Each morning I start my day in our gardens and opening up our chicken coop for the day. It's early morning, and I am scurrying around to see if any new seeds have sprouted in our kitchen garden, what needs water, what is about to bloom, how my new roses are doing, if what I transplanted recently is doing well, and what chore or project needs to be done. It is also a time I reflect on my gratitude, my blessings, and my bliss. I call these "coffee cup thoughts".
My husband, John, and I have lived here on our cherished property ten years this month. What an adventure it has been and so important a journey in our lives. We feel at one with the massive pine trees so deeply rooted and grounded here. Today is a simple celebration of our time here, and the joy, living here has meant to us. I wanted to reflect on ten special happenings or experiences, one for each year, that have touched our lives, and share them with you.
* Out of nowhere came a first-sighting of a stunning male and female bluebird in our vineyard, curious visitors and eager to follow us aound. It had been almost seven years and nary a sighting of any bluebirds before. Why were they here now?
* Collecting "still warm in your hands" just laid eggs from our happy hens. The indescribable golden goodness and taste of fresh organic eggs, and our sweet "Hollywood Girls" who laid them.
* A stunning perfect rainbow over our vineyard, and the Pacific Ocean to our west. Was the "pot of gold" here? It has happened just once.
* The excitement of our first vineyard harvest, so many years down the road from when it first was just an idea. All the time, classes, care, management, and devotion to our vines, culminating in the beautiful ink-black elongated syrah clusters gloriously dangling from our vines. The grapes were ripe, the brix (sugar %) was right, and each grape was so tasty, sweet, and juicy. Will these grapes transform into great wine?
* Last year's first bite into a delicious ripe fuji apple off of our espaliered tree. Our fuji apple trees had just limped along for years, and then last year, they produced the most "mouth-watering" sweet and crunchy fresh-freckled apples I have ever tasted. Will this year repeat?
* Hearing the first incredibly romantic banter of a pair of equally-matched barn owls. It sent tingling goosebumps up my spine. Will they be back this winter?
* The first sweet wafting scent from my spring blooming patch of sweet peas, so beautiful a natural perfume, and unexpected as I innocently walked by. It totally stopped me in my tracks. Could there by anything more divine at that moment?
*Finding my first hummingbird nest, so very tiny, and intricately engineered. We have some many wonderful and curious hummingbirds that greet and visit with us each and every day. It is reassuring that they make our gardens, their home, too.
*Watching the sun traverse the horizon in ever so gradual increments, day by day, month by month, moving north in the spring/summer, and south in the fall/winter, always setting perfectly into the Pacific Ocean, and reminding us to be grateful for every single day. We had been here several years before, right before our eyes, we saw two looming islands off our horizon. Dry and clear conditions have to be so perfect, we are lucky to see the islands once or twice a year.
*Understanding the art of growing an abundance of home grown vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes. Making our first summer-grilled pizza with fresh oregano pesto, aged gouda cheese, and sliced absolute-perfection "Jubilee" tomatoes.
I have not even mentioned our family and friends that have been so much a part of our time here, too, and shared in the many great times, celebrations, and experiences. Please know who you are, and how grateful, you are in our lives. I would have to write a "book" to cover it all.
These are only ten "firsts", and I could have mentioned so many, many more. Remember to embrace the simple joys and pleasures in your world and garden, as they are gifts for you.