Posts Tagged 'Sebastopol'

Barrel Tasting on the Russian River

Barrels

Barrel tasting is a tradition in many wine areas and a great deal of fun in the Russian River area.  No – you do not taste the barrel but you taste the wine that  is still in  the barrel!  This is a great time to try new vintages before they are bottled and you can get them at reduced prices which are referred to as “futures”.

Check inThis year I passed on the daytime tasting to go to a private barrel tasting at Dutton Estates which is at the corner of Hwy 116 and Green Valley Road – between Sebastopol and Forestville. This was for wine club members only and is much less crowded.  Plus we were able to taste from the barrel and do a vertical tasting  of the last couple of years.  Yes, each vintage is different but to experience the maturation of a wine with time in the bottle is always fun.

This is not a food pairing or themed event.  IT IS ALL ABOUT THE WINE!  And it is happening all over again next weekend, March 14 and 15.  Check out the website and see if your favorite winery is participating and learn about some new ones. http://www.wineroad.com/events/barrel_tasting/11

BarrelTasting

Tasting from the Barrel

 

Pouring from the Bottle

Pouring from the Bottle

4th of July in the Vineyard

sunflowers20140704_193247Remember those garden parties that were featured in Bon Appetit (I think I may be aging myself with this memory!) with the relaxed hosts, lively guests and gorgeous tables of food, flowers and tableware.  All the food was prepared by the hostess (or host), the flowers were from the garden and the landscape was picture perfect.  I always aspired to recreate those photo shoots but somehow the backyard events in San Jose (or where ever I was at the time) fell a bit short of the ideal.

20140704_193222To be completely honest, times have changed and I no longer have these fantasies of being the perfect hostess with the most talent but the 4th of July celebration that I attended was as close to perfect as possible with the modern day twists.  “And what would those twists be?”, you may ask.  The first twist was that the flowers were not from our hosts garden but that of the gardener extraordinaire amongst us, Jackie Reuling.  The food was a collection of dishes from all the attendees.  The host and hostess, Richard Auger and Mary Radu, were wonderfully relaxed and the guests were lively (particularly when the sparklers came out!)

20140704_205909This delightful soiree was under the spreading tree among the pinot noir vines outside of Sebastopol.  I met some wonderful new friends, caught up with some old ones and felt like I was in a magazine story.

I hope that you had an equally delightful 4th of July celebration.

 

Artist Profile – Jann Aanestad

JannThere are some people who need an unusual name to be remembered but Jann (pronounced as Jan) Aanestad transcends the uniqueness of her moniker. She looks like the California girl and was born in San Rafael but she lived throughout the United States until she struck out on her own as a young coed at Stanford. Full of life and life experiences, Jann and her husband moved to Sebastopol 25 years ago from Clifton, Virginia where they had restored a condemned farmhouse and launched Jann into a career of interior decorating. The home was featured in Better Homes and Gardens magazine in 1988. The Aanestads enjoy the occasional recognition of their past home in a current advertisement or decorating book. The decoration is a testament to Jann’s inherent talent in color and composition that has carried over into her paintings.

This profile is about artists and I focus on the artist and their art. But Jann’s motivation of moving to Sebastopol because she had found relief from her symptoms of lupus from an acupuncturist who practices on Petaluma Avenue named David Walker is a compelling storyline. And one that I feel is worth discussing. Jann has been involved in many enterprises from a very early age. Her energy and vitality – along with exceptional intellect – catapulted her into startups ranging from high tech to antique dealer. But at one point she could hardly get out of bed and was eventually confined to a wheelchair due to the debilitating effects of lupus. Lupus is a disease that saps the energy from even those who seem to be tireless. Times of normalcy are unpredictably interrupted by flairups (the common lupus terminology) of fatigue and pain. This is a difficult condition that does not allow consistent activity or employment. The Aanestads relocated to Sonoma County because of the relatively mild weather that is advantageous and to be near treatment.

Vineyard by Jann Aanestad at Risk Press

Vineyard by Jann Aanestad at Risk Press

Jann remembers sketching portraits of students and staff during her early education as well as having paintings flung out the window because they were deemed worthless. She sketched tourists on the streets of New Orleans the summer after graduating from high school. She gave drawings to friends of her children that she produced while volunteering at Apple Blossom School. But when I asked when she became an artist, Jann answers “about 7 years ago.”cowboys

Seven years ago Jann began painting and that is what she does. In her tiny studio behind the family home on Blackney Road, Jann produces paintings of animals, buildings and still lifes. She is in preparation of her second showing at Risk Press Gallery in Sebastopol. The exhibit is CRITTERS and she is sharing the limelight with Nancy Winn, paper-mache artist. The exhibit started on June 29 and continues until July 28. Jann has benefited from the inputs of local painters and seasoned collectors and others have taken note. She has shown her work at Balletto Winery, Martin Ray Winery, Screamin’ Mimi’s, Corks at Russian River Vineyards, and currently at Stillwater Kitchen.

Nancy Winn's Chows on Display at Risk Press

Nancy Winn’s Chows on Display at Risk Press

Spring is Here – Or What Season is When?

Image

In my new home there is a very small garden.  You have seen pictures of my past garden – a half acre of roses, rhododendrons, daffodils, euphorbia, hollyhocks – oh, the list goes on.  I do miss my garden.  I would be lying if I said that I didn’t.  But for the last 30 years I have worked at having a garden with something in bloom at all times.  In Palo Alto this was not particularly hard as the winters were so mild that the rose hedge was in bloom constantly.  Moving to Forestville I learned about winter being a tough time to have something in bloom.  (I must admit that in graduate school I gardened in Boulder, Colorado and the only winter gardening was in the basement with heat lamps!)  But then I learned about hellebores.  For those who are not totally into horticulture, the opening picture is a hellebore.   The Lenten Rose is the hellebore – the rose that blooms in the winter.

rhodieLast June I transplanted plants from my interim garden on Joy Road.  Not the best time of the year to move plants and I wasn’t sure that they would all make it.  In November I bought a few plants to fill in the bare spaces.  The months of December and January were freezing – set many records and made me wish that I had a real heater. The weather this year has been so odd that I didn’t know what to expect when I stepped into my garden Camilliaon a warm February day.  I was certain that my hydrangea was dead.  Only because I was very busy, the crispy brown, leafless plant survived my ritualistic winter clearing of the garden.   But it has leaves bursting all over.  My rhododendron is plumping up and ready to pop.  The camellia is already dropping blossoms.

I am excited to see the roses leaf out.  The pansies are nodding their smiling faces.  The clematis has little bits of green showing up along the brittle tendrils.  Coral bells are blooming.  Ornamental strawberries are in full regalia.   I don’t know by Spring or Summer what will be in the garden but I am suspecting that it will be magnificent.   Today I noticed that my rose-blossom-shaped succulent by my front door is beginning to bloom.  It is wonderful to live in this wonderful place.

succulent

It Is All About Community

WWW signWhen I moved to Winding Wood Way, I expected that I would learn to live with neighbors and hear the sounds of human existence over the hoots of owls, growls of raccoon and wind in the redwoods.  I have been surprised at how quiet my new neighborhood is.  I see folks walking their dog or pulling out in their car but other than those activities, I hardly see anyone and seldom have the chance to meet.

So I was very excited to learn that a workday and potluck was planned for last Sunday.  The entrance to our little street was flanked by grass and with a group of frustrated gardeners in residence, this was not an acceptable situation.  The homeowner’s association had planned a perennial garden to spruce up along the sidewalk and the ground was prepared by the maintenance fellows.  At around 11 AM the group was gathered and the planting was underway.Planting2We were finished in no time.  I had planned to spend the whole day and decided that I should use this time to work in my own little back yard.  It is still a mess so you will not be seeing a picture of it as yet.  I planted a rose which generated a tub of topsoil that I have no idea where to dispose.  I then decided that it was time for the privet growing along the back fence to go.  Soon my yard was not only full of pots, plants and topsoil but the debris of a 10 foot privet!  By this time I was totally exhausted and a bit downtrodden.  How was I going to dispose of the mess I had just made?Picnic

Off I went to the picnic at the common area by the vegetable gardens.  I am going to have to sign up for one  of these gardens and hopefully next year I can grow eggplant and peppers and onions and zucchini.  There is no time for that until I get my own garden habitable.

I met neighbors whom I had never seen and shared a wonderful meal.  I shared that I had just generated a great deal of debris and did not have a green bin for disposal.  I was told of someone who had offered theirs for the communal workday but was not needed.  I drove home yesterday thinking about how I might need to go door to door until I found the person with the empty bin.

What a wonderful surprise when I got home and a green bin was in my driveway!  Community is a wonderful thing.

The Dog Days of 2013

suzanneDid you know where the term Dog Days comes from?  I had no idea until I heard it a few weeks ago in conversation and decided that I needed to know.  It turns out that the term was introduced before the Bible was written.   The Greeks and the Romans believed that the warm, sultry days were caused by the rising of Sirius, the DOG star, in the constellation of Canis Major (Big Dog).  They sacrificed a red dog to appease the star in hopes of avoiding many hot days.  I wonder if the dog was a Basenji?  Having spent about 15 years with a Besenji, Zephyr, I can imagine them being victim to this fate.  But that is another story all together.  t I loved Zephyr and mourned his death.  But he was a handful.  Historically, this time was July and August but I have remembered the sultry days in California to always be in September and often encompassing Labor Day.

knowltonpatio

We certainly experienced the warm and sultry days the first week of September.  And how better to embrace them than to have an evening enjoying the beautiful landscape and glorious foods of Sonoma County.   Russian River wines, local cheeses, Forestville bread, home grown vegetables and Bodega Bay salmon made up the menu. The temperature was perfect.  The setting was lovely.  The company was entertaining.  The sunset was inspiring.sunset

August 2013 is Fair Month

RamI love going to the Sonoma County Fair. This year’s Fair was focused on “Home Spun Fun”.  I love the emphasis on home and fun because that is what the fair is really about.  While it is mostly the same each year, the flower gardens, the pictures, the quilts and the animals are different.  My favorite is the roses.  But a close second is the Hall of Flowers with the gardens.  The theme this year is “Backyard Blossoms” and the flowers were magnificent.  The Men’s Garden Club out did themselves and took home the Best In Show trophy.  What a spectacular display of plants!  My favorite was the wall of succulents with a water feature made of quarter inch mesh screen.  Simple and inexpensive with a real impact.  I would love to have this in my backyard.     Succulent wallGail with arrangementThe rose show was once again dominated by my wonderful friends of Redwood Empire Rose Society.  Gail Lee brought home the Best in Show for her arrangement.   Each year the Rose Society has an information table during the rose displays to answer questions on roses and keep the displays watered.  We got one new member this year during the fair which is always a bonus.  I love this group of people.  Many blue ribbons were given out and the information table was well visited even though we were allocated space behind the jams, pies and sewing projects.

Apple PieSpeaking of pies, the Gravenstein Apple Fair was in Ragle Ranch Park this last weekend.   Visitors were greeted by the Patrick Amiot ram pictured above and the park was filled with artisans, chefs, antique apple machinery and bands.  It was the County Fair petite!  The one thing that the Apple Fair had that was not available at the county fair was homemade apple pie from the Community Church of Sebastopol.  I must admit that it was my lunch that day!

A benefit of my new home is that I can walk to Ragle Ranch Park and I do so about three times a week.  I took advantage of the proximity to go to the Apple Fair and avoided the parking struggles.  They do have parking within the park but it is $7 and the cars parked outside of the gates reached almost to my home.   I am loving living in Sebastopol.

Walker Apple Display at the Gravenstein Apple Fair

Walker Apple Display at the Gravenstein Apple Fair

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

Leaving a Legacy – A Bit at a Time

20130524_115031 (1024x768)9 days to go and I will be a homeowner.  The countdown is making it feel more real.  Or is it the house full of boxes and realizing that I cannot make pasta as the colander is packed?  I had the privilege the last couple of days to host my great friend, Barb Benda, who is packer extraordinaire.  The kitchen is mostly packed (except for those few things that I must have to eat this next week), the attic is emptied and items are sorted for what goes to charity, what is given to friends and what I might sell on Craig’s List.  I must admit that she is brutal about the decision making.  Out go my 60’s prom dresses – goodbye croquet set – bye-bye yarn from the 80’s.  As we were sorting, I would say, “that goes to The Legacy.”  Finally Barb asked me, “What is The Legacy?”

laceThe Legacy is a craft and gift shop that is totally supported by donations to the Sebastopol Area Senior Center.  Fabric is sold by the pound and everything is really priced low.  This shop is such a part of Sebastopol that we don’t realize that it doesn’t exist anywhere else. We filled up my car and set off for the adventure of the day.  Just as we were leaving, my daughter called, “Mom, can you go by The Legacy and get me some stretchy white fabric for my display at Occidental Center for the Arts?”  How convenient.  It is nice to say yes without any hesitation.  I left a full load of goodies that I have carried around for about 20 years and got something for Jen at an outrageous price of $1.09.  donations

The day turned out to be a nice respite from loading boxes. It was great fun having someone with me to run my errands.  In addition to visiting The Legacy, we traveled into Santa Rose to pick out paint colors at Benjamin Moore, deposit  money at the bank and check out Lumber Liquidators.

It is getting close to D-Day on my move.  I have had two flooring contractors out for bids on the living room/dining area/kitchen floor.  I want it to be one continuous material instead of being chopped up by carpet and two different tiles.  I am so ready to get back to my vibrant colored walls.  Painting bids are coming in.  And the kitchen needs a new counter top – I am thinking butcher block.  There are still many things that need to be done and decisions to be made.

At the end of  the day, Barb and I set down to relax.  She was so glad to have had the chance to spend a day learning about this area.  She loves the idea of The Legacy, marvels at the recycling opportunities that Sonoma County offers and delights with the sculptures that appear as we drive around the countryside.  We who live here take these things for granted.  We are all working on our legacy.  I am so happy to be a part of Sonoma County.

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Volunteering Takes Time

Selling Roses

One of the many blooms on display

One of the many blooms on display

The last two weeks I have been in the waiting period for my home purchase.  The loan is approved – the boxes are piling up – I am picking out colors.  Long escrows are just that – long.  But I would not be able to move if I had to do it today as I have spent the last two weeks doing my volunteering.  I have friends who volunteer at the hospital – organize town meetings- coach a softball team.  I have two organizations that are such a part of my life that I am always saying “yes”.  They are the Redwood Empire Rose Society and P.E.O. Chapter AJ.

20130511_120046 (1024x739)The Redwood Empire Rose Society is affiliated with the American Rose Society.  We meet monthly for either an informative program or a social gathering.  Most meetings involve roses and food.  The roses are the emphasis of the organization but we can’t seem to do anything without food to accompany it.  May 11 was our annual Rose Show and once again I took on the task of the Judges’ Luncheon.   I served 25 people a lunch of three salads and strawberry shortcake.  I used my favorite table linens and the

A Bouquet of Julia Child

A Bouquet of Julia Child

spread was inviting.  The luncheon had become known as the best Judges’ Luncheon in Northern California and it helps attract judges for our local rose show.  The judges travel from the South Bay, Nevada and Central Valley so we must make it worth their drive!  It was a beautiful day and we had beautiful roses.  That “we” is a bit incorrect as my roses had bloomed the week before and I had nothing to display.  The Rose Show is the first or second week of May each year at the Luther Burbank Art and Garden Center on Yulupa Avenue in Santa Rosa.  It is an event worth attending.

Stocking the Boutique

Stocking the Boutique

P.E.O. is a philanthropic educational organization.  What does that really mean?  We provide scholarships and loans to fund the higher education of women.  There are international, state and local funding mechanisms.  We do a lot of fundraising – but mainly we do it within our chapters.  My chapter is AJ in Sebastopol.  Last year we celebrated our 100th anniversary (you may remember the cars in the parade!)  Last week I was at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose working the 2013 State Convention.  The main money maker for the Conventions is the boutique and I was one of three co-chairs for this event.  Wow!  What a job!  We spent a year selecting and purchasing inventory and none of the three has any experience in retail.  After spending close to $17,000 and storing items, we had a four-day selling frenzy.   I don’t have the full left over inventory but it looks like we brought in about $35,ooo.  Not a bad profit for the unskilled.

Waiting for the Opening Ceremony

Waiting for the Opening Ceremony

A P.E.O. Convention is a whirlwind of fun, activities and presentations.  I only saw the inside of the boutique this year but I am going to be the delegate for Marin/Sonoma at the international convention in Dallas this September.  This should be a lot of fun.

I am back home and getting caught up on work and preparing for my upcoming move.  I received a bid for painting the downstairs and getting cork flooring.   I am ready to start settling in and I am 12 days away from closing.  This is going to be a busy summer.

Smiling after a long day of the Rose Show

Smiling after a long day of the Rose Show


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