2013 07 13540

Dave and Ann's Farmlet Petaluma, CA

It all started with an out-of-the-blue email from Dave Zimmerman, a fellow Airstreamer who had found us through some form of social media or another. He introduced himself (assuring us he wasn't a psycho) and extended an open invitation to stop by his family's "Farmlet" just north of San Francisco in Petaluma.

After checking out their blog, The Adventures of Dave and Ann, and determining that they weren't cyber stalkers, but actually really awesome sounding people, we decided we'd take them up on their offer.

Dave and Ann, getting a tour of Loretta

We pulled through the quaint town of Petaluma and soon found ourselves on small country roads where we met Dave out on the road in front of their property. After exchanging hello's and nice-to-meet-you's, Dave led us into a small field at the back of their land, where they had the perfect Airstream-sized spot for us, complete with electric hook-ups.

Our "campsite". And John finally got around to fixing our busted bumper!

We quickly set up and made our way to the house to meet Ann and little Wynne, a smily and precocious toddler who was tottering about and confidently speaking gibberish. Our hosts graciously offered us a variety of local craft beers (our kind of people!) and hors-d'oeuvres before settling into wooden chairs on the deck where we traded background stories, talked about farm life and shared adventures from the road.

Before dinner, we took a quick tour of the Farmlet. Walking through flower and herb gardens, the vegetable garden, meeting their flock of sheep, the chickens and Petunia the pot-bellied pig, we were smitten. Dave and Ann, who had been there for less than two years, had landed a piece of paradise. They were living my dream.

Petunia, the potbelly pig

For dinner, Dave grilled some pork chops from last year's pig and served them with some homemade chimichurri sauce alongside grilled zucchini and summer squash from their garden, a salad and homemade bread. It was simple, flavorful, and grown and raised within five acres.

We hadn't planned on staying two nights, but after the four of us spent the rest of the evening enjoying each other's company, we decided to stick around to soak up some more of the farm life.

The next morning, we woke to the smell of bacon wafting across the field. We walked past the cock-a-doodle-doo-ing chickens, the sheep and Petunia to a "good morning" of strong coffee, fresh eggs from the chickens and thick cut bacon, also from last year's pig. It was, no joke, the best bacon of my life. So flavorful and really meaty. Dave explained that it's all about how the butcher cures the bacon. Taking note for my future homestead.

After finishing up our super hearty breakfast, I was ready to get my hands in some dirt. I had told Dave and Ann about my farming experience in France last summer, particularly my tomato vine pruning skills, and would have loved nothing more than to spend hours working in the garden. Their tomatoes were getting out of control so they happily agreed to let my green thumb have at it. The next few hours of whacking off carefully-selected stems, tying supports along each vine and getting covered in the rich, herby scent of tomato plants (the best garden smell, hands down) were heaven. Working in the garden reminded me of how much I love tending to vegetables and getting my hands dirty.

The sheep would follow John around

The afternoon sun became too hot to work under, so we washed up, ate sandwiches and afterwards I dozed a bit. We had our last dinner together, another delicious fresh meal, thanks to Dave's mother who joined and did a good deal of fantastic cooking.

We found out that Petunia likes belly-scratches just as much as Bulleit.

The next morning, we said our goodbyes, thanking Dave and Ann profusely for being the world's best hosts. Really though, we were just hoping for a place to park for the night. We fell in love with their little farmlet and were excited to have new friends to meet down the road.

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