Posts Tagged 'pinot noir'

Phase II of Being a Buyer

Front of Town House - Bessie isn't in the garage because all of my furniture is!

Front of Town House – Bessie isn’t in the garage because all of my furniture is!

The town home closed one day early – June 3.  You would think that I would immediately announce on this blog and revel in the giddiness of being a homeowner once again.  No instead I had a panic attack!  You think I am joking but I really did.  I did my walk through (that is when you go through the property before close of escrow to make sure that everything was as you remembered it when you wrote the offer) while the tenant was still in tenancy. It looked just like it did before – lots of furniture and stuff.  When I went

Water Central in my Kitchen

Water Central in my Kitchen

in after close of escrow – which means that it is now mine – there was the interesting thing sticking out of the kitchen floor.  What in the world is it? Most people said “oh, you have radiant floor heating!”  But I knew that I didn’t.  What seemed like a lifetime later (it was about 2 days), I got a plumber out who explained to me that this was the  manifold for all the water in my home.  There was no “moving” it if I wanted water.  I fretted – I called the listing agent and said that I was going to get  a bid to reroute the water supply as I planned to put my refrigerator where it is located – I had my panic attack.  A couple of discussions later with the benefit of pinot noir, I came to my senses and decided that I would build a cabinet around it to display my dishes and move the refrigerator the 6 inches that is needed to avoid the plumbing.  I so appreciate what my clients go through when they find something that should have been disclosed.  I need to call the listing agent and let her know that I have come to my senses.

Toolbox for the single female homeowner

Toolbox for the single female homeowner

My agent did not give me a closing gift (yes, that was me and I am getting new flooring!) but Gail brought over champagne, a home made pizza and flowers.  What a great friend she is!   Then a client (can a call her a client when she has never been in contract?) gave me a tool box with everything one needs to deal with a new home and a bouquet of roses.  I was so touched by the thought and will use it regularly.  So I do not feel deprived at all.

Living Room and Stairwell Before Updating

Living Room and Stairwell Before Updating

Last Wednesday the floors in the downstairs were torn out in preparation for cork floors to be installed.  Rob from Naturlich in Sebastopol says “why didn’t I see that?” when he saw the pipes coming out of the floor.  “Because they were hidden,” I cry.  I was still in my panic mode.  With the help of pinot noir, I am now quite sanguine on the matter.  You can take that however you wish.  Thursday all of my heavy furniture was moved.  It was a long day but at the end of it, I have my bedroom completely functional.  This is very easy as it is exactly the same dimensions and  orientation as my bedroom on Joy Road.  The rest of the furniture is in the garage.    The pots and plants that I intend to keep from Joy Road are in the back.  It is a very small yard – the width of the town home and not too deep.  I may have brought too many things.  I will work that out.

Backyard After a Day's Work

Backyard After a Day’s Work

Believe it or not – I worked Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  That is real work that pays the bills not work on the move.  Monday was the first day of painting.  only the downstairs and the upstairs hallway are getting a facelift.  Bedrooms and upstairs baths are just going to have to wait for another time.  Today is Thursday and I now have painted walls and cork flooring.  The living room is red, the stairwell is beige and the kitchen is robin egg blue.  The Benjamin Moore colors are Spanish Red, Shaker Beige and Tranquil Blue for those of you who care about these things.  There are still things to be done.  My TV armoire did not make it up the stairs.  Not sure what I am going to do there.  I signed up for Comcast internet and then forgot to get an ethernet cable when I was at Joy Road last night.

Yes, I am living between two places.  My bed is in Sebatopol but my TV, Internet and kitchen is still at Joy Road.  Last night I was on the blow up bed in my old bedroom.  Tonight I am in Sebastopol using my Verizon hotspot and getting a good night’s sleep.  I planted six roses today and my back is complaining.  My goal is to be settled by June 24.  I am a positive thinker.  Whether I am totally settled or not, I am inviting all those who have helped me move to celebrate that evening.  Did I mention that I am easy walking to Fiesta Market, Mombo’s Pizza and Sebastopol Hardware?

Living Room and Stairwell Tonight

Living Room and Stairwell Tonight

Thanksgiving in Sonoma County

Autumn Morning in West Sonoma County

Autumn is definitely here when the mornings are cold – even frosty – and the days are only brisk enough to encourage a hardy walk in the afternoon.   I love to snuggle in the covers knowing that I will have wonderful temperatures for doing fall garden cleanup.  This year I am planting a draught tolerant garden in place of the water hogging lawn in the front so a lot of the cleanup is just not happening.  Yesterday was perfect for walking 20 acres of undeveloped land in hopes of finding the perfect building site for clients.  Is there a time of year that I do not love Sonoma County?

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  The preparations are enough to know that something special is going on but the duration is limited to a couple of days at most.   Over the years we have celebrated Thanksgiving by hosting an extended family and friends gathering (often including those people with whom we worked that did not have local family) to intimate family gatherings of 4 to 6.  A few years ago it was only going to be the two of us and we did not know how to deal with that.  Solution – friends invited us to their traditional celebration.  It was great fun with meeting new people, helping in someone else’s kitchen and being introduced to “sock” golf.  It was so much fun that we have gone every year since.  This year our son, daughter-in-law and new granddaughter were included in the festivities which made the day as close to perfect as possible.

Practice Range for Sock Golf

“So, What is sock golf?”, you ask.  Sock Golf is a take off on golf where instead of a ball and club you have a sock with the toe filled with sand/dirt/rocks.  The goal is to get the sock into the coffee cans associated with a particular course.  Most holes are par 3 and they all seem to have a tree or shed or fence as an obstacle.  There is a technique to flinging the sock and, sometimes, it goes behind you or only a few feet forward.  There are penalties for losing your sock and landing in the flower beds.  If you hit a turkey, you are allowed to take away a stroke just as long as you do not hit a grapevine.  If a player is over 80, they get a two stroke handicap which comes in very handy.  The team with the lowest “best sock” score is awarded a prize after dinner.

Resting and Eating after Sock Golf

Once nine holes of sock golf are in the bag, the food starts coming out.  With about as many cooks are eaters, the kitchen is usually full.  My specialty to bring is the cranberry sauce which has become an expected condiment.  My recipe calls for dried apricots soaked in sherry and then cooked with the fresh cranberries, honey and sugar.  It is always a hit where ever I take it.  Tom took some of his cheeses so he had a number of great conversations about fermentation.  This group is largely drawn from Palo Alto, previous home of our hosts as well as us, so there is a broad spectrum of techical folks who want to get into the nitty gritty of what is happening scientifically.

The Spread for Warming Up to Eating - including Cheeses by Tom

Dinner was a group activity with turkeys, dressing, gravy, brussel sprouts, sweet potato salad, cabbage, green beans and mashed potatoes.  Great Russian River pinot and lively conversations topped off the meal – a good time was had by all.  We are so fortunate – even in these times of depressed housing costs and high unemployment – to live in a country, county and community that protects our surroundings and nutures our souls.  I wish everyone a heart full of thanksgiving.  My your table be laden with health and your bodies full of love.  Namaste.

One of the Two Thanksgiving Tables

The 2009 Crush Has Begun

Vitex agnus-castus or Chaste Tree -  The tree has wonderful purple spiked flower clusters and grow on new wood.  This one needs to be pruned back some more but my green bin was full and it is too woody to break down in my home compost piles.  In a few weeks, I will trim back the spent flowers and prepare it for winter and a wonderful 2010 summer bloom.

Vitex agnus-castus or Chaste Tree - The tree has wonderful purple spiked flower clusters that grow on new wood. This one needs to be pruned back some more but my green bin was full and it is too woody to break down in my home compost piles. The books state that vitex should be treated like a buddleia or crape myrtle to get maximum bloom. I think it needs a lot more cutting back than either of those species. In a few weeks, I will trim back the spent flowers and prepare it for winter and a wonderful 2010 summer bloom.

While I was chopping back an out-of-control vitex and playing with my compost pile yesterday, Tom and his Pool Ridge Winery gang were starting the 2009 crush.  It is amazing that we are already at that time of year.  Everywhere I turn, I see clusters of grapes waiting to be plucked from their vines and hauled to a winery.  People who are often traveling around the globe can be found at home in Sonoma County from late August to mid-October because they have to be here for harvest and the subsequent crush.  In fact, that was about all that was talked about at the birthday party we attended yesterday afternoon at the edge of a young chardonnay vineyard.  Well, all except the baby pictures that I had to take along.

Tom and his friends were making wine with sauvignon blanc grapes that come in earlier than most of the other varieties of the area.   The winegrowers at the party were discussing Brix of 19 to 22 with hopes that the weather remains mild and that we do not see rain or high temperatures for the next month.  What is a Brix?  Brix is a measure of the sugar in the grapes.  Sugar content translates to alcohol in the wine.  If the grape has a Brix of 20 at crush, the wine will have an 11% alcohol when ready to drink.  There has been a trend over the last decade to harvest reds at Brix of 25 to 27.5.  That means that they stay on the vine longer and are exposed to the whims of Mother Nature at this often unstable time of the year.  That puts every grower at risk which is not ever a positive prospect.

Picking at Tzabaco Rancho Vineyards in Dry Creek Valley

Picking at Tzabaco Rancho Vineyards in Dry Creek Valley

The wine grape market was another topic.  Tom is always looking for great grapes to make his wines.  Yesterday he was up at Dry Creek Valley at Tzabaco Rancho Vineyards.  In past years, he has had a difficult time finding grapes of the quality he wants because they are all sold to commercial wineries who buy large quantities.  While there are a few grape growers who hold back part of their crop to sell to the Tom Shulas of the world, most do not have the luxury to support the amateur winemaker.  This year is very different.  The economy has impacted the sale of high end wines and wineries are cutting back on grape purchases.   Some are asking to delay payment and others are just not taking grapes that they would have in the past.

Every day I read something that says this economy is turning around.  I experience the surge of activity in the real estate market.  I remain positive about the future.  All that said, until farmers can sell their crops and workers have jobs, the recession goes on.  With the abundance of grapes available for Pool Ridge Winery, I can just say “Let them drink wine!”

Wine Tasting in Dry Creek Valley

Tasting at Sunce Winery

Tasting at Sunce Winery

Fran at Porter Creek

Fran at Porter Creek

Today was a fun day of taking friends from Hawaii, Texas and Louisiana around our favorite wineries.  We covered the Russian River and Dry Creek appellations which are only minutes from our home in Forestville.  We focused on small, local wineries that give fabulous personal attention to tasters.  The day started with a visit to Sunce Winery.  The staff is fabulous in the tasting room and once they discovered that we had serious wine groupies in our group they took us into their barrel room.  The tasting continued with full explanations until I pointed out that there were other places to go and we had spent over an hour at our first winery.  The second stop was Porter Creek Winery which gives a new definition to “small”.  The tasting room is a very small, old barn behind the vintage family home.  The next venue was Armida Winery with fabulous views and great wines.  There is a wonderful deck shaded by oak trees where we had a picnic lunch. 

After lunch we stopped in at one of the great winery experiences ever – Preston Winery.  Preston is known for their organic vegetables, bread oven and olives as well as Rhone style wines.  It is always a favorite.  From casual farmstyle to Italian elegance we traveled to Ferrari-Carano Winery.  Meticulously groomed gardens and bronze statuary lead to one of  the best wine gift shops in Dry Creek.  Our final stop was at Moshin Winery with the welcoming hummingbird.  Moshin is known for pinot noir and they have a few other great offerings.

We finished the day with dinner at Zazu on Guerneville Road and Willowside Road west of Santa Rosa.  A fabulous time was had by all.


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