Author: Lisa

Fried Chicken and Memory

My first boyfriend’s father taught me how to make fried chicken. The boyfriend has faded into a dim memory, but I vividly remember his father. A tough Marine colonel from a hardscrabble Texas background, he was handsome enough to marry a Southern belle. And I mean a chiffon wearing delicate Tennessee Williams flower who couldn’t cook and wouldn’t cook. I remember dinners at that house being heavy on salads, take-out and sandwiches. Unless the Colonel was cooking. He was quite a good cook in a classic American style. His specialty was fried chicken and he was rightly proud of...

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The Getty and Us

Our “endowment” here at the Rancho is probably equivalent to what the fabled Getty Museum spends on toilet paper…for a week. But our two gardens have more in common than you think. It all starts with a great gardener — preferably one who loves California native plants. I told you earlier how Ranch Manager Louis got the head gardener of the Getty involved in our landscaping design. (If not read about it here.) I came back from a trip to LA raving about the succulent gardens at the Getty and armed with dozens of pictures of layouts I wanted...

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The Resilience of Natives

If you have been following along, you are no doubt aware that, in Sonoma at the Rancho, we have a strict Native California habitat policy. Except for the grapes, olive trees and lavender, everything we plant, everything we nurture, everything we allow to keep root is a California native plant. We had a pretty much pure California native habitat. That is until the wildfires which burned through nearly 90% of our land. But here’s the amazing thing: neither fire, nor drought, nor lack of irrigation seems to be able to keep our Natives down. They grew slowly during the...

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Ready for Rain

It’s been an unusually dry December in California. Usually that’s a bad thing since we only have rain in maybe three or four months in a good year. This year, we are a little relieved to have the extra lead time. The main work of recovery after our disastrous wildfires has been erosion control. The rain delay gave us enough time for the enormous job of rolling out wattles, strawing hillsides and securing vulnerable hillsides against the torrential rains that we hope we’ll get a little later on. Now we’ve got the rain. Not as extensive as usual, not...

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New Beginnings

We are entering a new year and I think many of us are more than happy to see the back of 2017. So here’s to new beginnings. After weeks of recovery work from the devastating Sonoma fires, it looks like Mother Nature is taking the reins. Walking in our woods, I noticed that some of the most scorched areas of our rancho are sprouting a record number of Zigadenus fremontii, also known as the Chaparral Star Lily. While Zigadenus is one of California’s most beautiful wildflowers, it’s worth noting that all parts of this plant are deadly poisonous. There...

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About This Blog

Being the true-life adventures of two city kids and two spoiled terriers as they transition to a life of winemaking and organic farming in Sonoma. You know Green Acres? It's like that.

For applause and kudos, I'd prefer you leave a comment on a post. But if you are shy, contact me at lisa [at] leftcoastcowboys.com