kitchen

My favorite element of the kitchen is the granite backsplash behind the cooktop.  The flow of water from the flow of textural veining seemed a necessary complement.  Of course, the custom stainless steel hood and the pull out pantry between the ovens and wall are also favorites.  Then there are the sectioned drawers and the pull out seasoning shelves and the recessed glass shelves for spices.  I am quite pleased with the overall efficiency. 

The family room is just the other end of the kitchen.  The full kitchen/family room is the hub of the house.   The thermostatically controlled fireplace welcomes early morning risers to a warm and glowing sanctuary.  Well it is a sanctuary until the surround sound is activiated and the TV gets going!  I must admit that watching a golf tournament on the large screen TV is much more  entertaining than trying to see what is happening on a small one.  The living room and patio are wired to pipe music throughout the home and garden.   No matter how enticing I make the living room, guests and family alike seem to gather in the kitchen.  It is comfortable, in the middle of everything and has a great view of the garden. 

Family Room from the Kitchen Sink

If you know of anyone who is in need of a 4 bedroom home with a great garden, send me a message or comment.  It should be on the MLS tomorrow.  Our listing price is $724,500.  

I miss this home and everything that it stood for.  I will replace it with another – very different – but equally as welcoming.  I certainly hope that as many friends will visit me in my new place – where ever it turns out to be.

Efren Carrillo’s Fiesta


Fiesta at the Guerneville Veteran's Building

Friday night was a big bash in Guerneville.  A fiesta in support of Efren Carrillo, 5th district supervisor for Sonoma County, brought out the town.  Well, more than the town since we were there from Forestville and we even saw some Sebatopolians and Santa Rosans.  I believe that all the living past 5th district supervisors were in attendance – all looking much less stressed than when they were in office.  There was a contingent of activists sporting T-Shirts asking that the landfill remain in the hands of the county.  (There is a proposal that the landfill be sold to a private company who would then get all of the garbage from Sonoma County.  It is a long story and can be read by googling “Mecham Landfill Sale”.)  Generally the 300+ people were there to thank Efren for representing the community in the multitude of issues that effect us – use of the Russian River, building codes and land use are just a few that are on the minds of Russian River residents.


Sveta Lynch with the Kitchen Help

The event was held at the Guerneville Veteran’s Memorial Building.  Food was provided by  class=”hiddenSpellError” pre=”by “>Taqueria La Tapatia, the almost famous Mexican restaurant of Guerneville.  The kitchen staff was a mix of politicos and fun loving people.  Oh, maybe they were all some of each.  The margaritas were small and the wine was plentiful.  The beverage people all seemed to be my old cohorts from the Frank Howard Allen office in Guerneville.  The Mariachi band was loud and authentic.  It was great to see everyone having a good time.


Efren Carrillo helping in the Kitchen

The Q3 Real Estate Report is Out

Every quarter we wait for the quarterly report to see if the numbers agree with how the market seems to be from an activity perspective.  It is always interesting to read how the number crunchers interpret the data.  For Q3 there is a mixed bag for Sonoma County.  As a whole, year to year comparisons are that the prices are down and the activity is slightly down.  But that is only part of the picture.  For Sebastopol, Forestville and Guerneville, the volume is up 38% from Q3-08 to Q3-09.  2008 was a very slow year in Forestville but 20 homes were sold in the last 3 months.

The buzz in the news is that there is not going to be that huge glut of foreclosures this next year.  The number of foreclosures in California have leveled off instead of escalating as predicted earlier in the year.  According to information on California released by MDA DataQuick on Tuesday, 50,013 homes were foreclosed upon in the three months ended Sept. 30, down from 79,511 for the same period in 2008.  They report an increase in default notices but the banks are attempting to keep people in their homes if at all possible. 
 The bottom of the market is being bought up by investors and first time home buyers as quickly as it enters the market.  While looking at properties in San Jose yesterday, we had to juggle around other Realtors and their clients while looking at homes priced for multiple offers.  This is happening throughout Northern California.  This is making the purchase of a home for first time buyers difficult as any reasonably nice single family dwelling is receiving cash offers.  An FHA borrower cannot compete against all cash.  The strategies to get into contract are more than price and it takes real perseverance to be successful.

Meanwhile, we are seeing a renewed interest in higher end properties.  This is good news for everyone as it signals an increase in comsumer confidence.  I am certainly feeling more confident about the real estate market – but that could pass!

Look for the Q3 Market Report for Sonoma County within the next week.  If you do not receive one, email me with your current address.  If you would like to get the Q3 Market Report for another Northern California area (like San Francisco, Contra Costa or Santa Clara counties), just ask.  I am happy to send them along.

Rural property 011

Bas Molenkamp – October 2009 Artist Profile

For the last eight years I have been writing an Artist Profile for our local monthly paper, The Gazette.   The paper was first The Forestville Gazette – then The West County Gazette and now – The Sonoma County Gazette.   The publisher, Vesta Copestakes  is a tireless community advocate and a tremendous asset to our community.  If you ever meet her, you will be infected by her love of the county and life in general.  She asked if I would write an article when she first began privately publishing the paper.  Today there is still a local cast of writers who fill the pages with good news, current events and controversial topics.  The first seven years I wrote a monthly article so there are close to 84 artists whom I have interviewed.  Wow, when I think of it that way, I am amazed that so many articles have been written.  No wonder I cannot remember all of their names.  This year I have only done an article every other month.  Let’s face it – I have taken up this blog, have a new grandchild and am trying to make a living in a very down real estate market.  

To date I have not posted any of my Artist Profiles on this blog.  Why?  Because I have just never gotten around to it.  Now that is a pity because it is material already written and everyone tells me that they like to read it.  So I am offering you my most recent artist – Bas Molenkamp.  His paintings are currently being shown at the Prudential CA Realty Office at 7300 Healdsburg Ave. in Sebastopol.  Yes, that is our office.  It is not often that the artist is showing at our place but it is convenient.  Come by and see them if you are in the area.  Let me know when you are coming and I will even give you a tour.

Bas Molenkamp

Bas Molenkamp

Bas Molenkamp

Bas Molenkamp is young, creative and passionate.  What a delight to interview!  Right at the start he has a fresh, new story to tell.  I met Bas in his home on West Street in Sebastopol.  The easel set up in the corner of the living room seemed as natural as the sofas around the fireplace. 

“When did you start painting?” I asked.

“A couple of years ago,” he replied.

“How did you get started?”

His eyes lit up and he began his story.

Bas Molenkamp is Dutch.  He met his wife, Alia, while traveling in India.  They traveled together until their joint resources were spent. They arrived in Berkeley, Alia’s family home, and prepared for a less nomadic future.  Wanting bucolic surroundings, they began their journey northwards with Mendocino the chosen destination.  A stop in Sebastopol to have lunch at Food For Thought (that is now Whole Foods) altered their plans. They were so impressed with the friendliness and casual acceptance of them by Sebastopolians, they settled right here. 

Now the story up to this point is not all that unusual.  Boy meets girl – okay, not usually traveling in India – boy marries girl – this has some practical side effect, like being able to stay in the US – couple visits Sebastopol – what better place to settle down and have a family.  Once established in Sebastopol, Alia became a masseuse and eventually started painting.  Bas worked in construction until he was injured, then at the Wild Flower Bakery in Freestone and last went to massage school when Alia became pregnant with their child.

The first time Bas ran his hands over a human body with the intention of relieving stress, he knew that this was the profession for him.  The tactile sensation of detecting the sinuous path of muscle and tendon with the fluidity of oil on skin brought a peace within that made the massage a healing for both masseuse and his subject. 

Bas attributes his frugal nature to his ancestry.  He cannot bear to see anything wasted.  As Alia painted, she would leave large blobs of paint on her palette which would eventually dry up – never to be used.  One day Bas decided that he would help her out and prepare a canvas with what was left on the palette so that it would not be wasted.  He was hooked by painting with the first stroke of the brush.  Bas relived the same epiphany that massage had delivered.   Alia never got to use that canvas and Bas has been painting ever since.

Bas paints landscapes.  They are what I would call “abstract” landscapes as they come from his imagination and draw upon the observer’s.  The enthusiasm of youthful exuberance jumps off the canvas as he plays with the nuances of color and form.  He uses words such as “delicious” and “dancing” to describe the creation of his images. He experiences a “roar of wanting to go to the canvas” – “a shift in the brain” when a brush is in his hand.  Have I already said that he is a delight?

Bas cites Matisse and Renoir as influences in his craft.  His results are very different and modern when compared to these masters but the emotion is evident.  Bradford Brenner, the nationally acclaimed Sebastopol artist, is a neighbor and friend who has taken an interest in the progression of Bas’ painting.  Brenner’s influence is evident and his helpful comments are acted upon.

The first public showing the paintings by Bas Molenkamp is October through January at the Prudential California Realty office at 7300 Healdsburg Avenue in Sebastopol.  The Opening Reception is Friday, October 16 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  Marcy Basel, previously featured Artist Profile, will be sharing the walls.   Bas offers massage at Osmosis in Freestone or at his home in Sebastopol.  If you cannot make it to the opening of his show, please stop by the Prudential office anytime during business hours.

Something has been working while I have been away!

Last Monday I left for a weeklong visit with my sister.  I traveled to Cambria and picked her up and then we went to San Diego for a convention.  We stayed with a delightful woman in a B & B and I did not have internet access.  It was quite an experience as I am used to being on my computer most of the day.   The hits on this blog went down to ZERO after a week of no new posts!  Sorry, folks.  I am now back among the connected!

Before I left on Monday, I was cleaning up the kitchen and ran out to the compost pile with my wonderful stainless steel bucket that holds our kitchen waste.   As I noted the less than ambient temperature in the pile, I decided that I could not leave for a week without getting something going.  Just a couple of days before, I was asked if I layered my piles and kept them moist for the best environment for breaking down the pile.  My original response to the questions was “not really” and then I had to say “yes.”  So here I stood in my bathrobe, at my cold compost pile, with a bucket of kitchen waste.  What else could I do but turn the pile?  I have four bins.  One bin contains completely composted material that I have yet to use in my garden.  It will be used this fall.  The other three bins were in various stages of breakdown.  The second bin had very little material as I try to keep one bin as a holding spot for materials to build a perfect pile.  In the bottom of that bin was the grass clippings from the weekend and some kitchen refuse.  The fourth bin was the cold and in need of breaking down pile made up of oak leaves, kitchen garbage, rose clippings and some older grass cuttings.  I took my new pitchfork (a thoughtful birthday gift from Tom!) and began the process.  The edges of the pile went to the middle – the middle of the pile went to the edges.  Each 6 to 8 inches of height, I added water from the garden hose.  Air and water – the magic ingredients of a compost pile.  An hour later than expected, I started getting ready for my departure.

Four Bin Compost System -  This system was made from pallets left on the side of the road by local businesses.  Great recycling of materials.

Four Bin Compost System – This system was made from pallets left on the side of the road by local businesses. Great recycling of materials.

When I put the thermometer back into the pile, the temperature was around 65 degrees.  Two days later, Tom reported that it was up to 125.  The highest reading was 133 and yesterday it was 130.   I am quite proud of the effectiveness of my technique.  Tom put in some of his whey from cheesemaking and lees from his winemaking on Thursday so I expect that it will keep the temperature up a bit longer than it would without these additives.  Yesterday we had rain which does not hinder the breakdown and may even enhance it since I have not added any water.   This morning the temperature is still 130.  The bin has dropped in height to about 60% of the original.  I expect that when I get home from being an active grandmother this coming week, I will have another bin of ready to use compost.  Call me weird – but this is so much fun!

The pear espalier which hides the compost bins from the view of garden visitors.

The pear espalier which hides the compost bins from the view of garden visitors.


September 2021


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