Deep Thoughts from the Underground

view looking up to street level through sidewalk bricksI took this picture when I was in Seattle’s underground.  The purple squares are the little glass bricks that everyone at street level is walking on.  And underneath?  Ferns! That little bit of light is enough for them to take root and grow.  It is strange to think they know nothing of the enormity of things on the other side of the glass.

Just imagine what one of those ferns would think if liberated to the Olympic Peninsula? Would it be thrilled to be surrounded by Jurassic plants and trees or would it miss the underground where it never gets frostbitten or nibbled on by deer?  I sometimes see this picture and I think “poor ferns!” and other times I think that they’ve got a pretty sweet thing going.


Farm to Fork in Parkdale, Oregon

delicious pear growing at Kiyokawa Family Orchards


Last Saturday I got to finally see what the Farm to Fork experience is all about.  We drove about 2 hours to Parkdale, Oregon, just beyond Hood River where we met up with my brother and his wife.

The evening started around 3:30 with a little wine and taking in the surroundings.

You three look great! (Joe, Shawn, Mt.Hood)


We then took off on a tour of the farm.  Kiyokawa Family Orchards has an amazing variety of apples and pears which we snacked on a little as we learned about the history of the farm and the local farming community (which is made up of some of Oregon’s hippest farmers for sure).

There were about 160 people this evening which made for one very long table :)  Pass me the butter?  And at the way far end Conde Nast was there taking photos.  It didn’t hurt that the great weather and setting sun gave us all warm honey glows.

view from the end of the table – you can’t even see the other side!


The food was amazing – all from the chef at Celilo in Hood River. There was a colorful salad with baby beets, and watermelon – the watermelon had been vacuum packed earlier which compacted the watermelon, concentrating the flavor. There was a sophisticated ‘b.l.t’ made from little cherry tomatoes, smoked pork belly, greens and bread crumbs.  The main course of pork shoulder was cooked sooo perfectly.

This was my first time to a Farm to Fork event, but it certainly won’t be my last!  Their year is winding down, but here’s the link should you want to try it out next year: Farm to Fork .  I can only speak for the Hood River one, but I hear the others are fantastic too!  Have you been to one?

While you can go home again, you should

We all have those places back there in our lives that we go home to. The house that has been my anchor point in San Francisco off and on for the last 20 years or so is that place for me. Its not the physical ‘house’ that I connect with, but everything about it. I notice a plant has been moved closer to the window, or that the newspaper recycling basket is falling further into disrepair.
There is a comfort that comes with knowing something so well – well enough to notice things so small.
The ratio of pots to plants on the back deck has always been favoring pots – always. This time though, the plants are winning – things are changing in small ways.

Jane's backyard

Jane's backyard

But there are big changes too. New neighbors have taken down a sickly tree in their backyard, opening up an unobstructed view of St. Paul’s Church.

St. Pauls Church, San Francisco

St. Paul's Church, San Francisco

I’ve never seen that view before – never the whole church – amazing. The scaffolding in the picture means that the steeples are being cleaned too. But the church has always been there. Always will be. Many a Christmas we talked at the table in the kitchen about going to a service of these days. I mean, it is only a block away.
New windows in the living room have stilled the draft.
These changes are good..but that’s not why I go back.

The woman who owns the house, Jane, has an eclectic and artsy decor of weavings and baskets. Whenever I go back I sleep surrounded by shelves of her beautiful hiupiles

Jane and the weavers

Jane and the weavers

and every now and then I wake to a sunrise reflected in the windows of the houses on the hill.
sunrise on the hills above Noe Valley

sunrise on the hills above Noe Valley

While I can go home again, I do. Do you?