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A Day with Laddie at Long Meadow

This was my escape from San Francisco to Napa Valley.

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Laddie was gracious enough to spend the whole day with me, showing off Long Meadow as she drove about doing a few chores like collecting eggs and feeding chickens. She and her husband own Long Meadow Ranch and the simplest way to describe it is...paradise. They make and bottle their own wine and organic olive oil, raise Scottish Highland cattle and Appaloosas horses, and have an organic vegetable farm, too! Their place is located up in the hills above Napa Valley...so peaceful, so beautiful, so idyllic. Laddie was so proud as she showed me around, and who could blame her?

The connection - Laddie and I both graduated from La Porte High School in La Porte, Texas in 1968. Ted graduated in 1966. We didn't really keep in touch all those years, but all of us made it to the LPHS reunion a couple of years ago, which eventually resulted in my visit.

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The house is elegant. Laddie and Ted have been true to this historical building, inside and out. As meticulous as they've been, inside there's this wonderful aura of comfort and relaxation. It could easily be featured in a magazine...oh, wait, it has been!

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The building at the base of the big tree is called "The Bunkhouse" and it functions as the guest quarters. It's a lovely building with a long porch on the other side that lets visitors sit, relax, and enjoy a wonderful view of Napa Valley.

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This is one of the Scottish Highland bulls. You really should go to the Long Meadow Ranch website to read more about this breed. They are distinctively handsome cattle, though. Ted really got me once on the LPHS Reunion website. I was bugging him about how involved he was with his ranch and cattle and asked him how many cattle he had...he told me...then I challenged him to name them. He pretty much did it! I was duly impressed.

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The barn cat colony. I asked Laddie if they kept the rat and mouse population down. She said the cats are fed way too well to be bother chasing rodents.

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One of many Appaloosas the Halls own. They seemed so friendly and curious.

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One of the many vineyards. Even in mists and clouds, there's something beautiful and soothing about a vineyard.

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This is the organic vegetable garden down in the valley. Even their truck farm is scenic!

Look at the picture of Laddie and me again and pay attention to the wall. It's made of rammed earth, a special technique that uses dirt to create an extremely solid, environmentally friendly building. Long Meadow Ranch's various components fit together like an ecological puzzle, with the flora and fauna working together and supporting each other. Laddie and Ted are committed to organic farming and have planned adding solar panels as a major energy source.

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At a place like this, a big old friendly dog is an absolute necessity. I'm sorry, Laddie...I forgot the name.

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This is the organic olive grove. Those are wild turkeys taking a stroll under the trees!

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This rooster was so, well, COCKY! Proud, tough...all the girls were hiding behind him while Laddie collected the eggs.

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The rooster guards the hens that lay these blue eggs (here they only look bluish, I suppose...you had to be there). Laddie says the eggs are pretty popular at the farmer's market.

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It was a cool, damp day outside, so cuddling up on a nice, soft, warm bale of hay seemed to be a great idea.

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Another one of these GREAT animals.

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Another row of vines. Laddie explained that, unlike at other farms, they don't gather and burn the clippings (bad for the air, you know). They chip them up and return them to the base of the plants.

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See, we could make a postcard, couldn't we?

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From the winery, there's a lovely view of the great Napa Valley. Long Meadow Ranch has a wonderful website where you can read and see a lot more about the place, the wine, the olive oil, the cattle, the horses, the family...much more than from my little visit. I actually use the website in my classes. We have a chapter in our books that deals with vocabulary from ranches and farms. I put Long Meadow Ranch up on the smartboard and my students get great visual support for the vocabulary. Check it out by clicking below.

Click here to visit the Long Meadow Ranch website.