Where to Have Fun Like a Pilot

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Pretend that you’ve never been to Woodlake, CA. Never even heard of it.

But you want to fly somewhere and have a fantastic breakfast.

You go online. Search for airport cafes. And VOILÁ! There it is!

RUNWAY CAFE

Frank Holbert from Corona, CA is just like you. He had never heard of Woodlake, CA. Decided to come.

That was in 2008 before it became “THE” pilot’s place to have breakfast and lunch.

Owners Butch Reed and Charlotte Scott
Owners Butch Reed and Charlotte Scott

I wish I could fly. I don’t.

On Sunday my husband and I drove to the Runway Cafe just south of Woodlake at the Airport right after church. We did not beat the crowd.

 

It did not matter. Charlotte caught my eye over the crowd milling around the cashier’s stand, “Just two today, Marsha? Gottcha!”

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We headed outside and sat at one of the empty picnic tables. Normally we sit out there, but the temperature on Sunday headed towards 108, and HE wanted to sit inside. While we waited we chatted with another couple and pet their large golden retriever.

“I’ve got a Beggin’ Strip for Annie,” Charlotte told them. Annie sniffed around the wood floor for other treats while she waited and we talked.

We did not know the couple before we arrived. They lived in Visalia and came often out to the Runway on the weekends. Like us, they enjoyed the excitement of watching planes and helicopters land.

The only Learjet we ever saw land in the tiny airport.
The only Lear jet we ever saw land in the tiny airport.

Runway Cafe is Woodlake City property. In 2014 when Butch Reed and Charlotte Scott decided to look into leasing it, they had six competitors.

But they got it, and the locals were thrilled. Let the good food roll!

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My favorite is the Turkey Melt with regular fries. My husband loves the Chili Verde Omelette.

One customer said, “It’s a shame! Such good food we pig out!”

Another laughed, “The food was great! Now, we’ve got to find a couch!”

So who comes here, you ask?

We enjoy sitting outside on the porch and watching planes come in.
We enjoy sitting outside on the porch and watching planes come in.

Charlotte said, “We get about 15 pilots on Fridays and Saturdays, 10-25 on Sundays, and a total of about 10 during the rest of the week.”

That’s it? Just pilots?

Motorcycles attract all ages.
Motorcycles, like Runway Cafe, attract all ages.

Butch chimes in, “I’m in the hot rod and bike business. I build bikes from scratch. Bikers know me. We get lots of bikers and hot rod guys. For example, the Five of Diamonds Motor Cycle Club of Tulare. They just had a Run and raised $15,000-$18,000. We like to help out.”

Some Woodlakers come every day. We love the weekends. We always see someone we know when we come.
Some Woodlakers come every day. We love the weekends. We always see someone we know when we come.

Charlotte’s eyes teared as she looked at me.

She said, “I just want everyone in Woodlake to know how much we appreciate them. We are just so grateful”

A large party at the two tables behind us got up to leave. Charlotte stopped our interview briefly to give each person a hug and thank them for coming in.

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Butch sits outside and chats with a guest while he waits for a table.

Butch had a larger vision of “locals” than just Woodlake.

“People drive in from Visalia, Hanford, Porterville, Bakersfield, Reedley – all over. There’s a picture over there in the corner of a couple from Germany. They’ve been here several times.”

I don’t think the German couple is local even if they’ve been here more than once!

Pictures line the walls. Most are of guests who come by plane. One morning when my husband and I came for breakfast Charlotte wanted her picture taken with the pilot and crew. Volunteering to hold the camera, I rushed out with the crew to take the pictures. Charlotte was so busy, she never made it to the picture.

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The pilot offered to fly me to Visalia with them. Breakfast was waiting for me. Should I stay or should I go?

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There was room for me. It would only take 4 minutes to get to Visalia. Hmmmm

I hadn’t said anything to my husband about going. I would miss my great breakfast.

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I wished them well and ran back to eat my delicious breakfast.

Butch is so grateful to have the Cafe and the opportunity to serve coffee that he drives to Runway Café at 4:30 AM and works until 7:00 AM. Then he goes back to his Transmission Shop in Visalia and works there. Retirement is not in his vocabulary. Workaholic is.

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“I went into partnership with Charlotte because she is the hardest working woman I know. And she’s honest.”

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She’s the friendliest person I know. Everyone else follows her example.

First owner of the cafe.
First owner of the cafe.

Runway Cafe started 40 years ago as Woodlake Outpost Cafe under the ownership of Velma Dearmore. Dora, who owns Dora’s restaurant in Woodlake, had it for a while then Sherry Foreman from the Exeter Whistle Shop ran it after that. It sat empty for a few months. Finally, Butch and Charlotte started running it December 20, 2014. Yelp has given them a 5-star rating, in case you are wondering.

 

Charlotte, Kelly, Butch in front, Brandon Edmonds, Steve Ferris, Ricardo Bonilla and Charnae Edmonds are in back.
Charlotte, Kelly, Butch in front, Brandon, Steve, Ray , Ricardo, and Charnae are in back.

Charlotte said, “We are a team. Owners in other places I’ve worked asked the workers to do things they wouldn’t do. We don’t do that here. I’ve cleaned the grease trap, bathrooms, mopped, swept,, washed dishes, cooked – not as good as Brandon Edmonds, Steve Ferris and Ricardo Bonilla, but I do it. And yes, they are all local.”

Kelly Mittel, one of the waitresses who used to work with Charlotte and her daughter, Charnae Edmonds, left there and came to work at the Runway Cafe. She never regretted her decision.

Kelly said, “You can be yourself here. No uniform. It’s like family here.”

Charnae, Charlette, Kelly work like a well-oiled team.
Charnae, Charlotte, Kelly work like a well-oiled team.

Runway Café supports the community in many ways. Of course, they donate to many causes. Since there is so much foot traffic, it is a favorite place to hang banners and flyers for community activities. They sell the book I wrote, Images of America Woodlake, the proceeds of which go to the Woodlake High School Foundation.

But mostly, they serve good food in huge portions for about $9.00 on average.

Butch's bucket list - to own a coffee shop and serve coffee.

“It makes me happy to know that I’ve done something for Woodlake. I’ve helped it to become better known.” Butch said.

In addition to the regular German couple, people from as far away as New Zealand, and Australia have found their way to Runway Cafe for their delicious specials: fish and chips on Fridays, taco salad on Wednesday, and chile verde on Sundays. Other customer favorites include chicken fried steak, sausage patties, and omelets. I like their peach cobbler. Go figure!

If you are flying or driving into town on Fridays or Saturday, Butch and Charlotte invite you to visit the Woodlake Valley Cultural Museum and the Woodlake Botanical Gardens after breakfast or lunch.

If you haven’t tried the Runway Cafe yet. Fly in, bike in, drive or walk from town and try it out 6:30-2:00 seven days a week. You can’t miss! And you will make some new friends.

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Do you have a favorite diner at a small airport?

Please share if you love Runway Cafe.

 

 

 

Narrow Escape Through the Stout Trees

The narrow road through the stout trees should have alerted us that the final challenge would narrow down ever further.

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Sure enough. It did. Such a narrow passage, we had to fold in our mirrors.Klamath Canon260

If you are planning a trip to the Redwoods, the Northern California or  Southern Oregon coast, you might be interested in more pictures of our road trip three years ago. To read about our Accidental Vacation click any of the links below. What started as a disaster ended up to be one of our favorite trips.

For hundreds of narrow views, click the icon below.

I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016
I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

 

7 Cherry on the Sundae Moments in 2016 – So Far!

#WP Photo Challenge

Cherries, sweet goodness, the joys and best of life

If the cherry is on top, all’s well that ends well, right? Life is a bowl of cherries. That is this week’s photo challenge, “cherry on top.” I tried to cherry pick the best photos from my 2016 collection that fit that description.

Definitely red
Definitely red

It was hot July 3rd in the Central Valley. As appointed photographer for the Kiwanis July 3rd Blast, I sought out interesting shots. Sure enough, here was the cherry on top.

a very cute parade rider with a cherry on top
a very cute parade rider with a cherry on top

She probably did not need to be coaxed to ride in the parade. In a few years, she will probably be Miss Woodlake.

Intent on history, his and 275 others' enjoyment of the new Woodlake Valley Cultural Museum was the cherry on top of the entire effort.
Intent on history, his and 275 others’ enjoyment of the new Woodlake Valley Cultural Museum was the cherry on top of the entire effort.

At the Grand Opening of the Woodlake Valley Cultural Museum, we experience double-vision with this cherry-red cap. Maybe he is reading about the founding members of the Woodlake Lions.

The VIP opening of the Museum was a cherry topping experience for me. Here’s why.

My phone rang. I was about to step back into my tour bus in Hawaii. It was Carl Peden. We had never met, but he donated lots of artifacts to the museum from his time serving the White House as the pilot of Air Force One. On a whim, I asked him if he would be one of the speakers at the VIP opening. To my surprise, he agreed.

Carl Peden, so vibrant at the Museum VIP opening, passed away two days later on President's Day. We all mourn his passing.
Carl Peden, so vibrant at the Museum VIP opening.

At the end of his speech he took off his jacket and handed it to our President, Rudy Garcia, for the Museum. What an electrifying end to his speech!

Woodlake Museum iPhone photos

He proudly pointed out his name on the donor list to his relatives.

On President’s Day, two days later, he passed away. I think this event might have been the last cherry on his cake. We loved having him.

Tulare County is one of the agricultural capitals of the world.
Tulare County is one of the agricultural capitals of the world.

The Tulare County Agricultural Fair is the cherry of all ag festivals. Thousands of ag professionals come from all over the world to see cherries like the one pictured. They probably know what this machine does, too! I just think it’s pretty and red.

a festive find at the botanical gardens
a festive find at the botanical gardens

Cacti don’t bloom that often, but when they do, they give us a magnificent show. This cherry-picked this photo emerged out of hundreds during the Woodlake Botanical Gardens Berry Festival this May. Beware, do not try to eat it, though!

Gelato anyone?
Gelato anyone?

Las Vegas is hot year round compared to most places. Gelato seemed like the best option for dinner after hubby played a rousing hand of poker all day. Nourishing? Not really. A delicious end to a fun day? Definitely!

Cherry of a life time!
Cherry vacation of a lifetime!

Though not overly thrilled with being the cherry in this picture, I was on cloud nine the week we were in Hawaii with my friends Carol, the Eternal Traveler from Australia, and Connie, my friend from TCOE, and their husbands.

The guys made it too!
The guys made it too!

You never know how it is going to work out when you put six people who have never traveled together on a week’s vacation, let alone six people, most of whom have never met in person. This Hawaiian trip was more than the icing on the cake. It was definitely the cherry on top!

Mr. ET enjoyed whale watching.
Mr. ET enjoyed whale watching. I love this picture of his enthusiasm!
We had fun trying to fit into a selfie. Where's V?
We had fun trying to fit into a selfie. Where’s V? Can you see him next to me?

We all look a little wind-blown. Make-up? Forget about it! Fun? You bet!

We climbed hundreds of stairs to take this picture at the top of Iao State Park.
We climbed hundreds of stairs to take this picture at the top of Iao State Park.

Huff, huff, huff! We made it to the top! My cherry-colored hat protected my face from frying in the sun, but held in the heat. Yes, I’m still smiling, but let’s sit down and have a nice cool drink, what do you think?

I lost my cherry bonnet in the shade, and wore my sarong in a most appealing way, don't you think?
I lost my cherry bonnet in the shade, and wore my sarong in a most appealing way, don’t you think?

Near the end of the week, and we are still smiling, but I’m sad inside because it will end soon.

Are cherries more valuable because they are so tiny compared to the rest of life?
Are cherries more valuable because they are so tiny compared to the rest of life?

One week out of our lives, such a small chunk, but it leaves lasting memories as bright as cherries on a chocolate soda.

And eventually the sun set on the cherry experience.
And eventually, the sun set on the cherry experience.

For more cherries, click the icon.

I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016
I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

If you enjoyed this, be the cherry on my sundae and please share it.🙂

 

Three Reasons for Entering Cee’s Oddball Challenge

Why I love Cee’s Oddball Challenge

  1. Because there is no theme other than odd ball, it is easy to choose pictures ahead of time.
  2. Since there’s no theme but odd, it’s easy to write and schedule this challenge.
  3. Even though Cee makes all her challenges easy because she announces the themes weeks in advance, this one is easy to choose pictures. That earns me hours away from the computer!

Yesterday I went through about a third of my pictures and pulled out 40 that I thought would work. Some of them I took on purpose because they were odd when I saw them. Others are odd because I took them and wondered why!

Even odder, why did I keep them?

Odd Pictures or Odd Thinking?

Now the only decision I need to make is to share the odd pictures or my odd thinking. Which would you prefer?

I’ll do one of each and see which one you like best, how’s that?

Odd picture
Odd picture

This was in my Hawaii pictures from January when we visited with Mr. & Ms. Eternal Traveler, and, of course, Justin Beaver. Maybe Carol knows what this is. Since it was with other shopping pictures we took of the ritzy shops in Wailea on Maui, she might even have a post about it.

By the way, Carol is a famous guest poster, and I just found this published article of hers on Google in the Hiker’s Handbook. Way to go, Carol!

All the explanation you are going to get from me is, “I just think it’s cool.”

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Odd thinking

 

Since reputation for having the ability to think is at stake here, I’d better explain myself.

Actually, this picture is unique and well-composed according to my daddy’s teaching. It’s framed with a pretty weed on the left. The gold and brown colors coordinate. And it has a bright rusty contrast.

I’m so defensive…

My reasoning for taking and keeping this

The real reason I took this picture was to help collect donations.

The Woodlake Chamber of Commerce found out this year that they own the sign that sits on CA State Highway 198, the main highway that goes from the coast to the Sequoia National Park. The sign alerts travelers that there is a cute, friendly, cowboy town north of the freeway a few miles with the best fries in the state.

Believe me you don’t want to go to the coast on Highway 198 with a motor home!

Or to the park either, for that matter, the hairpin turns are narrow and mountainous. That means wind and scary drop-offs. We did it at night one time, and I thought my husband would have a heart attack.

Back to the sign.

The Woodlake Chamber of Commerce is NOT wealthy! And suddenly it owns a sign that is falling down, and now we know it’s our responsibility to fix it. We could ask businesses and other clubs to donate, and we will probably do that because signs are expensive.

But now we are fundraising by selling donation tickets to win a trip to Maui – my husband and my favorite vacation spot.

So this is one of the photographs I took to document the need to replace it – as if the fading picture is not enough reason!

So now you have enough evidence to choose.

Which do you like better, odd picture or odd thinking?

Cee's OddBall

If you liked this post, PLEASE share it with your friends.

If you thought it was stupid, share it with your enemies. JK, don’t do that. Just ignore them. Maybe they will go away.

This post has all the clickable links to get back to Cee and see other odd pictures or enter for yourself.

In case you missed them, click here.

How to Enjoy a Car Show Like a Car Guy

#Classiccars

Car shows are still the rage in Central California. They attract car guys and gals with everything from new Mustangs to old beaten-up trucks decorated with suitcases. This was one of my personal favorites.

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The Woodlake Valley Chamber of Commerce Car Show is one of the last shows of the season in the valley where temperatures soar into the 100s by mid-summer.

As participants drove into the western touristy looking town, new downtown sidewalks, streetlights, flags, and a round-about leading into the town welcomed them.

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Unlike most shows, this venue is in the middle of the city park right on the grass not on the hot asphalt street. The shopping center across the street from the park provided parking for all the non-exhibiting guests, so streets were clear for registration, which ended at 10:00.

Such a family friendly atmosphere! Everything in the park has been upgraded and is beautifully maintained.

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Here are a few tips to make your day more fun that I gathered as I made my way around the park visiting with all the car guys and gals.

  • Pre-register. The pre-registration line went faster and because it was about 10 cars shorter. Woodlake Valley Chamber volunteers had bags of goodies packed with names ready to go.

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  • Show up early!  The best spots under the large trees in Miller Brown Park go fast! On-site registration officially opened at 7:00, but they let us in as soon as they got set up.

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  • Bring a shade canopy, comfy chairs, cooler, and a spray bottle. One woman misted herself as I walked by her trying to grab a corner of her shady spot. Other guests offered me cold water. It was such a friendly crowd.

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  • Don’t forget cash! The Woodlake Valley Chamber of Commerce had a 50/50 drawing and this year a chance to win an all-expenses-paid trip for two to Maui, HI. Donations go for a good cause. The Chamber is raising money to rebuild the sign on Highway 198 that points the way to Woodlake and the many activities sponsored by other service organizations during the year. They also sponsor the Woodlake Valley Cultural Museum which opened in February of 2016.

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  • Come with your friends. Groups can park together at the Woodlake Car Show and not by category if they want. Car entries came from Bakersfield, Fresno, Visalia, Porterville, Tulare and many of the small towns in Tulare County. The youngest participant I talked to was a seventeen-year-old cyclist from Woodville.
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Nuestropride car group came from Porterville.
  • Leave your pit bulls at home. We did not seem many dog strollers and no doggie messes in the park. The Woodlake Chamber allowed small carry-on dogs in the park.

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There were so many prizes. Not only were there about 28 categories of vehicles with three winners in each one. In addition, Miss Woodlake picked her top three winners, and so the did the Chamber of Commerce.

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Winners for each category

 

 

 

One Word Photo Challenge: Chicken

#One Word Photo Challenge

Hawaiian State Birds struts their stuff!

Cluck Chuck, cluck!

in the park and

On the beach.

So sad, Chad!

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For more chickens cluck click here.

Want to Visit a Drive Inn with Old Fashioned Hospitality?

#photochallenge #helping hands

Guy Fieri made diners and dives famous across the United States but does he know about the Woodlake Drive Inn? It’s thriving in the tiny town of Woodlake, CA.

Ali Mohamed poses outside the popular Drive-In
Ali Mohamed poses outside the popular Drive Inn

How is that possible? What’s the secret of their success?

Ali credits his success to extending a helping hand and giving back 200% to the community.

Her favorite food is chicken fingers. Mine, too.
Her favorite food is chicken fingers. Mine, too.

Owner, Ali Mohamed impressed me with his devotion to Woodlake.

“Whatever you do for the community, it comes back. If you’re stingy it doesn’t work.”

It was about a half hour before our scheduled interview when I drove down Valencia Boulevard in Woodlake, CA. Hungry from my morning workout, and not able to cook while our kitchen is being remodeled, I looked forward to this interview for more than one reason.

Chicken Strips & Fries!

Long lines did not mean a long wait.
Long lines did not mean a long wait.

It was about 12:15 when I arrived, and there was a long line in front of me. I knew from experience it would go fast. However, I was not counting on Ali coming out to greet me. He asked what I wanted and put my order in for me. While I waited for my food, I took pictures for my blog and talked to customers. Everyone in one family liked the same thing I did – chicken.

Menu
Menu

Out of over 100 items, that was not the consensus. Other top ranking meals were #8, the BIG MEAL, the hamburger special, the pastrami sandwich, grilled cheese, and, of course, sodas.

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Waiting on a constant stream of walk-up customers and answering the phone kept the window clerk busy. Several men bustled in the back filling the orders. Guests sat down under the cover of an awning visiting with each other across picnic tables while they waited for their food.

I forgot and took a bite of chicken before I took the picture. Sorry!
I forgot and took a bite of chicken before I took the picture. mmmmmmm Sorry!

Just like any fast food, it came in a styrofoam container, but it was hot! The fries may be the tastiest I’ve ever had, with just the right amount of seasoning and the perfect crispness. The woman in blue informed me before my meal arrived, that Woodlake DriveInn has the best fries. They visit frequently, and she was right.

Ali tells me his story.
Ali tells me his story.

When I finished eating, Ali came out to join me at the table.

Curiosity bubbled out of me. “How did you end up in Woodlake, CA of all places?”

Twenty years ago Ali and his brother moved from Yemen to Dearborn, MI and went to work in a factory in Angola, IN, 20 miles south of Dearborn. In their spare time, they worked in restaurants as they picked up English.

https://goo.gl/maps/7XVQuEyXuVM2

 

But Michigan is a long way from California.

Ali’s cousin, Sam, had moved from Fresno to Farmersville and told the brothers that CA was the land of opportunity. They bought the Drive Inn from an Arabian in 2001 and settled in with a plan to succeed.

“This country is amazing. You can be who you are in a free country. In the United States, if you believe you will succeed, you will.”

Woodlake Drive-In in 1961.
Woodlake Drive Inn in 1961.

“We just noticed what people liked and that’s what we served. People order lots of sodas and soft-serve ice cream. And we were friendly. We came out and shook hands with everyone that came.”

The Drive Inn was old in 1961 when it was Floyd’s Drive Inn. He did not know the history of the business, but Ali told me that he had an 80-year-old customer who had worked at the Drive Inn when she was in high school.

When we started, it was just my brother and I and one girl. We worked hard. Now we have six or seven employees.

My camera would not click fast enough to catch the 55 Chevy.
My camera would not click fast enough to catch the 55 Chevy.

“My brother wanted to enclose the font, and air-condition a seating area. I wanted to keep it old-fashioned. The community needs something original. We added the awning.”

The south side of the building.
The south side of the building.

One customer said, Ali is very friendly. He’s got a great personality.

Her husband added, “And the food is GOOD.”

Ali believes in being generous. A Chamber of Commerce member, he donated a large amount to the Woodlake Valley Cultural Museum, run by the Chamber. His generosity reaches to other organizations as well. He has a soft spot in his heart for lending a helping hand, especially for the schools. He doesn’t always know why the kids are collecting money, though.

“You can never go wrong giving. It always comes back to you.”

It pays off. A few years ago I did a civics exercise in a high school class. Kids had to list ten things they liked about Woodlake, and ten things they would change. Woodlake Drive Inn was always at the top of their list of things they like about their town.

South Side sign mmm
South Side sign mmm – American 1950s comfort food

Ali paid for my lunch and then offered me some soft-serve ice cream for desert. It was so tempting. Even the pictures looked good.

He had no idea that I used to eat soft-serve and french fries every day for lunch in high school. mmm Yes, I was skinny.
He had no idea that I used to eat soft-serve and french fries every day for lunch in high school. mmm Yes, I was skinny.

Are you proud of my self-control? I may go back tomorrow, but I’m not telling.

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I can’t resist tempting you.

Woodlake is friendly. Woodlake Drive Inn is the place to network.

Yesterday I made a new Facebook friend while I waited for my food.

Today Vince insisted on trying Woodlake Drive Inn after I told him about the food. A cool breeze blew through the shaded area. A couple sat down across from me at the picnic table while we waited for our lunch. They looked vaguely familiar. After talking to figure out why we knew each other, she gave me her card.

"He does pretty good!"
“He does pretty good!”

Ali left me with this quote before he got back to work.

“If I didn’t work here. I’d still live here. I walk down the street and people don’t turn away. They say hi. I love Woodlake.”

So next time you come to Woodlake head for the old-fashioned burger shack, Woodlake Drive Inn. Guy Fieri would be proud.

Y'all come back, now!
Y’all come back, now!

What is the favorite local restaurant in your town?

If you enjoyed this article, please share it on social media or email it to a friend who might enjoy visiting Woodlake Drive Inn.

 

 

 

 

The Devil is in the Details

“The Devil is in the Details”

I sincerely hope you don’t find him in any of these pictures.

The phrase coined in the 1800s as “The good God is in the details,” is sometimes attributed to Gustave Flaubert, but is also listed as anonymous. You get to choose whichever detail you want to believe. No one is going to dispute you here.

Either way, details are pesky little complications that, when added correctly, complete the splendor of the product. I do hope you enjoy this detailed trip through my photo collection about Woodlake, CA.

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Sequoia National Park wildflower, June 2016

I wish I could tell you what this fuzzy beauty is. The detail I missed on the windy trip up to see the big trees was that my passenger suffered from motion sickness, and did not enjoy the trip nearly as much as I enjoyed showing it to him. I somehow FORGOT that tiny detail about my BROTHER!

Sequoia National Park wild flower June 2016
Sequoia National Park wildflower June 2016

This reminds me of a fuchsia. Researching details about flowers so far has taken me ten minutes, and I’m not too much closer to the answer than before. So I rest my case that those devilish details are hard to chase down.

Woodlake is a foothill community near the Sequoia National Park.
Woodlake is a foothill community near the Sequoia National Park.

This young woman is not releasing any details behind her arrest. She paid the Woodlake Chamber of Commerce $25 to keep her identity and crime quiet.

Woodlake Chamber of Commerce jails infamous public figures during Western Week prior to the big rodeo in May.
Woodlake Chamber of Commerce jails infamous public figures during Western Week prior to the big rodeo in May.

Sheriff Rudy Garcia seems to have trouble finding the details in these arrest warrants. The handsome wily criminal displays a cagey confidence about his impending doom. His smile reveals his belief that his arrest is all a ruse. He asks to use the restroom and slips out another entrance. Chased down and caught back in his own office, he is booked and serves two sentences in the Chamber Jail, one for insulting a police officer by escaping in broad daylight.

The large Woodlake sign on Highway 198 shows signs of wear and tear.
The large Woodlake sign on Highway 198 shows signs of wear and tear.

The Chamber found out that they own and are responsible for the care and upkeep of this huge sign at the turnoff to Woodlake from Highway 198, which leads up to Sequoia National Park. Upon close examination of this sign, details reveal that it needs to be replaced. You can help if you would like to donate, and possibly win an all-expenses-paid-trip to Hawaii.

Such detailed chaps
Such detailed chaps

On Mother’s Day weekend every year everything comes up cowboy in Woodlake starting with a great parade before the Woodlake Lion’s Rodeo.

Did I say cowBOY? Oops, I meant, CowGIRL.
Did I say, cowBOY? Oops, I meant, CowGIRL.

You knew that these were cowgirl chaps if you looked closely at the details of the picture. But closely focused photos cut out details that are obvious to people seeing the big picture.

The perfect formal shoe attire for the crowned Queen of Woodlake.
The perfect formal shoe attire for the crowned Queen of Woodlake.

Cowgirls in our town are not just in name only. These boots, though beautiful, are not just for show. Details reveal that this cowgirl works her boots. Sonni Hocobian trains dogs to be service dogs in her spare time.

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People milled in the middle of the street before their turn came to walk the parade route. I enjoyed capturing details in the small displays of enthusiasm on the right or the lack of it on the left!

Frank Ainley, former high school history teacher, can spout many interesting details about Woodlake's past.
Frank Ainley, a former high school history teacher, can spout many interesting details about Woodlake’s past.

Frank Ainley always captures a willing audience for his detailed stories during a break in senior exit interviews at Woodlake High School. I had the fortune of being his partner this year, so I learned many details including his instruction to these graduates about the proper way for a gentleman to treat a woman. He stood and held each young lady’s chair as she sat down and got up. He even held my chair for me. What a classy man.

Woodlake's Berry Tasting Festival in May
Woodlake’s Berry Tasting Festival in May

If you are a blueberry expert, you probably already knew about Powderblue blueberries. This was a new detail for me.

Artichoke plant
Artichoke plant

Woodlake Botanical Gardens is one of Tulare County’s treasures. More than berries grow there. It is maintained by Manual and Olga Jiminez and a crew of high school volunteers. A stroll along the mile long path through the garden reveals hundreds of plants from bananas to hundreds of types of roses, five or six varieties of basil to sunflowers. It is a must see if you come to Woodlake.

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If you walk or run on the path around Bravo Lake above the gardens, you should never forget one detail. WATER! Fido even enjoys a sip during the three-mile Kiwanis Run for Hunger in April.

I shouldn’t share any details, but psssst.

Details: Saturday, July 16 7:00-3:00 at the City Park, also known as the Miller Brown Park Judging starts at 10:00 a.m. SEE YOU THERE!
Details: Saturday, July 16 7:00-3:00 at the City Park, also known as the Miller Brown Park Judging starts at 10:00 a.m. SEE YOU THERE!

That was a lie – sorry! Tomorrow is the Woodlake Valley Chamber of Commerce Car Show. If you live nearby, y’all come. Y’hear.

I hoped you enjoyed your detailed trip to some of the many events that decorate the year in Woodlake.

For more details about those devilish details

I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016
I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

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How Many Ways Can You Find to Look-up?

Thank you for this challenge, WordPress. I see now why I am not a world famous photographer. Ninety-nine percent of my photos are taken straight on. Some of them point slightly up or down, but by and large, I stand and shoot. I’m a straight shooter.

“Could you look up a balance for me?” I asked a Bank manager in Palm Springs while I visited in that city.

Let me look that up for you.
This amazing bank manager in Palm Springs spent five hours looking up and researching where two credit card swipe machines could have disappeared after we mailed them back to San Francisco. She did not know us, but solved our problems with her look-up!

“OK, I cheated a little. Forgive me. Scardy Kitty, quit looking up at me like that!”

“Meeedoooooowwwwwwnnnnnnnn”

"You promised the people you would look up, and clearly you are looking down at me!"
“You promised the people you would look up, and clearly you are looking down at me!”

“Yes, you are down. I couldn’t resist, Scardy. When I was busy texting and not driving, I looked up nearly jumped out of the car trying to get a picture of this fellow.”

Going to Hoover Dam
Going to Hoover Dam. This fellow clearly had been looking up in the trees.

"You promised the people you would look up, and clearly you are looking down at me!"

“You are not improving, Marsha. That’s still not up.” Scardy whined at me in the background as I typed.

How’s this? A ceiling. Is that better?

At Taliesin West in Sedona, AZ Frank Lloyd Wright used canvas for the roof. He did not have glass in the windows.
At Taliesin West in Scottsdale, AZ Frank Lloyd Wright used canvas for the roof. He did not have glass in the windows.

"You promised the people you would look up, and clearly you are looking down at me!"

“That’s more like it. I could sit in that window and chase birds if they flew in.”

“You’re dreaming now, Scardy. How would you even get up to those windows? They are high!”

"You promised the people you would look up, and clearly you are looking down at me!"

“Look up, Marsha, I’d jump on that chair, and up I’d go!”

Dream Chair looking up
Dream Chair looking up

“You’re going to use up one of your nine lives trying to jump on that chair, Scardy. Three Rivers artist Martha Windmann designed that chair.”

"You promised the people you would look up, and clearly you are looking down at me!"

“Very funny. It’s just a picture anyway. Look up over there. What is that thing? I see you in it!”

“That’s another piece of artwork, Scardy, made of phones and tablets. I found that in the San Jose Museum of Art in September of 2015.”

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Exhibit at the San Jose Museum of Art in September, 2015.

"You promised the people you would look up, and clearly you are looking down at me!"

“My head is spinning. I can’t keep looking up much longer.”

“Take a break, go walk that railing up there. The exercise will do you good, and you can look down from up there.”

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“Wait until you see this building sized praying mantis, Scardy! You won’t be complaining about the bugs around our house any more, Scardy.”

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Looking up outside Container Park in Las Vegas you can’t miss this huge recycled metal praying mantis. In the evening, instead of stars, tourists dodge the blasting flames out of its antennae at random moments. Kirk Jellum designed  this animated bug which consumes about 50 gallons of propane each night.

"You promised the people you would look up, and clearly you are looking down at me!"

“Help, get me out of here. I want to get back to looking straight ahead.”

“You got me started with your snide remarks about my definitions of ‘looking up.'”

Tiger display at the office of Ed Micham
Looking up at a cheetah display.

"You promised the people you would look up, and clearly you are looking down at me!"

“I like cheetahs, could we get one?”

“You would have to look up to it, respect its authority. Are you sure you want another cat telling you what to do?”

"You promised the people you would look up, and clearly you are looking down at me!"

“Let me think about that. Good try, BTW, Marsha. I caught that when you tried to sneak in another definition for look up. Not funny.

Wow, what’s this? I never thought you get a picture of a UFO, Marsha.”
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"You promised the people you would look up, and clearly you are looking down at me!"

“Marsha, where are you? Marsha?”

“Marsh………!”

 

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Thanks for looking up my blog. I hope you enjoyed my take on this week’s theme.

I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

More about Taliesin West.

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8 Reasons to Shop the Local Hardware Store

Woodlake True Value Hardware Store Celebrating 100 Years of Continuous Service in 2017.

Woodlake True Value Hardware
Woodlake True Value Hardware

The day had turned out to be a typical Central Valley day, 104 degrees in the shade, and there was no shade. At 1:40 p.m. I rushed out of my car parked four feet from the new True Value Woodlake Hardware Store entrance for my 1:30 interview with Andrew Dorais and Russ Howard, the co-managers of the store.

Russ Howard, Co-Manager, Andrew Durais, Manager
Co-managers, Russ Howard and Andrew Dorais, didn’t mind the heat.

A traffic accident on the freeway from Visalia, 20 miles west of town, had slowed me for an hour, so YES, I was late when I got there.

Woodlake Chamber of Commerce Car Show Poster for July 16, 2016
Woodlake Chamber of Commerce Car Show Poster for July 16, 2016

One of our Woodlake Chamber of Commerce Car Show posters had front and center position on the front door.

Yeah! Good advertisement!

The door opened and air-conditioning already started to cool me down and settle my driving nerves. Leanne Jones greeted me with a smile, and Andrew and Russ came out to usher me back to the hardware office for our scheduled appointment.

Leeann Jones and Cindy Dorais designed and created the beautiful counter out of found goods at the store: old siding which they painted rusty red, a wagon wheel, and a glass top. They have orders for more.
Leeann Jones and Cindy Dorais, pictured in front, designed and created the beautiful counter out of found goods at the store: old siding which they painted rusty-red, a wagon wheel, and a glass top. They have orders for more.

The City of Woodlake commissioned me to write several articles about the different businesses in Woodlake for their magazine, and Andrew met me on the street the on Thursday, June 30 and immediately set an appointment for the next day.

If I can't find what I need, someone will help me, but everything is labeled.
If I can’t find what I need, someone will help me, but they also have  everything labeled.

Both Andrew and Russ have talked to me in the past, so I began by asking them how they were doing with the lofty goals they had set when they began working November 1st. Unlike me and my goals, they have achieved all of them and thank the community of Woodlake for the show of support.

ATV - All Terrain Vehicles great for foothill ranches and trail riding. WH also stocks gun safes.
ATV – All Terrain Vehicles great for foothill ranches and trail riding. WH also stocks gun safes.
I thought the tire treads looked like airplanes taking off over the ocean full of naval ships.
I thought the tire treads looked like airplanes taking off over the ocean full of naval ships.

8 Reasons to Shop Local

Woodlake is a bedroom community of Visalia. It isn’t far, but it is. It’s twenty miles, and even farther to the hardware stores in town. Some people might even go to Fresno which is about 45 miles away or Bakersfield – 60 miles away.

NOT ME! I think I’ll stay in Woodlake.

Together Russ and Andrew explained eight reasons to shop local rather than going to Visalia or Fresno for hardware and building needs.

I think this is Andrew's favorite department in the store.
I think this is Andrew’s favorite department in the store. I’ve never driven one, but Russ let me get on and pretend the last time I came. It’s like being a kid again. I like this place!
  1.  They have what I need in the store for building, decorating, and fixing things around the home.
  2. If they don’t have what I need in the store, I can order online through the True Value online website and it comes at no charge. That’s a big bonus for those of us who live even farther out in the country.
  3. Andrew and Russ brought in a huge selection of off-road vehicles. For farmers and laborers who work ranches that range from 7 to over several thousands of acres, nothing could be more practical. Even kids can help their parents run errands driving these around the ranch.
  4. After remodeling and redecorating, the next major step towards creating a new Woodlake Hardware was restocking and reorganizing merchandise. The isles sparkle with new hardware items, garden supplies, toys and items for the home.
  5. The layout has changed since November. It is brighter with new lights and ceiling. I wandered into the garden section taking pictures. Almost immediately I found the outdoor furniture section. Even the lawn mowers looked pretty, and I hate mowing.

    "I"m so pretty, oh so pretty. I'm so pretty and witty and bright."
    “I”m so pretty, oh so pretty. I’m so pretty and witty and bright.”
  6. Customer service goes without saying at any business, but it usually goes without saying. Many times I’ve walked into a hardware store, and not even seen a clerk who could help me. Unfortunately, I need a lot of help when my husband sends me to the store for some item I’ve never even seen or heard of before. It’s not a problem here. They all know my name! It’s like going into Cheers. OK, maybe you’re too young to remember that.
  7. They wanted to have a mechanics repair shop for small engines, and now they do. I should have asked more about the kinds of small engines they were talking about.
  8. Finally, the quality of the merchandise brings customers back. As Andrew pointed out, and I have experienced shopping for lumber with hubby, it can take rummaging through a few boards before we find the ones that are undamaged and usable. At Woodlake Hardware we can trust them to have just the best pieces. They stay competitive in price as well, and if we have a large order, they have it drop shipped to our building site.
I just love this table.
I just love this table made from scraps of stuff lying around in the back.

That’s cool. I bet my husband is regretting the trips to Fresno to pick up flooring during our remodel already. He wanted to save the shipping fee, so he DROVE to Fresno, paid a friend’s grandson to help him, and he tweaked his back unloading the 50-pound boxes. What a bargain!

I bet he’s hitting his forehead and saying, “I could have shopped in Woodlake!”

New lighting, new merchandise, all organized. It's a hardware guy's dream.
New lighting, new merchandise, all organized. It’s a hardware guy’s dream.

So if you are thinking of driving to Fresno or Visalia to shop for lumber or hardware needs, outdoor furniture, off-road vehicles, bikes for the kids, STOP. Take a short drive to Woodlake, and check out what is here. You will be pleasantly surprised.

My favorite section was the outdoor furniture and gardening area.
My favorite section was the outdoor furniture and gardening area.

Before I had finished taking pictures one display reached out and grabbed me.

"Buy me, buy me, buy me," said the folding chairs.
“Buy me, buy me, buy me,” said the folding chairs.

I had looked in Visalia for a couple of fold-up portable chairs for the park. They cost $34.00 at one of the stores, so I passed them up. Woodlake True Value Hardware had them on sale for $10.99. I bought two, and told everyone I saw at the July 3rd Blast to go get one before they all sold out!

These butterflies might like to try scaring the birds off my peaches.
These butterflies might like to try scaring the birds off my peaches.

Below you can listen to our interview on my first podcast. It is not the best quality recording because I don’t have a microphone, so I recorded this with my cell phone and used Audacity to “Normalize” the volume. You can tell it is not very normal.

My great-grandmother had one of these, and I remember sticking my arm through the rollers.
My great-grandmother had one of these, and I remember sticking my arm through the rollers.

It was fairly boring with just voices, (sorry Andrew, Russ and Marsha) so I found this great podcast music and purchased 2.5 minutes of “Cowboy Tears” and cut it into little pieces, and pasted it into Podcast #1.

Not everyone gets and ATV. I watched as four-year old Laila on her pink bike raced her big brother driving his ATV down their hill in Elderwood. I'll let you guess who won, but everyone had fun.
Not everyone gets and ATV. I watched as four-year-old Laila on her pink bike raced her big brother driving his ATV down their hill in Elderwood. I’ll let you guess who won, but everyone had fun.

Anyway, it only took two days to normalize and take out all the “uhms.”

Hope you love it. Don’t worry if you don’t. It’s not all that easy to do, and I’ll get better.

All I need now is a lot more knowledge, better recording set-up, and a deep-voiced announcer saying “Another Woodlake Valley Chamber of Commerce Podcast,” or something creative.

Everything grows in California's Central Valley. We are Within the Magic Circle.
Everything grows in California’s Central Valley. We are Within the Magic Circle.

So, if you like this article, please share it with your friends. If not, share it with someone you don’t like. (JUST KIDDING)

If you do not live in Woodlake, feel free to share about your favorite local shop. You can be your own local Chamber of Commerce. It’s fun!🙂

Seven Storefronts to See on Your Way to Sequoia National Park

Storefronts with Signs Abound

I travel a lot.

I photograph buildings all over the country, but so do you. You even live in some of the places I’ve traveled, and probably have much better pictures of the buildings than I have.

But I bet most of you do not photograph Woodlake, CA. Gotcha, didn’t I?

A Little History of Woodlake

Woodlake began in 1912 as a tourist town nestled away from the beaten path surrounded by the Sierra Nevada foothills. If you head east from Woodlake, you will reach Sequoia National Park. Going through Woodlake is one of the beautiful back ways to get there.

A few of the original 1900s buildings still stand downtown.

This year Woodlake celebrates 75 years of incorporation. Not many of the small towns in Tulare County are incorporated, so it’s a big deal for us. We are having a huge We-R-Woodlake celebration September 23-25th, so things R changin’ round-about Woodlake.

Main Street Woodlake

Woodlake has one north-south main street called Valencia Boulevard, named after a type of orange, which is one of Woodlake’s main crop. The east-west main street which intersects Valencia in the 2016 round-about, is named Naranjo Boulevard (pronounced na rawn’ ho). Some Woodlakers pronounce it (na raw’ no). Naranjos are a different species of oranges.

Three years ago I snapped these pictures before Woodlake underwent a major remodel. One day when the sky is not muddy I’ll go back and do a more thorough job of documenting our buildings and streets as they look now.

Woodlake Hardware Built in 1917 taken in 2013.
This new Woodlake Hardware building was built in 1917. This picture and the article about Morris Bennet, the 92-year-old owner, attracted Arcadia Publishing to me. A random article resulted in a book, Images of America: Woodlake. In this case, a picture was worth 18,000 words, and 210 more pictures.

In 2015 Morris and his children wanted to retire but hung in there until the building and business sold. Oral E. Micham, Inc. thrilled city and surrounding residents when he bought the business. Morris still comes to work. He started in 1940 the year he graduated from Woodlake High School.🙂

No offence, Baldo. I just think it's funny to have a barbershop named Baldo's.
No offense, Baldo. I think it’s funny to have a barbershop named Baldo’s. Even baldos need a hair cut from time to time.🙂
This is one of the older buildings in Woodlake. Most of the buildings were brick because of fire danger.
This is one of the older buildings in Woodlake. Most of the buildings built in the early 1900s  were constructed of brick because of fire danger.
Bank of America built a new building when the "brick block" on the corner was torn down in 1961. Newer buildings are stucco.
Bank of America had to move when the  1912 “brick block” on the corner was torn down in 1961. Some of the newer buildings are at least covered in stucco. Bank of America closed in 1985 and Valley Business Bank took over the banking needs in Woodlake some time later.
Notice the original brick. I think they did a creative job of including the past when they update it.
Notice the original brick. I think they did a creative job of including the past when they updated it.
Cinderblock buildings do not burn easily. Dick Edmiston erected this government building in the late 1960s.
Cinderblock buildings do not burn easily either. Dick Edmiston erected this government building in the late 1960s.
The Gongs bought Haury's Market, the Liquor Store and the Theatre in the 1960s and created the General Food Store.
The Gongs bought Haury’s Market, the Liquor Store, and the Theatre in the 1960s and opened the General Food Store. The well-equipped fire station just down the road protects the wood structure. General Food reflects the western motif of the town.

Those are not all the buildings along our main street, Valencia Boulevard, but they are the some of the bigger ones. Several new businesses have come to Woodlake since I took these pictures. Time changes even the small sleepy town of Woodlake, the Western Mayberry.

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For more entries in Cee’s B & W Challenge, click on her image.

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Other articles you might enjoy about Woodlake.

Two Easy Trails You Should Check Out at the Central Coast

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Walks – Indoor or Outdoor

Bob Jones Trail

I wonder if they were placing bets.  :)
They’re so vain. I bet they think this post is about them. They’re so vain. I bet they think this post is about them, about them!

This off the beaten path was for the birds, but I enjoyed it from the Bob Jones Trail in Avila Beach, CA. I’ve never seen any birds line up like this since.🙂 Avila Beach, pronounced AH-vuh-luh, has a population of approximately 1,627 at the 2010 census.

Bob Jones Trail002

It’s hard to believe Avila Beach is that unpopulated when you hike this trail. Not much level land area exists between the beach and the bluffs, but this trail is flat, leaving the cliffs to the side, and people flock to it, as do other creatures.

Taken with my iPhone, this coyote looked hungry.  Maybe I was just imagining it because I was hungry.  He left the water without grabbing a duck-to-go.
Taken with my iPhone, this coyote looked hungry. Maybe I was just imagining it because I was hungry. He left the water without grabbing a duck-to-go.

This was another shot from the Bob Jones Trail, which meanders three miles around a golf course in Avila Beach ( about a half mile from the beach), along San Luis Obispo Creek, past a housing community and general store and restaurant, inland to Ontario Road. which is the road that comes off the Highway 101.

Bob Jones Trail Starts Here

People park their cars and ride or bike the trail with and without extra small people and animals in tow. It’s usually fairly crowded so even Puppy Girl knows to stay on the right side of the center line. Bicyclists are usually courteous enough to call out, “On your left,” as they approach you.

"Woah there baby.  Wait for Mama!!!  Watch out for that killer white dog!!"
“Woah there baby. Wait for Mama!!! Watch out for that killer white dog!!”

This is the beginning of the trail at Ontario Road. You can see the parking lot across the street.

Bob Jones Trail030

It’s a great place for families to escape the heat of the Central Valley in the summer and the fog and cold in the winter. It was 95 degrees there last week but my advice is to always take a sweatshirt. You never know.

Shell Beach Bluff Trail

Just up the road between Pismo Beach and Avila Beach, off Ontario Road is the Shell Beach Bluff Trail with mansions on one side and the ocean on the other.

Travel, San Luis Obispo County, California, Shell Beach

This does not look like a trail, walkers are gently guided onto a fenced path. No one accidentally wanders into the front yards of these homes.

Travel, San Luis Obispo County, California, Shell Beach

The Shell Beach Bluff Trail trail starts at a parking lot on Indio Drive and winds down to the beach if you go off the paved path.

Travel, San Luis Obispo County, California, Shell Beach

It’s easy walking for both people and pets. Warning: the trail that leads on down to the beach is not so easy-going.🙂

Travel, San Luis Obispo County, California, Shell Beach

I had trouble keeping my camera focused on the trail. Sorry! I’m not sure what to do with that white cord. We swiveled around at the start of the downward trail and kept on the paved path back up to Indio Road again.

Travel, San Luis Obispo County, California, Shell Beach

If you are in the market for one of these beauties on Indio Drive, they are quite reasonably priced at about 1.6 million to start. We chose to stay in our trailer at the KOA Park on Ontario Road.🙂

Travel, San Luis Obispo County, California, Shell Beach

Happy trails to you. If you enjoyed this be sure to visit Cee Neuner for more fun photos Click here.

CFFC runs weekly challenge starting every Tuesday.
CFFC runs weekly challenge starting every Tuesday.

 

 

5 Things You Need to Know About Freezing Peaches

I Know Why My Day Job Was NOT Domestic Engineer!

80 pt headline

Cool headline analyzer tool which gives you a score on each headline so you can rewrite it until you get above 70. It’s like a game to me, so I love it.

I think I would die if I had to raise and process my food. The entire time I was blanching and peeling my unwilling peaches, I thought about the red hen and her admonition of “no work, no eat.” I may never eat another peach again.

They look inviting and very innocent right after they are picked.
They look inviting and very innocent right after they are picked.

The process of freezing peaches did not look hard in the video and in the step-by-step pictures. EASY PEACHY! You watch it. Tell me if that doesn’t look easy to you. It lies.

Step 1 Blanch the peaches. First of all our new stove came last Thursday – banged up. My husband called and instead of sending a new front, they are replacing the entire unit. Result – no stove for a week or so. Blanching became much more difficult in the microwave. The bowl got hotter than the water. You can not peel peaches that have not been heated to a boiling temperature for 30 seconds. Two hundred degrees won’t cut it!

The dent
The dent…you can see that the stove is not pushed back, so not back = not hooked up. SO SAD!

Step 2 Cool the peaches. That was easy. They were not very hot! They loved their ice bath, though.

Step 3 Peel the peaches – Enough said already. Did I tell you that some of them were very ripe? They squirted me in the eye when I poked their tough skins. As I peeled them, they dissolved into mush.

Step 4 Cut the peaches and take out the pit then slice the peaches. First of all, most of the peaches we planted do not have the label “Cling Free” on them. That means that the fruit and the seed are like one. You can’t have one without the other. As I pulled the halves apart, ⅔ of the center came out with the pit. The other half of the peach kept the pit. I had to cut it off. By the time I finished cutting, the peach fruit equaled about ⅓ of its original volume.

My neat little slices - no water added
My neat little slices – no water added

Step 5 Lay them on a sheet being careful that the pieces don’t touch each other. … RIGHT! The peach slices lay in a bloody mess in the bottom of a bowl. I could not separate one slice from another if my life depended on it. Fortunately, we have grocery stores.

I tasted one of the peach slices, from a peach that did actually slice well, as I poured the gooey mess into a plastic freezer bag. It bit me. Literally, it was so bitter, it went into the garbage disposal of its own accord! I hope it was an oddball. I tasted several of the smooshy peaches, and they tasted very good. I sprinkled some fake sugar on them and shoved the bag into the freezer. It will make one cobbler. I’m tired. I quit after peeling about 10 peaches.

Central CA agriculture fences101

I have more peaches. All of them are tiny. Some of them are Siamese twins where there is a dominant twin twice the size of the other. Some of them are ripe. Many of them crinkled up like the skin on my arms is doing. Some of them turned brown in spots like the skin on my arms is doing. One of them molded – no I don’t have moldy arms. Get that ugly picture out of your mind. The rest of them are too green to slice yet – a little like the bitter peach.

I'm so done with freezing peaches.
I’m so done with freezing peaches.

So I ask you, how do farmers make any money? How do canning companies continue to exist? Trust me, if they did not, you, too, might die of starvation or learn a better way to raise and freeze peaches than I did.

Do you have a domestic engineering gone sour story you’d like to share? It would make me feel better if you’d share it. You can post a link to your blog in my comment section, or just let it spill right there in the box.

If you have a friend that needs cheering up by hearing my sad tale, feel free to share it. I’m not proud!🙂

What Do You Think About The Politicizing of Orlando?

Gun Control v Terrorist Control

Given the horrible shootings in Orlando, Florida, my heart is wrenched as the above battle ensues politically. I am angry that there is a battle. Here’s my question.

What private citizen NEEDS an assault weapon that can shoot 50 people at a time?

Seriously, WHO?

Mountain Lion Habitat in CA
Mountain Lion Habitat in CA

I live in 2nd amendment territory. Almost everyone owns a gun or rifle of some sort, and many know how to shoot them.

I'd better get my rifle. Oh wait, the game warden already got him. Too late!
I’d better get my rifle. Oh wait, the game warden already got him. Too late!

Here in the wilds of Elderwood, CA you might need a rifle to shoot a mountain lion who comes into your yard and stares down at your puppy playing in the yard. Not that it’s ever happened at my house, but I saw a skull 20 years ago at the end of our street as I hiked with students up the foothill. My husband kills a rattlesnake once in a while with the same vigor and enthusiasm of Tim Allen from Home Improvement tried out chain saws.

Woooo Woooo Woooo

More often people shoot squirrels. My cat brings home squirrels. She doesn’t even need a gun to kill them.

dangerous squirrel digs holes - people can twist their ankles
Dangerous squirrel digs holes – people can twist their ankles.

I do not know anyone in Elderwood who espouses a need for an assault weapon to kill a snake or even a bear, should they be attacked and need a gun.

Here’s my view. The Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms. Let folks bear the same arms that they used when the Constitution was written. Get the rest of the guns off the streets, and start mass producing the rifles that American soldiers used in the Revolutionary War. That would go a long way to preventing mass shootings, and it would exactly correspond to our Constitutional Rights to bear arms.

This is what the writers of the Constitution had in mind.
This is what the writers of the Constitution had in mind.

Or maybe gun rights advocates would prefer something smaller that one can fit in a purse or back pocket?

Sure, the Constitution allowed individuals to own these. I approve. Get one.
Sure, the Constitution allowed individuals to own these. I approve. Get one.

Possibly 2nd amendment advocates would want something showier to wave in my face while they spout off their rights. Let’s see if we can find this one at the gun store.

James Madison could have. Who cares what he thought?

OH RIGHT!  He WROTE the Constitution.

Let the gun manufacturers begin producing 2nd amendment rights weapons.  Get rid of the rest of the guns.
Let the gun manufacturers begin producing 2nd amendment rights weapons. Get rid of the rest of the guns.

What do you think? Are you as angry as I am at the political battle that rages over the loss of these Orlando victims? Even if you support the 2nd amendment, do you REALLY think we need assault weapons on the street?

 

Flower of the Day – Bearded Iris

#Flower of the Day

Porterville, CA has an iris festival each year. I took these pictures mid-day, so I tried cropping them and changing the contrast in Photoshop. They had already been processed and reduced in quality, so they are not the best. One one of the pictures I experimented with some filters.

TC Iris Festival

TC Iris Festival

Porter

This next one is my favorite.

2013 Iris Festival035LCsplatterWe obviously don’t get enough rain here, so I’m wishing for a rainy day!  hehehe.

Which one did you like best?

Do you have a picture of a bearded iris you’d like to share on Cee Neuner’s Flower of the Day Challenge?

Share Your World Week 23

I enjoy Cee Neuner’s photo challenges. Today I clicked on her Share Your World Challenge – an interview. So here goes.🙂

What was one of your first money-making jobs (other than babysitting or newspaper delivery)?

I started working at Portland Adventist Hospital in the kitchen right after I graduated from high school. The head dietitian was a roller skating friend of mine. Roller skating knows no age limits. Her husband, Dave Plant, at age 60, taught my brother and me along with many of our friends how to water ski on the weekends when we weren’t skating. Lou Plant offered me a job and I took it. It was a good incentive to go to college and not to major in medicine – long hours, low pay, on my feet for hours.

What is your favorite month of the year?

Fall in Elderwood
Fall in Elderwood

November, of course, my birth month, full of holidays, voting, and beautiful weather no matter where you live.

What three things in nature do you find most beautiful?

Hawaii Maui

I love crape myrtle trees, maple trees, and water.

List at least five of your favorite spices? (excluding salt and pepper)

Basil is green.
Basil 

lemon, orange, basil, cilantro, mint

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

I am grateful for friends and family, health, and a comfortable life in a beautiful location. I am looking forward to the primary election being over.

The Essence of Summer – What does summer mean to you?

#Garden Challenge

Last weekend Woodlake’s Botanical Gardens in Woodlake, CA hosted its annual Berry Festival. Berries ripen in May and June just before the really hot temperatures hit.

2016 Berry Festival171
Artichokes flower

The roses which are so beautiful in April, are just about gone. This lone bush still looked luxurious.

2016 Berry Festival175
Roses are red…
Basil is green.
Basil is green.
These sure are sweet.
Blackberries are sweet. (Well not the red ones!)
2016 Berry Festival100
And, dang, what are these? My memory’s gone along with the sign.

For more Garden photos click here.