The Bud Break

Forgive the obviousness, but this week I’m realizing you can’t start a new life without leaving most of your old one behind. We just closed the sale of our home in San Marino on a beautiful street in a neighborhood we loved. And it struck me that we’re giving up quite a bit to become ranchers. Our home, with its beloved courtyard sanctuary, internal atrium, and a big yard for the kids, now belongs to somebody else. (It’s the home we lived in when my daughter was born).  We’re also giving up my children’s slot in the best school district in the state, the luxury of living in close proximity to our friends and families (as well as modern conveniences like Target and my addiction, Amazon Prime Fresh), and in two months we’re going to be kicked out of the rental we’ve been staying in while selling our other home.  Goodbye SoCal.

A photo posted by TamaraEsq (@tamaraesq) on


Since marrying El Patron nearly seven years ago, we’ve been on a whirlwind ride and haven’t had a chance to catch our collective breath. In year 1 we moved to Pasadena and I became pregnant with our son. Griffin was born in year 2 and while on maternity leave I completed a culinary program. By year 3, I was pregnant again with our daughter. That was also the year my husband decided to put the company he founded and owned for 15 years up for sale. In year 4 we moved again and Elliott was born. I also quit my job as an attorney in a top firm and gave up a career I worked toward my entire life. In year 5, my husband sold his business and I opened a boutique mediation practice. In year 6 we bought the ranch and moved to a temporary rental. We spent most of this year learning what it means to be grape farmers and preparing for our big move to the Santa Ynez Valley. Just this week we purchased a home (complete with a vintage chuck wagon and a baby viognier vineyard) a few miles from our ranch that will house our family while we spend the next two years building the ranch house. We’ll be moving to the Santa Ynez Valley in about 6 weeks… and the transitions just keep on a-comin’.
Chuck Wagon

And while my 30’s have been a bit frantic, even by my up-for-any-adventure standards, the next transition will be our biggest yet, as we move our family out of Los Angeles where we both grew up and begin our new lives in wine country. One unanticipated consequence of five moves in seven years is that we haven’t remained in a home long enough to lay down roots. My eldest is approaching five years old and I have never hung a single framed picture of our family, ever. That will change when we make the big move. I’ve got a wall picked out ready to get nailed.

Since the vineyard seems to be a convenient metaphor for everything going on in my life these days, it’s fitting that this week we saw bud break. Bud break is the start of the growing season when the vines awake from their long winter nap. Pruning left our plants devoid of leaves and shoots. This week’s heat wave kicked them into action and the buds have poked through where the vineyard workers carefully placed their cuts. Some of our vines already have baby clusters forming. Shoots will follow quickly.

(Click on a photo to enlarge)


The vineyard gets its fresh start, as do we. With all of the transition in our lives, I’ve found that my rides through the vineyard ground me and remind me where I’m going. While I can’t escape feeling melancholy at the thought of leaving our old life behind, our land calls to me and I find myself eagerly compelled to answer.

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