Color in the City, St. Helena 2

This Summer, I was at Tres Sabores winery for a beautiful fundraising event with Project B Dance company (click here to see that post)

At this event, chef Daniel Brooks painstakingly selected (and foraged with the help of volunteers!) almost the entire menu from local in season foods. The movement in these wine country regions is extending way beyond organically and bio-dynamically grown grapes to other healthy crops like heirloom grains that can be milled into flours that are far healthier, tastier, and less upsetting to our systems then the current modified grains in most foods today.  With just a tad more research I found this remarkable little treasure nestled just off the Hwy 29 between Calistoga and St. Helena: Bale Grist Mill built in 1846. (click the photo for an excellent article)

That's how I met Jeanne Marioni, officially the Volunteer Coordinator and Community Outreach person, but really: the woman who runs this mill from a familial earthy inspiring passion (click her picture for information about tours and visiting the mill)...

Sharon Pieniak, a graphic designer and photographer has been traveling indefinitely, landing here for awhile to volunteer her time in exchange for a place to stay for a few months. I know! How cool is that?!


[caption id="attachment_6584" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="This is a operating mill that offers tours and mills fresh flour and cornmeal every day for purchase to raise money and keep the property running."][/caption]

As for Jeanne, when she discovered that one of her ancestors was a miller she set off on a trail that led her to basically rescue this place from ruin when Parks and Recreation started closing parks.

Jeanne found her ancestor's name in this book of Millers, patents, and mill drawings

[caption id="attachment_6608" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Her passion for family history reminded me about my own drive to paint which I'm sure comes from both sides of my family."][/caption]

Jim, the Miller here, showed us the mill, milled some flour for us, and filled us in on millers' phrases we still use today.

Keep your nose to the grind stone: millers often grab a handful of flour to smell during milling. If the stones are too close together they create sparks and can burn a farmer's entire crop. So the phrase really means to pay attention to your work.

Wait your turn (turn of the wheel, the mill, the belts...)

Run of the mill (what grain is being milled that day)...


I could go on, but I'll just be quiet while you enjoy more of the scenery around the mill...

What surprised me the most today was how diverse the terrain is, how long ago Native Americans and then Europeans were drawn to the magic of this land, and of course the bursting and banging of colors that seem to glow in the mysterious light of this landscape...

There are so many colors that jumped out at me today, but these really stood out around the Bale Grist Mill...

See you tomorrow for my next round of stops...



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