November / December 2011.   ~mike gradziel.
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On New Year's Day, 2012, we managed to get up reasonably early and drove to Point Reyes to do a 9.5 mile walk out to the northernmost tip of Tomales Point, and back. There are herds of elk there, and nice ocean views. The only downside to the route is that once arrived at the rewarding land's end, you have to walk back for two long hours all the while looking across the narrow Tomales Bay at tasty oysters being barbecued on the far side of the water (ok you can't actually see the oyster barbecue, but it's there just across the bay almost within swimming distance). By the time we reached the car and drove 40 minutes around to the Marshall Store, the sun was about to set and the oysters were delicious - especially the ones with bacon and worcestershire, and others with spinach, cheese, and bread crumbs, hot off the grill.
hiking the Tomales Point trail hiking the Tomales Point trail the very end of Tomales Point
the ranch at McClure's Beach Barbecued oysters at Marshall Store more barbecued oysters at Marshall Store
watching the sun set, eating oysters watching the sun set, eating oysters oysters all gone
We are back in California after almost a week back East, visiting family and friends. I finally took Joy for a walk up to the top of Mt. Greylock, the highest peak in Massachusetts which conveniently is about five miles walking from my parents' house, directly out the door and into the woods. This was also my first time up there with a digital camera (it's been eight years, actually!) so I came home with lots of great photos of the snowy trees and blue sky. The rest of the week was mostly gray brooding weather. We visited family in New York, then drove back to Boston to visit friends and eat pizza and other tasty things, wrapping up with a tour of the Sam Adams brewery where they develop new brews in small batches. They use Boston tap water, and then the large-scale production in Ohio and elsewhere has to chemically adjust the local tap water minerals, pH, etc. to match Boston water for a uniform product. Interesting, and tasty.
hiking into the snow, Mt Greylock hiking into the snow, Mt Greylock hiking into the snow, Mt Greylock; by Joy
hiking into the snow, Mt Greylock war memorial lighthouse, Mt Greylock war memorial lighthouse, Mt Greylock
radio tower, Mt Greylock war memorial lighthouse, Mt Greylock war memorial lighthouse, Mt Greylock
adams, massachusetts joy walking down to the ski hut 1930s ski hut, mt greylock
1930s ski hut, mt greylock pouring hot cocoa joy in the ski hut
1930s ski hut, mt greylock view north into vermont looking towards cheshire and home
after sunset, crescent moon lunch grandma and grandpa
cutting the cake happy 65th anniversary sweet tomatoes pizza, newton massachusetts
sweet tomatoes pizza, newton massachusetts sweet tomatoes pizza, newton massachusetts boston skyline
flood control gatehouses, boston reeds and willows lobster sandwiches
joy vs lobster sandwich ice cream at JP Licks hot cocoa is coming
bolivian chocolate Regina's pizza, Boston Sam Adams Brewery, Boston
Joy suggested that we drive up to St. Helena on Saturday to see the Bale Grist Mill, thinking I would like it. Considering that I have a plot of wheat planted in the back yard, a hand-powered flour mill on my dining table, an interest in Old California, and a line of work that involves designing and manufacturing large gear-driven machinery, this restored and fully-functional water-powered grain mill was right up my alley. There was a big water wheel, several stages of 1880s-style gearing with oak wood teeth in iron wheels, belt-driven grain lifts, sifters, shakers, grain feeds, and twin millstones along with the equipment to adjust them and move them around. The thing still works, though the grain lifts and sifters aren't in use. I bought some flour and cornmeal freshly ground on quartzite millstones from France. While we were up that way, we stocked up on the new vintage of a favorite wine, ate chalupas and tamales at El Molino Central, and even managed to buy a bottle of white port at Prager an hour after they'd closed, which was really great since we didn't have a chance to stop in earlier. In the morning we checked out China Camp State Park, one of those slated to close next year, on the north shore of San Pablo Bay. It is a nice area of marshes and bluffs and mountain bike trails. If they really do close it, all that will mean is that trash will accumulate and the historic buildings will either fall apart or get vandalized, and then we taxpayers will pay even more to fix things up some day in the future. Not that the state actually has money now to do anything else.
china camp state park old boat prop china camp state park
BR Cohn vineyard Bale Grist Mill wooden-toothed gears
twin millstones French quartzite millstones grain feeder apparatus
Here are pictures of two different incidents involving fungi: first, preparing and eating a black truffle from Italy just to find out what all the foodie fuss is about at fine restaurants (yes, it's good, but so are lots of other local, widely available foods); next, some weekend trips to wine country and mushroom hunting in Santa Cruz.
fresh black truffle from Alba, Italy fresh black truffle from Alba, Italy truffle and olive oil
truffle and olive oil freshly made pasta garlic and oil, and truffle gently warmed
dinner is served time for breakfast minced black truffle
buttered bread toast and soft-cooked truffled eggs Sonoma vineyards in November
driving through redwood forest fall color in Glen Ellen hiking in Santa Cruz
unidentified mushroom number one unidentified mushroom number two prime mushroom habitat
manzanita bolete mushroom bizarre fuzzy purple mushrooms spider and web
Snow at the end of October was unusual for Massachusetts. I was there on business but had time to visit at home.
fourteen inches of snow at the end of October grass is still green raspberries are still red
snowy yard frozen pond my giant snowball
colorful leaves birch bark colorful leaves
the farm milkweed seeds the back yard

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