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frances rivetti
Sonoma County, California
My daily letter from Petaluma, California. I'm an ex-pat British American writer digging the dirt in daily lifestyle posts from the gateway to Sonoma County wine country.
Interests: Let's start with farmstead food, cheese, wine, beer, home and garden, style and design, arts and culture, enticing things to do in wine country and beyond. A slice of American life out West with a distinctively British twist.
Recent Activity
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Training for a marathon is (I have it on good authority), gruelling in the extreme. Training in the first few months of year in London, calls for running in the dark, the cold, the slush, snow, rain, fog. You name... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Southern Sonoma Country Life
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Morning hikes in West Petaluma are so much more entertaining at this time of year. How I love to spot the return of nature's woolly weed whackers up on the green hills behind homes in on the edge of town,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2014 at Southern Sonoma Country Life
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photos: Della Fattoria Petaluma-based Della Fattoria Bakery and Cafe might be most famous for its fabulous loaves, but I think the bakery's spectacular range of Easter Egg cakes deserves a post of their own, this Spring. Click here to order... Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2014 at Southern Sonoma Country Life
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photo: Free Range Provision & Eats Oh yum! Salad fans should run, not walk to downtown Petaluma's Free Range Provision & Eats for one of the Fourth Street store's vibrant selection of unrivaled to-go salads. Proprietor, Suzanne, really does hand... Continue reading
Posted Apr 8, 2014 at Southern Sonoma Country Life
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OK, I think I might have to add one of these discreet, stylish and functional wine bottle Sachi Vino Bags to my Southern Sonoma Country Life summer picnic accoutrements. What a great way to haul in the nicely chilled premium... Continue reading
Posted Apr 8, 2014 at Southern Sonoma Country Life
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Award-Winning, sustainably-farmed and family owned Napa Valley Estate, V. Sattui Winery has gone to the dogs - at least for one day! And all for the good cause of fundraising for Napa Humane. The winery, founded in 1885, makes over... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2014 at Southern Sonoma Country Life
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Yet another toot of the horn for Southern Sonoma/West Marin super foods. The Barefoot Contessa, when asked what she loves best about wine country, called out Petaluma's Della Fattoria Bakery and Cowgirl Creamery as top of her pops. The International... Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2014 at Southern Sonoma Country Life
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With a real estate man-about-town for a partner, I do enjoy the exposure to all sorts of different styles of home and garden here in Sonoma and neighboring Marin Counties. And while it's the heritage homes that West Petaluma is... Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2014 at Southern Sonoma Country Life
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Nowruz marks the first day of the Spring Equinux and the beginning of the year in the Persian Calendar. The celebration, recognized by many civilizations in the Middle East, Central and South Asia (and increasingly here in the United States),... Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2014 at Southern Sonoma Country Life
There are over 300 species of butterflies in the U.S. Each region has well over 100 species of native butterflies (except Hawaii, which only has two native species plus a handful of imported ones), and each butterfly species has different... Continue reading
Posted Mar 27, 2014 at Southern Sonoma Country Life
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Just two weeks into its Spring tour, non-profit Compass Green, an innovative, out-of-the-box/in-the-box, school garden on wheels has already surpassed its 1,000 student mark. Compass Green is a fully functional greenhouse built in the back of an 18ft. box truck... Continue reading
Posted Mar 27, 2014 at Southern Sonoma Country Life
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Who doesn't adore Ina Garten? Even my eleven-year-old cake-baking niece in England is a Barefoot Contessa convert. Ina's coffee brownies have been my signature home-baked brownies for years. What a treat to hear that the Barefoot Contessa's making her way... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2014 at Southern Sonoma Country Life
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By turns both poignant and heartwarming, documentary-style film, The Starfish Throwers explores how three of the world’s most fiercely compassionate individuals fight hunger and struggle to restore hope to the hopeless in unexpected and sometimes dangerous ways. A top pick... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2014 at Southern Sonoma Country Life
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Number one on the Sonoma Marin Cheese Trail heading west from Petaluma is Achadinha Cheese Company, (pronounded Osh-a-deen-a), a Pacheco farm Family-run, artisan cheese business, located along scenic Chileno Valley Road. The Pacheco's sell their pasturized goat and cow's milk... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2014 at Southern Sonoma Country Life
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Charles de Gaulle asked: "How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?” Well, who would have imagined our reltaively remote, placid, coastal West Marin and Southern Sonoma County would be in the front running, with so... Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2014 at Southern Sonoma Country Life
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Cimmaron Sanctuary, located in East Petaluma, off Old Adobe Road offers sanctuary, rescue and rehabilitation for horses who need a home, while fostering love, learning and connection between horses and people, especially children. Gwen Justis founded Cimmaron Sanctuary in 2010... Continue reading
Posted Mar 18, 2014 at Southern Sonoma Country Life
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Oh yes, we all need a good belly laugh every now and again. This flick didn't disappoint. Angel's Share should come with a disclaimer that the Glasweigan accent is a tad intense, mind you, so if you're one that struggles... Continue reading
Posted Mar 17, 2014 at Southern Sonoma Country Life
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In response to the devastating effects of the olive fruit fly (OLFF) on the 2013 olive harvest, McEvoy Ranch is offering an opportunity to learn about managing this potential threat to your olive crop in a morning lecture with McEvoy... Continue reading
Posted Mar 17, 2014 at Southern Sonoma Country Life
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Photo: Petaluma Arts Center There's no denying it - we've all seen some pretty impressive photos on Facebook, Instagram, text, snapped in the moment by amateur photographers taking advantage of increasingly high quality cameras on cell phones. If you have... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2014 at Southern Sonoma Country Life
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What a great idea. Thumbs up for the new Green String Garden In A Box. "This spring we'll be selling flats with a mix of Green String plant starts for our customers to take home to their own gardens (all... Continue reading
Posted Mar 14, 2014 at Southern Sonoma Country Life
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Photos courtesy of Frank Simpson What a lot of smiling faces in a packed to capacity Veterans Memorial Building this March for the 2014 Petaluma Food Festival, a benefit for upcoming Project Graduation for not just one, but four Petaluma... Continue reading
Posted Mar 12, 2014 at Southern Sonoma Country Life
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Daylight Savings Sunday and a threat of rain aside, a lively gathering of impassioned preservationists and river-loving locals turned out for the first in what will hopefully be an escalating Spring and Summer series of colorful campaigns to draw awareness... Continue reading
Posted Mar 11, 2014 at Southern Sonoma Country Life
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Crossing Paths brings together two young artists, who, though both raised in Petaluma, were previously unknown to one another. The Back House Gallery at downtown Petaluma's Heebe Jeebe store has invited these two talented young artists to show together in... Continue reading
Posted Mar 10, 2014 at Southern Sonoma Country Life
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Peach Blossom - Photo by Dominic Rivetti “Is the spring coming?" he said. "What is it like?"... "It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine...” Frances Hodgson Burnett - The Secret Garden Though... Continue reading
Posted Mar 9, 2014 at Southern Sonoma Country Life