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

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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


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