Reports, Ramblings, Reminisces…

Without the constant changes in latitudes, hotels, restaurants, and internal turbulence… life just doesn’t seem as varied here on the home front. Notable events seem fewer and farther apart, so I will probably write every other week or so (unless life becomes suddenly a good deal more bizarre).

I have noted how my morning walks on West Dry Creek Road differ from those in Asia. I see a (very) occasional bicyclist or car instead of 25,000 or so elderly folks doing their morning ablutions. It’s also very cold here in the early morning, with temperatures in the high 40’s and low 50’s, a good 40-50 degrees cooler than later in the afternoon. I like it.

This time of year (the last two weeks of July to be specific) is blackberry season. We have a large field of blackberries, and last year our friend Phil cut a meandering path through the field, which has made for easy pickings. It takes only about a half an hour to fill a 3-4 pound can, and the picking is therapeutic (at least for me). You cannot hurry or you will get stuck. The only sounds I hear are the screeching of our resident red tailed hawk. It is all very Old MacDonaldish.

Not all books I read are terrific; Nicolette Hahn Niman’s RIGHTEOUS PORKCHOP being a case in point. Despite the cool title, the condemnation and description of the gruesome corporate pork and chicken industries are not that new; and the description of her newfound life as a steward of the land is a bit too precious for my taste.

Much more to my liking is SEVEN FIRES: GRILLING THE ARGENTINE WAY, by Francis Mallmann. South America’s most famous chef takes one through seven methods of cooking on open fires. His recipe for “Una Vaca Entera” says it all. The ingredients list is as follows:

  1. medium cow, about 1400 pounds, butterflied, skin removed
  2. 2 gallons Salmuera ( 2 cups salt, 8 quarts water; boiled to dissolved)
  3. 2 gallons Chimichurri

How can you not love this guy?

Last weekend was a full one. On Saturday we attended the 19th annual Wrubarb – a blowout our friends Francis and Priscilla orchestrate every summer. Wonderful food and wine in an idyllic Napa Valley setting; with the chance to catch up on old friendships, many of which go back to the 1970’s.

The next day we celebrated to 90th birthday of my mother in law, Alvina Lyons. Her daughters put together a tribute to a woman who has touched and nourished the lives of many. Another day of cheer.

On another note; in the previous blog I spoke of the demise of a Sonoma County landmark – Red’s Recovery Room. I do not like dwelling on the passing of venerable institutions; I’d rather pay tribute to those establishments that keep on trucking – like the Joe Matos Cheese Factory, located in the boonies southwest of Santa Rosa. The setting is early dilapidated, the aromas barnyard, and the cheese (a topflight cows milk farmers cheese known as St. George) is delightful. Highly recommended.

Let the summer continue. The warm days and cool nights are bringing the grapes to maturity, and the harvest will be here in no time. I’ll have a winery report and update this weekend in the State of the Street section of our website.

Check it out.

Until next time, Cheers to all.


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