California has a little bit of everything. The town of Petaluma was built on the Petaluma River which connects to San Francisco Bay and the Port of San Francisco. Settlement began as Rancho Petaluma Adobe east of the present downtown, ordered in 1836 by Mexican Governor Figueroa to be built as a fort to guard against Russian invaders and Native tribes from the north. From that time Petaluma reflects a history of agriculture and commerce close enough to the cities of San Francisco and Oakland and connection to the ports and the railway to be thriving especially for market products – eggs were most important in the early 20th century. The town is vast reaching from the main north-south highway route 101 to the Pacific Ocean.

1836 was a long time ago – it was the year that Charles Darwin returned to England on the the ship HMS Beagle, Texas won its independence from Mexico and Aaron Burr shot Alexander Hamilton (who was 80 at the time.) However for northern California, Native Americans were still the major source of labor and there were struggles with Mexico for land. If the land was settled at all it was raising animals. Today the town has not yet given up its leaning toward ranches and cowboys.

At the corner nearest to one of interchanges with the freeway in Petaluma there is Henny Penny, a restaurant. I had planned a walk near to Joan Pont’s house, but the roads were narrow and the cars were running at high speed – not conducive to safe walking. So I headed back and thought I would have some breakfast.

IMG_2486.jpgThe parking lot was really full so I thought – must be a good place for breakfast. Inside I did find many of the tables occupied, many by very large men, many older, many wearing cowboy hats… And some caps, the new worker head dress.

Breakfast at the Petaluma Henny Penny Restaurant on this morning was most populated by corpulent folk who must have coming to Henny Penny for years. My breakfast which was a half order was huge. They don’t do a single sunny side, you can only have two!

The land closest to the 101 Freeway is divided into large lots, many with animals. One of my friends keeps sheep, chickens, ducks, and in the past three years beef cattle one animal added per year so that she can have grass fed and grass finished beef to cook. I am not kidding.

I don’t eat enough beef to even think of growing my own. In fact I don’t eat enough of almost anything to grow it. My friend Joan Pont grows all this stuff and makes all manner of condiments and treats. This morning we will be doing Quince Chutney, of course all the ingredients are from the garden, except the ginger, currents and the onions.

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On the planet in California

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