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Geyserville Grapevine - deTraci Regula - February 2016

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Geyserville Grapevine - deTraci Regula - February 2016

The recent rains are preparing us for a fabulous display of wildflowers as the highways start to green up at the road edges and in our gardens. In Geyserville, I’ve been enjoying the mist obscuring the hillsides which give everything a  magical air of mystery. 

One day driving north from Healdsburg along the 101, all of the hills ahead were covered with mist except for one curved swath of dark mountain far away. It looked like a bridge had suddenly appeared in our landscape, leading to an unknown destination. 

Of Mist and Mushrooms

The moisture has also awakened mushrooms and other fungi here at the Isis Oasis Sanctuary. While our foundress Loreon Vigne didn’t hesitate to throw our local mushrooms in a pan and cook them up, I have to confess I am not so courageous – or confident in my identification skills. I remember one wet spring being sent to gather some huge fluffy fungi here – and also to fetch the big edible mushroom identification book Loreon kept handy. She proclaimed them safe and so I ate them at dinner that night. But I confess that I consumed these delicious mushrooms very, very slowly, with one eye kept on my fellow diners to make sure no one  was exhibiting any unusual symptoms. (By the way, if you ever suspect  you or someone else has eaten a poisonous mushroom, seek medical attention immediately. The Sonoma County Mycological Association at somamushrooms.org/poisoning can help with emergency identification situations.)

Rainbows have accompanied other journeys, proving that even the rainy season here has moments of great beauty.

Our Great Tree has its coat of green moss again and on sunny mornings following rain, I can see it “breathe” out a fine mist from its multiple trunks. It’s a beautiful time, but it has also kept us busy with new French drains, small ditches, snake gravel bags, and other ways to gently manage the flow of water.  

We’ve added more heat lamps and other weatherproofing to our many enclosures for our parrots, white peacock and other birds and we have had one pre-spring birth of an adorable baby cockatiel. We’re grateful that the wet season has come on gently and given us a chance to prepare for a more normal year after all the dry ones.

Valentine’s Day – For Fish

While February is known for the Valentine’s Day romance, that particular weekend will be celebrating romance of a different sort at the Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival on Saturday, February 13th. This free family-friendly event is held at the Milt Brandt Visitors Center at Lake Sonoma, which is managed and maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

The Steelhead Trout is a sparkling silver-grey, red-cheeked local fish which makes a dramatic spawning run similar to that of the better known salmon. Participants will get to see the fish in all their glory as they climb the fish ladder on their way to spawn, youngsters can learn to fish, and everyone can enjoy purchasing food from the food booths. Bear Republic beer is a sponsor and the members of the Dry Creek Valley Winemakers will be present with their wares as well. 

For more information on the Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival, contact the Friends of Lake Sonoma at (707) 431-4533 or by email at info@lakesonoma.org. 

Note: The Beer Fest at the Geyserville Grille originally scheduled for this month and mentioned in the previous column has been cancelled and will be rescheduled. 

Have information on upcoming events and other things Geyservillians should know about? Email me at the address above.