Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Visiting With Friends


Best wishes for a great day,
 may many treats and only a few scares come your way!

From Samson, Faith and me!

Last week, Mary and I drove down to the small town of Strathmore in the Central Valley to visit my friend Carol and her husband Chuck. Mary's friend Chan lives not far from there, so we arranged to meet her for lunch in Exeter, one of my favorite towns. 

We had a long, long lunch, chatting away and getting to know each other. After lunch, Carol drove Mary and me through downtown Exeter where all the quaint shops are located. We had been at lunch for a long time and I had to drive back, so this time we didn't stop. Instead, Carol ordered orange ice cream from a small restaurant close to her house. They make the ice cream right there from local oranges and are quite famous for it. And it's wonderful. Carol bought a quart each for Mary and me and one to take home so Mary could get a taste right then and there. 

Exeter is famous for it's many murals. I didn't take any pictures, but I'm posting some below from an earlier visit to Exeter that I blogged about back in 2010.

This is an edited repost from 2010.

As we drove through the orange groves, I could just imagine the smell of the blossoms on a warm summer night.

A nice woman in an art gallery gave us some information from the Exeter Chamber of Commerce, so I can describe the murals and name the artists. The sheet I got lists 26 outdoor murals and three indoor ones in various businesses in town. I also learned that Exeter boasts the sweetest and most delicious naval oranges in the world. I can attest to this since I have personally picked and eaten many naval oranges from Carol's tree. I get bags full of them to take with me home when I visit and they really are the best tasting oranges ever.

Orange Harvest:  Features a scene of orange pickers in the 1930s.
Artists:  Colleen Mitchell-Veyna, Visalia, CA & Morgan McCall, Farmersville, CA

Packing Ladies:  I fell in love with this one that features the Exeter Citrus Packing House, circa 1950. Notice how the ladies pack and grade the oranges, while the foreman sort of sits above them and keeps a watchful eye. Those were the days!
Artist:  Colleen Mitchell-Veyna, Visalia, CA

The mural reminded me of the silk/tissue-papers that oranges came wrapped in when I was a kid. Imagine that, oranges came individually wrapped in tissue paper!! The papers were gorgeous, with colorful, pictures of faraway places. In Sweden, the oranges usually came from Spain, with names like Seville, Valencia, and so on. I used to collect these wrappers and dream of places where oranges actually grew on trees.

Poppies and Lupine:  The hand-out we got says that this field of California poppies and lupine is located on the road to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, not far from Exeter
Artist:  Varian Mace, Visalia, CA

Mineral King "In Our Backyard":  This was Carol's favorite mural and it's gorgeous. It features the Mineral King area with Sawtooth, Farewell Gap, and Timber Gap.
Artist:  Jana Botkin, Three Rivers, CA.

A close-up

Hometown News:  The Exeter Sun Newsroom in the 1920s.  This was located across the alley from Mineral King and showed a newspaper office of long ago. I really enjoy seeing how people lived and worked in the early to mid-20th century. So this was another treat for me.
Artist:  Gary Kerby, Wilsall, MT.

Yokuts Harvest:  I was impressed by both the Yokuts skill in basket weaving and the artist's skill in painting the baskets you see below, thus honoring the skills of the original basket weavers.
Artist:  Ben Barker, Susanville, CA

Exeter Road Race Circa 1916:  One of my favorites (I have a weakness for old roadsters) it depicts race cars getting ready for a road race through Exeter. As I'm reading this hand-out, I see that all the murals have hidden objects in them. I have to go back someday and look for them. Hidden objects here: A polar bear, numbers, a child holding a bear, all symbols from the "Lost" TV program.
Artist:  Colleen Mitchell-Veyna, Visalia, CA

Timber Trail:  Oh, I spotted some long-ears! Mules, not donkeys, but still, what a beautiful painting. Look at the use of light and color. The mule train and wagons transported logs to Atwell Mill, which is now a part of Sequoia National Park (I'm quoting the hand-out here).
Artist:  Martin Weekly, El Dorado Hills and Exeter, CA

This is the mural of the orange pickers from a distance.

And this is a cat, crossing the street like he owns the place…which of course, being a cat, he does.

Thanks for coming with me on this visit to Exeter, California. If you are ever in Sequoia National Park or anywhere in Tulare County, I would recommend a stop-over in this little town. There are many art galleries, coffee shops, quaint places all over, and the antique stores I blogged about earlier. 

Back to the present:

Carol's naval orange tree was full of oranges, all green as they don't ripen until early next year. Now that I have the Honda and can enjoy a trip over there, I can't wait to visit again then and pick some. Mary and I made it home safely. It was a long day, I was out and about for nine and a half hours. A lot for me and, yes, I did spend the next day in bed, more or less. 

Monday, October 29, 2018

Notes From The Canyon

It's been a while. I've been busy both with fun things and with diabetes issues. I definitely don't want to write about the latter and with the recent horrors taking place in our country, I feel I should write a serious post about my thoughts and feelings. But I seem to lack the energy for that, as well. 

My thoughts go out to all those who are affected by the violence and hatred that seem to overshadow so much of what's good in this country. 

It's Sunday afternoon and the air is filled with smoke. Still several hours before local news comes on TV and it would be good to be on social media so one could find out where this fire is located.

Since I'm not, let me instead tell you about some of the busy and fun things in my life. In the picture above, I was keeping an eye on Joyce's cattle, when unbeknownst to me, I got this good shadow shot of myself. 

Joyce is a very calm and mellow woman and all her animals respond to that. The large Guernsey bull, the brown and white one, is such a sweet critter. This country life, enjoying farm animals without being responsible for them, is just perfect for this time in my life.

Last Saturday, the canyon CERT team organized an evacuation drill. It was mainly Dave and Bernice, our hard-working leaders, and a few others who organized it, but we all participated.

Here I am, dressed up in my CERT gear, whistle and ID around my neck, and the very ugly trucker hat perched on my head. But not for long! I seriously tried to wear it, my ears would stick out, I had to put them back inside the cap, and it still popped up on my head and made me look funny. Even though I have by now lost all vanity I possessed earlier in my life, this hat was just a little too much. So it came off and I replaced it with one of my own.

There's only  one public road leading in and out of the canyon. If it becomes blocked by fire, flood, or earthquake there's another, private, road that can be used for evacuations. It's a dirt road with several gates, leading through fields with cattle and horses, and across land belonging to the cement plant. Most people in the canyon are unaware of it, so these drills serve our community well. This year, the attendance was really good. We had firemen with a large truck, EMT people with their truck, and someone from the Sheriff's Office too. 

We had coffee and cookies to help make it a fun morning. I could tell the coffee was very much appreciated by all. 

And here is my friend Joyce, who had taken a class in how to direct traffic, so she got to do that. I volunteered to hand out a brochure called Ready Kern, where after you complete and forward it to the appropriate office, you will get a notification of any county emergency on you cell phone or any other device of your choosing. Many people live isolated here, without neighbors close by, and I was surprised to find out that none of the people I talked to knew about Ready Kern. Well, now they do.

I guess this is enough of an update for now. But I have more tales to tell, so later.......


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