Saturday, December 22, 2018


December 22, 2018
Havana, Cuba

Our first photo of pre-1959 American "classic" cars!  Many, many more to follow... 
After years of exploring the possibility, we finally made it to Cuba! Why Cuba? Why now?

The "why Cuba" question is easy. Because it’s there, and where don’t we want to go? But really, also because it’s so unique. A Caribbean island, just about 100 miles from Florida, with a longstanding aura of mystery and all but forbidden for the American traveler. The buildings and cars of Havana, that glamorous American playground of the 1940’s and 1950’s, which can now be seen as archaeological relics that happen to be still in use, crumbling and patched together to bleed every last drop of use from them. Then there’s the Cuban culture. The music, dancing, rum, cigars, coffee, guayaberas.  And the chance to see a socialist dictatorship in person. Of course, visiting a Caribbean island in December is always appealing for the weather alone, but there are easier places to go for a beach vacation.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Happy Holidays from the Brookses!

December 8, 2018
Santa Rosa, CA

Happy holidays from our homestead to yours!
Scott & Caroline

Monday, September 3, 2018

Tales from a Wine Country Homestead: Things Spotted, Some Better Than Others

September 3, 2018
Santa Rosa, CA

Scott made a visit to the property today, Labor Day, upon our return from our overnight jaunt up to Redwood National Park over the weekend.  He wanted to take a closer look at the grapevines growing there and perhaps harvest a few of the season's remaining blackberries.  Some of the things he saw were more pleasant than others...

Gorgeous grapes, straight from Brooks Vineyard ;-)

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Tales from a Wine Country Homestead: More Blackberries

August 12, 2018
Santa Rosa, CA

New Millennium Homesteaders 
Not one to be deterred by such a trifling thing as poison oak, Scott was itching (no pun intended) to get back at it and pick more blackberries on the property while they are in season.  On our last visit a couple of weeks ago, Scott had estimated that a significant quantity of berries would be ripe for the picking right about now and he wasn't wrong.  This time, we brought our friend Debbie with us to join in the fun.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Tales from a Wine Country Homestead: Touring a Bluhomes Breezehouse (Again)

August 4, 2018
Alameda, CA

The Bluhomes Breezehouse
Our favorite modern factory-built homes company, Bluhomes, held an open-house at their model home in Alameda today.  As I mentioned in a previous post, we have been following them for the past decade, having toured their homes in the past, and we really love the aesthetic, quality and design features of their homes.  So we went to check out their Breezehouse model.  They have updated the design of this particular plan this year so the model does not have the same floorplan as what they are currently offering, but the basic design with the large decking on front and back is the same and it is still the home we really want. But, sadly for us, it seems unlikely that we can fit it into our budget.  Today, at least we managed to take some photos.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Tales from a Wine Country Homestead: We Have Blackberries!

July 29, 2018
Santa Rosa, CA

The sweet taste of summer: blackberries, fresh from the bramble!
Scott's first... and possibly last...harvest from the wild blackberry bushes on our new property. Hard-won, but simply divine - like no blackberries I've ever tasted!! And I think he may even have managed to avoid the poison oak this time!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Tales from a Wine Country Homestead: Touring a Connect Home

July 21, 2018
Orinda, CA

Interior of the Connect 8 model in Orinda (photo borrowed from
Today we visited a model of a home by a modern pre-fab home company that we are interested in, Connect Homes.  The home, located in the East Bay town of Orinda, is actually a private dwelling, owned by an employee of Connect Homes, which is a primary factory-built homes company of interest to us.  The owner and his family live in the ultra-modern, two-story home but periodically, they offer tours in the name of marketing, I guess.  

Monday, July 9, 2018

Say Hello to Sonoma County's Newest Landowners!

July 9, 2018
Santa Rosa, CA

Our cashier's check for the downpayment on our land.  Feeling broke.
Remember that piece of land we put an offer on last year? Well, as of today it's ours.

Let's pick up the story where we left off. I was freshly recovered from my poison oak and unsuccessfully negotiating for an eight-acre parcel on the Santa Rosa Plains just west of the city, at the corner of Piner Road and Willowside. We had bid $100k below asking, they countered at $50k below, we stood firm, they walked away.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

An Early-Spring San Francisco City Jaunt

March 10, 2018
San Francisco, CA

Relaxing at our favorite North Beach cafe, Caffe Greco
Last Saturday, we happily realized that we had nothing of import to attend to around the house (an amazing benefit of being child-free apartment dwellers!), so we decided to make a trek into the city for the afternoon and evening.  If you actually know us, you know that we've moved around over the years. A lot.  I don’t typically think of San Francisco as home. I mean, we haven't lived in the city proper in well over a decade and left our most recent California residence in Oakland over three years ago.  But on our most recent expedition into the city from our new hometown in the heart of California’s wine country, it suddenly dawned on me; Scott and I have spent more of our married life together in the Bay Area than anywhere we've ever lived!