I couldn’t resist the tulips

While my cute Mum was in town for Easter, she decided to brighten our Easter dinner table with these beautiful tulips. Now 3 days later, they are still lovely. As I was feeding the kids their morning eggs, I noticed the light coming in behind the vase. I am merely an amateur when it comes to photography, but I do love taking pictures. In this moment, I just couldn’t resist. I even moved chairs and placements for one of them. So lovely.

Petaluma’s Lighted Boats

Meg has a J.D. in Urban, Land Use and Environmental Law. She focuses on maintaining the balance of community and environmental health, healthy lifestyles, and encouraging sustainable living.

As new locals to Petaluma, my husband and I have been trying to explore as much of our new surroundings as possible. It is truly an amazing experience to move from Kansas City to California, and every weekend we find something new and fun to “research.” Sometimes it’s a vineyard in the wine country, or a beach in Point Reyes National Park. This past weekend we decided to explore Petaluma’s “old town” (downtown), where we watched to annual Petaluma Lighted Boats on the river.

The boats were supposed to come up the river and into the turning basin (which is basically located in the middle of downtown) around 6:00 or 6:30pm on Saturday. We thought we would go downtown around 5:00pm, walk around a little bit, visit my new favorite furniture store, Roe & Co., and then wander over to the river walk to see the boats. Little did we know, it was going to be packed! We barely found a parking spot, and when we made our way to the river walk, we were fighting for a space to actually see the river. There must have been several thousand people wandering around. It was amazing!

Our next adventure will be to take the driving tour of Petaluma’s Lighted Houses and Businesses. I have to say, for a community without snow, Petaluma sure knows how to reign in the holiday spirit. It’s a wonderful place to be for our first Christmas season away from our hometown.

How We Spent Our Summer Vacation–Le Mandorelle

How We Spent our Summer Vacation–Le Mandorelle

A week of our trip to Italy was spent with friends.  Together we rented a lovely country home and adjoining guesthouse outside of Monticello, Italy. The route included driving the steep and winding road through Monticello. We were warned to shift into first gear when we saw the Monticello city limit sign. We were glad we listened to the warning. Monticello is as dramatic as it is small.  We no sooner entered the small town than we were leaving it.  Our destination, Le Mandorelle, more than justified the challenge to reach it.  Its owners are former residents of Kansas City. The property is 12 acres and includes a residence with 3 large bedrooms bathroom suites, a guest cottage with two bedrooms, and two baths, 3 dining areas and a large patio area.

In addition to a pool, the grounds include lush gardens with roses in bloom all around us.  There were rows of grapes, olive trees, a vegetable garden and geraniums. The vegetable garden is for guests and we did not hesitate to enjoy the benefits. There were honey bees everywhere. While we were in residence the owners harvested the grapes, olives and honey. He is on the property almost daily, not to bother us but to attend to the farm. We see him in his yellow beekeeper’s protective gear as he harvest the honey. His biggest concern that day is the death of his queen bees and the urgency to replace them. With two days new queens are in residence and the hive is back in business.

Our host gave us a lasagna for our first meal which is truly delicious. It was made from a wonderful sausage, mushrooms, truffles, cheese and pasta. All it needs was to be heated. Despite our combined efforts it took two hours to figure out how to heat the magnificent but confusing gas stove. But with salad, bread and pasta we sat and talked about travels in the past and the week in front of us.  The fully equipped kitchen, outside pizza oven, and supplies of our hosts’ vegetables, wine and olive oil, made meals here a dream.

Finally, the panoramic view added to the pleasure of our residence. Not only did the hills roll unendingly into each other, but the farms and estates themselves followed the curves of the land. The view was not the patchwork of square or rectangular plots we see in Kansas and Missouri but consisted of waves of crops, plowed lands and forests of green. The colors of the landscape include deep greens and straw yellows. The crops included acres of sunflowers drying in place until the seeds are ready to harvest.  Our September stay enabled us to have the satisfaction of watching first hand the completion of the harvest.  It is a special place and we felt privileged to enjoy the property to its fullest.  But now, on to Umbria.