Sunday, September 26, 2010


     Went out to dinner with our friends last night at Noriega in Bakersfield. Of course I didn't snap any photos, but found this one of their sign.
     This was my 5th time there, and first time going on a weekend. This is an historic Basque restaurant, that has one family-style reserved seating for dinner Tues-Sunday at 7 p.m. Each night features two main entrees, with an assortment of sides. Saturday night is oxtail stew & fried chicken. The stew was so delicious, not at all what I expected, the chunks of meat were large & tender. The fried chicken was so yummy, with tons of garlic (a plus in my book).
     When you first enter, you are in the bar. Drink prices are reasonable, & the bartender was nice & attentive, which was a pleasant surprise given that: 1)The room was packed 2)Only one bartender 3)Female bartenders aren't always so service-oriented with me. I had the very retro "Moscow Mule," which is vodka & ginger beer, & served in a special metal cup. Refreshing drink on a hot day.
     Your parties get called into dinner, & you sit at long tables. We were first served thin slices of pickled tongue (better than it sounds), savory garlic cottage cheese, salad, bleu cheese, bread/butter, and that wonderful Basque cabbage soup, with beans & salsa on the side, that you put in the soup. Next they set out potato salad & the oxtail stew. We were then given platters of spaghetti, french fries and the fried chicken, as well as brocolli. For dessert, a scoop of ice cream. Delicious, and a super-bargain at the prix-fixe price of $20/person (children 12 & under charged $1 per year of age).
     We all had a wonderful time, and I enjoy this restaurant more than the more well-known Woolgrowers.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Busy Start to Fall!

     It has been a very busy time...Kosmo has been doing a lot of serious excavation work (I think he must have been a ditch-digger in a past life) & doing his best to destroy the ottoman in the living room. So glad we have budget furniture...LOL
     I am really enjoying my part-time teacher's aide job at the Christian School, the kids & everyone there are lovely. Wednesday was soccer & the Cub Scout Pack Meeting (Webelos put on a pet show). Popcorn sale begins September 25!! Let me know if you want some! Last night was HOA meeting (I'm on the Pinon Pines HOA board). We are excited about our plans to make some improvements to the Pinon Pines entrance & to the yard of the firehouse, which is our only public building. Hoping to get some mixer-type activities planned for the upcoming year...
     The latest is, we have been invaded by bees...still waiting to hear back from one of the 3 or 4 bee people I have left messages with. Want to save the hive, as bees are a precious resource in grave danger these days...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Cat Masks at Chatterpillar

     Yay! I had my biggest turnout yet! 14 kids plus one baby came to hear Back to School for Rotten Ralph, & make cat masks. Thank you to Wendy & Peter, owners of Chatterpillar, for supplying the awesome room, and for giving all the children cat balloon sculptures!! We love Chatterpillar!!
     Next books are Molly the Pony and Fritz & the Beautiful Horses. Storytime & pony puppet craft will be on October 30, at Bonfield Farm (time to be announced). The Pony Club will give one free lap on the pony ride (additional laps will cost $), children will get to pet ponies/horses. They will also have a Bake Sale & Trot-a-Thon to raise $ for the club. Halloween theme means we are going to try to plan some additional fun activities!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fall Color in Cuddy Valley

There is a pretty weed that grows in Cuddy Valley, that has created seas of a pinkish/purple. I enhanced the color in the first photo, so you could see the color the way it looks in person...The rabbitbrush is in full bloom in golden yellow, & there is still some mustard in bloom. Dried springtime blooms vary from a rust to brown color, creating some lovely fall colors...
These trees in the photo below, along the driveway of a home down the street from me, are just starting to change. These maple trees will soon turn a brilliant shade of crimson red...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Lot in One Day!!

What a busy day yesterday was! After taking the monkey to PMLC, had the Frazier Park agents' caravan, with one of my listings on it. Then, after my part-time job at the Mountain Christian School, took the monkey to his awesome dentist in South Torrance, Dr. Steven Ota (best dentist in LA!!).

Decided not to torment the monkey by taking photos this time (I was incorrect last dental post, it was 2 fillings/sealants last time & this time). Also, he had less pain meds because with the long drive home last visit, they made him a little ill. SO, we went to Redondo Beach & got some fresh air before leaving for home. Stopped in Santa Clarita to have dinner at the Olive Garden. It was after 9 p.m. by the time we got home.

We got on freeway about 2:15 p.m. & it only took us about 1 1/2 hours to get all the way to Lomita Blvd. in south Torrance. Just shows how easy it really is to get from where we live to the L.A. area...Helps a lot when you are a carpool, though. Without carpool, it would have taken us A LOT longer on the 405...
Here are my neighbors' cows again; took this photo this am....remember, cute and yummy!! They looked so purposeful in their walk, I had to stop. Our house is hidden by trees, but in that area near the kind of break/streak in the trees above where you see the cows. Aren't we so lucky to live in such a beautful spot? I love when I get to hear the cows from my house...
(uh oh! just caught Kosmo tearing up the leather ottoman...daddy is not going to be happy...yikes!)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Pine Mountain Learning Center

Today was the monkey's second day. Had a volunteer meeting, & it is amazing how much the volunteers do here! It is awesome...I am signed up to do one a.m. drop-off & one a.m. in his class so far, but expect to sign up for more activities soon.
This is the lovely mountain road that I parked at to pick him up from school...
This is the beautiful view from said can see west to the Carrizo plain & beyond; much more spectacular in person...

MOUNTAIN MISCHIEF (Life with a Puppy!)

Look at that sleepy little face on Kosmo...(what did you do with your collar??It was on you a little while ago...). Now look at how he tried to rearrange the furniture the other day... LOL!!

Must admit, he is the cutest, sweetest little cutie-pie!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Shelter on the Hill Wine/Cheese Fundraiser

     Now on to more FUN aspects of living here...told you this week was a rollercoaster (forgot to mention the monkey got a spot at the charter school in PMC, & starts tomorrow!). This year's fundraiser was awesome on many levels.
     Firstly, the location was spectacular: in the vineyards at Tejon Ranch. They do not sell their wine, it is only used for marketing purposes & gifts. Views of Castac (not to be confused with 'Castaic') Lake...really lovely.
     The wines were pretty darn good overall. My favorite was a Paso Robles rosé (of course Paso). The Tejon Ranch cab was also excellent. Cheeses also tasty...mmmmmm, cheese!
     The auction items were impressive, as well. Some items were part of a silent auction, others live. I especially loved the gorgeous horse/heart quilt, the watercolor painting lessons from Susan Sjoberg (one of our talented area artists) & I also bid on a wine-themed basket that contained a bottle of that rosé. My absolute favorite item was a painting that the artist (not sure of her name, but will find out) painted during the event (see the photo above with the small painting of vineyards, gold hills & blue sky; that is it). I am happy to say, my friend won the auction for that item! We weren't present for the live auction, & I sadly lost my silent auction attempts.
Lovely Dawn Beban, of Mountain SPCA presented Shelter on the Hill with a check for $500. This was a wonderful gesture, as there has been some division between the two organizations. MSPCA has an active network of foster families rescuing animals. Hope this is just the first step in a bridging of the two....
     After the event, it was dog party night at our house! Kosmo & Kramer were able to romp, my faithful lab Rio had fun with the little dogs. We feasted on a variety of appetizers, inc. my friend L.'s yummy spinach/artichoke dip. Drank some awesome wines, inc. two sparkling Laetita's & two great Opolo blends & a Kenneth Volk syrah my friends brought (will review in a later post). Then it was on to a hot dog/bratwurst multi-topping extravaganza, courtesy of Kramer's parents! Red velvet cake for dessert (a la Costco, as no time for me to bake), & since it was cold enough to light a fire in the fp, s'mores for the kids...Yum!I'm thinking homemade pizza f/our next Sat. is jam-packed with activities from morning to evening, but may still be able to swing it. May cheat on the dough this time (I usually make my own)...

Life Goes On...

     This was a rollercoaster of a week...Olive, our rottie mix we had since we adopted her Christmas of 2000, had to unexpectedly be euthanized Wednesday. She had been drooling, & we thought it was a bad tooth. Turned out to be a tumor that would not have been treatable & kept her quality of life. Luckily, although she had suddenly taken a turn for the worse, she had great quality of life, really all the way to the end. Unlike my Bob, who died alone, she had me petting her & was surrounded by love. San Joaquin Veterinary Hospital could not have been more accommodating, kind & loving...and they didn't know us & we didn't have an appointment!
     Unfortunately, all her CUTE puppy photos were from a film camera, but I do have the this one at top from 2004, the Christmas one from '08, & the last one of her is in May 2010...
     Really amazing Kosmo came into our family one week before. He is really helping us recover...for every end there is a new beginning...

Monday, September 6, 2010

Before/After Photos of our Entry

Well, we worked VERY hard getting the wood chips in the 'Esca-Glade.' Look at what the entry looked like in 2008, & look now. You can especially see the driveway is clear (finally!) & the difference in my lawn (from seed, slowly but surely). Phew! I want to put wood chips to the right of the gate, all along the area between the fence/street all the way to the property line. Then, next spring, would like to put a few rustic wood planters in front of the fence.

A Great Reunion

Okay, I am a dummy for not snapping any photos of Kosmo/Kramer's reunion, but here is a photo of big Henry & little Kosmo...Saturday night, the weim brothers had their reunion, & had fun running around our property. Kramer was busted standing on the dining room table before dinner, apparently waiting to be served...ha ha
Speaking of dinner, my friend brought a wonderful salad with avocado, red onion, and these yummy mini pumpkin seeds from Fresh N Easy. I made my special spicy chicken in a cilantro cream sauce over pasta (prefer to use red pepper rotelli, but used plain 'wagon wheel'). Garlic bread & berry pie for dessert...yum yum.
(sorry, I rarely measure)
  • First, you need to make or have some roasted chili paste. I use the dried skinny red chilis, you cook them in hot oil until almost black. Remove, put in blender with some garlic, a pinch of salt, some cumin, a little water & blend. Good to use in spicy soups, etc.
  • Chop up some boneless chicken (I used about 4 large breasts), saute in olive oil, garlic & chili paste to taste, set aside.
  • Put a large washed amt. of fresh cilantro in blender. Blend w/container of heavy cream. Can also substitute/add milk. Set aside.
  • Boil your water, be ready to cook your pasta.
  • Prepare your roux ( your thickening agent; good scrabble word): Melt butter in pan, then cook some flour in it until thick & pasty.
  • Slowly add the cilantro cream to roux, so you will have a nice thick sauce, rather than runny. If you do it too quickly, your sauce will be runny. Once sauce is ready, add chicken & keep stirring. Can add more milk/cream. A pinch of sea salt is good, too. I tend to avoid using salt in my cooking, because I LOVE salt too much...
  • Pasta should be ready & drained. Serve the pasta with the chicken cilantro sauce & enjoy!
I think next week, we will do a homemade pizza night, & invite a few more friends. Looking forward to cooler weather, & making big pots of chili or chicken pozole...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Pine Mtn. Club Oktoberfest 2010!

Zipped by Oktoberfest today & plan to come back tomorrow night. Lots more vendors to shop from this year, & open to public! Not too late to enjoy it, & there is fun for the entire family. Tonight & tomorrow they are open until 10 p.m. Only two food booths, but you can always walk to the 'village' next door & patronize one of our local restaurants. Pretty great beer selection, but the wine...I think they need me to assist them on their wine selection next year. Glass of premium pinot noir was pretty marginal (sorry, I can't lie!).

Reserved Parking Spot at FP School!