Visiting Chileno Valley Ranch

IMG_8023 IMG_8026 IMG_8027 IMG_8028 IMG_8030 IMG_8032 IMG_8034 IMG_8037 IMG_8040 IMG_8041 IMG_8042 IMG_8054As you might well remember, for about five years now we’ve been buying a fourth of a grass fed cow every summer. For many years we bought from Beltane Ranch which is just a few miles away from us. Unfortunately due to new regulations they aren’t able to sell directly to customers anymore, so we’ve switched to buying from Chileno Valley Ranch over in Petaluma. You can read a bit about why we eat grass fed beef from this older post and even more from this older post.

On Sunday they hosted a u-pick day for their apples. Our poor apple trees are in a serious state of decline, so we headed over there to meet the rancher couple and to get some apples. This ranch is deep down Chileno Valley Road, past curving roads, filled with hillsides, ponds and large ranches. It was a beautiful drive. As we approached our destined ranch I was pretty awed by the amazing house you can see from a distance. The house had been in the wife, Sally’s, family since the Civil War! Sally and her husband Mike took ownership of the property in the early ’90’s and set about rehabilitating the house (check out the original structure) and the land.

Everything was gorgeous. We came for the apples, but I left inspired by the gardens. While Scott chatted with Mike about the beef order we recently placed, I talked with Sally about her roses. Strangely enough I didn’t get any pictures of her dozens upon dozens (maybe a hundred +) of roses, but they were unbelievably beautiful. All with bright green leaves and in full flower. My roses at home have been in a sad state ever since their initial spring bloom and I’ve given serious consideration to taking a good majority out. Everything Sally grew was bountiful and lush. As we talked she mentioned how when she cleans out the chicken coop she sprinkles a little of their manure around the roses. She also has sheep and cows that she collects manure from and also has a local dairy deliver manure to her. Ah-ha! Yes, of course. Manure!

As soon as we got home I found my Felco’s and got to work tidying up around the roses and then promptly cleaned out the chicken coop and spread what I scooped all round the roses and watered it in well. Within easy walking distance I can access cow, horse, sheep and chicken manure. I need to collect my wheelbarrow and shovel, head down the street and put these neighboring friendships to work.

If you are local, Chileno Valley Ranch holds these u-pick weekends all the way until October, it’s worth the trip, if you can make it!


Filed under chickens, Life in Sonoma, what we've learned

10 responses to “Visiting Chileno Valley Ranch

  1. Jennifer

    Hi Kendra, my daughter and her family lives 1 1/2 hours away from where we live in upper northern california on the oregon border. I choose to take the back road often when visiting them. The back road is narrow and two lanes, and fast traffic. Along this road is many old barns and lovely spooky houses like this. There isn’t anywhere for me to pull over safely and wander in these building that ooz history. To me roses are a pain in the arse to take care of, but I love seeing these old victorians overgrown with them. Nice story here 🙂

  2. We bought our first split quarter from Chileno Valley this past year. We’re so happy with our decision! I didn’t realize they did apple U-picks too. That sounds fun.

    • asonomagarden

      That’s great that you are a customer of theirs too seedsowingmama! You should definitely venture over for a visit!

  3. mlheran

    Such a beautiful place! And I’m glad to learn that our old house is not the only place that spiders love to build little dusty webs all over, haha. Do they have Gravenstiens by chance? I’ll have to check them out!

    • asonomagarden

      Hi Michelle, I don’t think they have Gravenstiens unfortunately. It’s still worth a visit though, you’d love it!

  4. Jean

    Wow, that restoration is amazing! Truly a labor of love! Thanks for sharing. I live in Florida, so can’t pick apples there, but I love reading your blog. I do, however, pick lemons in my yard.

  5. You may want to consider cutting your roses back by 1/3 in the fall and again in late winter. You might want to check in your area for the proper time. Here in Dallas it’s time right now and again in February. This forces the roses to do a last flush now and a beautiful display in spring! (That’s IF you aren’t already doing it!) A good book on roses is The Organic Rose Garden by Liz Druitt.
    P.S. The first time I cut mine it almost killed me!!! NOW I AM A BELIEVER!!

    • asonomagarden

      Thanks for the tip Cathy. I hadn’t heard of cutting them back twice, I typically just do it once in about January. Maybe I’ll try a few of them now and in winter…hey, it couldn’t hurt at this point!

  6. I cut mine back by a third in mid-November once the growth has stopped (so I don’t induce more) but before the late November winds kick up and start pummeling them. Then I do the hard pruning in February (we have to go a bit later here in the Willamette Valley) with the addition of lots of sheep manure from our girls!

  7. Kari

    Here in the Sonoma Valley you should be getting 4 to 5 flushes of bloom per season. If we have a mild winter I often have to strip the leaves off and even a few blooms! Constant dead heading is the key to rebloom of your remontant roses i.e. hybrid tea and English roses if you are providing enough compost and water. Hot sun in Sonoma can wither the flowers but the plants should push new growth continuously during the growing season. That said, as you dead head cut back the bush as you see fit for your space, no reason to specifically cut back by 1/3 in the fall. Remember your old roses bloom only once and often set beautiful hips in the fall!

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