September 2, 2008


Let’s toast organic living

Lucky Colleen in front of home
Colleen Stewart has a job many would envy – she is in charge of hospitality and wine tastings at the Bonterra vineyard, an organic wine company in Mendocino, California.

She has just hosted 70 wine distributors from New York, talking them through ten of Bonterra’s best wines. After a long dinner the New Yorkers head back to their hotels and Stewart heads home – and her home is also a place many would dream of owning.

It’s a 700 square foot cabin on a heavily wooded, old ranch up in the hills west of Ukiah, the capital of Mendocino County.

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Donkeys, Deer, Tomatoes and a Marine

All is well here on the mountain, my Dad is enjoying the peace and solitude, and the various animals running around. A couple of days ago a herd of donkeys strolled through behind the cabin, we counted 9 of them, it was quite exciting to see them up close and personal, it’s amazing how large they really are, they aren’t the small burro variety, these are nearly as big as a horse.

The mule deer are starting to come down to the lower elevations, we have seen many of them walking around too, I even saw “Notch” a couple of days ago (Notch is a female mule deer, she has a distinctive notch in her ear and is easy to pick out from the other deer), I haven’t seen her in over a month, I was very happy to see that she is alive and well.

My garden is doing pretty good, through some of the plants are looking rather ratty, I have let the spinach and some of the lettuce go to seed, they are looking particularly tattered, but I’ll get some good seed from them. I noticed that I am getting blossom end rot on my tomatoes, I looked it up today to see what I can do about it, it seems that it’s caused by a lack of calcium and/or low moisture, since we have been getting plenty of rain, that leaves the calcium issue. So I took a hand full of Tums (the green ones that Bob doesn’t like), I crushed them up, next I added a cup (or so) of powdered milk and about half a cup of Epsom salt, I mixed it all together and put a handful at the base of each tomato plant, it began to rain as I was walking back to the cabin so it should get watered in good, hopefully this will do the trick, the Tums are rich in calcium, the milk has calcium too, the Epsom salt has magnesium in it, that is needed for the plant to be able to take up and use the calcium. This fall and winter, when the garden is done, I really need to get some good stuff into the earth, I know a lady on the next mountain who has a horse, she said I could have all the manure I want, I’m sure I’ll take advantage of her offer… :)

Bob’s son came by yesterday and spent the night, he had to leave today, but it was a good visit. His son is in the Marines, he is stationed in California, he got a few days off, flew to Dallas, visited his mom and other family, got his truck and a few of his things that he had left behind, he drove to our place, got here yesterday evening, made it in good time. I was very …

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