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Village Chat: 10/01/2016

Village Chat

Sunday, Oct. 2 is the feast of St. Francis and the traditional day for a blessing of the animals. If you have a well-behaved pet, you can bring it to the 10:30 a.m. service at St. Patrick's Episcopal Church in Kenwood, and Rev. Jen Hornbeck will give it a blessing. And if your pet is not well-behaved, or maybe too large to bring into the church, you can bring a picture instead. It's quite a sight to see a church full of mainly dogs and dog owners, just quietly sitting there. I wish every Sunday could be like that.

On Oct. 7 the Sonoma County Bar Association will honor former District Attorney and Kenwoodian Mike Mullins at their annual Careers of Distinction Award Dinner. Mike will be recognized for his long career of public service, along with friend and colleague Sondra Persons. Kate Mullins, daughter of Mike and Liz, will be the presenter, and it will be quite an event. As Liz says, "It isn't often Mike wears a tux!" We'll try to get a picture of that.

The Wine Country Film Festival was last weekend in Kenwood and we were able to go to opening night at Muscardini for Saint Amour, and to Belos Cavalos for the screening of The Caravan (see photo page 11). Stephen and Justine Ashton have put on this event for 30 years now, and it is a labor of love. It's also quite an impressive feat how they bring these interesting movies, along with directors, actors, cinematographers, etc., to our valley year after year. I always learn something new. Thank you, Justine and Stephen!

Richard Gulson and his grandson JT went to the United Kingdom two months ago. This was right around the time of the Brexit vote and he's not sure what the country will be called next time he goes. "Maybe it will be just England and Wales." One of the purposes of the trip was to introduce JT to the possibility of a year at Oxford. Richard said, "We were dinner guests at High Table at Lady Margaret Hall, an affiliated college of Oxford University. [JT] sat across from the Principle, Alan Rusbridger, who famously and defiantly destroyed computer hard drives containing information leaked by Edward Snowden while Editor in Chief of the Guardian newspaperHe later told me he was terrified and completely out of his depth, but he did enjoy the food." And he's open to the idea of a year in England, so Richard, a Brit himself, is pleased.

They also visited a friend, John Ashton, at his farm in Shropshire. John, who has been a frequent visitor to Kenwood, is learning new farming techniques pioneered in America that reduce the negative impact of cultivation practices that have long been the standard: deep plowing, repetitive disking, rolling or soil shaping (for potatoes), seeding and fertilizing, and then spraying pesticides and herbicides. Over the years this reduces the soil almost to dust and eliminates soil microbes, earthworms, all the good stuff that makes soil alive. The new system uses a big tractor with a lot of on-board computer technology that cultivates to a very shallow depth, sows seeds very precisely, feeds the soil fauna with liquid molasses and firms the soil over the seed. In a single pass it completes at least five previous farming operations. Already the earthworm population is up by a factor of three. This minimal till idea is also catching on with home gardeners. If you're interested, ask a Master Gardener.

Judith Kesot
Judith Kesot in London with the hometown news.

Rev. Karen King and her newlywed spouse Judith Kesot were also in England in August and sent us this snap with the KP. They mainly stayed in London and had great weather, which is lucky. Thanks, ladies!

Eleanore Schiro, philanthropy chairman of Chapter JO, P.E.O., Santa Rosa, wants to spread the word about P.E.O., which stands for Philanthropic Educational Organization. They recently awarded a $750 Chapter JO scholarship and a $12,000 P.E.O. International loan to Amanda Elderkin, a student at Sonoma State University studying to receive a B.S. in nursing. P.E.O is an organization where women celebrate the advancement of women and educate women through scholarships, grants, awards and loans. Information about their educational programs can be found at and

Lexi Fridell Marriage
Squire Fridell walks daughter Lexy down the aisle at Glenlyon Vineyards, July 30.

Squire and Suzy Fridell are still beaming over the wedding of their daughter Lexy to Graham Hommel on July 30 at their home, GlenLyon Vineyards, witnessed by 260 of their closest friends and family. Squire said it was the happiest day of his life, including the day Lexy was born. That says something about Graham, doesn't it? The extremely talented Lexy grew up in Glen Ellen, and has spent much of her professional career in New York City, with Broadway and Off-Broadway credits. She has performed with Transcendence Theatre for the past three years. Lexy and Graham live in Sausalito.

That's all for the moment. Thanks, everybody, for sending in your news and photos. It's easy to do just email, or call 833-5155 and chat me up! AQP.

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