Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A New Addition!

Long story, but today we became new parents of another doggy, Kosmo!! He is the cutest little weim puppy!! Super-excited!! Henry the big weimaraner is excited about his little brother!

Moonrise over Cuddy Valley

We were finishing up dinner on the deck the day before the Lebec fire started (Thank you firefighters for doing such a great job!), & noticed the moon rising in the east, as the sun was setting in the west. Really beautiful...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Cuddy Valley Black Angus

My wonderful neighbor's family has been ranching in this area since the late 1800's. They raise 100% grassfed, free range beef, and have begun selling whole steers to the public, through a private treaty. They arrange the butchering for you, & you get a quality meat to serve your family free of antibiotics, hormones and the other nonsense/filler other, larger, ranchers feed their cattle. Their cattle are also humanely handled.

We love grassfed beef, you can really taste the difference. The Darling cattle are rotated to different pastures during the year. Right now, they are in a 57 acre pasture in Cuddy Valley. I snapped these photos the other day, when some of them were near the entrance to Pinon Pines.

If you are interested, you can contact Darling Ranch at (661)245-6725 or 406-1152.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Super Saturday!

Wow, what a day! We had AYSO Super Soccer Saturday (Opening Ceremonies), & our banner won! I cannot take any credit, I only helped with the soccer ball. Kim & our awesome coach, Theresa did all the work...

THEN, I hosted my monthly storytime/craft at Chatterpillar. The kids had a wonderful time. We read Martha Speaks, then they made dog bone placemats, ate cookies, had their faces painted by Wendy, the owner, and received dog balloon animals & pawprint stickers. We love Chatterpillar!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Great Kern Firefighters

I realized I never posted this photo, & with all the firefighters working so hard, felt it is important to acknowledge them. Every Tuesday is "Taco Tuesday" at La Sierra restaurant in town. $1 tacos, & $2.99 margaritas. We were there a few weeks ago, & this nice firefighter gave the monkey & his friends badges & stickers. So nice! The Tejon station also gave the cub scouts a wonderful tour of their station last fall. The Grapevine station brought up a ladder truck to demo as well. We have the nicest firefighters! Thank you for saving our homes!!

Fire Season

We had a little fire on Cuddy Valley Rd & Darling Ave on Monday, followed by the huge scare of the Lebec fire yesterday. Now 30% contained. Our friends & their 5 dogs (inc. those adorable weimaraner puppies!) sheltered with us, but were able to return home last night. The monkey had so much fun playng with the doggies. The photos show the Tues. incident from our deck, the smoke in the early stages of the Lebec fire that you could see from Cuddy Valley. Let's hope/pray for 100% containment today, & consider everyone blessed for safe homes...thank you firefighters!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Some Great Bargain Rosés for Summer

It is late, unbearably hot, & I can't sleep. So here are some great bargain-priced rosés to help you cool off.

I am really into food and wine, but not an expert or a snob. My favorite wines are reds & sparkling brut wines (like Laetitia). I particularly love Paso Robles/central coast California wines.
For summer, I adore rosés, NOT to be confused with white zin (big shudder). I do not like sweet wines, but fruity is wonderful. My all-time favorite rosé thus far has been Foxen's, but at $25/bottle, it is a bit expensive. We recently sampled three bargain-priced rosés from BevMo (one sparkling), & were really impressed with all three.
My favorite was Ironstone's Xpression, a super-bargain at the club price of $7.99/bottle. It is actually a blend of sev. whites (chardonnay,sauvignon blanc, symphony) & a red (tempranillo), rather than all reds with skins on for a short time. This is a really multi-faceted wine, a flavor explosion, very fruity, without being too sweet. Just loved this, & what a bargain...
The other rosé we tried was the Pink Truck by Red Truck Winery (Cline). It is a blend of zinfandel, grenache & mouvedre. Wow, this is also wonderful. The winemaker says strawberry, raspberry & pomegranate w/orange notes. Maybe it is my horrible allergies, but I mainly tasted pink grapefruit. Whatever, it is really good, and also well-priced at $9.99/bottle.

The sparkling rosé was from Gruet, a New Mexico winery. We had previously tried a sparkling from them & thought it was just okay. This, however, was really tasty! $12.99 for a bottle makes it a lovely and inexpensive way to toast an occasion (like our California firefighters who have done an amazing job protecting the mountain communities!).
FYI: We didn't drink all three bottles in one day (we are 'wineauxs' not winos!). One key to purchasing a rosé wine, is to make sure it is not too old. Beware of stores that only have a few in stock, & avoid wines that are older '07 or '08. These wines are meant to be enjoyed young, & chilled...So refreshing on a hot day!

Sunday, August 22, 2010


If you are lucky enough to be 'in the know,' you get to attend a yearly event on a wonderful Cuddy Valley ranch, called "Frazierstock" The hosts have been holding this event for years. Their friends come from out-of-town & camp for the weekend. We are lucky enough to just walk. On Saturday, there is always a bbq (guests bring the sides), wonderful music, & a tie dye station with two colors; each year a different combo. This year was a kind of sienna brown & blue. Kid-friendly, with water slides, face painting, games, etc.
The monkey & I had to stay home. I sent Glade with our t-shirts, a bunch of tortilla chips & a big batch of my spicy tuna dip, which was inspired by the dip they used to serve at the long-gone Carlos & Pepe's in Malibu, when I was a hostess there in the 80's (yes, I'm that old!). They served it in the bar. I have a pretty good palate, & the nose of a bloodhound, so I was able to discern the ingredients. I don't measure, but here is the recipe:

Spicy Tuna Dip- In a food processor, put a handful of fresh cilantro, big can of tuna, canned sliced jalapenos to taste, tsp of crushed garlic, a nice measure of cumin (I like a lot, like a tablespoonfull), a dollop of sour cream & a few dollops of mayo. Process until a dipping consistency. If it looks dry, add more mayo. Garnish with jalapenos & some of the hot carrots from the can. Serve with tortilla chips.

This was demolished last year in record time, not sure about this year...
Speaking of Carlos & Pepe's, when I was a (very young) hostess, I seated a variety of celebrities, including: the entire Martin Sheen family (very gorgeous family), Aaron & Candy Spelling & kids (not so gorgeous), Timothy Hutton & Sean Penn (came in together), Joe Piscopo & 1st wife (she was sweet & sad, he was kind of mean), Steven Tyler of Aerosmith fame (kept telling his friend & me what a "cute girl" I was, & Burt Bacharach/Carole Bayer Sager (so very, very nice).

Best Dentist in LA!

I took Griffin to our wonderful dentist in South Torrance, Dr. Steven Ota. Why would we drive 90 miles to the dentist? He is an awesome dentist! The monkey has been seeing him since he was 1 year old. Never afraid, says he "loves Dr. Ota." If you are looking for a dentist, he is the best. I was his niece's kindergarten teacher, & I am so glad I was referred to him. Filled 3 cavities yesterday, plus had 2 sealants applied. No discomfort at all, despite all the gear in the monkey's mouth. However, he was wiped out when we got home, & a bit carsick, so WE missed Frazierstock (Glade went; will post photos).

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Wisteria

I planted two Russian Sage & two wisteria by the front gate to our home. Me and my big mouth: I told Ms. M. from Red Tail Ridge Nursery (our wonderful, referral-only nursery) how well the wisteria were doing, so of course that very day, I came home to the largest one drooping & losing leaves. I think I was overwatering, so hopefully I can revive what is still healthy. Ai yi yi...If they live, it will look so pretty at the entry when they bloom. This is the vine in peril.

My next plan of action is to get wood chips for around the sage & the frontage, to pretty & neaten things up by the road. Fortunately there is a hefty supply of free wood chips for residents of Pinon Pines.

My Gardening Projects

My sister Janet inherited all the gardening prowess, but I'm TRYING to improve my abilities!
Here is the Sierra Beauty apple tree I planted next to the tree that came with our house. I did quite a bit of research, & this variety of apple is supposed to be good for our mountain climate, AND has a very interesting history. This is a very CALIFORNIA apple. It was discovered on the slopes of the Sierra Nevada in the 1890's...theory is it was left from miners. Reemerged in 1920's, faded away again until rediscovered in 1980. This apple is a green/yellow w/red stripes that become patches of red or pink. Firm, sweet w/tart finish. Sounds wonderful. Hoping I'll get some blooms/apples next season.
In researching apple trees, I learned in order to grow good apples (or just to produce apples), one must have at least two different varieties to cross-pollinate. The best variety for pollinating other apples is the golden delicious (next on my list to obtain!). They shouldn't be bland or mealy like most in the grocery store, a fresh one is heavenly...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

But Wait, There's More! Lockwood Creek

And you thought I was done! After the car show, we decided to take the monkey to Lockwood Creek. The only previous time I tried to go, the main gate was still closed, AND I guessed the wrong direction (woops!). So, I was super-excited to finally go! It was really amazing how much water is still flowing. Really neat setting. Unbelievably, the Miller Jeep Trail passes right there. But that is a very challenging trail south of the creek; need a dirtbike or a very good off road vehicle. At the creek, we saw signs of bear activity, including scat. Of course, there was also cow 'scat' too (ha ha). Near entrance to the creek, there are two beautiful, dilapidated buildings on private land. I need to find out whose land it is so I can get permission to photograph them! My favorite subjects to photograph are rural buildings in disrepair. Had fun skimming stones & dipping our feet in the creek...

Just another great weekend in the mountains!

We are SOOOO lucky to live here! After the fabulous annual meteor shower on Thursday, Saturday was the "Run to the Pines" car show in Pine Mountain Club. We took the monkey & enjoyed seeing some incredibly beautiful vehicles. Warm weather, clean air, lunch, iced coffee drinks, & ice cream from Mountain Mercantile for the monkey. Check out the COOL cars!!