Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ice Cream in PMC & Cuddy Valley View

Took the monkey up to Pine Mountain Club for ice cream today at Mountain Mercantile. It is a GREAT little store that has ice cream, coffee/coffee drinks, homemade cookies, some lunch items, as well as really great gifts. The owner, Alice, did the interior design on her sister Diana's wonderful hotel next door, the Pine Mountain Inn ( sat on the brick patio outside, & enjoyed the flowers & fresh mountain air while we savored our ice cream...On the way home, snapped some (not so great quality) photos of the Cuddy Valley views while I drove (was careful, hence the not-so-great quality)...Oh! Be sure to read my column in the next Mountain Pioneer (now called "Michi's Magic Bookshelf"). I will be featuring the book, Martha Speaks, & will have a free craft at Chatterpillar on Sat., Aug. 28!

Summer in the Mountains

We had a great kid/dog play day/bbq that lasted into the evening. Rio the Lab & Murray really hit it off...The weim puppies came to visit! Look how cute!The next photos show the view I wake up to every morning...lucky me!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Covey of Quail

Okay, don't laugh at my front yard; it's actually a lot better than it was. I am steadily growing a lawn, & the weeding has been arduous! Look at the quail that were in my yard the other day! So cute! Weather has been so warm, & the nights have been matter how warm the day is, we get a fantastic breeze in the afternoon.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Life in the country: chickens & puppies!

My friend is temporarily renting on acreage in Lebec. She is planning to buy 20 acres from her landlord & build. In the meantime, she has acquired some cute chickens that are laying up a storm, AND two abandoned, gorgeous weimaraner puppy brothers! We had a blast checking out the oak-studded property that is evocative of Paso Robles. The kids really enjoyed feeding the chickens & collecting eggs, too!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Life in the Mountains- dusk photos

The clouds began rolling in yesterday, & were so beautiful, I had to take some photos. The first two are from my front steps, the second two from my sleeping porch. We have the most gorgeous views here!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Where's the California King Snake?

I literally almost walked into a HUGE California King Snake on our little walk in Eaton Canyon on July 13 in Pasadena...It's a bit like "Where's Waldo." In top photo: Look at dark black spot on rock in middle of photo, & to right you can see the lower part of body running down in grass from top to bottom in space between boulder & rock. In middle photo, same thing; look in grass in crevice of rocks for yellow/brown striped snake. In bottom photo, you can find striped tail end in middle of photo, & follow body up. Gorgeous snake, but couldn't get camera ready fast enough to show all its glory...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cub Scout Car Wash

Pack 27 held a successful car wash on July 11, in the Mountain Properties parking lot. We were able to reimburse the leaders for the $ they had spent, plus raise some funds for the pack. Just found out our sponsor, the Frazier Park VFW, donates $25/month to our pack! They are SO good to us!

Friday, July 9, 2010


We almost always stop in New Cuyama when driving to the coast down the 166 to have a yummy burger at Burger Barn. I am fascinated by a closed restaurant/motel next door called the Buckhorn. I think it would be the perfect setting for a Quentin Tarantino movie. I couldn't snap any great photos since I only had my camera phone, which is just a step above a "jitterbug."

A photographer snapped some wonderful photos while it was still open; see this link:
The next photo is the view from the dining room at Burger Barn, looking southwest toward the mountains/hills that border the Santa Ynez wine country. Huge grassland/plain with cattle...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Wine & Steak Lover's Treasure!

I absolutely have to post about Sagebrush Annie's ( This is our favorite place to go have dinner & enjoy some of the best red wine we've ever had! The winemaker/owner is Larry Hogan. He is a retired ruminant nutritionist (ruminants are 4-chambered mammals; i.e. he advised ranchers on what to feed their cattle), and a wine-making genius. This wonderful restaurant/winemaker outpost is located on Highway 33, south of Highway 166, in Ventucopa.

This funky-cool place on Hwy. 33 looks like a little saloon from the old west. There is beautiful stonework on the property, all hand-laid by Larry. Behind the restaurant & stone patio area (great summer events there), is a huge stonework building for large events. It even has a huge fireplace. We have attended several fun events in the big room, which of course was hand-built by Larry.
Larry started & sold the Barnwood label (current owner makes Laetitia, our favorite sparkling wines). Now he produces fantastic red wine under his Sagebrush Annie's (Santa Barbara County) & Stone Pine Estates (Ventura County). His grapes are grown around Quatal Cyn/Ventucopa area, where Santa Barbara/Ventura/San Luis Obispo Counties converge.Larry produces cabernet, & has recently added zinfandel & merlot. His wines have won multiple gold medals. You can drop by on weekends to wine taste, as long as they aren't out at a festival or competition.

Our favorite thing to do is to make a dinner reservation so we can wine taste right before. Yes, Friday - Sunday, Sagebrush Annie's serves dinner (reservations a must). Karina, Larry's lovely wife & co-owner, makes all the sides, salad dressings, desserts & fantastic soups from scratch. Larry starts the bbq with one kind of wood, then moves to another kind of wood, & grills up salmon or steelhead trout, chicken or the best steaks ever.

We enjoy taking the dirt road, Quatal Cyn., just west of Pine Mountain Club to the 33. This drops you off just south of Sagebrush Annie's. The road is a kick to drive, & you see some beautiful landscape. In the spring, wildflowers abound. Right now, a ton of yucca are in bloom. This road is not recommended in winter or rain, however.

We enjoyed fabulous Mother's Day & Father's Day dinners at Sagebrush Annie's. Larry & Karina are the consumate hosts, & two of the most down-to-earth & fascinating people you will ever meet...We adore them!

Out-of-towners would enjoy spending the night at the lovely Pine Mountain Inn ( I'll post about this pretty hotel in the future...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Rancho Sisquoc

Rancho Sisquoc is a fantastic winery off Foxen Canyon Rd; basically in the riverbed. You go down quite a ways along the riverbed, next to some cliffs. They have some wonderful wines, & one of our favorites was basically their red table wine, the River Red. It is a blend of cabernet, merlot, syrah, malbec & sangiovese. I am all about the blends these days, & this is an outstanding wine price at only $16/bottle. Super-bargain for a wonderful wine...
Love the stemless glasses you receive with your tasting, by the way...

Tres Hermanas and Foxen Wineries

First stop on our winery motorcycle tour was Tres Hermanas. Nice wines, we even liked the muscat, which was shocking, as we usually don't like white or sweet wines. This one is light & not overly sweet. Perfect for summer. The rose we found a little too sweet. Loved the '07 Cuvee, which is a blend of cabernet, syrah & sangiovese, & purchased a bottle. One of the 'tres hermanas' was having a baby that day (the owners have 3 daughters), so we were lucky enough to have the winemaker himself, Luke Lindquist, help us in the tasting room. He was so nice, & even signed our bottle...

Our second stop was Foxen. Wow, their mouvedre rose was OUTSTANDING...definitely want to purchase more of of their more reasonably-priced wines, as well. Probably my favorite rose of all time. They call it the "watermelon" as that is the dominant flavor, but it is in no way overly sweet, just very flavorful & light, yet nice & dry (I hate sweet, but love fruity). We went to both tasting rooms; the fancy new one, and the "shack." For about $10, you get 3 tastes at each location, & get to keep your glass. The rose was not on the list, but the young lady working the tasting room, was extremely gracious, & opened a bottle for us to taste when we asked about it. LOVED their pinot noirs as well, esp. the Bien Nacido Block N. We have been told by friends that Block 8 is the best, but newest lot was not available for tasting yet...

Friday, July 2, 2010

Cuddy Valley & Pine Mountain Club

Cuddy Valley road looking west...

Pine Mountain Club golf course

Cerro Noroeste west of Pine Mountain Club