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Santa Cruz Sentinel from Santa Cruz, California • Page 20

Santa Cruz, California
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C-2 Sunday, Oct. 8, 1995 Sentinel Family ties Annette Moeller, who with her partner Mary Graff built a home on her five acres, praised her father for his focus on family. 'Surrounded by an artistic parent was a big Bill LoveioySentlnel photos says illustrator Maryjo Koch. Continued from Page CI both the Millbrae and Bonny Doon farms. "She built a 4'2-acre formal English rose garden by herself," said Gary Meehan.

"She also built a two-acre Japanese garden. Ma did massive amounts of stone work." Freda's handiwork is still evident at the main house, which has belonged to Hank Moeller since his father died in 1985. Hank and his wife, Lana Hope Moeller, still have weddings at the old place because its beautiful gardens offer an idyllic setting. In fact, Lana Moeller uses the gardens built by her mother-in-law as one resource for the floral-design business she runs. "She was an artist, it's just the palette she used was huge," said Lana about Freda's gardens.

"Mom loved to make things grow," said Hank, who is a sculptor with a large, loyal following. "She could make anything grow. Mom found a pine cone on the streets of Santa Cruz one time. She brought it home and planted the seeds. Every one of them grew into trees." "They never went anywhere," added Lana.

"They created their own fantasy out of their own heads." After successfully battling years of hungry deer and the usual infestations, Freda's gardens were nearly wiped out by the seven-year drought that was only recently broken in California. "It was real sad," said Hank Moeller. "There only was enough water to maintain the house, vegetable garden and one tlower garden. There was tons of water when Dad had it going. The place was lush." Moeller remembers his parents as "extremely hardworking" people who "could see we were talented and they encouraged us to do what we wanted." Lana Moeller said that kind of support is unusual.

"It's the ideal, but not many parents do it," she said. "They gave them the latitude to explore their dreams." Henry Moeller was the more gregarious half of the couple, said their son. But Freda was wary of visitors because they cut into her gardening time, so Henry lavished much of his entertaining skills on his family and the handymen who worked around the place. Every day at 4 p.m., he served sandwiches and other goodies along with a cocktail or two for the crew. IN ADDITION to spending hours in her gardens, Freda dabbled in painting, and loved playing the violin so much that she developed left her.

They bicycle, garden, take care of their dogs. Years ago, Moeller and her then-husband created a thriving photography business, selling their work at art and crafts fairs throughout the state. "I used to be one of those '60s street artists," she said. Moeller, who has two sons, said the clan still gets together on birthdays and holidays to re-create some of the family magic that was so important to their father. "He gave us an appreciation of life and knowing how important family is," she said.

"My parents stressed that." Like her sisters, Moeller remem-berered what a talented person their mother was. "Hank is really a lot like her," said Moeller. "Whatever she went into, she could do it." the land her parents provided. "It's wonderful that my folks had the intuition to keep the family together all these years later." FREDA Moeller was born premature and with a bad heart. Doctors told her parents not to expect her to live past 30.

But she proved them wrong. "Through all her work, she strengthened her heart," said Koch. Working hard runs in the family, and nowhere is it more evident than with Annette Moeller, who, at 55, is the oldest of the clan. Moeller works full time at Diver-sey Equipment, which manufactures chemical pumps. She and her partner, Mary Graft, built a home on the five acres Moeller's parents Solutions 'They created this whole environment for us to live where we saw so much beauty and nature.

You look back and you realize how wonderful it really was. We were constantly working and pursuing Maryjo Koch "We grow it with such devotion," said Gary Meehan. "Our customers are truly our dear friends." Products from the Bonny Doon Farm are on store shelves around the nation. "It's all word of mouth," he said. "We don't sell to just anyone, just those who are proud of their businesses and go out of their way to find us.

We live simply, just like Ma and Pa did." "I just like to make things, my hands really like to do stuff," said Diane Meehan as she sat in one of the patios she and Gary created on visit the home studio of SALLY BOOKMAN during the upcoming Santa Cruz Cultural Council's OPEN STUDIO TOURS Saturday Sunday, 10-5 October 7 8 and 21 28 151 Manresa Drive Aptos (408) 688-2917 Highway 17 Larkin Vallev 1 1 Manresa Dn Dolphin Di THE PUBLIC IS INVITED. VjET THE RESULTS YOU WANT! Beyond Diets: Changing your Eating Habits Becoming a Non-Smoker Remaining Calm Under Pressure For Success Like Most People Her Age She belongs in a Her Own! Tor 30 years if been her home. over a thrush nest that had blown out of a tree. Diane knew her sister was developing an interest in birds. "So I painted it and gave it to her for a present," said Koch.

"After that, I got hooked on painting bird nests." She started a line of cards that featured nests of all kind, which attracted a book packager, who encouraged Koch to turn her skills toward illustrating a book. "Bird Egg Feather Nest" was the result, and a career was launched. Koch attributes much of her success to the life her parents provided as they were growing up. "They created this whole environment for us to live where we saw so much beauty and nature," said Koch. "You look back and you realize how wonderful it really was.

We were constantly working and pursuing goals." HANK Moeller's fantasy creations run the gamut from angels to fallen angels, with an emphasis on the latter. "My mother always dreamt I'd be making Madonnas, but I'm more into the faerie realm," said Moeller, 43. His porcelain and high-fire stoneware fantasy figures are created in a studio that once served as the stables for his father's farm, where goats, pigs, chickens, cows, horses and sheep roamed the acreage. The kiln he built with a fellow artist stands just a few feet from the old stable, within eyesight of a persimmon grove that includes the family's donkey the only livestock left. "My mother introduced me to sculpting," said Hank Moeller, who has passed on that love to his two sons.

"I made my toys as a kid. Mom could do everything, and she tried everything." LAVENDER grows well in the sandy soil at Diane and Gary Meehan's farm. The original lavender bush came from Love Creek, where a relative had built a cabin. The elder Moellers took a cutting from that bush to their farm in Millbrae, and then brought their bush with them to Bonny Doon. Diane and Gary Meehan turn their lavendar bounty into handmade soap, floral water, colognes, lotions, shampoo, conditioner, massage oil, sachets, candles and dried lavender bunches.

The soap is made in small batches of 20 bars to maintain the quality, and the Meehans have turned away proposals that would make more money if they stepped up production at the expense of But now she could end up in a nursing institution, simply because she could use a little help with life's daily chores. Who do you turn to when you're all alone? Who can you rely on to maintain your independence? California Victorian CareProviders HOME CARE AT ITS BEST SANTA CRUZ 459-6966 WATSONVILLE 722-0340 Services also available in Monterey Santa Clara Counties WESTERN MEDICAL ASSOCIATES INTRODUCES pi-i iiiuiiui in iici ucvi. "We really picked up the artistic ability from my mom," said Diane. Diane's sister, Maryjo Koch, not only inherited artistic talent from her mother, but also a love of nature that, not surprisingly, has shaped Koch's professional life. Koch is a nationally renowned illustrator who created a popular series of art books that were inspired by the nature on her own five acres that she and her late husband, Robert, also inherited on ftiat memorable Valentine's Day 25 years ago.

In 1992, Koch's first book, "Bird Egg Feather Nest," was the fea-Irured publication at the American booksellers Convention, and Koch Was at the center of a bidding war three companies that Wanted to publish her work. "Bird Feather Nest" is now in its fourth printing, with more than copies sold. "I thought it was going to be a nice, little book," said Koch. "I had idea it was going to be a bestseller." Her next book, "Pond Lake River Sea" was published in 1994, and "Seed Leaf Flower Fruit" is expected to be available in October. "People aren't as into fish as they are into birds, but it has done well," said Koch about her second book.

Her fourth book, "Dragonfly Beetle Butterfly Bee," is due out in the fall of 1996. Koch said she envisioned a creative career early on, when she discovered she had a flair for drawing. "I think just being surrounded' by an artistic parent was a big influence," said Koch, 54. "I always saw how neat (my mother) could draw, and I wondered why she didn't pursue it." Koch's interest in nests stems from the day sister Diane brought THE NEWEST MEMBER OF OUR TEAM Primary Care Physician, Dr. Ingrid Lopes.

It's in Dr. Lopes' nature to nurture. "As a family doctor, I try to offer insight, compassion and individualized care to people in all stages of life," she says. At home, she relaxes by caring for plants: "Gardening is a tranquil activity that allows me to refocus, and get a little dirty." Dr. Lopes did her undergrad work at UC-Davis and San Jose State, went on to the University of Osteopathic Medicine and Health Science, and completed her family practice residency at Broadlawns Medical Center, Iowa.

You can reach Dr. Lopes at 528 Capitola Avenue, Capitola, CA 95010. 475-1630 Western Medical Associates is the largest group of physicians In Santa Cruz County dedicated solely to primary care. For more information, call 475-111. in A Residential Care Facility for the Elderly I fr State Lie.

445200177 Santa Cruz 475-6757 WES TERN ME DIG A ASSOCIATES m'e dical group, inc. 'ft '4-1 Affiliated with Physicians Medical Group of Santa Cruz County (PMG), CHW Medical Foundation, and Dominican Santa Cruz Hospital. NewsLme423-NEWS 24 HOUR INFORMATION SERVICE.

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