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!

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Wednesday's harvest - plums and potatoes


We had a good harvest day today from the garden.


The plums have been ripe since we got back from England last week, so John picked a few more, as the birds outside are enjoying them too much.  I have to say however, that I'm not a great plum fan, so I'm going to make them into chia jam - leaving just a few fresh for John to enjoy.



But our exciting harvest of the day was our first potatoes!  Having been away for a month, we didn't really know what had gone on with the potatoes and how do you know when they are done etc, as we hadn't see flowers.  So we ventured carefully under the soil and look what we found!



What colorful beauties - and lots more where they came from. Red, white and blue...



Life definitely is good! I know I am going to have a baked blue potato for my dinner tonight! Roll on dinner time.

And just so he was not forgotten, little Harold got one of the carrots that was "culled" due to thinning of the carrot plants!  He seemed to enjoy it!

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Golden Raisins

I seem to have spent the last couple of days with my hands in sticky fruit juice! What with pulling each little seedless green grape off his stalk to dehydrate them to make golden raisins/sultanas, and with chopping the cherry tomatoes and apples, it's been sticky, sticky, sticky!


I'm delighted with the sultanas/golden raisins.  They don't look particularly golden - but they are! Sultanas/golden raisins are green grapes, and raisins are red grapes.  When you buy golden raisins, they are often a paler color because of the addition of sulphites, which of course I didn't add.

About half way dry
But pulling all the grapes off the stems was a little tedious! I tried dehydrating some of them in little bunches as I thought they would be useful decoratively on dishes..... Surprisingly, those in bunches seem to dry out quicker than individual grapes. I don't quite understand that as you'd think there would be more air flow around individual grapes?????

Little bunch of sultanas
After about 9 trays, I had had enough of de-stemming and juiced the rest.


The juice is so grapey!  No surprise really, but it tastes different than other grape juice - because it's a different grape varietal than is used commercially.  It's not too sweet...but it is bordering on the sweet side!  It came out lovely and clear however.


Happy grape successes! Now onto tomatoes and apples.....before the pears start ripening!
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Everything is tickety-boo

Here are the things that have happened this week that made me feel that life is tickety-boo!  Hope you had plenty too:

  • my parents are settling in well in their new home. They moved only a couple of weeks ago, and are already finding lots to do and meeting new people and their home is all sorted!
  • anticipation of my upcoming trip to see my sister, bro-in-law and nephews in Sanibel
  • trying new recipes - like cauliflower pizza! More on that later.
  • singing at a retreat from 9 - 3 on Saturday and loving it!
  • having the support of like minded people - particularly those in Camerata
  • a lovely luncheon at Kendall Jackson for their grape growers.  It was so delightful and interesting too to hear about the latest on wine sales and the industry etc
  • sharing our home with people for a different luncheon - even if it did get up to 97 degrees and we were eating outside!
  • sunshine and cool nights
  • the first fruits of our nectarine harvest
  • having so many quail families with all their babes living in our vineyard
  • new recipe books!
  • how about just books!  I loooooove books, as Mr Amazon will tell you :-D
  • missing family.  Yes, it seems odd that missing people should make me feel tickety-boo but it does.  Having special people in your life is what is important, even if you aren't together all the time.


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Everything is tickety-boo

There are lots of things I could put on my list for this week's blog post - the things that made me feel that life is tickety-boo - but one stands out to me.  And that is flowers.


Every day this week, I've been amazed by the beauty of the flowers around me. Those near our front door at just stunning ( I'll show photos of them later in the week).  It's incredible how nature makes all colors go well together!


But the sight that just took my breath away was the one shown in the photos here, of the Kunde vineyard in Glen Ellen, that has planted red and orange poppies between their vines this year. This is the first year they've done it and people were saying that highway patrol may ask them to mow it down soon, as so much traffic is stopping to take in the beauty!

We had heard about these poppies so took the time to go out and see them. A trip to visit the flowers. It was so worthwhile - and joyous.


I definitely felt tickety-boo every time I paused and just took in all the wonderful flowers around me this week.

I hope you found time - or will this week - to appreciate the colors and beauty of nature. It's such a great time of year for flowers.

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