Wine Country Living

Fast Food/Slow Food and the Pursuit of Happiness

I enjoyed this photo essay by Maira Kalman in the New York Times today. Sonoma County is home to many adherents of local, sustainably produced food. Worth a browse to see her photos of a journey to Northern California and back to New York-from fast to Slow Food, with tales of locally, sustainably produced food and the Edible Schoolyard movement. Worth a look--enjoy! and Happy Thanksgiving! ...

A Favorite Sebastopol Autumn Scene

Today is an absolutely glorious fall day in West Sonoma County! Crystal clear skies, about 65 degrees. As good a time as any for me to preview a country property for some clients. The vineyards are golden and red. The grass is lush and emerald green after the first rains last month. This is one of my favorite scenes along The Gravenstein Highway. A magnificent row of liquid ambers line the driveway overlooking an expanse of Russian River pinot noir. Sent from my iPhone Posted via email from pambuda's posterous ...

Horse Lovers! Don't Miss the 2nd Annual Sonoma Change Fundraising BBQ

Last year's inauguaral Benefit BBQ for the Sonoma CHANGE Program (Coins to Help Neglected and Abandoned Equines) was a great success!  A fun event in a beautiful venue that raised significant money to help coordinate efforts in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties to save neglected horses from abuse and neglect. In 2009, your help is needed more than ever. It seems that ticket sales are down this year due to the economy, and the need to help abandoned horses is greater than ever.  This year's event is at the beautiful Shone Farm of the Santa Rosa Junior College, on the border of Healdsburg, Forestville and Santa Rosa. Please visit the Sonoma CHANGE website to buy your ticket for this fun event coming up soon on Sunday, September 20, 2009.   You'll enjoy a great day with wonderful food, friends and family and lots of equestrian entertainment from dressage and jumping demonstrations, the chance to see and learn about all kinds of horses from Mustangs to Percherons and Friesians.  Enjoy drill teams, vaulting and carriage driving.  There will even be a Unicorn!  What a great way to spend a September Sunday and to benefit a great cause--the health and well-being of horses throughout the North Bay.  See you there! If you can't make it on the 20th, the CHANGE website will still accept your donation. If you would like more information about CHANGE, the video below will fill you in....

Wine Country and Ducks Redux, or just how early is spring this year?

The mustard is about a foot high with brilliant yellow flowers, the daffodils have just begun to bloom after pushing up since early December, and it was 74 degrees the other day. We have had two weeks of unbroken glorious weather which is lovely but we are finally getting some severely need rain. Grapegrowers are worried about early bud break, because we still have frost at night and will for some time. Today my thoughts turned to the pair of mallard ducks who spend their spring break by my pool, bordering some old vine zinfandel that belongs to a neighbor. Generally the last few years, they seem to miraculously show up right around the same time they spring into my mind. Perhaps they are not the only ones tuned into the lengthening days and warming weather? One of the things I love about living in the country, and being out and about early every morning to feed the horses at more or less the same time each day, is that I feel tuned in to nature in a way that I didn't quite get living "in town". Maybe I should set up a duck cam so I can capture their arrival this year? Last year they showed up on February 25th. I'll keep you posted when they return, meanwhile, here they are in 2008.   I guess I have intermittent spring fever....

Wine Country and Snow (and Horses)

Good friend and photographer Robbin Satterlee was able to capture a range of photos from the Sonoma County Wine and Horse country outside Santa Rosa, with dramatic views of snow covered Mt. Saint Helena in Napa and towards the mountainous Geysers of Lake County to the north. Vineyards, horses and snow covered mountains. Not bad. The snow has melted now as warmer rains have come in but enjoy. We have these snowstorms at the higher elevations (1500 to 2000 feet) a couple of times each winter. Snow on hilltops ...

Smart Voters finally approve SMART Train for Sonoma and Marin Counties

At long last both Marin County and Sonoma County voters have approved a 1/2 cent increase in the county sales tax to fund the development of the SMART train which will run on already existing train tracks from Cloverdale in North Sonoma County to Larkspur in Central Marin county, where it will be easy to connect via bus or ferry to San Francisco's financial district. Imagine a North Bay with a transportation network of buses, shuttles, ferries, trollies, bike paths and sidewalks all connected with a centralized rail line that makes it possible to easily travel around Marin and Sonoma counties without ever getting behind the wheel of a car. It’s hard to envision such a network in 2008, when driving on Highway 101 is virtually the sole alternative for travel between the two counties. But the public already owns an asset capable of changing that reality. The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District – SMART – proposes a 70-mile passenger railroad and parallel bicycle-pedestrian path along the publicly owned Northwestern Pacific Railroad right of way through the two counties. The rail line runs from Cloverdale, at the north end of Sonoma County, to Larkspur, where the Golden Gate Ferry connects Marin County with San Francisco. Along the way SMART will have stations at the major population and job centers of the North Bay: San Rafael, Novato, Petaluma, Cotati, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa, Windsor and Healdsburg. For a cool video view of a similar system in San Diego click here....

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