Monday, October 4, 2010

The Country Living Special

The Country Living Special

June 2004

No Pope in Sight

Yes, the joys of country living*—mountain lions, bugs, and gun (oh no!) ranges in the backyard and what could be better than all of this excitement, than a lazy weekend (so it was just one day) of eating and imbibing and imbibing and imbibing and yes the wine was infinite and good.
       Yes, it was a YES day in lovely Pope Valley. Yes to the good wine. Yes to the yummy food. Yes to the weather. Yes to the hosts and yes to the many guests who lounged on the deck, or took the lift up to Level One or just spent the day down at the shooting range, blasting skeet out of the sky.
       It was also an I think” and “You should” kind of day, in which our lovely hosts, Karl and Karin were tossed so many ideas for their new property that they’ll never be able to stop building and, yes, I lied about the lift, Level One, and the skeet range—sort of—but these are all wonderful “you need” ideas that we know Karl and Karin are eager to get busy with.
       For the unfortunate few (and I can think of only two) that did not drag their taste buds out to the ranch, we will again, go over the menu. Sort of.

Getting Loaded

The day started with a white bean chicken chili. Can you taste it? No, wait. It all started with chips from a bag and salsa. Great chips that I was never able to figure out just where they might have come from. Trader Joe’s? Maybe, but for now it’s a Pope Creek Ranch™ secret. They were great chips and the white bean chicken chili (a delicious tongue twister) was monster good and monster good must mean that they were great and . . . Did I mention we had already started in on the wine?
       After the warm up, we had a walk around the property and took a little wine with us. Wine and laughter and a bunch of them “I thinks” and “You needs” and we ended up on the future site of Level One, which will have a deck, full bar, Jacuzzi and let’s not forget the ski lift. In spite of there being no snow, Level One is up on a hill top and seein’ how most of us spent the rest of the day pickin’ stickers from our socks, the lift will come in handy.
       And now for a solemn moment and a bit of trivia. From Level One, lookin’ in an easterly direction you can see the decaying architecture of a Maybeck designed group of buildings and it was on this spot that so many years ago, Ronald Reagan announced to the world that he was running for one office or another. Governor, maybe. (or so says Karin)
       Once we got back from Level One we settled in on the porch—no, the deck—and had a little more wine and applied bug juice. We had tomatoes and mozzarella and basil, main course of grilled sausage, chicken breast, corn on the cob and wine. More wine.
       And what, you might ask, did we do while grilling and drinking and . . . well, mostly we all just sat there and let Karl to the heavy duty grill work while we contemplated the lovely and soon to be demolished red garage and itty bitty barn that was really a shed (and some day I'm goin’ to grow up and be a big red barn) trying to pass as a barn (wait, was there a shed?) but Karl and Karin put an end to those dreams and now the little shed that could is probably nothing more than landfill. Another solemn moment, please. For the shed we shed a tear or two.

To the Mines

If you’re thinking that the wine held us back or that a fear of further stickers in the socks might make us mellow, think again.
       We massed and marched. Determined to explore the northern most reaches, the high hinterlands and the rope swing out back. Our gallant leader, Spot!!!! The Jack Russell broke trail on this evening parade and off we went, Spot leading us across the treacherous rapids of Pope Creek and up the road to mining and mountain lion country.
       Our party of mountain rebels was soon joined by a lawyer and a computer programmer, whose evil intent (but they brought the wine, so who cares) was to lead us into the mountains and perhaps sacrifice us to the gods of Mondavi or Gates or some such evil corporate capitalist machine.
       But Spot was there and no rabid pack of great Danes or socks pierced with wretched stickers was going to stop us from getting back to the ranch and dessert and of course, the wine.

Magic moon beams

Dessert was a Karl Petzke masterpiece of angel food cake with berries and smothered in hand-whipped cream and to top it off, coffee. And we admired the moonlight.
       Yes, it was a seriously sweet day of sun, food and frolic (maybe) and we hope the dazzling duo of Karl and Karin, will have us back to break in the lift. Right?

Musical interlude

If you can break away from your Britney Spears affliction for just a moment, please check out these two “off the beaten path” artists.

DAN REEDER  @  and my personal favorite is #18 Clean Elvis

I usually know if I am hooked by a song/artist within the first few notes and usually I end up liking the entire album, or I’m stuck with one out of twenty.
       With Dan I only read a review and that was good enough for me. Then I pasted the review to my door and looked at it for months until I finally decided that I had an extra $20. I bought the CD and wasn’t  at all disappointed. Dan’s one of those guys, with a lovely gravel voice and a take on life to make us all smile.

And then came Joanna Newsom @

Think Tiny Tim let loose on a harp . . . or something like that. I read the review and kind of agreed but disagreed (at least with the reviewer's dislikes) with it, if only because she is so wonderfully unique. Go get yer harp on!


Hey, just so you all know, Bob and Carole are now living in sin—he’s moved in and she’s moved over.

And speaking of moving over, Carole’s next show, titled, “Regarding the Edge” will take place at the San Pablo Arts gallery** (“SPAG” to those in the know) and the reception will be Sunday July 18th from one to three.

Our next dinner will be hosted by Corrinne, date yet to be determined.

* Carole is still pulling stickers out of her shoes.
** 13831 San Pablo Avenue (at Church lane) Maple Hall Civic Center, San Pablo

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