Subject: News from Mountain Home Ranch

Mountain Home Ranch Resort
A Place for Gathering Since1913
Echoes From the Mountain January 2015

Up Coming Events

Winter n the Wine Country
Book your room today
or call us 707-942-6616



January 11 – 17  

Pathways Institute

Rooms Available



January 17 – 23

Wild Heart Painting

Rooms Available



January 23 – 25  

Santa Rosa Center for Spiritual Living

Rooms Available



January 25 – February 1

Bay NVCRooms Available




New Years Day was spent with many old time guests and a few new. The big discussion – social media. To do or not to do. We have been having a hard time making the commitment, not really seeing the point. Talking to all of you, the majority, 95+% do not partake. The few that do, talk about putting the message out to attract new business. With a degree in marketing it does not make a lot of sense spending a lot of time, money and energy on something that is not focused on our ‘demographics’. Hmmm. What to do. We will try some over the next year and see what the results are. Would love to hear from more of you. Drop us a note on your thoughts suzanne@mountainhomeranch,com  

Look forward to hearing from you.

Pictured Tyche and a new friend (guest Dog Asta)






 Tid  Bit 

The warm December rains not only filled our lake to overflowing before Christmas – Yay!, but brought out the mushrooms in abundance.  There are very few that we feel comfortable to eat, but those that are safe are delicious.  The guests that stayed with us over New Year’s Eve enjoyed pasta with wild chanterelle mushrooms and fresh Dungeness crab!  Definitely the way to celebrate a fabulous new year.

 2015 – where do the years go? But oh what a wonderful year 2014 was, full of highs and lows. We lost our beloved Comara (our white angel horse), gut wrenching sadness as well as Barney the sheep and Willy the goat. Our animal loses are always so hard, because their love is unconditional. We are so blessed by their presence in our lives. The great stuff – business has been exceptionally good, many thanks to all of you. We are blessed by so many wonderful groups and individuals that share their lives with us. We had the chance to travel a lot this past year thanks to a wonderful staff – all the trips were family fun related. Such a nice change of pace. While we do not make ‘New Years resolutions’ we do some visioning for the New Year on things we want to create in our lives and feel so blessed that we can continue to expand upon what Grandma and Grandpa Orth started 102 years ago.

Many blessings to you and your friends and family.

Much Love

Suzanne & John



Our Critters

We have studied extensively in equine acupressure and massage, herbal medicine, and other holistic approaches, and while all very valuable in maintaining the health and well being of us and our critters we cannot exclude the love we have for all of us and them. In all religions there is one commonality – LOVE. When we hold in our hearts, love, all things are possible. We need to look no further than our critters and see the unconditional ‘love’ they give us, and how wonderful it makes us feel. So while we continue to do the herbal and energy (acupressure) support ,we also hold a lot of love in our hearts to maintain the health and well being of our critters. And when the time comes, we will make the heart wrenching decision to help them to the next plain. We will do so out of love and respect for all they have given us.


Re- purposing at it’s finest. 
We try very hard not to be wasteful. Sometimes that means spending a little more to repair stuff. The alternative is to throw stuff out, adding to our landfill problems, and buying things that much of the time are not made in the US, something that is important to us. What this looks like in our day to day work is repairing what we have or buying from local thrift stores and refinishing/repairing. The benefit is that it supports local charities and eliminates the added burden to our landfill. Yes it takes more time, but it is our commitment to mother earth and our community.


Rain glorious rain. Wow this December was the wettest on record. The lake is over flowing, the mushrooms are sprouting everywhere. We continue to hold in consciousness that this is the trend for this wet season. It also makes us aware that while this may or may not break the drought, we have been experiencing the last couple of years, we should always be careful not to waste our resources – water and power being the big ones. We will continue to conserve both, for the greater good of humanity and we hope that all of you do the same. We have almost all of our watering on drip and lights on either CFL’s or LED’s. We like to think that we are part of the solution. Join us!
Thank You     Thank You     Thank You    Thank You
Thank you for your continued support. It is because of you that we are here starting our next 100 years.
Your kind words on TripAdvisor continue to make us one of the top choices for the Napa Valley/Calistoga/Wine Country. Keep them coming! If you have any photos, please add them they are making a difference!!!
Write a review we need your support:
Contact Info
Suzanne Pasky Fouts


2015 Special

2015 Special. We are committed to the well being of all animals on this planet. This year we will give a $10.00 discount for your donation to any animal shelter. A few that we support: Sonoma County Wild Life Rescue, We Care Animal Shelter, Sunrise Horse Rescue. But anyone that you support we honor. Thank You for helping all critters!!!

Offer Expires: December 31, 2014


Mountain Home Ranch reaches century mark

Weekly Calistogan January 2013






January 31, 2013 12:00 am  •  Michal Nissenson

About 100 years ago, a young family of German immigrants established a homestead in the Calistoga hills in hopes of fulfilling their American dream. Like many people of their generation, Ludwig and Emma Orth were not discouraged by the hard work needed to improve the land.

A century later, their grandson John Fouts and his wife Suzanne Pasky Fouts follow in their footsteps and let their love for the land guide them as they keep improving Mountain Home Ranch, a family-style resort and retreat center that attracts visitors from all over the world.

“The ranch is Lonely Planet’s No. 1 choice in Northern California for the second year in a row,” said Suzanne. The endorsement of one of Europe’s most popular tourist guidebooks brings in the right crowd, she said.

“Europeans enjoy the ‘old’ sense of the ranch,” she said. “They enjoy connecting with nature.”

John enjoys walking into a multilingual dining room in the morning. “We don’t travel internationally as much and so the world comes to us now,” he said.

The ranch has 24 rooms and 70 beds and offers several lodging options with prices ranging from $70 to $155.

“It’s a good family-friendly alternative to Napa Valley’s posh reputation,” Suzanne said. “We are children-friendly and we offer many activities that are children-friendly.”

“We have a one-carrot-per-hand policy where we encourage children to feed the cows, horses, sheep and goats and they can go back and forth as many times as they want,” John said.

The rooms come with fresh-cooked breakfast, served in a communal-style dining area. At the ranch they take comfort food to a new level, with John teaching his technique of bread-baking as a meditative activity. The owners accommodate all special cooking requests.

The sense that you get when you enter Mountain Home Ranch is that you’ve walked into a relative’s country home, where you will spend a week or two of summer. John said that this is what they’ve been hearing from many guests. “People who come to the ranch feel like family, and that is what makes us different.”

A century ago, his grandmother Emma Orth started the resort as a way to be compensated for her hard work cooking and cleaning for friends who visited and stayed again and again at the family’s new mountain home from the city.

“Grandma said that if guests would like to come over and stay at the family’s ranch that’s OK, but she intends to charge,” John said.

After running a summer camp for orphans from the city, Orth realized the ranch could be a sustainable hospitality business and invested more in the development of the lodging, dining and activities.

Yet running the ranch, which has been burned twice, while dealing with the financial impacts of the Great Depression and two world wars wasn’t easy. As they celebrate the ranch’s centennial, John and Suzanne are proud to say that for the first time, they are able to support themselves solely from operating the ranch.

The ranch’s former proprietors, John’s parents Emmy and Bob Fouts and later John’s brother George and his wife Joey, had to take additional work to make ends meet. Suzanne said that the transformation of the ranch into a group retreat in addition to a bed-and-breakfast has helped the business become self-sufficient.

The Fouts gave up high-profile jobs to live the ranch life. John was a labor lawyer and Suzanne had worked as a wine broker, marketing director and executive director for a food bank. They have applied many of the skills they acquired in their former professional lives to making the ranch more sustainable.

“An important part of staying here for 100 years is the ability to change with the times,” Suzanne said.

The two strive to be good employers. “We house most of our staff here,” she said. “I don’t understand people who look at their staff as numbers. We celebrate Thanksgiving with our entire staff and their families.”

John said, “We feel our staff members are more family than employees. We do a lot of stuff together.”

“It is important to us to have people who love the land,” said Suzanne with regard to guests and staff members. The Fouts, like their European fans, find that connecting with the land is one of the most important parts of running the farm. They consider themselves to be stewards of the land.

Four years ago, Suzanne attended the permaculture (permanent agriculture) program at the Regenerative Design Institute in Bolinas.

“It looks at life on the land as a whole — from eater management to land management,” she said. “It’s about making closed systems — using existing resources while minimizing your outside import.

“We are able to harvest fresh soil to create bed gardens, where we grow vegetables. It’s about reusing natural resources instead of bringing in fertilizers,” she added.

“We wanted to create a sanctuary here for the animals and to preserve the natural unspoiled,” John said.

Many wild animals that have been captured or wounded are released back into the wild on the ranch. The Fouts are very soft-hearted when it comes to taking in animals. Some of their chickens used to belong to neighbors who wanted to find them a new home after they had stopped laying eggs.

In addition to their commitment to the land, the Fouts see a great importance in giving back to the community.

“One part of our vision is that it takes a village to raise a child,” John said.

As a result, they participate in many nonprofit programs that involve children and education.

“We donate the facility or offer a greatly reduced rate for children,” Suzanne said. “We work with foster kids and host a graduation party for them. It’s consistent with the way the ranch started, by hosting orphanages from San Francisco during summertime.”

In addition to working with foster kids, they host the Napa High School choir every year right before Thanksgiving and host anti-drunken-driving programs three or four times a year.

With their commitment to the land and their passion for giving back to the community, it’s no wonder the last thing that the couple has in mind is selling their land.

“We had offers to buy the ranch, primarily because of the location and the permits,” John said.

“Developers wanted to built a high-end resort here, and while there are many of those in the area, there is nothing like us,” he explained, saying he’s never been tempted to sell before and never will be.

Four times a year, on the two solstices and two equinoxes, the Fouts have a community hike and a potluck. “We invite locals to come and take hikes on our land, to see how beautiful it is and help us preserve it for future generations,” John said.

The Fouts invite the public to join their year-long centennial celebration. “We’ve been here 100 years and we’re going to celebrate a whole year,” Suzanne said.

For their special celebration, the Fouts will host a community barbecue on the afternoon of Sunday, April 21. They are also planning a family reunion for July 19-21 and hope to see familiar guests there, too.

Those who would like to attend either of these events should RSVP to Suzanne at 942-6616 or email

To learn more about the ranch, visit

(2) Comments

    Report Abuse
    BRGMGB – February 04, 2013 10:03 pm
    What a difference between this resort and its owners’ philosophy and that of the proposed Enchanted Resort! These owners live here, are part of the community, love the land, treat their employees as family, truly love children. They are a big part of what makes Calistoga special.
    This is what we should all strive to preserve!
  2. CoombsGuy
    Report Abuse
    CoombsGuy – February 07, 2013 4:30 am
    I’ve been living in the valley off and on for over 20 years and have yet to visit this place.
    Good to hear a (German) American family business is still successful – Bravo!
    Thanks for the scones recipe 🙂