country, Cucina, Family Friday, farming, FarmingFriday, Fountain of Youth, Happiness Project, Raising Montessori Kids

The Circle of Life

Out of perfection nothing can be made. Every process involves breaking something up. The earth must be broken to bring forth life. If the seed does not die there is no plant. Bread results from the death of wheat. Life lives on lives. Our own life lives on the acts of other people. If you are lifeworthy, you can take it. Joseph Campbell

When my children were young, we taught them through the Montessori method. They did experiments, created art, made their own play dough. It was as much fun for me to teach them as it was for them to learn.

One of the aspects of doing all the different activities that contributed to them being grown, is our red wiggler box. We had a box of red wiggles that was visited every night. We collected the coffee grounds, left over coffee, shredded paper, apple cores, banana peels in our little closed bucket under the sink. At the end of the day after the kitchen was all clean, we would walk our little bucket up to the worm box and one of the children would add the scraps and paper to the worm box. After all these years we still have a worm box on the farm.

We have three of them now. I give some of the worms to our chickens, and help create environments for the chickens to have more yummy food through the circle of life. We have a few ducks, and I have a shallow kiddie pool for them. Everyday, the kiddie pool is filled with enough water for the ducks to splash around. They do their business in the pool. I dump the pool in the straw that has already been used by the goat, so now I not only have the mater from the goats, chickens, and pool water to make an insect soup. The chickens get yummy meals of grubs, earwigs, and other microorganisms that have now been created from the environment. In a few months I will then add all this old straw to the compost pile, which will then give me a rich consistency of soil that I can use on the farm.

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The chickens have a great time search for the right insects. I move the kiddie pool around, so that insects have a little time to develop.

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The water is clean for at least a couple of hours before the ducks start enjoying it too much.

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The payoff for our family, and our dogs eat an omelet in the mornings.

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Water…

Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless – like water. Bruce Lee

Even as a young person I loved the water. I couldn’t wait to learn to swim. When we would go to see family in other states, especially in the summer all of us children were in a pool, lake, or pond. I remember like it was yesterday when I learned how to push off the side of the pool wall and glide across the water. I loved how the water engulfed me and rose overtop my body. It was exhilarating! My aunt was a beautiful swimmer, and she was the one that taught my sister and I the beginning aspects of swimming. My sister and I spent hours pushing off the side of the pool. I remember how we would wait for a small piece of wall space in the pool to open up so we could practice. We would be in the pool until our lips were blue, and our teeth were chattering. Our mom would advise us to get out of the pool since we were so cold. We would say as our teeth were chattering away “We are not cold”, but of course we were. Laying on the hot cement pool deck would warm us to the perfect temperature to go back in the pool to do it all over again.

My sister and I talked our parents into swim lessons the next year. I remember how I thought it was harder than it looked. How do people make it look so easy? When we would go back to see family we were a little better than we were the year before. My sister even decide to swim with her a cast on her arm. She really almost drown in the deep end of the pool. If it were not for our aunt that taught us the art of pushing off the wall, my sister would not be here today. As she was going under the water I remember that the last thing to go under the water was her cast. She really was trying not to get it wet. Boy, did her arm itch after it was dry…good thing she found a comb that she could fit between the plaster cast and her arm.

I finally learned how to swim well. Admittedly, my stroke looked more like a call for help than someone trying to swim. Once I got the high school, I was a appalled when the swim coach told me that I was only in intermediate swimming. I even had to stand on the tiled floor of the deck and practice my stroke by looking up at the wall, and following the grout line with my middle finger. It really did help. Honestly, I didn’t know how I looked when I was swimming. I thought I looked super graceful and like an Olympic champ. Now, I had someone telling me how much I looked like I was about to drown.

I went on to being a lifeguard, obtaining my Water Safety Instructor Certificate, Synchronized Swimming Certificate, Coach Certificate, Adapted Aquatics Certification, I had almost every certification in aquatics one could get, except SCUBA. Being in the water was so freeing. Overcoming the cold was always my biggest obstacles once I became a teenager. To this day, I hate cold water, unless I am drinking it. Once in the rhythm of swimming my mind feels free. It’s so liberating!

As I start a new chapter of my life, I have had some time to be grateful for my family outings to other states, spending time with my cousins in the pools, lakes, and ponds. Being grateful for my aunt, taking the time to show us how beautiful and fun pushing off the side of the pool can be.  Sometimes the love for something so simple can change your life, being in the water made me the person I am today. The memories of being a lifeguard, teaching so many aquatic classes, those memories are ones I cherish so much. It really brings a smile to my face every time. This only reinforces the desire to have swimming again be a part of my life. 86EE6B83-87D6-4AE9-B3E6-557000CB5724

country, farming, food, Fruit, Happiness Project, San Luis Obispo Sites, Wine Wednesday

Giornata Wines

Recently, I was out on an excursion, and visiting wineries. It is something I have not been able to do as often as I would like to do. Plus, the rumor is that we have over 200+ wineries here in Paso Robles alone.

I called to make an appointment to visit with Brian and Stephanie Terrizzi to talk and taste some wines. Their winery is located in Tin City. A little district that is becoming a little hub of activity. The wonderful couple also own a Etto, a pasta shop full of wonderful Italian goodies. They even have a selection of their Giornata Wines, for sale at the shop, in case you don’t make it over to the winery. The two of them are very passionate about their wine and food.

When I arrived at the winery, I was talking to Brian about wine and production, as well as Italian foods we love. Stephanie came in about 20 minutes later, and we talked about growing food organically. She is a strong advocate of not wasting water, no pesticides, and keeping the land clean. The two of them were so engaging and I could have stayed so much longer, but we all have lives to live too. They were very gracious to me as I talked, listened, and sampled their wine.

One of my favorites was the Falanghina. I have never tried a Falanghina wine…ever, so I really didn’t know what to expect, but guess what? This is exactly why people need to try different wines…the tasting room is called a “tasting room” for a reason. IMG_2509

Here is how I perceived the wine… it is a mouth watering joyful experience, with subtle hues of stone fruits, apple and pear with a mineral finish. The alcohol is subdued, while the flavors of the grape are allowed to sing in exaltation! It was my favorite! I purchased a bottle, and the family had it with our dinner. 

The winery isn’t open everyday, so check the website for more information about both the winery and pasta shop. Brian and Stephy19

This is in the winery area of their building. Brian and Stephanie are in front of their egg, which is an inert vessel.

Happiness Project

World Of Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara, CA

Pinot noir is the ultimate wine to have at the table. It’s a white wine masquerading as red…[while] chardonnay is a red masquerading as a white. Kevin Zraly.

World of Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is one of those exquisite wines that goes well with so many food options. You also have to know which one has the qualities that you are looking for to pair with your foods that are on your plate. You are not just pairing your Pinot Noir with your meat, you’re pairing it with all the items on your plate. If there are guests at the table, you are also looking for the right Pinot to elevate all the dishes. If you all are having salads, I would choose a Pinot Noir that is a rose’.

The acid and structure of the wine will balance well with a salad with some pomegranates seeds for an extra little punch. Then again, your taste my take you in another direction. Enjoying wine is all about what you like, and what your friends will like on that given day that you choose your bottle. If your table is going to be mostly order red meat, and even a chicken with some herbal notes, I would go for a Beaune, Cote D Or, Pinot Noir. IMG_0562

The ultimate is going to the World of Pinot Noir in Santa Barbara, this way you will be able to taste many different types of Pinot Noir from all around the world. It’s a two day event with symposiums as well. Make sure you make reservations early.

Here are some of the photos I took of my favorites from a few weeks ago…IMG_0566

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food, Galleria, Happiness Project, Wine Wednesday, Winery

Rhone Rangers

“Wine … offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than possibly any other purely sensory thing which may be purchased.” Earnest Hemingway

As a winery owner it is my job to get out there and experience what other wineries are doing. So, I was happy to dive in and taste wine for two days at the Hospice du Rhone. I attended one of the lectures, two days of tasting, and Farewell Dinner.

I enjoyed the lecture, and the wines were delicious as well. Jeb Dunnuck, was the moderator, and he really gave us extra insight on the St. Joseph area of France and the wines that are crafted from the region. After a taste, I was sold, so delicious, and vibrant. The minerals of the area are in the background notes of the wine too.

I met one celebrity wine maker. I had never heard of him until that day, and just made it a goal to have a photo taken with him.

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He wasn’t thrilled to have his photo taken with me. Geez, I didn’t ask him for his autograph. Whatever, I got a photo with him. It was a fun challenge.

These were the stand outs for the weekend. The 2010 was my absolute favorite. So smooth, and had such a long decadent finish. Chateau St. Nabor, Cotes Du Rhone, is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, and Cinsault.  Raspberries, and blackberries immediately hit the nose, and the palate is clean and so damn refreshing. I was so bewitched by this Rose.

At the end of the evening of the 2nd day, I met a couple from the area. I so enjoyed their conversation and shared wines and food. I even ate a cricket. IMG_0767

It was crunchy, and super spicy. Not really sure I will ever have another one, but at least I did it once.

 

bounty, Collections and Obsessions, country, Cucina, farming, food, Fountain of Youth, Happiness Project, organic, Terreni D' Oro Tuesday

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.

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

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.

Collections and Obsessions, country, Design, farming, Happiness Project, Photography, Saturday Special

Nearly Complete

“Miracles come in moments. Be ready and willing.” Wayne Dyer

I am still busy with loads of paperwork and finishing touches on the “little house” at Terreni D’ Oro Estate Farm.

Now, I just need to double check the status of internet, and make sure I get Direct TV to set up their systems, and I am all set to have guests for the rest of the summer. I am pretty excited to see people having fun, and we can give them some of our luscious goat milk soap that we make here on the farm. IMG_7433

They have so much later, and they are so creamy. We milk the goats, and we utilize it to make soap and or body butter.

Here is our newest baby goat with her mom (Jasmine). We haven’t named this little guy yet. Mufassa is one of our little black barn cats. Belle gets outside the gate every single day. We hear her crying as soon as we get home. Crazy little goat!

Here’s to the hope that everything comes together and next week is a most productive week.

Collections and Obsessions, Family Friday, Fountain of Youth, Galleria, Genaolgy, Happiness Project

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…