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Last updateWed, 30 Nov 2016 4pm

Food & Wine

Chocolaty character of stout beers blends spicy, sweet ingredients

Chocolaty character of stout beers blends spicy, sweet ingredients


photo Courtesy of Derek Wolfgram
Aged coffee beans join beer in Modern Times’ bourbon barrel stout.

Dark beers like stout highlight flavors reminiscent of coffee and chocolate, resulting in a great canvas for brewers to blend nontraditional in...

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Your Health

El Camino Hospital expands mental health treatment options

El Camino Hospital expands mental health treatment options


Asher Kohn/Town Crier
Shovels in hand, Dr. Peter Fung, from left, El Camino Healthcare District board chairman; Russ Satake, El Camino Hospital Foundation board chairman; donors Donna and John Shoemaker; State Sen. Jerry Hill; and Assemblyman Rich ...

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Your Home

Holidays by design: Los Altos company provides  seasonal decorating service

Holidays by design: Los Altos company provides seasonal decorating service


Megan V. Winslow/ Town Crier
Amy Fischer of Spectrum Interior Design decorated Los Altos resident Katie Beers’ living room for the holidays last week.

Don’t worry if you have no time to shop for unique holiday decor, decorate Christma...

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On The Road

The Yellowstone experience

The Yellowstone experience


Photos by Gary Anderson/special to the Town Crier
The Andersons’ recent bus tour included stops at Yellowstone National Park’s Old Faithful Geyser.

With winter approaching, it’s a good time to start planning next summer’s fa...

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Senior Lifestyles

Making beautiful music together: Foothill Symphonic Winds inspires members of all ages

Making beautiful music together: Foothill Symphonic Winds inspires members of all ages


Photos by Megan V. Winslow/ Town Crier
Members of the ensemble rehearse at Blach Intermediate School.

Something special happens Wednesday nights at Blach Intermediate School. Seventy or so people ranging in age from 18 to 85, of varied backgroun...

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Wedding To Remember

Got a wedding singer? Musicians and engaged couples work in tandem to orchestrate perfect night

Got a wedding singer? Musicians and engaged couples work in tandem to orchestrate perfect night


Courtesy of Dick Bright
Dick Bright, a veteran Bay Area musician, manages local bands such as the Dick Bright Orchestra, Club 90 and Encore. His bands ramp up the energy at weddings.

A wedding soundtrack draws nearly everyone to the dance floor....

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Your Kids

Back to School

Is Early Decision the right choice for your student?

Is Early Decision the right choice for your student?


Courtesy of Hollis Bischoff
This chart compares the rate of Early Decision acceptances with the overall acceptance rate at various colleges.

As students apply to an ever-increasing list of schools, colleges are challenged to predict accuratel...

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Water's the star in Rewa's garden

Town Crier Correspondent

I'm a Pisces - March 14 - born in the Year of the Dragon, and I've always loved fishponds and swimming," said Rewa Hulden-Hodges.

In Hulden-Hodges' small garden near downtown Los Altos, there's a remarkable amount of water, not to mention scores of pelicans and hundreds of interesting plants. It's a garden like many people remember from their childhoods, an entire universe of different planting areas, a sundial, fountains, birdbaths, cactus and succulents with abalone shells, comfortable upholstered chairs, generous overhead shade - there's even a new-millennium hot tub from which to view a nearby mini-fountain.

Hulden-Hodges' first gardening memories go back to the early 1920s in the Black Hills of South Dakota, where, as a schoolgirl, she helped her uncle grow vegetables. Then she was sent through a nearby tourist campground to sell the fresh produce to people passing through on sightseeing trips.

"Business really picked up after they opened Mount Rushmore," Hulden-Hodges recalled.

Hulden-Hodges also built gardens - all with fishponds, of course - on sand dunes in San Francisco's Sunset District, in San Carlos and off Summerhill Road in Los Altos Hills. Her downtown Los Altos garden began with a large double fishpond she designed soon after buying the property as an investment in 1959.

"This was the contractor's own home; he built three other houses, as well as this one in 1949," Hulden-Hodges said. "The garden was just grass and ivy when we bought it."

As a widow, Hulden-Hodges moved into the house in 1972. First, she filled the dry ponds with water and covered them with a wooden arbor, creating a restful and shady corner of tranquillity in the backyard. Then, she took out the lawn in front, planted trees, including a now-towering redwood, and clivia, nandina, Burmese honeysuckle and baby tears. An ancient native American grinding stone points the way to the front door.

Next, Hulden-Hodges laid out a rose garden along the driveway, installed another small fountain, and started creating numerous garden rooms, making a mosaic of planting beds throughout the back of the property, which measures about 50 feet by 100 feet in all.

With a rap of a small rock on a larger one beside the double pond, she called her many backyard goldfish for a snack. A miniature water wheel, a gift from her son, turns gently and adds to the watery ambience. Birds dart everywhere, sipping flowery nectars and feeding from the many stations Hulden-Hodges stocks with seed.

"Everybody just goes straight out here when they come to visit," she said. "We live out here in the summer."

From the shady front garden, visitors pass first through a west-facing side garden that has been planted with desert-loving ice plant and shelves of cacti and succulents. Pots of geraniums scramble in front of "old man" cactus, tall yucca and volcanic rock collected in Arizona.

"This is a real sun trap," Hulden-Hodges said.

Her good friend and fellow gardener Desmond Lillie has made a wooden sign for the gate into the back garden: "Love Grows Here."

Alstromenia in bright color, potato vines, impatiens, tiger lilies, azaleas, Japanese arched bridges, Japanese irises, fuschias and statues are just a few of the bright spots that attract attention. More retiring, but equally fascinating, are the sparrows, hummingbirds and orchids that shimmer in unexpected places.

"I like bright-colored flowers, not white ones," Hulden-Hodges said.

At the very back of the property, down a camellia-lined path, there is still another garden area, which she calls the "Back Forty." Here she grows winter chard, summer vegetables, irises, lavender, clematis, a Cecil Bruner rose, a fig tree, a 10-year-old white angel's trumpet and a "tomato tree" from Australia.

"When we sit in the back garden, we are in our own little world," Hulden-Hodges said.

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