Each evening, as I watch the sun set on another day at the beach, I wish that I had captured it just a little more so I could mark it in my memory bank. Tonight I grabbed my camera and walked the mile or so down the beach road to a point where the birds gather. I wait......and watch.......as they settle in for the night. The sun sets on the horizon, the winds are gentle and the quiet is just what my soul always needs. The ocean meets the wetlands. The day meets the eve. The shorebirds find their nest for the night. Memory bank full.
Mt. Whitney, rising to 14,497' is the tallest point in the contiguous United States. Not one to be able to climb to its top, at least at this point in my life, I can sure park myself at its base and marvel at its beauty. The drive in was easy, the roads passable and well maintained, we set up camp at the Tuttle Creek Campground outside Lone Pine. Quiet and peaceful there were only two other camps set up in the massive park. Hiking was over large boulders and down massive washes, and the sounds of the creek lulled us to sleep at night. The stars filled the night sky as we listened to the coyotes off in the distance. A beautiful start to a southern trip.
graffiti as art???? art as graffiti???
creek side that we parked along
hope to return some day in the Spring and see the wildflowers in all their glory
So, when the universe lines up just perfectly....we get this.
life is pretty grand...... isn't it?
driving home from Susanville last week, this is what guided us, the clouds.....out the trucks front windshield they changed by the minute and each direction was a different type. Once he gets driving, there is not a lot of stopping with Bob behind the wheel.....these were taken with the Iphone rather than with the new Nikon5200 (gonna change that mentality in the years to come.....yep, guarantee you..... I'm gonna do it)
Last Thursday, my last day as owner of The Flower Tree, was one of those life changing events. So where does this "always a garden girl" choose to go on her first week as a "part timer". To a nursery of course. Bob and I packed upthe apartmentand off we went. My good friend Melissa who owns Every Bloomin' Thing in Susanville has been my mentor, partner in travels and very dear friend for the last 12 years. She had just returned from a three week trip to Italy, so over a fabulous dinner and some amazing vino, we viewed the many photos and a couple videos from her journey.
Right now I want to talk fungi though. Dinner tales. Mel has been growing this giant oyster mushroom for awhile now. She has already taken many cuttings off of it, and there are new starts on it now as well. I think this little kit may be on my Christmas list this year.
some people bring back souvenirs of Murano glass or silk fabrics from Italy~ Mel.......cheese, olive oil and wine. We substituted this Pecorino, a cheese made from sheep's milk, for the Taleggio. The entire outside was crusted with peppercorns and it was layered throughout. Melted up beautifully in with the fungi....yummmmmm!!
Mel, a certified foodie, always comfortable in the kitchen
long walk before dinner just as the sun was setting, it was a beautiful way to remind me that I will have plenty of adventures to fill my time
First full day of being semi re-started, Bob and I take advantage of me having a Saturday free and we decide to head out of town seven miles or so to the farm land where Churchill Vineyard resides. Today is the first day they are sampling their new brandy to the public. Available only since yesterday, November 1st, we already have an order in with our distributor so we can carry it at Red Zinnia.
FIVE long years in the making, it is now ready to pour.
Ashley takes us on a tour of the original fields of grapes that were planted more as an experiment than a commercial venture. I have fond memories of the days back in 2001 when Charlie would come out to The Flower Tree and we would spend an hour or so talking about the huge undertaking that he was creating. He was so passionate about the future of the crops and how much less water it would take than alfalfa, the main crop here then..and now. Churchill County Grape Growers, a non-profit, was formed and we sold their excess plants for them at the nursery the first couple of years.
In the midst of our tour of the vineyard we hear that a flatbed truck is in the process of unloading the massive new parts needed to start their next endeavor, SPIRITS. Whiskey, Gin and Vodka are in the plans and we made our way around all the packing material and watched as Colby, the epitome of "A Kid in a Candy Store" tore through the plastic to unravel the beautiful shiny copper parts underneath. From my understanding, this machinery is from the same company that supplies to Jack Daniels, and the truck driver told us a story of delivering to them several years ago. It was an amazing time to be there for the arrival of this new part of Churchill Vineyards expansion, and all of us at Red Zinnia look forward to pouring their latest.
From that excitement it was on to the tour of the foundation for the new building that will not only house the newest productions of spirits, but also the visitor center. Rising high into the sky the front window will showcase the bright shiny copper "bubbles" of liquid. And we love how Ashley has plans for a shady awning and "lazy day" rockers on the expansive front porch. It is obvious that her background is in marketing. She is not only skilled in presenting the winery at its finest, but she also knows how to make it so comfortable, we don't want to leave.
We listened as Colby described the cycle ......they plant the corn, harvest it, grind it, distill it, extract the alcohol, THEN IT GOES TO THE DAIRY right next door to feed the cows, (apparently the feed is so special - ethanol extracted - that the dairy has had to have shipped in from Iowa) then it comes back as manure to FEED THE FIELDS FOR SPRING. The excitement as Colby describes this full circle can only happen here, on a farm, and not in the city. Makes this nursery girl very happy!
one of Colby's next projects....VODKA, this one will be infused with cantaloupe from Workman Farms here in Fallon and onions ????? from Yerington.
time to sample the brandy....warm and wonderful, look for it on our shelves next week!
Colby and Ashley.....join us on December 11th at Red Zinnia when they will be pouring their wines, and brandy, during our "Evening of Wine".