farming, Happiness Project, Throwback Thursday, vacation rental

Terreni D’ Oro

“You can’t have the family farm without the family.” Gilbert K. Charleston

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We have a little farm with a vacation rental on our property. We came down to San Luis Obispo to allow our children live a cleaner life in the country. Once we found the farm land that we were dreaming about we decided to work on building it the way we wanted. The children had ideas of what they wanted to accomplish and what they were willing to do, and of course what kind of animals would end up being a part of the farm. We all agreed that we would not have any pigs. As much as all of us love the taste of bacon and prosciutto, I just don’t like their evil wailing. EEK! Not a fan! I don’t mind some great pork shoulder wrapped in herbs and bacon though, or the taste of prosciutto and some cantaloupe on the side. Yum, I love the salty and sweet after taste of the cantaloupe. The two are really a great pairing…Oh crap, I really got a little sidetracked.

Anyway, I have a real fear of birds. Don’t get me wrong, I love the sound of a beautiful songbird, or the screech of red tail hawks, but the seagulls…NO! Maybe that is precisely where I obtained this fear. It really is not as bad these days in contrast to the early days of collecting our chickens.

So, being the ever concerned husband that he is, my husband asked me “How the hell are we going to have chickens when you’re afraid of birds.” I reassured him that I had a plan. What is the plan, Kimberly? He asked of me. Well, I believe that if I am exposed to them at an early age I won’t be as frightened of them. I told him, and he replied with “Seems plausible.”

We purchased all the materials that the books told us to buy. We got stainless steel feeding troughs, warming lamps, and small feeding tubes and water tubes. We also purchased the wood shavings that don’t contain any pesticides or chemicals. We ordered chicken houses from Amish builders, so when the chicks got older they would have a little home. We were all set for purchasing our chickens.

Have you seen how damn cute chicks are? Well, we were super weak! Every time we would visit a hatchery we would buy more chicks. I would come home with 6, and then my husband would come home with 10. This went on until we ended up with 100 chickens. All the chickens grew up to be healthy and happy. They would run around all 42 acres of the farm. I wasn’t crazy about having poo on the front porch or the back porch, but I really did love seeing them run. It’s pretty funny that they look like tyrannosaurs rex in tiny size. Then, the dances that the roosters perform. The Bantam roosters were the best little dancers. They would hold one wing stretched out, and go around in a circle. Then, they would outstretch the other wing and move in the other direction. They would even do a step forward, and two steps back dance, it was really elegant. As I would watch them I would image our ancestors may have learned some of the dances from the chickens. It’s not too far fetched…more than likely we learned from observation…termites had great structures underground that kept themselves cool, even in hot places. The pulse and heart beat of our mother was there precursor for percussion instruments. The song birds were inspirational in learning to whistle, and make calls. I could just watch them all day. They’re so clever and hysterical.

Each one of our chickens had a name. Some of my fondest ones were “Vanilla Ice”. He was an all black rooster with white crown feathers. We had another rooster that was a really slow walker, and so many of the hens seems to love him. His feathers were an iridescent black. The plumage on his chest were all white feathers. We named him “Godfather”. We had another rooster that was all black and super shiny, he had an almost creepy vibe to him, so his name was “Slick”. We had a hen that was very popular and she had such a pretty “coo”, that we named her “Beyonce”.  “Goldie” was our only golden colored silky. “Pierre” was another rooster that was a little “mad”. He seemed to have an attitude about anyone that crossed the sidewalk in the front yard in a manner that disturbed him.

Once we were going to football games every Friday the coyotes and foxes seem to know that it was their turn to observe the chickens. We would often get home late, and just walk over to each one of the many chicken homes and shut the door. We would get up in the morning and unlock the door and notice to our surprise and bewilderment that there seemed to be fewer chickens. Each week that went by, more and more chickens were missing. The coyotes were getting a little bolder, maybe they had the mentality of “hey, they got a lot chickens, we can help take a few off their hands.” Well, they did just that. I wasn’t Super Pissed until we had to go back to buying our own eggs. I mean really, what kind of country people are we if we can’t even supply ourselves with our own eggs?

We got down to one little hen. “Dovie”, she was super small, and always hung out pretty close to the house. We didn’t collect her eggs because they were so tiny. We usually just gave them to the cats. She also would eat breakfast and dinner with the cats from the same bowl, and the cats never minded about eating with her, instead of eating her. I accidentally shut her in the stall with the goats, and it didn’t end well for “Dovie”.

After learning that the coyotes and foxes can do their own reconnaissance, we decided to wait to have more chickens when we had fencing around the chicken houses. At the present time we have a few chickens. We don’t have a full 100 again, that will have to wait a while, but we do have fresh eggs and that makes me happy. The dogs are even treated with an omelet every morning, so it’s in their best interest to make sure we don’t have any coyotes doing any probes on the farm.

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.

Fountain of Youth, Happiness Project, Photography, Therapy Thursday, Think Positive Thursday, Throwback Thursday, Thursday Thoughts

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

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, 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.

bounty, country, Cucina, farming, food, Fountain of Youth, Galleria, Happiness Project, Morelli Family Sunday, Museum Monday

Everyday Art

“I like to convey the idea that art is important in everyday life.” Georgia O’ Keeffe

Since the day I had our children, I have tried to live my life as though every aspect of every moment is a gift. When we linger long enough to appreciate a moment in time, it can become a work of art.

Just yesterday, I spent most of the day reading, and spending parts of the day with everyone. It was fabulous! It was also very restful, I didn’t even look at my email. Remember when email was fun? Now, it is work, and I really wanted and needed a day to disengage with the rest of the world.

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My daughter made me perfect eggs, biscuits, and bacon. I love my eggs with plenty of pepper, and the biscuits pipping hot from the oven. The eggs were over medium with no hint of the whites of the eggs runny. Coffee was hot, with one sugar, and just enough milk for a hint of color. If it is black, that’s fine too, but I prefer a hint of cream.

My husband wen to the hardware store to buy me some flowers. I do enjoy flowers, but they are not necessary. I appreciated that he took the time to go and buy them for me. IMG_0813

I enjoyed a cup of tea, while I read my books in the family room. Oh, it was so delightful! IMG_0814

While I spent most of my day reading and visiting chatting. My husband washed my car. I hate washing cars, but love it when my car is beautiful and clean. He even took the time to blow it dry with the leaf blower. IMG_0815

When it came around to dinner time, we had a couple of wines. With our appetizer, we had IMG_0820

A crisp clean wine with hints of lemon zest, and green apple. Just enough acidity to have you longing for more. Delicious! IMG_0821

To accompany our dinner we had Four Brix 2015 Grenache Rose”. It paired very well with our pork lion wrapped in bacon, and rolled in herbs and delicate spices, spring veggies, and Milanese risotto, and croissants.

Citrus blossoms on the nose, clean and refreshing, medium on the acidity, with a delicate finish. One glass was not enough.

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My Mothers Day was yet another day that was so delightful from the moment I woke, to when I retired for the evening. My children and loving husband gave me a perfect day!

country, farming, food, Galleria, Happiness Project, organic, San Luis Obispo Sites, Wine Wednesday, Winery

Thomas Hill Organics

We have a wonderful restaurant here in Paso, Thomas Hill Organics. I was recently invited to a private pairing. Wines from four different wineries were paired with food that the chef made. Each one of us also had the opportunity to talk to the journalist that were visiting the area. The other wineries had their wine makers there, and I was the only one that was an owner. Everyone was so engaging and it was an excellent atmosphere for the journalist and all of us. The seating arrangement was intimate, and the exchange wasn’t just about us, but about the pairing of the food. How food changes the taste of the wine, and how all the different aspects of the dish change the taste of the wine. I was the first one there, so here is what the seating arrangement looked like before everyone got there…

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Our first course was paired with an Albarino. It truly is a seafood lover wine. IMG_0304.jpg

Salmon, jalapeno peppers, olive, tomatoes, and wafer slice of watermelon. It was so delicious!

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This was paired with our Zinfandel. This is a prime cut of grass fed beef, topped with a clove of garlic. Polenta is the side dish for this course. I usually don’t eat beef, but I was surprised how well it paired with the Zin.

Design, Fountain of Youth, Fruit, Galleria, Happiness Project, Wine Wednesday, Winery

Out and About

“Branding is the process of connecting good strategy with good creativity” Marty Neumeier

One of the biggest aspects of branding is making sure that people are aware that you exist. This has been an issue for a long time, but we are working hard to change all that by getting out there, and engaging with people that enjoy wine.

Recently, I was at our 2nd annual charity dinner. All of us on the Pleasant Valley Wine Trail, host a dinner at Hartley Farms. We hired Trumpet Vine Catering, and we were very pleased with their food. We pair the foods with the wine, and sell tickets for people to join us “Under the Estella Sky”. We then gave our money to the Pleasant Valley School, so they could have computer equipment. Here are some photos of our shenanigans after the party…

 

Then, I was off to Petaluma for a Polo Match, and pouring wine…

 

Pouring wine in Pismo…

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Pouring wine in Fresno for Wine and Wishes…IMG_0283.jpg

This next month, is full of pouring at more events, and meeting more people. We love being out there and engaging with an audience that enjoys wines!

 

Fountain of Youth, Happiness Project, Wine Wednesday, Winery

San Jose Jazz Festival

“Jazz does not belong to one race or culture, but is a gift that America has given the world.” Ahmad Alaadeen

Just a few weeks ago I attended the San Jose Jazz Festival, and it rocked! I was pouring wine in the “Blues” section, and other were pouring our wine in the VIP section. Here is my booth…

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I was just so excited to be a part of the festival, and the city was just buzzing with energy. Since I was a vendor, I got to go behind the scenes, you could feel the city waking up…

This was the longest amount of time that I had ever spent in San Jose, and I loved it. Additionally, I visited the San Jose Museum of Art, St. Joseph Basilica, and did some people watching at a cafe.

One of the most exciting aspects of the whole trip was going to the Mayor’s Brunch, and he even thanked us at the brunch. A view from the rooftop at Scott’s Seafood, and the crowd coming in that day.

We donated 25 cases to San Jose Jazz Festival, and all the pours that were sold went to the festival, so we were happy to help.

 

bounty, Collections and Obsessions, country, farming, Fountain of Youth, Galleria, Happiness Project, Photography, Terreni D' Oro Tuesday

Baby Goats

“Every mans can tell how many goats or sheep he possesses, but not how many friends.” Marcus Tullius Cicero

The babies are staying in the breezeway until they are bigger. If I put them in the pasture, they can wiggle under the gate. We don’t want that to happen.