Where Can You Find Amaryllis Blooming in May?

Amaryllis-Blooming Beauties at Running P Ranch

Woodlake, CA is the land within the magic circle, a protected valley surrounded by the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Running P Ranch in Elderwood hosts weddings in a setting of flowering amaryllis.

According to experts, amaryllis is the easiest of flowering bulbs to make bloom.  Indoors or out, and they flower from late December until the end of June. In early May amaryllis plants flaunt their beauty.

Amaryllis BloomingMy friend Katherine Traugar respects people who know the name of plants, so this tidbit is for you, my friend. The amaryllis bears the botanical name Hippeastrum.  These flowers make showy Christmas gifts, but outside in a natural setting, they stand out among other spring beauties.

Amaryllis BloomingNestled against the western fence in this wedding setting, they rival the bride’s glowing beauty. The flamboyant blooms make amaryllis popular and in demand worldwide.  Besides various shades of red and salmon as seen in Elderwood, they also come in white, pink, and orange as well as striped and multicolored varieties.

Amaryllis Blooming

Prepare to Plant

If you want to plant these South American flowers, first place the base and roots of the bulb in lukewarm water for a few hours.  To store them keep the bulbs at a temperature between 40-50 degrees F if you can’t plant them right away. But keep them away from apples.

Plant

Plant the bulb up to its neck in a nutritious potting compost, taking care not to damage the roots.  Firmly tamp down the soil after planting.

Blooming Period

Amaryllis plants flower seven to ten weeks after planting. Plant bulbs every two weeks to achieve continuous bloom.

For more beautiful flowers visit May Dreams Gardens

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Who Opens A New Business in Woodlake on Veteran’s Day?

#WoodlakeChamber, #Veterans, #AMVETS, #TulareKingsHispanicChamber

Veteran’s Goin’ Postal, Of Course!

These two brave vets, Angelica Cabrera & Angel Gomez, came back to Woodlake to start their new franchise business, Goin’ Postal.

New Owner Angel Gomez
New owner Angel Gomez and Angie Cabrera

Today they cut the ribbon, and made the grand opening official.

The office is beautiful and clean inside, and they will offer a variety of useful services. Since Woodlake is 20 miles from the larger town, Visalia, it will save residents a lot of time if they want to use Fed X or other services.

Angie chats with a friend at the ribbon cutting ceremony.
Angie chats with a friend at the ribbon cutting ceremony.

The new business will also have computers available for people to use, if they need a place to do business.

Local residents and service club members helped paint and remodel.
Local residents and service club members helped paint and remodel the store.

Angie and Angel offer notary and immigration services as well.

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With support of two Chambers of Commerce Angie and Angel hope business will be booming for the holiday season.

Woodlake chamber President, Rudy Garcia and Treasurer, Pauline Federico welcome Goin Postal.
Woodlake Chamber President, Rudy Garcia and Treasurer, Pauline Federico welcome Goin Postal.
Chambers of Commerce welcome the new business.

 

Chambers unite to wish Goin Postal a huge success.
Two Chambers unite to wish Goin Postal a huge success.

And finally, they cut the ribbon. Goin Postal has gone public.

You can Google them already!

Goin’ Postal Woodlake
Address: 250 E. Antelope Ave.

Owners: Angelica Cabrera & Angel Gomez

Woodlake, CA 93286
Suite F
Phone: 559-769-7788
Fax: 559-769-8559
Email: woodlake@goinpostal.com
Hours: 9-6 Mon-Fri
9-2 Saturday

Services Available
UPS, FedEx, DHL, Stamps, Notary, Faxing, Packaging, Gifts, Packaging Supplies, Office Supplies, and Passport Photos

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250 E. Antelope Ave.

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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.

 

 

 

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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Where Imagination Happens – Glimpses of Artists’ Studios

Would you expect an artist’s studio to be spotless on a visitation tour? Please don’t! Would you expect their display areas to look like an art museum? Read on to find out for yourselves.

South Valley Artists' Tour
Foothill near Rick Badgley’s studio in Three Rivers new St. Anthony’s Retreat

The day was magic, perfect temperature, warm sunshine bathing the mountains highlighting the California poppies, a few wispy clouds against the clear blue sky. A drive to Three Rivers, CA at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains never disappoints, but some days thrill more than others. This was one of those days.

Outside the Louise Fisher Clay Studio in Three Rivers
Across the highway from  the Louise Fisher Clay Studio in Three Rivers

We visited five artist’s studios, signed up for art classes, made design notes, and met some incredibly talented individuals. This studio sits atop a mountain overlooking the Kaweah River as it flows from the mountains on one side, and Highway 198, which is pictured above.

Art students pounded and molded clay projects this studio, even on tour day. One student had to thin her brick when she found out that thick pieces explode when put in the kiln.

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Budding artists work with clay.

We met two of the three artists, Christine Sell-Porter and Bill “Hopper” Sullivan. To take us on the tour, Christine stopped working on her orchid pot that has holes throughout to let the orchid roots breathe.

South Valley Artist's Tour
Clay orchid pot before firing

My husband chatted with Hopper, and signed up to take a class.  Christine displayed her paintings and her new experiments with clay, including the ones that did not work. You can get an idea of the beauty of the spring wildflowers from her paintings. She points out another pot she made with the orchid starting to grow.

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Christine Sell-Porter’s paintings and clay pot

We also visited a popular painter and photographer across the highway named Nadi Spencer. You can tell artsy people by the fact that the junk in their front yards looks impressive and not like the country dump. My eyes went immediately to the bike, but my husband, who is artsier than I am, noticed the paint cans with matching flowers, and the chairs with matching sweaters draped across the back. You can see the aqua one in this picture after you quit focusing on the bike.

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Outside Nadi Spencer’s studio in Three Rivers

Nadi sells most of her paintings on Facebook by joining groups that love the kinds of things she paints. She paints a lot of dog portraits. Her realistic paintings look like photographs for a high-quality restaurant or brochures with just enough artistic touches to make them fun.  She sold both cards and paintings at the show.  You can see her self-portrait on the top right.

South Valley Artist's Tour
Inside Spencer’s gallery

People came and went the entire time we visited her gallery. One woman came in to pick up some 40 year-old teddy bears she had advertised online. Only a half-door and a huge dog separated her studio from the gallery.

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Spencer’s color packed studio

It was getting near closing time for the artists so we headed back home to Elderwood to visit our two neighbors. Not that the Sundstroms and I are unfriendly, but I have walked by this studio several hundred times in the last 15 years, walked with John Sundstrom’s wife, and never met John nor seen the inside of his work area.

South Valley Artists' Tour
Artist John Sundstrom’s studio driveway

John may well have been the most prolific and diverse of any of the artists we visited. He taught for 25 years or so at the Creative Center in Visalia for disabled adults. He said that having the same students for years pushed him to explore many artistic mediums.

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First impressions at John Sundstrom’s two-story solar-powered studio

The front and center of the studio featured his sculptures out of stone.  He showed us the hand chisels and files he used to carve. Being a former dental assistant, I had visualized a power tool like a dentist’s drill that he might have used on these hard rock. He told us that only the company that sold the stones used a power tool to cut the rocks into flat-bottomed chunks. My favorite sculpture glowed from the inside out when illuminated.

South Valley Artists' Tour
The glowing stone

Reluctantly we headed upstairs away from the sculptures, but the diversity of his fabulous drawings and paintings quickly captured our interest. He accented this Japanese kimono with gold leaf.

South Valley Artists' Tour
Japanese Kimono by John Sundstrom

After visiting until after closing time, we left for home, saving the tour of our friend, Linda Hengst’s studio for the next day, and our Visalia artists for Sunday.