Thursday, June 27, 2013

Two Hours from the Nearest Trader Joe’s

Just another day at The Sea Ranch. 

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.

Go Local
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.”

Local Offerings
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. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Here is Your Sign

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. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

My Week - Six Photos

Some fun things from this week:
1. Scout, our new cat, is settling in. She likes to "help" me at my desk during the day.
2. Our  greyhound Tender. She is approaching 13 years old. She's slowing down but still super sweet.
3. A daily coffee photo and Yam Slam dice. Bob and I usually play a game with breakfast or lunch.
4. Blondie on Pandora. Enough said.
5. Some of the books that keep me inspired in my biz world.
6. Salad greens (with flowers) from our Oz Farm CSA box. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sonoma Coast Trail

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. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

My Week - Four Photos

Four fun things from this week.
1. Yummy veggies from our local OZ Farm CSA box.
2. Sticky bun and chai latte from Two Fish Baking Company.
3. Surprise in the mail from friends ... the miette baking book!
4. Scout, our new cat, who likes to "help" me at my desk during the day.

What made your week fun? 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Camping in Point Reyes

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. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


"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