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2nd Round of Chickens

“Studying cows, pigs and chickens can help an actor develop his character. There are a lot of things I learned from animals. One was that they couldn’t hiss or boo me.” James Dean

We have been country people for 5 years now. When we lived in the city we had lists of all the things we wanted to do once we lived in the county. One of our goals, was to have free range chickens. We went big too, we purchased beautiful chicken houses from the Amish. They are big, and they have room for the chickens to roost, two windows, big door, and a door to collect eggs.

We did everything the books told us to do. We raised them for the first three months in the garage. They had little waterer, and it was changed twice a day. The had a feeder that we filled twice a day, and they had a heating lamp. For the first few months the heating lamp was on all day and night to keep the little chicks warm. By the third month, we unplugged the heating lamp during the day, but turned it on in the evening.

After the third month we kept them in their new homes for two weeks, checking on the them, feeding them, and giving them water. Once their feathers were grown in, we allowed them to go outside their house. During the day, they would stay just outside the door, some of them didn’t even want to leave the house. For the first couple of weeks they would stay close to their house, and not go far from it.

As they grew, they became more bold. Since they were free range, they would go all over the place, but mostly like to be close to our house. Which created a disaster…poo everywhere on the porch. I spent so much time cleaning the front porch, and the back porch. Sometimes, we would even see the chickens way down the hill. This is 42 acres, and they have tiny legs. By evening, all of them would come back home, and get inside their homes.

Then, football season started. We would go to the football games with the kids. They were in high school, so they would hang out with their friends and my husband and I would go for romantic walks downtown holding hands. We would come home, and it was late…we would lock the chicken doors. In the morning we would let the chickens go free. Since we had 100 chickens, it was hard to tell that some were missing. It was only after a few games later we discovered…every time we go to a game, there are fewer chicken.

There was one fox that boldly came right by the house. He had the most beautiful red fur coat, and a black peak on his tail. He was super healthy looking, and just strutting right by the house. I thought to myself, honestly, if he came to the door, knocked and asked me for a chicken, I would give it to him. Anyway, a couple of times there were even coyotes that would stalk the chickens during the day.

We finally lost all of our chickens. They were captured by the foxes and coyotes. If we have raccoons near by, I have never seen one in our area. So, now we are starting all over again. We still have the houses. This time, we are building them a lovely fence to protect them from predators. The eggs that come from farm chickens are just so much better than grocery store eggs. I’m always a little embarrassed when I shamefully have to carry a dozen eggs to the check out. By July, I won’t have to carry eggs to the check out, because we will have our own eggs.

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Lambretta Scooter

“Give me a museum, and I will fill it.” Pablo Picasso IMG_0851

This is another vintage poster in our little cafe at San Marcos Creek. We have a collection of Lambretta Scooters, and wanted to personalize our little cafe so people that visit could learn a little more about us.

Roberto started collecting Lambretta Scooters when he was younger, but they became so hard to find that he held off from obtaining any more until after our children were in elementary school. Roberto would give each child a ride around the park that was right by our house in Oakland. He would even have meets for people as far away as Australia. When visitors would come they would ride over on their Lambretta, but they would also want to see Robertos’ collection. This was usually an all day event. They had lots to talk about with each of their scooters.

I loved the stories they would tell. Stories of them getting stuck somewhere in England or  Italy. We even have a scooter with personal history. The lady wanted to find the right buyer. Her and her husband had been admiring a Lambretta in the window of a department store in 1950’s or 60’s. They finally had the money to buy it, and they took off to Italy.

The couple boarded a plane with their dog, and once they arrived in Italy, they purchased their Lambretta. Their baby blue TV175 had all the extra’s on it too. The windshield, the back rack, and chrome mirrors. The two of them and their dog went all over Italy and all over Europe on the back of the scooter. They shared a few of the photos with us, and they even included the journal of their days out on their adventures with the dog and each other.

So, everyday I pass the poster at the winery I think of all those people that must have had the times of their lives on the back of their scooters. What a joy to own a piece of history that conjures up great memories as well as thoughts of how others had fun.

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Community Giving

“If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.” Booker T. Washington

Sundays are usually family days. We like to cook all day, and do whatever we feel will be enjoyable for that day. The third Sunday of every month is a special day at the winery. We allow people that are artists and makers of items come in, set up their booth or table and tell other people in the community about their projects or art.

The first one we had two ladies, and this last time we had three artists. I hope this continues to grow, and the community comes over to the winery to participate. This give us a chance to help out others in our community help themselves.

Our next “Artisanal Market” will be June 18th, 2018.

The ladies do such a nice job putting together their tables.

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Family Ancestors

“If you don’t know your history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it’s part of a tree.” Michael Crichton

I started researching my family history before I was in high school. We had always been told that we had Native American ancestors. I even wore moccasins to school for the longest time. Even in the snow, I would wear my little moccasins because I was so convinced that my people were trodding in the snow with their moccasin…I should do the same.

Recently, I took the DNA test and was super disappointed that no Native American blood was found. My 4rd great grandmother did have a Native American partner, and had several children with him. Since, at the time, it was illegal to marry a Native American, and the children that resulted from a relationship with a Native American were not recognized she could not share her relationship with anyone but her family. Was she raped by the non Native American contributor that resulted in my 3 great grandfather?

If my 3rd great-grandfather was not a Native American, yet all the other children were. I am not sure there is another conclusion. She was feisty, but she wouldn’t have been able to fend off a man that thought he had rights to do what he wanted. In those days, women barely had any rights at all, and were subjected to the men that “kept” them. If your father thought a young woman should get married, she would be obligated to marry.

So many unanswered questions…

Then, I have the long agony of Abigail Warner, I am not even sure she was actually married to Fizer. I do know they had a child, but I haven’t been able to find any marriage documents. Which doesn’t mean too much for that period since it was just before the civil war. Either he was killed or missing, and after she married Mr. Collins. That’s the gist of what I know about her. Where was she born? What about her family?

I want to know as much about the women as I have found about the men. I am so grateful for all my ancestors and what they had to do to make a living to get all of us where we are now. Sure, we all make our contributions too. I have read of so many of their sorrows getting to their destination, being sold at market, scratching at the ground to find food. Fighting in wars that they didn’t want to fight. Our lives are so blessed because of the sacrifices they made.

My great aunt Neil Gray was one of those people that made great sacrifices. She raised most of the children after her mother passed away from complications of child birth. Then, her younger sister (Hazel) was playing with matches, and caught on fire. She lived for three days,  screaming in agony in her little bed. Everyone did everything they could, but the doctors could not save her.

My great grandfather drank all a lot after that, an Aunt Neil went to school, and took care of the children until they were all old enough for her to move away. Move away she did, she packed up, and moved to Indianapolis, Indiana. She went to work for RCA. She never had any children of her own.

I loved going to her house. It was always so clean! She made homemade dinners in her big kitchen, and she even had a green house that was attached to her house. I loved going in there, and spending time with the plants. There was a Venus fly trap that provided hours of fascination for me. Her mannerism was very formal, as she would have matching gloves with each outfit. She truly was an original, until I found a Degas that looks like her twin.

Here’s a photo of my great aunt and her art twin…

 

 

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American Girl Dolls

“Just don’t pretend you know more about your characters than they do, because you don’t. Stay open to them. It’s teatime and all the dolls are at the table. Listen. It’s that simple.” Anne Lamott

It seems like yesterday my daughter packed up her 20 American Girl Dolls. We moved to the country, and she started collecting animals.

In the last five years that we have lived in the country, we have had chickens, cats, ducks, cows, goats, miniature donkeys, sheep, and dogs. She and I have stayed the night in the barn (very cold, and very uncomfortable) to make sure the baby goats make it. Got up earlier than we ever wanted to warm up bottles and go feed the babies. She has been a trooper through it all. Embracing country life like it was something that is meant for her.

She has even saved countless little lives of birds, dogs, cats, and even a deer.

We fed it some goat milk until it was strong enough to walk, and then took it to a refuge. They wrote to us to let us know that it was getting stronger, and they would release it when it was more mature.

She graduates soon, and will be heading off to college. The years of her polo playing, powder puff, and hanging out with her high school friends will be in the rearview mirror.

Some of the animals…

I know my husband and I are so happy that her high school years have been everything that she always wished. I loved teaching her how to drive, and make soap. Now, as this chapter of her life comes to close, and she is about to embark on her next chapter. I just want to say what an honor it has been to raise you into the young lady you are now!

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Be Our Guests…

“Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.” Rumi

We had a pretty exciting weekend in Paso Robles. This was Wine Festival weekend, and people from all over the United States come to join our party. Some of our friends came into town from Barrel 33 . Alayna and Manny are the owners of Barrel 33, and they happen to sell our Graffino Wines. The two of them were looking for reservations for a place to stay, but since this is a popular weekend places were booked.

I suggested our little house, but prefaced it with the fact that I had not got the connection for dish tv, and I didn’t even have toiletries in the house yet. Well, since we have an inn and villa here at San Marcos Creek, I could grab toiletries to take to the house for them. I had them follow me to the house, since it is a little tricky to get to the house.

Once there, they could get comfortable and they would have a place for the dogs to run and play. Later in the afternoon, I forgot that our coffee maker stopped working, and I confiscated the coffee maker from our little house. UGH! They had no coffee pot! I texted Alayna to tell her I would drop off the coffee pot, and find some filters for it. I dropped off the coffee pot at the door, and had to find some filters. Later, I found a few filters, so I took them to the door, and stuffed them in the box, along with the scoop. Just as I was about to leave, they pulled up at the house.

The next morning Alayna texted me, and told me that they enjoyed staying at the house. I couldn’t have selected better guests…they did everything you would hope that your relatives would do…everything was super clean, they put laundry in the washer, and made the bed.

When my daughter and I went down to the house to put the laundry in the dryer, she said “I miss them already.” These are the guests that every vacation property owner dreams of, I am just sorry that the house wasn’t 100% finished for them.

The next time you head up to Big Bear, please go in and tell them we said hello. They are the beautiful couple probably working their tails off. 😉

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Collections and Obsessions, Design, Fountain of Youth, Galleria, Happiness Project, Museum Monday, Winery

Vintage Poster From Capri

“A woman’s perfume tells more about her than her handwriting.” Christian Dior

 

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This is a vintage poster from 1952. The perfume was put on the market in 1948 after the Monastery was given permission by the Pope Pius XII to recreate the perfume. The secret ingredients were given to a chemist from Turin. He created the smallest laboratory int e world and called “Carthusia, i.e. Certosa.

The ledgend is that Queen Giovanna D’Angio was set to arrive at the Carthusian Monastery of St. Giacomo , and preparations need to be made for her. Since she was the donor of the land for the Monastery. The monastery was built in 1371, and is one of the oldest surviving historical buildings on Capri. In 1380 the Queen was visiting, so the father prior went sought out the most beautiful flowers he could find for her room. The water was not changed for three days, he noticed the water had an aroma that was heavenly. He immediately took the water to the father alchemist who then traced the origin of the sent back to “Garofilum silvestre caprese” The water was the first perfume of Capri.

The tradition continues to this day, and the perfume is made in limited production. I can tell you from personal experience the perfume smells like a warm summer day, with the breeze gently propelling essence of a mixture of bouquets of flowers. The temperature about 75, and the sun just kissing your face in an almost seductive manner. Yep, it’s that good!

When I purchased the poster, a poster expert was giving a lecture. She asked us what the poster reminds us of…any logo? She told us that this was the inspiration for the Starbucks logo. We added the poster to our lounge area at San Marcos Creek Winery and Inn to generate conversation, and also because we love all things Italian. It’s an interesting poster for sure, and I have no idea how many of these floated around United States in the 1950’s because it seems a little too risqué for the 50’s in the States. What do you think? I absolutely love the colors, and believe it looks pretty modern. I would love to know what your thoughts are.

 

 

 

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Everyday Art

“I like to convey the idea that art is important in everyday life.” Georgia O’ Keeffe

Since the day I had our children, I have tried to live my life as though every aspect of every moment is a gift. When we linger long enough to appreciate a moment in time, it can become a work of art.

Just yesterday, I spent most of the day reading, and spending parts of the day with everyone. It was fabulous! It was also very restful, I didn’t even look at my email. Remember when email was fun? Now, it is work, and I really wanted and needed a day to disengage with the rest of the world.

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My daughter made me perfect eggs, biscuits, and bacon. I love my eggs with plenty of pepper, and the biscuits pipping hot from the oven. The eggs were over medium with no hint of the whites of the eggs runny. Coffee was hot, with one sugar, and just enough milk for a hint of color. If it is black, that’s fine too, but I prefer a hint of cream.

My husband wen to the hardware store to buy me some flowers. I do enjoy flowers, but they are not necessary. I appreciated that he took the time to go and buy them for me. IMG_0813

I enjoyed a cup of tea, while I read my books in the family room. Oh, it was so delightful! IMG_0814

While I spent most of my day reading and visiting chatting. My husband washed my car. I hate washing cars, but love it when my car is beautiful and clean. He even took the time to blow it dry with the leaf blower. IMG_0815

When it came around to dinner time, we had a couple of wines. With our appetizer, we had IMG_0820

A crisp clean wine with hints of lemon zest, and green apple. Just enough acidity to have you longing for more. Delicious! IMG_0821

To accompany our dinner we had Four Brix 2015 Grenache Rose”. It paired very well with our pork lion wrapped in bacon, and rolled in herbs and delicate spices, spring veggies, and Milanese risotto, and croissants.

Citrus blossoms on the nose, clean and refreshing, medium on the acidity, with a delicate finish. One glass was not enough.

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My Mothers Day was yet another day that was so delightful from the moment I woke, to when I retired for the evening. My children and loving husband gave me a perfect day!

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In A Pinch…

“Anyone who gives you a cinnamon roll fresh out of the oven is a friend for life.” Daniel Handler

I was sitting down my husband having a hot cup of coffee, steam was still rising from the top of my mug that says “Greatest Mom”, and then I remembered…I told the kids I would make some fresh, hot, cinnamon rolls. Well, luckily, I purchased some Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls from the grocery store the other day.

I leaped out of my French Country chair with the woven sea grass, and took a few splinters in my rear for getting up so fast. I ran across the cold tile with my bare feet to the fridge. Ahhh, a life saver, in tube form…the cinnamon rolls, just needed to be popped open, and put in a cast iron skillet, ya know, for a home made look. LOL!

I pop them in the oven that is 400 degrees, and mix about 4 teaspoons of cinnamon to 4 teaspoons of “sugar in the raw”, and add that to the top. Not everyone in the family likes the frosting that comes with the Pillsbury tube. They came out of the oven perfectly fluffy, and invigorating the whole house with the smell of cinnamon. The look of them in the cast iron skillet is such a bonus.

Yes, the kids were happy, and so was my husband.