« Day 7: Thanksgiving from Ukiah to Sonoma »

Be sure to look at the Treehugger Tour Photo Gallery with great captions to enhance these entries.

ed and kelli in a mirror reflection at shambala's main house living roomShambala's lodge living roomThis morning was the best morning. It was cold and gray, drizzly and murky. Shambala's lodge overlooks a valley from partway up a hill, and it was just beautiful. The hilltops were lost in the clouds, everything was green, gold, and red, and it just seemed so right. Kelli and I had the entire place to ourselves, so we got our breakfast of somewhat locally made granola, chemical-free milk, hardboiled eggs, apples, and juice. All this was had while sitting in the dining room that overlooks the entire valley below, the pond, and the road. The dining room had a 180 degree view and was on an upper level, so it was really a great way to start the day. We got ready to leave and ended up talking to the manager again, this time about a lot of things, comparing notes from Sandy Eggo to this utterly gorgeous place. She had brought us a bunch of sources for info on intentional communities, so we have some of that to look over now.

We left for a somewhat shorter drive today toward Santa Rosa and Sonoma. Kelli has a college friend who lives in wine country (with her folks, right between two vinyards, but they aren't in the biz themselves—they got a sliver of land between the two fields). Our drive took us from Shambala through Ukiah where we only passed through. I liked the wine country along the 101 in that area. The weather continued on in the gray sky mode, which made the already idyllic pastoral scenery just too sweet to behold. Once we got to Ashley's in Sonoma, we had a brief time at their house before dinner at her uncle's place down the road. Ashley's dad just got a new iMac and was trying to figure out some stuff, so I endeared myself to him and showed him around the new machine. Their property was about ten times bigger than mine, so they had a modest rural spread, and the house was hand made by Papa. They had a garden and some chickens. I took a liking to the place. Everything was lush and green there, even the rocks!

Our Thanksgiving dinner was at Ashley's uncle's place. I barely know Ashley as it is, though she photographed our wedding in part. Of course, it was interesting being a near total stranger in the home of someone I am only tangentially acquainted with, but then we were guests in her parents home, and guests again at her uncle's home! Anyhow, there were about 15 people at the dinner altogether, and it was just delightful, even if a little wierd, knowing only two people there, and only one of them well. Still, it was a tremendously nice gesture to have us along on Thanksgiving. As of now, Kelli and I still have not had a true Thanksgiving day dinner at home with either of our parents or family. We've been together for three years now, and the first was at church family friends' and the next was split—her with her family in South Carolina and me again at the aforementioned friend's place. So here we are, continuing the trend of having T-giving at other people's houses. If not for this, it might have been at Denny's.

We politely hung out at this strange party then left. I did get a chance to talk like one of the family when the topic of presidential politics came up, so I wasn't totally left out, but it does become a little odd being a total stranger at other people's parties, once the food is eaten and it's time to talk. We got back to Ashley's and I did a little photo card transfer to CD, and called it a night pretty early. I missed my opportunity to jump in the hot tub with three chickeys to talk about peak oil and other happy topics. Oh well.

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