When you visit a new area, do you use Yelp or other applications to find restaurants to visit? Yelp gives the High Hand Conservatory (website link) in Loomis, CA four stars, and TripAdvisor gives it four and a half stars. Traveling and Blogging Near and Far gives it five stars.
To get to the spacious, moderately-priced cafe, you’ll weave your way through a beautiful nursery wonderland. We arrived at a good time, about 8:00 on a Saturday, after the early birds but before the late risers. Timing is everything. The food and service were so fabulous that I forgot to take pictures and enjoyed my meal. You can check out their menu on The TripAdvisor website.
As much as I love food, the atmosphere made the experience unique. We ate in the covered courtyard, open to the garden vistas and could hardly wait to tour the outdoor and enclosed nurseries as well as the shops housed within the long metal building called a Fruit Shed.
Have you ever bought a grocery-store succulent and two weeks later it turned yellow and the leaves withered and fell off? I’ve done this. Neither spritzing nor ignoring it seemed to halt the dropping leaves. If you enjoy succulents, you could pick out small ones and plant them yourselves at one of the outdoor stations.
You could find more than unique gifts here. Classes for arts and crafts fill up quickly. We walked into one class, and several participants allowed us to photograph their gourd projects.
For my quilting and knitting friends, one of the stores had plenty of “yard goods,” as my grandma used to call fabric. Loomis, CA would be a great place to schedule a retreat and come for classes or just to sew together.
If you watch American Pickers, the cost of junkyard cars and parts seems out of range for the average buyer, but nothing draws attention in a professional garden or nursery like a great old car. The cars in this nursery did not have a price tag. To complete your home gardens, you could find fun garden art at High Hand. I loved the lasered shovel. Ideas are free.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this brief tour of High Hand. Pictures don’t do it justice. It’s only about a twenty-minute drive north from Sacramento to the small town of Loomis, CA. The two hours my family and I spent at High Hand went too quickly. I’m ready to go back. Want to join me?
If you are interested in having one of these pictures as a puzzle, check out my puzzle website. If you have a picture from your travels you’d like to turn into a puzzle, you can make it yourself or send it to me, and I’ll set it up for you.
People come from all over the world to enjoy the National Park. Right on the way is one of the largest rose gardens in the state of California. Formerly part of the Woodlake Botanical Gardens, the Rose Gardens have fallen on hard times.
The City is not able to care for the 2,000 + plants in this part of the Botanical Garden with the personnel and time they have to spend on the gardens. Rather than giving up on this California Treasure, Kiwanian and rose expert, Chuck House, makes plans to put his knowledge of and love for roses to great use in the Woodlake Rose Garden.
On October 27, twenty-seven Kiwanians and youth from Builders and Key Clubs cleared weeds and trimmed most of the roses bordering the parking lot. What Chuck hopes is that, like Kiwanis, other organizations and their student and neighboring club volunteers will choose an area in the garden to work in about one day per month.
Woodlake and Tulare County can buff this garden back to perfection. In only three hours a month using 10-50 adult and teen workers, interested groups can make a measurable difference in our City and County’s Treasure started by Woodlake Pride and Manuel and Olga Jimenez.
Chuck House Has Subdivided the Garden to Manage Its Care
Chuck’s plan is to subdivide the garden into workable sections and ask organizations or individuals to take one small section and maintain it. He has made a detailed chart of the sections and counted the plants, both dead and alive. Organizations, businesses, or individuals can schedule Chuck to come and explain the plan to their group. Kiwanians have chosen to care for Section A, the area around the parking lot. (above)
In the section above, Chuck started pruning the rose bushes. Cutting back the wild growth, stimulates the plant to produce more flowers.
The City gardeners, one or two people, usually only get about one day per month to work in the garden. It took twenty-seven Kiwanians and friends aged middle school to 77, three hours to weed half the parking lot area on October 27. The new plan for community service encourages each group to bring in volunteers at least one day per month.
Kiwanis has scheduled a workday on Saturday, November 17 from 8:00 – 11:00 am to finish weeding from the east end of the parking lot to the gate. This will be our regularly maintained area. We welcome your help with this. For those who like to bring your own equipment, you might want gloves, arm protectors, and your choice of loppers, clippers, shovels, rakes, and hoes. The City will provide a few shovels, rakes, and hoes if you forget.
To Sign Up to Help
Please call me, Marsha Ingrao, if you can help us on Saturday. 559-303-9241. Or sign up on our Facebook Page @WoodlakeKiwanis1. We will have snacks and water available.
Rose Societies in California
According to the Northern California/Nevada/Hawaii District, “There are twenty-five rose societies make up the Northern California-Nevada-Hawaii District of the American Rose Society.” They have over 2100 members, almost 200 Consulting Rosarians, 11 Rose Arrangement Judges and 64 Horticulture Judges. The Northern California-Nevada-Hawaii District is a Benefactor Patron of the American Rose Society.
Here are a few rose society websites in CA. Does Woodlake need a Rose Society?
The worst fire season in California history sent thousands like me fleeing to see relatives and friends in Oregon looking for clean air and cooler temperatures. Disappointment drifted around our plane as we flew into Portland International Airport. The air quality in Portland looked nearly as smoky as it did at home near the Sequoia National Park.
Visit the Oregon Coast
Temperatures reaching nearly one hundred degrees in the Pacific Northwest dried grasses along the freeway and turned the surrounding hillsides brown. Traffic thinned by the time we passed Salem, Oregon and we continued south to the Corvallis exit.
A turn to the west took us onto the direct road to Newport, Oregon. As we continued west, grass and trees greened and by the time we reached our destination, we breathed in the fog instead of smoke or dust. We threw open the door and leaned over the patio to enjoy the bay view.
We stayed close to our hotel, The Embarcadero Resort because we could walk to everything we needed in the Historic Bayfront District.
The unit came with a separate bedroom, one bath, living area, dining area and a full kitchen for $120 per night. The bedroom comes with a king sized bed and the living room has a queen size pullout bed, which is less comfortable. The view makes up for it.
My brother grabbed the binoculars every time a ship motored by the window.
This morning we awoke to more fog. Donning our coats we walked into Historic Bayfront for breakfast across from Ripley’s Believe It or Not.
Breakfast was more than I could eat, but I couldn’t help sampling it before I took a picture. I give it five stars, but don’t ask me the name today. I’ll tell you in another post, so come back again.
Quaint shops line the road on both sides along with a fish processing plant and several restaurants. We ate at Moe’s for dinner two nights in a row to enjoy a beautiful view and delicious, reasonable meals. – two dinners including salmon came to only $23.00.
Lincoln City, OR
We drove to Lincoln City and walked along the shore for a short time. On a gray morning, few people joined us. Not even boats ventured out in the choppy waves. Tomorrow we are going on an ocean cruise to hunt for whales. They feed here from July to October.
Historic Bayfront, Newport, OR
It was too early for lunch after eating the huge breakfast, so we headed back to Newport and visited the three tourist attractions, Ripley’s, the Wax Museum, and the Undersea Gardens.
The Undersea Gardens was actually a once-working ship. A diver spent about fifteen minutes displaying the Garden residents, a Dungeness Crab (pictured in front of Eddy’s face), anemone, starfish, and everyone’s favorite, a blue shark, were among the many species named.
From there we crossed the street to the Wax Museum and cavorted with several stars. Some of them would pose up close and personal with you.
Others appeared too deadly to approach.
None of them scared us, even the guy who popped out of the wall. One old wax guy sat in his room and watched you on television watching him. Randy caught him red-handed.
We left these jokers and went over to Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
At that point, I spent more time reading and watching videos than I did taking pictures. In fact, I didn’t take one picture so you will have to go and take your own and link them to this article.
Tomorrow more explorations. Stay tuned. Where have you been this summer? Link your articles in the comment section. I look forward to hearing from you.
Today after church my husband said, “I want to go out and see a new U-Pick blueberry farm I saw on Facebook.”
Big L Ranch hosts events and has the truck set up for those who want to take photographs.
The Botanical Garden’s Berry Festival is next Saturday, so this was a perfect time.
Off we went to find Big L Ranch at 20899 Avenue 322 in Woodlake, CA. We had so much fun.
Like Avila Barn
We arrived on the second week of their ranch adventure.
One of the owners, Jada Lee, told us that her model is Avila Barn, one of my favorite spots when we go to the coast.
Like Avila Barn, have activities for the family to enjoy while you pick berries.
It was fun, friendly, and homey.
Jada Lee is an artist. She and friends create and sell handmade items. A friend of hers made these. I did not write down her name.
The bowl took dozens of hours. If I had done it, I’d still be working on it from my childhood.
These cups are adorable.
They even have artwork on the bottom.
The ranch has four acres in blueberries and will be open Saturdays and Sundays from 8:00am to 7:00pm through early June.
There is more to do than pick berries. They serve the most delicious blueberry treats like muffins, scones served with homemade vanilla ice cream.
“Did you say ice cream?”
“Yes, Jack, there’s ice cream.”
Jada made unique cabinets from discarded materials.
This is Lee’s first harvest. They are not new to the area but have lived on the ranch for six years. Watch the video to hear how they got started.
Matt Lee teaches at the Tulare County Office of Education Court and Community Schools. It was fun to learn that we knew several people in common, including my friend Elane Geller, who survived the Holocaust and Scott Dakers, who taught with Matt.
My husband knows his cousin, realtor, Robert Lee.
We enjoyed a fabulous hour or two hanging around visiting and eating. You and your kids can have a great time here.
They expect to enlarge and have even more fun activities. You can also schedule events at Big L Ranch. Contact Matt and Jada Lee at email@example.com 559-280-2767. We thought they were delightful, and think you will also.
When I visited Hockessin, DE two years ago, the site of the first Catholic Church in Delaware caught my eye as I drove on Lancaster Pike Road. It looked like a pile of rubbish. Old rubbish is so photogenic, so I knew I had to come back before I left town to do a photographic study of it.
However, Pastor Steve Trader from Trinity Community Church saw potential in it that most of us would have overlooked. Today, as you will see, the dreams are coming to life.
The First Church Building
According to one source, in 1772, the Catholic base in the area purchased the 16.5 acres at the order of Father John Lewis, a Jesuit missionary familiar with the area from his mission travels.
According to Deleware Online, the first log chapel on the site was built 12 years later beside a hilltop cemetery that remains there today. Probably only the cemetery remains today, but here are two decrepit buildings that stood on or near the property two years ago.
A mystery writer might use this setting for a scene for a murder, a buried treasure, or some ghostly tale. What would you write about this picture?
For a time, the property housed the only Catholic church within some 100 miles, according to Joe Lake, president of the Hockessin Historical Society. That would have been a trek for people without modern transportation. Local historians doubted if they attended church weekly.
The Old Barn Ruins in 2016
One sign on the property called these piles of crumbling rubbish the “old barn.” The two signs also confused me because I don’t think of barns and churches pairing up in the same building.
Since childhood, I have loved old barns. My grandfather used large machinery and worked out of their garage. It became the family joke that on every trip through rural Indiana, we played the game, “A New Shop for Grandpa.” It kept my brother and me busy and peaceful pointing out the most decayed buildings we could find along the two-lane highways.
Our family particularly loved the advertising painted on the sides like Eat at Joe’s Get Gas, or Dr. Pierce’s Pleasant Pellets. This stone barn resembled none of those.
Using my best investigative skills, I noted the candy wrappers and fast food containers on the dirt floor. My weak imagination conjured up pictures of kids playing castle in the pile of rocks. Barnyard animals keeping warm when ten inches of snow pressed against wooden doors and church services were the furthest images from my mind.
I wondered how anyone could save this pile of rubbish, but the sign said that it was being reconstructed. At the time, I saw no signs of any construction activity except for the yellow caution tape around the entire project. The tape was no more sturdy than the crumbling walls. Camera in hand, I plowed through the mud and darkening skies, like a reporter onto a big story for the evening news.
‘This would not be the safest place to stand during an earthquake,” I reported to my imaginary audience.
April 2018 The Old Church Takes Shape
It was 4:30, the start of the golden hours for photographers. The cold April wind bent the trees making them groan as I pulled up my hood and picked my way cautiously across the boggy ground to check out the reconstruction site I had loved two years before.
Shadows of large nearby trees spilled across the cemetery and beckoned me to explore the reconstructed building. How could I resist?
The Mystery of the Barn Solved
With my limited imagination, I wondered who would turn a church into a barn? It seemed sacrilegious.
It turned out that the Mundy’s purchased the property from the Diocese as farmland in 1912. The Mundy’s maintained the old barn property as a dairy farm until the 1960s. Bill Mundy kept it as a cattle farm into the 1990s. Locals at that time called the property Mundy’s farm. I don’t know what they called it on Tuesday-Sunday.
Between the 1990s and 2010 property managers neglected the property. In 2010 it was burned and vandalized by teens.
Under New Ownership
In 2018 with a sturdy composition roof and completed walls, this edifice looked like it would withstand the winds and the rains. Trinity Community Church, an interdenominational Christian church that holds its roots in the Assemblies of God, plans a multi-use complex on this 16.5-acre parcel.
The windows and doorways have been shorn up. They look very tiny now compared to the more expansive stone walls.
The recycle police would be proud to see the pile of stones that the builders have used to create the new building. The ongoing pile of rubbish still looks like a daunting work to me. But my only tool is an iPhone. Bancroft Construction Company has a few more resources and talent from which to draw.
As the afternoon shadows deepened, the headless shadows seemed to raise their arms and praise the Lord. Upside down they looked like headless dancers. Either way, the bid me farewell from the 1880s burial place of locals and Irish immigrants killed in nearby powder mill explosions.
The Diocese of Wilmington still owns the resting place for the heroes of the past. But the future looks lively for the Old St. Mary’s Church, Mundy’s Farm and new Trinity Community Church in Hockessin, Delaware.