Happy Cows of California? That’s a Bunch of Bulls

I took my friend Jean home after our walk, and fortunately had my camera along.  Fields of grazing land in the foothills of Tulare County is several thousand acres.  The bulls live the life of Riley.  Cows, that’s another story.  Dairies pack those poor milky females into a few hundred acres with no grass – mud/dirt only.  Cows have to watch what they eat so the milk tastes right – so no tempting grass  Does that sound familiar women?

Bulls, though, are treated like royalty.  But, in spite of the best of the best, the grass is always greener on the other side.

I'd be he's going to be a womanizer, too!  No bull!
I’d bet he’s going to be a womanizer, too! A whole field of prime real estate to choose from, and he chooses to go UNDER the fence!  No bull!

This little guy wasn’t shy.  I thought I would try to sneak up on him, and he posed for me without being asked.  Then he came over to ME.  I sat on the ground, and pretty soon I had a harem of bulls.  V told me that a good photographer gets different perspectives on things by going to different levels.  Good photographers don’t always take their pictures from 5’5″ in the air.  So I laid down.  I think the bulls wanted to make a meal of me, and I know they only eat vegetables.

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I wasn’t worried.  For some reason skinny barbed wired scares off the biggest bulls.  So these little guys had to be safe.  Right?  Actually I was more worried about me being safe than I was about them.  And that’s no bull!

Splotch’s owner came out when she saw me lying on the ground on the side of the road.  I had to sit up every time a car drove by so they wouldn’t think there was a dead woman on the side of the road.  Sure enough someone pulled off the road and asked the bull’s owner  Peggy Sue, about my car pulled off the other side of the road and parked.  I heard her talking about me.

They’re so cute when they are young.  Unfortunately they grow up!  The lucky ones look like this big fella.  The unlucky ones – we eat!

What are you lookin' at?  Good thing you ain't a wearin' red, lady!
What are you lookin’ at? Good thing you ain’t a wearin’ red, lady!

I have to admit that this guy scared me some.  I didn’t get down to get a better angle on him.

What would you have done if you’d seen such a bunch of cute bulls hanging around on your way home?

Spring Inspires Gardening Chores in California

My husband, like Manny, hibernates in the winter.  As soon as the days get longer and the temperature gets to about 65, V comes back to life and goes into hyperactive work mode. He also has talent to go with the spurts of energy.

Spring is almost here.
Spring is almost here.

This weekend the sun called to him, and said, “It’s time to think about planting.”  V loves to design landscaped areas, but has never been interested in gardening – UNTIL I retired.  Now he wants to garden.  We live in Central California which is the agricultural capital of the world.  Crops of every type grow here.  You dig a hole, stick something in it, flood it, and POOF it grows.

TC Gardening Chores 6
Lavender will look nice around these rocks.

V is creative and artistic.  Gardening is not merely planting random plants into the soil.  This weekend he came home with lumber, pvc pipe, wire mesh, soil amendments, and germ-free soil.

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While he was doing all that I started on another couple of projects.  I pruned roses.  Behind the roses is a once beautiful fence that V designed and built when we moved here 12 years ago.  It has been painted several times, but it never STAYS painted.  (duh) Old fences aren’t interesting to creative people.  Except that they look cottage-ish, and have creative value in the landscape.  To me they look old and run-down.  So I spent the rest of the afternoon scraping the peeling paint off the fence.

TC Gardening Chores 4
Where is Huck Finn when you need him?

Are you the creative one or the grunt in your family?  What are some of your projects?

Manny’s Almost Spring Bath

V thinks Manny should have his own site.  I don’t know.  I tried to get him his own email, but Google didn’t want to give it to him for two reasons.  1)  He was underage, and 2) He didn’t look human.  go figure

So I lied about his age, and got one anyway, but I couldn’t complete his profile because he still didn’t look human.  So he wanted to clean up a bit and look a little more human. He saw Ute’s teddies having a bath, and that gave him courage.   His bath was a riot, and I thought you might agree.

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The instructions for Manny’s bath were as follows: Mild suds, cold water, air dry, brush gently.  Manny didn’t want cold water, so he got a nice warm bath.  It’s still cool here.  He also hasn’t allowed me to brush him,  Gently or otherwise.  Kalev hid out all during Manny’s bath.

Manny was made by Gund Toy Manufacturers in Edison, New Jersey, but you can buy Manny at Amazon.

“The leading soft toy manufacturer in the U.S., and also the oldest, GUND was founded by German immigrant Adolph Gund in Norwalk, Connecticut in 1898. GUND was one of the first companies to design and produce teddy bears in the early 1900’s.”  Since Tulare County is the size of Connecticut, Manny is glad he came to live here.

Developed apparently simultaneously by toymakers Morris Michtom in the US and Richard Steiff in Germany in the early years of the 20th century, and named after Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt, (who wouldn’t shoot the bear cub after a hunt during which time it had been mistreated), the teddy bear became an iconic children’s toy…

“Teddies” have greatly varied in form, style and material. They have become collector’s items, with older and rarer “teddies” appearing at public auctions.[2] Teddy bears are among the most popular gifts for children and are often given to adults to signify love, congratulations or sympathy.”  Wikipedia

Manny was a Valentine’s gift several years ago after V had given me families and families of bears.  Somehow Manny rose to the top of the heap.  He has made both of us laugh when laughing wasn’t the highest priority on our list.   If we had had a fight, and I had gone to bed angry, often V would come in with Manny and put him in my face and make Manny talk, or turn his head.  I couldn’t stay mad with Manny all over me.  It worked just as well with V when he was mad.

I had heard that teddy bears were often used in therapy for young children, but they are also used with adults as well.  The year I got Manny my boss told me that she had a bear, and it went everywhere.  I figured if Dr. Baake and her husband could take a bear places, so could I.  I took Manny to the next retreat that consultants and administrators from all over California County Offices attend each year.  One the other consultants in our office brought the doll her husband had given her for Valentine’s day as well.  Manny has been going places with us ever since.

V told me again today, Manny needs his own blog.  I guess we will have to travel more and take him places – like Justin Beaver, Eternal Traveler’s travel partner.  Or fight!

What have teddy bears done for you?  Do you have a favorite one?

Here are some articles about teddy bears used in therapy.

http://articles.latimes.com/1991-12-24/local/me-834_1_teddy-bears

Teddy Bear Therapy

A Little Foothill High School History

Sally Pace asked me to do a column of Foothill History for the Kiwanis magazine which is published quarterly.  Our larger community consists of several small foothill towns ranging from populations of about 3,000-8,000.   From north to south the communities are:  Woodlake, Lemon Cove, Three Rivers, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, and Exeter.  Then a little farther south,  still in the foothills, but not considered in our neighborhood are: Lindsay, Porterville (about 45,000 pop.), and Springville (very tiny and very high into the mountains).

Just so that you understand the history here in Tulare County, I will give you a little background.  There were NO white, Mexican, Asian, or any outside people here before 1852.  NONE – not even explorers.  Well maybe one or two Spanish explorers.  But let me tell you, they didn’t stay.  Heck no, they went back to the Central California Coast.  So when the world rushed in to find gold in “Californey”, a few of the folks headed south of gold country to Tulare County. Native Americans from the Yokuts tribes lived here peacefully before the OTHERS arrived.

Terry Ommen, Tulare County Historical Society, conducts a tour of Tulare County.  This stop, near the original site of the Election Tree.
Terry Ommen, Tulare County Historical Society, conducts a tour of Tulare County. This stop, near the original site of the Election Tree, near Road 182.  Tulare County was the size of West Virginia.

Standing around an old Oak Tree,  (there were no yellow ribbons tied around it), named The Election Tree for the occasion, a group of white men founded what we now know as  Tulare County.  In that time the county was HUGE.  Now it is the size of Connecticut, but then it included Fresno County and Kings County and part of Inyo county.  It didn’t take long before folks back then decided that was WAY too much land for any one county, and they split it up,

April 1852
April 1852

For Historical Society purposes, I found out that you really need to count three generations here before you are considered blue – blooded, that is.  I’m purple back in Indiana, or even further back to North Carolina, and Pennsylvania, but I’m clear-colored here. (I’m distantly related on both sides of my family to Robert Morris, signer of the Declaration of Independence, my one and only claim to fame.)  I’ve lived in Tulare County for 28 years, and if I’d had kids, and they’d had kids – they would be royal blue by this time, but …

"In 1964 the last remaining part of the original Woodlake High School buildings were razed to make way for new construction.  Courtney McCracken donated $250 for the construction of a new library named for the Exeter benefactor."
“In 1964 the last remaining part of the original Woodlake High School buildings were razed to make way for new construction. Courtney McCracken donated $250 for the construction of a new library named for the Exeter benefactor.” 1

Yesterday I was blessed to have interviews with 4 people who have lived in the area longer than I have.  My friend, Sally, of Running P Ranch, was one of the impromptu interviews.  Sally and another neighbor, Frank Ainley, discussed the good old days of teaching high school in Woodlake.  One story they swapped started with the words that the principal said to Frank one day at school, “I need to see you.”  (That sounds familiar, but read on…)

“I can’t come right NOW!  I’m right in the middle of class,” Frank answered the intercom voice that the entire high school could hear.

“That’s ok, if you’re a good teacher, your kids will keep doing what they are supposed to do while you’re gone,” the principal responded

Add they did for about 25 minutes.  That was back in the late 1960s (when I attended junior high and high school in Indiana.)  Weren’t we the Perfect Generation, or something like that?

Both Frank and Sally talked about the kids doing projects.  The high school kids kept the teachers organized so that the projects ran smoothly.  Students could drive in those days – if they had a license.  So if the students needed something for the project, the teacher would just ask one of them to go get it at the store, and come back to class with it.  If they had to travel for sports or field trips, the kids just drove there – if they were over 16, and had parents written permission, of course.  There were SOME laws back in the 1960s.

The principal, Bud Loverin, said to Sally, the JUST hired home economics teacher, “We have an opening inservice for all the teachers the first day back to school. There will be about 60 people for breakfast and lunch.”  You got the implication of that statement, didn’t you?  The administrators made the assignments, then trusted the teachers to somehow accomplish them.  and somehow they did (or they didn’t, I’m guessing).  These two teachers remembered going into the Loverin’s office upset about some issue, and coming out apologizing for taking up his time, and thanking him for the new assignment he just gave them.  Yet they both said teacher morale was at a high.

Evaluations?  Frank asked his principal, “When are you coming in to do an evaluation of me?”

Bud Loverin answered, “If I didn’t think you couldn’t do the job, I wouldn’t have hired you.”  He didn’t have an evaluation that year.  He didn’t have very many evaluations.  To be fair, I never had too many evaluations that ever seemed like evaluations, and I taught from the late 80s on.  But my experience is unusual because I left the classroom and didn’t become a principal, but a consultant.

Woodlake High School 2013

Are we missing something today?  Bud Loverin sounds like what current experts (and laws) might consider to be a horrible principal.  He was the type of sales person that motivated his staff.  Sally repeated an oft-said comment about Loverin, “He could have sold icicles  to Eskimos and made a profit. ” The teachers loved him.  He took care of them.

Frank and Sally both said the kids loved the principal and the vice-principal, Herman Ziegler, and most got good jobs after they graduated.  I know both of these teachers, so I know that they both understated their effect on kids.  Both teachers are very well-respected and loved by students and teachers alike.  Frank quit teaching in his 70s, and is still active in the community.  Sally became a counselor in the high school and brought national recognition to Woodlake High School a few years ago because she raised so much money for scholarships, and enabled students to attend college.  She has also retired in her 60s – sort of, and keeps busy in the community.

Frank talked about discipline in the school, when they still used a stick.  Discipline was done by the vice principal – a BIG guy, Herman Ziegler.  Both the principal and the VP were BIG.  I remember our principal in 5th grade.  He would come in to get a naughty boy, and I would quake.  He was BIG.  What was it in those days?  Was that a requirement for being a principal?  BE BIG, and you’re hired?  Apparently they got the job done in Woodlake according to Frank and Sally.

When I was getting my teaching credential in 1986, I interviewed a retired elementary principal, Mr. Crawford, in Woodlake for an assignment.  He told this story.  In the 1940s, as a teacher, he had a 19-year-old 8th grade student with an attitude.  (duh! I’d have an attitude if I were still in 8th grade at age 19.)  This student was about 6 feet tall, and didn’t like the assignment Mr. Crawford had made.  The student challenged his 6 foot tall 40s something teacher, “If you didn’t wear glasses, I’d beat you up.”  Crawford promptly removed his glasses, and the two settled their dispute.  The teacher won, and the student behaved the rest of the year.  By the time the principal, Francis J. White, arrived on the scene, the student was doing his assignment.

I have to say that at the time, I sat in this man and his wife’s living room with my mouth hanging open during most of the interview.  It was one of those unforgettable experiences.  At the time I knew Mrs. Crawford because she and I often substituted in all the classes in Woodlake.  She was tiny, about five feet tall, and probably never weighed 100 pounds, but she knew every student in school, and they all liked and respected her.  She had a no-nonsense way of managing a class that worked.  She never had to raise her voice – or her hand to a student.

Kids today are faced with a far different world than any of us grew up in – even if you are 20.  That’s another amazing conversation Sally and I had.  Kids who are 17 are like adults to the 10 year olds of today.  In the eyes of my fourth graders my high school-aged assistants were no different than their 40 year old teacher.   So if you just graduated, and are 17 or 18, watch out – YOU ARE OLD! (to someone – not me, BTW)

So how have times changed since you were in school wherever you are from?  What was school like when you started teaching?  What was it like when you were a kid?  What worked?  What didn’t work?

Footnotes

1.  Elliott, John F.  A History of Woodlake Union High School The Woodlake 11 Class of 1924.  Three Rivers Historical Society

Manny the Sailor

In January Manny went to San Diego with the History Girls from all over California.  Rumor has it that he got himself into some kind of trouble at the San Salvador.  There were all kinds of displays there and the History Girls had a great time trying them out.  But something happened, and Manny found himself ar the end of his rope.

Manny the Sailor BearJust to prove it really happened, here’s the photo – unaltered by human Photoshop.

Manny's in trouble1Oh no!!!

What did I do wrongWhat do you think Manny could have done to deserve THIS???

You haven’t EVER wanted to do that to your little sailor have you?  Even if they asked for it??  What did your sailor do to almost get this same fate???

BTW Manny survived. ( I don’t want Bear Protective Services coming after me!)