Family Makes A House A Home

It has been a whirlwind three months since we moved to the ranch. We have been working feverishly in trying to get our house renovated so that we can accept visitors. As with most renovations, delays occur and the timing gets pushed back which has been slightly frustrating but understandable.

There was the one visit from my best girlfriends about a month ago, who in their good spirit, slept on the floor, sofa and make-shift guest room…only something you would allow your best friends to do. The house was nowhere near being in shape but having my friends visit brought a spirit to the house, we were together having fun and memories were starting to be made…we will someday look back and laugh at the accommodations they endured.

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Burn Day

We experienced our first “burn day” on the ranch. In our previous suburban life a burn day meant that you could use your fireplace, now it has a whole new meaning.

After spending almost two months trimming trees, pruning the vineyard and olives trees and attempting to massacre the Juniper bushes, there are piles of brush and debris scattered about the 10 acre property. It becomes clear that we can not ignore it any longer.

A burn permit is obtained, the location – a safe distance from the house – is secured and safety precautions are put in place such as a ready-and-waiting water hose.

With much trepidation, the brush pile is lit and off she goes…in no time, huge orange flames begin their graceful dance in the air and it is mesmerizing. Unfortunately, there is no time for admiration…for the next three hours, we collect all the brush and debris and feed the belly of the beast. It feels good to finally have a purpose for the ranch “toys” we have purchased such as the Polaris Ranger. It becomes clear that items such as this are a necessity for this lifestyle.

A sense of accomplishment comes over us when we see that the majority of the tons of brush around the property has been depleted to a small pile of ashes.

As the fire dissipates…we rake down ashes to speed up the cooling process but we have to keep stepping away as the extreme heat stings our faces and makes our eyes water. At the end of the day, the smell of smoke is embedded in our clothes, hair and even nostrils but it does not really bother us because we feel strong in having met the day’s challenge.

Our first burn day comes to an end and we feel empowered. There is something to be said for a hard day’s work and the sense of accomplishment that comes with going outside of your comfort zone. With that, we are ready for and look forward to our next challenge.

A Change of Season

It’s Spring. A cool breeze blows through the olive tree branches as I prune them. I stop and let the breeze brush across my face as I listen to the faint voices and laughter from a field crew working in the vineyard next door, their joy makes me smile. I feel content.

This lifestyle is new to me. My husband and I have recently retired from our respective jobs in the busy San Francisco Bay Area. We are fortunate, we were able to retire fairly young, in our mid-fifties. After searching for several years for the perfect retirement location, we end up in California’s Central Coast ~ Paso Robles, or as my husband likes to refer to it by its official name, El Paso de Robles. This area is growing into a beautiful wine country region and we’re happy to have settled here while it is still accessible and affordable.

This location is a perfect compromise between what we both wanted. For me: the California lifestyle, still close to the beach, and located in between the Bay Area and Los Angeles where we have both family and friends. For him: 10 acres of land where he can spread his wings and putter around all day long.

We’re two months into this journey and so far we are thrilled. The move to this area has exceeded our expectations. We have met many nice people and feel very welcomed into a community where we had no ties.

The 10-acre ranch will keep us busy for quite awhile as we go through some renovations inside the home and clear brush and landscape around the property…but what else do we have to do, right? Nothing but time.

Today, I pruned some of the 50 olive trees we have on the property, as I have already finished pruning the 1-acre Petit Sirah vineyard a few weeks ago. We don’t really know what we’re doing but we’re having fun learning the process. So we settle into a change of season, both literally and figuratively as we shift ourselves into a new lifestyle and journey in life.