Town and Country


Secret Agent Fred and I just got back from a short trip to our friends Mark and Gaye up in Napa.  Napa was a sleepy farming burg which transformed, much like Aspen and the Hamptons, into a place where really rich people can go and complain to each other.  Nevertheless, it’s a lovely place and Mark and Gaye have a nice plain house there with a lavish vegetable garden.

The Wine Country.  This is certainly not Mark and Gaye’s  place.  It’s a snotty champagne winery that was rude to Fred so we left.

We hung out with chickens

And goats.

We ate such fabulous food, tomatoes and corn and basil and tarragon and lots and lots of squash all rushed from the garden to the kitchen where I was slinging serious hash.

As usual in the country, we found many dead things, like this ferret.  Fred’s the one on the left.

We picked tons of blackberries, just like when I was a sullen little white trash child in the wilds of Texas.

The garden was not just massively productive, but really pretty as well.  Because Mark likes to build things, every meal included a discussion about where to eat it, on the screened porch, on the patio, on the pergola, on the floating deck, on the terrace, yaddahyaddahyaddah.  This is one of the arbors.  The man needs to calm down.

But he very sweetly caught a bunch of little mosquito fish form their pond for the lily pond I’m  building.  He was srt of impressed until I admitted the “pond” is pretty much an oversized garbage can I bought and am filling up with water and lilies.  And mosquito fish, imported from Napa.

Normally I’m tepid about going to people’s “country place.”  I feel like if you’re sucker enough to get on the hook for a second house, I don’t know why I should be commandeered to come amuse you, but everyone I know who has one is always agitating for visitors to come justify the joint.  Still, I’m glad we went since it was a good time and Mark and Gaye are charming and we scored enough produce from their gardens to keep a small religious cult going for a couple of weeks.  What, exactly, Saki and I are supposed to do with it all is beyond me.

24 responses »

  1. Whenever I get the country house invite, I generally turn it down. If they persist or insist, I always make sure that I have enough liquor & beer with me to keep a small religious cult soused for a couple of weeks…

    Consolation veggies are nice though!


  2. Here's the thing with country house invites. You have to really love the country to make the effort. It isn't that they are boring places, but battling the traffic and the attitude (or ignorance if its really in the country) of the locals is a major pain. And if the place in the country is owned by a Lesbian couple, get ready for a dysfunctional same sex version of Green Acres with goats running amok and lots of purple flowers.


  3. “… just like when I was a sullen little white trash child in the wilds of Texas.”

    LOL … its remarks like this that keep me coming back to your inimitable blog.


  4. “A weekend in the country/It's alarming/And I've nothing to wear…” Or however it went. They can be good fun, if you've the patience for that sort of thing. I've learned to avoid such invites here in the Sandlands, as they tend almost always to involve camels. As both entertainment and dinner, which really is a bridge to far…


  5. If they really, really want you to return next year, they will: 1.) fill the guest bathroom's tub with that snotty champagne so Secret Agent Fred can wash his sweatsocks in it; 2.) overstock the bar with cases and cases of your favorite high-priced swills; and 3.) grow pots and pots of fresh, high-potency catnip so you can bring a pot home for Saki. BTW, how did Saki like the mosquito fish?


  6. The quaint idea effete Californians have is that they eat the mosquitoes and you don't have tot rely on massive clouds of toxic chemicals to control them. I have limited faith in the idea.


  7. Domaine Carnerros. The whole place was like some set for “Bridezilla, Napa Style” so they probably get what they deserve, but still…. I mean all we wanted was some champagne to wash down our vicodin.


  8. Exactly. I do not embrace the country. I left Texas specifically to get away from it. And this is rich, rich, rich tasteful country, what Ralph Lauren wishes he came from. The worst kind.


  9. Peenee that wouldn't happen to be Domaine Carneros would it? I have been there several time and we too once were treated the same, but the last time was much better. I guess the attitude adjustment I gave the guy in the broom closet didn't last to long. It's quite a shame if it is the same place because the views are quite beautiful there.


  10. It is indeed. They were just so pissy I wanted to point out their chateau is built out of cinder blocks, but I contented myself by not flushing. On top of everything else, I don't like their champagne. It's just the first place you come to on that highway and I REALLY needed some vicodin. I would have preferred a Starbuck's.


  11. LOL! When out there, my favorite was Viansa Winery. Much more stunning and more old world. They have many nice cheeses, also perfect to go with vicodin. And agree about the champagne,tasted better.


  12. Just wish I'd been there. It looks positively idyllic. And now I too am picturing you wandering through the gardens a'la Mrs. Douglas, Wilbur lovingly cradled 'neath one arm as you sip from a glass of silver gin fizz…


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