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rosé rhubarb gin sour cocktails | meet the chickens

I recorded 31,641 steps on a single day this past week.

I heard the first hummingbird of the season.

The grapevine buds are showing the first signs of swelling, signaling their impending arrival.

Spring is here, and I definitely feel it. We’ve turned on our vineyard irrigation water, seen the first pops of apple blossoms, and almost finished pruning the established vines. Honestly, before I started farming, my favorite seasons were spring and fall; however, after learning how vines announce (demand?) their readiness, I think that I most enjoy summer and winter. Those are the months where you feel most in a routine. Not a frenetic race that’s based upon Mother Nature’s whims, desires, or demands.

I’m continually learning and growing, just like the vines, and one thing that I’m focused upon this spring is taking time to make room for things that I love. So many times I end up, in mid-July, thinking about how fast the spring season passed. I don’t want to experience that same feeling again this year, come midsummer.

Before our vineyard was producing grapes, it was an apple orchard. I have no idea why the trees were ripped up and replanted with grapevines, but one thing I’m grateful for is that we have one amazing, remaining apple tree, leftover from that original planting. Just last week, we pruned that precious apple tree, and I made sure to collect a few of the branches, so that I could force the blossoms. I had future cocktail recipes already in my mind.

And it looks like we’ll get a harvest this fall, pending the pleasant weather-streak holds.

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amethyst basil gin smashes | a tour at pea & posy flower farm

As I write this post and share these photos, I’m already growing thirsty for spring and summer’s appearance again. Just before the fall season swept in, with its toasty, golden hues and shorter days, I visited one of my favorite flower farms on the Western Slope, Pea & Posy, where I got to spend time with my friend and flower farmer, Calli Ferber.

As a fellow female farmer, I enjoy visiting other properties and chatting with women growers, getting a peek into their daily lives, and leaving with a little inspiration from observing their particular farming setup, learning about their environmental hurdles, and listening to their business ideas. I always leave feeling less isolated and am reminded that farming is so much more than planting seeds, dealing with weeds, or even growing incredible produce.

It’s about community and connection, both with the earth and with each other.

Calli graciously sent me home with some of her garden-fresh amethyst basil. She’d recently posted a basil gin smash on her Instagram Stories, made with amethyst basil leaves, and the cocktail’s bright, magenta-hued color caught my eye. I brought home that small bouquet of fragrant basil, grabbed a favorite gin, and immediately fashioned a version of my own.

I’ll share the recipe below. First, let’s get to know Calli a little further and dig deeper into her journey, her focused devotion to her family, her challenges that she faces farming in the high-desert, drought-prone mesa country of western Colorado, and her blossoming creative outlet, which is her flower farm.

And our shared love of gin-based cocktails, of course.

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beaune, france 2010

France 2010, a set on Flickr.

Just up organizing photos from some recent trips and reminiscing a lovely escape to France back in May of 2010. Along with members of an intense, food-and-wine driven, northern Italian restaurant, I toured some of the finest vineyards and met some of the most interesting winemakers and talented chefs. What a memorable two weeks…