The ultimate work at home mother!

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We are spending the summer holidays in California, I just couldn’t look another English one squarely in the eye. It’s great being here because in addition to sunshine on tap, we have lots of family to help entertain three small girls AND it gives me loads of time to visit old friends.


Two of my favourites are Ramona and Deepak, who just happen to own the Nicholson Ranch Winery in Sonoma. Ramona (pictured above in her “put-put” all terrain vehicle) grew up on the ranch with a herd of roaming cattle, horses, chickens and a lama. She had the foresight to plant grapes in the early 90s and when she fell pregnant with her first child, she gave up her job at a risk analysis software company to embark on the winery project full-time. When her first son was born 1995, she’d juggle taking care of grapes with taking care of baby.



So here’s the result. Not bad for her little “project”, huh?


Speaking of grapes, here’s the chardonnay, which will be harvested the end of August, bottled next year, and available in early 2011.


And my favourite, the pinot noir.


This is Deepak testing some Rose that will be bottled this week.


The wine is aged in oak barrels from France; the miles of caves under Nicholson Ranch store nearly 800 of them!


It must be really tough working here.


Ramona and Deepaks’ wine’s have won all sorts of awards, including several golds.


Pepper, their Australian cattle dog, entertained us on our visit (and dug up the lawn).


The girls loved feeding the chickens and gathering eggs.


The view from the winery. So who ever said mums can’t have it all?

What would be your ultimate work-at-home job?

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  1. sheila
    09/09/2009 / 00:38

    Hi , congratulations to your friend for her little project – thats the first step in working from home – you got to love it – itmust feel like leisure not work or else it all falls apart – I ‘m going into IM and would like to tell youall about my site for all the info on stairgates, cheers

  2. 06/08/2009 / 22:44

    Never mind your friend, with her fab stay-at-home career, I’m jealous of YOU BEING IN CALIFORNIA all summer!!
    I’d like to get paid for reviewing movies. I could do that from home, right?

  3. Iota
    05/08/2009 / 19:08

    Susanna, you’ve gathered enough of us to form a writers’ community. We’ll need a big house by the sea, with a vineyard, and then we’ll be fixed. Get onto it, would you?

  4. 05/08/2009 / 07:08

    Your pictures are lovely. Glad you’re enjoying your time back here. I am off to NYC with my daughter next week to celebrate her 16th bday. How time flies.

  5. TooManyHats
    04/08/2009 / 05:10

    SO glad you are having a good time here! The winery is lovely. Job to do at home, I have enough to do already, thank you very much šŸ˜‰

  6. 03/08/2009 / 10:36

    Thanks for you comments on my blog! Its now up and running in its new and shiney state, take a look when you get a chance!

  7. 03/08/2009 / 00:10

    Wow that looks stunning Susanna. And my ideal work at home job would be writing too, surprise surprise. I plan to have a really good go in Sept when M starts school. Fingers crossed.
    Happy holiday lovely. And I bet you’re getting more sun than us. SIghhhhh.

  8. 02/08/2009 / 21:44

    Gorgeous! Have a lovely time and enjoy your break.

  9. 02/08/2009 / 19:25

    I’d turn back the clock about 20 years, pop out a new baby every year or so until I had a reasonable brood (say 6 or 7), then they could help me tend my smallholding and I’d start a little home-school.
    crazy! and probably a good thing that i’m too old for that now!

  10. 02/08/2009 / 08:39

    Soooo lucky to be spending the summer in California! I think we’ll land ourselves on US relatives next year because I *need* a summer. Love the photos – what blissful surroundings and work.

  11. A Modern Mother
    02/08/2009 / 04:56

    Tree- yes the veg patch would feature in mine too
    Rebel- I’ll be right over!

  12. 02/08/2009 / 02:11

    Oooh, Lovely photos. Hope your having a great time.
    Tagged you over at mine for the Meme award! Hope you can make it RMxx

  13. 01/08/2009 / 22:47

    wow! what a great summer!
    that place is brilliant and how very lucky they are, and you too for getting to stay there.
    i love that baby pinot noir.
    staying at home (if only it were possible) would involve my kitchen, some animals and some veg.
    ahhhh, dreams.

  14. 01/08/2009 / 18:32

    Hi, you’re welcome to a button as long as you give me a link back. Thanks for the kind words.

  15. A Modern Mother
    01/08/2009 / 16:15

    MTJAM – sounds wonderful
    Expat – yes, you have šŸ˜‰
    Lisa – loving the weather here, we need to get together for a coffee
    Caroline – thanks!
    Miss S – I’ll stop by when it’s done
    Nappy – LOL!

  16. nappyvalleygirl
    31/07/2009 / 19:44

    You lucky things. If there’s one thing I am determined to do while in America, it’s visit Californian wine country….
    My ideal? bestselling novelist, living in a beautiful house with sumptious gardens overlooking the sea somewhere warm, friends dropping in for a glass of wine now and then, children coming in sweetly from time to time asking for help with schoolwork but otherwise not disturbing one too often. Well, we can all dream, can’t we.

  17. Miss Searles
    31/07/2009 / 12:34

    I’d love to spend the summer in America-so jealous!
    My ultimate work at home job would be something crafty, I’m really getting into sewing at the mo so maybe something with that. But at the same time i’m also getting lots of really good idea for Christmas crafts either way it’d have to be something with lots of glitter!
    I suppose i’d also quite like to write or become a professional blog reader :-s
    Miss Searles
    P.S I’m currently giving my blog a make-over, it should be up and running in all its new and shiny glory next week, drop by if you get a chance and let me know what you think of it šŸ™‚

  18. 31/07/2009 / 12:32

    Sounds like you’re having a fab summer, Susanna. All that blue sky – lovely! I’m very jealous!

  19. 31/07/2009 / 05:03

    I am so jealous! Sonoma is so beautiful. I love it there. Husband always says he would love to make his own wine. So extremely tough to make a living at it.
    I would love to own a ranch–lots of land and horses (grew up around them), dogs, etc. and like everyone else, be a writer LOL.
    Have fun. I bet you are loving this weather, huh? It is so mild here in SJ. Kids were cold this morning in the pool

  20. 31/07/2009 / 00:46

    Come September when little man goes into school full time (after 16 years of being in the house with a small child – did I say that already?) I will be doing my dream work-from-home job. Finishing the writing projects I have.
    Your friends’ place looks like heaven but I know it’s hard work. Must check out the wine. (Any excuse.)

  21. 30/07/2009 / 20:53

    Sounds lovely šŸ™‚
    Yep, I’m with Iota and would like to be a writer, but I’d mix writing at home with writing in cafes, in fields, in railway stations…

  22. A Modern Mother
    30/07/2009 / 20:34

    Brenda — you are probably right, but think of all the wine!
    Iota — sounds good to me
    Tim — I’ll bring you a case!

  23. 30/07/2009 / 20:30

    Bring us back a bottle, will you? (We need a ‘cup of the warm south’ here in rainy Blighty – you’re missing nothing, weather-wise!)

  24. Iota
    30/07/2009 / 19:41

    Writer. But I need company too. So it would have to be writer with lots of other people popping in – possibly other writers? (but not so much popping in that I wouldn’t get the writing done). Does that job exist?
    Glad you’re having such a good time. That sunshine must be a tonic.

  25. 30/07/2009 / 18:59

    sounds and looks like bliss, but I bet a lot of hard work and tears have gone into it all.