Rancho del Cielo

Most 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...
lovers stories
Rancho del Cielo sideboard             

autumn sideboard

Sitting beside the jars of late summer peaches that we put up last week is a photo of Gwyn and David who were married here five years ago. They were the very first couple to be married at Rancho del Cielo which had not even been named when we offered it to them for their wedding celebration. Their plans for a ceremony on the beach had fallen through a month before the wedding and though they did a good job of trying to put a positive spin on things, it was a deeply disappointing blow.

We had not yet moved into the house so we offered it to Gwyn and David even though we had misgivings about the way it looked. Our site was very different then. There were no gardens, no lawns, no walls, no outdoor fireplaces, no lights, very few trees and the sideboard was a plastic Costco table just inside the door with a cloth thrown over it. It was definitely not on the beach, but it did have a great view of the ocean.

To our surprise Gwyn and David said yes and an army of relatives and friends mobilized all their resources to make them a perfect day. The groom’s sister made a delicious cake which was decorated with hydrangeas from a friend’s garden in Oregon. The groom’s mother set the tables with her collection of vintage picnic tablecloths, and an eclectic mix of dinner sets. The bride wore her grandmother-in-law’s wedding gown. Family and friends arranged the flowers, set the tables, cooked the food, designed and installed the lighting -- the ceremony was even performed by a relative.

For our part we had to decide very quickly that Rancho del Cielo was going to be called that and paint the sign (very very quickly) that guided the guests to our house. The sign is still there and there have been many other lovers’ stories in the years since. And that’s because at the end of that very first wedding, we looked at each other and decided that this was something we really wanted to do.

Rancho del Cielo sign Happy Anniversary, Gwyn and David -- you finally get your Gallery page (so do a lot of other people.) We hope that looking at the images from that lovely day will tell you that while you only had eyes for each other, your lovers’ story was making the rest of us re-live our own.

Rancho del Cielo  
Rancho del Cielo lovers

Left: The wedding guests are all seated on the lawn, waiting for the entrance of the bride and groom who have the best reason in the world to linger...
Below: Meanwhile, wedding or no wedding, the bunnies hop up from the meadow to begin the evening shift.

Rancho del Cielo bunny

Rancho del Cielo
        ...Since the last sideboard but here are some of the best moments.

Below: Ziggy finally got a girlfriend and a new place to live but then he got two more hens and they hen-pecked him. (I am not kidding)
Be careful of what you wish for...

  Rancho del Cielo's ziggy & friendly

Below: The June sideboard is full of flowers from our garden, and memories -- high school graduation photos and cards, my mother’s favorite afternoon tea cake plate from our Mothers’ Day Tea for Operation Dreamseed and photo-booth images from the first wedding of the season

Rancho del Cielo sideboard

Below left: A birthday dinner for a wonderful friend in the garden under the tent sets the summer off to a perfect start. Below: I finally managed to grow DAHLIAS! I know, they’re a bit leggy but I’m thrilled. Sweet peas and Basil next!
Rancho del Cielo dahlia

Rancho del Cielo tables
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