Posted by olemike on 02/04/2013
Road to Rio Vista
After my sister-in-law had read my last post about Granzella’s where they have many mounted heads on the wall, she told us about another restaurant/bar in Rio Vista that also has a similar theme. So – we thought we should give it a look-see.
From the Sacramento area, we took highway 160 which basically follows the Sacramento river all the way down to Rio Vista. We passed through many small towns such as Freeport, Courtland, Walnut Grove, and Isleton. Most of these places had seen better days but there was still some activity in numerous places. In fact, Courtland is known for growing Bartlett pears in the area. They have a pear festival each year in July. We saw many boat docks, fields of pear trees, and passed over three or four drawbridges as Highway 160 meandered along alternatively on both sides of the river. It was a beautiful drive. Check out the pictures.
After we reached Rio Vista, Fosters Bighorn restaurant was pretty easy to find – “especially when you have Google maps”. They were fairly busy and just as we were leaving, a large contingent of bikers arrived and almost completely filled up the place.
We just had sandwiches for lunch.
They were pretty tasty although most likely not very healthy.
They had lots of animal heads on the walls. There was a huge elephant head. Check out the tusks on the wall. It’s kind of sad to think about all of these animals being killed just for display.
After lunch we headed home. We took a few more pictures and got one of a new pear orchard being built. It’s fairly interesting to see how they lay out the field.
It was a nice drive. We saw lots of pretty country that we had not traveled before.
If anyone has suggestions for day trips in California, I’d be glad to hear from you.
Posted in Travel | Tagged: California, rio vista california, Sacramento River, Rio Vista, Courtland Pear Festival | 7 Comments »
Posted by olemike on 01/17/2013
1st Celery of 2013
Here is a picture of the first celery from our garden. This season was the first time I had planted Celery, but so far so good. I’ll probably try it again.
Any other celery growers out there? I’d like to hear about your experiences. What are your tips on growing great celery?
Posted in Gardening | Tagged: Celery, Garden, Vegetable | 14 Comments »
Posted by olemike on 01/09/2013
The gloomy days got to us. We had to get out of the house. But – what to do? We finally decided on an afternoon drive up to the little town of Williams, California and it’s great local dining hole – Granzella’s. If you are going north on I-5, this is a “must stop”.
The weather was very gloomy but we did see numerous interesting things on the drive up. There are lots of Almond and Walnut orchards,
vineyards, and tons of rice fields. These pictures are not very easy to see because it was a very gloomy, overcast day.
We were amazed at how many rice fields there are in the northern central valley. After we got home, I did a little research on growing rice. Did you know that the fields are flooded to about 5 inches deep, then sowed by airplane, and remain with 5 inches of water in the fields until such time as the rice is ready to harvest. The fields are then drained and dried out enough to enter with the harvesting equipment. The rice is then processed and dried until ready for sale or shipment to end users. Here is a grain processing plant at Sutton, CA. These are some huge drying/storage bins.
This facility is operated by Trinidad Denham Corp whose headquarters are located in Denver, CO. This company is the largest packer of beans, rice, and popcorn in the U.S.
Anyway, back to Granzella’s. We have been stopping here off and on for about 10 years. It has always been a good place to eat. It recently burned down (2007), but was rebuilt and it is better than ever. The food was always outstanding and now the new facility also looks really nice. The clientele looks to be a mixture of locals and road traffic from I-5. The restaurant is only about 200 yards from the freeway.
They have a very nice deli counter, lots of specialty items, a great selection of olives and wine, and two dining areas. The first is the regular dining room and secondly, they serve food in the bar. We like to eat there. The bar area is lined with mounted heads of big game shot by the original owners.
It was about a 5 hr. ride from start to finish. We had a great lunch and saw lots of nice farm country. It is always fun to drive through small farm towns to see what is unique about each one.
Posted in Travel | Tagged: Agriculture, Field Crops, Rice | 8 Comments »
Posted by olemike on 12/24/2012
2012 was a pretty good year for our garden. It was the most successful one yet. Here is a summary of what we yielded:
- Tomatoes – 541 (we canned about 45 pints of stewed tomatoes)
- Patty Pan Squash – 270
- Zucchini - 86 ( we canned about 12 pints of Zucchini relish)
- Romaine Lettuce – 40 servings
- Cucumbers – 71
- Strawberries – 22
- Beets – 21
- Meyer Lemons – 21
- Garlic – 16
- Potatoes – 15 (Grown in a box tower)
- Broccoli – 14
- Green Peppers – 14
- Clementines – 12
- Onions – 7
- Cauliflower – 1
Total weight of all this came to 300.08 lbs. I calculate that we saved about $685 on veggies (at Whole Foods prices) for the year. Obviously, we had to absorb the cost of seed, starter plants, fertilizers, watering supplies, lumber for raised beds, etc. I’m sure, bottom line, we didn’t really save any money but it sure felt good to eat home-grown food. That is priceless!
Here are a few of my favorite pictures.
In a few days, I will determine our goals for the coming year. I want to increase the total yield weight, focus on foods of which we eat the most, grow more items to can, etc. I’m still developing these so will post the goals at a later time.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Posted in Gardening | 18 Comments »
Posted by olemike on 12/12/2012
I am optimistic about my cabbage this year. Here is a shot of the best one so far. It is not yet ready to pick, but it is forming a nice head. No – that’s not bugs you see. It is simply moisture from the morning dew.
The celery is coming along quite nicely as well.
My onions and Brussel sprouts are also growing pretty well.
Here is a shot of baby Brussel Sprouts. It will still be a while before we are eating them.
Posted in Gardening | Tagged: brussel sprouts, Cabbage, Onions, winter garden | 12 Comments »
Posted by olemike on 12/04/2012
We are starting to pick fruit from our two miniature citrus trees. Both are currently growing in wine barrels although we plan to move the Meyer Lemon tree into the ground later this winter. We might also do the same thing with the Clementine but we have to find a good location first.
I counted the fruit on each tree this morning. We have about 40 Meyer Lemons and about 23 Clementines. I may have to get the grandkids over to sell lemonade out on the curb.
Hmmm – I wonder if Leona knows how to make Lemon Pie?
Posted in Gardening | Tagged: California, Clementine, Meyer Lemon | 4 Comments »
Posted by olemike on 12/02/2012
Hello – Olemike here. I am a retired conservative who is interested in politics, gardening, traveling, and playing golf. I like to blog about most of these although I have never written a blog post about golf. I guess we can look forward to that.
My wife and I have 5 kids and 11 grandkids. My views about politics are determined somewhat about how I see the country (and world) changing for them in future years. Being a fiscal conservative, I worry about the direction of the country regarding our national debt, education of our youth, and maintaining values that have made this country great. I believe in personal responsibility and am concerned that as a society, we are coming to rely too much on the government to solve our every problem.
I keep my frustrations in check by working in the vegetable garden. I love growing fresh vegetables and like to share my successes with my readers – few though they may be. Of course, no gardener is without failures as well. I also like to write about those. I live in the central valley of Northern California. This area gets quite hot in the summer so that is a factor on what veggies grow well here.
Lastly, I enjoy taking vacations. They might be long ones (a week or two) or perhaps just a day trip locally. I enjoy sharing those experiences as well.
I look forward to your many comments – be they agree with me or not. Good discussions are quite fun.
Posted in About | 11 Comments »
Posted by olemike on 12/02/2012
The little lady prepared this meal a couple of days ago. We had baked Talapia and steamed Broccoli from our winter garden. Leona seasoned the fish with dried tomatoes and canned green tomatoes which were canned by Leona’s daughter, Julie. This was a great meal and very healthy as well.
Posted in Gardening | Tagged: Broccoli, Tomato | Leave a Comment »
Posted by olemike on 11/26/2012
This past Sunday we decided to take a short day trip up to Diamond Springs, CA to the Skyridge Blueberry Farm. It is in the Sierra Nevada foothills close to Placerville, CA.
We didn’t know quite what to expect since this is the off-season for blueberries. However, we wanted to get out of the house for a while so off we went. As you can see by this picture we didn’t get to see much at the farm.
However, we did have a beautiful drive.
The weather was perfect for a late November day. We also stopped at a flea market in Diamond Springs.
My favorite picture is the one with the dog and his cap. His owner put the cap on him, told him not to move, then left him there. The dog didn’t move an inch.
Posted in Travel | Tagged: Blueberry, Day-tripper, Recreation and Sports, Sierra Nevada | 1 Comment »
Posted by olemike on 11/15/2012
Leona’s planted her flower bed today. It looks really good and will be even prettier in a few weeks. It will bring some nice color to that side of the house. We’ll publish an update soon.
In the spring, Leona will be planting Zinnia seeds she saved from last years blooms. Here’s what they looked like this past summer..
Posted in Gardening | Tagged: Coneflower, Pansy, Snapdragons | 5 Comments »