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So, Where Was I?

March 25, 2015

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Having to re-learn how to use my blogging software/site after all this time…

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Looking at my Post log, I had almost forgotten the trips DH & I took last fall to escape the frustration we were feeling with the lack-of-house building.

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So, where was I when we hit DEAD STOP with the house?
We hit dead stop because the house plan had to be redrawn. Our initial non-architect who drew (literally drew it by hand – no computer) failed to mention a number of little extras he had included (heating the entire basement floor!) & didn’t explain how a full basement was going to send our budget into a dumpster, especially with the current high cost of concrete.

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Our builder recommended that we have his best friend, a tenor in the choir of the historic Methodist church in Columbia with Carole, redraw/redesign the house plan. Michael was an experienced builder until he developed severe Parkinson’s Disease. He still designs houses using his computer with a clear understanding of what a builder must have and great advice for the hopeful property owners.

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The redesign was delayed because ML had to have the battery of his brain implant replaced just before Thanksgiving. The implant stimulates his brain to reduce his Parkinson symptoms. They are supposed to last 3 years; his lasted 2. The plan was finished Monday before Christmas. Well guess what? It’s hard for a builder to put together a price estimate when everyone is celebrating the holidays.

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Delay, delay, delay. Grouch, grouch, grouch – DH, not me… :0)
Is this thing ever going to get started, much less finished?
Talk of selling the property and moving to a condo, already constructed, in Florida!
Warmish January…nothing.
February – we have the price estimate! Hurrah! Let’s do it!
Snow, ice, rain, cold – ARGH! I hate winter! I hate February! I hate this!

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Could anything make this worse? So glad you asked! Poison ivy. DH & I pulled vines off the giant Poplar in the front pasture on Valentine’s Day. I worked in a short-sleeved T-shirt. Big mistake! I have just finished my 2nd course of high-dose Prednisone after it went systemic. (Always does!) Poison ivy is still visible on my ankle, but with Tagamet & Benadryl twice a day it seems to finally be drying up. Excuse me while I yawn…again & again.

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All this to say -WE BROKE GROUND ON THE HOUSE!
There is nothing like the smell of good dirt & I have been enjoying watching the backhoe & bulldozer turning up, pushing aside & clearing the way for our house to be built. Finally.

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God is good. All the time.

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Mute Monday: Tired Lucy

November 3, 2014

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Fun Facts About Wine Country

October 29, 2014

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The taste of wine varies from winery to winery – even those next door to one another may taste vastly different. The trees, whether Eucalyptus (there are seriously huge Eucalyptus trees all around) or Redwood or Black Oak, drop their leaves in autumn, allowing the different properties of the tree to soak into the soil. Eucalyptus is how a hint of mint shows up in wine.

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Bat boxes & owl boxes & bluebird boxes are everywhere in Napa Valley. Bats eat insect pests. Owls catch rodents & snakes in the vineyards – grass is allowed to grow up over the roots of the vines during summer to keep the roots cooler. Bluebirds are very territorial songbirds & they don’t eat berries! They help keep other songbirds out of the vineyard.

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Roses & crepe myrtle plants are around every winery & vineyard, usually at the end of each row of vines. Insect pests that attack grapes will attack the flowers first – this way the vineyard master can deal with them before they ruin the grape crop.
Napa Valley doesn’t allow pesticide use. Another reason I prefer Napa to Sonoma.

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I miss my herb garden. Every winery uses herbs in their landscaping. Rosemary hedges, thyme creeping along the pathways… I MISS MY HERB GARDEN!

Vineyards Everywhere!

October 28, 2014

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Viognier

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Cabernet Sauvignon

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Sauvignon Blanc

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Chardonnay

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Not-So-Mute Monday: California Olive Oil Only!

October 27, 2014

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Only buy 100% California Olive Oil! Anything else is olive oil blended with less desirable oils. The FDA holds American companies to a higher standard.
Buy American!

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Every small village in Israel has its own olive press, according to my #1 son who lived in Israel for a year. Each family brings their olives to the press & carts home their olive oil.

Final Day in Sonoma Valley

October 24, 2014

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St. Francis Winery & Vineyards

St. Francis
Well known for their award winning restaurant (no reservations for us…Rats!), St. Francis Winery has an organic garden – veggies served in their restaurant, delicious, affordable wines & knowledgeable, fun servers behind the bar pouring wines. DH joined their wine club last year & we have not been disappointed.

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The grounds are beautiful, the tasting room – love the ceiling!

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We met a woman from Brentwood, TN who was vacationing with her friends from Michigan. We encouraged her to take them to Arrington Vineyards since they were going home with her after their California trip. (Tennessee grapes making excellent dry red wines!)

Kunde Family Estate

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Five generations of the Kunde Family have been making wine on this estate for over 100 years. We enjoyed our tasting on the patio with a snack to serve as lunch.

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After the cheese & meats they served a Port-style red with a sweet chocolate that smelled like a chocolate Easter bunny. Yum!

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I joined this wine club.

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Inman Family Wines

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Our last stop was Inman, a very small winery & one of our favorites. Kathleen Inman, the wine maker served our tasting – try to get that at any other winery in Napa, Sonoma or middle Tennessee! She’s just a normal person who loves her work, whose work is making excellent wine!

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We shipped a few bottles home, but no wine club this time…yet.

Second Day Sonoma Wineries, part 2

October 23, 2014

Rodney Strong Vineyards

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Rodney Strongis another wine you will find almost anywhere, but their reserve wines – what a lovely surprise!

The server behind the bar was friendly, engaging & wrote a lovely thank-you note to me, me having joined the Symmetry Wine Club. Why did I join this particular wine club – THE SHIPPING IS FREE! Wines only available at the winery & through the wine club are seriously excellent & make it worth joining!

J Winery

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Sharing a parking lot with Rodney Strong, J Winery… oh my goodness, what to say… DH joined this wine club on our last visit. If you want to know what Sonoma Pinot Noir should taste like – open a bottle of J! Judy Jordan, daughter of the famous Jordan Winery family (we couldn’t get a tasting reservation at this ORGANIC winery! Rats!) decided to go it on her own & has had great success producing delicious wines!

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We chose the sparkling wine sampler with a tasting platter of cheeses. Perfect for early afternoon, having been tasting since 10am. A welcome respite & snack.

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Martinelli Winery

The folks at Martinelli are so nice we had to stop in to say, “Hi!” The giant, ancient grapevine around the patio post greets all entering the tasting room.
We bought a bottle to give to our friends who couldn’t join us on our trip.
The Martinelli’s daughter lives in Brentwood, TN, just up the road a bit from us.

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Another long day tasting wonderful wines. Time to join the afternoon rush-hour traffic heading to Whole Foods to grab something from their fresh food bar for dinner, then back to the hotel.

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