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The Groves on 41

I met Jennifer when I first came down here to SLO county. She is one of the warmest most genuine people you will ever meet. Being around her, you just feel like you may be family. She and I have been telling each other how we were going to get together. In fact, we had to make plans a month in advance. We are business owners, and our days are filled with making our businesses stronger.

She and I finally got together. I went to the Groves on 41, and she showed me the property. The last time I was there, I was there for a party, and did not get a private tour. Jennifer took me around to the their vacation rental, wedding venue, and into the groves.

Being out in the groves was fun. It was super muddy that day, and she and I were talking as we were walking. She was educating me about olive trees, and things to look for in the grove. As she talked, and we walked, we also were picking off the fruit that was still on the trees. I felt as though I left with a whole new understanding about olive groves. We also agreed to carry their line in the tasting room.

Here are some of the photos from the day…

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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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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

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Cinquain Cellars

Beth and Dave Nagengast are the owners of Cinquain Cellars, which has some awesome wines. Cinquain Cellars is on the Pleasant Valley Wine Trail, and is open with an appointment. They are also open during our special weekend events that the trail offers.

This simple 5-line poem, called a Cinquain (pronounced sink-cane), embodies the spirit of Cinquain Cellars, from nurturing 10,000 vines on their estate vineyard, to crafting small lots of artisan wines for your pleasure and theirs. They like to think of their wine as bottled poetry and hope you will agree.

If you’re interested in knowing more, here you go…The owner and winemaker, David Nagengast, graduated from the Fresno State University Enology program in 1985 with the dream of someday having his own vineyard and winery. In 2000, the search for the perfect site culminated in the purchase of a small hillside property, overlooking Hog Canyon and the Estrella River basin from 1000-ft elevation, in the Northeast area of the Paso Robles Estrella Appellation. In 2002, the 14-acre vineyard was planted with 10,000 vines including nine different Bordeaux, Rhône, and Port varieties. In 2007, the construction of their simple 1200 square-foot winery was completed. And now, after 31 years of making wines professionally for a variety of small and medium sized wineries in Santa Cruz Mountains, Santa Clara County, and Oregon, the culmination of this dream is evident with the establishment of Nagengast Estate Vineyard, Cinquain Cellars and the availability of 1500 cases annually. Please, don’t be shy about making an appointment, they are happy to share their beautiful facility with you.

http://www.cinquaincellars.com/#contact

 

Here are some fun photos of the property…

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Sock Curator

Sheba, is our Cane Corso. img_9030

She loves socks. She comes upstairs in the middle of the night and steals at least one sock. Sometimes, she even steals one sock per family member. I guess, she doesn’t want one of us to feel left out of her pack. LOL! She is 9 years old, and will turn 10 on December 24th. Her sister passed away last spring of bone cancer. She still has her little buddy Gucci. Gucci, is her four pound side kick. We will take a look at Gucci next week.

 

Here are some of the socks I found around the house.

See, everyone in our family collects something. Sheba just has a thing for socks.

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Four Sisters Winery

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Located in the Paso Robles area of the Central Coast of California, the Four

Sisters Ranch has been growing grapes and producing world class, award winning,

wine for over 28 years.  Over 8 varieties of grapes are planted on over 430 acres.

The terrain is variable, from Limestone rich sandy-loom soil on hills adjacent to
the dry Estrella River bank to oak trees on hills overlooking a little and big “Grand Canyon”.
They more recently acquired their new winery and Tasting Room/Event Venue facility
where they also produce Limited Edition wines, and have room for large weddings
and celebrations. The New York Times has called their location the “best view of any
vineyard in the Central Coast” up on top of a hill with vistas of vineyards 360 degrees.
Tasting and Touring Magazine listed the Four Sisters Ranch in their 2016 Platinum Issue
as one of the 6 “Most Scenic” wineries in the Paso Robles area.  They take great pride in
being a friendly fun scenic Tasting Room with fine wines.

Four Sisters Ranch is owned and operated by a husband and wife team of two retired medical doctors: Dr. Michael Drucker and Dr. Serena Friedman. It is named after their four daughters; Sacheen, Elan, Toccara, and Sierra, who each contribute. Michael and Serena fell in love with Paso Robles in 1989, when they bought their first vineyard, and have now expanded to 433 planted acres! The first 16 years of Four Sisters Ranch involved intense, hands-on learning, experimenting, and getting down and dirty with the grapes, which were sold privately to world renowned wineries in the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Texas, Paso Robles, and beyond. Finally, in 2005, the first vintages of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah were released under the Four Sisters Ranch label – and the rest is history! They now have have an impressive portfolio of award-winning Paso Robles wines and are thrilled to share their pride and passion with wine enthusiasts in the U.S. and internationally! In 2015, Four Sisters Ranch Vineyards & Winery expanded to a gorgeous new tasting room, winery, lab, barrel room, and event center in the northern

Paso Robles AVA

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 They are passionate about the fine wines they produce from the unique microclimates and mineral rich soils of Paso Robles.The Central Coast terroir has a long growing season with warm days and cool nights that produces uniquely ripened fruit, translating into a balanced wine of world class exception. Enjoy their Rhone and Bordeaux varieties.  Many of the wines are characterized as fruit forward, long lingering, and sure to tantalize the palate. They recently added Sparkling wines, Albarino,red blends, Petite Sirah,Orange Muscat, and  desert Port Style wine to our Merlot, Malbec, 91 point Zinfandel and our Flagship wines:  Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.

They use special canopy management to allow just the right amount of sunlight and ocean-infused afternoon breeze to mingle with the fruit and allow it to to mature it to its full flavor potential. For the elegant 89 points Syrah you will taste a balanced, dry and subtle fruit palate of blackberry, boysenberry and plum. This delicious food friendly wine goes well with hearty foods like pasta, wild game, duck, and flavorful soft cheeses.

The award winning “River Cab,” grown on the banks of the dry Estrella River, has a bright raspberry and dry cranberry nose, with hints of dark cherry and currant. This wine is long on the palate with balanced tannins, and pairs well with lamb, steak, veal, pasta, rice, and spirited conversation.

Their youngest wine is a Grenache/Tempranillo blend, light and easy to drink.

The 2011 Zinfandel, rated 91 points by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, was aged in Hungarian Oak barrels to balance the cool 2011 vintage. The Petite Sirah is a bold new Limited Edition Wine nick-named “3 Sips Titanic” because it cannot be judged until “after the third sip, when the tannins sink into the back of the palate and tongue.

Their  Port style desert wine is 95% Cabernet and 5% Negrette, with a unique flavor but easy drinking.

The Crew & The Wine
Their new winemaker, Craig Reed, is working tirelessly to continue to expand the portfolio with new releases of carefully handcrafted, limited-release wines. They are focusing on estate-grown red blends and small-batch varietal wines, including varietals like

Grenache, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Zinfandel, Malbec, and Tempranillo. The Estate Director & Brand Manager, Shauna Burke, oversees our three wine brands: Four Sisters Ranch, Serena’s Vineyard, and Red Hat Vineyards.She is also a Certified Sommelier and chef who lends her expertise in food and wine pairing and global wine education.

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Our Dying Dog

December 24, 2007 Sadie and Sheba were born. In March of 2008, we made the trip to Northern California to pick up the two of them. We read so much material on Cane Corso. We talked on the phone several times, and emailed the breeder. We were looking for a dog that would be a family friendly dog, and one that would live at the ranch we had in escrow. (We didn’t get that one)

We thought, we would have everything all ready, the truck to haul things and two villa dogs. We used the truck to go pick up the dogs, and we brought our little dogs, a Maltese and Yorkie with us to meet the big dogs. We met the dogs, but just as the breeder told us, they needed time to adjust. We brought them home, and they were so great. We loved them so much. The kids played with them, and they slept in the same house for at least a month. They just didn’t want to sleep in the bigger houses we got them. We also didn’t have the heart to make them stay outside. At the time, we were living in Oakland. We would take them for a walk around the neighborhood, but anytime we were going to San Luis Obispo, we loaded them in the truck, in their crates and took them with us. The whole system was pretty elaborate!!

Sadie and Sheba were always with the family. The two dogs were opposites, and we would talk about what they imagined. They went to bed in their own room, at ten. We would make up stories about them…Sadie always looked like she had something on her mind, and we imagined she had her own blog, and would reedit the pages over and over. Sheba, is more carefree, and we would joke that she probably did not know how to type, but used a blue crayon to draw pictures.

IMG_8141

When we finally purchased our property the dogs transitioned from city to country dogs very well. Sadie and Sheba loved running around the 41 acres. It was like freedom they need imagined. When they would finally stop, Sadie looked like she had a smile on her face, which was different since she always had a grimace look naturally.

Earlier this year, Sadie was limping, and at first we were thinking that maybe she just sprained her leg running. About a week later she started lifting that leg up, and not using it at times. At night she was crying while she was trying to get comfortable. We decided we better take her to the vet. The vet told us that her leg was most likely cancer. The only way they could be 100% certain was to take her leg off, and have it biopsied.

He told us we had some tough decisions to make about her, especially since her quality of life would be an issue. We decided to give her the best life we could. She loved running, and for her to lose her leg at her age with the cancer growing would be unfair to her. She took morphine, and an anti-inflammatory. She still went outside, but had a hard time catching her breath after running. She was like a greyhound when she would run. I’ve never seen a big dog run as fast as she could.

A couple of weeks ago, she came inside and panting really hard. I turned on the over head fan, and she caught her breath. Last week, she was eating less, and not drinking as much water. My son took her outside, and when she came back inside, she could not catch her breath again. I got down on the floor, and started petting her. I asked my son to turn on the fan, and I opened the french door. She was lying there on the floor, and I could see in her eyes that she was worried, and more than usual. She walked into her room, and I followed her into her room. I was petting her, and told her…Don’t worry Sadie, we love you, and want you to let go if you feel this is your time”.  She came back into the family room, and she was very restless, just as humans that are dying. I went to wake up my husband and daughter to tell them to make sure they said good bye to Sadie.

Our whole family was gathered in the family room. Everyone petted her, and she went around and put her head on the shoulder of my daughter. She gave Sadie a big hug, and then she put her head in the lap of my husband. Sheba came over to sniff Sadie, and put her head on her for a minute, then moved away from her. Sadie went to the middle of the sofa, and turned her head away from us. My husband and I continued to pet her. Her heart stopped beating, and her four legs went up in the air at the same time. Her nerves were still allowing some breathes of air release from her body. My husband and I carried her to her room, wrapped up her body until we could give her a service the next morning.

Its been a little over a week that we had to say goodbye to Sadie, and Sheba is still healthy. I believe it did a world of good to have Sadie say goodbye on her own terms, and her sister knew what happened instead of having her just missing one day. Sadie was a blessing, and I am grateful for everyday we had with her! Here are some more photos of Sadie….IMG_0110

 

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Villa Dogs

 This is Sheba, one of three of our cane corsi. She is seven, and loves to play. She also loves to lounge around the house. We can’t trust her around the chickens. She hasn’t killed any chickens, but she will chase them.  
  

    

Saddie, she is more of a runner. When she gets out, she wants to run like a greyhound. Long walks to mailbox are her favorite. She also loves her room my husband created for the dogs under the staircase. In fact, if humans are watching a movie she is not enjoying…she goes to her room.

  

Sheba wanted her photo taken, but it didn’t take long for Sasha to photo bomb  her.

  

Here is the second time Sasha wanted to aggravate Sheba.

 

Sheba is mad.

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Chasing Coyotes

We have three Cane Corsi, which are Italian Mastiffs. One is a puppy, my husband had to have another puppy. We have two older ones that are sisters, they were very close, so we didn’t want to split them. 

When we lived in the city, they played in the backyard for hours at a time. They always lived in the house, and loved being around us as much as possible. We love being around them too. In fact, while we were looking for the ideal place in the country we would bring them with us. They would be secured in their crate in the back of the truck, we even had insulated warmers for the crates during the winter season. It was a pretty big undertaking carrying out each crate at 4 am, getting them in the truck, strapping them down, and then getting the dogs in the crates.

Recently, I was trying to save a little time…when I allowed the sisters outside in the morning. Usually, I allow the girls to run together at night. They run the perimeter of the 40 acres, and then come back in the house. However, that did not happen during that morning. There was a coyote down the hill. Coyotes, were stealing so many chickens. We had 95 chickens, but the coyotes had us down to 47. 

The girls saw the coyote, and took off after it. I searched the creek bank, I drove the Kabota looking for them, I drove the car looking for them, posted info online, called animal services, and finally bit the bullet, to tell my husband.

After everyone got home that evening, they helped look for the dogs too. We ate dinner, and called for them again. Tears were staining my shirt. It was nearing 9 PM, and a real depression was starting to set in deep in my soul. My children and I were out calling Saddie….Sheba! Then we thought we heard barking. We went inside to take a break. Just as we sat down Sheba came to the door. We checked her out, and she just wanted water. She went to the cool stone floor to cool off, and stop panting. Everyone gave her a big hug. 

We went back outside to call for Saddie. My son was convinced that her heard her. We got in the Kabota and went to where he swore he heard her. She was there, at the spot he heard her. She was stuck on the other side of the electric fence. My son was the brave one, he got the fence open enough to drag her through without getting hurt.

   
 

The coyotes have not stolen any more chickens since that day. Saddie and Sheba have not gone for any more moring “free range runs” since that day either. Whew, it was an emotional day for sure! Never, a dull moment on the farm!

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Never A Dull Moment

Our family has been living on our farm for about one year and a half. Everyday there is something happening, never a dull moment. Our chickens are free range chickens. They are antibiotic free, and run and play all day. Anyone that tells you that they only eat veggies or grain, feed them only veggies or grain. Chickens are like little prehistoric beings, they have so many vocal sounds. I imagine dinosaurs sounded the way the chickens do. The chickens run around and eat bugs, and I have even seen them go after song birds that try to drink their water.

The donkeys sometimes want to roam the whole 40 acres, but since there are gaps in the front I don’t want them to run all over the place. They are the protectors of the goats, so they need to be in the same coral as the goats. The donkeys will go after coyotes, and stomp them…so the dogs can’t be too close to the donkeys.

donkeysOn the days they do get out of the stall before I have the lead on them, I have to call their names and follow them all over until I catch them.

The goats are so adorable, and cause the least amount of problems. They do want to jump up on people so they can visit up close and personal.

Just the other day I was taking the dogs for their daily run. They run the whole perimeter of the 40 acre farm. Then they run back up to the house, or at least that is what they usually do. As they were coming back up the road, a coyote ran toward the creek bed. One of the dogs went after the coyote, and the other one looked back at me with a look…Mom, I gotta go with my sister. Off they went, I walked through the creek bed looking for them. Yelled their names, took the Kabota out looking for them. Took the car out to look for them. Yelled for them from the top of each hill.

Finally, after the 12 hours one of them arrives at the door. I made her some farm fresh eggs, and blew on each piece before I fed it to her. She was lying on her side as she ate each piece. The kids did not want to give up looking for the other dog. They would call her name, and they swore they heard her crying. It was really dark…we took the Kabota to the location where my son said he heard her crying. We went to the location, and there she was pacing back and forth. He lifted the barbed wire fence to allow her to come into our property.

This is day two of them being home. Since their escapade I have not heard any coyotes around, and the dogs have been napping most of the time. Like I said there is something happening everyday…never a dull moment.