- Greens Dinner - So San Francisco Zen Center opened a restaurant back in the day when "California" cooking was just taking off. A vegetarian restaurant called Greens out at Fort Mason in the Marina district of San Francisco. When running several businesses as well as a Zen training center became too much to manage SFZC "sold" Greens. The nature of the relationship is a little unclear. They still give us some money, we give them produce and every year the farm and garden apprentices go there for a big end of season dinner. Open everything and so much fun! One other tradition is that all the apprentices picked a name out of a hat and wrote a haiku about the person they got. Then we read them all and guessed who they were about. They we so sweet, some funny, so much love.
- Amanda Keith and Anthony Verrastro's Wedding: (you can see a pic of me and Austin and his cousins Chris and Krista and her husband) The wedding was in Pennsylvania, in the mountains. It was October 6 and the fall colors were seriously amazing. The landscape of rolling hills and, his parents live on a little lake called Moosic Lakes, was absolutely peaceful and breathtaking. So intoxicating I thought maybe I could live there some day. Oh wait, they have winter. But I met so much family, got to hang out with all Amanda's girl friends, got to see Jimmy and Sarah and baby brother Charlie. It was wonderful. There was even a photo booth at the wedding but I won't be posting any of those photos. I'll just quote someone who said "what is it about photo booths that makes you want to take your clothes off?!"
- Cazadero, CA: Austin and I took a little vacation before practice period began. In some ways it can be hard to relax here because there's always fun people around and things happening. So we snuck off to my great grandma's cabin. It was AMAZING! Once you get off N-101 onto River Rd. you drive through beautiful wine country and you see California actually has fall colors too. You drive through Guerneville (home of the Rainbow Cattle Co. a must stop for all visitors) and Monte Rio, where they were having MermaidFest (?). We spent three days doing nothing and whatever we wanted. It was cool enough in the mornings that we could build a fire in the stove. We would sleep in, drink strong coffee, and lay around reading. Then we'd make lunch and sit out on the porch in the sun drinking a beer or two (three?) while asking each other Trivial Pursuit questions (and use salami bits to lure a local cat for a snuggle). Then it was nap time and there is a bed on the deck under the covered area so we could just lounge. Then we'd listen to music, read more, walk down to the creek (hella cold!). Then we'd prepare dinner, drink wine and lounge more! One morning we went to Raymond's Bakery for delish pastries and coffee. Total local spot for the community of 350 people.
So all in all life as a Green Gulch Garden Apprentice was pretty amazing. (Life as a Green Gulch practice period participant ain't too shabby either :-)