Small wineries, big results

On our last trip to San Luis Obispo Wine Country, the Navigator and I decided to focus on small production wineries. In small wineries, the owner is often the winemaker and the assistant his/her significant other. There might be some part-time help during crush and maybe an office person to answer the phones. Because their staff is limited, most require a phone call for an appointment to visit and taste.


A perfect Mendocino getaway

Legend has it that every time a sailor is lost at sea, a mermaid weeps into the waves. Her salty tears turn into sea glass that eventually washes up on shore. These tiny drops of glass, sparkling orbs of blue, red and green that dazzle the eye, are beautiful enough to make you wish the lore were true.


Ask Mr. Dad: Missing fatherhood before it even begins

Dear Mr. Dad: My first baby is due in a few months, but I'm going to miss the birth. I've been out of work for more than a year and just landed a great job. The problem is I need to go to across the country for a six-week training that starts on my baby's due date. The company is very family-friendly, but this session is mandatory. We burned through our savings while I was unemployed, and I'm afraid that if I pass up this job, it could take months or longer to get another one. Of course, I'm sad to miss my baby's birth, but I'm especially worried about my wife. She's very supportive, but I know this is going to be hard on her. I'm feeling really guilty. Is there anything I can do?


Lori Borgman: Vacation dream home best left to your dreams

I can remember every essay I've ever read about someone closing up a summer home in the woods, by the shore or on a lake. There's a beautiful melancholy about closing windows, draining pipes, putting slip covers on furniture and saying goodbye to the memories until next year.


Ex-etiquette: Set a good example on Halloween

Q: In the past you have suggested divorced parents both go trick-or-treating with their kids. I hate my ex. We have been divorced for almost five years and she's still a selfish, obnoxious person and I don't want to be anywhere near her. I can't cover up my disgust and that can't be good for my children to witness - but we did not put Halloween in the parenting plan and we can't decide whose gets the kids on Halloween. What's good ex-etiquette?


Plumber: Different faucets for different jobs

Q: Dear Ed: We are in the process of a major kitchen remodel that will include an island with a bar sink. I want the kitchen sink faucet to perfectly match the bar sink faucet. Can I just buy two of the same kitchen sink faucets and install one on the kitchen sink and one on the bar sink?


Home Fix: Mushrooms growing near base of toilet

Q: It's alive in the bathroom, and I'm a single mom scared to death. We just moved into this house not long ago. This is our first home, and you name it we've seen it. Mice, fungus, wasps, ants. Most of the mice are gone, killed the ants and bees are dormant. One big problem remains. There are mushrooms growing behind my toilet. Any tips or ideas would be greatly appreciated.


Design Recipes: Tips for a modern country-inspired look

From slip covers to painted floors and reclaimed wood, there may be no clear style that can define what some may consider country-inspired decor. In fact, these days, there is more of a push in design involving infusing country elements with a modern edge. The result: furniture often handcrafted by artisans as well as decorative elements that are often vintage or even salvaged.


School stories, a new Sun-Star column from Sara Sandrik

This new column comes in the wake of my own personal “breaking news.” After nine incredible years as the North Valley reporter and weekend anchor for ABC30 (and 16 years in television news altogether), I am excited to now be the first public information officer and district development officer for the Merced City School District. Photos & video produced by Sara Sandrik
School stories, a new Sun-Star column from Sara Sandrik 1:50

School stories, a new Sun-Star column from Sara Sandrik

Whale frees itself from Outer Banks sandbar 1:01

Whale frees itself from Outer Banks sandbar

Scenes of late spring on the American River Parkway 0:53

Scenes of late spring on the American River Parkway

Giraffe celebrates spring weather with run around zoo exhibit in Chicago 1:53

Giraffe celebrates spring weather with run around zoo exhibit in Chicago