WHAT I WANT TO DO IN MY NEXT LIFE

What I Want To Do In My Next Life

As the wildfires rage here in California I’ve been reflecting a lot about my life here in this drought-stricken state. Despite the fact that fire threatens our way of life…

WHAT I WANT TO DO IN MY NEXT LIFE | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I think it’s hard to argue with the fact that California remains one of the most beautiful places in the world, and in so many ways is a wonderful place to live.

WHAT I WANT TO DO IN MY NEXT LIFE | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

While my family has only been in California since my father immigrated here from Spain as a young man, Spaniards were in fact, the first Europeans to come to California in the 1500s.

WHAT I WANT TO DO IN MY NEXT LIFE | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

My Spanish Grandmother & Father

The Spanish influence in California is reflected everywhere you look, from the architecture, to the names of cities and streets. Along with the Spanish conquistadores and missionaries also came farmers and sheepherders, many of whom trace their roots back to the Basque region of North Eastern Spain.

WHAT I WANT TO DO IN MY NEXT LIFE

Much of Central California was influenced by the Basques, who are still in evidence to this day in the form of the many wonderful Basque restaurants that can be found in places like Bakersfield and Fresno, California.

WHAT I WANT TO DO IN MY NEXT LIFE | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Basque sheepherders used to roam the hills of central California, and people are now starting to talk about how sheep and goat herding was actually an important part of the natural ecosystem that has been lost here in California.

WHAT I WANT TO DO IN MY NEXT LIFE | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The sheep and goats that used to graze on the dry grasses of central California are no longer there to do so, and now the dry grasses are being consumed by fire instead. So people have begun to discuss the feasibility of introducing goats back into some areas of California as one means of controlling wildfires.

WHAT I WANT TO DO IN MY NEXT LIFE

In fact, rental goat companies are in high demand for clearing brush in high fire zones. That’s because goats have voracious appetites, eating up to 10 pounds of vegetation a day while navigating difficult terrain.

WHAT I WANT TO DO IN MY NEXT LIFE

So what does all this have to do with what I want to do in my next life? Well, I think I must have some of that Spanish Sheepherder blood in me because I’d like to come back as a farmer. Yes, you heard me right. I just love the idea of being a farmer, well maybe a gentlelady farmer, lake a gentleman farmer, if you will. I am enamored by people like design blogger (Velvet & Linen), author and lady farmer, Brooke Giannetti of Patina Farm. She leads an enviable life in her beautiful rural home in Ojai, California where she raises goats, donkeys, ducks, chickens & sheep.

WHAT I WANT TO DO IN MY NEXT LIFE | Velvet & Linen | Brooke & Steve Giannetti | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

WHAT I WANT TO DO IN MY NEXT LIFE | Velvet & Linen | Brooke & Steve Giannetti | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I have enjoyed her beautiful book, Patina Farm, and poured over every page that outlines how she and her architect husband, Steve, designed and built their simply gorgeous home/farm in their signature, Patina style.

WHAT I WANT TO DO IN MY NEXT LIFE | Velvet & Linen | Brooke & Steve Giannetti | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The couple have a new book coming out in April of 2019 called Patina Living which can be pre-ordered here now.  It’s the heartwarming story of how the Giannetties live and entertain in the well-designed and lushly planted gardens and farm. Boy, I’d love to be a guest in their garden!

WHAT I WANT TO DO IN MY NEXT LIFE | Velvet & Linen | Brooke & Steve Giannetti | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

So while I’m obsessing about farmers…

I thought I’d tell you about two of my other favorite farmers, Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Dr. Brent Ridge: The Fabulous Beekman Boys. They transplanted themselves from New York City to Beekman Farm in upstate New York, where they are raising 80 goats, two pigs, a dozen chickens and a llama.

WHAT I WANT TO DO IN MY NEXT LIFE | The Fabulous Beekman Boys | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I first became acquainted with the 2 in 2012 when they competed in a 45,000 mile race around the world and ended up winning The Amazing Race, a favorite TV show I used to watch religiously with my boys.

WHAT I WANT TO DO IN MY NEXT LIFE | The Fabulous Beekman Boys | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

After purchasing their home, built in 1805 in Sharon Springs, NY…

WHAT I WANT TO DO IN MY NEXT LIFE | The Fabulous Beekman Boys | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

they were inspired by the land and the community to build something lasting, and have taken their herd of beloved dairy goats and begun producing soaps and cheese, which they sell in their mercantile store, and in their online shop.

WHAT I WANT TO DO IN MY NEXT LIFE | The Fabulous Beekman Boys Goat Cheese | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Their Blaack Goat Cheese

In addition to starring in a reality show on The Cooking Channel, they have also produced 4 cookbooks, the latest of which is called A Seat At The Table, which celebrates food as the center of community. Brent and Josh have formed a community around their historic farm, gathering friends and neighbors at their table. In their new book, they celebrate that community by sharing the recipes and stories that connect them to life in Sharon Springs. It contains more than 115 recipes that embody the traditional story of stone soup, in which everyone brings their small piece to the pot to create a sum much greater than its parts. I’ve just ordered a  dozen copies to give to my favorite friends for Christmas. Get your copy here.

WHAT I WANT TO DO IN MY NEXT LIFE | The Fabulous Beekman Boys | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

One Last Farm On My List…

Because I’ve become so enamored with farming lately I’ll soon be visiting Blue Hill Farm at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, New York. It’s located on what was once part of the Rockefeller Estate in the historic Hudson Valley.

WHAT I WANT TO DO IN MY NEXT LIFE | Bill Hill At Stone Barns | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

We’ll be visiting our son who lives nearby the famous four-season working farm and educational facility some 30 miles north of New York City.

WHAT I WANT TO DO IN MY NEXT LIFE | Bill Hill At Stone Barns | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Renowned Chef Dan Barber, co-owner of Blue Hill restaurant in Manhattan, owns a second restaurant at Stone Barns with his brother and wife, where they have the goal of blurring the lines between the dining experience and education, and to evoke a consciousness about the effect of everyday food choices. You can read about their food philosophy in Dan Barber’s book, The Third Plate.

WHAT I WANT TO DO IN MY NEXT LIFE | Bill Hill At Stone Barns | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Their goal is to bring the principles of good farming directly to the table, with a menu organized around Berkshire pigs, cage-free hens and organic produce from the 80-acre farm at Stone Barns.

WHAT I WANT TO DO IN MY NEXT LIFE | Bill Hill At Stone Barns | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

We won’t be dining at their James Beard, award-winning restaurant, but we will have lunch at the Cafe & Grain Bar, visit the market, stroll the herb garden & greenhouse and take the guided farm tour. I’m so excited! Stay tuned for a blog post all about my visit!

WHAT I WANT TO DO IN MY NEXT LIFE | Bill Hill At Stone Barns | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

So, as you’ve heard, I think if I had it all to do over again I might just be a farmer. And maybe I’d open a restaurant like Dan Barber, where I’d cook up the food I’d grow, and make cheese from my goat’s milk, and  Tortillas Españolas from the eggs from my chickens. That’s what I want to do in my next life.

What would you do if you had it to do over again??

So there you have it: WHAT I WANT TO DO IN MY NEXT LIFE

Thanks so much for dropping in!

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