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Quilt unveiled at pancake breakfast; beautiful Quarryhill

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Sylvia Crawford/Glen Ellen Columnist

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Many hands at creekside

Tomorrow evening, that is Wednesday, May 7, from 7 to 8 p.m., join your friends and neighbors sitting on the beautiful creekside terrace at the Jack London Lodge Saloon. You’ll have to buy your own brew (or soda or whatever cooling liquid helps ease you into the evening). True, there is a meeting planned, but it’s mostly good fun and a time to visit with other folks who love Glen Ellen.

The Glen Ellen Village Fair Committee is meeting to discuss and plan for this October’s grand and glorious town party. It’s easy to be part of the group. Join this meeting, or join the committee. All are welcome.

So far committee members include some returnees, namely Shannon Lee, Lisa Hardy, Eileen Berger and Leslie Vaughn. They are the official board members. Other folks on the board include Mike Hardy, Matthew Dickey, and Vicki and Rick Dunham. You are wanted, too.

Being on the committee doesn’t require a huge commitment. As Shannon shares, “many hands make light work,” a cliché that is ever-so-true. Even if you choose to attend this meeting only, your opinion and suggestions about our annual town whoop-de-do will be welcome. See you there.

Local farmers market rides again

Shannon Lee, who also happens to be my publicity contact for the fair, is also in the forefront of the team planning a new, but local, farmers market. The Kenwood farmers market (which will include many of the good folks formerly featured at our dear departed Glen Ellen farmers market, which happened at the Gristmill for the past couple of years) has, Shannon tells me, “been a roller coaster with a twisted track.” But, at least there’s a track, and the project looks to be on it.

The Kenwood farmers market, which begins in June and runs through Sept. 14, happens every Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. in the center of Kenwood. Yes, a ride away for us Glen Ellen folks, but well worth it. Thanks for this good news, Shannon.

Hits your plate at eight

Shannon also sent me good news about this year’s Glen Ellen Village quilt, a fund-raiser for the Village Fair. It will be revealed at this Sunday’s Mother’s Day Pancake Breakfast at the Glen Ellen firehouse on Arnold Drive. That’s Sunday May 11, with the grills lighting up bright and early so they can sling those first pancakes onto your plate right at eight. From that time onward, they’ll continue serving breakfast until at least noon, as the last sleepy stragglers wander in.

Along with a hearty helping of sugar-rush pancakes swimming in syrup, the firefighters offer eggs, sausage, bacon, plus fresh fruit, heavy on juicy-sweet strawberries. Orange juice and coffee are included for the gentle fare of $8 for adults, $4 for kids four to 17, and free for youngsters three and under. Knowing the generous appetites of some toddlers, that’s a sweet offer by our firefighters.

Along with all that good food, you can also purchase smoothies, mimosas and fizzes for $4. Then, there are all the extras we enjoy: the fire safety information, and the souvenirs (like GE Firefighter T-shirts), and more.

While you enjoy a great breakfast (maybe even with your mama, since it’s Mother’s Day, of course) the firefighters benefit with all proceeds going to the Glen Ellen Firefighters’ Association and the Glen Ellen Fire Association Auxiliary. See you there.

Antique quilt reappears

This year’s quilt is once again a “recycled” one, which is always a gift to the folks who create these quilts. When someone donates a quilt back to the Glen Ellen quilters, it makes for an easy “off” year where a new blanket need not be stitched.

This year’s quilt was kept in perfect condition by the original winner. That would be the late Jane Davenport Jansen. She is the one who imagined and developed the steep rocky hillsides of her Glen Ellen home into the world famous botanical gardens of Quarryhill.

I well remember that land before Bill McNamara and his crew transformed it into a stunning paradise. The south part of Quarryhill, then known as Three Springs Ranch, was owned by Jerry and Betty Lou Hutton, where my best friend and college roommate, Judy Laursen, and her infant daughter lived in the early 1970s.

As Sweetie and I, refugees from New York and Southern California, traveled north to visit family in Eureka, we’d stop at Judy’s. It was easy to fall in love with that bucolic setting on the east side of Highway 12 with wandering cattle (owned by the Shones, I recall) and majestic oaks. Judy’s driveway sported a California mock orange that woke us daily with wafting scents of spring. It was that land that convinced Sweetie and me to settle here in Glen Ellen.

But, back then, Quarryhill was a far cry from what it has become. The several abandoned quarries were homes to rattlers and rubble. With Jane’s vision, and Bill’s hard work, that place has become a paradise.

The Glen Ellen quilt won by Jane Davenport in 1994 was a stunningly beautiful piece covered with the wildflowers of our area. It was fitting that the woman who created ponds and waterfalls in a garden of loveliness would win that quilt. She obviously kept it safe and carefully protected. After Jane died (in 2000) the quilt was given back to the Glen Ellen quilters. Margie Foster became the keeper of that beautiful piece of artwork. She and other members of the Glen Ellen quilters decided that this was the year for the quilt to find a new home, once again.

Tickets to win this beautiful blanket will be offered at the Firefighters’ Mother’s Day Pancake Breakfast. Tickets are $2 each, or three for $5, and seven for $10. If you’re feeling lucky (and flush), buy 15 tickets for a mere $20 bill. All of the proceeds benefit local groups, from our firefighters to Dunbar School to other needy groups.

In past years, it has occasionally turned out that someone who bought a ticket (or 20) at the Pancake Breakfast has won the quilt. Other years, it’s a last minute buyer who has won. Of course, plenty of ticket holders who bought in between have ended up winners. It’s all chance. But, the truth is, the more tickets you buy, and the more events you buy them at, the more likely you are to be the winner. It’s always good to start your lucky streak at the Mother’s Day Breakfast. This year’s raffle quilt is a stunning beauty. Backed in rosy fabric, it features wildflowers of our area, in rectangular pieces displaying the art of Ma Nature, as interpreted by stitchery artists in our town.

You’ll find a simple trillium fashioned by Margie Foster, with a butterfly spirit hovering nearby. Next in line along the top row is Anne Teller’s version of a wild rose, all warm coral. Then comes Virginia Lindstrom’s blue-eyed grass (which I saw in exuberant abundance last week walking at Audubon Canyon Ranch’s newest preserve, the 1900 acre wild Mayacamas Preserve).

Marsha Moran captures the simplicity of the delicate flowers of the soap plant (one of the Native American’s important resources), while Shari Glago’s unfurling fiddleneck flower carries a golden glow.

The second row features a simple stenciled wood rose that Raegene Africa block-printed and finely quilted. Mary Ann Carr’s wild iris is the pale yellow of early spring. Lynn Ganz’s simple lupine shows a pollinated flower, all purple passion. Edie Vukicevich sewed a lovely twisting morning glory and Aggie Foster gave us the ubiquitous poppy, which is surely the flower of the year. We’ve enjoyed more blazing poppies this spring than I ever remember. They brighten our dusty roads and empty lots, just as Aggie’s poppies brighten the quilt.

The third row begins with a second offering by practiced seamtress Mary Ann Carr, the elegant brodiaea. Mary Engebreth, a Bouverie docent, sewed a shooting star, which is often abundant on the early parts of the chaparral trail to the waterfall at Bouverie this time of year. Leslie Smith’s arching columbine is dramatic, while Beth Bradbury’s mission bells portray that flower’s dark, cupped blooms. Margie Foster’s second picture features cattails in a colorful sunset scene.

The quilt’s fourth row begins with Joanne Dieckmann’s delicate larkspur. Next is Susie Joyce’s Scottish thistle. The late Mary Miller’s simple dandelion depicts that humble flower. Sandi Augustine gives us a pale blue salsify, while the late Florence Cook’s herald-of-summer is a delicate pink.

The quilt’s final row features Deb Pool’s golden yellow mule’s ear. Tillie Angus stitched a foxglove that includes a little joke on the flower’s name. When you see the quilt at the firehouse on Mother’s Day, check out her novel wordplay. Mary Ann Carr’s third square on this quilt is a lovely adobe lily, while Cathy Leonard’s farewell-to-spring features the same soft hue of rose. The quilt’s bottom right corner is anchored by Marsha Moran’s second offering, a simple weed, miner’s lettuce, a plant that can still be easily harvested in our valley and made into a refreshing salad.

We are indebted to these fine ladies for all of their work on this year’s raffle quilt. The ticket sales from the quilt help with the seed money for our 2014 Glen Ellen Village Fair, this coming October on Columbus Day weekend.

Looking forward

As I mentioned in a previous column, the weekend of May 17 and 18 will feature two of the most exciting fund-raisers our town ever sees. Both the lovely gardens of Quarryhill Botanical Preserve and the wilderness of the Bouverie Audubon Preserve feature fund-raisers to benefit their education programs for school children. Both of these preserves offer free hikes to school-children throughout the Bay Area where the kiddos are immersed in nature and educated about our natural world.

Quarryhill’s event is called Wild Collections, Expeditions for Education, and it takes place in the evening of Saturday, May 17, beginning at 5 p.m.

Almost next door, the Bouverie Preserve of Audubon Canyon Ranch offers their fund-raiser, called the Art of Eating in honor of M.F.K. Fisher’s famous tome of the joy of eating. Bouverie’s event takes place on Sunday afternoon, May 18. Julie Atwood is planning a festive gala picnic and auction to raise funds for Bouverie’s education program. If anyone in this valley knows how to throw an elegant and fun picnic, that would be Julie.

We’ll share more about these two events in next week’s column. For now, I suggest you invite your out-of-town friends to experience the delights of Glen Ellen at it’s most sophisticated best. Buy your tickets early and don’t miss these two special back-to-back parties. Check out the websites, quarryhillbg.org and egret.org for the Bouverie. See you there.

Red Gold at KenWood in Kenwood

Meanwhile, speaking of seeing friends and neighbors, I enjoyed running into Sabrina and Mark Speer, two avid anglers who reveled in the Ashton’s showing of “Red Gold” recently at the KenWood Restaurant. Generally, we see Mark and his canine companion Benson on the trail in the regional park and Sabrina at the gym, pedaling the bikes. It was nice to all meet in our fancy finery to help with that Wine Country Film Festival benefit. The film was truly remarkable and I recommend it to Bill Lynch and others who care about fish and our environment.

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Want to see your own name in the news? Share your stories with friends and neighbors in Glen Ellen. Call or write me at 996-5995 or P.O. Box 518, GE 95442. Or email me at creekbottom@earthlink.net. Glen Ellen chatter rarely requires timeliness; however, if your news does, please be sure to contact me at least two weeks before your desired publication date.