Plucky, Hard-working Fences in the Backbone of America

No privacy here, but these fences work hard keeping your food from getting away. Where’s the beef? Right here near Woodlake, CA, behind these simple, durable fences.

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leaning fences
Central CA agriculture fences101
a fenced in fence


Decorated fence
Decorated fence
horse fence
horse fence
fancy horse fence
fancy horse fence
prickly fence
prickly fence
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antiques road show
fence on wheels
fence on wheels
rough fence
rough fence

For a peek into the history of fences, click here.

Check out more fences here.

Volunteer Sales Force Heads for the Hills

Woodlake Kiwanis Club publishes a magazine, “What’s Happening in the Foothills…” available on street corners everywhere, and delivered to nearly 30,000 homes.  The premier product we promote is “what’s happening” in the form of a calendar centerfold.  The money we raise from selling advertising pays for the magazine and funds Kiwanis activities for schools.

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Friday Sally Pace and I headed east for Three Rivers, the town on the Kaweah Rivers at the base of the Sequoia National Park where the big trees live.  We stopped along the way to sell advertising.  What that meant was Sally talked to people while I played around and took pictures.  This is a great little place to stop and get all kinds of schlock from great food to speciality gifts.  It seems like a beary nice place to hang out and relax.

2014 Kiwanis calls132You might get a little too relaxed after the wine tasting event they are going to have.  This gal hasn’t awakened since the event last time.

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This tourist came all the way from Russia to see the trees.  She posed for me, but she didn’t understand what I said.

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You might want to come with a group of folks and fill up the place.  It’s a cozy place that seems larger than it is because of the mirror.

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I wouldn’t advise standing on the tables and dancing.  I stood on one of the chairs to take this next picture, and it swiveled (you can see my bare feet).  That is my excuse for why the picture is a bit blurry.  The table was beautiful – even if it did have a big hole in the middle where you could throw your cups when you finished. (That’s if you had too much to drink and didn’t know what you were doing, or lost control of your cup.)

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If you really drank too much, this fellow might see you out the door.

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If you didn’t designate a driver, you wouldn’t have to go far.  The hotel is right next door.  But don’t get hung up on your way over there like these guys did.

2014 Kiwanis calls141This was just our first call.  The next stop was only logical.

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Once thoroughly cleansed outside and in…

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We adjourned to the first lunch place.

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Then met some real buckaroos….

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getting ready for the next meal rush hour.

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We were already stuffed. Good thing they just opened to show us the view.

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Feeling a little groggy after our ice cream lunch we headed over to the folks who could make us feel well again.

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They have the best prices on drugs, and we decided it paid to shop locally.  Next, we moseyed down the hill towards home feeling pretty good.  Too good, maybe.  We found a great bargain at this next stop we could hardly pass up.  Look at all those choices in the display window.  I think my husband called about then, and gave me some strict instructions. (He’s a realtor, for those of you who don’t know me very well.)

2014 Kiwanis calls187“Yes dear, we’re on our way now.  Yes, I got you something…”  Oops, I hadn’t gotten HIM anything.  So we made one last stop (not counting the ladies gift store).

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That big cookie in front is no longer available. We kicked ourselves for eating so much ice cream.  These are new owners.  As we waited to talk to the owner, our eyes popped out when she served her customers.  We both wanted to sit with them and eat family style.  There was plenty there for all of us.  No one invited us to do that, though.

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She had just enough time to give us a smile and sell us cookies before she headed back to the kitchen.

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Laden with goodies, we jumped in, making sure got in the right car this time (another story), and headed five miles for home.  We sold some ads, and our clients sold some things too.   Our pay …a fun day!

Don’t Read Sad Books, Then Talk On The Phone

The Fault in Our Stars residing in my Kindle is Laurie’s fault.

LaurieShe read it and posted on Facebook how good it was.  When my friend Laurie says anything, I listen because she is smart and fun.  I immediately ordered the book on Amazon, and put it aside to read when I finished reading the boring book, Underworld a Novel.

The boringness of Underworld overwhelmed me on  Saturday. Then thought hit me that the day was too beautiful, and life is too short to EVER be bored.

The back yard 1

Saturday was one of those rare, partly cloudy, 85-90 degree, days in central California.  Vince and I sat by the pool and visited. When we ran out of words, I opened The Fault in Our Stars; he snuck off to take a picture.  The little blob by the pool slouched in the rocking chair with her legs spread apart like Grandma Morris, in her not-long-enough giant-flowered dresses exposing nylons that came up mid-thigh, is me.  In my defense I am wearing a bathing suit, so my thighs should be exposed.

Indianapolis street
I am driving up a street near our former home in Indianapolis, IN.

I’m laughing out loud at the audacity of this sixteen year old Hoosier (in the book).  I am a Hoosier (from Indiana), and it was great reading about a kid that attended my high school, North Central, and drove badly on streets near my home.  These three protagonist children all have cancer, but one of them is hot, hot, hot, according to the girl, Hazel.

Who names their kids Hazel?  Grandma Morris had a sister,  Great-Aunt Hazel, but really, does this author, John Green, know me or something?  It’s so Hoosier.

Can you find Grandma Morris? Aunt Hazel is probably there, too.

In the book Hazel, age 16, has terminal cancer, and Augustus, the hot one, is cancer free after a leg amputation.  They meet in a cancer support group led by an old guy (probably 21 or so) who is cancer free after losing his testicles, which he talks about at every meeting.  The story bounces around from hilarious to sad, and I had just finished a particularly sad page when Melissa called. Melissa rarely calls me.

“You’ve got to call(a nameless friend of ours),” she orders.   “Her brother and sister-in-law are both expected to die within a few hours, and I can’t reach mom so she can call.  Could you please call her?”

My gut says, “This is not a good idea, Marsha Lee.  You’re crying, two people are dying, and you’re supposed to… say what?”

I’m the emotional one.  Melissa’s mom is the one who gets us out of our funk. I dial my friend’s number from memory.  She is not there.  I have to look up her cell phone.  She answers after a few rings.

“Where are you?” I ask, not knowing what to say, tears lurking in my voice.

“I’m in Utah.”

“Who are you with?”

This is the most eloquent thing I could think of to say at this point.  I’m off base because I know this “secret” about her brother and sister-in-law, but I don’t know if she is in on it.  Tears well up in my throat. I can’t think, let alone talk.  I wish I had listened to my gut.

“A couple of ladies from church.”

I’m at a complete loss.  Does she or doesn’t she know? She doesn’t give me any clues. By this point in the conversation, the pent-up tears wailed out a little.  It turned out that she knew.

“I’ll call you when I get back in ten days, and we can go to lunch,” she cut me short after I stumbled around some more.

“OK,” I replied and hung up.  I never felt dumber and more useless.

Moral:  When tears are in your eyes, wait to call.

Oh, and you’ve got to read The Fault in Our Stars.  It’s amazing.

Tuesday: Review: Paula Deen Scandal

What a sizzling topic this is in my neck of the woods, Conservative Central California.  I have never watched a Paula Deen show, nor am much of a cook, but I must be a party of one in my neighborhood.  No matter where I go, the folks in my area discuss the Paula Deen Scandal at every social gathering.


Since I couldn’t sleep tonight I decided to surf the net for free and learn what all the brouhaha is.  Huffington Post has many articles about this delectable disgrace, including a slide show with videos that have shown on various TV shows.  I also used Twitter to  check out what is being said about her.  It seems like we have the Civil War ready to break out in financial support of removal of support for Paula Deen, who admitted to using racial slurs 30 years ago (when it was so acceptable?) 2013 – 30 = 1983.  hmmm 1983 – 20 = 1963  This year at our CCSS Conference we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the 50 year March in Birmingham, part of the nation’s Civil Rights Movement.  I doubt that even 20 years after the March that issues of civil rights were thoroughly settled in Paula Deen’s state of Georgia.


The folks that live around me are upset because the racial slurs took place 30 years ago and she is being held accountable for them.  I will admit that 30 years is a very long time.  Many people were not born 30 years ago.  Paula Deen was not one of them.  Thirty years ago Paula Deen was not as famous as she is now.  She could freely say almost anything she wanted to in a private setting with immunity, as most of us do.  Let’s do a little more math.  66 years – 30 years = 36 years old.  Paula Deen was not a child when she used racial slurs privately or publicly.  To most children at that time, she would have been considered an old woman.  My fourth graders asked me if I was old when I was 38 because I was always “forgetting everything.”  They sometimes accidentally called me “Grandma,” when I was student teaching at age 35.  My point is that even though she admitted using racial slurs 30 years ago, she would not have been exonerated as a minor.  She used them in a still volatile time, but she was not famous.

Matt Lauer pointed out that this entire affair was important because of the financial implications, and that is where the battle rages.

Stores removing Paula Deen from their shelves has at least a two-fold effect.  1)  If you dislike what she admitted to saying, you probably say, “Good for them.  That’s what she gets.”  Jessica Williams did a comedy routine on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart that I enjoyed.

2)  If you think it is silly for Paula Deen to be held accountable for something she said 30 years ago in private, you probably say, “I’m going to quit going there (for a while – until the next sale – or this scandal blows over).  I think I’ll go buy one of Paula Deen’s book.  That will show them.”

Paula Deen Signs Copies Of Her New Book "Paula Deen's Southern Cooking Bible"


I’m not even going to ask your stand in this issue.  You are welcome to leave a comment.  I’m not sure even how I feel about it, for several reasons, and I’ll tell you those.

  1. I am white.  I do not KNOW or UNDERSTAND how it feels to be racially discriminated against as an African-American person.
  2. I am 61 years old.  That is just five years younger than Paula Deen, and in the 60s, five years made a lot of difference, in the 80s – no difference.  We are Baby Boomers.  Our parents/grandparents were the prejudiced ones.  Right?
  3. I have said and done bad things in the past – some not nearly so long ago as 30 years which, to me, are much worse than what Paula Deen did.
  4. I grew up in Indiana.  Until not too very long ago I blamed South for “practicing slavery.”  I was proud that my ancestors fought on the “right” side of the Civil War.
  5. During my Civil War tour JUST two years ago, and during subsequent reading and study, I learned how the North profited from slavery just as much as the South by processing the cotton, by creating financial institutions controlled much of the money earned by Southern slave owners, and in many other ways were guilty of directly or indirectly perpetuating the institution of slavery.
  6. As a child, I heard my father and grandfather use the N word in private.
  7. I remember being with my grandparents when the newscaster on the radio announced the passage of the laws for school desegregation.  My normally calm, easy-going Grandpa was furious.  I was upset that he was so mad because I loved Grandpa more than just about anyone in the world.  Since I hadn’t heard anything on the radio which seemed so upsetting, I asked him why it made him so mad..  He explained that when I was seven, we had moved to a “good” school district so that my brother and I could have the best education possible, and now that was being undone by these “unfair” laws.  I felt disquieted about how my idol had reacted to the news.
  8. I remember when I was about 9, several of the neighbors on my street purchased the house on the corner so that an African-American family would not move there.  At the time I remember thinking, “I’m glad my parents didn’t take part in  that!”
  9. My mother and Grandfather were heavy, and had heart problems.  I never want to become obese even though I love sweets.  That means that cooking eating Paula Deen style may be tasty, but I don’t want to practice it.  My best friend’s daughter used to cook dinners for us.  She LOVED Paula Deen’s recipes.   I gained 25 pounds while we had the best dinners of my life.  I had to take some serious weight loss medication to lose it, and I will never let myself reach that weight again.

I haven’t said much when my friends and neighbors pontificate about Paula Deen’s situation.  I would hate to be in her shoes.  If I were famous, I’m sure that enough dirt could be unearthed about me to put me on the hot seat, and I would hate that.  I think I’ll stay under the radar.  I also think Paula Deen may suffer huge losses in future income, but she is 66 years old, and if she retired tomorrow, I don’t think her world would end.  A lot of income for a lot of people who work for her would permanently evaporate, though.  So the question is, will the Paula Deen Empire crash.  I think Paula will survive whether or not her business survives.    She has a tremendous support system.  I suspect that her corporation will also survive, but it will definitely change.  Right now it is hemorrhaging.  During triage tourniquets, and stitches will hold things together until she can rebuild.  She will suffer heavy consequences, but my guess is that she and her business will survive this hailstorm.

Bigger questions loom in my mind.   Will we Americans learn our lesson?  Will we continue to polarize ourselves, jump on bandwagons, and react like mobs?  Will there still be racial enmity in the United States?  I think Paula Deen will be just fine.  I’m not so sure about the rest of us.

Here are some articles I REVIEWED to write this editorial piece.

Ubiquitous Valley Oak

Every valley should have a stately valley oak watching over its fields by day – and night.

Valley Oak stands guard over grassy field where happy cows live.
Valley Oak stands guard over grassy field where happy cows live.


In 1852 when Tulare County became a county of California, this oak tree might have been just a sprout.  More likely, though, is that it is no more than 80-100 years old.  Valley Oaks are common in our area.  We have schools with that name, baseball teams have carried the name proudly, as have these lovely trees.

My iphotos ticker thingy at the top of the screen says,  “11,432 items”.  I can’t believe I have taken that many pictures just since I started blogging.  I picked 82 pictures that I liked best, then V helped me, and we picked out 32 of the best pictures to have prints made to try to sell.  This was one of the 32 that we chose.  I uploaded it to Fine Art America which Eunice, better known as Nutsfortreasure, introduced me to.  I uploaded 5 of those to Fine Art America if you would like to see them.

From those 32 we had to narrow it down to 4 in order to join a Miller Studio which is having a 1 cent sale.  You have to send photos before they give you a sign in code.  Then they send you 4 free prints.  I thought that seemed like a pretty good deal.

I found out that photographers not only need to know about the art of choosing interesting content, holding the camera at the most appealing angle, doing the right things mechanically, watching the lighting, processing the photo with many options in software, saving to any number of formats, but now I find out that photographers need to understand about the best paper to print their pictures.  Then there are numerous ways of marketing and advertising – or not advertising in order to sell a print.  I would starve if I had to make a living through selling photography!!!  But it’s an interesting experiment on top of my other retirement experiments.

My hat is off even more to real photographers like Leanne Cole who is really is a photographer.  She has started a new blog, and is writing a newsletter and is selling her work online now.  Many of my friends are already her friends.  But whether you are now, or you will be, I would encourage you to go over to her place and order a picture or two, or order her newsletter.  Being a professional photographer is hard work in this era of digital cameras.  People like Sunday Photographer me suddenly think we (I) can (have the innate ability) take (high quality) pictures because we (I) can delete pictures that don’t deserve the megabytes it takes to store them.

I hope your week has gone well, while I have been on my staycation.  My first post back was going to be a book review of Dianne Gray’s wonderful book, The Eleventh Question, but it has made me think so much, I’m still mulling and ruminating.  So sometime soon, that WILL be my NEXT post.  I just couldn’t wait to write to all of you again since I got so much other work done.  You are my reward for working hard.

How do you reward yourself when you’ve accomplished some major tasks?