12 Days, 12 Ways

So, I am working down the 12 Days of Christmas list. The first six items, not that big of a deal. Everything is about a grand. The Partridge in a Pear Tree might not cost a thousand bucks but while you can get a pear tree at High-Hand, running around town burning gas while looking for a partridge is going to drive up the cost. I have a pond at home large enough for the seven Swans a Swimming. But at $13,000 I think i’m going to insert ducks this year. The 8 Maids a-Milking and 9 Ladies Dancing is probably something i’m not going to even attempt to acquire. The 11 Pipers Pipping and 12 Drummers Drumming, that one is easy. I will just make a donation to the local High-School music department and see if I can get them to show up. The hardest item to acquire is the 10 Lords a-Leaping. Are there even ten Lords in the United States? Or am I going to have to fly them in from Europe using my air miles? What country would you even go to and find 10 Lords that would leap for you?

Depending on how good a shopper you are, you’re looking at about $45,000 for the 12 Days of Christmas. That includes swapping the swans for ducks. Thats just one verse. Remember there are 12 verses. By the time the 12 days is up, your True Love would have bought 12 partridges and 12 pear trees. 22 turtle doves, 30 french hens, and 48 calling birds. Now we have a bigger problem. My True Love just gifted me a farm. I guess I can send each of the 40 Maids-a-Milking home with a couple pets, problem solved.

Then There is the High-Hand Way

image of inside of Mercantile store

High-Hand’s Holiday Schedule

12 days of lights, shopping, dining, and entertainment.

Starting Thursday November 30th Join us for 12 nights of lights in the Nursery. Grab your favorite beverage in the cafe or brewery and stroll the nursery fully covered with holiday lights 5:00-9:00pm every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday until December 23rd.

High-Hand Cafe is offering a limited dinner menu of wood-fired pizzas, calzones (for kids), and salad. Reservations for up to 8 guests can be made online here, limited walk-ins available. Seating is from 5:00pm-8:30pm Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Full lunch and brunch service also available during normal operating hours.

The shops in the historic High-Hand fruit packing sheds will be open until 8:00pm. Be sure to visit the High-Hand Mercantile, High-Hand Olive Oil Shop, and The High-Hand Art Gallery to restock on your favorites or to share with others.

High-Hand Brewery is open until 9:00pm offering delicious food, and great craft beer paired with live entertainment on The Stage. No reservations.

Giving Back

There is a HUGE difference between gifting and giving. Gifting is a box of chocolates, an object wrapped up, or money stuffed in an envelope. Giving is entirely different. Giving comes form the heart. Giving is compassion for everybody around us.

This year High-Hand is donating a portion of its December sales to a local organization called Compassion Planet. I have watched it grow over the last decade. Started by Scott and Jacquie Flanagan and with the help of Todd and Luann Johnson, Compassion Planet serves aged-out foster youth in a one year mentoring program. These mentoring programs help with life skills training, development skills, and workforce development skills. The stories and the journeys of these incredible youths hit home for me in so many ways.

We are hoping that you will join us for High-Hand 12 Days of Christmas starting November 30th.

Remember gifting and giving are two totally different things. One comes form the head the other comes form the heart.

Happy Holidays,


The Human Spirit

The Human Spirit

Five years ago November 8th, Magalia and Paradise were devastated by one of natures worst disasters. 85 people lost their lives. Over 18,000 structures, homes, and business were completely burnt to the ground.
image of burnt structure remains

The population of Paradise before the fire was around 26,000. Fewer than 4,000 homes have been rebuilt since the fire. Only roughly 450 businesses have come back to Paradise. Before November of 2018 there were over 12,000 homes and 1,500 businesses.

On the night of the fire Pastor Doug, in Magalia, held his phone out the back of the church and took a picture of the approaching flames. Several people from the church tried to evacuate hours before but the traffic backed up to nearly a standstill. Retreating back to the safety of the church they awaited the next morning. I have spoken to Doug many times about that night and I have no words to explain it to you and honestly neither does Doug.

Millions and millions of dollars were poured into the effort of fighting the fire and dealing with the aftermath. It can be said that arguably it is one of the most costly manmade disasters in the world.

While the fire was unfolding in our backyard it was apparent that there were needs to be met. So I write this email to all of you who backstopped High-Hand in our collective effort to make a difference. For me, the one thing that remains above all, is how powerful all of you were during this time. You selflessly gave, volunteered, supported, and time after time, again and again you rose to the occasion.

We asked for blankets and sleeping bags, you provided.

image of blankets and sleeping bags

We asked for milk that was going to be distributed to the different non profits in Chico that housed fire victims, you provided.

image of crates of milk

We needed refrigeration to store food and open up a kitchen to feed the masses. Jim from Produce Express provided a non-operational refrigerated truck and towed it up for Pastor Doug.

image of a refrigerated truck

Next came a food hall

image of the food hall

Tony from Celebrations provided a tent and the warmth of heaters so that home cooked meals could be provided.

image of pallets of water and supplies
Your donations allowed for the purchase of no less than 20 semi truckloads of bottled water that were delivered by Teichert Corporation on their trucks to Pastor Doug in Magalia. Thank you Jeb and Paula for making this happen. Through Teichert’s contacts, a forklift was donated to to unload the pallets as they arrived. While the mountain was smoldering you were able to set up a kitchen on the parking lot at the church in upper Magalia. Doug was able to call Jim at Produce Express and in real time order fresh produce, meat, and dairy that was then delivered to Sierra Nevada Brewery in Chico for refrigeration. From there Doug’s volunteers would drive down in pickup trucks on a daily basis and transport food up the mountain. You most likely didn’t realize but your donations were providing three meals a day to people greatly in need in the dead of winter. In a matter of days, you helped setup refrigeration, a kitchen, tanks of propane, a heated tent with seating for 300, semi truck loads of bottled water, and home cooked meals. Christmas dinner was served on the mountain, it was amazing, I wish you were there.
image of a burnt car
Your countless donations, support, and love provided so much. Many times I wish that all of you could see the impact that it was having. Your donations and kindness allowed for goods and services to flow effortlessly and freely straight to those most in need.
image of handing out gift cards

We met so many incredible people

image of a man and his dog

A military veteran named Joe

image of a local resident

Luke and Colton

image of man and son on cots

And then there was Rene

image of a child

Your donations provided semi truckloads of hay to Cowboy 911 to feed the animals still alive on the mountain.

image of bales of hay

You filled this barn up in Oroville, time after time for distribution.

image of bales of hay

You created a hay and pet food distribution point at Pastor Doug’s church, outside the same door Doug took the picture on that horrifying night. I can assure you your efforts went straight to the heart of the problem.

Cars were purchased

image of a used car

Cars were repaired

image of a broken down car

Cars were donated

image of people donating car

Your kindness allowed us to meet the needs right were people were at.

image of woman in car receiving donations
image of man pouring water over burnt plate
image of a mother and daughter
image of a family

The Gentleman Behind the Curtain

There was another tragedy unfolding behind all those who lost their lives and were displaced from the fire. My daughter and I identified him as the man behind the curtain. We got to know him. He was offered everything and took nothing. Every time I saw him, I carried my tomato bag. My tomato bag never left my side, I carried it everywhere. The bag held countless gift cards and all the things I needed to hand out to solve different types of needs. I carried it in and out of my truck, from my truck into my house. When at work, I carried it from office to office and place to place. That bag is where I kept your donations, your kindness, and your love. That is what we handed out together.

This gentleman was offered numerous times items from that bag. He never took a single thing. My daughter and I got to know him and we sat with him and talk one day. He evacuated the fire to the shelter. He said that he was trying to get a hold to his medical provider so he could try and schedule a procedure he needed for his heart. He never asked for money or a single tangible item. The only thing he asked for was for a cell phone to make some phone calls to get back on track for his procedure. That is the one item that you were able to provide him. Perhaps out of all the people I met and all the people that you helped, this man made the biggest impact on me. Sadly and unfortunately he was a victim of collateral damage. I am told that he passed away having not been able to connect up for his procedure. I pray and hope that information is wrong. The sad part about the fire is not just about the victims, but the many people who atrophied in the days after the fire. Will you please take a moment to listen to the man behind the curtain.

Miracles Beyond Tragedy

image of goose swimming

Natures amazing response

image of flower growing among burnt remanants

I wish you could have witnessed this family’s new beginnings.

image of a family approaching their U-Haul trailer

It was hard to say goodbye to new found friends at the airport.

image of entrance to airport

I wish you could have met Alysa.

image of a group of people standing next to a tiny home

Your kindness provided funds to build 10 tiny homes. This amazing woman took this project on at an abandoned car lot in Oroville.

image of tiny homes

Welcome Home Luke and Colton

image of the front of a tiny home

A Powerful Image

image of a christmas stocking on a burnt out fireplace

Five years later this image has a huge impact on me. My daughter Tara was with me as we came across it on the way up the hill to deliver supplies. We stayed at this home site for almost an hour. The stocking was hung and in an eerie way it struck a cord of peacefulness. We walked around gently in the ashes. You could almost see the life that lived here. It was completely humbling to stand there.

In the coming days do me a favor. As we head into the holiday season think about the people around you. Hug somebody. Care for somebody. Smile at a stranger. Reach out and do something. Make a difference. Put others above yourself. Simply care. Ask yourself a question, do you really need it or does somebody else need it more? Ask yourself a question, what would Love do now?

Your support, love, kindness, and compassion that you showed during the Paradise fire made an impact on more people than you will ever know. We at High-Hand can not thank you enough for being our backstop and going on this journey with us.

With heartwarming gratitude,


The Fern & The Palm Tree

Something has always baffled me. In my adulthood, there has always been a nagging question in my head that I have never been able to find an answer to. Who decided to put peas and carrots together? They have no business being together, one is a root and one is a vine. They are not even the same color. Yet they are perfect. You can say the same thing about Beauty and The Beast. As the story goes, they were perfect. Now lets take on a big one. Ketchup and french fries. How did those two get together? Was it a marriage made naturally? Or simple marketing genius? From what I understand the makers of ketchup weren’t selling enough ketchup. So somebody told the public that potatoes and ketchup go together. The rest is history. I’ve Googled this. There are all kinds of stories out there about the history of ketchup. For the purpose of this email, lets stick to mine.

Do we really need to know the answer to how peas and carrots came together? Not really. So many mysteries.

I am always amazed by the mysteries of nature. I am always amazed when plants are growing in places and spaces that they should not grow.

I was walking through the garden at Maple Rock last Thursday and I noticed a fern growing out of the side of a palm tree. I know it was a Thursday because our freezer at High-Hand broke down on the same day. These two events are really not related but they certainly have created a time stamp in my brain. This makes the freezer, the fern, and the palm tree completely connected. See how the universe works? It caught my attention out of the corner of my eye. What puzzles me about it is there are no ferns in the area like it. Matter of fact, in what we call the “Palm Room” at Maple Rock, there are no ferns. It was at this moment that peas and carrots came into my mind as I was looking at fern and the palms tree. I have come to the conclusion that I have no answers. Somewhere, somebody, put peas and carrots together. Probably a mistake. I think many great things of the world are born from a mistake. Are they not? As for my palm and the fern I think its just natures perfection. The fern traveled by air or by bird and found the perfect place to thrive. Who am I to really question “why.”

image of ferns growing on a palm tree

What if we just stoped asking “why” so much? Instead why not just enjoy? Here are some things you can enjoy at High-Hand that we have been working on for a very long time.

The Art Gallery

Curiosity and creativity.

image of the inside of the gallery

The Nursery

Freshness and life.

image of some plants and a car

The Mercantile

Calming and comfort.

image of the inside of the store

The Brewery

Friendship and good times.

image of the inside of the brewery

I think we can agree that peas and carrots, curiosity and creativity, freshness and life, calming and comfort, friendship and good times, all simply go together.

Oh and don’t forget about ferns and palm trees, natures perfection.

Can we add good vibes to the list?

Join us for four days of music this week from August 24th to August 27th.

  • Thursday: Curbside Concert Series with Justin Marson | 5:30-7:30pm
    Covers and original work
  • Friday: Billy Williams live on The Stage at High-Hand | 6:00-9:00pm
    Solo acoustic cover artist with a country flair.
  • Saturday: Renowned Danish artist Henrik Johannessen | 7:00-9:00pm
    Original country inspired acoustic sound.
  • Sunday: Frankie Sorci Duo | 4:00-6:00pm
    Smooth saxophone and keyboard.

For more information about upcoming events, check out our events page at Highhand.com. Follow us on Instagram for all of the latest information from High-Hand regarding plants, concerts, and other cool things.

See you at High-Hand,


Getting You  Caught Up

Getting You Caught Up

I am not implying that you are behind in anyway. I would expect that we would be behind on laundry, dishes, housecleaning, keeping the pantry organized, and picking up dog poop in the yard. I am behind on changing the oil in my truck. Maybe I just don’t trust Ford’s math. So I keep pushing the reset button, thinking its just a conspiracy to try and get more revenue out of me. Probably not. I do need to go get my oil changed. I will also confess that I am behind on bringing you up to speed on what has been going on at High-Hand. For the last 30 months we have been extremely busy navigating pandemics and closures while forging ahead with building our dream.

I think it is easier to build a dream than to live it. I don’t know your take on that but thats mine. For the last 20 years we have been doing just that, building a dream. The events of the last few years have not stopped us from the journey.

Let me get you caught up. I am not going to come pick up poop in your yard and you certainly don’t want me organizing your pantry. I would just eat the candy you forgot you had. Here’s what has been going on at High-Hand for the last 30 months.

The Cafe

We toyed around with opening up for dinners, as in the past. But then a lightbulb went on. More about that later. So, as always, the cafe is serving great ingredients prepared well and served with a smile. Click here to join us for weekday lunch and weekend brunch.

image of piles of debris

The Nursery

The nursery is home to some of the most unique Japanese Maples, plants, and flowers grown in our own green houses. Waiting for a table at the cafe? Take a walk through the greenhouse and just breathe.

image of the mercantile announcement

The Sheds

Don’t stop at the nursery, our 110 year old fruit packing shed is rich with history and truly a unique experience.

image of brewery announcement

The Olive Oil and my Amazing Mother

Stop by and say hello to Connie. Taste the best olive oil and balsamic’s in the region. Connie loves her job. If you can’t make it in to meet Connie, she will box it up and mail it off to you. Order here.

image of brewery announcement

The Art Gallery

Take a moment to step inside a world of amazing creativity. The Art Gallery is host to over 40+ local artists. Take some time, relax, and walk around. Introduce yourself to Allie.

image of brewery announcement

Leo Eleven Designs

Next to The Art Gallery, say hello to Kelly. Creative handcrafted jewelry. Ask Kelly to the create something special for you.

image of brewery announcement

High-Hand Mercantile

We travel all over trying to find unique gifts. The mercantile is an example of building a dream. Stop in and create your own handcrafted bath salts. Next time you’re looking for that unique gift, stop in and say hello to Tracy. Introduce yourself. She would love to meet you.

image of brewery announcement

Berco Redwood

Since 1987 Berco Redwood has been one of the regions premier family owned businesses. If you ever get the chance to meet Tim, just start talking about wood. His passion about redwood makes him light up like a kid. We are excited to offer their unique redwood products, yes things are still made with wood thanks to Berco.

image of brewery announcement

The Truck

Our original fruit truck is now a stage for Curbside Concerts. We were sitting outside one afternoon and thought to ourselves “this is a great place to sit on a summer evening.” Join us this Thursday May 25th as we kick off our Curbside Concerts on The Truck. Join Nathan North from 6:00pm to 8:00pm, great fun! Nathan North Music

image of brewery announcement
image of brewery announcement

The Stage

Live entertainment comes to High-Hand! Check our entertainment calendar at Highhand.com for all our upcoming shows. Join Dennis Johnson this Saturday May 27th 6:00 to 9:00pm live on High-Hand Stage. This concert is free. The Stage will be hosting live music every weekend. Enjoy light bites and great beer while listening to good music. Click here to see the slide guitar master’s website.

image of brewery announcement
image of brewery announcement

The Brewery

The brewery was our lightbulb moment, you could say. For the last 30 months we have been adding to our dream, live entertainment, connected to a great space to relax and enjoy friends. The brewery offers 12 unique beers and delicious handcrafted cocktails. Did I mention great food? Check us out, we would be thrilled to have you. Open for dinner and drinks 3:00 to 9:00pm Wednesday through Saturday and 3:00 to 8:00pm on Sunday.

image of brewery announcement
image of brewery announcement
image of brewery announcement

The Cat

Don’t worry about Petunia, she is living comfortably in her new Tillandsia home. If you want to buy an air plant you will have to go through her.

image of brewery announcement

Maple Rock

They say that the measure of a garden is in the degree for which it haunts you after you have left it. While we haven’t opened up Maple Rock since 2019. The gardens are doing wonderful. We hope to open the gardens back up next year for our Mother’s Day weekend event.

image of brewery announcement
image of brewery announcement

Lets recap

  • The cafe great food prepared well
    Walk the greenhouse and the nursery and breathe.
  • My mom is doing great, visit the olive oil store and say hello.
  • While you’re at it don’t forget to say hello to Petunia, Allie, Tracy, and Kelly.
  • Stop by Berco and get introduced to the world of redwood.
  • This Thursday May 25th, come kick off Curbside Concerts with Nathan North, so much fun.
  • Dennis Johnson takes The Stage this Saturday May 27th 6:00 to 9:00pm. Come check out the new sound system. Great beer and free music.
  • And finally don’t forget to step into the brewery, we know you’ll enjoy it.

We finally made it. We have taken a journey through the cafe and the nursery. We have visited all of the shops in the shed. We have met Connie, Allie, Tracy, Kelly, Tim, and checked in on the cat. I say its time for a beer.

I realize its been awhile since you have heard from us. We are excited for you to come and experience the changes at High-Hand for yourself.

See you at High-Hand,


Where have you been?

Where have you been?

I’m kidding, it’s more like where have we been. It’s been 11 months to the day since I have reached out. The last time we talked, we were talking about how all good thing start with a mess.
image of piles of debris


For the last 11 months we have been busy. High-Hand Nursery is still “nursery-ing.” Nursery-ing may not be a word but as far as I am concerned it is and yes we are still growing plants.

The cafe is still “cafe-ing” and serving great fresh food.

Which brings us to the fruit sheds. The flower market is beautiful as always and the shed is full of pottery.

The art gallery, featuring the best local artists is amazing.

My mother, who I have tried to fire several times, only because I feel she should finally retire for the third time, refuses to leave the olive oil store. Sue and mom continue to pour the best aged balsamic’s and single varietal olive oils that the world has to offer.

Adjacent to the art gallery is Kelly at Leo Eleven Designs, handcrafted and unique jewelry. I am not trying to put Kelly on the spot, but if you want something custom stop by and see her.

At the far end of the shed is Magic Sun Solar. Back in the day it was Brandon and his team that installed solar on the roof of High-Hand. It was not an easy project retrofitting a 110 year old building to bring it into the modern age. They executed flawlessly. Ten years later it is working just as well as the first day we flipped the switch.

We are thrilled to have in the sheds one of Sacramento’s premier family owned businesses, Berco Redwood & Berry Lumber. Visit their design center, they are an amazing lumber company with amazing people.

After 11 months of silence the big announcement.
Join us Saturday October 15th for the
Grand Opening Celebration of the
Mercantile at High-Hand

image of the mercantile announcement
Come meet Karen and Steve. Enjoy an evening in a great space, light bites and complimentary wine while it lasts.

One Last Thing

image of brewery announcement
Would you like to take a sneak peak in the brewery? You’re welcome to pop your head in and look around.

“ish.” Personally I think it’s a word. The word “ish” gives me a little space, an excuse to be delayed or held-up. To be honest the brewery has not necessarily been held up by construction delays or suppliers as the rest of the world has.

In the context of the word “ish,” as it relates to the brewery, it equates to passion. Passion has held us up. The same passion we put into great ingredients prepared well in the cafe, our olive oil and balsamic, and the plants that we grow at High-Hand, is the same passion that is building High-Hand Brewing Company. It is passion that has delayed the brewery, not settling for mediocrity. It is passion that drives the family of shops and businesses at High-Hand.

Join us Saturday October 15th, 5:00-8:00pm in the High-Hand fruit sheds for the grand opening of the Mercantile at High-Hand.

Enjoy 10 percent off at High-Hand Flower Market and on all pottery. Meet the artists at High-Hand Art Gallery, my mom and Sue, and Kelly too.

Come experience the passion at High-Hand.

See you at High-Hand,


All Good Things Start With a Mess

All Good Things Start With a Mess

I’ve got this Crab Apple tree that grows next to my house. I like my Crab Apple tree. It’s a beautiful, well pruned tree that fits nicely in its space. But I can honestly say that the mess it creates this time of year is not fun. Stepping on a Crab Apple is not comfortable, nor is scooping out boiled Crab Apples from the spa. We’ve learned to coexist over the years, me and Mr. Crab Apple, but I will say in this case not all good things come with this mess.

This time of year, when it comes to my yard, the only good thing that comes from all the leaves and mess is the satisfaction of being done with a chore. We can’t control mother nature and her sense of humor, the redepositing leaves after a satisfactory conquest. It is bad enough that mother nature causes messes but at High-Hand we create our own too.

image of piles of debris
There has been a rumor swirling around that we are building a brewery. Let me dispatch the rumor and confirm that we are. We are excited about this project. It has been a long time coming. Check in from time to time and watch our progress.
image of a scissor lift
Recognize this space? This was the space of the old art gallery. Minus the walls. Now where did the art gallery go?
image of the inside of the new gallery
I am happy to say, it’s still here in the fruit sheds. We moved it as well as expanded it.


While it is always a great time to visit the art gallery, this weekend is special. This Friday, Saturday, and Sunday — November 12th, 13th, and 14th, is a great time to check out the art gallery.

  • Friday, Greg Perkins will be playing guitar from 10:30am to 2:30pm.
  • Saturday, visit High-Hand Nursery for Art in the Garden. Greg will be playing if you missed him on Friday. come check him out on Saturday.
  • Sunday, 12:00pm to 2:00pm join us for a free concert. Auburn Symphony Woodwind Quartet from 12:00-2:00. Greg Perkins from 2:30 to 4:30pm.

While Mother nature plays her games outside, did you know that High-Hand now has fresh flowers for the inside!

image of the flower arrangement

Would you like a fresh bouquet delivered to your table while dining at the High-Hand Cafe? You can do that. While making a reservation, a fresh bouquet can be purchased. How fun is that?

Brace yourself (it’s a real bummer)! We have made a collective decision to not host our annual tree lighting this year. The decision to not do the tree lighting and Christmas dinners was a hard one. The consensus was that due to limited staffing, we could not bring the tree lighting to you in a way that we could be proud of. We look forward to next year and all things normal.

With all the remodeling — our new brewery, the flower market, we could not forget about Petunia’s kitchen and master bedroom.

image of a cat dish
image of a cat laying on handbags

With new counter tops, dishware, and a handbag mattress Petunia is thrilled.

We are looking forward to seeing you this weekend at High-Hand.


PS. Love the rain.

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