Collections and Obsessions, country, Design, farming, food, Fountain of Youth, Galleria, Happiness Project, Museum Monday, orchard, organic

Nun Playing A Violin

Although this is a print, it is an antique print. The original was a painting from the Italian Renaissance. The painter and subject are unknown. The face of the nun appears very young. Which is not a surprise, since families often sent a daughter to the convent. Often, the families just couldn’t afford a dowery for more than one girl, and sometimes they couldn’t afford one. A young woman would go to the convent ready to serve the church. Gardening, cleaning, praying, helping the poor. Mother Superior was in charge of the fate of the young lady.

This print reminds me of an educated lady, grieving for her family. Maybe it is an evening of a full moon where the light hits the courtyard just right, and the echo of her violin playing brings tears to the eyes of the other young ladies that have come to the convent. Young ladies that miss their families, and their old way of life.

Of course, there were young ladies that came to the convent and had a better life after they were surrounded by other young ladies. There would have been young ladies that would be able to eat good food once they were in the convent. I was once told that city poor was much different than country poor. If you were poor and lived in the city it was a little tougher to obtain fresh food. If you were poor in the country one could glean from neighboring farmers, there were eggs from chickens, and one could grow some of their own food.

Looking at old images really makes me grateful to live here and now. I am so thankful, and appreciate our ancestors, each and everyone of them. The lives they had were not easy! The choices they had to make were so different, and so far removed from the world we live in today.

Fruit, Happiness Project, San Luis Sunday, Winery

Mystic Hills Vineyard

I met Judy Cox (co-owner), as she was in between doing the many other jobs that she has to do. As many people know, being a boutique winery owner requires much versatility. I just happened to catch her at the right time. She is such a warm person, and so sweet! She had the table full of displays…

She was ready for my arrival. Honestly, their winery location is perfect for their history. The rolling hills in the background of the Oscar that Joel Cox won for “Unforgiven”, an old fashion Cowboy movie starring Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman.

Joel is a film editor, then in 2008, he and his wife pursued their dream of having a vineyard. They started off with 14 acres of land in San Miguel, California.

Shortly thereafter, they planted 9 of the 14 acres with Red Bordeaux grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot.  They then met their winemaker, Keith Roberts, while planting the vines.  He has such passion for wine and growing grapes it is astounding, and they connected immediately.  He has had his hand in the winegrowing and winemaking process for 39 years and when he agreed to help them. They knew their dreams become reality!  They feel very blessed with the right soil and weather for a Bordeaux wine, and, since Cabernet Sauvignon is Joel’s favorite, they couldn’t be more excited.

In 2013 they purchased a second piece of property, nine acres, just a very short drive around the bend from our original land.  They already have ideas about what grapes to plant and are thinking about making a white Bordeaux blend.

They recently won Winery of the Year for Monterey County. The 2013 Rosé was awarded a Silver at The 2015 Rosé Competition at SIMI Winery in Napa. Mystic Hills Vineyard’s 2011 Unforgiven red blend was awarded a Gold Medal, while the 2011 Sequel red blend and 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon both received Silver Medals.

Mystic Hills in located in San Miguel, California. At this time, they are in the process of developing a tasting room facility. For a private tasting with the wine makers, please call (805) 610-1099 or email


bounty, Collections and Obsessions, country, Cucina, Design, farming, food, Fountain of Youth, Galleria, Happiness Project, orchard, organic, Photography, Uncategorized, Wine Wednesday, Workout Wednesday

Gift Shop

IMG_7947The week I got back from South Carolina I was really busy. We had so many items arrive for the gift shop, prom weekend, and snickdoddle was leaving the farm. Plus, I am finishing a couple of renovation projects. So, not much time left in the day to write.

Here are some of the cool items we now carry at the gift shop of the winery. I was even testing how everything would fit into a basket. Alle-Pia salami, if you haven’t had this salami, it’s out of this world delicious. It also has not nitrates. I have probably met the pigs that became this salami.

The bread sticks are the ones that we offer in the tasting room for people that are tasting wine. They have a savory rosemary essence that just marries the wine so well. I added a Swell bottle since having water is always helpful.


Our beautiful baskets we offer…


The one on the far left, is hand painted, the platinum and rose gold are part of the metallic collection, purple is in the middle, blue marble in the front with the kelly green.


Some of our newest coasters…


Olive utensils, aprons and magnets too.


farming, food, Happiness Project, organic, Photography, Uncategorized, Winery


Since it’s getting close to spring, I am inundated with spring chores. Three momma goats are about to give birth any day now. One baby goat (Jasmine), is about to be weaned off the bottle. I’ve been invited to a “Home Show” to pour wine, and meet people.  Lots of fence work to do, and taxes. I shall return soon!!! In the mean time here is a photo of the Rosemary outside the winery. IMG_8052

country, farming, food, Happiness Project, organic, Terreni D' Oro Tuesday

Sad News

Last week as we were finishing up all our farm chores for the fall, my friend Martha and I went to visit the bee hives. We don’t suit up until we are close to the hives. We got a couple of extra supers (extra  boxes that go on top of the hive) in the back of the Kubota. We talked as we went out to the hives, and once we got there, we saw there was not much activity. We didn’t even have to light the smoker or don our bee suits. We walked over and took off the lid to find that the bees were dead. All the bees in the hive were just a pile of bodies. dead bees We were optimistic about the last hive, thinking it may have some live bees in the hive. We opened it to more bodies, the only bees that were in the hive were robber bees. We clean the bee boxes, and then left the bee boxes open for the robber bees to obtain as much honey that was left there. It is a heartbreaking scene for sure. We are not sure if it was starvation, or if it was pesticides. There was so much mustard growing last year, but this year the whole area was just very dry.

We will just wait to see if we get the promised rain, and if we do, we will have more hives. Sometimes, farm life is not fun.

bounty, Design, Fruit, Happiness Project, Museum Monday

Jeanne Illenye (Exuberance)

When I was younger, I dreamed of being like the Medici family. Buying spectacular art, and helping the artists that I purchased from in any way I could. Having a blog has allowed me to do what I have dreamed of doing.

I have commissioned many paintings from Jeanne, but the one that is the most special is the one here. It has the mixture of everything I love about a still life, little insects, that are representative of life continuing and renewing itself. Little drops of water for the iridescent and fragility of life and the dependency of those little droplets for every living thing.


There are books in the painting, as a reminder how important learning is at any age. Severs porcelain vase that are rare and amazing. Lemons and fruits that are from California. The peonies are reminders of my home state, Indiana. Where we always had Peonies growing in our yard. We would spend hours watching the ants work on the peonies, like they knew the flowers would not be open for very long. One month, which may arguably be the most important month in Indianapolis, May, race month.  Jeanne Illenye got everything I ask for in the painting. Now, it hangs in my dining room as a reminder of beauty and fleeting moments.

If you are interested in the work of Jeanne Illenye, here is her website.

bounty, country, farming, food, Fruit, Happiness Project, orchard, organic, pies, sweets, Therapy Thursday, trees

New Jobs

Throughout the years I have been though many jobs. Most of which, I really enjoyed. Being a lifeguard, camp counselor, teaching, curatorial, and property management. I really never dreamed of taking a liking to managing property. I found aspects of it that were the most enjoyable. I love the renovation, meeting new people and having happy tenants. I have lived in an apartment, and remember how much I loathed the plastic countertops, plastic floor, and fluffy carpet. When I am finished renovating an apartment it is something I would live in too.

Farming is something that I do now, and never dreamed of having it as a career, but here I am with several animals, an orchard, and bees. I really enjoy it! It is a thrill to help the baby animals come into the world, collect the fruit, take care of the bees. It feels great to help nurture the area where we live.

Now, we have purchased a winery. I am a novice, but we have retained the staff. We feel as though they are already a part of their family. It is a good feeling, and now, we begin a new chapter of our lives. SMC

San Luis Sunday

Terreni D’ Oro

We have a 40 acre farm with goats, miniature donkeys, chickens, ducks, African geese, bees, and red wigglers. We also have 70+ trees in our orchard. Oh, and we have three dogs, two Cane Corsi, and one Yorkie.


IMG_6618   The Godfather                                                          IMG_6621 Skittles, little bantam rooster. IMG_4876 Gucci is relaxing. IMG_6641 The sunset on the farm.IMG_6707Ellie is the brown miniature donkey, and Hannah is the black one. IMG_6710 The goats are Willie Nelson, Charlie Daniels, Misty, Pinkie, Cutie ,and Starbright.

Family Friday

Adventures of Our Ancestors

FootstepsWhen I am traveling from one destination to another, I often think of all those people that were here before us. No matter who you are, your ancestors had it tough. The traveling, the labor, everyday life.

Traveling used to be by foot for most, and only the lucky and/or wealthy were able to utilize donkeys, horses, and or camels. People used to travel by foot 30 miles per day…that is pretty amazing! On those travels that had to contend with animals that could attack. Figuring out what they were going to eat, or if they were going to find anything to eat. They had to carry water for themselves and those that were on the caravan. There was the possibility of dying from a simple cut. Sure, we also could die from a simple cut, but we usually have soap at our disposal. Our ancestors saw so much death, brothers and sisters that never grew up because of simple infections, fevers, childbirth.

Finding shelter every night while traveling. Can you imagine how hard it was for the small children that were walking with no shoes? The mothers that had to comfort their children while they didn’t even know if they were going to make it to their destination, but offering hope to the children. The moms that lost children year after year. I am sure magic thinking, and religion helped them make it day after day. “Just one more day”, must have been a constant mantra.

There are people in all of our linages that have made strides that we couldn’t even fathom. I believe that it is my responsibility to make the best life I can for myself and my family because of all that my ancestors have done. None of them left money, but they left something more valuable…life. Just living their life, and passing on their DNA has allowed me to be here. I want to find as many stories about as many of them as I can. Each of us must add to the story of our people. We make the world a more interesting place because of all the adventures of our ancestors, and our own adventures.