Monday, May 2, 2011

Days 11, 12 and 13--Weird Winds and Sonom-nom-nom....

After we got back from white water rafting (Yosemite post to follow, I promise!) we headed back for the coast. We ended up staying at McConnell State Recreation Area which is in the midst of a bunch of orange groves. I call this part ¨Weird Winds¨ because this is the first campground where I had trouble sleeping. The wind made all sorts of weird noises, tent noises, tree noises and the sound of a party nearby made me a little paranoid. In the morning the wind blew my peanut butter sandwiches all over, making me shout really loudly and scare the nearby camper´s dogs.
For dinner that night we had what I called 8 peas, shitake mushrooms and ravioli, which I was trying to make sound fancy, but was really fresh & easy cheesy canned ravioli (organic at least) and sauteed dried shitakes (leftover from the pantry) and 8 fresh farm stand peas.
The next day we headed towards Napa. We stopped at Starbucks to decide on a winery to visit and a campground to stay at. We ended up deciding Napa was overpriced and headed straight for Spring Lake Campground in Santa Rosa, CA. The campground was nice enough, but the wind was so strong that it bent the tent in the night. Also, the shower was $1.50 for 5 minutes and not even warm the whole time.
We packed up our tent and headed for our first winery, Paradise Ridge in Santa Rosa, which obviously has a beautiful view.

Afterwards, we stopped at Whole Foods in Santa Rosa to pick up our provisions bag for Sonoma County Farm Trails tomorrow.

We decided to get lunch there since the food looked good (and no tips required). We each got a panini and cup of soup for $7 each, which were delicious. While in the store we heard an announcement for a free facial demonstration, I´ve been hankering for a spa day, and so I decided to stick around.

The demo was from Ted and Ron from MoonEssence. Their products use some wonderful smelling plant extracts and essential oils. Especially lovely was the Daily Moisture Whip which has the heavenly scent of fennel, SPF 30 from zinc and titanium dioxides and rubs in perfectly. My face looked, felt and smelled delicious (¨Honey, smell my face! Smell my face!¨). I will have to get a jar for myself just as soon as I get a job.

On a recommendation from a Whole Foods staff member, we headed over to Freestone Vineyards. Who were wonderful gracious at 5 minutes before closing, and were my husband´s choice for best wine of the vineyards we went to.

Nearby, mentioned in the same tip, we found Wild Flour Bread and ordered some delicious cheesy wonderful bread, delicious sweet cinnamon bread and hot cocoa. Yum.
Armed with yummy bread and a list of campgrounds we set off to drive up highway 1 and find a new campground. A campground by the Beach was rejected because there was way too much wind, and I couldn´t take it anymore. Once we got to the town of Jenner, we turned inland to follow the Russian River. We finally found Cassini Family Ranch. We loved that it had free Wifi (at least around the buildings), a not too expensive laundry room, and a nice secluded campsite with trees and wildflowers.
The next morning, it was time for Sonoma County Farm Trails aka Blossoms, Bees and Barnyard Babies. We took this as an opportunity to get an idea of what´s involved in some of the food making activities we might like to try once we settle in in New Hampshire. Mainly--raising chickens for eggs, keeping bees and raising cute goats for milk (I still have to learn to make cheese!). We actually went to this first goat place (Barlas Boer Goats) because they had a chicken raising Q&A. After answering questions from current chicken owners Dawn from Treats for Chickens gave us and another couple (who live in San Francisco, but plan on going back to Minnesota) the low-down on starting out. Admittedly, raising chickens still sounds like a lot of work, but fresh eggs sound so tempting, and baby chicks so appealing that I might just try someday.
Next, we stopped at the seed bank in Petaluma to pick up a free giant sequoia seedling (which we are trying to figure out how to get back to New Hampshire intact) and pick out a free seed packet. I picked this purple rohlrabi variety. I love kohlrabi (or cold rabbit as we used to call it as kids) and I know it grows in Canada, so NH should be fine. After that we sampled cheeses at Petaluma Creamery and had some delicious ice cream. Onward we went to Senk Farms for a very interesting beekeeping talk (how to start, how to catch a swarm) and some spicy pepper jellies.
Finally, heading back north, we attended a goat raising 101 session at Foggy River Farm. Thankfully, this made goats seem more manageable to my husband, because Nigerian Dwarf Goats are adorable.
The last two stops were Mueller Winery and Bernier Farms nothing like ending the day with great wine and an amazingly diverse farm (who knew there were 18 kinds of garlic?). We headed back to camp, knowing that Sonoma County had tried really hard to win us back for California. Time to leave!

No comments:

Post a Comment