Spring Cleaning…getting rid of the wood burning fireplace

Spring is the time of year when many engage in a little extra cleaning around the house.  This year we added another item to the annual work order—Get rid of the wood burning fireplace!

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After a winter of “spare the air” days last winter, we decided it was time to move on…and away…from toasty wood burning evenings in the family room.  This, of course, required contracting with professionals to carry it out.  We still wanted a supplemental heating unit in that room and elected to go with an electrical unit instead of a natural gas unit.

So we got out of the way, so to speak, and within a few days, Ohana Construction  of  Petaluma presented us with this…

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Now, when we want to take the chill off the room, we merely have to click a remote! No more kindling…no more ashes…no more checking on whether it is a “Spare the Air” day.

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 Work Photos

Photo Gallery (Click to Open)

 

 

A Cat…Taxes & Tats

Ah, April in Northern California!

Trees are budding…

Flowers are blooming….

And, of course, we are just days from the deadline to file our income tax returns.  Many do it online.  Many use tax preparation programs.  Many turn to tax services or accountants for assistance.

We still rely upon the old-fashioned technique, of paper, calculator and pen.

However, we do rely upon one of our cats as a tax advisor… a Cat Tax Accountant, if you will…

Double check your figures...

Double check your figures…!!

And, of course, even the cat accountant has an opinion about the tax forms…

Stupid tax forms!

Stupid tax forms!

For the truly adventurous there is a novel tax treat—In Healdsburg you can pick up a tattoo after doing your taxes… Emoji

Tax & Tat

Tax & Tat

NOTE! For photo enthusiasts–Check out Cape Fear… A Matter of Perspective

Rebuilding Together Petaluma–The stuff that needs to be done NOW!

NEWS FROM REBUILDING TOGETHER PETALUMA

Fast Water Heater Co. Teams Up with Rebuilding Together Petaluma (RTP) and Home Depot to Restore Hot Water for Elderly Veteran’s Widow in Petaluma…

DSCF6110RAWWEB A Petaluma homeowner turned on her faucet today and hot water poured out for the first time in nine months. Mrs. G. has been boiling water on her stove for her hot water needs since last June.

“My neighbor read an article in the paper about Rebuilding Together Petaluma, and she said she thought they might be able to help me out,” said Mrs. G.

As a low-income homeowner whose late husband served in the armed forces in the Korean War, Mrs. G. squarely qualifies to be a recipient of Rebuilding Together Petaluma’s home repair services.  RTP works to ensure that low-income homeowners receive the support they need to maintain safe and healthy residences. The non-profit organization relies on grants, donations and volunteers to complete its work.

Mrs. G’s home will undergo a series of repairs over the coming months, but the water heater situation could not wait. Rebuilding Together Petaluma’s Executive Director Jane Hamilton connected with

Both companies immediately agreed. The new water heater was in place within two weeks of the initial request.

“We are proud to have a presence in the greater Bay Area, and this is just one way for our company to show our appreciation,” said Fast Water Heater CEO Jason Hanleybrown. “It also fits with our company values – one of which is caring for the communities we serve.”

“We are very grateful to Fast Water Heater Company and Home Depot for their quick response to this situation,” noted Jane Hamilton of RTP. “They immediately understood the urgency and worked quickly to restore Mrs. G’s hot water. When businesses respond with in-kind donation of materials or services, it allows us to help even more people.”

RTP is still seeking donations and volunteers to help complete repairs to Mrs. G. home on May 3. Volunteers from Home Depot and the Coast Guard and retired members of the military are all expected to improve livability issues inside and out at Mrs. G. home. To volunteer or make a donation, go to www.rtpetaluma.org.

Rebuilding Together Petaluma strengthens the local safety net by repairing homes free of charge for the many low income homeowners in our community as well as renovating the facilities of non-profits that support them. Rebuilding Together Petaluma envisions a safe and healthy home for every person in our community.

According to RTP’s Jane Hamilton:

  • “Rebuilding Together Petaluma was established in our community in 1996, initially as Christmas in April. In the last 18 years RTP has repaired or added safety/energy efficiency features to almost 800 homes for low-income Petaluma homeowners, most of whom are elderly or disabled members of our community.”
  • “We fund this work through an annual grant from HUD and also through the generous donations of businesses and individuals in our community. Each year RTP directs the efforts of over 500 skilled and unskilled community volunteers towards those in our community who are in need of some helping hands. We sponsor and organize a large rebuilding day every April and October and we also offer year round services to those in need.”

Fast Water Heater Company serves all of the greater Bay Area with local operations in Marin, Napa and Sonoma as well as San Francisco and the Peninsula, the East Bay, the South Bay and San Jose. The company has been in business since 1985. Its website is www.fastwaterheater.com.

Petaluma Foodie Festival–2014

This annual “foodie” event is produced by the Petaluma Host Lions Club with the proceeds benefiting the local high schools..

I think of it as an indoor street festival presenting an epicurean vision of local dining, restaurants, caterers, and food vendors offering their best for your consideration. Oh, and you can also eat and sample as much as you wish.

To add to the experience, several high school jazz bands provided entertainment throughout the event

Quotidian Scenes…Petaluma

I have not decided whether to continue with this blog site, or to focus (pun intended) more on my photo blog.

So, I will continue to offer a blend of offerings on both sites until I make a decision or inertia intervenes…

For your consideration today, I first offer a view of two Petaluma bicycle racks–one photo gives me pause as to how the bicycles made it to the rack and whether they will depart.  The other photo…a promo for a new store–”Opperfields” ?  Or did someone remove the “C” from the Copperfield’s rack?

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Target on Water St!

Really, you would think Target would take a lesson from Safeway on cart management.  Still you have to admire the tenacity of the person who pushed this puppy all the way to Water St.

Target expanding to Water Street? (Petaluma)

Target expanding to Water Street? (Petaluma)

Finally, if you are interested in photos made for themselves and not expressing a social comment (at least I did not intend to do so), go to my photo blog and check out Scenes about  (Petaluma) town…

Views From Lafferty…Views of Lafferty

For those not familiar with the background story of the Lafferty property on Sonoma Mountain, here is a quick summary:  The 269 acre property (Lafferty Ranch) on the side of Sonoma Mountain was purchased by the City of Petaluma in 1959 to serve as part of its water system.  Access to the property by city employees was never challenged.  It wasn’t until recently that adjacent property owners challenged access to the property when it was proposed to turn it into a Wilderness Park for the general public.  Some of the details of this dispute, and its possible resolution, are contained in the links at the end of this article.

A recent article in the Press Democrat (link below) about public access to Petaluma’s Lafferty Ranch revived an old longing on my part to see the land and the supposedly grand vistas from the mountain.

The problem, of course, is that the public cannot access the property at present.  Unless, of course, one obtains “legal” access with a City Official and a guide. And so it came to pass that I found myself on February 18th in front of the Lafferty Gate–the scene most often published in articles about Lafferty…

The Lafferty Gate

Lafferty "Entrance" Gate

Lafferty “Entrance” Gate

VIEWS FROM LAFFERTY

Moving up from the gate to the first meadow I had to pause to take it all in.  While it was partly sunny (in California, that means mostly cloudy) I was able to see the entire Petaluma Valley, the course of the Petaluma River, Mt. Tam, and San Pablo Bay. I could string out a long collection of clichés about the views but instead I will say that I could have stayed there all day watching the light change and playing with the camera toys.

A View From Lafferty

A View From Lafferty

Lafferty Petaluma Valley Vista

Lafferty Petaluma Valley Vista

VIEWS OF LAFFERTY

The Lafferty landscape is indeed a wilderness in terms of vegetation, wetlands, animals, and streams. Some of the foundation stones of the original Lafferty home are still in place.  For the most part, much of the land is the same as it was when California became a state.  In many places the only sound (other than my occasional grunting) was the sound of Adobe Creek.

Granted, the area is not as lush as it normally would be at this time of the year because of the drought, but the recent rains did have some positive impact. 

Lafferty Middle Meadow

Lafferty Middle Meadow

"If you go out in the woods today..."

“If you go out in the woods today…”

Photo Gallery (Click to Open)

In closing, the best evidence as to whether or not I was impressed by my Lafferty experience is that it provided a new header for this blog.  Perhaps the opportunity to visit Lafferty will be available to everyone in the not too distant future.

THE LAFFERTY STORY–RELATED LINKS

Meow 2014!…Once Again (Cat Fanciers Santa Rosa Show)

The Santa Rosa Cat Fanciers Association  All Breed Show at the Santa Rosa Fairgrounds earlier this month was a must attend event for cat lovers—who braved one of rare rainy weekends this season to attend.

Of course, there were many vendors of cat accessories…

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And attendees had a chance to adopt “Forgotten Felines”…

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We “braved” the rain to make our annual pilgrimage to the event and I have create a few galleries to give you a sense of the day.

Note that all photos were taken without flash so as not to disturb the feline stars and judges.

Photo Galleries

(Click on any photo in the individual gallery to open the collage for full sized photos. To return to the page from the open gallery, slick on the X in the upper left hand corner)

Attendees (Feline & People)

Contestants

Judges

California Water…or the lack thereof

Late fall and winter is “normally” our wet season when rain and snow deposits fill our reservoirs for future use.

In the California coastal areas, the landscape is normally quite verdant at this time of the year as shown in the first two photos in the collage.

The last two photos are the best evidence of  the present situation…Drought

Photo Collage

(Click on any photo to open the collage to see full sized photos)

READER NOTE:  For a related “Water” post—related only in that it includes “Water” in the title—check out They’re Flipping Out on Water Street!

MLK Day 2014…a day of service

On January 20, 2014, volunteers from Kaiser Permanente and, in some instances their family members, once again gathered to spend MLK Day in an area community facility performing needed improvements and maintenance. This year they took on projects at the Novato Youth Center (NYC) including landscape mulching, planter maintenance, cleaning, computer maintenance, and bookcase construction.

Petaluma’s Rebuilding Together (RTP), in a long standing partnership with Kaiser for Martin Luther King Workdays, coordinated logistics.

Kaiser Volunteers 2014

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To view all the photographs go to>> Kaiser MLK Photo Gallery 2014

As a tease to check out the gallery, I offer this quote from Ally Oxenhandler, the principal at NYC:

What an amazing experience.  Your team couldn’t have been any lovelier to work with.  And the results……..well……..nothing will ever top it!  We will enjoy them every single minute of every single day for the next many, many years.  Thank you for selecting us.  Sometimes, wonderful things happen!  It was a pleasure to work with all of you. The best MLK Day of my life.”

…and this small collage to further encourage you to check out ALL the photos in the gallery linked above…

(Click on any photo to open the collage to see full sized photos)

History At Your Feet Part II…Petaluma’s Carnegie Free Public Library

My recent perambulations downtown searching for thresholds and entryways created by artisans from another time led me to what is now known as the Petaluma Museum.

The Petaluma Historical Library & Museum (Originally a Carnegie Library)

The Petaluma Historical Library & Museum (Originally a Carnegie Library)

Of course, like many buildings in the historic district, it has a long history.  While I thought that I had thoroughly “covered” this building during past visits, I was persuaded by Katherine Rinehart to take another look. She advised it had a significant tile and marble entryway installed by Petaluma’s E.W.M. Evans in 1906. I thought I knew this building, but it was proof again that one can always discover something new, even in old territory.

For those not familiar with Petaluma, suffice it to say that the building in question is one of the many hundreds of free public libraries built by grants from Andrew Carnegie in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries…

  • It’s purpose, set in stone, if you will, on the front of the building.
The Petaluma Historical Library & Museum (Originally a Carnegie Library)

The Petaluma Historical Library & Museum (Originally a Carnegie Library)

  • And just as Katherine noted, a marble and tile threshold message… set by Petaluma’s E.W.M. Evans in 1906.
The Petaluma Historical Library & Museum (Originally a Carnegie Library)

The Petaluma Historical Library & Museum (Originally a Carnegie Library)

RELATED LINKS