--- With temperatures soaring into the upper 90s, everyone was delighted to try Red, White and No More Blues ice cream (Dreyer's new 'taste of recovery') in addition to many other flavors. ---
--- Palo Alto firefighters and Mary and Bud Bordi, longtime local ranchers. We cheered when the engine from Palo Alto's Fire Station 8 came up the drive on Saturday. The day before, their crew from Foothills Park quickly put out a vehicle fire on Page Mill Road that spread into the Los Trancos Open Space Preserve. Some of the same firefighters were working both days and filled us in on the 'Thunderbird' fire. ---
---Cal Fire staff not only respond to wildfires in rural areas, but also help the Open Space District use prescribed burns to safely reduce the fuel load and manage the ecological conditions of preserves. In the background, an historic chicken coop. ---
--- Every year, over 500 volunteers provide thousands of hours of service on Open Space preserves. It's good to see them relaxing at the ice cream party and sharing tips on avoiding poison oak and heat stroke. ---
The land use patterns in the Santa Cruz Mountains have been changing for decades. Not everyone agrees on how to manage across property lines, but it's good to get together and talk, especially around the toppings table.
--- Metalsmith, Bill Sorich, has created many of the artistic gates seen along our country roads. ---
Bill Sorich brought an unusual item to share, an abandoned log that had large holes in it, probably from a pileated woodpecker. Bill has been a vocal advocate for maintaining adequate fire clearances along roads to allow safe escape by residents and access by fire engines during emergencies. Forest snags provide wildlife habitat and are generally not a fire hazard if they are not too close to structures. Bill is observant and respects the natural world that surrounds him, and designs natural elements into many of his gates and sculptures.
To lend an old-fashioned air to this ice cream social, I decided to wear the pink dress my grandma sewed and wore to my parents' wedding over 50 years ago. Grandma Marie was active in her local church and ever-growing family in rural Minnesota. Our lives are very different, but perhaps she still influences me - I made an apple pie for the party.
--- Catching up with a friend, Chris, and her little daughter. Another friend brought his daughter for her first taste of ice cream - she seemed more excited about the people. ---
--- Bud Bordi talking to our local business folks, probably about the weather. ---
Several people asked how I managed to win an ice cream party for 100 people. I wrote an essay in Dreyer's Slow Churned Neighborhood Salute contest:
----- Alpine Road is beautiful, wild, rural park and ranchland south of San Francisco. The hills turn brown in the summer and it gets hot, except when the fog rolls in from the Pacific Ocean. As neighbors, we don’t get together very often, but we call when there’s a package waiting at the local market, email wildfire warnings, share photos on websites, take cup-of-tea hikes from one neighbor to the next (2 miles or so), shoo the cattle back in the gates, and help the neighbor who’s afraid of rattlesnakes. An ice cream social would be a great summer get-together on Alpine Road, an activity to get park rangers, hikers and old-time ranchers talking together. Maybe I will meet the neighbors who knew the legendary cowboy who used to live in my house and collect stories for the local history book. ps: my fellow park employees have a rule that when you get your name in the media, you have to bring in ice cream for everyone. It’s a good rule. I owe them for a radio interview last week. ---
The weather cooperated and I think we pulled the party off just right. Thanks to everyone for the help on Saturday and their country friendship year round.
All photos (except the Lockheed fire) by Andy Butcher.