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WebSideStory Pick of the Week! 3/16/98

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    So You still wanna live in the country???? 
    It is now nearly 3 years since I moved from Silicon Valley (San Francisco Bay Area) down to the ranch in the warm desert sun in Southern California. Mind you, this is not an ordinary country or a place in the sun out in nowhere land. We are indeed in the country where we have over 20 wineries in our neighborhood. For goodness sake... This is a Wine Country. Well, it is not Napa Valley or Sonoma but.. it is a beautiful place in the sun where you can get away for the weekend or spend a week here and unwind. There are so many activities to do and places to go here besides the quietness of night and bright stars in the dark. If you love nature and the raw natural, naked land, the smell of horses in the air, the sound of the critters, chickens, frogs, crickets, coyotes howling and dog barkings.. Welcome to the country .... When our two sons visited their cousins in Oregon, they used to drive up to one of their cousin's house in the middle of the day and they lovingly told this story. "We drove up to the front of the house in the middle of the day and right in their backyard, they were sitting around and enjoying their barbecue chickens. We thought "wow, in the middle of the day, in the middle of the week?" Well, here we enjoy our barbecue all the time, although not in the middle of the day but in most evening, and mostly, any day we want to. I love to barbecue beef, chickens. on our giant built in gas barbecue, (Yes, gas, it is more convenient) The food taste so good!!! The smell is warping in the afternoon air.... (Oh our poor neighbors, they have to put up with the smell... LOL) Alright, I am planning to take some BBQ to him one day or may be, may be we can have a neighborhood BBQ???

    So many events happened during those past 2 years and since the time I packed up and moved myself after 26 years in one place. Some of the events that happened during the time in these past 2 years are great memories and a heart warming experiences. Certain events such as the 9-11, the Afghanistan war, The Iraq war were heart wrenching and a once in a lifetime memorable moment. (Aside from Vietnam War which was long time ago) I am still loving my life in the country. I have many changes in my life retirement Well, it had been very difficult for all the vineyard owners here in this valley. Many of the vineyards had a pierce's disease that killed the vines. They lived nearby in the trees in the citrus groves (yes, we have lots of orange, lemon and grapefruit groves here - although many of them were plowed over in the north side of town and they are now REDHAWK's housing development UURRRRGGGG). The Pieces's disease is actually a fruit fly that eating the roots of the vines which deprived them of water and killed them. In the last 3 years, we saw many of the vineyards had to be plowed over and start new. However, they get governement's subsidy ($7000 an acre). That is not much when you consider that they have to start over and it takes 3-5 years before they can make money off the land again. I mentioned in one of the country articles about the sound of Cannon gunshots in one of the vineyards. Well, I supposed one of the great benefit of the piece disease was that the vineyard near our house that used to shoot the sound to scare the birds away WERE all PLOWED OVER!!!!! SO NO MORE NOISES !!!! HOOLAY!!! There are many new vineyards coming up around us but I am sure they are not going to use the cannon.. IF THEY DO THEY WILL HEAR FROM ME LOL... (Our youngest son went to college and played baseball at San Luis Obispo. We used to go to his baseball most weekend, our high light of our lifes, the get away from work at that time) We love the winecountry so much that we decided to look for property to buy after we retired. I remembered that when we went to lo look at a 80 acres vineyards property in Paso Robles, we heard the gunshots; the real estate agent said that they are shooting in the air to scare away the deer - kind of awful to have to do that but when you have 80 acres property, it is expensive to have to put fencing around it.) The lady airplane dare-devil is here again but not very often now, only occasionally, The motor-cyclists are not here as much now. Perhaps it is still early in the spring but I drove to the area where they were gathering before. The area is all fenced off, including the governemtn reserved property that used to be a cattle ranch. The duck hunters stop showing up as well. (or perhaps I couldn't hear them?) The sherrif department is doing a great job patrolling, and I am sure the people who live in the neighborhood are doing a great job in reporting them. (I am not the only one) The people who dumbed the trashes are still doing it - how selfish!!!! Another great things after living here for a few years is that I am so used to noises that I used to complaint about. Actually, I don't even hear them any more.. (dogs barking, chicken cuckooing.. aarrhh!) One evening Ted Jr. drove into the driveway and after he got out of the car - he came in the front door and said that as soon as he reached the wine country and the vineyards area, he felt like he was next to a giant potpuri ! Well, we have lots of night blooming jasmine and the potent sweet smell mixing with several of our orange and grapefruit groves that are also blooming. The other night, I drove home after one of the evening class that I am currently teaching. I saw a giant red moon as big as a hot air balloon over the hills. I honestly taught that it was some kind of lighted hot air balloon. The only other time that I have seen the moon that hugh was when we drove from Phoenix to California in the night time and it was so dark since we drove through the desert. Since 2001, this area had seen at least 25% growth in the housing developments. We are seeing several new housing complexes creeping in and took away so many citrus groves and open land... Hopefully the county's proposal to allow the 800 acres Callaway's vineyard to turn into a housing development is PERMANENTLY defeated. This is a country living and we are not in the SUBURB!!!! Last fall in Southern California, we had the biggest wild-fire that killied 24 people, destroying thousands of homes and charring more than 750,000 acres. One of the fire which was named, "Mountain Fire" was burning near our ranch. It was about 15 miles away and we can see the flames and smoke over the mountain area. It was REALLY SCAREY!!! I could not sleep at night because I was so worry about it. The fire burned for about 3 days and was put out without much damages to property as the other fires.

    Country Road

    It is so amazing that the sky is so BLUE in the country. It is pure air and no pollution - and we hope that we can keep it this way for a long time.

    Peace, Love and Light, Jeri Maier
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