Showing posts from June, 2013

“Always focus on the front windshield and not the review mirror.” ~ Colin Powell

What an amazingly busy time at the rancho this week!  After enjoying a quick jaunt back to Ohio for a wonderfully happy wedding celebration and a family celebration of a graduation, it was time for the ranchers, technically farmers, to turn their attention back to all things rancho, and that careful juggling act of remembering to take care of each item, incorporating new things learned, while continuing the farming education, all the while, not dropping any balls -- or mother nature can be wickedly cruel.

The head rancher spent two weekends at Cal Poly at a vineyard management seminar, which was quite timely, because this is the year the grapes are going to be the lush envy of all Paso (in our heads).  He returned eager to employ all his new-found skills, which worked out perfectly, because in the two weekends his head was being stuffed with information, his grapevines were growing in an out-of-control manner and needed shoot thinning and leaf pulling and spraying.

While this was occur…

"The air was fragrant with a thousand trodden aromatic herbs, with fields of lavender, and with the brightest roses blushing in tufts all over the meadows." ~ William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878)

To the neophyte, the romantic image of a lavender harvest is that of young, beautiful women in flowing white dresses, with baskets, into which each sprig of lavender is placed.

Reality, again, differs greatly from the dream.  Mediterranean climates are harsh, rocky, and hot, which is why lavender thrives in such climates.  So, the flowing white dress would be perfect, right?  Wrong, for so many reasons, newbie.  Bees love lavender.  They cannot get enough of it.  Would that romantic white dress have short sleeves?  If so, think, bee stings.  The neophyte might respond, "Perhaps a longer sleeved dress."  Just not practical.  One must climb into the lavender to cut it, bundle it, and tie it.  A lavender harvester must first start with sunscreen and bug repellant, as a first layer.

Other fauna that enjoy the Mediterranean climate also enjoy the lavender.  Fauna such as lizards and snakes.  Wait, go back.  Snakes, you say?  Yes, and not just any snakes, rattlesnakes.  Not soundin…

Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did. ~Newt Gingrich

It seems as if we've already had a momentous year, getting the EVOO certification, two silver medals, our Processed Food Registration Permit, bottling and labeling all the oil, pruning the vines, racking the 2011 and 2012 wines and keeping those adjusted, updating the rancho website and beginning to get the e-commerce functions up and running.  We are additionally working on promotional materials, and of course, fine-tuning our products so that they are the best we have to offer.  One would expect that one could rest on one's laurels a bit.  However, we've come to the conclusion that there is no laurel resting.  
We had a reminder as to how very fast the year is flying by, the cattle left the property today -- literally, for greener pastures.  2013 has been one of the fourth driest years on record in California since the 1880s, and consequently, it was not a bumper year for grass, which feeds many cattle.  Since the entire property, as well as our neighbor's, has been …