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Eating our Garbage

When my children were younger I wanted to share the cycle of life with them in a real way. I wanted them to be able to see, feel, experience how the circle of life really works. I purchased some worms, (red wigglers), and purchase a box that would allow earthworms to procreate, as well as eat all the garbage that we generated. We would put our shredded papers in the box, coffee grounds, and the filter, apple cores, banana peels, and various other food in our worm box. We had our worm box outside. I have read that some people keep their box in the home. NO! 

When my son was 18 months old, he would take all the daily refuse for the worms to the box. The box did not smell bad, since they eat the bacteria that generates the odor from the food. What does smell is the poo from the worms. Every couple of months we would have to clean out the box, and that wasn’t a fun job. We would separate what was the “black gold” from the garbage, and save the worms. We would then have another generation of worms, and we add the black gold into our garden. We grew some of the biggest pumkins on the block, and then when we were done with Halloween, the worms had their favorite food. Honestly, after having these creatures in our life all these years, I can tell you with confidence that they love mellons, pumkins, etc. 

To this day we still have a worm farm, and we still feed our worms. Some of them are from the same parents we started with more than 18 years ago. 

This is the newest edition, it has layers, after a few months, we take it apart and sort out the gold, and start all ove with new food. This system ensures nothing goes to waste. We dont like waste doing nothing, we want to make the most of it. 

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Baby Goats

“Every mans can tell how many goats or sheep he possesses, but not how many friends.” Marcus Tullius Cicero

The babies are staying in the breezeway until they are bigger. If I put them in the pasture, they can wiggle under the gate. We don’t want that to happen.

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The Groves on 41

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…

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Cinquain Cellars

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.

http://www.cinquaincellars.com/#contact

 

Here are some fun photos of the property…

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The Sounds of Living in the Country…

We moved from the city to the county almost four years ago. It took all of us a couple of weeks to learn to sleep with so much silence. In the spring, there is one refreshing sound that is heard on our farm at night. When it is silent, we know there is a predator lurking around the house, office, garage, or stalls. Most of the time, this is the sound of spring in the country…

 

 

 

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Diaries and Journals

I can’t even begin to tell you the thrill that I get when I find someone in our family that has a diary or a journal. I have read a few journals of family members, and honestly…once I start reading the journal, I can’t stop. Usually, before I have been handed a journal or diary there is a preface of “there are lots of misspelled words or something to that effect”. I am not reading about a slice of their life without knowing that this person that wrote these words was doing so with little light, some education, and who knows how tired they were. Let’s not kid ourselves reading and writing before 1930 was done at leisure time. Some people had very little, if any leisure time.

If they had a farm, they had to think about their crop. Their crop was their livelily hood, without it they could not sustain themselves. The work was grueling, they were up with the light, and sometimes worked until they had no light. Children had to be taken care of, and the water had to be brought in the house. Animals had to be taken care of, and sometimes there was a crop grown just for the animals.

It is remarkable to me when I stumble on to a person that has something that has been treasured from one generation to another, even with misspellings and bad grammar. In the end that doesn’t matter, its the time they took from their day to give us a glimpse of their life. People they mention, sometimes there are recipes. I have a blueberry lemon cake in one journal that is so wonderful. They took the time to measure all the ingredients for the recipe to hand over to a daughter in law. It was a favorite of her son.

There is one heart wrenching journal that tells of a mom that lost her son. He didn’t die, he went on to disguise himself as an Italian. He was mixed with Black, Native American, and White. He found a job with some Italians that excepted him as he was, but he was infatuated with a girl. He told her he was Italian, and he moved up north to work in construction. His mom got the letter that he would never come back to see her because he didn’t see himself as the mix he was, but as an Italian. He wanted her to know how much he loved her, but hoped that she would understand. Her journal told of her heartbreak, and how she felt betrayed by her son. She would also write how much she loved him, and how her retreat was going down to the river to cry for the son she lost.

Another relative wrote about her family building a town, and having a saw mill. They also had an inn, and one day they found a pregnant run away slave. It was just before the civil war, and they brought her into their home. She would have a little girl and her name was Hazel. Mary and Hazel lived in the house with the family, and my great aunt was named after Hazel. This same family had arguments at the table about how to help the slaves and not helping the slaves. One of the older sons wanted to buy slaves from the market, and then free them once they have worked off what he had paid for the slave. His thought was, if they purchased the slaves and educated them they could have a good life. The father did not agree with the son. He said if they purchased slaves they would be contributing to more slaves being sold. Mary would often tell the family of her days in bondage, and how she was treated before she ran away. If the family were caught harboring a slave, the family would have had to relinquish Mary, as well as pay a $500 fine. During the civil war Mary and Hazel were sent up north, so they would not have to endure the war.

When you are lucky enough to come upon a diary or journal, treasure it! It will transport you to a place that you’ve never dreamed.

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Meet Matilda…

We have several ducks at the winery, but Matilda is special. She gets so excited when someone walks to the stainless steel garbage can, that is full of duck food. As soon as one nears the food can, she is wagging her tail, and panting like a dog. I mean, it is an audible pant…HEAVING BREATHING. Our theory is…she was raised with dogs. She likes people, and likes it when people come near her. The other ducks are a little skittish when people come to close, but not Matilda.

She really has a great personality, truly, a one of a kind.