After weeks of mind and body numbing preparation the vineyard was finally ready to plant. The posts were in, the ground was back-pack sprayed, (that was hard!) the wire nailed on and the endless rolls of poly were clipped neatly. Aaron did the back-breaking job of clearing rocks. Those were the 3 Advil days!
Blake designed and implemented the irrigation system and Daiya had spent countless hours measuring and flagging the property. Oh yes, and I took loads of pictures as the official recorder and did the beer runs…. Manicures are expensive you know!
There were countless equipment breakdowns; tracks slipping off excavators, things not starting and posts that had been wrestled into the ground were knocked over like flies when the tractor made a miscalculation. Scores of Ibuprofen were consumed in the wee hours of the morning when our tender aching bodies were protesting loudly as we lumbered out of bed to start another day.
Compost to amend the holes
Thursday we picked up the vines and clipped and soaked them overnight to re-hydrate them. Daiya smartly bought a keg of beer for the planting crew. Turned out that was barely enough! She organized the food for the next day and even came up with a chef to do the après planting dinner. Style points for her!
Trimming the plants
Most importantly bodies were conscripted. There’s a bit of a romance surrounding the planting of a vineyard and allot of unsuspecting souls were excited to be part of the experience. Who were we to disavow them of their dreams?
Our good crew!
Planting day dawns and armed with gardening trowels and grubby clothes the crew drifts in. The keeners were there at the crack and dropped down on their knees and got to work. The first block was hilly but we had attitude and energy to spare. Dig dig dig scrape scrape scrape. Line up the plants with the wire and make sure the scion was at least three inches above the ground. It’s not rocket science. Up down up down up down. The planters developed their own style, some were on their butts, others bending at the waist and then there were the squatters. Gym types I guess. I was in the sit on your toush and drag yourself along the ground from hole to hole group. It wasn't pretty but it got the job done. The first hour was exciting, spirits were high and there was no hole too deep or too shallow to deal with. On and on it went. People were still smiling and joking around when the lunch break came and we all trouped over to have some chow and maybe a few brewskis to wet our whistles.
First row of Pino Noir
The afternoon shift was a tad bit harder. The rocks were bigger, soil was harder and our knees and hands were beginning to protest. Now we are getting seriously tired and the rain clouds are gathering. The first squall hit us around 3:30 but we hung in there. It actually felt kind of good. But as we approached our last 15 rocky kick butt rows it just started dumping and it was all we could do to keep moving forward. Half the crew packed it in and went in for baileys and coffee. Those were the smart ones…. Some of the hardier types went for masochistic broke until the intense rainstorm finally drove us off the block. “Uncle!” Cold and exhausted we tromped off the field and succumbed to the pleasure of beers and wine and chips and salsa. Filthy but happy we felt a sense of a group accomplishment and pride and pleasure knowing how lucky we are not to have to do this all over again tomorrow! That night there was a bit of celebrating by the younger group as they still had the energy left to party. Not me…..
-- Check out Traveling Pat’s previous post here:DIY Cheese
The following is an article from Traveling Pat! Patricia is a regular contributor to Give Love Create Happiness. She also happens to be my lovely Mother-in-law, and today you’ll get to see pictures of my beautiful sister-in-law too! Family love <3What does one normally do on a gorgeous Easter Weekend? Let’s see…go bike riding? Walking? Paint adorable creative eggs? OR go to a cheese making class. Cheese Please!!!
My daughter-in-law Daiya and I had registered for this class ages ago and finally the big cheese day arrived. We donned on our gumboots and our aprons and our ever so fashionable hairnets and boldly went where neither of us had been before.
The first thing we learned is that cleanliness is paramount. Lots of hand washing and rinsing of utensils. Secondly, we learned that with a few simple ingredients (milk, citric acid and rennet) we could be off to the races.
The down and dirty is that you pour milk into a pot, heat it up add your acid and rennet and Bobs your uncle. Ok maybe it is a bit more of a deal than that but essentially it is a simple process. At the end of the day we had three cheeses, ricotta, mozzarella and feta. Plus we were very proud of ourselves. I am already thinking tomato and mozzarella salad for dinner tonight.
Maybe the next time you would like to do something fun and worthwhile, grab a friend and take a stab at making cheese.
I am back to Brooke Burke DVDs, back to exercise and back to feeling good again.
I was doing my transform your body DVD faithfully for quite a few months (even took it to France
on a holiday!) and one thing led to another and I fell off the program. I would still do bouts of it but for some reason I wasn't committed enough. Now Brooke has a new program out and my Daughter in Law Wendy of Give Love Create Happiness
(blogger extraordinaire!) was excited about doing it so I finally bit the bullet and bought the DVD 30 Day slim Down
and I re-committed.
FIRST DAY: Tone and Sculpt. I can’t tell you how happy I am that it is ONLY 30 minutes! It feels like it goes by in a flash. Rusty? A little… well maybe allot… I stumbled my way through thinking it wasn't too bad and later I felt the same muscle fatigue I get when I do the hour- long program. I think it is because there are more components involved in each move. So far, so good…
OMG! I did the cardio day…..yikes! The best thing I can say about it is that this morning I learned a new word. Burpee. This is Not a good word… trust me. It is some kind of exercise that I am sure the Special Forces do for their secret training missions… I lumbered through it as best I could though. Brooke and her team seem happy enough doing it (laughing, smiling) so maybe I can get there also. One of the things I like about doing a DVD in my home is the privacy.
Big Mistake: This morning I worked for a couple of hours in the vineyard I am helping my son and DIL put in, then came home did some housework and then did the cardio. Not smart. I was terrible but I am happy to say that I stuck it out and didn't quit. Phew!
-- Check out Traveling Pat’s previous post here:Hawaii Do Over
It’s February and I am in Hawaii, Kihei Maui to be precise. I know I know....it’s a dirty job and all that. Maui is a place where the sea is always blue, the sand is soft and warm, and the sun a welcome golden light.
As I was lounging on my deck surveying the lush landscape below I started to think about all the families here and what a great place this is for a family holiday. There are oodles of things to do for everyone and I pretty much can guarantee that the weather is warmer and more consistent than where you are at the moment.... I've been entertained just watching all the kids playing on the beach having a blast. It's a bit of a miracle I know but so far have only heard one kid crying. Something to do with ice cream I think! Kids are just too busy having fun to do much fussing. I would love to come here with my grandkids one day.
I, however, am not here with children and am having a wonderful time regardless. We are staying at the Maui garden house booked through www.idealvacationrentals.com
and it is a perfect fit for us. 2 bedrooms 2 bathrooms, pool, hot tub, BBQ area and only 60 seconds from having our wine on the beach at sunset. Gotta love it!
Anyway, Aaron and I explored the Kula botanical Gardens and was that ever something! Some of these exotic flowers look like they could be in a Harry Potter movie. Every time I come here I get to do something I didn't do before. Here are some pictures to enjoy. Aloha
Hi Friends! I don’t normally post on Mondays but I’m away all this week, and today I have a special guest post for you from Traveling Pat. I’ll be back next week on Tuesday November 13, and will return to a normal schedule of Tuesday and Thursday posts, plus a bonus picture post on Wednesdays. Enjoy your week!With love & gratitude,Wendy Irene
The following is an article from Traveling Pat! Patricia is a regular contributor to Give Love Create Happiness.
Our Spicy Road Trip!
Aaron and I head back to Tucson once again. We rented a car for a few days and did an impromptu drive into New Mexico. Aaron is a Chile pepper maniac and wanted to go to Hatch, self-proclaimed Chile capital of the world.
Once upon a time Hatch was an adobe post office and railroad flag station, an extension of the Santa Fe Railroad. Appearing on the horizon in 1880 and surviving a few mishaps (floods) and a couple of re-buildings, it is now a funky little village. You can find any variation of Chile products you could imagine: Chile peanut brittle, Chile marmalade, Chile chutney, Chile t-shirts, Chile ristras and smoking hot bags of chile spices!! Every Labor Day weekend, Hatch has a very happening Chile Pepper Festival. Holy hot stuff!!Chili pepper facts
- One fresh medium sized green Chile pod has as much Vitamin C as six
- There are 26 known species.
- Very red Chile pepper color is used in lipstick and processed meats.
AARON HAPPY IN RISTA HEAVEN
NOT YOUR AVERAGE PEANUT BRITTLE
Once we had our fill of all things Chile we jumped back in the car and headed to SILVER CITY. Got there, pulled in to park on the street outside the Palace Hotel and while I was unloading, a car full of inebriated kids drove by and chucked a piece of pizza at me! Nice touch. It’s a throwback I guess to the wilder days when Dangerous Dan Tucker and the notorious Billy the Kid roamed the streets. After all they have a reputation to uphold!
Surviving its rough start as a mining town with violent crime running rampant and its unruly wild-west reputation, it is now touted as one of the top 50 places to live in the USA. There is a harmonious balance of university students and retirees and loads of things to do. Funky coffee shops, galleries and a profuse choice of noteworthy restaurants line the main street. (Aaron had his first beer margarita here!) I read an article that said Silver City is what Santa Fe was before the “trustafarions” moved in…...
From Silver City we did the two-hour, very narrow, very curvy drive through the Gila National forest road to GILA BEND to see the Cliff Dwellings. Along the route we crossed over the CONTINENTAL DIVIDE…on one side water flows east to the Atlantic and the other side flows west to the Pacific.
When it comes to Gila Bend there are more questions than answers. They were built and inhabited by the Mogollon people who were part of the American Indian culture. Living there from around 150 AD To 1400 AD, they predicted the end of their culture and mysteriously abandoned it.
After that no one lived in this area for over 100 years until the Apaches moved in around 1500 and stayed until they were forced from their land and on to reservations in 1886. Geronimo was born near the Gila River headwaters in the early 1820s.
The cliff dwellings unfortunately have been looted in and much of the archeological records obliterated.
--Thank you for sharing your adventure with us Traveling Pat, and for the delicious spices! See you next Tuesday (Nov. 13) friends :-)
Back from Europe
and wanting to just be still for a while but I guess that is just not our M O.
Vancouver was first up then anxious to see our family we went to Penticton B.C., a small city between 2 lakes and home of the famed lake monster
Ogopogo. Then it was down to Tucson for a week where Aaron and I packed up a large part of our storage locker and hit the road, driving up through Arizona then into Montana (so beautiful) then on into Idaho to dispose of our possessions into yet another storage locker (don’t ask). A few wonderful days with our family and we were back on the road up through Washington and into Canada.
Was there going to be Peace in the Valley? Not a chance. 5 days in Penticton, a few yoga classes and one glorious hike later I am here in
Vancouver and Aaron is out on the salt chuck Salmon Fishing.
Okanagan...one of the two lakes and home of the Ogopogo
However…it has all been great.
It is hard to beat the sheer majesty of Vancouver when the sun is shining and today was one of those days. And bonus…The Honda Celebration of lights is on. It is the largest offshore fireworks competition in the world. This year Vietnam, Italy and Brazil were the contenders. There are of
course, judges but the public gets to cast their votes for their favorites as
well. Italy emerged victorious.
We set out in the big fancy 42-foot boat (not ours) and motored directly to a primo viewing spot on the water and plunked the anchor plus ourselves down to spend a few hours enjoying just being out on the water. The appetizers appeared and the BBQ was fired up, the drinks were poured and we kicked back. One by one other boats arrived and soon the place was chocko block with hundreds of every kind of watercraft. The shoreline was jammed with thousands of spectators and the atmosphere was electric.
At 10 pm there was a huge bang and an explosion of light and from then on around 30 minutes of the most spectacular bewildering array of fireworks
I have ever seen. Was it magical? I guess the artist/engineer guys who produce this don’t think so but I know for me it definitely was.
Looking at English Bay in Vancouver
Almost time for the fireworks
Final stop on the unraveling trip is Whistler, the poster place for healthy living. Stunningly beautiful, Whistler is fantastic in the summer. There is so much to do and the place is alive with families and young people. Everyone is biking or hiking, rafting, shopping, swimming, eating in outdoor cafes and riding the gondola. Barb and I walked into the village on the valley trail, did some shopping and walked back. All in all it was around 16 K, almost 10 miles… so we certainly earned our vino that night!
Train from Vancouver to Whistler
What a view of the ski hill for the golfers!
Mountain bikers waiting to catch the gondola to the top
Then they ride all the way down the mountain and do it all over again.
Mini golf for the kids
All kinds of fun for the kids
It’s official; this is the rainiest May and June in England in recorded history!
The Cotswolds are in South West England. This area is quintessentially English; lush countryside dotted with
fluffy white sheep, (good for counting…) gentle green hillsides, lazy canals and ancient villages. In and around the Cotswolds you can find Blenheim Palace the birthplace of Winston Churchill, the World Heritage Site of Bath, and Shakespeare’s Stratford upon Avon and Chasleton
house where the rules for croquet were written. The infamous medieval Warwick Castle with its gruesome dungeon torture chambers is a “make your blood run cold just thinking about it experience”.
Met up with my intrepid traveling companion Barb and we decided to go see some of the famous gardens in the area. English gardens are spectacular and Abbey House was our first garden stop. To our surprise the day we went it was CLOTHING OPTIONAL day… A time for communing with nature in a more basic way…Thank god it was optional or I could have found myself stripping down to my natural nymph like state and slipping nymphily through the hydrangeas and foxgloves. NOT. Unlike me, many people DO want to do that and it seems that it is mostly men. I gave birth to two boys but holy cow there were many surprises in sight. One particularly tall
handsome and extremely well endowed guy, “Paul” asked Barb and I if we would snap his photo among the roses. “Sure” we stammered as we tried to make out like this is an everyday occurrence and no “big” deal. I did my best to act nonchalant. Then Paul asked me if I wanted to have my picture
taken with him. Well… Looking at the photo later I was struck by how I, fully clothed was looking extremely uncomfortable compared to him doing the full Monty relaxed and unembarrassed. I am not enclosing the photo…..
Met up with my sister and her husband.
The next garden at Hidcote was much less “naturally”exciting but impressive nonetheless. And I AM enclosing some of the pictures. Even if it is raining a lot (ok constantly) we are getting out and about seeing castles and churches and even managing to do some soggy hikes.
Yesterday the 4 of us headed off on a Cotswold ramble. On the trail the mud clumped onto our shoes making us inches taller and made for precarious footing so it was essential we walk carefully lest we slip and fall into the copious amounts sheep shit that littered the footpath. We were picnicking on a bench overlooking the canal when the mosquitoes buzzed in like B52 bombers… Afterwards Barb was swollen, itching and bloody with all the horsefly and mozzie bites. The rest of the hike I was flapping my new French scarf trying to ward them off and lamenting my rather stupid decision to not bring my waterproof shoes. Somehow I even managed to cut myself a couple of times from who knows what on the dead flat path. As the rain was teeming down around us we straggled back to the hotel, a motley crew longing for a hot bath.
Having said all that…weather, pestilence, and injuries aside…we are having a marvelous time. I love England with all its history, pomp, and scones with clotted cream…
On to York and Scotland…. Cheerio.
*Special Note: The dog days of summer are coming! 3 cheers for summer!!! That means more free time and a New summer posting schedule starting next week- JUNE!
Wondrous Wednesdays - Inspirational Photo
Let's make it a great summer together!
Days drift by easily here in Provence.
The roses are blooming and the rosé wines that the area is famous for,
taste refreshing. We usually have a
walk or do some kind of exercise in the morning then we have an outing of some sort. None of us has a clear bead on just what days and times the stores are open. We know for sure they close between 12 and 2. (Not good) When we got here it was the beginning of the French election and for a couple of days even the French didn't know when things were open.
However it makes us stop and eat lunch. It is kind of funny... When we get to a restaurant and have barely sat down, the waiters rush right over with the blackboard menu crammed full of tiny indiscernible writing listing all the plat du jours. Our heads are spinning as slightly panicked, we wildly guess at what we are ordering. They stand impatiently tapping their pencils as we dither insecurely. After we finally decide, they immediately demand to have our dessert order. By now we are scared NOT to have dessert. Well I am... so I order the chocolate gateau or something really low cal like that….The wine usually comes quickly and by the time we have imbibed a few, and our meal arrives it is all fabulous and we have made a friend of the server. Then I make my usual resolution to stop eating sweets….. We are usually back at the house just in time for happy hour!
Our friends Jack and Lynette are here now and we have rented bikes. They are touring bikes and have these wonderful handlebars that allow you to sit up straight and see the world around you without having to go for physio for your neck after the ride.
On our first so- called “training run,” we donned our helmets and squeezed into our spandex bike shorts. We stylishly covered them with exercise pants! (Really, they are not the most flattering things on the planet.) The plan was to ride to Vaqueras and then on to Gigandas for lunch. Getting there was no problem but getting back…big problem… We got lost and by the end of the day we had ridden around 70K (44 miles) yeouch! My butt was in full revolt! At the end of the ride I lurched off my bike and like an aging robot I hobbled stiffly to the couch and eased my tender toosh gently to the couch.
France is choko block with bike riders and there are scores of retirees zooming around out there. As I was struggling up a 5K hill a peleton of geezers, decked out in their colorful Sunday spandex whiz past. Then another group. A few bonjours and they hurtle out of sight. It’s nice to know that riding will be available into our dotage!
The thing is, in France the back roads twist and turn throughout the most picturesque countryside. There is something magical about it.
On the last day of cycling, as we were doddling along the track, I was mindlessly musing on how sore my butt was. Shortly after that we took
ANOTHER wrong turn and it was going to be at least another 15 kilometers added. Not again! I headed instead into the town square and had a delicious cafe au lait. Doesn’t pride come before I fall??? I rode home to a hot shower and padded deck chair. Au revior.
Riding through a small village
One of the countless map checks
The gang minus moi
On the way to Chateau Pesquie
Love the art in the round a bouts!
Vines everywhere ...rocky soil
Lovely countryside riding
Poppies and olive trees
Riding by Bairroux
We are in Provence and loving it! Aaron and I, and a group of friends have rented a house for a month in a tiny village (St. Veran) in the south of France.
France is, well, outrageously fabulous. No getting around it. My French sucks but I feel like I am doing better than I did last time. I am not so stressed out about it on this trip. Just going with the flow and it turns out I know more than my current group of travelers. Which isn't saying much... Even the French people seem nicer this time. Could it be my state of mind? Doubtful. The economy? Possible.
The days are warm and sunny. Perfect actually. We have a petite pool that is icy cold so I won't be venturing in any time soon. Our bed is very small and Aaron and I are mashed up together so we are both struggling with having a good sleep. Better dig down for the drugs! Things are generally smaller here in France but the prices are certainly bigger. Good thing for us the euro is dropping at the moment. Voila.
The outdoor markets here are to die for......well, not literally, except if you are a chicken or a fish. There is one every day of the week. All very colorful, and the smell of cheese and sausage permeates the whole place. As you walk by the soaps... ooo la la, it is so aromatic and the displays are an art form. The only trouble is.... I am shopping with 2 men and they walk through like they are doing a surgical strike… They are always standing, arms crossed, waiting for moi. I need to come up with a meet me later strategy so I can actually buy something! I saw a back-pack purse I liked but by the time I gave it a cursory once over, the group had moved out of sight! Better catch up I thought or they won’t cook me dinner. The guys are the head chefs so there is requisite appeasing to be done.
Truffle ravioli, cassollet, pasta alfredo, crepes, mussels, parmigiana reggiano, baguettes, croissants, nogat, sausage, olive oil, balsamic glaze, quiche, and vats of tapenade. I am gaining weight just writing this down... It is worth coming here for the food alone! And then there is the wine, what can I say? We have now graduated to buying incredible wine in a box!
Thank God I brought my Brooke Burke Transform Your Body DVD
with me. I think/hope it is staving off some extra lbs… Au revior
Bunches of Lavender
Sachets of Lavender
Nogat (very tasty!)
--Check out Traveling Pat’s previous post here.
My son and daughter-in-law have been doing a boot camp of their own making and they look terrific. They are exercising with Brooke Burke workout videos and alternating every other day with Yoga. While I was visiting I joined them for a session, I mean, really, how hard can it be?
Let me just say…Brooke is extremely fit and it is inconceivable to me that she could have 4 kids and still look that good.
I thought I was going to collapse during the workout but I stuck it out. I guess I didn’t realize how seriously unfit I have become. I also hadn't anticipated how I would feel the next day. I was so stiff that the mere motion of rising from a seated position was like climbing Mt. Everest. The
next morning I lurched stiffly down the stairs, stifling a whimper and gripping the handrail for dear life. However, something inextricable happened to me during that work out…. I got motivated!!! I borrowed Transform your Body
and trundled back to Canada.
Day one was unbelievably hard for me but I was determined. Day 2 harder still. I get to the abs and I feel like someone has put a car on my stomach and I can't move.......... Holding my legs in the air is agony and they are shaking so much I look like I am having some kind of seizure! Through the torment I kept hearing Brooke say things like “stay with me I couldn't do this when I first started” and that ever annoying "you have to work hard to see results.”
During the dead bug I lay there wishing I WAS dead so I didn't have to face the next moves, more ab-crunching … stay with me she quips it's almost done! Easy for her to say! Also, I didn't have any dumbbells so I grabbed the first thing I saw, a couple of dusty tiki statues left over from some distant Hawaiian holiday. Sometimes you have to improvise… I'm glad no one was there to see this or frankly any of it. Trust me this is not a pretty sight. Picture a 60 year old out of shape female sweating, swearing, grunting and stumbling around in a basement. My pathetic moaning and groaning was annoying my husband. When it was time to do a floor stretch Brooke daintily does a back curtsy and sinks elegantly to the floor. I, on the other hand lumbered down like a baby ox and crashed landed with a loud grunt. Hey I got there didn’t I?
Day 4 comes along and it didn't seem quite so long and I wasn't quite so stiff. Lets not kid myself; I was still stiff, just not so much.
Day 5 …miracle ...did the workout, got through most of it. Not stiff.
Day 6 Another miracle.... I was actually looking forward to it!
Day 7 New goal…sink to the floor without rupturing my tailbone.
Day 8 Worked hard, sweated hard. Hair seriously wet.
Day 9 More hard work. Hair looking really bad at end.
Day 10 Did the whole work out, every bit of it! So proud of myself.
Day 11 There is a God. Got through the workout again.
Day 12 Whole work out no modifications!
On non-workout days I walk, do yoga, or go for a bike ride.
I feel like a million bucks!
Motivation courtesy of Daughter-In-Law Wendy and Brooke!! Thanks!
--Check out Traveling Pat’s previous adventure here.