Baby Negranti!!

A couple weeks ago we did a photo shoot for Matchbook Magazine (more on that in the next post…), and since the photos don’t hide the bump, it’s time to announce that Wade and I are expecting our first baby this November!

We are thrilled, thankful, and absolutely cannot wait to meet our little cowboy!

(photos by Kelsea Holder)

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 Baby Momma, 

Alexis 

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Happy March

Sometimes you stop, take a moment, and realize how beautiful life is. I pulled into our drive this morning, saw the blue sky, blooming trees, green grass, heard birds chirping, our creek running, and it hit me; I am one stinkin’ lucky lady. I love our beautiful, crazy, farm life.

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Happy March,

Alexis

A Productive Work Day / Run of the ‘Bulls’

Let me tell you about my super productive work day.

First off, at the end of 2013 I decided to move my office back home. As much as I thought I would love having a space to separate work life from home life, I really missed having a home office. Working from home means, on days that I’m not in the creamery, I can catch up on Quickbooks, emails, and billing, AND throw a load of laundry in the wash between tasks. I find myself much more productive working from my home office. However, last Monday, this was not the case…

My Monday was off to a great start. I went to town early, made some deliveries, came back home and caught up on emails, did some billing, and was working on our wedding line up for the ice cream truck (HERE). At lunch I called my husband, asked him a couple questions and casually told him I had fed the horses that morning. In return, he causally asked me to also feed our steers. No problem.

WRONG.

I went downstairs to get the alfalfa (have I mentioned we live in a barn? Well we do. Which is why I walk downstairs to get hay…). Anyway, I got the alfalfa and off to the pasture I went. I saw the horses…and may have given them another flake (they gave me the look! I couldn’t help it), and kept walking. I didn’t see the steers. This particular pasture is only about 8 acres and is mostly visible from where I was. So carrying the flakes of alfalfa, I walked up and over the hill to see if they were near the second trough. No steers.

Naturally, like any sane and reasonable person would do, I looked at my dog and asked, “where are the cows Fred? Where are the cows!?”. He looked at me and took off running. I dropped the alfalfa and began following him. He took me to the other side of our property, down a steep, wooded hill, and into the creek. Lo and behold, there were the steers. In the creek bed, eating grass, and looking at Fred and I. At first I was proud of ol’ Fred, he led me right to them! And then I realized that he and his accomplice (our other dog Levi) must have ‘herded’ them through the pasture fence, to the other side of the property and into the creek. I was no longer amused.

The dogs and I tried to herd the steers right back up the way they came. But the steers didn’t want to cooperate. This was the beginning of an hour and forty-five minute (I am not even kidding) long chase of the steers. You could say we were having our own version of ‘run of the bulls’…but is was more like ‘crazy lady trampling through brush with dog and non-threatening steers ignoring her.’…

In my attempt to get the steers back, I marched up, I slid down, I hiked through thistle brush and poison oak, and trampled through the dead weeds in the dry creek bed. I had scrapes on my hands and legs and was 100% certain I was covered in poison oak. Over it was a MAJOR understatement.  At this point I was in the creek and decided to try a different tactic, clearly this ‘herding’ was not working in my favor. So I marched back up the hill, army crawled under our fence (umm…yes. I really did crawl under our fence. And yes I realize it’s a good thing we live where people can’t witness my ridiculous behavior), and grabbed the alfalfa I dropped in the steer-less pasture. Then, with the hay in tow, I army crawled back under the fence, slid down the hill, and tried bribing the creatures with the alfalfa. Well you know what? That didn’t work either. So I threw down the flakes, told the steers to forget it (they can understand me you know…), and headed back to our barn/house.

After wasting almost two hours of my day, I called my husband back. Explained what I had just endured, explained I wasn’t going back down there, and let him know the good news was that his steers did indeed get fed.

When Wade got home we saddled up the horses and headed down to the creek. We had those steers back in the pasture within 15 minutes. As soon as we shut the gate behind them I started laughing, seriously? Two hours of my day and it took two of us 15 minutes? I guess what they say is true ‘many hands make light work’… and less scratches, and no hiking, no poison oak, no skidding down hills, no army crawling , and no crazy-lady’s version of ‘run of the bulls’. Lesson learned.

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And that was my productive day. It sure was a lot of work, just not the kind I anticipated on doing.

I am now reconsidering my home office.

Got to love Mondays,

Alexis

Merry Christmas 2013

It’s Christmas? 2013? I know I’m not alone when asking ‘where the heck did this year go?’!!

It seems like we just moved into our new creamery, landed Whole Foods, bought our first home, and completed the ice cream truck. Looking back 2013 has been quite a year. There have been so many ups and only one tragic down (losing my very best friend and like-child dog, Lucy).  Life is quite the adventure. I adore this quote by Abraham Lincoln:

“IT IS NOT THE YEARS IN YOUR LIFE THAT COUNT, IT’S THE LIFE IN YOUR YEARS.”

Our year has surely been filled with life (…perhaps a major understatement!). Thank you for being a part of the life in our years; Wade and I both feel happy, lucky and blessed. We’re looking forward to a fantastic 2014.

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Merry Christmas from our little family to yours!

Alexis

The Honest to Goat Truth

I have something to come clean about. Remember those sweet goats I blogged about a while back (HERE)? Yes…well that was cute and all…but two days later those goats crawled under our fencing and took off. And we never saw them again. I gave them food, I gave them water, I gave them shelter. They even had Wade to follow around. And those buggers still ran off.

So about a week or so after those goats ‘moved on’, Wade brought home to MORE goats. (Because, you know, we had such great success with the first two). These goats were not nearly as tame as the first two but were extremely entertaining. They would goat-crawl under the fence during the day, eat weeds, cruise around the property, and at night they would goat-crawl themselves back under the fence into the pasture.

They never loved me enough to let me get close enough to snap a picture of them. However, they did love our horses. When I would ride in the arena, they would be in the arena. When I moved the horses to another pasture, they would go into the pasture. When I would ride around the farm, they would follow.

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These goats really grew on Wade and I. Following us on horses, darting in and out of the pasture, never getting too close but just close enough…plus, they were great weed abatement tools!

And then last weekend the goats were gone. And they didn’t run away. You know how we know they didn’t run away? Because we ‘found’ one of them. I will spare details. We believe it was either a large fox (see photo below) or coyote. I am going to go ahead and believe that there is NO WAY it could have been a mountain lion. No way. I’m just going to keep telling myself that….let me believe it, OK?

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{The fat happy fox in our drive way. Please don’t ask me what it said.}

So now we have no goats. And I don’t suspect we will be getting any more. I had to come clean with you all; farm life is not always cute goats and peaceful co-existing. And I couldn’t keep pretending that we were actually good goat keepers when in fact, both sets were gone.

We’re clearly not meant to be goat people, and that’s the honest to goat truth.

 

Sticking with cows and sheep,

Alexis

Negranti’s Ice Cream Truck

I cannot even tell you how excited I am to have our ice cream truck complete!! OK, I can. I am SO SO STINKIN’ EXCITED AND I’M NOT GONNA HIDE IT!!!!

A few weeks back I put together a little ‘inaugural’ photo shoot for the ice cream truck. Those of you who know me, know I have high expectations for just about everything. And this photo-shoot blew me away. And that’s saying something.

During the shoot, as I was on location at one of the most beautiful venues in our area (HammerSky Vineyards), and surrounded by two beyond talented ladies (Mirelle Carmichael and April Peet), it struck me. Holy moly I have an ice cream truck! A super cute ice cream truck at that! And it’s decorated with the most amazing, Martha Stewart Wedding worthy flowers from April of April flowers, and photographed by the incredible Mirelle Carmichael of Mirelle Carmichael Photography. How did this happen? How did I get here? How am I so lucky? I really don’t know the answers, but I will tell you I feel blessed beyond belief and I count my lucky stars every single day.

Now, without further adieu...

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Shameless plug: Our ice cream truck is now available for private events and weddings! Please visit: www.negrantis.com or our facebook for more information.

One lucky lady,

Alexis

Italy

A little over one week ago, Wade and I returned to the USA from Italy. We had been yearning for an Italian getaway. So, more two years after Negranti Creamery was born, we left our baby and jetted off to the land of exceptional wine and spectacular food; otherwise known as Italy.

Our trip was incredible. I’m unable to sum it all up in one blog post, so here are a few of my favorite memories.

The cappuccinos. I’m serious. They were so, so, so, so good. The rich espresso, the fluffy steamed whole milk… I’m fairly certain I had at least two each day we were in Italy. I’m also fairly certain I now need a espresso maker in my kitchen.

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Hiking the Cinque Terre. What an experience. We hiked after a day of rain so some of the trails were washed out (not quite maintained like the trails here in CA); but we were able to hike to Monterosso. The hike was incredibly scenic; perhaps one of the most beautiful hikes I have ever done.

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I especially liked the trail signage (this photo doesn’t show that the letters were about 2″ tall, written on a guardrail, on the side of a back country road)…we almost missed it.

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Quick story: our hike took a about three hours. We were sweaty, thirsty (perhaps a little ill-prepared for such a trek), but feeling accomplished. When we finally arrived in Monterosso, we all went and grabbed a couple scoops of gelato (we deserved it!), then headed towards the train to take us back to where we started our three hour excursion. After catching the train, we sat down, and prepared ourselves for a long quiet ride back.

The train went through the mountain(s) we had hiked, so it was nice and dark, and relaxing. Then SHA-BAM! Within three minutes (I’M NOT EVEN KIDDING) we were back to the town where we had started our hike. Really? A three minute train ride? It took us three hours! We humbly disembarked the train, feeling a little less accomplished.

It was totally worth it.

Meat and cheese paninos. Oh boy. I might start drooling. Fresh baked salted bread, cured meat, and real, fresh, soft mozzarella. And sometimes, when I was really lucky, these paninos were made with buffalo mozzarella. The Mozzarella di Bufala is like no other…

I might just have to start a buffalo dairy so I can have these paninos here at home.

But let’s not mention that to Wade just yet…

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Tuscan wine country. My photos don’t do justice to how beautiful Tuscany really is. I thought we were in a movie (really, it’s that perfect).

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The restaurants are all so cozy, and all with amazing views.

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{my handsome man}

The wines in Italy are beautiful. They’re light, flavorful, and go with everything (like meat and cheese paninos…and gelato…just saying!).

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We were lucky enough to see a grape harvest, drink wine right from the barrels, and got to chat with winery owners and winemakers.

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There are wild figs everywhere. I ate them like candy.

{One day I picked so many, I was able to make fig jam to bring home with me (I’m savoring the few jars I have)}

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The Vatican. Impressive, breathtaking, and moving. By far the most significant part of our trip. Whether you are religious or not, I believe it is a piece of history and architecture everyone should try to go see.

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And we did so much more; the Uffizi Gallery, the Pitti Palace, the Duomo, picturesque parks, a tiny restaurant with only 3 tables (where I had my best meal: wild boar ragu), Venice, Lucca, and the list goes on.

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We enjoyed every second of the trip..which is a good thing; I don’t know that we’ll be able to leave the creamery any time soon (read: I don’t know when I will be able to leave my ‘baby’ for two weeks again). Our time in Italy was wonderful; both refreshing and inspiring.

But, Im’ happy to be back with my dogs, horses, and garden. And I’m happy to be back making ice cream.

Really, there is no place like home.

Happy to be home,

Alexis

Two Things

1. WADE AND I TOOK A LITTLE ROAD TRIP…it was for business of course! We found a freezer to put in our ice cream truck on Craigslist. It was a couple hours south, but it was about 1/4 the price as a new one so we thought “what the heck, let’s check it out!”. So we headed south…

The directions led us to a sketchy, ghetto, barren industrial complex. Did I mention sketchy? I may or may not have told Wade I wasn’t getting out of the truck… and as soon as we walked through the cracked-glass door, boy was I glad I did. Holy restaurant supply! Tucked away in this random, void of any signage, warehouse is this amazing Mecca of everything restaurant. They had it all! From beautiful used commercial ovens to espresso machines to ice cream freezers. They had an extremely random collection of manikins too,  which were just downright terrifying…

We decided to get the ice cream freezer (sans manikin) for the ice cream truck! Which means the truck is NEAR COMPLETION! Now, this restaurant Mecca was essentially self serve, Wade loaded the freezer into our truck himself…

Totally worth the trek. And totally worth having to load it up ourselves.

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She’s a beauty! Now to get some cute signage on that thing…

2. PHOTO AND THANKS

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I snapped this photo on my way into the creamery the other morning. It was at that moment in dawned on me how thankful I am to be able to live where I live (the most beautiful place on Earth…just my opinion though…), and be able to do what I do.

Those of you who are close to me, or those of you who too have started your own company, know that it is a crazy ride (understatement of the year). Starting, running and growing my small business has been both the most stressful and rewarding task of my life. But receiving so many positive emails, comments and calls, fulfills me to no end. In the past week I have TWICE been told “this was the best ice cream I have ever had”, which pretty much makes my year. Thank you for all your support; I wouldn’t trade this crazy ride for the world.

Alexis

 

 

A New View.

Last weekend Wade and his Dad put their tractor driving, tree hacking, and chainsaw operating skills to the test. And boy am I glad they did.

Living on property means constantly picking up, clearing, and maintaining the land. Well, when we bought our property it had sadly been neglected; to say uncared for would be an understatement. Read: Wade and I have about 10 years worth of picking up, clearing and maintaining to catch up on. One of the first things on my “things that have to go” list (other than the old truck we can’t seem to even give away), was this tree. It was dead, ugly, and blocking our beautiful view.

Here was our view with the big, ugly, half dead, ugly, tree.

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I mean, look at that sunset I was missing out on!

Here is Wade in the reach lift (his Dad is driving). He used a chainsaw to cut the bottom, then attached chains near the top of the trunk so they could safely pull the tree down.

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Tree going down!

It’s never a dull moment at the farm… and tree down!

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Drum-roll please…..

Our new view!!!

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Don’t mind that odd, eye sore of an enclosed porch…I have plans for that too.

Ahh, the power of a chainsaw.

Enjoying the view,

Alexis

Friday Night

It was Friday night and I heard my husband pull into the drive. I went outside to greet him… and I hear goats. Yep, goats. (typically a four letter word for us sheep people). Goat people are crazy, us sheep people are totally normal. Oh, you didn’t know that? Yep. We’re super normal. Glad we got that cleared up.

Back to the story: when we bought our property a few months back there was a lot (like, A LOT) of junk left behind. One item left was an old truck. Now, this is not one of those cool, old vintage trucks. Nope this is just a junky old truck, it’s really no wonder they left it behind. We wanted this said truck off the property so Wade put an ad on Craigslist trading the truck for goats. We wanted goats to help with weed abatement (there were a lot of weeds left behind too).

The only reply from the ad he got was from a lady who had goats to give him. Wade was thrilled! And then she told Wade to keep the truck. The truck is really that bad.

Here are our new goats:

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I love that Wade randomly coming home with goats on a Friday night isn’t surprising. And that watching the goats follow him around was our Friday night entertainment.

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You know what the goats love? They love Wade.

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So now we have goats.
We’re still trying to get rid of the truck.

Alexis