<strong>Loving Your Laguna:</strong> If you're worried about the new casino's encroachment on the eastern edge of the Laguna de Santa Rosa watershed, you can alleviate some of those concerns by focusing instead on fall activities at the Laguna Foundation.
There are three events this Saturday. First, the Laguna Environmental Center hosts its monthly open house from 10 a.m to 3 p.m. There will be guided tours, hands-on activities, birdwatching and a chance to simply relax on the observation deck or shop in Heron Hall. The event is free and all you need to do is show up (and leave pets at home, as this is a working farm).
From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., docents will lead an autumn amble on Lower Stone Farm, where you may spot black-crowned night herons, white pelicans, bald eagles and, if you're really really lucky, maybe a raven or two. This event is free but space is limited and registration required. To join in, call 527-9277 ext. 110 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations are always welcome.
Finally, at 3 p.m., Dr. Robert Rubin, a marine biologist and member of the foundation's board, will make a presentation about elephant seals, their history, their lives and their amazing adaptability. Admission for this 1 1/2 hour presentation is $10, payable at the door.
The Laguna Environmental Center is located at 900 Sanford Rd. in Santa Rosa.
For complete details, visit <a href="http://lagunafoundation.org" target="_blank">lagunafoundation.org</a>.
<strong>Backyard Cider!</strong> Devoto Gardens and Orchards and Slow Food Russian River have joined together this year to use Gravenstein apples from west county backyards to produce Backyard Cider, a delicious adult beverage, perfect at this time of year.
All profits from the sale of the cider will benefit The Apple Project, an on-going Slow Food Russian River endeavor to promote and preserve the county's apple orchards.
Just 60 cases of this cider were produced and sales will close on November 12. To snag some, visit devotocider.com. A full case (12 750ml. bottles) is $132; a half case is $72.
The cider will not be shipped. Instead, you will pick it up on November 14 at Devoto Gardens. Complete details are available when you place your order on the web site.
<strong>Chef Rob's Valley Wine Shack Dinners Return:</strong> Next Friday, Chef Rob Larman of Cochon Volant BBQ, hosts the first of several dinners at the Valley Wine Shack (535 W. Napa St., Sonoma).
The menu includes chopped salad with blue cheese vinaigrette, seared and smoked prime rib of beef with horseradish cream, garlic mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach and, for dessert, pear, cranberry and quince crisp with Chantilly cream.
Price is $38 per person.
Upcoming fall and winter dinners will feature cioppino, cassoulet and more.
Dinner is served from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. For reservations, call 938-7218.
<strong>A Sweet Tradition:</strong> Patisserie Angelica hosts its annual holiday open house tasting this Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. both days.
Their sweet speciaities — acorn cake, heirloom pumpkin cakes, the new ornament cakes and more — will be available for tasting, admiring and ordering. All orders placed and paid for during the open house receive a ten percent discount.
We are particularly looking forward to trying the vanilla spice cake with praline buttercream.