Celebrating the New Year at the Tea Ranch

On the first day of 2011 I planned a big New Year celebration at the ranch, with friends and staff from both stores beginning the new year with lots of spirits (as in booze) and tea. Unfortunately, I woke up that morning to pouring rain. A call to my neighbor Juan confirmed rain and heavy wind, so I tried to warn off as many guests as I could. Most of the people I caught by phone agreed that a long drive plus the opportunity for hypothermia weren't the preferred way to start the new year, and were glad to stay home.

Grace and I drove up in the rain, thinking how awful to start the new year by canceling our long-planned celebration. But when we arrived at the ranch, to our surprise, we found the property covered in snow! Being from Hong Kong and San Francisco, I don't see snow very often and this was simply AWESOME!

After going inside to turn on the heat, Grace and I walked around the property marveling at the snow. Suddenly a car pulled in and out jumped a load of visitors. Before all the hellos were said, another car arrived! A total of 12 cars full of people showed up. Everyone took turn at the BBQ (just to keep warm I think). My neighbor Juan must have caught a whiff of the cooking because he came over with family in tow, bringing homemade tamales and enchiladas along with a case of olive oil from his ranch and an armful of wines. It turned out to be a great evening for all and I thank the man (or woman) upstairs for my good fortune.

For those who couldn't make it, here are some photos.