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Home front: learn to make cheese; home tour


A roundup of local home and garden news and events, including an introduction to cheese making, a sustainable home tour along with tips of pumpkin carving and recycling film plastic.

LEARN TO MAKE CHEESE ... Hidden Villa Farm will hold a class for ages 16 and up on "Beginning Cheesemaking: Fresh Cheeses" on Saturday, Oct. 7, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Jeannie Mckenzie of Pinehaven Farm will reveal how to make chevre and feta, as well as St. Maure. In addition to learning everything you'll need to know to make yummy cheeses in your own kitchen, you'll have the opportunity to sample other Pineheaven Farm creations and visit the goat yard to meet Hidden Villa's own gentle goats. Pick herbs and edible flowers from the organic garden to add to your creation, then craft cheese by hand in the beautiful Duveneck House. Class size limited to ensure everyone gets full benefit of this session. Class fee ($65) includes all materials. To register, go to hiddenvilla.org to register.

HOME TOUR ... The San Mateo County chapter of the American Institute of Architects will hold a tour of a sustainable home in Menlo Park on Saturday, Nov. 4, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The home has three pavilions that create courtyards as well as glassy interior spaces. It opens up to the garden, which features a lap pool and heritage tree. The house, designed by Butler Armsden Architects, was designed to be sustainable, with attention to the site and landscaping, energy usage, ventilation, and use of materials. Tickets for the self-guided tour are $30 or $50 includes a panel discussion ,with the design and construction team as well as a wine and cheese reception. For more information, go to aiasmc.org.

PUMPKIN PARTS? ... While you're carving those pumpkins for Halloween, here are some quick tips for what to do with your pumpkin's parts from the city of Palo Alto to make yours a "Zero Waste" pumpkin. Roast the seeds. Zero Waste has 16 recipes. Compost the inside ... the fibrous strands can go in your green compost cart. The seeds can go in too, if you don't want to roast them. If you're willing to scrape away some of the inside of the pumpkin, you can bake a pie out of it. When Halloween is over, compost your jack-o'-lantern.

THAT FILMY PLASTIC ... It's stretched over packages of food, appliances, dry cleaning and pretty much anything that you buy at an electronics store: "film plastic" is recyclable, at least in the city of Palo Alto. Proper disposal is essential to make sure it stays out of parks, streets and even oceans. Film plastic is accepted in your blue recycling cart only if it's bundled together inside a larger clear bag that is tied securely. Loose film plastic is not accepted because it clogs machinery at the recycling facility.

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Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund

For the last 26 years, the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund has given away more than $7 million to local nonprofits serving children and families. When you make a donation, every dollar is automatically doubled, and 100% of the funds go directly to local programs. It’s a great way to ensure your charitable donations are working at home.