Downtown San Jose’s Reed Street historic district is more than meets the eye.

Stately Victorian on South Sixth Street.

I know what you are going to say. Another “historic district” designation. Just a fancy way to wallpaper over ongoing gentrification, right?

Drought tolerant plants are also part of the area’s idiosyncratic charm.

Not so fast. Downtown San Jose isn’t a Potemkin village where the warts have been excised & growing pains hidden behind a slick surface of freshly applied house paint. Here, they do it differently. Here, they really care.

An old growth redwood tree protected from harm in the Reed Street historic district.

Yes, the restored Victorian mansions ARE still spectacular, but so are all the affordable rental properties and the bevy of electric scooters available for rent near to the downtown San Jose State University campus.

Mayor Sam Liccardo & the local city council are working hard to attract new businesses while also attending to the diverse multicultural and multilingual needs of city residents and also visitors.

Eclectic scooter montage.

There is more here than meets the eye. Public parks. Small businesses, like Academic Coffee & Nueva Imagen hair salon for women and men.

Academic Coffee sources from Temple Coffee Roasters in Sacramento, California.
“1 & 1” espresso & macchiato service.
Gender neutral restroom at Academic Coffee.

Plus, there is great food as well and convenience stores for 24/7 service. And even a little lending library at a nearby park.

Choosing a book from the Reed Street historic district’s Little Lending Library.
Nueva Imagen front entrance.

So spend some quality time exploring the area on your next San Jose visit! You may just discover much more positivity & community spirit than you or your traveling companions expected.

I cannot recommend a walk here highly enough if you have love in heart & urban adventure on your mind.

Electric scooters in their charging stands near to SJSU campus.
California Wet Burrito outdoor sidewalk dining.
Lovely front porches here.
Undergoing renovation even as we read …
Urbanization done right!
All city’s need public green fun spaces like this!

The Best Avocado Toast in the San Francisco Bay Area? You Be the Judge!

The avocados are from California purchased @Sigona’sRedwoodCity, dressed w/ Meyer lemon juice, organic California toasted sesame oil, organic Happy Boy Farms parsley, 12 year aged balsamic vinegar, Redmond Real Salt from Utah, & Spanish style smoked pimenton from Penzey’s spice shop in Menlo Park. Toast is Ezekiel sesame multigrain purchased from Trader Joe’s in San Mateo.
The 2017 Birichino Jurassic Park Vineyard Old Vine Chenin Blanc we will serve w/ the avo toast plus Backhaus pretzel epis (pictured below) & Fifth Crow organic gem lettuce (Pescadero, California).
Backhaus pretzel epis being warmed up in a 400 degree electric oven using a baking stone.
Fresh from the oven …
Fifth Crow Farms’ amazing organic gem lettuce, purchased from the College of San Mateo Saturday farmers’ market (ca. 8:30am – noon).

Music to accompany the meal: Mark Knopfler’s Screenplaying: Music From Local Hero (dir. Bill Forsyth), The Princess Bride (dir. Rob Reiner), Last Exit To Brooklyn (dir. Uli Edel), & Cal (dir. Pat O’Connor), Warner Brothers, 1993.

Excellent CD to play on a Friday evening after a long week’s worth of work. Thanks, Mark! You rock, dude.

Stanford Garden Report for Thursday, January 30, 2020.

Winter cover crop in Plot B2 @StanfordGardenOakRoad.

One of the things you may not realize about the Stanford University campus is that is has several working organic community gardens organized by the BeWell@Stanford sustainable food and healthy living program.

The Oak Road garden is by far the largest, and it is open by online application to Stanford students, staff, and faculty for a modest annual fee to help maintain a shared greenhouse and toolshed and to purchase mulch, soil, and seeds and such.

Winter cover crop with a mesh screen to deter critters from munching on them, like the resident jackrabbit and gophers.

My wife and I have maintained in-ground plot B2 here for four years now. We grow all sorts of delicious, organically grown things for our family meals in the sempervirens117 cottage.

Dried hot habanero and red chili peppers @StanfordGardenOakRoad.

While you have to work, study, or be affiliated with Stanford to farm an in-ground or raised bed of your own, if the front gate is unlocked, ask a community garden member for permission to enter and look around. Just don’t take any vegetables or herbs or fruits with you. They belong to the gardeners who have worked hard to bring them to life.

Garden gnomes are popular here.

Picture taking, however, is very much encouraged, and there are some nice wooden picnic tables and metal garden chairs inside as well, plus a huge grassy soccer field right next door for playing with the kids.

Dried sunflower head growing in a raised bed plot.

Stop by the Oak Road garden one day. You will enjoy the visit!

Winter cover crop growing in a community garden raised bed.

Say hi to the gophers and jackrabbits for me, should you encounter any of them.

Flowering plant in an in-ground bed.
Some gardeners even grow cacti and small trees or berry bushes in their plots.

Just be sure to tell that darned gopher to stay away from my tomato and peppers plants this year!

There is also a community herb garden for general member use.
Spanish rojo garlic growing in Plot B2.

I am planting lots of garlic and using mesh anti-gopher cages on all my most valuable garden plants.

Fava beans growing in a raised bed in winter.

Just in case the gophers gets hungry …

Red and green chard growing in an in- ground plot near to the greenhouse and toolshed.

Destination Hike #001: Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve.

A local Kings Mountain banana slug sliming its way across the outdoor deck @sempervirens117 cottage, ca. 1 mile from Purisima Creek Redwoods OSP.

Over the course of more than a decade of determined wandering, I have managed to walk every inch of marked trail here, along with some unmarked others. If you ever need expert guide services to help you unlock the many hidden and healing secrets of Purisima Creek Redwoods OSP, I am your man. Contact me to arrange a personalized adventure in the redwoods today that literally will change your life for the better!

View looking towards Half Moon Bay’s legendary Mavericks big wave surf break from the Harkin’s Ridge Trail vista overlook.
Stopping for a rest and some Cotes du Rhône mulled wine in my Nissan silver bullet insulated thermos @theCraigBritton honorary stone bench, which is the only official seating and eating area in the entire 3,000+ acre Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve.
This is an old heirloom apple tree that still produces delicious, edible fruit in late summer or early autumn. I collected several pounds of apples in September 2019. Highly recommended!
This is a somewhat secluded back entryway into Purisima Creek Redwoods OSP. It is at the end of Harkins Ridge Road, a semiprivate, single lane paved road. While I cannot endorse this, if the main Skyline trailhead parking areas are full, which can indeed be the case on busy weekends, you could – in the theory – Park a vehicle on an unmarked pullout about 1/4 mile from this locked gate. That way, you can access and experience the might and majesty of this immaculate redwood canyon the exact same way that I do by walking here from the sempervirens117 cottage @KingsMountain.
I hike in Purisima Creek Redwoods OSP at least once a week beginning around 8am on weekdays and doing loops in the 8 to 12 mile range w/ ca. 1400 feet elevation gain and loss in total. If you’d like to join me (experienced hikers only, please), message me on WordPress to make arrangements.
About once a month, I do a 15 mile fast hike w/ Leki trekking poles and Berghaus daypack up & down both steep and rugged sides of Purisima Canyon, using the Harkin’s Ridge, Purisima Creek, Borden Hatch Mill, Grabtown Gulch, & Craig Britton Trails. The hike has 3000+ feet of elevation gained & list, so it is not for the faint of heart, but it is an awesome experience that you need to do at least once annually if you live anywhere near the Greater San Francisco Bay Area and love to explore and hike in the redwoods.
I will be planning a February long loop hike soon, so if you are interested in joining me for the adventure of a lifetime (well, of your month of February, at any rate), write to me @WordPress or @gmail.com (sempervirens117), & we’ll arrange to meet up at one of the main trailheads. Thanks! I look forward to redwood rambling w/ y’all soon.

Dinner Menu @theRedwoodBistro: 29.01.2020

Main Ingredients purchased @Sigona’s in Redwood City.

Entree: Oregon hedgehog mushroom bucatini w/ La Quercia pancetta Americana, garden fresh winter Spanish rojo garlic, Clover organic heavy cream, & organic chopped parsley w/ Fifth Crow baby lettuce leaves on Sundance Catalogue Portuguese serving plates.

undefinedundefinedWine: 2016 Querceto Chianti Classico ($15), decanted into a Riedel serving vessel 30 minutes prior to serving.

Music: The Latin Side of Vince Guaraldi (Fantasy Records, original recordings from San Francisco in the early 1960s remastered in Berkeley in 1996).

Foraged Flower Art: January 2020.

Here are two examples of the foraged flower and tree artwork that I create here at the sempervirens117 cottage on Kings Mountain. One is made from fresh holly branches in full winter’s red berry bloom. The other consists of two delicate white camelia blossoms, also collected from the grounds here.undefinedundefined

If you would like to take home a similar seasonal foraged flower display on the occasion of your visit to the sempervirens117 cottage and surrounding redwoods, this can also be arranged ahead of time, for a modest fee.

Intertwined Redwoods @theinnercore.

The inner core of the sempervirens117 medicine wheel is an intertwined pair of living coastal redwoods foraged from nearby the cottage. They evoke the ancient, fire scarred old growth redwoods pictured on my WordPress landing page that you can visit in person on the Craig Britton Trail in Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve. Trail maps and trailhead parking information can be found at the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space Preserve web site, which also includes downloadable maps. It is Silicon Valley, after all.undefined

Walking the three concentric circles of the sempervirens117 Kings Mountain Medicine Wheel can stimulate your inner powers of creativity and compassion and help you heal past injuries and perceived slights.

If you would live to walk the wheel on your own, in exchange for a modest unspecified donation to help me maintain this sacred site, please contact me for directions and to schedule a chaperoned visit. Verve pourover single origin coffee, Reishi green tea, Fieldwork hazy IPA beer, glasses of Santa Cruz Mountains red, white, pink, or sparkling wine, or basic Venus Spirits Distillery gin, whiskey, or blue agave (tequila) cocktails can also be provided to you by me on the occasion of your visit, in exchange for cash to cover the costs and effort required on my part to collect, store, and serve these drinks in proper ceramic vessels or glass stemware.