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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.

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Goat Photo Bombs

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…

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Paul Youngman

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.

The other bike Paul painted for me is red.IMG_1917