Sunday, November 10, 2013

The secret of a full life.

"The secret of a full life is to live and relate to others as if they might not be there tomorrow, as if you might not be there tomorrow. It eliminates the vice of procrastination, the sin of postponement, failed communications, failed communions. This thought has made me more and more attentive to all encounters. meetings, introductions, which might contain the seed of depth that might be carelessly overlooked. This feeling has become a rarity, and rarer every day now that we have reached a hastier and more superficial rhythm, now that we believe we are in touch with a greater amount of people, more people, more countries. This is the illusion which might cheat us of being in touch deeply with the one breathing next to us. The dangerous time when mechanical voices, radios, telephones, take the place of human intimacies, and the concept of being in touch with millions brings a greater and greater poverty in intimacy and human vision."
~Anais Nin

Thursday, November 7, 2013

New Look!

Pinecrest Retreat is working on improving it's image on and off the campground. here's a peak a one of the new ads for the local paper.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Season's Changing!

It's cozy blanket time at Pinecrest. Time for winter wear! The days are still sweet (mostly) but the nights are getting chilly. That's why we'll be TURNING OFF THE WATER and draining the waterlines for the season this weekend, so they don't freeze. But don't worry, the Clubhouse and Bathhouse will be open for hot showers and such. You can fill tanks if you need to at those locations too!
Autumn is romantic up here, so come eat some apple pie, look at the starry, starry night and make some dreams come true!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Fall Planting Party & Potluck!

Jill, Kathy, Wilson and Ron are on the move on Planting day!

Jill mixes the wildflower seeds, before we spread them.

There"s a lot of territory to cover when planting, better take the golf cart!

Some weekend guests join in the fun. (follow the yellow brick road)

After a day of planting, everyone gathered for a fun potluck in the new Club Room!

New friends and old gather together in the Paradise Lounge for a lovely dinner.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Autumn, Peaceful and Bright

Autumn is a special time of year at Pinecrest. Time to slow down, take hikes, and enjoy the extra quiet that the season brings.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Pinecrest Retreat Planting Party

Pinecrest's second annual planting day has been announced for October 19. Bring wildflower seeds, bulbs or native perennials to plant on or around your site, or anywhere in the park that could use a little love. This year we are going to have a fun, new activity: making scarecrows! PCR will provide cornstalks and burlap and folks should bring their own "outfits" to stuff. (Things like old flannel shirts, worn out blue jeans and funny hats work well.) The prize for Best Scarecrow will be a giant pumpkin provided by the Mountain Chickadee Farm. Bring your friends and family. Refreshments will be provided. Look for time and details on the clubhouse chalkboard. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Camping is good for your health!

Most people go on camping trips because they’re tired of the city or ready for an adventure. Whether you enjoy biking, hunting or any other outdoor activity, camping offers you a way to focus completely on a hobby for a few days without external distractions.

What you might not realize is that camping can help you live a longer and better. 

1. The Fresh Air

When you spend time near a lot of trees, you take in more oxygen. That feeling of happiness that you get when you take your first breath of air at the campground isn’t all in your head–well, technically it is, but it’s a release of serotonin from the extra oxygen. Your body can function with less strain when there’s plenty of oxygen.

That’s not the only benefit of fresh air. Research shows that some time outdoors can improve your blood pressure, improve digestion and give your immune system an extra boost. When you spend a few days outside, you get some serious health benefits from the extra oxygen and low levels of pollutants.

2. Socialization

Camping alone is plenty of fun, but if you bring along a friend or family member, you’ll enjoy a unique experience together that will help you keep a healthy, happy relationship.

Socializing can extend your lifespan and delay memory problems according to research published in the American Journal of Public Health, and apart from the medical benefits, a few close relationships make life more fun. Invite a few friends on your next trip out.

3. Improved Moods

Regular campers will often talk about how the first few days back from a trip seem happier. This isn’t without merit; spending some time outside in the sunlight can even out the levels of melatonin in your brain.

Melatonin is the chemical that makes you feel tired and can induce feelings of depression, so by camping, you can enjoy better overall moods during and after your trip.

4. Less Stress

Camping also allows you to cope with stress. Stress can negatively affect your health in just about every way possible, and you’re putting much less strain on your mental and physical faculties by giving yourself some stress-free time at the campsite.

The lack of stress is related to the rise in oxygen levels, higher levels of serotonin and managed levels of melatonin mentioned above. There’s also an emotional component at work here, since it’s harder to be annoyed or angry when you’re doing something that you enjoy.

5. Exercise

Let’s not forget the most obvious benefit of camping: you’re spending a lot of time performing physical activities. Even if you’re taking a fishing trip, you’re burning more calories than you’d burn sitting around an office, and if you hike or bike, you’re performing cardiovascular exercise that will help keep your heart and lungs healthy.

Your activity levels will vary, but hikers burn anywhere from 120-300 calories per hour. Bikers burn 300-500 calories per hour, and fly fishing can burn up to 200 calories per hour. No wonder you work up such an appetite during a long camping trip.

6. Sunshine

Sunshine feels great on your skin, and there’s an evolutionary reason for that. When you’re out in direct sunlight, you’re taking on a ton of Vitamin D, which allows your body to absorb calcium and phosphorous.

7. A Good Night’s Sleep

Assuming that you’ve got decent camping gear, you’ll fall fast asleep after a day full of outdoor activities. Sleep has an effect on all of your body processes and can reduce inflammation, improve your cardiovascular system and help you stay alert.

Many campers report better sleep cycles when they return for a trip.

8. Good Food

If you pack s’mores, you’re not seeing any particularly solid health benefits in this department. However, if you’re fond of fishing and hunting, you’ll likely eat a large amount of protein and healthy fats on your camping trip.

You won’t get any preservatives or unnatural ingredients in a fresh lake-caught fish, and all of the exercise on your trip will help you digest.

9. New Challenges

No two camping trips are exactly the same, and that’s a good thing. Studies from the University of Texas and University of Michigan show that new experiences help to keep brains healthy.

New activities that are both physically and intellectually stimulating have the greatest effect on brain health, and camping fits both of these criteria.

10. Meditation

When you go camping, don’t forget to turn off your cell phone. Leave the tablet and the laptop computer at home. Try to disconnect for a few days and enjoy the simplicity of the natural experience.

This isn’t just a general tip to help you enjoy the experience; if you’re willing to enjoy your surroundings without any outside distractions, you could increase your lifespan. Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program, believes that turning off the cell phone and engaging with nature is one of the simplest ways to get the health benefits of meditation.

The Mayo Clinic reports that meditation may improve a number of serious medical conditions by increasing self awareness and giving a person stress-reduction tools. If you suffer from depression, fatigue, heart disease or even allergies, research shows that camping can improve your overall health.

Just don’t forget to commit to the experience–if your cell phone’s off, you’re on your way to developing a stimulating, tranquil hobby that will keep you healthy for years to come.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Community Garden Blooms

The Community Garden at Pinecrest has never been so busy and full of plants and flowers. There was asparagus in the spring, then came the raspberries and strawberries, then lettuce, kale, basil, peppers, zucchini and now tomatoes galore! The Garden has experienced a a phoenix effect do to one of the Garden Club members, who put in a little extra time in the spring to make sure the raised beds were ready for potential planters to add soil and plant. Thanks to her, the timed watering system worked like clock-work and the inviting plots were snapped up in a hurry by several site-holders. There is a new sign above the garden door to help folks identify where it is (this is not to be confused with the fabulous Mt Chick-a-dee Farm which is 100 times bigger and privately operated by Miss Jill & company). All siteholders are welcome to participate in the garden on a first come first serve basis. For more information on how and when you came help, keep an eye on the bulletin board in the Club House in the Garden Club section!

PS: There is a new compose pile being started up by the Garden, look for the sign and help us improve the soil for next season!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


MT. CHICK-A-DEE FARM, in association with Pinecrest Retreat, presents the ​First Annual ZUCCHINI FESTIVAL 2013, Saturday August 3, 2013.  Come pick up your numbered "bag of zucchinis" on Friday between 10-6 at the Pinecrest Club House and sign-up for the pot-luck zucchini dinner!  Then create a dish to share using your zucchinis and come back on Saturday Night at 7:30 to share in the excitement. In addition to the zuc-dishes prepared by all, MT. CHICK-A-DEE FARM will be providing a freshly picked mixed-green salad and some folks will be bringing marinated chicken for the grill.  The pool will be open late and a bon-fire is sure to follow!  $10 per person.

​Dig out your best zucchini recipe and your fancy dancin' duds!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Summer Solstice Gathering was a Success!

From the Mountain Chickadee Farm private tour, to the tribal body painting workshop, Pinecrest Retreat's summer solstice weekend was a fun and intriguing success!  Mixing and matching activities with the reclusive time to regenerate, the weekend felt just right. The Paradise Lounge is finally looking and feeling more cozy and complete- and folks are gathering there to listen to music or rally the troops to take a hike. A new sound system was in fine working order to provide Mad Men type tunes under the Pavillion.  BigJohn gave a "How to grill on Coleman Grill" workshop, which was a nice lead-in to the community potluck, followed by a bonfire by the pool! A good time was had by all! 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

summer solstice gathering june 22

come celebrate summer solstice on saturday June 22 at Pinecrest Retreat. 
along with other activities, there will be a pot luck BBQ at 7pm poolside. bring a dish & a friend. summer sangria will be served to those in festive attire. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Something New!



A limited number of Overnight Trailer-sites will be available to the guests of Pinecrest Members (and others) for just $40 per night: this includes power, water, access to the pool & hiking trails.

Friday, May 31, 2013

One Skillet Camping Breakfast

One Skillet Camping Breakfast!

Packed with proteins and carbs, this frittata combines all of the usual breakfast camping food staples to make one really hearty dish. Best of all, it only requires one skillet to prepare, perfect for tent campers and backpackers.

Serves 2

Preparation Time: 15 minutes at home & 5 minutes at the campground
Cooking Time: 15 minutes

  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 1/3 lb. ground sausage
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste
At Home:
  1. 1.  Dice the potatoes and onion into small, bite-size pieces. Store them in separate airtight containers.
  2. 2.  Mince the garlic and place them in a separate container.
  3. 3.  Shred the cheddar cheese. Pack them in a separate container.
At the Campground:
  1. 1.  Add the oil to a large skillet and heat it on a stove (if you're camping with an RV) or over the campfire (if you're tent camping).
  2. 2.  Fry the potatoes until golden.
  3. 3.  Add the onions and garlic and fry them until they start to change color.
  4. 4.  Fry the sausage until they are brown, breaking it up as you cook it.
  5. 5.  Add the eggs into the skillet, breaking the yolks and mixing them through the entire pan. Cook until the eggs have set.
  6. 6.  Add the shredded cheddar cheese. Cover the pan for a few minutes to allow the cheese to melt.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

"Glamping" is here to stay.

"Glamping" (glamorous+camping) has been around for a while. Here is an article from CNN Travel that dates back to 2011.  According to some sources, glamping has become so popular that there is now an official "international glamping weekend", June 1&2. So glamp it up!

New Pinecrest Map

even though this new map isn't perfect yet, the yurt village is now pull-in camping for friends of members and the "farm" isnt where it is indicated here, the listings of sites and site numbers ARE correct and can be used as reference. so print out this map for reference or save the image to your computer so you can send it to friends who are visiting for the first time and would like to know how to find your site. you will also notice new painted stones with the new site numbers through-out the park. this should help friends and neighbors find you when you decide to have a last minute bbq at your site some summer night.

as we make improvements to the map, we will let you know. happy camping!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Community Garden

the community garden has become very popular this year, all 6 of the raised gardens have been claimed for the season already! many vegetables and flowers have been planted and some have already been harvested (aka the asparagus). the garden has automatic-drip watering system in place, so even if you are not at pinecrest as much as you'd like, you know that your plants can keep on growing. even if you haven't planted anything at the garden, located up the hill on the east side of the pool in a fenced in area, be sure to stop by and check on the gardens progress. by next year we hope to have a little garden shed set up near the garden when we can store "community tools" such as rakes and shovels. so if you feel like doing some work on your site, but forgot to bring up the garden stuff, just borrow, use and return tools from the shed.

the good news is that, even if you didn't get a chance to plant any veggies in the community garden this year, you'll still have access to some great, fresh foods being grown right in the neighborhood at the Mountain Chick-a-dee Farms. Mountain Chick-a-dee Farms is an independent project that will be making fresh produce available for purchase on a daily basis at the Club House. Ask Judy for details.

A poem by Greg Kimura

Cargo A poem by Greg Kimura for Malidoma Somé

You enter life a ship laden with meaning, purpose and gifts
sent to be delivered to this hungry world,
and as much as the world needs your cargo,
you need to give it away.
Everything depends on this.

But the world forgets its needs,
and you forget your mission, and
the ancestral maps used to guide you
have become faded scrawls on the parchment of dead Pharaohs.
The cargo weighs you heavy the longer it is held.
Spoilage becomes a risk.
The ship sputters from port to port and at each you ask:
"Is this the way?"
But the way cannot be found without knowing your cargo,
and the cargo cannot be known without recognizing there is a way.
It is simply this:
You have gifts.
The world needs your gifts.
You must deliver them.

The world may not know it is starving,
but the hungry know,
and they will find you
when you discover your cargo
and start to give it away.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Pinecrest Retreat / In the valley

Pinecrest looks sleepy "down in the valley", but there's lots of action down there to prepare for the active summer season. You'll be pleasantly surprised at all the positive changes under way at Pinecrest when you arrive. Gone are the unsightly solar panels overlooking the pool! (The new solar panels are now housed on the top of the Club House). In place of those old panels you'll see a handsome collection of vintage trailers, all of which are available to rent by the night. So if you have been wanting to have a family gathering or wanting to invite friend up for a late night bbq, but didn't have anyplace to put them them- now you can. And they'll have a great view of the pool!.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Benefits of Attracting Birds!

It can be a lot of work to attract backyard birds, but doing so can offer many benefits beyond just enjoying these colorful visitors.

Benefits of Campsite Birds

The birds of Pinecrest are part of the local ecosystem, and attracting them to your site means planting bird-friendly landscaping, adding fresh, clean water to the somewhere nearby and choosing the best bird feeders and bird houses. If you do these things, you will discover benefits such as:
  • Pest Control: Many birds eat a variety of insects, including aphids, mosquitoes, spiders and other bugs that may not be welcome in your neck of the woods. Attracting birds encourages them to take advantage of this natural food source, eliminating the need for harsh chemical insecticides.

  • Flower Pollination: Hummingbirds, orioles and other birds that sip nectar are efficient pollinators of garden flowers. This can give flowerbeds an added color boost from extra blooms, which will in turn attract even more birds.

  • Weed Control: Finches, towhees and sparrows consume great quantities of weed seeds, making them effective landscapers to help control unwanted plants. Planting seed-bearing flowers for birds can also give them a natural food source to enjoy without needing frequent feeder refills. 

  • Education: Observing birds is a unique opportunity to study local wildlife, and attracting birds all year round gives birders the chance to see seasonal plumage changes, migration, courtship behavior and nesting. This is also a great way to introduce children to wildlife enjoyment and appreciation, spreading birding across generations.

  • Wildlife Conservation: As more habitats become threatened through development, attracting backyard birds provides a critical oasis for bird and wildlife conservation, both for local species and migrating birds. This helps preserve birds both at Pinecrest and in the larger local environment.

  • Stress Relief: Watching birds, interacting with them, listening to their songs and taking the time to work outdoors improving their habitat can help relieve stress and promote well-being. Time outdoors can also ensure Pinecrest-birders have an adequate supply of vitamin D and detoxify the body through fresh air.  
For many birders, the best benefit of attracting birds is simply being able to enjoy them, but attracting them with proper landscaping and attentive care can lead to a range of other benefits that make enjoying the birds even more exciting and productive.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Time to Ponder

I had a discussion with a great master in Japan... and we were talking about the various people who are working to translate the Zen books into English, and he said, "That's a waste of time. If you really understand Zen... you can use any book. You could use the Bible. You could use Alice in Wonderland. You could use the dictionary, because... the sound of the rain needs no translation."
-Alan Watts (1915 - 1973)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Pinecrest GROWS: Mountain Chickadee Farm

Jill Spevacek, (left) pictured here with here friend Brooke at work on the farm.
The Pinecrest community will be pleased to learn that fresh local produce will be available this summer. And I mean local! Jill Spevacek, daughter of Pinecrest owners, Franks & Kathy, is currently in the process of building and planting the new Mountain Chickadee Farm on the west hillside of Pinecrest.  According to the Mountain Chickadee Farm facebook page, "Mountain Chickadee Farm is located in Julian, CA. We provide the San Diego area with high quality all natural produce."
Jill's interest in food began as a senior in Julian High School’s culinary class and continued during college at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Last year, she further developed her skills with an internship on a 15-acre farm outside of Nevada City. Mountain Chickadee Farm will grow mainly vegetables, and plans for further development of a berry patch. 
Although not yet "certified organic", the farm will use only non-harmful, whole earth practices. Jill" goal is to provide Julian (and Pinecrest) with fresh, locally grown produce. Mountain Chickadee Farm-stand will be located at Pinecrest and plans to be open twice a week.
This year's seeds have been germinated and so far include turnips, radishes, and bok choy. Jill is super excited about the project and will begin transplanting some of my starts this week. She says, "Hopefully we will have produce for sale come May!"
Jill is looking forward to interacting with the Pinecrest community, as well as the community at large, by participating in the farmer's market and at the Club House where the fruits of her labor may be featured in the form of fresh produce, pies and jams. 
Community comes together to help set up

Mountain Chickadee Farm

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Introducing: The Paradise Lounge!

Here's the kind of cocktail napkin one used to find at classy dinner lounges from days gone by. Funny, quirky, and full of mischief! Just like the new-retro lounge that has been un-earthed at Pinecrest. The PARADISE LOUNGE, located in the refurbished Pinecrest Clubhouse, will be open and ready for guests beginning Memorial Day Weekend. The fabulous new space features, cozy indoor seating areas, a little lending library(take a book, leave a book), an incredible Saturday Night Fever pinball machine, a classic stereo-record player and enough open space to swing a wild pig or do a funky jig!

The PARADISE LOUNGE will be open to members to access thru out the day, and will be the new gathering place for special events, group meetings and workshops. Be prepared though! If you should get wind of a cocktail party happening at the PARADISE LOUNGE you would be well advised to arrive in the appropriate Wacky Plaid Smoking Jacket or Funky Vintage Cocktail Dress! (so start shopping today at thrift stores and retro shops for the right gear).

The time are a-changing at Pinecrest! Be the change!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Dreams & Hope

"People's dreams are made out of what they do all day. The same way a dog that runs after rabbits will dream of rabbits. It's what you do that makes your soul, not the other way around."
- Barbara Kingsolver
(Read more of Barbara's work, and the writings of others, in Hope Beneath Our Feet: Restoring Our Place in the Natural World)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Yurt building. Working together.

A while back some of us at Pinecrest got to know each other a lot better over the course of two days while erecting a fabulous yurt. It was cold, the directions were translated into English in a somewhat haphazard way, and none of us had ever done anything quite like it before, but working together we got it done. There's no better way to build community than collaborating on a project that is both a challenge and a group learning experience. When the yurt was finally complete, we all went inside. it was nice to be together, protected from the elements, in a building we built ourselves. we had a little ceremony and toasted each others efforts. 

That yurt is gone now, but the community we kindled on those two chilly spring days still remains.