Are you ready for Spring? | Around About North County

Are you ready for Spring? I noticed on my calendar that Spring begins on March 20 and I am ready and so are my plants. I hope we have more “April showers” this year since we really need that rain.
I hope you are watching the Daffodils around town---they are beginning to give us a show. Some have already bloomed and some are slowly opening up.  We lost some bulbs around our property due to the drought, but the survivors are beautiful! 
Thanks again to “Daffodil Man” Lee Swam who got the Daffodil project off to a magnificent start. And additional thanks go to all the volunteers who planted bulbs for the project.
The other day I tasted a cake that made me think of spring and I have to share it with you. It is lemon flavored, moist and light. It is Charlene Ables mother’s favorite recipe. (Charlene was Donn Clickard’s secretary in the Athletic Department at Atascadero High School when he was Athletic Director.)
Lemon Crumb Cake
Natalie Turner (Charlene’s mother)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
½ cup packed golden brown sugar
4 teaspoons grated lemon peel
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Powdered sugar
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 325 degrees. Lightly butter and flour 9-inch springform pan. Wrap bottom of the pan with aluminum foil to keep butter and batter from dripping into the oven. Stir flour, sugar, brown sugar, lemon peel, and cinnamon in large bowl to blend. Add oil and lemon juice, and mix until flour is evenly moistened and mixture forms clumps. Set aside 1-cup of this mixture for topping. Whisk sour cream, egg, vanilla, baking powder, and baking soda in small bowl until well blended. Using an electric mixer, add sour cream mixture to crumb mixture and beat until batter is smooth. Spread batter in prepared pan. Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture over the top. Bake until tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Transfer pan to a rack and cool for 10 minutes. Release outer ring and place cake back on rack. When cooled, cut into desired pieces and dust with powdered sugar. Serve at room temperature. Cake will store well for at least one day---if it lasts that long!
Doesn’t that sound delicious? It will make a nice addition to your Easter menu.
Plans for events are moving right along. The Colony Days Committee met and chose a theme for the 2018 parade and that will be announced soon; the Atascadero Lakeside Wine Festival Committee is off and running with great new ideas to make that event even better; and the Printery Foundation is putting together the final touches on the Tent City Marathon planned for March 25th. 
Speaking of the Marathon, there is still time to register to “walk or run it” or even “shuffle” by going to
For more information on this fundraising event for the preservation of the Atascadero Historic Printery building, contact Race Director Victoria Hartt, at 805-706-0659.
There are many opportunities to help with the event. Consider being a sponsor, participant, or volunteer. Check with Victoria on how you can become involved.
The sun shone for the 20th Annual Hares ‘n’ Hounds 5K and Half-Mile Run on March 3rd. According to Donn Clickard, Executive Director of the Atascadero Greyhound Foundation, presenting sponsor along with Pacific Premier Bank and Kitchell, the event was a monumental success and runners are already looking forward to the 2019 event.
Congratulations to student Amori Fernandez who designed the artwork on the cover of the Hares ‘n’ Hounds Run. Good job!
Maureen Marquis, a member volunteer of Assistance League of San Luis Obispo County, has received the March Hands on Hero award from First 5 of San Luis Obispo County. First 5 San Luis Obispo County has been a strong advocate for children and families on the Central Coast for over ten years. They invest in prevention, early intervention and school readiness services, so that when children are ready for Kindergarten they are healthy and ready to learn. Each month First 5 selects an organization to nominate on of their members to be the recipient of the Hands on Hero award.
For the month of March, First 5 of San Luis Obispo County chose Assistance League of San Luis Obispo County as the organization that fit their mission, and it is with great pleasure that Assistance League chose Maureen Marquis as their Hands on Hero. Maureen is a coordinator for Assistance League’s Operation School Bell program in North County. This school year operation School Bell has clothed more than 2,300 students in need with brand new school clothes throughout San Luis Obispo County. Maureen’s passion is ensuring that students have basic needs for school and beyond. 
Congratulations to Maureen Marquis, an Atascadero resident, a dear friend and a fellow member of Assistance League of San Luis Obispo County. We are all so proud of you! (Maureen is the mother of Atascadero’s City Manager, Rachelle Rickard and I know she’s proud of her “mom.”
There’s an article about Maureen in the March issue of Journal Plus Magazine of the Central Coast with retired Supervisor Frank Mecham on the cover. Be sure to look for it.
Mark your calendars for the big Rummage Sale at St. William’s in Atascadero on April 12-14. It opens on Thursday and Friday at 9 a.m. and closes at 6 p.m. Saturday hours are 9 a.m. to noon.
The Charles Paddock Zoo’s annual springtime celebration returns beginning Saturday, March 24, as the only zoo in SLO County welcomes everyone’s favorite springtime backyard babies. Come see the little feathered friends and our new Bug Zone during the Spring Festival before the feathery and fuzzy fun ends on April 8. These charming and adorable little ones are free to visit with a standard zoo admission. 
For more information about the zoo, visit or call 805-461-5080.
Enjoy your St. Patrick’s Day this weekend…Cheers!


More In Columns