Friday, June 5, 2009
A touch of sophistication found in a glass
So far this summer it has been a rare treat for Nicole and I to both have time off together. Usually our only days off together have been a short 24 hours where we have to cram in whatever we can before one of us has to go back to work. This past weekend we found ourselves to have 2 full days off together. What to do? Well the weather all over the north coast and as far inland as we could see was to be all foggy, rainy and cold. No good. We had to leave the ocean behind and travel to warmer climates. And thus we found ourselves stumbling into Sonoma County with only a day or two notice crashing in the spare room of our great friends Becca, Jake, Jocelyn and Luna. Thanks a bunch by the way (we love the pictures you took on the camera too). So since the weather was warm and a free slate before us, we decided to live it up and go wine tasting along Highway 12 towards the town of Sonoma. What a perfect day. Weather worked out great, we got to see the sun and feel its warmth. We stopped at 5 wineries including Ledson, Blackstone, Mayo, B.R. Cohn and Valley of the Moon. All of them had great wines and even better atmospheres. Our only complaint was at the Mayo winery. There we were thoroughly snubbed by the wine guy, where we found out there is nothing to do in Humboldt, California is not a big state and that we were "country folk." He talked down to us and spoke to us like we did not know anything. Maybe thats why the place was empty while all the others were packed? After that experience we headed to B.R. Cohn, mainly because a sign on the property said they used sustainable agriculture practices, got to support them then. Wow what a great place! The guy who helped us was incredibly helpful and generous with the pouring. He never spoke down to us and tried to tell us all the wonderful things you could do with each wine and how to enjoy it. Even poured one that he said he didn't like, how truthful. We ended up buying a bottle and hence getting the tasting for free. If anyone is going to purchase some wine B.R. Cohn pinot noir is excellent. Stay away from the pretentious snobs at Mayo. At least until they redeem themselves. Ledson was also great. The brick castle that the winery is in is simply beautiful and the wines were great, though a bit pricey for us. Valley of the Moon was great to, the prices were way more in alignment with our budget and we bought another bottle for our lovely hosts Becca and Jake. This is where Nicole had a bit of a mishap with a wine glass and not a single person noticed, even me. Way to go Nicole :) The other place we went Blackstone was very nice to. A bit more friendly and small scale than Ledson, wine wasn't the greatest but we really liked the winery itself and the grounds. All in all it was a really eventful trip and we really enjoyed ourselves. Im so glad that we got out of town because we came home to rain, thunder and fog. Not bad just nice to see the sun once in a while.
This little plot of dirt surrounded by cinder blocks basking in the sun has taught me a valuable lesson regarding life and food. I shall no longer take for granted the overly simple act of grocery shopping for I have now planted my own food. I can see all the hard work it takes to bring 1 strawberry to the store and how that 1 strawberry should be cherished and not wasted uselessly. This garden was by no means easy or more cost effective than buying all our own organic veggies. We have spent a good deal of money buying supplies and dirt and even waged outright war on the invading snails who want to eat our rewards! The effort and money has been put in, now time to wait for the sweet benefits of our little plot of land. This garden has given us a starting point to further learn how to support ourselves. Now a 6 foot by 4 foot garden is not nearly enough space to grow all we need but we are learning the tools to one day grow all our own crops and have no more worries about chemicals in our foods, where our food came from or how much energy was input to grow what we are eating. All the energy we want to rely on is our backs, brains and the sun! Heres to hoping everyone has the chance to have a backyard garden and learn a thing or two about plants, food and life.
The Garden Retreat Cottage (Home)
Our home is not just where we sleep, eat and spend the down time of our day. It is a retreat from life and worries, a base camp for our explorations of Arcata and greater Humboldt County. A comfortable nook nestled in a beautiful garden to stage our lives as we see fit, free from the constraints of neighbors and lousy room mates. Free from the sound of passing vehicles and honking horns. Free from mean landlords and ugly parking lots. From our garden retreat we cannot see nor hear the road and are thus slightly removed from life outside, even if for just the moment. We are completely content in our 300 square foot castle, not cramped, not looking for anything better and not looking to move away for the time being. I love this cottage because it is the first place I have felt like was a home to me and not just simply a house in a long time. I live with a beautiful woman I call shmoo who is clean, thinks like me and likes my cooking. What more could I ask for?