October 29, 2010

Final push at Beatons

Amazing what  a bunch of people can build over two years.  In August of 2008, we started building the Sauna Haus with just Todd, my dad and I putting the foundation posts and beams into place by hand.  Many weekends later, we have a closed-in building. Yay!

The first weekend of October, with another work crew consisting of Todd, Eric, Paul, Peter and me, we completed the cedar siding.  All that is left on the outside is the cedar shake in the gables.  

Here's a good photos of the Streicher boys nailing in the cedar siding. 

This summer we also got the windows installed, rock wall completed, the well dug, water to the building, insulated inside.  With the sauna stove installed and the firewood cut, we can actually work inside this winter, if we so wanted...  Not sure about that yet.   

Love the look of natural wood.  I think we did a good job this summer!

October 26, 2010

California, here we come,,,,

I don't even know how to describe how much I love northern California.  I could totally see myself with a little bungalow somewhere growing lemon, olive and almond trees.  I've been back for about two weeks and already want to plan the next trip.  Some snowbirds love the south or the Caribbean, not me.  I'll take the Napa Valley or the Sierra Nevada any day.

We flew into Sacramento, got our rented car and headed to Napa Valley.  Our first stop was the Tamber Bay Winery in Yountville, CA.  The wonderful couple who run this winery gave us a private wine tasting on their back porch.  What a way to first learn about Napa, wine, food and the history of the area. Barry and Jennifer were just wonderful in hosting us with such short notice.  

What self-respecting Wisconsinite would miss a visit to the Korbel facility in Sonoma County.  Yes, this is where they make champagne, but we still had to take the tour, taste some wonderful domestic champagne and then buy the brandy in the company store.

We spend a couple of days driving between the Sonoma and Napa valleys visiting a bunch of wineries.  One of the best things about visiting the vineyards is the the ability to taste wines you can never buy in a Wisconsin grocery store.  Wow, did we have a great time learning about the nuances of Cabernets, Pinot Noirs, Francs, Verdots and Savignons.  We even joined a couple of wine clubs with some great vineyards.  They will now send us amazing wines a couple of times a year.   The gift that keeps on giving....

As you can image with great wine comes great food.  Napa Valley has some world-class chefs cooking up the latest culinary treats.  One night we stumbled upon Michael Chiarello's restaurant Bottega and had just a wonderful dinner.  The next night we went to Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc restaurant where we had an amazing four course family-style meal including slow-cooked smoked pork and a beef infused pasta dish.   What I love about this restaurant is the menu changes daily and is posted on their website.

What brought us out to California in the first place was a wedding in Lake Tahoe, CA.  So the next leg of the trip was spent in and around Lake Tahoe for a couple of days.  Our good friends Mike and Sylvia had the brilliant idea to get married on a boat on the lake in Emerald bay (pictured above).  The wedding day was brilliant, warm and the ceremony blessedly short.   What a great day!   We spent one day driving around Lake Tahoe, a lake 1600 feet deep and glacier blue clear.  Amazing place.  Todd is already planning skiing trips here. 

We spent the last couple of days of our trip working our way to Yosemite.  The pictures can not capture the vastness, hugeness and beauty of such an incredible treasure.  But you know me,  I'm still going to try.  So here are just a few photos....
This is one of the waterfalls that runs all year long at Yosemite.  The sheer height is boggling.  The little white spot about a third of the way up on the left side is Todd.

 Yosemite is a must for everyone to see at least once in her life.  Simply breathtaking.
El Capitan is a huge piece of granite.  There was one person climbing the face that we could see that day. If you'd like to see some more photos of northern California - I've posted additional pics here.
California 2010

Northern California, what an amazing place!  Can't wait to get back.

October 25, 2010

Where has October gone?

I don't even know where to start.  This October has been just crazy with work, up north, weddings and California.  I just haven't had a chance to write and then I find myself overwhelmed with content to post, a wacky camera and too much to say.

Here's one thing that amazed me this week.  The above rose was blooming on Saturday.  I think this was the latest my rose bushes have been able to give me gorgeous blooms since I planted them in 2008.  As this is Wisconsin, the roses have since been frosted over so the blooms are now gone.  But I have my memories....

I'm going to post a few stories of my October in subsequent entries.  I promise great photos and fun....

October 1, 2010

The colors of Fall

 Spent last weekend up north staining the outside cedar boards for the saunahaus.  Also got some great Fall Color pictures.
It was the peak of color last weekend (Sep25-26) in the U.P. And one of the brightest most intense colored falls I remember.

Started framing the cedar boards to represent the real post/beams.  Next weekend we can hopefully get the cedar siding completed. 
 I just love the look of the posts and beams.  So solid and there forever.
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