Tag Archives: fall

Quarry Hill Botanical Garden

Here’s your soundtrack while reading this post: Eyes by Rogue Wave and These Days by Nico.

I had been meaning to visit Quarry Hill Botanical Gardens for some time now, and I’m so glad I did. The gardens are located off Highway 12 in Glen Ellen, so about a 15 minute drive from the Sonoma Square.

I started my morning off slowly, with some extra time under the covers just soaking in the quiet and stillness. After a sufficient snooze, I roused myself, got dressed (yep, remembered to do that), and headed over to the Barking Dog for a decaf coffee and cinnamon bun the size of my face. I didn’t think there was any way I could finish that bun, but I did. It was pretty tasty, but that was a lot of dough. Good thing there was a good amount of walking in my near future.

Getting to the gardens was easy and there are signs pointing in the right direction so its not difficult to figure out where to park, pay, etc. Once you do all of that good stuff, the entrance is up an incline, and off you go…

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I recommend wearing some sturdy walking shoes, as there are paved sections as well as plenty of trails. I wore a pair of Merrel boots that worked well.

What surprised me the most about QH was the expanse of it! I expected more of a quaint, picturesque sort of garden. But really this was a series of walking/nature trails with plenty of hills to keep you working. You also really choose your own adventure, there’s not a course you have to follow. That makes it really fun, because you can wander off in different directions, down tiny trails, and do your own discovering.

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This little area seemed to be a meditation or area of thoughtfulness… it was beautiful and one of my favorite parts of the gardens. I didn’t see details about this at the entrance (probably because I didn’t grab one of the brochures), but people had written their wishes on these cards and hung them on the beams of the structure.

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I walked for about an hour and a half total, and kept stumbling upon beautiful surprises.

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At the top (or what seemed to be the top) of the trails was a lovely sitting area with Tibetan prayer flags, a stone offering area, and a nice chance for a bit of reflection.

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I headed back and around, and found my way to the exit. Before I left I had to snap a few pictures of the vineyards at the entrance. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that there are vineyards here, this is Sonoma after all. 🙂

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Stanly Lane Pumpkin Patch!

Yesterday Husband and I actually had a day off together! The stars were in line, and we had a fantastic day.

First we went to REI for new hiking shoes for Hubs. (Actually the very first thing was Peet’s for coffee. We have priorities.) Then off to Ike’s Sandwiches, my absolute favorite sandwich shop that has ever existed. They have a few different locations in the Bay Area. Definitely check them out if you’re nearby. Hubs and I switched roles: I had a turkey sandwich (with cheese!) and he had a veggie sandwich with fried eggplant and some unknown yummy sauce.

After lunch this pregnant lady needed a nap. A long one. So we didn’t get to give those new hiking boots their first outing, oh well. But I was up for a mini-outing by means of the Stanly Lane Pumpkin Patch. Its super easy to get to, only about a 20 minute drive from Sonoma. 

There are pigs, goats, and a fuzzy (!!) cow to pet, a haystack for the kids (and adventurous adults) to climb, a gift shop, and of course pumpkins galore. They even have wheelbarrows to tow the kiddos and pumpkins around. 

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We arrived at about 4:30 in the afternoon, and there were still plenty of people milling about and lots of pumpkins to choose from. It was nice that the pumpkins weren’t just lumped into one little area, they were spread out everywhere so that you could really explore and pick out the “just right” pumpkin.

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Have I mentioned that I am a huge animal lover? Especially pigs? Pigs are just the cutest little stinkers ever. This one, and its little pink butt, were so cute I almost burst.

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Husband made a new friend too.

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And they stands set up with different gourds (love that word) and mini-pumpkins.

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After picking out our just right pumpkin we made our way into the gift shop. 

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If you’re into olive oil, you’re in luck. They have a huge selection of olive oils available to taste. There’s also a large cooler stocked with different drinks (everything from chocolate milk to chardonnay) and snacks. Plus there’s a coffee and tea bar!

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We didn’t stay especially long at the pumpkin patch, maybe about 30 minutes, but I’m sure if you had a little one you would wind up staying for at least an hour. So we headed out to Sonoma Market for some dinner essentials, and then stopped at the in-laws’ for a quick drink and hello.

I know Cara is a major reason why anyone looks at this blog, so I’d be silly not to post this picture of her sniffing my baby bump.

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Will you be hitting up your local pumpkin patch? 

Well Seasoned

Fall is upon us…

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In Sonoma Fall means Harvest. Its really a beautiful time to visit, and a fun one. The season of harvest lends itself easily to celebration.

We’re celebrating the bounty by making apple cider from an enormous box of green apples given to me recently. Its definitely a perk having a winemaker as a husband who can use his skills to craft homemade booze on a whim.

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I would show you pictures of the cider right now, during its fermentation process, but frankly it ain’t pretty. I mean, its pretty in a sense that it will soon be glorious cider for all to enjoy. But appearance-wise it just looks like cloudy, frothy, apple juice. But I promise to post a glowing report once its ready for the enjoyment. (Side note: I will be trying a SIP only since I am with child.)

One downside to harvest: being a Harvest Widow. Cute name, huh? But its kind of true. Hubs is super busy making wine in Texas (Texas? Yep!). Not really complaining, but I would much rather him be around. 

But who is around you may ask? Besides the cutie patootie in my belly? My mom is here! From Texas! I traded a husband for a mom with the Lone Star State. She is in town for her first visit to our new home here in Sonoma. All’s well, and we’re enjoying muchos leisure time. She will be staying until Sunday, which is when the trade will happen again and Husband will be back in town. 

So how are you celebrating fall? Are you making pumpkin flavored everything?

Pumpkin Butter!

Tis the season for PUMPKIN. Pumpkin everything please. New on my pumpkin list is this fabulous pumpkin butter from Oh She Glows.

 

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I’m eating it right now. Like right now.

 

Here’s the recipe:

 

Lightened Up Raw Pecan Pumpkin Butter

Vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, no bake/raw, soy-free

By Angela Liddon

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw pecans, soaked
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 3/4 cup canned pureed pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2-3 tbsp maple syrup or other liquid sweetener, to taste

Directions:

  1. Place pecans in a bowl and cover with water by a couple inches. Let pecans soak for a few hours. Drain and rinse the pecans well and then place in the blender.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients into the blender and blend on highest speed until the dip is smooth. Add sweetener to taste.
  3. Serve with apple or pear slices. Store leftover dip in an air-tight jar or container in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.

Read more: http://ohsheglows.com/2013/09/17/lightened-up-raw-pecan-pumpkin-butter/#ixzz2fMDHkEiz

 

I thought the recipe was super easy. My Vitamix blender definitely helped, and you may want to use a food processor if you don’t have a high-powered blender.

All of the ingredients smelled and looked like fall…

 

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The pictures of the recipe on ohsheglows.com inspired me not only to make this yumminess, but also to buy one of those handy apple-slicers. I already don’t want to remember what life was like before this thing.

 

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What are you cooking up to celebrate fall?