|Fort Ross, the most southern Russian settlement in America|
|exploring the fort's warehouse|
In July we gathered again at Fort Ross, formerly a Russian settlement and now a California State Park, for four days of family celebration.
Cousins from all over the world came to honour the ancestors, explore the old fort, and party hearty!
|the Russian bell|
|preparing the canon for firing|
We fired the fort's cannon.
We rang the old Russian bell.
We worked as volunteers cleaning the buildings and building a new fence.
We hiked, canoed, toured wineries and finally said long good-byes until our next reunion in five years time.
|pulling nails out of old boards|
|yes, we do windows!|
|the clean up crew ready for work|
|sharing Yerba Mate|
One of the most memorable moments was meeting the descendants of the Kashia-Pomo tribe who lived and worked here along side our family and for whom this land is sacred.
Seated together we exchanged gifts; acknowledged the good things that happened between us; forgave each other for the wrongs committed; and reconciled our differences in hopes of working together again for the betterment of all.
The ceremony ended with the passing of Yerba Mate, a herbal drink from South America.
|Angela & James present a painting of the land before immigration to Rino and Martina (painting by Angela Prior)|
|California poppies grow around the fort|
|Fort Ross as seen from the Russian cemetary|
|the old Russian chapel within the walls of the fort|
|visiting the last apple tree in the old family orchard|
So if you're ever travelling up the Sonoma coast along Highway 1, do stop in at Fort Ross and have a look around. You won't be disappointed. Tell them Simon sent you!