Saturday, October 24, 2009

Harvest 2009

A feeling of familiarity washed over me this year at harvest time. Now in our fifth harvest, everyone knows the rhythm and routine of the activities. The guys are in the vineyard first as I rise early to brew coffee and wake the kids. We all head out through a layer of early morning fog to greet the tractor and bins just starting to be filled with fruit. The kids join in with the picking crew and I start my routine of dumping bins. I check on all the workers, find the fullest picking bin, and exchange it for an empty so the crew can keep picking without interruption. This also provides my love with an even flow of fruit to sort and check. Moving through the vineyard, carefully gathering and switching full bins for empties, one by one I lift and dump the fruit.

This year my son’s friend and my niece joined in the fun. My niece tried out all the various jobs, but settled on working the large bins with my love for quality control. My daughter, son and his friend stayed on picking duty, and I continued my workout of dumping the little harvesting bins into the big ones. Our good friend and vineyard photographer captured our harvest through photos which is always appreciated and The local press came to film. My parents joined in as the harvest was finishing up.

I am thankful for another harvest and for the people who make it happen. Our harvest team encompasses an age range of 10 to 94. Being goal oriented, I love when all the fruit is delivered and there is a sense of completion to the growing season, but of course the work is never really done. Next week we will remove the netting and start to put the vineyard to bed for the winter.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Wedding Bells

Last July I traveled to Texas to attend a niece's wedding. This niece was the flower girl in my own ceremony in 1991. I traveled by air with my daughter and parents in tow. Many from my big family made the trip. I have two siblings who live in Texas so we stayed with my sister. My brother, the father of the bride, had his hands full getting ready for the wedding.

We had 16 people staying in a five bedroom house and we used every inch of the floor plan! My daughter and I camped in the front living room with more female kins folk. It was wonderful to be with both of my sisters and all our girls (the sistercousins).

We were having fun shopping, doing nails and generally staying up way to late. We had several fashion shows trying to determine what to wear and what not to wear to the wedding.

The low point = 16 sleep deprived people in one house with a 4 cup coffee pot!

The high point = Watching my 94 year old father dance with my 10 year old daughter, (these two danced the most of any one that night.. the oldest and the youngest.)
Reflecting back on my own wedding 18 years ago. Witnessing my flower girl now a bride, make one of the biggest commitments in life.
My hope for her... that she will enjoy the journey of building a life together with her love as I have with mine.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Check Out Those Turtles!

On a trip south to meet some friends at the beach, we took a break at a favorite park in Santa Barbara. We were surprised to find so many turtles ...

My children who love to count things, counted 80 on one bank alone. I think there were hundreds in the whole pond. It reminded us of the turtle we found in our own pond.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

"Don't forget the plastic bags!"

Being a California girl, I love the beach. When we decided to move to the country and plant a vineyard, I was more than pleased to find a vineyard location not too far from the coast. I faithfully take my kids to the beach every summer. Unlike Southern California where I was raised, the summers on the central coast provide very cold water temps. The importance of wet suits for my kids was a reality I learned early on. The problem is getting wet suits on and off caused an enormous scene on the beach. I would struggle every summer getting my kids into the wetsuits. We provided endless entertainment for onlookers as I would pull, prod, peel and push trying to get my kids in their suits.

Finally frustrated with this this routine, I googled solutions for the problem. We stumbled onto the plastic bag solution. You place a standard plastic grocery bag on the child's foot and put their foot into the wetsuit, once the foot is in you slide the plastic bag out and off. Repeat this step for each foot and hand. Miraculously with the child's foot in the bag it glides easily through the wet suit.
Let a plastic bag give you a helping hand!

Now as we head out for the beach my children are usually yelling, "do you have the plastic bags?", "Mom get the plastic bags!".

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Mystery of the Missing Frying Pan

A story from last summer's heat wave...
Each night for the past week I kept looking for my medium size frying pan.

I have been looking every where.
I checked with my mother, I scoured the cupboards, I started to believe I was loosing my mind. Where could it be?

Several nights I would end up cooking one item in the large frying pan then transferring the food, followed by washing the pan and cooking the next item in the same pan.

Fast forward to Friday night, I finally get around to asking my two guys about it. They quickly respond " oh yeah .. it's outside by the truck on the lid of the trashcan." My son continues "I was doing an experiment to see if I could cook an egg in the pan on the hood of the truck in the high heat and it cooked most of the way!"

Mystery solved and I am relieved I am not loosing my mind, at least not this week. Why both family members of the male persuasion thought it was perfectly acceptable to leave the pan outside by the garbage is beyond me.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Artist Artist, how does your garden grow?

My son the artist made the decision in April to grow a garden. I take on a lot of activities on the property, but gardening is not one of them. I don't do much outside unless it is in the vineyard. He took the initiative, worked the dirt, found the pots, and planted the seeds. He even decorated with some extra stone and mulch scavenged from dad's piles.

The garden is doing very well and he faithfully waters it every day!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


A fashion themed birthday bash for my bookworm's tenth birthday!
Nine guests + the birthday girl makes ten. Fun outside with the sunflower house and the swing set.
A Fashion Photo Shoot.
We hung a sheet as a backdrop and used fans and lighting for the before and after photos.
Lots of props.... beads, gloves, fans and make up.

A chocolate fountain rounded out the fun.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

My own version of Design on a Dime

Last weekend, I felt as if I was the star in my own design on a dime special.

My Bookworm is turning ten and we are redoing her room for her birthday.

I unloaded the contents of my daughters room into the hallway and got ready for my very talented friend to come over and paint.

Meanwhile the phone rings and this same friend was at a special antique show that had come to town. She encouraged me to come check out a vanity she thought would work in the room. Our plan was to ditch the dresser, put more clothes in her closet, and refinish an old armoire. My love and I both wanted to add a vanity to the furniture, but hadn't found one yet.

My friend's find was awesome, so I bargained a little and got a very good price and purchased it. We ran to her house, got her truck, loaded it up and headed home. I went in to town for dinner and paint supplies. While in town, I dashed in Ross to look for a small seat, but found a black wire dress form instead. After a little stewing and some phone calls for advice, I went back and bought it. I had already purchased the black wire Eiffel Tower. Still more to do, but the room is well on it's way.

Now the rest of the house doesn't look so hot. Of course I have done no laundry and very few dishes. My son is running out of clean clothes and the piles are piling up. I will get caught up somehow, after the flurry of creativity dies down.

Paint 24.99... Wire Mannequin 34.99.....Antique Vanity...125.00... Eiffel Tower 19.99

The look on my daughter's face...... priceless.