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, farming, food, Fruit, orchard, sweets, farming, pies,organic, food, country,trees,bounty,, Happiness Project, orchard, San Luis Obispo Sites, Wine Wednesday, Winery

Tablas Creek Winery

…conservation of land and conservation of people frequently go hand in hand. Eleanor Roosevelt

I recently visited Tablas Creek Winery, where I met up with Jason Haas. He is a very gracious man, and he was very kind to take me on a tour of the grounds and discuss vines, soil health, compost, maps, and of course the wines.

I was super excited knowing that I was going to spend time with Jason, he is very articulate, and very knowledgeable about soils, microclimates that effect the vines, vines, soil, managing the soils, compost, and wine. I was lucky enough to hear him speak about Paso Robles and the climate sister of Rhone area of France. I wish he had a lecture series, I would attend each of them!

This was my first time visiting the winery. Once I was near the door I was greeted by water bottles that are on ice. The winery has fill up stations so no plastic bottles are brought on the grounds. IMG_0602

I must say I just loved the layout of the tasting room. A tasting area is set up right in the front a glass where everyone can see the giant barrels. The barrels are really beautiful. IMG_0621-2991670544-1563567627146.jpg

The selection of gifts they offer in the tasting room is nice too, because it is different. One thing that humorously caught my eye was a copy of “This is Paris”, which is a children’s book, and one that my children loved. We still have the book…I may have giggled out loud when I saw the book on the shelf.

After Jason and I met in the tasting room, we went outside for a walk in the vineyards. As we walked and talked, I took a few photographs of how lovely it is out there in the vineyard.

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During the winter they have sheep and llama that go through the vineyards and munch on the cover crops and kindly give back to the earth as they work/enjoy their day.

All the compost is collected in one area, and they utilize their own compost. IMG_0613

Really, the photo doesn’t do it justice. It really is a large pile. Tablas Creek has crops for all the employees. Their philosophy of doing right by the employees is fantastic. Even the employees that work the land are kept on throughout the year so that they always have job.

They don’t just grow grapes, they also grow olives, and a variety of flowers for the bees. Having other crops on the property not only help the animals, but the land itself. More bees, and more diversity in the other insects and animals are all aspects that contribute to a more sustainable “farm”. It’s a beautiful thing!

The wines are delectable! Here are the wines I tasted..

Patelin de Tablas 18 The strawberries and white blossoms keep you coming back for more “nose in the glass”. The aromas are captivating and uplighting…I could just smell this all day long! The acidity is crisp and has a velvety mouthfeel. This is a food friendly wine, and belongs in my summer picnic basket.

Esprit de Tablas 2016 Blended with Mourvèdre, Grenache, Syrah, and Counoise, the smell of rich earthiness, tabacco and leather with mineral notes. The fruit is luscious black fruit, cranberries, and some violets.

Esprit de Tables Blanc 2016 is a blend of Roussanne, Grenache Blanc and Picpoul. Herb de Provence is the best description of the aromas lofting out of the glass. The medium plus body has a little oily texture with some racy acidity. The flavor of apricots, apples and peaches will remind you home in the summer. 

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Get over to the winery and have a great time. It’s not only beautiful and has delicious wines to offer, but they are taking care of the land they occupy.

bounty, Collections and Obsessions, country, Cucina, farming, food, Fountain of Youth, Happiness Project, organic, Terreni D' Oro Tuesday

2nd Round of Chickens

“Studying cows, pigs and chickens can help an actor develop his character. There are a lot of things I learned from animals. One was that they couldn’t hiss or boo me.” James Dean

We have been country people for 5 years now. When we lived in the city we had lists of all the things we wanted to do once we lived in the county. One of our goals, was to have free range chickens. We went big too, we purchased beautiful chicken houses from the Amish. They are big, and they have room for the chickens to roost, two windows, big door, and a door to collect eggs.

We did everything the books told us to do. We raised them for the first three months in the garage. They had little waterer, and it was changed twice a day. The had a feeder that we filled twice a day, and they had a heating lamp. For the first few months the heating lamp was on all day and night to keep the little chicks warm. By the third month, we unplugged the heating lamp during the day, but turned it on in the evening.

After the third month we kept them in their new homes for two weeks, checking on the them, feeding them, and giving them water. Once their feathers were grown in, we allowed them to go outside their house. During the day, they would stay just outside the door, some of them didn’t even want to leave the house. For the first couple of weeks they would stay close to their house, and not go far from it.

As they grew, they became more bold. Since they were free range, they would go all over the place, but mostly like to be close to our house. Which created a disaster…poo everywhere on the porch. I spent so much time cleaning the front porch, and the back porch. Sometimes, we would even see the chickens way down the hill. This is 42 acres, and they have tiny legs. By evening, all of them would come back home, and get inside their homes.

Then, football season started. We would go to the football games with the kids. They were in high school, so they would hang out with their friends and my husband and I would go for romantic walks downtown holding hands. We would come home, and it was late…we would lock the chicken doors. In the morning we would let the chickens go free. Since we had 100 chickens, it was hard to tell that some were missing. It was only after a few games later we discovered…every time we go to a game, there are fewer chicken.

There was one fox that boldly came right by the house. He had the most beautiful red fur coat, and a black peak on his tail. He was super healthy looking, and just strutting right by the house. I thought to myself, honestly, if he came to the door, knocked and asked me for a chicken, I would give it to him. Anyway, a couple of times there were even coyotes that would stalk the chickens during the day.

We finally lost all of our chickens. They were captured by the foxes and coyotes. If we have raccoons near by, I have never seen one in our area. So, now we are starting all over again. We still have the houses. This time, we are building them a lovely fence to protect them from predators. The eggs that come from farm chickens are just so much better than grocery store eggs. I’m always a little embarrassed when I shamefully have to carry a dozen eggs to the check out. By July, I won’t have to carry eggs to the check out, because we will have our own eggs.

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In A Pinch…

“Anyone who gives you a cinnamon roll fresh out of the oven is a friend for life.” Daniel Handler

I was sitting down my husband having a hot cup of coffee, steam was still rising from the top of my mug that says “Greatest Mom”, and then I remembered…I told the kids I would make some fresh, hot, cinnamon rolls. Well, luckily, I purchased some Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls from the grocery store the other day.

I leaped out of my French Country chair with the woven sea grass, and took a few splinters in my rear for getting up so fast. I ran across the cold tile with my bare feet to the fridge. Ahhh, a life saver, in tube form…the cinnamon rolls, just needed to be popped open, and put in a cast iron skillet, ya know, for a home made look. LOL!

I pop them in the oven that is 400 degrees, and mix about 4 teaspoons of cinnamon to 4 teaspoons of “sugar in the raw”, and add that to the top. Not everyone in the family likes the frosting that comes with the Pillsbury tube. They came out of the oven perfectly fluffy, and invigorating the whole house with the smell of cinnamon. The look of them in the cast iron skillet is such a bonus.

Yes, the kids were happy, and so was my husband.

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!

 

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.

country, farming, Fountain of Youth, Galleria, Happiness Project, Terreni D' Oro Tuesday

Sage

“If the way of the sage is true, that we are all dreaming our world into being, then it has to apply not only to our private, personal universe but to the world at large.”

Alberto Villoldo

When I go out to feed the animals everyday the aroma of sage hangs in the air. It is that smell that lured us back every weekend to find the right property when we were on our search for the piece of property that would be our dream destination.

Honesty, there are those days that I want to just throw up my hands and surrender, but the smell of sage reminds me…”you knew this was going to be tough, so you got to just hang in there.”  Ironically, the sage plant is the only thing growing when all the other grass is dead. It is the thing that perceivers, and emits a fragrance that is intoxicating to me. It is my signal to keep moving forward, keep my head up, and everything will work out the way it is supposed to work.

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Anna and Mom

“Empowering women is key to building a future we want.”

Amartya Sen
Anna and I met several years ago, and many things have transpired since we first met. I remember the day we met like it was yesterday. A mutual friend of ours said “the two of you have so much in common, you two must meet.” She said the three of us would meet for lunch, so we all agreed to meet. Well, our mutual friend did not even show up, but we are glad she did not show. The two of us talked, and talked about our dreams, being women entrepreneurs, and our lives. We closed the place down, and they worked around us.
Over they years we have watched our children grow up, and she and I are like sisters we never had. Now, my dear friend and sister from another mother is living her dream of having her own shop  Anna and Mom, the coolest thing is when I went to see her shop, I saw her vision. The one that she talked about out loud at our first luncheon.
Already, her shop has more items for sale, than the first day that I got to view it. I love the way she recycled the toys her children played with when they were young, and all the items made by hand! It is a store that was built from her dreams.
Please, take the time to go to her shop online, or go see it in person. Women that help other women in their business make a stronger world. Let’s do this ladies…
Here are some photos from the first day I saw her store…

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Traveling, Pouring, and Having Fun

“We should come home from adventures, and perils, and discoveries every day with new experience and character.” Henry David Thoreau

 

One reason why I haven’t been able to keep up with my blog is because I haven’t been able to keep up with my own life.

Honestly, I need a vacation!

Recently, I have been gone just about every weekend. A few weekends past, Sunni and I went to Los Angles. OMG! So, in Los Angles double yellow lines are only suggestions to the people that reside in the area. If you are a visitor in the area of Los Angles make sure that you remember that it is like driving in the wild, wild, west. If you’re in the fast lane, you better being doing at least 70 MPH. AT LEAST…wink, wink.

When I am done working at a venue, I like to take a little side trip to learn something. This particular time, it was going to Mission San Juan Capistrano. Sunni and I rented the head sets, and were off on our adventure through the Mission. It was so beautiful and informative. Here are some photos of our adventure…

 

 

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

Shoes for a Day

I get that people think that owning a winery and having a farm is so romantic. It is also a lot of work, every single day…no holidays. The animals have to have food and water everyday, so no getting sick and just staying in bed. You have to get your ass up out of bed and feed and water everyone. So, when the kids go back to school, I go back to having several jobs everyday.

My day starts in my moccasins, and you may be able to see that I have hay inside my shoes. One thing I have learned about hay, it’s like sand in many ways, it ends up in areas that you wouldn’t expect. I don’t like to go barefoot, I never have. I put my moccasins on first thing in the morning. I have to have my coffee, read my paper on my iPad and discuss what is going to happen for the day with my husband. He usually leaves a little earlier than I do. I have the pleasure of taking care of all the animals.

Next up, my cowboy boots. When I first moved to the county, I was one of those people that said “I’m not going to wear cowboy boots and become some cliche.” Well, guess what? I do wear them, and they are really comfortable. I really mean it, they are comfortable enough to wear all day. In fact there have been days that I do wear them all day. They are great for gong through the tall grass, just in case there are some snakes. The boots are not going to stop a rattlesnake, but I would have a better chance of survival with these on instead of my other shoes. Plus, there are hills and the hay doesn’t easily get inside the boots, unlike my moccasins.

My Gucci loafers are the most comfortable shoes I own, and some days I have to stand all day long. Pouring wine at events or going to conferences these are my preferred shoes. I have pumps, but I have learned the hard way that wearing pumps at a winery is tiring. If you have to go to another winery, you may have to cross a huge area of all rocks and gravel or even dirt. I just play it safe now and wear some comfortable loafers.

When I get back home, I take off my loafers and get right back into my old moccasins. Ive had these things for years, and until they are worn out on the bottom, I have not plans to replace them.