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.......

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Good Dog Profits ~ Or Not?

Faith: First you disturb me so with that big blue and noisy thing you drag around the house. Then you show up with this flashy thing you think is so pretty because it's red. I wish you'd just leave me alone so I can chew on my bone in peace. 

Me: Maybe you'd feel better if you could be on my blog and show everyone, including lots of dogs, what a very good  girl you are.

Faith: Pretty too? 

Me: Yes, you always look pretty on my blog. 

Faith: OK.

Me: Sit!

Me: Good girl!

Faith: I heard some dogs get treats when they are good???

Me: We'll see about that. Now: Lie down!

Me: Good girl!

Faith: That's all? Good girl? No treats? 

Samson: Told you! No point in showing off if there are no treats to be had.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Road Clean Up

Last Saturday, members of the canyon CERT team cleaned the sides of the main road here. We do it a couple of times a year. I can't do much when it's hot out, but Saturday was cool, cloudy, and a perfect morning for me to be working outside. 

It's bone dry here in the canyon, all summer long. But beer cans and cigarette butts are among the most common things we pick up. Most of us in CERT are retired people and here we are, picking up after younger folks who just don't care. I could be annoyed, but it was a lovely day

and my road clean companion pointed out this beautiful cluster of juniper trees surrounding a big rock. I felt like I wanted to walk over and sit down underneath the thick branches. 

Back home, as I bent over to lock my gate, something black with a wet nose came up to me and really scared me. But it was only Judah, who belongs to my neighbor Joyce. 

He and his sister, Carmen, just wanted to come over and say hello. So they got their pictures taken and posted on my blog.

They are such good dogs. I say, "Judah, go home," when they come over to my place and bother Samson and Faith. That's what I said here, and they both turned around and walked back up the hill to their house. 

After all the hard work, I went back to bed for a nap. Joined by my sweet Faith. It was a lovely morning.....

Monday, October 8, 2018

Notes To Myself ~ September 2018

Since I don't keep a journal now, I want to try something new here. A summary of each  month:


On the first of the month, I drove through town on my way to  the annual Go Native event, which took place in one of our parks. Local Native Americans gathered to sell their crafts, to teach us how to make things out of reeds and grasses, and so on. Bernice from CERT and crochet was there. I bought a present for Joyce's birthday, and had a long conversation with the woman who sold me the gift. She told me she had lost her husband 12 months ago. She was so devastated. Of course, I couldn't tell her it will get better with time. I didn't say anything about my loss, I just listened and was glad we somehow connected.  

The GranFondo took place on the 15th, with 1200 bicycle riders taking on several different routes, the length of which went from 18 to 100 miles. Mary, Joyce and I joined a couple from CERT up at the windmills. 

An event photographer came to take pictures. I took his. Then I asked if he minded me putting his backside on my blog. He said NO, so here it is.

Here's Joyce waiting for the first cyclists to arrive. We gave out water, cut oranges, cookies and nut bars. I took on the task of adding electrolytes to the water of those who desired it.

It was over very fast because we only had the best riders, those signed up for the 100 and 82 mile runs. I was a little disappointed. It's more of a folk fest when you help with the less experienced cyclists. And since we were the first stop, many riders just flew by. There's a local guy who wins every year. He's so fast, I've never been able to capture him with my camera. 

After we helped pack up, Mary and I drove over to the second rest stop where we visited with our friends from CERT for a while. It was a very good morning.

Madsnapper figured out why there are so many birthdays at the end of September. Oh, well, I guess you can figure it out too. Errol's birthday was the the 25th, he would have been 72. I didn't have a sad day, but now that I write about it, I feel the sadness. I will never see him get old. A weird thought, perhaps? Other birthdays: My niece, her brother; my friend Fran, or fishducky, as she's known on the blogs; Rosemary, my friend from UCLA; and here is Joyce, my neighbor and friend, with her big cakes, she got two kinds.

Her parents and her daughter Stephanie and her boyfriend were there. We had such a nice time. I'm so fond of her family, her mom is a few years older than me, her dad is in his 90s and going strong. 

I spent a lot of time here in September. I read somewhere that it costs over $23,000 to keep a dog for a normal life span. I'm assuming that's for a relatively healthy dog who only gets ill when old. All of my previous ones were like that. Samson was two when he first got ill. Phew.... At least the vet is wonderful, the absolutely best ever, and the hospital gives a 10% discount to seniors, which helps.

I'm posting the next picture for my own records. No need for you to look at it.

Samson injured himself, that has now healed. This is not from his injury, it's from his illness. Or so the vet thinks. I have no idea what's going on. And this is after I cleaned him up a bit. Before that he looked like Carrie from that scary movie. He's been on increased Prednisone and is much better, but still not OK. He went to the vet once in September.

Faith went twice for vaccinations and a wellness visit. First time she got in the Jeep, second time, no way. I had to call Joyce to come and help. Faith is very good at the vet, first time she fell in love with a gorgeous golden long-haired German shepherd. This last his time she had an ear infection and had to have her right ear deep-cleaned. No problems at all. So it's the drive that makes her so upset. It's 20 miles one way and she displays such unbelievable misery, it really hurts me. Faith likes to be in control and in the Jeep she's clearly not. The vet said, "she just wants to drive." So true.  

Sorry about this long post, I'm getting to the end now. I see both my PCP and my diabetes people (not the doctor, so much, but the nurse educator) every three months. Before my visits I have comprehensive blood tests done, one for each doctor. This month I also saw the PA for my dermatologist, a nice guy named Jim, who checks me out from top to toe, literally. And, finally, I had a heart stress test. Will find out about that one tomorrow. As far as the rest went, I was fine. 

The weather was still hot and dry for the entire month, but the nights cooled off significantly. And we began our early morning walks. In bad shape all of us, maybe not Faith, but she needs to lose 3 -4 pounds. 

It was a good month, just a bit too busy for me. 

Friday, October 5, 2018

Walking With My Camera

A few pictures from a morning walk: 

We had two cottonwood trees in our front yard when we first moved here. Both trees died during the drought, but this one came back with, what I think is called suckers beginning to grow leaves. Just a few at first, but this year they took off and it once again looks like a tree with thick, deep green, foliage. I haven't watered it all summer, and it hasn't rained since spring, so there must be plenty of water underground. 

Just me trying to be artistic.

Our juniper trees look like bushes and their cones look like berries. The animals, from black bears to ravens, love  to eat them.

I walked up the hillside behind my house 

and took a few pictures.

Came down behind the back of my house. 

Then walked a bit farther, toward Joyce's place.

I zoomed in, first on her three horses eating breakfast

then on one of her dogs, Carmen, watching me and barking her alarm. She was really far away, so just a small yellow dot here. 

Then back home where I took a picture of the juniper tree I trimmed down in 2016. I was in really good shape that summer, now not so much. But the weather is finally cooling down and we're back to playing with Faith and her balls, my new camera, and walking in the hills. Both dogs have to lose some weight after this long hot summer. I know at least Faith will. 


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