olivesMost houses have it - that catch-all place just inside the main door which is the dumping ground for the mail, keys and whatever else we have in hand when we get home. In our house this snapshot of our lives is just inside our kitchen door and it’s a long white sideboard. Just like the Rancho itself, this is not an antique, and it is rarely elegant. But it does sum up who we are.
Which is why this page is called The Sideboard. We hope it will be to the website what the real sideboard is to our house - a place to see at a glance what is going on with us, with our guests, visitors, animals, gardens and lives. And we hope that you’ll return to check us out from time to time...

It is Autumn.  The harvest moon is yielding place to the hunters’ moon in the sky.  And we go out into the orchard and groves and garden to pick our fruits and vegetables.  There is something deeply satisfying about this part of the contract that we have with our plants and trees.  We’ve planted them and fed them and watered them and kept the birds and deer and bunnies at bay (somewhat) and now we collect.  The lettuces are sharper in taste than the ones in the market.  The cabbages bear scars from creatures who’ve sampled and moved on.  The tomatoes are small and not so pretty but heavenly to eat.  And the best part is, we grew them.  Arthur Clarke said that farms are mankind’s most beautiful machines.  Beautiful on the outside -- and on the inside.   I know, it’s hard to think of cabbages as beautiful but try the recipe below and you just might change your mind...

something old, something new...

We started before dawn on Friday and by Saturday afternoon, the back of
the truck was loaded with dark purple olives and we were all filthy, tired
and euphoric.  By midnight the oil had been pressed and put into stainless
steel fustis.  At breakfast the next morning, we tasted the 2013 pressing for
the first time; smooth and fruity with a little pungent kick.  Wonderful!


olive leaves Above: A harvest basket sits on a sideboard, while lunch is prepared for the pickers. Next row: The trees in the early morning. At left: One of the fustis sits on the sideboards, tasting bowl alongside. There is nothing like fresh olive oil. Above: The olives we picked - dark purple this year. Below left: Franny and Lulu wait for lunch - anybody's lunch.

olive oil

How to make a cabbage beautiful?  Even this cabbage from our garden which would win no prizes for prettiness but we know it tastes just like a cabbage should.  And that’s just the problem according to cabbage non-appreciators.  Cabbage is a lot of work for not much reward and they only eat the slaw for the mayo.  So try this:  Slice the cabbage thinly (you’ve washed it, removed the chunkier leaves, etc.)  Heat some olive oil (I know you’re not supposed to cook with it, but humor me) in a pan.  Sear the cabbage for maybe a minute.  Take an orange and squeeze it over the cabbage while it’s still in the pan.  Add freshly ground pepper and sea salt and serve. 

meanwhile roses

No one invited Candi the horse to the baby shower for our new friend Nylah (born 2 weeks later - Welcome!) but Candi showed up anyway.  She strolled among the tables making new friends and eating the lawn (very politely ignoring the pretty pink floral arrangements) and wasn’t sent home until she started eating the dog food. 



I just couldn’t take these photos of Hoover down because besides being cute they are evidence that we do actually bathe him.  He’s called Hoover because he was found on Hoover Boulevard in downtown Los Angeles.  He is stinky.  He can play soccer (he’s amazing in goal) but tends to hog the ball.  He has a Facebook page.  And he also eats raw olives.  A true street dog.

sideboards past
Fall 2005
Holidays 2005
February 2006
Autumn 2008
Summer 2012

Rancho del Cielo Malibu, located in Malibu, California is widely known for its romantic locations, beautiful gardens,
acres of olive groves, stunning ocean views, wild mountain backdrop, and its serene atmosphere.

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