The Coast News Group
Machel's Ranch

Finding a little peace and quiet in the Ranch will do you good

I am sitting in my backyard. The air is quiet. The sky is blue. There is a hint of summer in the air today in the harsh sunlight, which has been hidden by the clouds almost all winter.

Ben Simmons, Shannon Elle and well known hair stylist and educator, Vicki Lavanty around town in Rancho Santa Fe. Photo by Machel Penn Shull
I am in between moments. In about 45 minutes I will be driving down to La Jolla. I will zip down there on the freeway, weave in and out of Torrey Pines Road and arrive about one minute before I am on the floor at a fine art gallery I work for.

Before this quiet minute to write, I made the rounds in the early morning with my husband for his Lemon Twist. We listened to “Bill Handle On the Law.” We gathered local produce and zipped back to Rancho Santa Fe. Then we unloaded and watched the world trickle in and out of the fruit stand.

Looking for the perfect companion for long walks and lots of love? Adopt Archie today! Contact Beth at (858) 673-5235. He has a warm and loving personality. courtesy photo

I dipped strawberries in melted chocolate from Europe, I swept floors and met customers on holiday for the weekend in Southern California. I even managed to squeeze in a nature walk and managed not to be side swiped by the mountain bikers on the San Dieguito reserve trails.

Now I am here. I am quiet. Life has slowed down for one hour so I can breathe in a moment of solitude. I am enjoying the simple chirping sounds of the sweet birds that like to eat the sunflower seeds I leave for them. I am taking time to enjoy petting my two Siamese cats on the patio furniture outside under the shade. For now, I am grounded in simple things that are soothing to my soul. When life is in constant action, don’t forget to nourish your soul with reflective silence. Make time. Don’t forget that quieting the mind is like inspiration to the soul.

Around Town

On April 21, I received some great news! Del Mar Majors Yankees team celebrated their win over the Red Sox in Carmel Valley. On a coincidental note, the real “Yankees” team beat the Red Sox, too, on the same day. One of these young boys may be headed for the real majors someday…you never know. After losing a couple of games, the thrill of victory is even sweeter. Their smile says it all. Congratulations to the parents, coaches and kids that enjoyed sweet victory that day.

On April 24, I ran a few errands in Rancho Santa Fe after picking up my son from school. Stumps Village Market and the post office are always buzzing with a packed parking lot, many people, and on this particular day a man a political group had gathered with signs that read, “Impeach Obama.”

Well, I always say, you never know what you might be missing around town if you aren’t going out. The big news that happened that day is I discovered on the town message board a flyer about a Labrador retriever mix named Archie that is looking for a home. His big smile and sweet eyes really spoke to me. “I’m wonderful and sweet and would protect you,” the smile said.

Well, I tore off the little tab, called Beth and found out that he most definitely needs a home. So if you are looking for a devoted mature dog to bring love and laughter into your life, Archie is for you! Contact his foster parent at Beth at [email protected], call (858) 673-5235, or go to

Fourth graders, Morgan Meyes, Reese MacDonald and Logan Zarkroske at the Gold Rush party at Ocean Air Elementary in Torrey Hills. Courtesy photo

Later that day, I received a beautiful photo of fourth-graders Morgan Meyes, Reese MacDonald and Logan Zarkroske at the Gold Rush party at Ocean Air Elementary. This extravaganza is devoted to fourth-graders learning about California history and what happened during the gold rush period. How wonderful! This picture captures more than just that. It reminds us why friendships are so important in our lives, even at a young age. Never take your friends for granted.

On April 26, I stopped in at my very favorite bookstore in the whole wide world: The Book Cellar. This lovely second hand bookshop is a pleasant, meditative experience. From the absolute quiet seclusion of being buried between many rows of fabulous books, what I love the most are the volunteers who sit in front that volunteer their own private time. After purchasing “Stern Men” by Elizabeth Gilbert and a book called the “The Office Goddess,” I found out the yearly half-off book sale is just around the corner.

Krista Lafferty and Machel Penn Shull at Mille Fleurs on a Friday night. Courtesy photo

Adele Snyder, Elaine Oswald and Mary-Ellen Drummond are all members of the Rancho Santa Fe Library Guild. They were kind enough to let me snap a picture so I could help promote this sale in the paper. All books will be 50 percent off. There is even a drawing to win a $50 gift certificate. Don’t miss out! The book sale runs May 3 to May 5. For more information, visit

On April 27, I found a few friends and a smile at my favorite restaurant in Rancho Santa Fe — Mille Fleurs. Due to a very busy work and writing schedule, I haven’t been there to enjoy Randy Beecher’s excellent piano music and lively ambience. How wonderful to see everyone, it felt just like old times again. Miss Krista Lafferty — the assistant advertising manager for this paper — was there along with her fiancé Mike Confer, my husband Robin Shull, Ranch resident Ben Simmons, Shannon Elle and Vicki Lavanty. Many of you might recognize Vickie as a well know hair salon owner in Solana Beach. Vickie has had her own salon there for more than 15 years. If you are interested in discovering a new place to call home as far as a salon, call Vickie at (858) 350-1764.

Machel Penn Shull has been writing for the Rancho Santa Fe News since 2008. She also writes for various magazine in Southern California. To contact Machel, email her at [email protected].