2013 Peach Wars

Spectacular San Francisco Famous Downtown Land...

Spectacular San Francisco Famous Downtown Landmarks Cityscape (Photo credit: davidyuweb)

Growing up in Sacramento we would wait all year for the white peaches to come out for pickin.

The white peaches most of you yellow hard peach eating folks say??

Yes, white peaches.  The softest yet firm white flesh is sweeter and juicier than any yellow peach you have eaten.

But, being near to the San Francisco Bay area I also love Frog Hollow Farms and I  wait for the annual peach wars.

O’Henrys vs the Cal Reds.  each year who will win.  Well try some of each and pick a winner!

And while you are at it taste their baked goods!  Excellent turnovers even the non-fruit versions like the ham & cheese.

And in Sacramento on a warm summer evening indulge in the Fresh Peach ice Cream at Gunthers Ice Cream Shop since 1940

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2012 Apple Hill Time in Northern California

Downtown Placerville

Downtown Placerville (Photo credit: www78)

It’s still real warm in northern California, deep into September, but in the morning you can smell it.  Yes, you can smell apples in their crates inside of the barn.

No….I don’t live in a barn.  But I live in California and each year I love to visit Apple Hill near Placerville, also known as Hangtown, in Northern California.

You got to go and if not, you got to take a virtual trip and check it out.  It looks good, it smells good and it tastes damn good!!!

So check out the Association site and see what’s new for 2012.  Grab ourself a map & a guide if you need one.

What’s good there?  Well apples, of course.  Apples, apple pie, apple fritters, candy appled apples, apple juice & cide.

My favorite?  apple cider donuts.  Yum.

Plus BBQ lunches at some farms, train rides and fishing for the kids.  The smells and tastes.  A day out of the city.  Christmas tree tours, winery tours.  Pick ‘em yourself farms.  Teaching the kids where their food comes from.

Petting zoos.

Filling up the car or truck with goodies to take home.  And even more goodies to give to famil, friends, neighbors.  Put in the freezzer.

The Blossom Trail Run at the other end of the season, usuall in April so mark your calendar.

And the Apple Hill Harvest Run, race day this ear is November 4th and the course is 8.5 beautiful miles and includes the Harvest Day 3.5 mile Run/Walk.  Check the links for info and to register.

But back to apple goodness…I am more about eating my way thru Apple Hill.  I don’t even do the wine drinking thru Apple Hill any more, so I eat.

And I look forward to it each and every year.

Water Is An Important Political Issue Everywhere:The Battle For The Hetch Hetchy Valley

It is true isn’t it??  Water really is an important political issue everywhere you go and no matter where you live.

Why this post today?  Hetch HetchyYosemiteSan Fransisco.  Water.

I always traveled a lot.  For business and of course, for pleasure.  What is more fun for you and your family than to travel to new lands or to old familiar places, visiting friends and family, learning new languages and cultures.

When I was young, before I retired and air travel was luxurious, I sometimes would get on a plane Friday night after work, go somewhere and be back at my desk Monday morning.  I had friends in the airline industry and was lucky enough to do some flying for free on Stand-By.

One of the things I enjoyed no matter where I visited was to drive the local communities, get out in the countryside and see how people lived.  And you could not miss seeing what the hot-button political issues were.

And Number 1?  No matter where you were?  Water!

Everywhere there would be signs about local water issues, statewide water issues.

Signs covering each race, Republican or Democrat in the U.S., local parties in Canada or Mexico.  The fences in  the country would often be covered with signs about water.  Water Rights.  The cost of water.  The need to damn a river or a creek.  The desire to remove the turbines.  What politician was o n what side of the issue about water.

Signs covering opponents signs.

And nearly every sign asked for money.  Money to fight the good fight, whether that be Yes to a Dam or No to a reservoir.  They all wanted money.  And they wanted more money.

It was the same everywhere.  Moe water, Access to water.  Farmers needed it more.  Cities needed it more.  Developers needed it more.

My god.

So what started me on this tirade today?

Growing up my Grandmother was always against building dams and reservoirs.  Against sending “our” water to other areas and people.  They always trucked it out in the middle of the night sending it down south to Los Angeles.  And she just knew we needed it more.  And the farmers needed it the most.

Now there is a very significant political issue in California.  A water issue.

Even if you don’t live in California you have heard of the Yosemite Valley.  You may have even visited.  Or want to.

But you may not have heard of the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir.

So what is the Hetch Hetchy and why is it important in 2012.

Hetch Hetchy is the long-lost geological twin of Yosemite.  Long-lost because California politicians and big businesses dammed the Tuolumne River and flooded the Hetch Hetchy Valley in  1923, after a decision a century ago, creating a reservoir that continues to provide water to the citizens of San Francisco and the surrounding areas even today.

Important today because the current citizens of San Francisco will soon vote on whether or not to “un-flood” the Hetch Hetchy and find new water supplies for the people of San Francisco.

How do you un-do a dam and a reservoir?  Where do you find water for more than a million people in a state that often is big-time thirsty due to droughts.

Understand this:  due to the decision 00 years ago to build the dam and flood the valley, sending the water to San Francisco, the people in the city today have pristine, pure drinking water coming out of their faucets.  I have no idea how much bottled drinking water is sold in San Francisco but I would bet it is much less on average than other California cities.

An unending supply of water for more than one million people, 7 of California’s population, the turbines in the dam provide hydroelectricity to homes and skyscrapers, streetlights & traffic signals, swimming pools, restaurants, and fun spots, and all of this for less than $30,000 per year.

Politics?  Money?  Big business?  City vs country?  Developer vs farmer??

It is all revisiting San Francisco and the State of California today.

Eventually it will be broadly understood what an abomination a reservoir in a valley like Yosemite Valley really is,” Donald Hodel, the former interior chief, told The Associated Press. “I think it will be hard to quell this idea (of restoration).  It is like ideas of freedom in a totalitarian regime. Once planted they are impossible to repress forever.”

Over the past decade, studies by the state and others have shown it’s possible for San Francisco to continue collecting water from the Tuolumne River further downstream.

But the city never seriously has considered giving up its claim to the valley.

“This is a ridiculous idea,” Mayor Ed Lee said. “It’s a Trojan Horse for those that wish to have our public tricked into believing we have an adequate substitute for the Hetch Hetchy reservoir. We do not. There isn’t any.”

Read more here
I don’t quite understand the current dynamics.  This Bee article above say the Republicans want to return Hetch Hetchy to its’ natural state while Democrats, led by Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein  want to leave it flooded.  That means the Republicans support John Muir and the Sierra Club??
Wut??
I guess times have changed.  I don’t know the thinking of the current Sierra Club.  Perhaps they don’t want to see the natural beauty of the Hetch Hetchy Valley??  Yes, they do!   Read their thoughts right HERE.
 Even with Republican support. Even with Democratic opposition.
David Brower, former Executive Director of the Sierra Club  says in the above article “The Hodel proposal produced the expected panic in San Francisco. Mayor Dianne Feinstein wanted it shredded. Alarmists (and I can tell one when I see one) warned that the alternative to Hetch Hetchy would be the proposed and despised Auburn Dam and Peripheral Canal and other adjustments, the cost of which would probably total six billion dollars. The media reported all this with but a halfhearted attempt to check. A forester told them how long it would take the trees to grow, and a reclamation writer told how long it would take for the lake bed to dry out and be usable. The mayor understandably did not want San Francisco to lose the thirty million dollars a year from the sale of Hetch Hetchy project electricity.At the time I had been advocating that the Sierra Club initiate a second Remove Secretary Watt petition campaign, this time aimed at his successor. And now I was confronted with the need to praise Secretary Hodel for his brilliant suggestion. Here at last, I could assume, he had realized that because he had been wrong he didn’t have to stay wrong.”
 And I have no idea why the Republicans are supporting the effort, they are the folks who flooded it to start with right?  They must smell money somewhere in the deal.  Increased water rates, utility rates and more.
And the other side is afraid that San Francisco will lose their water, certainly their clean drinking water and that water and electricity will cost more.
I guess times have changed.  I think I just heard my old friend John Muir roll over in his grave!  Ronald Reagan’s Cabinet joining his beloved Sierra Club and supporting their causes?  What is it?  Opposite Day??
Do you Twitter?  You can follow @HetchHetchy  and @Sierra_Club and check out all of the Sierra Club Twitter accounts to find your local club.

Peach Season and California Peaches

English: Autumn Red peach. Français : Pêches E...

English: Autumn Red peach. Français : Pêches Español: Durazno cortado por la mitad (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My years seem to be driven by fruit seasons here in California and summer is peach season (well melons and strawberries too).  But back to California peaches.

I used to have a friend down near Modesto, kind of hot and dusty but great peach country.  And Smith Ranch was among the best.  My friend would buy a few flats and ship one to me!  Heaven.  A peach that ripens on the tree and is packed with care.  Don’t let supermarket peaches fool you.  Don’t let their advertisement about “they continue to ripen after they are picked” fool you.  Most fruit dies when it is picked and immediately begin to spoil.

Peaches are one of those fruits, and they are best when they fully ripen on the tree.  If you can’t get them directly off the tree shop at your local farmers market, definitely.  As they say, Dare to eat a peach…

It is almost the season for California’s famous O’Henry peaches, but I don’t bake.  I like to eat them in my hand, juice running down my arm and all over my mouth!!

So it is also almost the season for beautiful Cal Reds.  I learned about Cal Reds shopping with Frog Hollow Farms.  They have a few California fruit stands including one at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.  Their farm is nearby so their products are same-day fresh.  They also have baked goods so check em out on their website if you can’t get to one of their market sites.

And buy Cal Reds, O’Henry’s, as well as the juicy & sweet California white peaches.

David Mas Masumoto, the Fresno organic farmer and author of the beloved book Epitaph for a Peach. makes me dream of peaches until summer.  Check out his farm….or his book.

Apples are good….but eat a peach every day!

So now that you have all of those peaches–what do you do with them?

Well check out this link with 13 great Peach recipes with beautiful photos!  It will all make your mouth water for that sweet peach taste!

Things like Swizzle Stick Soup

Pork Chops with Peaches,

And, Peach Salsa

They have Peach Ice Cream (my favorite), milkshakes an d Peach Pies too!

2012 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

The 2012 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is almost here.

Are you ready?  Is your bike ready?  Is your girl ready?

Cause you gotta have all three hot and polished and ready to ride if you are going to Sturgis!

When:             August 6th thru 12th, 2012

Where:           Sturgis, South Dakota

They have a 2012 Sturgis Rally Guide Book and it’s available now here., they say you could search the entire internet for hours and hours and “you still won’t find all of the information contained within this guide…not even close.”  So get the Guide!!

Travel and lodging, visitor info with all of the restaurants, parks, everything is available on the Rally page.  They even have employment postings if you want to work the Sturgis Rally.

And get ready for all of the bikes and all of the hot girls.

And check out the 2011 results of the Bike Building Contest at Sturgis.  The ab solute best bikes get unveiled at Sturgis World Championship of Custom Bike Building!

The Annual Pony Express “Re-Ride”

Pony Express Statue

Pony Express Statue (Photo credit: Frank Reese)

Each year the original Pony Express ride  from Sacramento, California to Saint Joseph, Missouri is traveled once again by courageous men and women on horseback.The Pony Express agents first saddled up and rode their horses along this route in 1860/1861, now a century and a half later modern riders volunteer to do the same, recreating the original Pony Express ride along the same route with some of the original challenges of the ride.

The heat, the sun, the night time rides, the bugs—all of those things that can make a nearly 1,966-mile journey on horseback torturous recreating that first  mail delivery company and ride.

The original ride has Pony Express “stations”  at least a mile and a half to four miles along that route where riders could stop, stretch water and feed their horses and themselves.  “Nighttime and mountain rides are harder, and combinations of the two make for the most demanding treks. That means California riders have the biggest challenge going over uneven Sierra trails without the sun to guide them.”

Every other year the re-ride begins at the Pony Express Plaza in Old Sacramento and this year it “kicked off at the plaza, headed toward Missouri. At the pre-ride ceremony, the first riders were sworn in using most of the original Pony Express oath. The riders promised not to “use profane language,” to “drink no intoxicating liquors,” and not to “quarrel or fight with any other associate.”

 Sacramento has a Pony Express statue in Old Sacramento as well as being the annual starting or stopping point for the ride recreating the mail delivery.  Why is the Pony Express so important to Sacramento?  Sacramento was the Western Terminus of the Pony Express and because of the Gold Rush there were so many men in the hills above Sacramento, far from their families,  and the Pony Express provided them with their link to their past.
They wrote letters or found someone to write letters for them and shared their letters from home with the other miners.
So the Pony Express provided that link to their families and entertainment.  And, with security, also moved money along the same route.
Now the Pony Express trail is a National Historic Route.  “It is hard to believe that young men once rode horses to carry mail from Missouri to California in the unprecedented time of only 10 days. This relay system along the Pony Express National Historic Trail in eight states was the most direct and practical means of east-west communications before the telegraph”
The Pony Express and the annual re-ride is just as important in St. Joseph, Missouri as it is in Sacramento, California.

2012 Summer Solstice In Tahoe City: the Heart and Solstice Festival

Secret Beach on Lake Tahoe's Nevada side, 2003

Secret Beach on Lake Tahoe’s Nevada side, 2003 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is time for the Summer Solstice, as we celebrate the annual change from spring to summer.And no where is the Summer Solstice celebrated better than in Tahoe City, California.

It is the Annual Heart and Solstice Festival.  When you live in snow coutry I guess that summer and the sun are things you should really celebrate!

This year the Summer Solstice celebration runs from June 15th to 24th with 10 signature events and even more activities on the streets and in the shops, restaurants and bars of Tahoe City.

Tahoe City is one of my favorite little “big” towns, the “Heart and Soul” of Tahoe is nestled on the edge of the west coast of the beautiful alpine Lake Tahoe.  The jewel that sits between California and Nevvada, with gambling on the Nevada side.

Tahoe City is known for its natural high-mountain beauty, it Lake location and its “quaintness”.  It’s just a great place to visit.  Many people discover it on their drive to “North Shore” Lake Tahoe.

What:                            2012 Summer Solsrrice Festival

Where:                          Tahoe City, California

When:                            June 15th to June 24th, 2012

Events & Details:         Parties, a classic car show exhibits and ine tasting all on the shoreline of the beautiful Lake Tahoe

Highlights:                    A lake cruise on the Tahoe Gal on June 17th with music by Mumbo Gumbo

Solstice Stroll Classic Car Show June 21 on North Lake Tahoe Boulevard

The Tahoe City Wine Walk June 23 in downtown Tahoe City

The Art & Solstice exhibit June 24 at the North Tahoe Arts Center

And more!!!

The Sun by Cathy McClelland, North Lake Tahoe artist, brilliantly captures the essence of summer at Lake Tahoe.

Chili Festival in Elk Grove June 9th!!!

Get your pots out!  And your aprons.

Or at least your spoons and forks!!

Elk Gove is sponsoring their Annual Chili Festival on Saturday.

When:             Saturday, June 9 2012

10am to 7pn

Where:            Old Town Elk Gove, California

What:              The Chili Festival along with booths for vendors and live entertainment on the main stage and spread through

the streets of Old Town Elk Grove!

10,000 people attend this festival each year, competing for prizes for the Best Chili and more.

Want to be a vendor??

Or be a volunteer??  The Chili Festival is a great Elk Grove community event and volunteers are always welcome!!!

Need a map or access information??  Well, go HERE  and find out how to get to the town of Elk Grove and to the chili festival.

I can smell the chili now and it is making me hungry I tell ya!!!

There will be at least 30 chili cookers competing in Old Town Elk Grove on Saturday June 9th for the title of Best Chili in this cook-off!!

It’s All About The Chili

Wh compete in the Chili Festival?  There’s a $10,000 Grand Prize out there!!

Ten Thousand Buck-a-roos buddy.  That ain’t nothing to sneeze at.  And this is the People’s Choice Awards

Watch out for the chili with those beautiful Scotch Bonnet chilis!  I love those things…..!  Every time I can find some I use them in m chili.  I make mine with cubed steak (sometimes ground beef) and no beans (well, sometimes beans)

Real man’s chili.  Meat.  And wicked.

Go to Elk Grove and compete.  Or be a taster.  Or just have fun and eat some chili.

The Carlsbad Beach Fest, June 9 2012

Are you ready for the Carlsbad Beach Fest?

What a great reason to escape the city rat race and get away to the great beach in a beautiful small town like Carlsbad.  There are a ton of things to do in Carlsbad even on days when they don’t have their great Beach Fest.

What is the Beach Fest?

It’s an Annual event with activities stretched out along a full mile of white sandy beach in Carlsbad from Pine Avenue to Tamarack State Beach.  Beautiful!!

Fun fun funYou have swim and surf, dance and fitness, sand-sculpting and kite-flying, and of course, simple sun bathing. More event perks include local bands live across multiple stages, green product vendors and a health and safety expo

Sporting eventsTry your luck in a triathlon, duathlon and a one-mile ocean swim, or show off your skills in one of the pro and amateur surf contests sponsored by SurfRide. There will be stand-up paddleboard races, as well as a Zumba-thon fitness party — a fun way to burn calories with friends.

Register:  You must register for these sporting events and you can do it online.

Otherwise the beach fest is a FREE community event so come out and have fun, compete in the sporting events if you want something more!!

You can be a volunteer at the Beach Fest.

Check out the photos from 2011!

Need more info?  Here are all of the contact peeps!

And after the Beach Fest is over join in for the Beach Fest Evening Party at the Ocean House in Carlsbad.

Admission is only $10 and includes one drink ticket (full bar), a light buffet table and munchies, with live music on the stage. Admission allows access to the main bar area where more live music is provided until 1 a.m.  Doors open at 7 pm.

Where is Carlsbad?

Near beautiful San Diego, California.  Worth a flight and/or short drive from places like San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Las Vegas and points in between.

Here is a Carlsbad map

Ho’s the weather??  Beautiful…

2012 Sacramento Music Festival

The Tower Bridge, built in 1935, a popular lan...

The Tower Bridge, built in 1935, a popular landmark (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The 2012 Sacramento Music Festival is all brand-new and shiny like a new penny.

2011 was the last year of the Sacramento Jazz Festival & Jubilee.

This is the 39th Annual Festival in Sacramento.  The organizers are looking to get back on a track of growth for Festival attendees and music participants.

Attendance has been dropping the last few years and organizers and the city want to have more than 700,000 people attend this years Festival!

So what is in a name change??

Well for a music festival like the old Jaz Jubilee it signals a change in the styles of music and types of musical acts who will be showcased.

No longer is the focus on old-time traditional jubilee jazz.

Sure, that form of music will be heard.  It is traditional jazz after all and important to the development of that genre.

But this year it will be joined with reggae, American roots music, country, modern jazz, gospel and more.

The changes are key to broadening the types and numbers of music lovers who attend the four-day Music Festival.

When:             May 25th to 28th, 2012

The Festival begins at 10am each day with the last set starting at 10:30pm each day except

Monday when the last set is 2:30pm.

The Parade kicks off the Festival in Old Sacramento at 10am on Saturday May 26th

What:             Sacramento Jazz Festival

Where:           Sacramento, California

24 venues from Old Sacramento to the Sacramento Convention Center

Who:              Who will be playing at the 2012 Festival?

Acts including Johnny “Guitar” Knox, the Zydecats, Sista Monica Parker, Big Sandy & His Fly                   -Rite Boys, Jazz ‘N’ Samba, Mariachi Los Gasllos, 101st Army Dixieland Jazz Band  Uptown Lowdown   Buster Blue   Big Sam’s Funky Nation  Saint Gabriel’s Celestial Brass Band  and MORE here

Solo act Deadstring Brother makes Sacramento Music Fest debut

Prices:            You can buy adult passes, senior passes & youth passes for all four days or just for one day.

From $10 for a Senior pass on Memorial Day to $110 for a four-day Adult pass and everything in-

between.  Check out the prices and buy your tickets HERE  And you can ride shuttle buses to all

venues for just $5 for the entire weekend.  Kids 12 and under are free.

Food:  Besdes great restaurants in Old Sacramento and downtown a lot of favorite food vendors return to the festival this year including the number one seller grilled oysters, grilled sausages (the number two favorite), Cajun & Filipino food, Tri-tip, nuts & freshly picked cherries, root beer floats, Bloody Marys and more.

Schedule of events each day can be found HERE

Hotels:            For out of town visitors these hotel packages are excellent!

Do you need more information?  Check em out HERE

or Twitter    @SacMusicFest

or Facebook  SacMusicFest.com

May26th:

The Festival kicked off in Old Sacramento this morning!

The opening came at 10 a.m., when Boy Scout Troop 107, from Citrus Heights, walked as honor guard onto a shortened Old Sacramento parade route this year.

The parade was moved from its traditional Friday noon time to accommodate more families, festival organizers said.”

PHOTOS!!

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