11 years in California

Today marks our 11th year since moving to California. We arrived on the auspicious date of 03/03/03.

We had driven over from Sanibel Island, Florida where we had been living.   Little Harold, our parrot does not like his travel cage so after days of being in the car, he was very happy to not have to hold on tight all the time, and be able to sit on top of his travel cage, instead of inside.  But sadly, his big cage wasn't there yet - as it had yet to arrive with all our furniture.

That first night, we planned on sleeping on the window seats.  However, as soon as we arrived, one of our neighbors called round and offered that we stay with them the night. They had never met us before, didn't know anything about us, yet still offered us their home. We knew right there and then that we were going to enjoy our home in Glen Ellen.  We actually ended up on the window seats as I'd had it in mind as part of our little adventure and it meant we would also be there with Harold!

11 years on and we still love the place.  It was just a few months later that we named it Birdland for all the birds that visit and live here with us.   The photos here are just a snapshot of our Birdland this morning - wonderful hooded mergansers in the pond.

……...and not forgetting Harold who is very chatty today.  Probably still happy to be out of his travel cage!!!

Yeah for Glen Ellen and Calfornia and all the birds at Birdland!


Children's bedroom decorations

When we were in England last month, my mum and I (plus a few other helpers for leaves) decorated the children's bedroom in our house with wonderful decals that I had bought from and artist on Dawanda.

They were fabulous and easy to apply. It did take some time as the trees were large - but worth the effort - don't you think?

Now the children can count the leaves, and birds, and squirrels, and acorns.... and feel like they are sleeping in the trees.

Hopefully they'll feel tickety-boo going to bed in their nature room.  It was fun to do and I'm so pleased with how it looks.  Have you ever used decals? (yes, they are removable but not reusable).

Feed the birds

It's noisy round here at  the moment.  Little chirps from hungry baby birds.  You can hear them from all over the house, they are so noisy.

Poor parents must be tired out! Its a lot of work to feed 5 hungry mouths every day!

They are up in the rafters on our back porch - making plenty of mess too! Guess when they leave the nest, it'll be a big clean up time!

Goldenberry Raw Chocolate

My friend came over yesterday to make some raw chocolate. She decided on goldenberries with pink peppercorns. There was a nice tartness to the berries with the piquancy of the pink peppercorns.

She also chose a pretty white flower to decorate one side of the chocolate. It is made from a sheet of cacao butter in the design of the flower.  When you spread the melted chocolate to the sheet it melts into the cacao butter design and as it hardens, the design stays on the chocolate.

Doesn't it look pretty.  Perfect for spring.

I made some more lemon chocolate for this weekend - with birds as a transfer. More of that later.  And if you look carefully at the bottom corner of this photo below, you will see a trial corner of an unusual flavor I want to include in my spice class next week, for food as medicine.  It's the little black dots....Any guesses what it is?  It goes well with chocolate, surprisingly!


The birds are coming!

I've just been watching the bluebirds flying around...they always nest in our vineyard in one of our birdhouses and we love seeing their family develop.  But not all the birds here are quite as sensible. Yesterday I saw the house finches checking out unsuitable ledges around our porch. They always try and build nests there, putting twig after twig on them, but they always fall off or are blown off!

Poor Snoopy seems to be having a few issues with his bluebirds and their new nest: