When I was in high school I worked at a family-style Italian restaurant. I started as a "salad girl." Yes that was my job title. Once I turned 18 I was promoted to a food server. That was the required age to serve beer and wine. Working in food service was some of the hardest work I've ever done. I still think everyone should have to work food service or retail in their life so they learn how to be a kinder customer.
Ravioli making day at the restaurant was a big deal. The cooking team came in early, making the dough and two kinds of fillings. They rolled out huge sheets of dough, at least two feet by two feet square and had these large wooden frames that they used to shape and fill the raviolis. They worked fast and it was quite a sight to see. Hundreds and hundreds of raviolis were made at a time.
Last weekend Bob decided he wanted to make some raviolis. These are something we've typically purchased pre-made, either fresh or frozen. As we try to cut out more processed/prepared foods, we find ourselves experimenting more in the kitchen.
The filling was sweet potato (with a little butter and brown sugar). The dough was just flour, water and egg from this recipe. It was a lot easier than we thought. We do have this ravioli tray/press from Norpro, which makes the ravioli formation process a breeze. The results were so good and tasty too. We just topped them with a butter, lemon and sage sauce. Next time we are going to do a goat cheese and sun-dried tomato filling.
Twice a month Bob walks Black Point Beach to document what kind of debris is washing ashore. I joined him last weekend for an early morning walk during low tide at the beach. I was the note taker as he carefully scanned the beach as we walked for debris.
The primary goal is to document if any tsunami debris is washing ashore from Japan. We didn't find any of that, but what we did find was primarily plastic bits and pieces. Noticeably absent were cigarette butts. When we would do beach clean ups in San Diego, the only thing we seemed to pick up were cigarette butts ... gross.
When people ask where we live, I tell them it’s about three
hours north of San Francisco. In most Southern Californian’s mind, that mean we
live on the Oregon border. In reality, it’s still another eight hour drive or
so from us to the border … mental maps are kind of strange like that.
Sometimes my response will be, “we live out in the sticks,
its two hours to the nearest Trader Joe’s.” That helps put it into perspective.
I only bring up Trader Joe’s because when we lived in San Diego it was a quick
ten minute drive to the closest Trader Joe’s and that is where the bulk of our
food dollars went.
So, when you do live in a small town, what does that mean
from a shopping perspective? Well, I can tell you that I shop a whole lot less
than I used to. I was never a major shopper, even when we were in San Diego,
but there were those trips to Target that started as a run for TP and soap and
would end up being supplemented with some cute throw pillows, house plants, a
trinket from the dollar bin, and some new note cards. I now do the bulk of my
shopping in Gualala, with the occasional stop by Trader Joe’s in Petaluma if I
coming back from a work trip or a visit over to family in Napa.
The importance of shopping local comes to light, especially
in a small town. Tourism never rebounded to pre-recession levels in our area,
so the local stores are continually feeling the pinch. Over the past couple of
month, a new “Go Local” campaign is gaining traction. The main focus is educating
people on the importance of spending your money locally.
The benefits of shopping local are well documented and that
money circulated in the local economy several more times compared to shopping
at a chain. I think the campaign is being very smart about how the approach the
topic. Their message is to encourage people to spend 10 or 15 more of their
money locally, instead of spending it out of town. This message settles much
better than saying “Big Box Store X is evil; don’t spend your money there.”
So, the question may be, can you get everything you need
locally? For most things, yes. Local merchants provide all of the following: groceries,
hardware store, nursery, pet store, toys, salon services, copy services, shoe store, pharmacy, clothing
store, upscale house wares, kitchen store, book store, banking, and more. I have found that I can find just about anything I need if I look around. Mail order, or the occasional trip inland supplements the rest.
What I actually appreciate about shopping at our local,
smaller format grocery store, is that making decision in the aisles is easier.
Instead of staring down dozens and dozens of options for a given product, I have
a reasonable amount to choose from. Honestly, going into a big Raley’s or Vons
kind of freaks me out a bit.
So, do I miss not having a Trader Joe's ten minutes away? Ok, yeah, a little bit. But what about being up here and have the ability to pick free berries in the late summer until our hands are stained purple? That I would miss even more.
Here is your sign. If you have been dragging your feet on a project, new opportunity, life shift, or something else ... this is your sign. Go out there and do it. Have the conversation. Shed the things in life that are not working for your. Make the move. Take the new opportunity. Get that sassy new haircut. Conquer a fear. Sign up for that marathon. Whatever it is ... this is the sign you have been waiting for.
Fueled by the outdoor high from camping in Point Reyes, we decided to schedule time on the calendar to explore more trails in our local area. On Sunday we went down to Bodega Bay to check out the Sonoma Coast Trail.
We parked at Shell Beach and then did an out and back to Wright's Beach. Bob continued on to Goat Rock while I drove into Bodega Bay to hit the farmer's market. I got some picnic provisions, including bread and lemon bars from Raymond's, cheese from Dacheva Son's, and some fruit. By the time I finished and drove back to Goat Rock, Bob was coming off the trail. We enjoyed a picnic in the coastal mist. Once again, I am reminded what a lovely part of the world we live in.
We spent last Sunday night camping at the Coast Camp in Point Reyes with our friend Meghan. It's a very easy three mile walk in and out, with at least half of the time spent along the coastal bluffs. We did our research and reserved a site that would afford wind protection and ocean views. Campsite No. 3 was perfect!
Bob brought the tiny camp stove and we had whole wheat pasta + sauce for dinner. Appetizer was a rustic baguette from Raymond's Bakery in Cazadero and goat cheese. Bob even carried a bottle of red wine to have with dinner (bonus points for him!). For breakfast we enjoyed warm museli with dried cranberries + brown sugar. We never go hungry when we camp, that's for sure.
"To brew beer, to make cheese to bake a loaf of bread, to braise a pork shoulder, is to be forcibly reminded that all these things are non just products, in fact are no even really 'things.' Most of what presents itself to us in the marketplace as a product is in truth a web of relationships between ourselves and all the other species on which we will depend. Eating and drinking especially implicate us in the natural world in ways that the industrial economy, with its long and illegible supply chains, would have us forget."
From Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation by Michael Pollan
"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who
points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could
have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who
errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without
error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions,
who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the
triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his
place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory
Theodore Roosevelt - "Citizenship in a Republic,"
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910
We did it! I was able to reach my Charity Water goal of providing clean
water to 41 people for my 41st birthday. Thank you to the following
kind and generous people who helped make this happen.
Lynn & Trudy
My sister and her family
Honestly, going into this I didn’t know if I would reach my goal of getting $820 in donations. However, someone once told me
that if you don’t ask, it’s like you are getting a “no” anyway. So, I asked. I
asked on Facebook (several times) and I asked on Twitter and people donated.
In addition to donations, people shared in the enthusiasm of the project, told their friends and served as cheerleaders, which was equally as awesome. In the end, my total was $961, more than $100 above my original goal.
So, now it’s time to get on with being 41 years old,
whatever that means. Thanks again everyone. I really appreciate it!
Last year I had a chance to hear Charity:Water’s founder, Scott Harrison speak. If you are not familiar with Charity:Water, they are a non-profit that
brings clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations.
particularly cool thing about their work is that 100% of the money donated goes straight to water projects. Their operating costs are underwritten
by angel investors, foundations, and corporate sponsorship. Bottom line, every
penny donated goes specifically to a water project, and it’s also tax
Why am I telling you this?
On February 28, I will turn 41 years old. To celebrate, I have started my own
Charity:Water Campaign called Water for 41 for my 41st.
Will you help?
If you would normally buy me a drink or coffee, instead, I
invite you to pitch in $5 or $10 to my fundraising efforts? Nothing would make
me happier to be able to turn my birthday into clean water for 41 people. While
costs vary per country, they can bring clean water to people at about $20 a
head, so my goal is to raise $820.
Think about what clean water means for you. I know I take
abundant supplies of clean water for granted. My life would be a lot different
if I had to worry about getting some kind of stomach bug each time I drank the
water. I appreciate that I can turn on the tap in my kitchen or bathroom and
get clean water. I don’t have to walk miles or hours to go to a water source of
questionable quality. Did you know that:
90% of the 30,000 deaths that occur every week
from unsafe water and unhygienic living conditions are children under five
In Africa alone, people spend 40 billion hours
every year just walking for water.
Every $1 invested in improved water supply and
sanitation yields an average of $4-$12 for the local economy, depending on the
type of intervention.
Needless to say, clean water is important for a variety of reasons. Will you help me bring clean water to 41 people?