Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A leak and a party

If you look at the mid-right hand section of our weather station, it indicates over 13 inches of rain just since last October! That is close to our yearly average and it's only 4 months into the season.

This last week has been one for the books as far as rainfall goes. We've basically received our yearly allotment of rain for the entire rain season already -- and historically February through March are also usually quite rainy, so it looks to be a banner year for this part of California as far as the wet stuff is concerned.

Greening up nicely.

Of course this does not really get us out of our drought since it's so entrenched and has gone on for so long, but it does help on a short-term basis. It will be nice to see our spring wildflowers in moist-enough soil to thrive, and there is standing water everywhere right now and creeks running that we've never even seen before. So I expect everything to stay greener than usual if we keep getting regular installments like we've just had. Fingers crossed.

So last week we had a leak, caused by a loose vent on the roof, which put a little spot in our bedroom closet ceiling and led me into the attic with a flashlight, a bucket and a tarp. Big Ag is having shoulder issues and can't climb up there but I wanted to make sure all my clothes and shoes stayed dry during the deluge. Luckily the leak was easy to find and fix, so now everything just has to dry out -- and our clothes are safe. 

Since our geographic area tends to relocate to the damn surface of the sun in the summertime I have no doubt that the drywall will air out with no mold issues, so that's good. And we already removed all the wet insulation.

Winter Table.
Dig in.

So the middle of the storms and leak, I did the logical thing one does in the face of terrible weather and decided to have a big dinner party at our house (on a night when we only had showers expected instead of a downpour).  We called it "The Essentials" and asked all our friends to bring a bottle of either red or white that they adored, and always made sure to have on hand when they were having wine at home. I made ribs and sous vide turkey breast, so you could sample appropriate food with your wine, as well as roasted potatoes, a pot of beans, and garlic bread. It was sort of barbecue meets elegant, or whatever passes for elegant at this homestead. I thought the brown and white table decor came out rather well.

I am also learning to not be afraid to use shortcuts in some areas when entertaining, in order to make myself more accessible to guests and so I don't need to start drinking at 4 pm to take the edge off my stress. I try not to fix things that need a lot of babysitting, instead doing some store bought things (like the garlic bread) but giving the main courses my full attention. 

Need to call the sommerlier to choose a winner from this bunch.
But even Yoshi the Somm is undecided.

So a lot of wine was drank, massive amounts of food consumed (so glad I don't have self-conscious friends who merely graze on stuff, this group really digs in) and a homemade apple pie, brought by one of my guests, for dessert. A spontaneous after-party ensued at my neighbors' house and featured slot machines, cards, beer drinking, popcorn and karaoke. 

No one even discussed politics, despite the inauguration being held the day before and the marches taking place that same day. Which just goes to prove good wine really does make everything (seem) better.

As you can imagine, Sunday was enormously quiet due to small but significant hangovers for both Big Ag and myself. Oh well. We watched a shameful amount of television, ate what we pleased, and expected nothing productive to occur.  It's been too long since we spent a day doing nothing. And unless you are sick or hung over, doing nothing is harder than it looks. Chores sing the siren song of the Puritan Work Ethic, but sometimes you just need to resist for the sake of resisting.

Without making a resolution of it, I've sort of decided I want to entertain a lot more in 2017 and think the enjoyment of friends, good food and wine may be what it takes to have a great year. Between my garden, my home and those people I most enjoy being around, I'm thinking "Make The Homestead Great Again" will be a mandate we follow through on.

Of course we all know the homestead is already great. But you gotta have a good catch-phrase.


  1. Your party sounds perfect. I love the idea of everyone bringing a bottle of their go-to wine!

    I've been thinking about doing the same thing, having people over more often. Friends, of course, which takes the stress off of having everything in place and pretty much perfect. People who pitch in if needed, don't need babysitting, and will eagerly drink whatever is in their glass. Thank you for the reminder.

    1. You're welcome Connie! It really is easy to get into the mode of not having people over, but I think if you get in the groove of doing it regularly it becomes easier and more enjoyable. That's what I'm hoping, anyway.

  2. you live in a very beautiful area friend!
    here in Asia we are having heavy rains all over too.
    your post reminded me the leak of our old home roof back in village and i still remember [i was in school then] the way mom handled it she was wet and shaky and she got cold later for few days .

  3. Thank you! I guess the one thing we can say about rain is that it means we will have plenty of water. But when the roof leaks, someone has to fix it and this time it was me!

  4. I'm so glad for your rainfall! Even if that means it keeps making its way out here and it has been desperately gloomy!
    Your party looks and sounds fabulous! And what a fun idea to taste everyone's go to wine. totally agree that entertaining more frequently is the best way to enjoy it and find your own system!

    1. Yes, every one of those bottles was amazing. I learned a lot AND got a shopping list for the next time I'm buying wine!

  5. Leaks and wet basements are common here. Glad you got the rain - it was long overdue!

    1. Yes, Molly, I've often wondered how other parts of the country deal with the basement issues especially. So many people have sump pumps to get the water out. I'd say it must be nice having that much water but no one wants a flooded room!