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Decorative Gourd Season (& Friday Links)

Happy first day of autumn! (aka “MotherF**king Decorative Gourd Season“!)

This weekend will be a quiet one—mostly. I’m looking forward to celebrating a friend’s birthday party, but otherwise we’ve got some house projects in mind. But we’ve started plotting trips up to Apple Hill for cider donuts, and grabbing root vegetables for batches of baked chips. Also on the fall-food front, want to make some fresh pretzels in honor of Oktoberfest, bake up the (best, most satisfying) cheater-pumpkin dessert, and mix up this shaved brussels sprouts salad, all pictured below. What are you looking forward to?

Some links of note… 

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Daytrip: Hog Island Oyster Farm

Crossing through Sonoma and into Marin County, it’s hard not to sing the praises of Northern California. Within an hour’s drive, one passes through temperate valleys filled with fertile soil for farmlands and wineries, charming historic towns, markers for abundant trails through woodlands and redwood forests, beautiful coastal ranges, rivers, and estuaries, before coming to a gorgeous coastline rich with sealife.

Yesterday, we did just this, en route to the town of Marshall, on the northeast shore of Tomales Bay. In September, your chance of sunny days on the coast are high and the midweek crowds are low—perfect conditions for visiting the very popular Hog Island Oyster Farm picnic area.

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No-Sew Backpack patches

A few years ago, Aron’s parents sent home a childhood backpack, adorned with patches from faraway places. It’s been hanging in Hudson’s closet ever since, reminding me that I wanted to help Hudson pick out patches for one of his own. We didn’t quite get to it in time for Kindergarten, but this year—after I noticed that Ikea was selling some well-designed, plain canvas backpacks—we made it happen.

The result is charmingly him, but keeping everything in place took a little trial-and-error. Many patches are “iron-on,” but that doesn’t mean a very strong seal. And because patch purchases can add up quick, you really don’t want those guys falling off! Sewing is the best and only truly permanent solution, and Hudson’s grandmother was able to get her sewing machine’s foot into the backpack to reinforce a few, but it’s tricky as you need to avoid joining functional pockets within the bag. If you’re not inclined to sit with needle and thread, a shoe repair shop or tailor could help, but ours charges per patch. Cha-ching.

So, the solution?

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