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Ode to My Husband

“For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul.” Judy Garland

As we approach 20 years of marriage I want to tell you all how wonderful my husband is…First, I can’t believe it has been almost 20 years. We met on Yahoo, while I was working in the Museum and he worked at the Lab. We chatted in a chat room often, and ironically enough we basically were doing what young people do now, typing to each other everyday…kind of recapping our day to each other. We then moved on to emailing, and finally started talking on the phone. By the time we were talking on the phone, I was living in San Francisco. We finally met at the clipper ships, and each of us had a gift for each other. I had a wizard for him, since his name online was “Merlin” (the wizard in Camelot). My online name was Contessa Grigia, which just mean Countess Gray. He purchased a giant black teddy bear that was in a giant red gift bag.

We met at 10am, because we wanted to make sure we would get the most out of our day, and just in case we didn’t like each other, we wouldn’t waste our day. We had a great time, we not only laughed, but we talked, about everything and anything. We even went to the grocery store and made spaghetti together. I never had so much fun on my first date!

We met in person in the month of March, and we were married in September. We were married at my church in San Francisco, and I moved to Oakland. We always loved taking long country rides in the Toyota. Sometimes we were quiet during the ride, and sometimes we would not stop talking there was never a point when we forced each other to talk or be quiet, we just let it happen. We rode our bikes all over Berkeley, and took long walks through the Oakland hills. We got our geek on when we created websites together, and we even had web rings, which really geeky people will remember.  We won all kinds of awards for our websites too. We purchased codes that we had on our website, available for people. We worked on 3D puzzles together that would take up our whole dining room table.  The whole time we would go in and out of talking and being quiet, just concentrating.

Since his parents lived right across the street we would go to their house every Sunday for dinner. We would all watch “Funny Videos”, and when 9PM would roll around we would go home, and the perfume of faux orange would be hang in the air. To this day the smell of that flower reminds me of walking home from across the street. We had so many wonderful dinners and conversations at that old house.

We had our first child, Sergio. His name was the one that Roberto always longed for, and Sergio was the name of the nemesis of Cesarina when she worked with the Ferrari family. He was the meaner kid that always gave Cesarina a hard time. After she waxed the floor, he slide through the fresh wax and screwed up the whole hallway. She had to start all over again. Roberto and I had a two reference books that we called “owners manuals”, when something was questionable we would ask “Where is the owners manual?” We would take our giant stroller down to College Avenue and collect beanie babies for Sergio. We went a little crazy with that whole collection. I mean really, it’s almost embarrassing. It was just so much fun at the time.

Roberto lost his father, and it was the first time he ever lost someone so close to him. I had to make the phone call to him to come home from work. It was a tough time for him and his mother, but they handled it was dignity and grace.

Roberto and I renovated our house in anticipation for our second child, we hired an architect, and interviewed several construction people. We finally got all the permits and finalized our decisions for the house, and then I was too pregnant for renovation. We had to wait until Sabrina was a little older. We decided it would have been too much dust for a little baby. Finally, it came time to start the house, and it was a HUGE deal. Not only were we building on, but also digging out the basement to make it larger. We were going from 1100 to 3500 square feet. Everyday, we had to clean up with the kids, and get ready for the next day. It was exhausting for both of us. Roberto was the finisher for the house. He built all the crown molding in the house. He had the tool made, and then he milled each and every piece of molding that went into the house. He cut every sheet of hand painted paper for the ceiling, and even fired me when I couldn’t hold still while holding the paper. He replaced me with a cardboard box on top of a ladder. LOL! True story!

Those country drives were marriage savers, and Roberto would encourage me to go to the movies with my girlfriends. He would stop at antique stores that were on our way to obscure places. We would take our chances, and take our time. He would be outside sometime pushing the stroller, and I would go in the stores.

We have had tough times too, just like everyone else. Cesarina was never easy to get along with, and would often try to start problems between the two of us. She got cancer, and we took care of her. Then we had my dad come live with us for 10 months, and he was an instigator too. I mean with parents, reconstruction, and everything else…we are married for life!

Marriage is hard work, it’s compromise when you want your own way. It is understanding when the other needs your compassion. Everyday, he kissed me before we say “good night”, every morning for the last 20 years we kiss before someone leaves. Even when we have been pissed off with each other, we always end our evening with a kiss. It was part of our contract that we had with each other before we ever got married. Part of our contract was never ever say “I will divorce you.” Neither of us have ever said the word to each other. Part of our agreement was Never say the word unless we are really going to end our marriage.

My husband is the hardest working man I have ever known. Willing to do whatever it takes to get things done. It may be loud at times, but after he it’s off his chest he doesn’t bring it up again. We never hold our past against each other either. What has happened, has happened, we can’t change it, why linger over something that can’t be changed? It’s been a wonderful 20 years, and I hope we have another 20 years together. A destination winery, with all of our other dreams unfolding as well. We have one child that is in college, and one is a senior in high school. Our children are wonderful human beings, and I am ever so grateful that we found each other and created such loving children.

Thank you Roberto for making my life so much better with you being a part of it! I love you, and am so gad we stated “talking” to each other so long ago! We’ve been through so much…2 children, 2 renovations, 6 dogs, 25 goats, 100 chickens, 27 ducks, 3 miniature donkeys, 2 cows, 30 scooters, 3 trains,  7 apartment complexes, 5 websites, 100’s of pieces of art, and one giant ass move! Plus, all our new adventures and a destination winery.

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Olive Oil Pancakes

Not only do we have our Sunday dinners together, but we also enjoy our Sunday breakfast. Anyone that has been to my house knows that I use olive oil for cooking, and that is no different with my pancakes.

 

 

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old fashion bowl

What are you going to need?

2 cups of all purpose flour                        1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

1/2 teaspoon of salt                                       2 large eggs

1 1/2 cup of milk                                         3 tablespoons of Olive oil

Mix all your dry ingredients first, and then add the wet ones. Get as many as the lumps out with the whisk as possible.

While you are mixing the wet ingredients, you may want to turn on your stove top so the skillet gets hot before adding your butter or your olive oil to the skillet.

Use a ladle or a bog spoon to scoop some batter to add to your hot and now oiled or buttered skillet. Depending on the size of your skillet or griddle you can do many or a few, but you will want to flip once tiny bubbles appear on your pancakes.

Once you have them on the plate you or your guests can decide if they want butter or jam on their pancakes. We use hartley farms jams, not only are they our neighbor, but a friend that makes awesome jam!

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Come and Go

“Every oak started out as a couple of nuts who stood their ground” Henry David Thoreau

It’s always sad for us when we loose a tree. One of our oak trees that stood beside the house had to be cut down, and sawed to pieces. The ground squirrels made too many homes under the tree, and she became weak. She became so weak that one of her limbs just came crashing down on the sidewalk. Thank God, no one was around the house at the time. I came home to find the limb was just dead inside. We had someone come out to take a look at her, and tell us if she had a chance of survival.

The damage had already been done the tree was dead all the way though to the trunk. The best thing we could do is cut her down, and saw her to pieces. We did just that, and now the logs are still sitting on the farm.

I want to rent a chipper, put everything we can in there, and utilize the chips in the chicken houses. The chickens can use it as fluff material, then our old tree will become compost, eventually ending up fertilizing something on the farm…making her life come full circle, giving life to others organisms on the farm. IMG_9625

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Pruning Time

The olive trees need maintenance, just like everything else. This is the time of the year we have to prune all those trees. Their silvery leaves that are billowing in the wind need some trimming. Sometimes, it is a little difficult to find people to do the running since this is also the season to prune for the vines. The climate in this are is perfect for Mediterranean food and faire. It is warm and dry during the day in the summer, and then up to 50 degrees cooler in the evening. Our overall temperatures are very close to southern France. When the averages are compared with the cool nights, our area is a little cooler.

Now, we have had so much rain, and it will impact the flavors of the olives and the grapes. The water from all the rain hasn’t yet soaked into the earth, it’s like a sponge that can’t pick up any more water. The water is just running off, and not being absorbed. This week, we are going to have warm, sunny days, which will allow the some drying before more rains come back to our area. No one is complaining about all the rain, since we really need it to completely recover from our four years of drought. I am so excited to taste the differences in the fruits this year! I’m sure they are ripe with possibilities!

So, what does our olive grove look like now? Here is a photo before the trimming of our Italian variety olive trees.

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Cow Nest

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…img_9201

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Hidden Hills

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.

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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.

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Honey Healing

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.