Wednesday, March 30, 2011

We're Home!

We arrived home Sunday night around 8:30. The trip to California was wonderful. Our last night was spent visiting Cline Cellars for a tour and wine tasting. Afterward we went to Vineyard's Inn where we experienced a Basque style, seven course meal that was fabulous and included much, much more wine. It was just a wine-a-thon kind of day/evening.

Here are my photos of the day:

These were floor to ceiling antique barrels that are currently used for wine storage. They were huge and beautiful.

Wine barrels in storage. There were several rows of these barrels - pretty amazing that there could be that much wine in one place.

For some reason I cannot resist photos/paintings or other art showing poppies. I love poppies and these just happened to be at the winery. What's a girl to do? I had to shoot some photos!

A photo of the vineyard at Cline Cellars, with a cover crop in between the rows of grape vines. I think the cover crop is mustard - it's lovely, isn't it?

Another shot of the vineyard with one of the winery buildings in the background. It was a great day and the scenery here was beautiful. Our tour guide Darryl, did a great job showing us around and teaching us how to taste wine. It's a lot different than my college days when I would buy a $1.99 screw top bottle of TJ Swan Easy Nights and think it was good!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Farming in California

My husband has been attending a beginning farm program through the University of Missouri. It's a wonderful, intensive 4 module course that helps entrepreneur farmers learn how to develop an idea, write a business plan and network with other farmers. The third module is being held in Petaluma, California and I am fortunate enough to be attending the conference with him.

In fact, that is where I am this very minute...sitting in a hotel, writing a little about our adventures.

Yesterday was a big day full of farm tours around the region. We saw some beautiful farms, met some interesting, funny and opinionated farmers. Our dinner last night was held in the Baker Creek Seed Bank which is in downtown Petaluma - located in a beautiful old bank building. It was a long day and our brains were pumped full of information. It was great!

Here are some photos from our tours.

This is Bob Cannard of Green String Farm. He has an amazing amount of information and experience with regard to natural farming practices. He is passionate about teaching others to farm in a way that is sustainable and provides safe, healthy food for people.

Bob Cannard of Green String Farm

Bob's House

The most beautiful Rosemary hedge I've ever seen. If this had been the only thing I saw on the trip, it would have been totally worth it!

Cowgirl Creamery produces delicious, organic cheese. The cheese in this photo is waiting to be wrapped. All the cheese is wrapped and packed by hand. We got samples of several of their cheeses - it was very yummy!

Tara Firma Farms was the last farm we visited. We met one of the owners, Tara Smith, who was very kind, funny and passionate about healthy food. I found her very inspirational, especially since she is doing a similar kind of farming that Dan and I want to do.  She and her husband also come from non-farming backgrounds and are learning "by the book" (Joel Salatin books). I admire people who aren't afraid to admit they are just in the learning stages. This is a new farm - only two years old- I look forward to seeing how they grow over the next few years.

Happy Pigs

I'm in awe of people who are so willing to share what they know about farming, just because they have such passion for small farms. I think it takes a lot of courage to let a group of strangers from Missouri romp around your farm and let them ask all kinds of probing questions.

I learned a lot yesterday. The tours were informative and inspiring. Most of all, listening to the stories of how people got started, made me just want to get out on the land and start planting! But I'll have to wait until next week, when I'm home. Tomorrow we are discussing writing a business plan and strategic finance. It's not as much fun as learning about composting or seeing baby chicks by the hundreds, but it's necessary, so I guess I'll do it!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I've been included in another beautiful treasury. This time one by Berkeley Bloom. Take a moment to look at all of the colorful offerings from some wonderful Etsy artists:

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Recent Artwork

It seems like it has been such a long time since I have done any work in the craft cave. Last night I did a new (small) painting and in the past couple of months I've done a couple colored pencil pieces. I thought I'd post them so you wouldn't think I'm a total slacker! :)

Blue & Pink Flower by Laura L. Pugh copyright 2011

I started this one yesterday when I was working a shift at the art gallery and finished it last night at home. It is done with watercolor pencil and black ink and sharpie marker.

Rainbow Heart by Laura L. Pugh copyright 2011

I did this drawing a few weeks ago. It's done in colored pencil and black ink.

Colors on Kraft by Laura L. Pugh copyright 2011
I did this drawing a few weeks ago too. It's the first time I've done anything on colored paper (aka paper other than white) and I really like how it turned out. I also love the white pencil and how well it shows up on the Kraft card stock.

Thanks for stopping by. My plan is to get these three designs made into prints and greeting cards. For sure, the greeting cards will be in my Etsy shop. Stop by to see what's new over there!  I hope you have a great weekend!

Divinely Swirled Treasury by Sampler Village

Recently, I contributed some tags for a couple of sample boxes through Sampler Village. If you aren't familiar with sample boxes, they are quite amazing. It's an opportunity for a buyer to purchase one box that includes samples of goodies from many online stores that specialize in handmade items. I bought a box in December and it included candles, cookies, lotions, cupcake toppers, wine glass charms, lip balm and more. So for a very reasonable price, I was able to try out products from several different stores.

As a seller, I provided samples of my tags and cards which were distributed in sample boxes and mailed. It's a great way to get some exposure and all I had to do was supply a few samples.

Sampler Village was started by Traci Porczynski in 2009. She spends many hours and expends a lot of energy helping promote handmade sellers. I am thankful for the work she does! I hope you will take time to visit the Sampler Village blog for more information.

I'm also a member of the Sampler Village Etsy Street Team. Traci compiled an Etsy Treasury for some of the Team members and she picked some of my tags. Here it is:

Thanks Traci, for all your hard work!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Chicken Update

Ok...I don't want to be someone who only writes about chickens all the time, but I had to post some exciting news. Well, it's exciting to us.

Velma and Hilda

It turns out that all of our chickens are hens! Yay!

This is exciting for a couple of reasons. #1 We will be getting more eggs than if we had less than five layers. #2 if any of our chickens had been roosters, we wouldn't have been able to keep them. We are in the city and we value our relationships with the neighbors. Crowing roosters don't make for happy neighbors. I wasn't ready to give any chickens away or, more than likely, cooking one up for dinner.

This is Caroline. We've been thinking she's a rooster for several weeks now. She makes weird noises and is kind of assertive - things that roosters are supposed to do. We started calling her Carlos, but after learning that she is truly a hen, she can go back to being Caroline again.

Thank you to the experts at Backyard Chickens dot com for being patient and kind and for helping those of us who are clueless in the ways of the chicken. If it weren't for you, I'd still be waiting for "Caroline/Carlos" to crow.