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Home Front: Milking cows, helping the creek and more


This week's column includes events and news about milking cows, a tree planting, vegetarian dinners and a volunteer opportunity to monitor creek water.

WATER CHECK ... Help monitor the water quality along San Francisquito Creek on Saturday, Jan. 16, from 9 a.m. to noon, starting at the trailhead at The Dish on Alpine Road and Piers Lane in Portola Valley. Acterra's staff and volunteers will be collecting data at five sites along the waterway. Volunteers will record pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, specific conductance and turbidity. No experience is necessary to participate; training will be provided. Participants must coordinate their own transportation. Minors under age 18 must bring a waiver signed by a guardian. Info: or

MILK BREAK ... Help milk Vida the Cow on Sunday, Jan. 17, 3:30-5 p.m., at Hidden Villa, 26870 Moody Road, Los Altos Hills. Participants ages 5 and older can learn about cows and practice proper hand-milking techniques. This event costs $25 per person. Info:

20-YEAR CELEBRATION ... Join Canopy on Thursday, Jan. 21, 5:15-8 p.m., to celebrate during its 20th annual Palo Alto Mayor's Tree Planting and Awards Ceremony at Lucie Stern Community Center, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. A tree planting will honor the incoming mayor, and the 2016 Canopy Tree Award recipients will be recognized. Guests need to RSVP, either online or by emailing Shannon McDonald at Info:

FABULOUS FRUIT ... Learn how to care for citrus trees on Thursday, Jan. 21, 7-8:30 p.m., at the Rinconada Library, 1213 Newell Road, Palo Alto. Master Gardener Candace Simpson will discuss planting, pruning, watering, frost protection and more. This free event is presented by the library and the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners. Similar events will be hosted at the library each month through November. Info:

VEGGIE DINNER ... Enjoy miso soup, hibiscus tea and more at next week's Monday Night Vegetarian Dinner on Monday, Jan. 18, at 6:30 p.m. at the First Baptist Church, 305 N. California Ave., Palo Alto. This week features a warming winter fiesta vegan menu prepared by chefs Michael Bauce and Marta Serda. Anyone is welcome to come and dine for $18. Guests must register by Monday at 9:30 a.m. Info: 650-599-3320 or

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Short story writers wanted!

The 33rd Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult (15-17) and Teen (12-14) categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by March 29. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category.

Contest Details