:9/30:

My heart breaks for the people of Paradise, CA.

Here we are dealing with the smoke from that fire. Those in the valley have it worse. I don’t even want to imagine what the people in Chico are dealing with. My family have been calling and texting to check on us. I have to assure them I am fine. California is as big as three other states put together, so these fires are not near us.

Still, my heart breaks.

:6/30:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: fall is my favorite season.

There is just something about the colors and the crispness of the air and the the still warm sun that lifts my spirits.

Even before I found knitting again, I have always lived for fall.

We moved to Miami from Philadelphia when I was in fifth grade, and the loss of the seasons made me hide from the sun and the brutal heat. SoFLo has a never-ending summer that took me years to become used to.

Where we live now is at just enough elevation to feel the change of season slightly love than the valley.

It is glorious.

I love the fall.

:5/30:

Good morning lovely people!

This morning I was so excited to get up and play with the watercolor set I got myself. It is the Sakura Koi Pocket Field Sketch Box. I’ve heard it recommended by quite a few planners, art journal keepers and artists on YouTube. The best part was using a 50% off coupon. This one is the 24 color set and it looks to have more than enough to keep me going.

I’ve been using my Tombow markers, but this is something I wanted to learn how to use, especially since it gives me a greater range of color saturation and dilution. I only have three of the Tombow sets and it does limit my color choices.

I took a little time this morning swatching all the colors on some Fariano dot grid paper I have.

Yes, ‘Lanta spends her morning napping in my lap while I do my planning and journaling.

Today is one of my favorite types of days. I get to spend the whole day at home, just working on the property and the house.

I really am a homebody. I swear, if it weren’t for the kids activities, I would only leave to go grocery shop once a week.

We are still in the thick of harvesting chestnuts and cleaning up the fall leaves. The trees are only half through shedding and the it is a daily job keeping up with it. To top it off, the wind has really kicked up over the past week.

What we need now is some rain. There is currently a 17 acre fire burning on the other side of the range from where we live. Even a heavy fog would be welcome at this point.

What about you guys, have you had a good fall? Have you started something new? or is the approaching holiday season the only thing you are gearing up for? Please post to the comments. I’d love to hear how others are spending their fall.

:car days:

Theses days are a necessary evil. Homeschooling means shepherding the kids to classes and activities in town. It also means sitting in traffic in the Bay Area.

Usually it’s not so bad, since we drive try to avoid rush hour, but on days like this….On days like this I just want to be on my mountain.

The heat in the valley is a muggy eighty degrees. The high temperature up at the homestead is sixty-four and has that bite of fall I love so much. It’s also humid, but it’s the kind of humidity that makes me want to pull on thick socks and wrap a hand-knit shawl around my shoulders, tea in hand and kitten in my lap.

Sitting stopped on I-85 really makes me appreciate the quiet of the vineyard, the crowing of Helios and Turkey (our roosters) in the early morning, even our only partially paved road.

:the well:

Hello, lovelies! This has been an event filled week.

I said I would write up what happened to the well, so here we go….

Last Saturday, I was in the midst of putting the kids’ new beds together, when there was suddenly no water. Nothing. Nada.

Doug and I went out and started troubleshooting. We ended up in a hard and fast education about our well system. We checked the one thing. It wasn’t that. We checked another. Nope. Not that. And so we worked our way from the tank to the well until we realized that the power to the well had not been turned on! The system had been shut off during the sale because the house has sat empty for a year. We had assumed the system was turned on because the house had water (city-slicker waving!). Hope was high we had found the problem, but no. Doug checked control panels and pressure switches. All of it seemed to be working. the only place we had not checked was down in the well. Replacing a well pump is hard and expensive. We had eliminated everything else.

By this point, we already had a neighbor coming to help us, and were on the hunt for a water truck to come fill our tank so we could function in the meantime. My real estate agent (bless her!) lent us the key to their old house (on the market) and let us shower there. She also got us some extra drinking water.

There were calls made to the sellers. Neighbors offering advice, tools and helping hands. This is when you learn that country living really is about the community.

Finally, Wednesday morning the water truck showed up and filled our tank. The driver was local and super nice.

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Water truck giving us a fill

Then, Doug and I got on our farm clothes, and pulled the well pump and line up 120 feet. No winch (flex pipe, so no need. YAY!). We pulled up the ten feet of PVC, and then I walked that down the vineyard as Doug hauled up the rest of the line. It was hard, intense labor. It felt like a brutal CrossFit WOD, talk about functional fitness.

Finally, we had what we suspected was the culprit, and low and behold…the pump worked! The problem was the water line had come undone. Please note: after we pulled the pump, we had professionals come up with a pump and all the fittings in case the pump was broken. They were the ones who checked the pump and reattached everything. We saved ourselves some labor by pulling it up. They saved us an $800 well pump. We also watched everything they did so if we need to replace the pump in the future we can do it ourselves. Doug is pretty good with electrical systems, but he’s still not a pro.

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The pump.
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See Connor aaaaaaall the way down at the other end of the well line?

And here was the problem.

Moving into a new house always exposes problems. Always. This is our third house, we know this. It’s just that country homes expose issues that most people don’t think about.

And it also exposes the community who lives around you, and we are in a great one.

:more downs than ups:

So, I had a post I started to write, between putting together Ikea furniture for the kids’ bedrooms (Am I the only one who likes doing that? It’s like giant Lego sets!) and getting the house cleaned up for my parents’ visit next week….

….and then the water stopped running and we realized the well was not working.

Right now I am just too tired to say anything more. We got everything working, and I will write it all up once I get a chance.

On the up side of things, I finished my Rikke hat. YAY! Nights here are going to be in the 40s next week, so it will be great to wear it while I drink my coffee and watch the sun rise over the vineyard.

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Talk about a game of yarn chicken! That tail is all that was left of the skein.
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So cozy! (Excuse the bed head)

:greeting the day:

A new morning ritual

Cassie-girl loves it out here.
Cassie-girl loves it out here. 
I love having my morning coffee out here.
I love having my morning coffee out here. 

The lilacs are blooming.
The lilacs are blooming. 
This old tractor was set up at a lawn ornament by a previous owner. I just love it! We also have a few other antique farm pieces around, some of them we can’t even recognize.
This old tractor was set up at a lawn ornament by a previous owner. I just love it! We also have a few other antique farm pieces around, some of them we can’t even recognize. 
The first fruit in the orchard...I just wish I knew what it was! I guess we’ll find out soon enough.
The first fruit in the orchard…I just wish I knew what it was! I guess we’ll find out soon enough. 

 

:saturday list making:

Hello, dear readers!

Today was a day of making lists and seeing just how much work has to be done around here. Doug and I walked the property, taking turns pointing out to each other the buds and new leaves on trees and grapevines, wondering where this irrigation line runs to, and whether that section of fence will be easy to repair. It is almost overwhelming when we look at it. Then we take a deep breath and grin at each other like loons.

There is nowhere else we would rather be than looking a years worth of work.

One of the things on my list is to go see what the library has on growing grapes. I’ve grown a vegetable garden before, but wine grapes are totally different. Thankfully, I just need to let the vintner who tends the vines do his job, and then I get to enjoy the fruit of his labor, as it were. People have asked me why I don’t make him pay be, but to have a knowledgeable vintner tend the vines and then give me cases of wine as payment is more than a fair deal. Heaven knows if I had to do it, these vines would be in a sorry stated and there would be no wine! However, I do think I need to educate myself on what grows on my land.

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List, list, lists! Today was trying to get it all down on paper. And, yeah, that’s my trust Lamy. It’s ruined me for all other pens. 

Today I also met a neighbor. I have to say, I have never lived anywhere where the people actually came out to meet you. We have met five neighbors on our road so far, and most of them went out of their way to come welcome us. Despite the fact that we are so close to the city, it really is rural living here. I just love it.

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The gorgeous Cali sky through the budding branches of one of the big chestnut trees. 

Now we are going to watch a movie together. I hope your Saturday has been as lovely as mine!

Good night. 🙂

:scotch broom:

Oh, my! This stuff is a menace. And. It. Is. Everywhere.

Every day, I try to get out there with a pair of gloves and I just pull, pull, pull. They have to be pulled out by the roots or they come back. The worst ones are the ones that grow from the cut stumps that were not pulled. Some of those I can’t get out at all.

I am loving doing it though. The day was sunny and warm, the breeze cool. When I pulled the root of the plant out, I could smell the damp earth. Sometimes even tasting the scent in my mouth when I breathed in.

Sun on my skin. My muscles working hard.

I found myself using “deadlift form” when I pulled the big ones out. Flat back, shoulders straight, pushing through my heals. Tomorrow morning my hamstrings are going to feel this.

It’s going to feel good.

Functional movement at its finest.

This side of the vineyard had some damage during the Loma Fire in 2016. The fire department actually worked hard to save this property, but trees still came down on the fence and some of the vine posts got pulled down. 

I’ve managed to work my way down the fence. I’m only about half-way, but the recent rain and humidity makes the soil have more give. Hopefully I can get the majority before it all dries out.