Entries tagged with “Heidrun Meadery”.


On Saturday I became a septuagenarian, having been born near the midpoint of U.S. fighting in World War II. There was no special celebration for my 70th, but Lynn and I nonetheless had a good time.

Lynn stands in the garden area at the entrance to Heidrun Meadery’s tasting room.

We started out the day at Heidrun Meadery, which two years ago opened across Highway 1 from Campolindo Road, where Mitchell cabin is located.

Despite its being so close, Lynn and I had not previously visited the meadery. Most of the time, guests need to make reservations for mead tastings, but on Saturday the meadery held a “holiday open house.” Another is scheduled for Dec. 7.

Heidrun owner Gordon Hull tells guests about the different varieties of mead he produces.

Mead is an alcoholic drink made by fermenting honey and water. In various parts of Europe, it has been popular for centuries. Heidrun’s meads are bubbly, having been made with the same method used to make champagne. Despite the honey content, Heidrun meads tend to be more dry than sweet.

Inside Heidrun’s tasting room.

The meadery was founded in Arcata, Humboldt County, in 1997 and moved to Point Reyes Station in 2011.

Avery Giacomini describes how one cheese differs from another.

Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese gave out samples of Point Reyes Original Blue cheese and Point Reyes Toma cheese during the mead tasting.

Cheese company owner Bob Giacomini grew up on his father’s dairy ranch in Point Reyes Station. In 1959, he purchased pasture land three miles north of town and went into the milk business on his own. In August 2000, the farm produced its first rounds of blue cheese, describing it as “California’s only classic-style blue cheese.”

The cheese, which is not as sharp as some blue cheeses, was immediately popular. In 2011, Point Reyes Original Blue won the gold medal for Outstanding Cheese/Dairy Product from the National Association for Specialty Food Trade. This year, Point Reyes Bay Blue won the gold medal for Best New Product while Point Reyes Toma was named the Outstanding Cheese/Dairy Product.

As it happened, musician Ingrid Noyes of Marshall (in the center talking with me) invited a number of other musicians over to play Saturday. Her friend, Víctor Reyes (upper left), who writes a Spanish-language column for The Point Reyes Light, is also a longtime friend of mine, and he made sure Lynn and I were included. (I brought my harmonica.)

Cake on a stick.

By chance, Saturday was the birthday for three of us at the party, and Lynn brought a chocolate-fudge cake. The cake contained so much fudge that I was able to pick up my piece with the long birthday candle stuck in it. So that was the way I ate it, calling it “cake on a stick.”

Shaili (at center) in Kenya.

I received birthday greetings from several friends and relatives, but by far the most distant greeting came from my stepdaughter Shaili, who is in Kenya taking part in a study-abroad program of the University of Minnesota.

Although our voices faded in and out, Shaili, Lynn, and I were able to chat by cellphone. Other than getting help from tech support in India, neither Lynn nor I had previously talked on the phone with anyone so far away. The time in Kenya is 11 hours ahead of the time in Point Reyes Station.

Shaili is working at an education center for Maasai girls, who too often are forced into marriage before getting schooling. Lynn and I are extremely proud of her, and I couldn’t hope for a better 70th-birthday present than hearing her good wishes from rural Africa.

When I was a student at Stanford, I once received an ominous message in the mail. Scrawled on the back of an otherwise blank postcard were the words: “THE FALL IS IN FOR YOU.”

What was the threat all about? I had no idea. Ten minutes went by before I remembered trying to buy a copy of Albert Camus’ novel The Fall at Kepler’s Books more than a month earlier. The bookstore had been sold out but offered to order a copy for me. Apparently it had finally come in.

Fall colors along the driveway to Heidrun Meadery in Point Reyes Station Sunday.

Fall is a gaily colored but bittersweet season. Its foliage is beautiful, but it also heralds the coming of winter. Perhaps because of this dichotomy, Fall has always had particular significance for me.

The first poem I ever wrote concerned Fall. My second-grade teacher assigned our class to write a poem about Autumn, and I came up with: “Autumn is the same as Fall. Autumn should not come at all, for when it’s Fall it is a rule all of us go back to school.” No doubt the teacher was offended.

Cows graze on the Dolcini Ranch at Four Corners north of Nicasio Square Sunday.

West Marin in Fall may not be able to match the colors in New England, but it nonetheless has its own share of spectacular countryside.

Canada geese on Nicasio Reservoir across Nicasio Valley Road from the Dolcini Ranch.

Marin Municipal Water District in 1961 erected Seeger Dam on Nicasio Creek, creating Nicasio Reservoir. The reservoir inundated part of the old Nicasio Valley Road, including this bridge, so a new alignment was built to the east.

MMWD’s seven reservoirs collectively are currently at 64 percent of capacity compared to 75 percent at this date last year. Sixty-six percent is average. Nicasio Reservoir looks especially low now that the old bridge has reemerged.

Even the centerline of the old Nicasio Valley Road is now visible on the reservoir’s bottom.

A stand of colorful trees between the reservoir and the Nicasio School campus.

A short distance further south lies Nicasio Vally Farms’ Pumpkin Patch, seen here on Monday. Every harvest season, especially on Saturdays and Sundays, hundreds of families pick through the crop looking for squash to carve into jack-o’-lanterns.

Horses just south of Nicasio Square seem quite blasé about the splendor at their stable.

A tree in the redwoods still further south catches a ray of sunlight while vines of poison oak frame the scene in red.

Fog begins to roll in off the ocean Sunday as the afternoon turns to dusk at Nicasio Reservoir.

A gaggle of geese take flight, probably to flap over Mitchell cabin on their evening commute to Point Reyes.

Because of Fall’s significance for me, this year as always I assembled a cornucopia in Mitchell cabin. It’s a symbol of the bounty of the harvest, and may you too be blessed with the horn of plenty this harvest season.