Monday, November 30, 2015

Susan von Borstel at Heritage Gallery West

"Green River Crossing" by Susan von Borstel, Oil on Granite, photo © B. Radisavljevic
"Green River Crossing" by Susan von Borstel, Oil on Granite
I'm always discovering new artists at Heritage Gallery West. Some have grown on me and become favorites. One of these is Susan von Borstel. I see her work on display almost every time I go in. Susan is a California  artist whose love of Western landscapes and horses show in her paintings. She now does most of her oil paintings on natural stone treated archivally. That is the case with her painting "Green River Crossing" pictured above. It was painted with oils on marble. You can enlarge the photo with a click.

Drop into Heritage Gallery West soon to see Susan's unique work. It's a great place to pick up a special gift for someone who loves western art.

If your budget doesn't allow for the paintings you see at the gallery, here are a few more affordable works of western art you can get at Amazon.



Sunday, November 29, 2015

First Decorated House in my Neighborhood Goes Live

First Decorated House in Neighborhood Ready to View


What a difference electricity can make! As I walked to the end of the block last night, I wanted to see if any of the homeowners who had started decorating had finished their displays. Only this house on the corner was live with their lighted decorations. I didn't have a tripod, so I used a flash to capture this scene. This is only part of it. It's a large front yard.


First Decorated House in my Neighborhood Goes Live


Here's the view of the front of that same house last year, which is pretty much how it looks this year.

First Decorated House in my Neighborhood Goes Live


This is how that house looked in the daytime Friday.



What a difference a day makes! And a night!

Update December 4,  2016

As I drove over to pick up my packages from the mailbox today, I saw those same neighbors are getting a later start this year. Most of my neighbors are. A few minutes ago they were just beginning to unpack the decorations and start setting them up. Looks like the display won't change much this year. There's probably no good reason why it should. 

How early do you like to see outdoor Christmas decorations  appear?

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Christmas Decorating Has Begun in Paso Robles

The Neighbors Have Begun Outdoor Christmas Decorating


I haven't been near Vine Street yet since Thanksgiving, but here in my neighborhood, the Christmas decorations are beginning to go up. Work has begun on the extravaganza down the street from me on Sandbar.

Preparations for Christmas in Riverbank Tract, Paso Robles, © B. Radisavljevic


Right across the street from that house, the display is also starting to go up. Looks like there's a bit of competition from Mother Nature on the decor, though.

Preparations for Christmas in Riverbank Tract, Paso Robles, © B. Radisavljevic


Too Bad the Flowering Trees Only Bloom in Spring


It's a shame the Bradford Pear trees don't shed their flower petals at this time of year. Then what falls from the trees would look like snow.

Central Coast Snow on Atascadero Parking Lot,  © B. Radisavljevic
Central Coast Snow on Atascadero Parking Lot
Petals from the Bradford Pear Tree In Spring


Are You Ready to Decorate?


Are you decorating the exterior of your home for the holidays? If you haven't started yet, Amazon can deliver what you need fast. I'm a prime member and usually get free two-day shipping. Some of these companies offer free shipping even if you aren't a prime member.


Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial

Friday, November 27, 2015

How Well Does a Rock Mulch Work?

Weeds Growing through Rock Mulch, © B. Radisavljevic
Weeds Growing through Rock Mulch
As I was walking around my neighborhood Tuesday, I happened to pass the yard of a neighbor who had replaced his lawn with rocks. I noticed, though, that nature still abhors a vacuum, and it appears his drought resistant plants that will replace the lawn will be weeds. Were they the right weeds, they might actually be pretty until they died in the heat of summer, but these don't have such dramatic flowers as milk thistle and poison hemlock. It appears the only way to remove these would be to spray or to pull.

If one has to pull weeds from a rocky surface, it is very useful to have something to save one's knees. Here's what I chose: I Love My Garden Kneeler. The article will show me using it.

Maybe you would prefer one of these cheaper options. I have tried some of the pads available at Walmart and they just did not offer much knee protection on hard or rocky surfaces. They only lasted a season. If you opt for only a pad, be sure you get a thick one that will protect your knees.



Thursday, November 26, 2015

To My American Friends, Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving

Rest and Be Thankful Vineyard, © B. Radisavljevic
Rest and Be Thankful Vineyard, © B. Radisavljevic
Since everyone is busy today, I'll just share one of my favorite signs on Bethel Road in Templeton, California. It states very well what I plan to do today. (If you can't see it clearly, just click to enlarge it. )

I know those who are cooking won't get much rest, but I hope everyone will find a reason to be thankful for something. A spirit of gratitude has the power to change lives. Thanksgiving should be a daily activity, not a yearly one.

Someone passed on the thought to me that maybe it's good to think today not only about what you are thankful for, but who. So often we don't let the people we love know how important they are to us. What better time than around the Thanksgiving table? Or after the dinner is over? Take each family member or friend aside and let them know why you are thankful for them. It will probably mean more that way than if you do it as part of a formal activity around the table that might make shyer people feel uncomfortable.

If you have any recently bereaved people around your table today, I hope you won't put them on the spot in front of everyone to share what they are thankful for. It may have been hard enough for them to even agree to join the family for dinner. Be ready with hugs if you see tears. Don't be afraid to share precious memories of the one missing from the table. Grieving people welcome knowing that others haven't forgotten their loved one.

Hope your Thanksgiving is a meaningful and joyous one.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Bottlebrush in the Sky

Bottlebrush Adds Color to Autumn


I was out today looking for trees dressed for autumn. A neighbor stopped me and said if I wanted to see a really great display of autumn color, I should go to Pine Street. I'm not up to that physically today, so I'll share those autumn leaf photos after I can get downtown. I decided to show you this today, instead.

Bottlebrush in Bloom, © B. Radisavljevic
Bottlebrush in Bloom, © B. Radisavljevic

I've been watching this bottlebrush plant for years, and often stop to photograph it. It adds color at many times during the year. In this shot, though it's contrasted with the cloud and the blue sky above it.

The Sky on This Late November Day

The sky itself leaves some doubt as to what the weather will be for the rest of the day. Clouds that looked similar to these yesterday brought rain. Yet no rain is in the forecast for today. When I was outside, the wind felt the same as it did before the rain yesterday, but the sun is also bright.

Dark Clouds in Blue Sky, 11-25-15 © B. Radisavljevic
Dark Clouds in Blue Sky, 11-25-15 © B. Radisavljevic
The photo below was taken yesterday from almost the same place at almost the same time of day. Three hours later the rain started. The sun is bright behind the clouds and when it peaks out between them. I'm waiting to see what develops since there are still plenty of dark clouds now.

Dark Clouds in Sky, 11-24-15 © B. Radisavljevic
Oak Tree with Dark Clouds in Background,
 11-24-15 © B. Radisavljevic



Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Olives Are Getting Ripe at Niner Estates

Many wineries these days are growing not only grapes but olives. Niner Estates also has olive groves, but only a few trees in their Heart Hill location on Highway 46 West. Olives ripen late in the year. The tree in the photo is one near the tasting room.


Olive Tree at Niner's Heart Hill Location, August 8, 2015, © B. Radisavljevic


It has olives that appear to be almost ripe. I don't know whether these olives will be harvested and pressed or not, since it appears Niner has already processed this year's olives from its other locations. Perhaps these trees are for ornamental purposes only this year.

This is how the olives looked on November 19.

Olives at Niner's Heart Hill Location, Nov. 19, 2015, © B. Radisavljevic
Olives at Niner's Heart Hill Location, Nov. 19, 2015, 
This is how the olives look on August 8, 2015.

Olives at Niner's Heart Hill Location, August 8, 2015, © B. Radisavljevic
Olives at Niner's Heart Hill Location, August 8, 2015

Unlike many other pit fruits, if you pick an olive off the tree to eat, you will be sorry. They are only edible after they have been processed.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Autumn at Doce Robles

Autumn Display at Doce Robles, 2011, © B. Radisavljevic
Since it's Thanksgiving week I'm digging in my archives for some seasonal photos. For today I've chosen this harvest/ Thanksgiving display from  Doce Robles. The picture was taken on November 19, 2011.

Although you can click any photo to enlarge it, I will include a close-up of the scarecrow below. I've always liked it. I haven't been able to get over to Doce Robles this month to see if she's still there. Perhaps she's been replaced by now. Something in me hopes not.

Autumn Display at Doce Robles, 2011, © B. Radisavljevic


I'm thankful for all the beauty our local wineries, vineyards, and tasting rooms provide.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Colorful Flowers Brighten Castoro Cellars in Autumn

Autumn Flowers at Castoro Cellars


Castoro Cellars has a lovely garden near its tasting room. The flowers aren't rare -- just colorful. I especially like these near the arbor walkway that connects the tasting room and the parking lot.


Colorful Flowers Brighten Castoro Cellars in Autumn


Unique Containers For Flowers

Many of the flowers grow in containers. Some of those containers are conventional pots, such as the ones these fuschias  are growing in.

Colorful Flowers Brighten Castoro Cellars in Autumn
Fuschias in Pot at Castoro Cellars in November

But it's pretty common to grow flowers in pots. At Castoro Cellars, they also use older grape vines as containers. Here is one of them, next to the pumpkin display by the door. I like the idea of a living planter. How appropriate this is for a tasting room. This particular example is actually a planter in a planter since the vine planter is growing in a wine barrel.


Unusual Planter at Castoro Cellars in November, © B. Radisavljevic


If you visit Castoro Cellars, there is also a row of these planters growing in the ground near the patio covered by the arbor. Some are planted right next to vines still bearing. It's easier to see this in summer and before harvest.  Look for them next time you go wine tasting at Castoro Cellars.



What other unique planters have you seen made from natural materials?


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Solar Panels Aren't as Pretty as Vineyards

Solar Panels at Edge of Niner Vineyard, © B. Radisavljevic
Solar Panels at Niner Estates on Edge of Vineyard
I respect the rights of private property owners to do what they think best with their property, and to save money on electricity. But I think Niner looked much better before they did this to their vineyards so close to the tasting room and where they blight the view from 46 West. I guess I should be glad they didn't put them on Heart Hill. It is too bad, though, that they didn't have somewhere to put them farther from the tasting room and the road, hidden a bit more.

The Same Niner Vineyard in on November 19, 2011. ©B. Radisavljevic
Edge of Same Vineyard, November 19, 2011
I used to think Niner was the one of the most attractive properties in 46 West Wine Country. This is how this same vineyard looked almost exactly four years ago on November 19, 2011. I prefer hay to solar panels as a compatible vineyard companion.  I hope Niner hasn't started a trend. I hope other wineries will tuck any solar panels they put in where they can't be seen from the road or from my back yard.

Which view do you like better?

Below is one of the best views from Niner Estates -- Heart Hill. These beverage coasters will help you remember it. I offer both the autumn and summer views.


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