Acres of Roses–A Field Trip to Rose Story Farm

Acres of roses. To sigh for. Rose Story Farm is storied indeed. What a treat, and an education, too. A little less than an hour up the road from us at Rancho La Zaca is the family owned Rose Story Farm, in Carpenteria, California. There are tours from spring to fall and luncheon is served afterward. These are old garden… Continue reading Acres of Roses–A Field Trip to Rose Story Farm

Coming Up: Rose Story Farm…and When Bloggers Collide at a Girls’ Lunch

Coming up: I’ll be posting any minute now about the most delightful day at Rose Story Farm in Carpenteria, California, just a stone’s throw from our Rancho La Zaca. Our hostess said Carpenteria was the flower capital of the world. The world. I thought it was Ecuador or somewhere.

Lenten Roses for the Last of Lent

Lenten roses, aka hellebores, are rather un-sung heroines of the garden–in the US anyway. In Europe they are much beloved as some of the earliest bloomers, hence their name marking mid-February as the time their their petals begin to peek out. With hundreds of species ranging in color from chartreuse to deep claret, hellebores deserve… Continue reading Lenten Roses for the Last of Lent

Quince and Lace Curtains

I love flowering quince. One of the earliest blooming shrubs, usually right behind forsythia, or “for Cynthia” as I used to call it, quince is one of those things you can just stick in a vase and it’s beautiful. Going through seven million photos the other day I ran across this one taken few years ago… Continue reading Quince and Lace Curtains

Double Rainbow Delight

We don’t get that much rain in the Sant Ynez Valley, so when we do it’s great. Everything turns green and stays that way for a while, generally between December and March. Some days when the showers taper off in late afternoon and the sun’s rays slant across the hills, it’s like they’re shining through honey. When the light is magical like that you know there’s a rainbow about to happen somewhere. Maybe even two.

The Best Jambalaya Ever–and Great for a Crowd

This is one of those perfect dishes to make when you don’t know what to make, and it’s a huge crowd pleaser. With the Super Bowl in New Orleans and Mardi Gras coming, a little Cajun comfort food seems just right. Full of shrimp, sausage, chicken, and sumptuously savory rice, this jambalaya is fool-proof and… Continue reading The Best Jambalaya Ever–and Great for a Crowd

Star of Wonder, Star of Night

January 6 marks the Epiphany and the 12th day of Christmas. I took this picture a few weeks ago at the ranch and it made me think of the Star of Bethlehem and the wise men following it. Matthew is the only one of the gospels to mention the wise men, but it’s a pretty… Continue reading Star of Wonder, Star of Night

How Green Is Our Valley?

How green is our valley? Green. When the Santa Ynez Valley turns gloomy and rainy, which it does in winter though not often, everything turns green. It happens almost instantly. You go to sleep in oak savanna and wake up in Ireland. It’s a miracle. Nature is miraculous, of course, in all its heart-stopping beauty and staggering… Continue reading How Green Is Our Valley?

Gingerbread Houses of the Solvang Bakery… and a Suspenseful Tale

I love nothing more than a pretty house. Especially one I can eat. Bringing delicious definition to the term “eye candy” are the gingerbread houses of our beloved Santa Ynez Valley Solvang Bakery. But don’t take my word for it. Ask the movie stars and super-celebs who beat the door down to get their holiday orders in… Continue reading Gingerbread Houses of the Solvang Bakery… and a Suspenseful Tale

When Turkey and White Bean Chili Is Just the Thing

You may not want to think about cooking for a while, but if you make this chili and freeze part of it, you’ll have banked at least one night off. Comes in handy over the holidays. Also the perfect thing just when you can’t eat one more sweet potato casserole, slab of stuffing, or stick… Continue reading When Turkey and White Bean Chili Is Just the Thing