This weekend, we had the gift of an invitation to Papa's best friend's vineyard in the wine country. (Or did we invite ourselves? Funny, I can't remember. Anywho...)
We didn't have any expectations, just a desire to connect with a couple that meant so much to Papa, the father (-in-law) we loved so much. Who could have guessed that it would unfold into one of those magical sort of Saturdays worthy of a page in a child's scrapbook.
Ralph and Sharon have a beautiful little house at the end of a long winding road, high up on a hill overlooking rolling vineyards. We were all simply in awe of the beauty of their land, the thrill of their farm life, and their warm hospitality. Here is a little taste of what we enjoyed:
Their house was just picture perfect, and the interior looked like something out of Martha Stewart's "Best of the Best". Behind their house is the vegetable garden which I can only imagine is an incredible sight in the summer months.
A beautiful oak to the right of the house.
Lil' Boo and me played for hours out front with everyone.
Of course there were chickens! They have eight, the same two breeds as us, Rhode Island Red and Barred Rock. They said they got 7-8 eggs A DAY, but that they only eat about two a week. Hmmmm...something tells me they must have some mighty happy neighbors!
We got some great ideas from Ralph about feeding our own chickens. See all the cut grass on the floor of their coop? He cuts them a big pile of green grass every day and says they LOVE it. We're going to do this with our grass clippings after mowing the lawn.
And of course, there was a dog. Ya gotta have a dog on the vineyard.
There was a good size patch between the chicken coop and the honey bees (yes, I am now considering raising bees) where they grow pumpkins in the Fall. I asked Ralph how many pumpkins he had each season and what he did with them all. He said, "Oh...we get A LOT. Then we just invite our 14 grandkids over and everyone gets to take home about 10." I just loved that story. What lucky grandkids! The rest of the year, they use the space to dump all their compost materials. Here's what my favorite silver shoes look like standing in the pile:
I see egg shells, pistachio shells, onion skins, apricot pits and corn skins.
No visit to "Happy Homestead World" would be complete without a drive on the tractor:
And then it was inside for lunch...
Hold onto your seats...
You ready for this?
PULLED PORK SANDWICHES!!!!
And homemade coleslaw, and broccoli salad, then fresh baked m&m cookies for the kids and apple cobbler ala mode for the adults. When Sharon served us all up tea with honey I half jokingly asked her if the honey was from her bees, to which she answered, "Yes!"
Sharon had the most incredible farm kitchen. Unfortunately my camera battery died ten minutes after we arrived so all these had to be shot with my iPhone. Here's a glimpse:
It's only fitting that all the toys at Grandma and Grandpa's house are all vintage Fisher Price. Here's what my favorite silver shoes look like next to a pile of little people:
This morning, Ralph emailed us this picture of one of the many wild turkey's that visits their vineyard every morning. What an incredible place to live and what a lovely couple Papa's friends are to open up their homestead and share it with us. We only wish Papa had been there to share it with us all. But then again, I'm sure he was, in some way.