It has been so wet here lately that I felt bad for Luna and Stella. I took at bail of hay down to the pasture to make a little nest for the girls. It was a hit, and the girls loved it, and here is my proof…
I buy and commission work by artists that I enjoy viewing. I look all around the world instead of focusing in on one area. I try to find the best artist for the job that I envision. Jeremy had some paintings I saw of motorbikes that I just loved. The paintings had a depth that I was seeking. Does the muffler pipe look too hot to touch? Does the paint look fresh on the bike? Is there a personality that can be understood between the art and spectator?
At the time, I was looking for an artist that would paint one of the Lambretta bikes we own. It is a special bike that was a racer, and a favorite of Roberto. I wanted the painting to really showcase the bike, no background, this was all about the bike. The angle shows the piping of the bike beautifully. The light bouncing off the gas tank, the light on the fender, the nubs on the tires, and all that chrome.
Jeremy even painted the Lambretta in watercolor. Watercolor is the unforgiving media. Yet, when a master works with watercolor it is so beautiful. Nothing is taken from the painting. It is crisp, it is fresh, and it speaks to the viewer.
Jeremy has done several pieces of art for me, and he has a great eye. Take a look at his some of his other works here.
I met Jennifer when I first came down here to SLO county. She is one of the warmest most genuine people you will ever meet. Being around her, you just feel like you may be family. She and I have been telling each other how we were going to get together. In fact, we had to make plans a month in advance. We are business owners, and our days are filled with making our businesses stronger.
She and I finally got together. I went to the Groves on 41, and she showed me the property. The last time I was there, I was there for a party, and did not get a private tour. Jennifer took me around to the their vacation rental, wedding venue, and into the groves.
Being out in the groves was fun. It was super muddy that day, and she and I were talking as we were walking. She was educating me about olive trees, and things to look for in the grove. As she talked, and we walked, we also were picking off the fruit that was still on the trees. I felt as though I left with a whole new understanding about olive groves. We also agreed to carry their line in the tasting room.
Here are some of the photos from the day…
When we were in our “dream building” phase, one of the things we wanted was an olive grove, and we finally found it. Hidden Hills gave us everything we wanted in an olive grove, we have olives, and a vacation rental. The olive trees are now being taken care of, and lovingly be watched, pruned, watered, and then in November…they will be harvested.
The property has a wonderful history too. The place was built as a bed and breakfast. There was a keeper of the house that grew a garden, and the beds are still on the property. There is a gentleman’s orchard with apple, pear, plum, and nectarine trees. There is a green house, and it was once was filled with the fragrance of basil, vanilla, and flowers. The attendant of the house used to put fresh flowers in each of the rooms, and the cottage. There is a chicken run with hen houses. The attendant would gather eggs from the hens each day. He made fresh dishes that were made from the food that was gathered from “Hidden Hills“. These are all aspects I love.
The goals for the place…get the olives in great shape for the fall so we can go back to having “Hidden Hills” as a label. We will then be able to sell the olive oil in the tasting room. Fix the barn, and have an intern trade housing for maintaining the gardens, greenhouse, and chickens. Gathering the fresh items to give to each of the vacation rentals. Each of the baskets would include olive oil, wine, fresh herbs, chamomile, lavender, homemade soap, homemade lotion, honey, eggs, and bouquet of flowers. Maybe even a postcard of the property.
There is also a pool, spa, and outdoor kitchen at the property. If you would like to stay at the property, make sure you go to Paso Robles Vacation Rental.
John Huntington was born in Norwich, Connecticut to Christopher Huntington and Ruth Rockwell on March 15, 1666. He married Abigail Baker Lathrop on December 9, 1686. She was the daughter of Samuel Lathrop and Elizabeth Scudder and was born in May 1665. As the records show, John was a man who commanded the respect and esteem of his fellow townsmen. On Dec 21, 1691 he was appointed constable in Norwich.
We know very little else, except that he died between 1695 and 1703. Eva C. Johnson’s Huntington book (Springville, UT) lists his death date as October 4, 1696. We know that he had passed away by 1703 because the record of the General Assembly held at New Haven on October 1703 states the following, “This court doth remit to the widow Abigail Huntington, what is due from her estate to the colony by the seizure of the inspector of Norwich, what is due from her estate is left out of the list to now added.” Abigail was a widow for many years and died November 19, 1745.
One of the first weekends we were living in the country, this happened…
I was taking both of the dogs (Cane Corso females) for a walk. Since we were new to the country I did not want to trust to just let them out in the yard. Now, our yard is 42 acres. There are coyotes and other animals around here. I was gazing at the stars when all the sudden Sadie pulled really hard, and I did not let go. I was pulled across the rocks like I was a rag doll. I screamed, and Sheba stopped. Sheba stayed right by my side, and Sadie was running after what ever it was that was near our house. I limped back into the house with Sheba.
I went upstairs and washed my legs with soap and water. I had to take a wash cloth to get all the debris that was embedded in my legs. My left leg looked a lot worse than my right leg. It burned like hell…it was really painful. I took some honey, and put it all over the wounds, and took another wash cloth that was damp and kept it over the wound.
I kept the wound clean every day, and also added honey to it every day. By the third day it was really looking so much better. By two weeks it was healed. I believe I was in less pain, and it healed faster with the honey.
Over Valentines Day weekend I was in charge of Red Velvet Cupcakes for the Pleasant Valley wine Trail, since we are a part of the trail. Everyone had something they made and then paired with a wine. We paired our cupcakes with our Late Harvest Zinfandel. I heard nothing but good things, so I was very happy that it was warmly received.
I made 100 cupcakes on Friday night, and then another 100 on Saturday night. I used the recipe that was passed down from my Great Aunt Nelle. She was a great cook, and it was said in the family that she asked about the recipe one time when she was visited the Waldorf Hotel. I later learned that many southern women told the story about asking for the recipe from the Waldorf. She was a traveler, and was a fantastic cool. I never questioned the story!
My Great Aunt used to make Red Velvet Cake for my dad every year on his birthday. It was his favorite cake. She also would make a mayonnaise cake that was so delicious. Although, I remember that she didn’t like to say the name around me, it made me sick to think of mayonnaise being used to bake a cake. When we would love something that she made, she would give an index card with the recipe to my mom. We would cherish those recipe cards. There was a special wooded box that we kept them.
Never the less, here is the recipe for the cake…
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 ½ cups olive oil
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ pounds canned beets, drained and pureed
- 1 tablespoon red food color
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
- 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature (I make my own by adding vinegar, and waiting for 10 minutes,
- 2 tablespoons red food coloring (1 ounce)
- 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Start preheating your oven to 375, drain and puree your beets. If you don’t have buttermilk in your fridge, I never do…Add one tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to your cup of milk.
Meanwhile, add your dry ingredients together, add you eggs, beets, food coloring, vanilla, vinegar, olive oil and finally, the buttermilk. Mix until all the ingredients are wet.
Add the paper cupcake holders to the cupcake pans, fill up the cupcake papers about 1/2 full. This will make about 18 cupcakes. They will take about 25 minutes to bake.
While your cupcakes are baking, you can make the frosting…
8 ounces of cream cheese (softened)
1 Stick of butter (softened)
4 cups of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
Blend your ingredients together to make the frosting. I used a pastry bag for the first time last week when I made these for Valentines day. I had to end up asking my husband to take the pastry bag away from me, since mine didn’t look good. His looked lovely!
Now, if you want to add the Nutella, it does taste delicious, but it is time consuming. We took a melon baller, and scooped out the center. After each one was done, we then added the frosting. Like I mentioned earlier, my frosting job was a little frightening, so I had my husband make them look pretty.
With all this crazy, wonderful rain, we have to move the goats to the stalls. This is also the time of the year when most of the females are looking VERY pregnant. They love hearing me walk near the stalls in the morning, because that means one thing…FOOD!
Nothing ever goes to waste around here. After we have had the apples for a weekend, we take them back to the farm. The miniature donkeys and the goats enjoy the apple treat. I usually have to hold on to the apple to get them to get the apple started. After a few bites, they are good to go on those apples.
Anything that is not good to give to the goats, or miniature donkeys goes to the worm farm or the compost pile. We are trying to make our vineyard as sustainable as possible, as well as our farm.
Without further delay, here are photos of the crazy goats…
We have several pieces of art by Paul in our home. We have two bicycle paintings. I commissioned him to paint the bicycles for me several years ago. I just loved other paintings I saw of his with a transportation subject. I thought he would be there prefect candidate to commission for my bicycles.
I was really happy with the paintings too. The use of color, light, and shadow are perfect. The bicycle has hints that the rider of the bike is going to have a picnic. Bread, wine, and a table cloth are all ready. The faithful dog is ready to go along with the rider. The shadow of the dog is just beside him, and so is the bike.
The architecture of the building says to me that the rider may have chosen the bottle of wine from their own personal cellar. The rider may also be going to have said picnic on their own property.
Beth and Dave Nagengast are the owners of Cinquain Cellars, which has some awesome wines. Cinquain Cellars is on the Pleasant Valley Wine Trail, and is open with an appointment. They are also open during our special weekend events that the trail offers.
This simple 5-line poem, called a Cinquain (pronounced sink-cane), embodies the spirit of Cinquain Cellars, from nurturing 10,000 vines on their estate vineyard, to crafting small lots of artisan wines for your pleasure and theirs. They like to think of their wine as bottled poetry and hope you will agree.
If you’re interested in knowing more, here you go…The owner and winemaker, David Nagengast, graduated from the Fresno State University Enology program in 1985 with the dream of someday having his own vineyard and winery. In 2000, the search for the perfect site culminated in the purchase of a small hillside property, overlooking Hog Canyon and the Estrella River basin from 1000-ft elevation, in the Northeast area of the Paso Robles Estrella Appellation. In 2002, the 14-acre vineyard was planted with 10,000 vines including nine different Bordeaux, Rhône, and Port varieties. In 2007, the construction of their simple 1200 square-foot winery was completed. And now, after 31 years of making wines professionally for a variety of small and medium sized wineries in Santa Cruz Mountains, Santa Clara County, and Oregon, the culmination of this dream is evident with the establishment of Nagengast Estate Vineyard, Cinquain Cellars and the availability of 1500 cases annually. Please, don’t be shy about making an appointment, they are happy to share their beautiful facility with you.
Here are some fun photos of the property…