Chasing My Tail

RANCHO LA HECTIC–I mean La Zaca, which for new readers is the California ranch where I spend about half my time. The irony is that the word “Zaca” means “place of peace, quiet, and contentment.” I will keep this in mind as I chase my tail up one hill and down the other and around four teenage boys, and the Cowboy (aka His Grace my sweetheart), and two more house guests, and trying to get them all to PUT ON SUNSCREEN DAMMIT, and re-planting the garden which was pitiful when I got here, and fixing 17 flower arrangements , and having 3o people for dinner, and 72,000 emails I haven’t even looked at, and in between getting a month’s worth of work done around the ranch in the 10 days I’m here until I return in August, and writing my next book, and other than that I’m not doing a thing.

How are you?

I miss you.

It bugs me not to write.

Meanwhile here’s some Zaca:

Lounges on the lawn at RLZ
These great wooden and rope beds were designed by the talented Fernando Santangelo. Putting them on the lawn was His Grace's excellent idea, and this is something you easily could do, too. Air mattresses on frames or on the ground, with big pillows and pretty spreads or quilts draped over would work beautifully. Setting up an outdoor movie screen is great, but you could settle in with a flick on your laptop just as well.

Tonight we are setting up a screen outdoors and watching Shane, the greatest cowboy movie of all time. If any of us–those energizer bunny teenage boys included–make it past the opening credits without falling asleep and drooling, it will be a miracle.

See more of the designer Fernando Santangelo’s work here.



  1. I hope that you and all those teenage “sodbusters” have plenty of “soda pop” on hand while you’re watching Shane. Even with the heat and hectic pace, Zaca still sounds like a little slice of heaven. Hang in there, Auntie Fran. They’ll remember this week forever.

  2. Zaca or Çaca, also Zacatzin (Çacatzin), was a 15th century Aztec noble, prince and a warrior who served as captain general under the ruler Moctezuma I, his brother. The name “Zaca” is derived from Nahuatl zacatl, meaning “grass”.

    The name Rancho la Zaca was given to the land grant ranch in Los Olivos in the 1840’s and more information about that can be found here:

    1. Thank you so much for this, Ruby B! The ranch does have an interesting history and the state has a really interesting history – much of which I have to learn – and look forward to.

  3. Frances, absolutely love your newsletter but I have to disagree with your movie choice. Definitely the greatest Western of all time is “One Eyed Jacks” starring Marlon Brando, which is also the only film he ever directed.

    We are trying to keep cool here in Chicago. Looking forward to your new book!

    1. Ah so it’s like that is it? I confess I haven’t seen One Eyed Jacks. Perhaps we should put it to a vote? Meanwhile hope y’all catch a breeze up there. Xo F

  4. HERE’S TO ”not doing a thing”. I hope THAT book is a “Bee” book!!! Those beds are to die for. Shane, Shane, Shane…. (‘:

  5. I have been so hoping you would do a book about Bee Cottage! Loved your series about it for House Beautiful.

  6. Sounds like a lovely time. Yay, a “Bee” book, really looking forward to that! Love the photos, those beds look darn comfy. La Zaca is magnifico! Please keep us posted on the book, okay?

  7. Great Lady! Great Blog! Did ya’ll make it through the movie? I would not have on that big comfy bed!! Speak soon!!

    1. Aww Billy thank you! Would you believe the only ones who actually watched the movie were His Grace, Cowboy Wyatt and me. The boys sat around the fire and talked big. My nephew fell completely asleep. I think in the middle of his own sentence. Sitting straight up in a chair with his head back. If i had done that I would have a aore neck for a week.

  8. I agree with the others, Yeah a ‘Bee’ book. I can hardly wait! When will it be released? Have a great rest of the Summer. It was too Hot in Atlanta, so we ran to North Carolina. Stay out of the heat and wear your sunscreen.
    xo, Lissy

    1. Y’all have all been so sweet about the Bee book, wow. Thank you for the encouragement. You all rock. Xox

  9. Beds look great Frances- how long did it take Stella to jump up and take over a bed for herself? And MY favorite Cowboy movie is, “Jeremiah Jones” with Robert Redford….yummy!

    1. It took Stella until today because she has been in jail bc of an injury. But reat assured that one formerly ivory mattress is now mostly black lab.

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