Thursday, May 28, 2009

And the winner is.....

While reading a newspaper ad for a local Wine Bar, Craig said, "If they're giving ladies $5 off a bottle of wine, they should really call it Man's Night."

Hugs and Wise Words

It's Hug A Musician Day! Celebrate the musicians in your life.

Derek Sivers - CDBaby founder and music marketing guru -- offers excellent advice on sustainability on his blog.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Cherry, cherry

Cherries are at the top of my Favorite Food list. When Craig and I first moved to the country, we fancied ourselves to be Plucky Pioneers and we planted a small orchard that included four cherry trees.

I envisioned harvesting a bounty of fruit from our shady grove and winning blue ribbons for my pies at the County Fair. My rich fantasy life did not include any understanding of the amount of care and tending required by these temperamental trees. And that Cottonwood hardpan? Not exactly a favorable medium for growing anything besides star thistle.

The trees died. But we were Plucky Pioneers, so we rolled up our sleeves and planted another set. They, too, expired on our watch.

We put a halt to the carnage, cut our losses. We flunked Farming 101 and surrendered most of our acreage to a thriving crop of star thistle. But I count the days until cherry season, and when cherries appear in the produce aisle, I’m the crazy lady doing the Happy Dance.

My sister Katie introduced us to homemade Cherry Cobbler a few years ago, and my son Max instantly declared it his “favorite dessert.” I’ve tweaked the recipe over the years -- we prefer it heavy on the cherries, light on the cobbler.

Like some of the best things that life has to offer, Cherry Cobbler is a little bit messy, a little bit of work -- but oh-so-beautiful and luscious and an ideal way celebrate summer’s arrival.

Step one is to pit the cherries. I use this OXO pitter from Bed, Bath and Beyond -- but That Kitchen Place had a selection of pitters available, too. I remove the plastic splash guard – it just gets in the way.

Cherry pitting can be a sloppy job, but you can minimize the splatters by doing much of the work in the kitchen sink. If you hold the pitter in one hand and shoot the pit into your other hand, you can be sure you got it and you have a better chance of keeping your cobbler pit-free. And wear an apron – you’ll be glad you did.

Fresh Cherry Cobbler

For filling:

2 1/2 pounds fresh, sweet cherries, pitted
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Cook all filling ingredients in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar and cornstarch dissolve – 5 to 7 minutes. Spoon filling into a 12 by 7 inch baking dish.
Preheat oven to 350°F.

For topping:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup buttermilk
½ teaspoon vanilla

Top off with:
2 teaspoons sugar
Make topping and bake cobbler:

Combine flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Using a pastry blender, blend the butter and the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse meal. Stir buttermilk and vanilla together and add to flour/butter mixture. Stir until just combined. Drop the dough in tablespoon-sized chunks on the cherry filling.

Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of sugar over the top.

Bake until topping is browned, cherries are bubbly and the juices are thickened, about 35- 40 minutes.
Cool slightly and serve warm with good vanilla ice cream.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pine Dogz Downtown

Singer-songwriter Diana Wallis and her husband, Steve are

Pine Dogz .

They'll bring their unique sound to the Downtown Eatery - Friday night, 7 PM.

Diana and Steve have great energy, terrific songs and they love what they do. Go enjoy some live rockin' bluesy tunes, sweet potato fries and something cold and yummy to drink.

More on the Downtown Eatery here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Free Download for Memorial Day/Election Week

The blessings -- and responsibilities -- of liberty are on my mind this week.

American Dreamers is one of our newest songs - you can listen to it and download it for free by clicking here.

American Dreamers

words and music by Erin and Craig Friedman
© 2009

She remembers the view from the back of the bus
She remembers the words to We Shall Overcome
She remembers that long march on Washington
She’s an American Dreamer
And she loves dreaming again

American Dreamers believe
The American dream lives and breathes
Hear freedom ring throughout the land
When American Dreamers join hands

He served in Iraq, a proud US Marine
When came back, his factory job was overseas
But this hard-working man will roll up his sleeves
He’s an American Dreamer
And he loves dreaming again

American Dreamers believe
The American dream lives and breathes
Hear freedom ring throughout the land
When American Dreamers join hands

Banners wave – change is blowin’ in the wind
American grace keeps her promises
The best we can be is where it begins
It begins with American Dreamers
We love dreaming again

American Dreamers believe
The American dream lives and breathes
Hear freedom ring throughout the land
When American Dreamers join hands

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Honors at Arlington Honored

I attended today's County Supervisors meeting. I was deeply moved by a presentation made to men who are getting ready to ride across the country, to Arlington, to see that the cremains of three veterans are laid to rest with honor and respect.

You can read the story here:

And attend the send-off celebration on May 20th - details below.

from the blog: miapblog

Redding Vets Hall
20 May 09

Lunch (suggested donation for tir-tip or chicken $7): 11 am to 1 pm

Ceremony Start Time: 12:00 Noon

Location: Redding Vets Hall, Yuba Street

Welcome: (Jim Gibson)

Invocation: Don Mangrum

Pledge of Allegiance: (TBD)

Remarks/Presentations: (Mayor Bosetti and Shasta County Supervisor)

Honors at Arlington Mission: (Fred Salanti)

Benediction: Mary Turner

Ceremony End Time: 12:30

MIAP Escort Team Departure Time: 1:00 PM

Read more about the Missing in America Project here.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Power Grab

I was one of the 350 people who packed last week's community meeting in Cottonwood regarding the TANC Transmission Project. Our home, with a view that I adore, overlooks the proposed route of the project and I wanted information.

I had read bits and pieces, but I didn’t understand the magnitude of the project until last week -- 600 miles of power lines and sub-stations stretching from Lassen County to the Bay area.

I still don’t have enough information. But I DO know that forcing families from their homes, devaluing property, tearing down forests and ancient oaks and carelessly disregarding property rights and the concerns of landowners is wrong.

The folks who live in rural communities tend to be fiercely independent. We don't have City Councils or big city lawyers. We have only our voices and a willingness to speak out against a project that could irreparably damage our communities and provide little or no benefit.

Take a look at the map - you can zoom in for more detail:

Read about the TANC project:

Read the opposition:

Write letters, send emails, please, to:

David Young
NEPA Document Manager
Western Area Power Administration
Sierra Nevada Region
114 Parkshore Drive
Folsom, CA 95630

If you'd like to be kept informed about local opposition, send an email to:

Donna Caldwell:

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Bobbie's Billie

I think "Ode to Billie Joe" is one of the best songs ever written.

I love singing it. I adore the 7th chords that run through the whole thing -- the perfect complement to Bobbie Gentry's lyrics that tell a story filled with unresolved details.

An article in Performing Songwriter magazine tells a bit about what became of Gentry and The Story Behind the Song

And Bobbie Gentry singing it oh-so nicely:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Last Cowboy in Shasta County

It's Rodeo Week in Redding - so we've been pulling out all the cowboy songs.

We're lucky to live in Cottonwood, where we look out on wide open spaces, rodeo bulls, horses and cowboys. I was watching the local cowboys working the rodeo stock one afternoon when I started writing this song. I definitely had the easier job.

Lyrics below.

It's available as a free download on our website:

The Last Cowboy in Shasta County

words and music © Erin Coombs Friedman

He'll take coffee as day breaks over Lassen
Saddle up to the tune of a Gene Autry song
There's a full day of work waitin' out in the pasture
For an old man, a paint horse and a Hangin' Tree dog


He's the Last Cowboy in Shasta County
Keeping the wild in the West while he can
He'll ride out his seasons with red manzanita
Black Oak and blue skies
And the last of the gold Shasta sand

At the edges, his mem'ries grow misty
Like the yellowing photos of old rodeos
The legend survives on good rides and good whiskey
And a promise he made in good faith long ago

repeat chorus

Gone are the days rough and rowdy
Hard times they carve ragged lines tough to cross
But hell will see hailstones before the last cowboy
Will piss on the fire and call in the dogs

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Friday, May 8, 2009

Ignore Everybody

To most people, a business card is a small slip of paper with, perhaps, some marginally useful information. To cartoonist Hugh MacLeod, it's a canvas. He creates pieces like the one on the right on the backs of business cards.

He also has a book coming out in June, based on an entry in his gapingvoid blog on creativity:

"1. Ignore everybody.
2. The idea doesn't have to be big. It just has to be yours."

There are 37 points - excellent words to live by. Interested in a more creative life? Read on here.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Now THAT'S a Sing Along

Pete Seeger leads a packed Madison Square Garden in "Amazing Grace" at his 90th Birthday celebration.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Cottonwood and Cowboys

It's Rodeo Week in Cottonwood -- here's a cowboy song inspired by living in a place where the west is still a little wild:

Cowboy on Her Mind
© Erin Coombs Friedman

In a high-rise corner office
She’ll crunch numbers for the bosses
Spend all day working on the bottom line
It’s the long ride home that does it
DJ says, “Here’s Lyle Lovett”
And she’ll spend tonight
With a Cowboy on Her Mind

And the Cowboy on Her Mind
Is the brave and wild kind
Could not be tamed -- Lord knows she tried
Silver buckle – Cuervo Gold
“Cowboy Man” on the stereo
On her own with a Cowboy on Her Mind

Her ghostly hero rides in
She takes her place beside him
Taste the kisses mixed with salt and lime
The man she lost in Colorado
Will be gone again tomorrow
But she’ll spend tonight
With a Cowboy on Her Mind

Details on Rodeo Week and all the activities are available here.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Happy Birthday, Pete Seeger

Ninety years looks pretty good on this folk music icon.

He'll be celebrating with Emmy Lou Harris, Bruce Springsteen and others at a tribute concert in Madison Square Garden.

Here's one of my favorites:

Friday, May 1, 2009

In Our Neighborhood...

...the teenagers tend to be well-armed -- with airsoft guns and bagpipes:

The other night, one of the neighborhood teens ran through the house wearing a kilt and carrying an airsoft assault rifle. He wouldn't let me take his picture -- but his kilt was a Utilikilt, and this Utilitkilt commercial always makes me smile: