Saturday, February 26, 2011

A New Friend in Castaic

Along the way to Los Angeles, I got a call from my good buddy Janna.  She had told me about her friend Henry, who is in the process of creating a new vineyard in the town of Castaic.  (Cas-TAY-ic)

As she was passing through, she remembered that she was going to connect with him and introduce us, because she thought he had property and a horse set up.  They had been river raft guides together and she was pretty sure that he would welcome me to stay for a night or two.  When she called, I just happened to be nearing Castaic myself - coming from the other direction.  When she learned this, she quickly called a friend that had his number and then called Henry, who invited us to drop by.  When she called me back, I happened to be exactly at the Castaic exit on Highway 5 after driving most of the day.  It would be the perfect time to stop and let the horses have a break.  I pulled off the freeway and stopped in town, and within a few minutes Henry called with directions to his house, just a few minutes away.

Janna decided to turn around and come back to join us, and we enjoyed a few minutes together.

Janna and Henry in Castaic, CA

Good friends for a long time.

Henry's beautiful vineyard home.  My bedroom upstairs on the left...
Henry's dog, Jackson.  He's an Akbash herding dog, bred in Turkey to guard sheep.
Jackson is about 3 yo and already weighs 130 pounds!
Gentle and sweet, he guards the property with regal grace.
Here's a link if you want to know more about the breed:
Gives you a sense of how big he is doesn't it?  I am in love with this dog.
Janna likes to play with the heavy equipment.  She's a farm girl at heart.
In Henry's wine room.  Cabernet, Merlot, and Sirah in the oak casks.
Henry and I shared some of this bounty later - delicious!
Henry's other canine companion.  "Jilly".  So sweet.
Yup, Henry's in love with his little lap dog.  I think the feeling is mutual....
Janna and I share a hug prior to her departure.
It was a wonderful introduction, and Henry and I hit it off.  We cooked and drank wine, and I baked some of my favorite whole wheat walnut bread.  I stayed a second day, and took advantage of the sunshine to bathe the horses and trim their feet.  Henry and I managed to get a ride on the 80 acres before I loaded up and headed south again.  Thanks Henry for the great hospitality and the restful stay!  What a nice break for the horses, and I just loved meeting Jackson and Jilly!
There's my truck and trailer parked by Henry's house...
Horses get a much needed rest in Henry's corral.
I'm in love with Jackson.

More photos of Shandoni Ranch and Sharon's place in Placerville

Maggie after a workout and a bath.

Sharon with one of the restored antique vehicles they keep.

Bronze Statue at Sharon's place in Placerville

Sharon and her buddies.

Sharon and Trish hanging out in Placerville
Doreen at Shandoni Ranch with one of her babies in training.