Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sad news.

Location, At Home, CA

My blogging has taken a beating since my last post. On Friday May 20th about 11:30 in the evening, Clyda received a phone call from an ER doctor in Ventura. She was told that her brother was in the ER in an “addled state” and unable to communicate with them.

The long and short of it is that her brother passed away Sunday morning with the immediate family there. It was a tough, sad two day vigil. A life ending short of it’s time.

The following week was taken up with funeral arrangements, picking up people at the airport, preparing remarks for the service (I and my brother-in-law) spoke, and family staying with us. Thanks to all the neighbors bringing food, we had few meals to prepare.

A formal service for the family will happen in June when more family members will be here for a planned reunion.

In the meantime, life goes on. I am still picking boysenberries. Today it was 13.5 baskets.

Yesterday, Memorial Day, I walked the local golf course during the City Championship. It wouldn’t be Memorial Day without it. I admit I was sore by the time I reached the 17th green from climbing all the hills. However, I had no problem doing my usual 3.3 mile walk this morning.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It's berry picking time!

Location, At Home, CA

It’s berry picking time! The boysenberries are getting ripe even though the weather hasn’t been that warm. Warm weather makes them POP and gives the biggest berries.

Although I must say, I have been surprised at how big the ripe ones have been so far. Some are as big as my thumb. Picking should last for about six weeks with the right weather.
I picked six baskets today.

These are washed, drained, and frozen on trays before I store them in freezer bags to be used later.
The weather right now is not that pleasant as we have lots of wind which should last through tomorrow. We also had some rain over the weekend and last night. A total of about .7 inch according to the rain gauge.

I had a dentist appointment this morning to have a new crown put in to replace the temporary from a few weeks ago. It seems like a good fit. I didn’t like the bill that came with it. I think the insurance only paid half. I’m glad it was a porcelain crown and not a gold crown with today’s gold prices.

I added some photos from my days at Rancheros to the last blog.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Rancheros done for another year.

Location, Cachuma Lake, CA

My 10 days working for ranchero Visitadores is done. I finished Friday morning and pulled out of the area about 10:30 AM. I drove to Cachuma Lake camp ground and into a spot in the RV Park.

After calling Clyda, I set up the RV in a nice back in spot at the extreme left of the camp ground. Usually these spots are filled by the time I get here as they are prime spots with no one behind you.

The 10 days went well with only a few minor things happening which only adds to the stories we tell about the encampment. I met lots of people as usual while inspecting credentials of all who arrive at the gate. Many are friends of long standing and some are only people who I see here every year. We have a greeting for all as they arrive and a little kidding goes a long way to make them feel welcome.

I drove to the gate where I camp on Tuesday afternoon after taking the long way around as I was really loaded with extra water and all the things I need for the next ten days. George followed me in his motor home. After a quick set up we had dinner and retired for the night.

 All set up for the next 10 days. I do most cooking outside and we also eat outside under the awning on the table with the red checkered table cloth.

Our official start day is Wednesday and we use that to get our camp set up and the telephone and radio connected. That is done by the camp communications guy. Our phone is a landline connecting us to two camps used by the Rancheros.

This is the famous Blue Gate through which all must pass and have their credentials checked. What a great view!

The radio connects us to several other people who are mobile at either camp.

We also get a trash barrel and a porta potty for use for the duration. We set up a table covered with a canopy under an oak tree. The canopy protects the phone, clipboards, etc from the weather and also keeps the oak bugs and worms off us. Most of the time we sit in chairs near the phone or stand nearby as we check credentials of arrivals. If it is warm, we move with the shade as the day goes on.

Two of us are on duty during the day with one person on duty from 8 or 9 Pm until 11 Pm when the night man comes on. The night man stays on duty until 7 AM when the rest of us get up and we begin all over again.

I am the cook so I take time to prepare meals three times a day and also time to clean up after meals. Food is supplied to us on Friday in bulk which I need to store away, refrigerate some and decide what to cook. I turn in a food list ahead of time and for the most part I receive all I ask for.

I store extra food and ice in these chests. The tarp and shade is to protect them from the sun.

After working long hours each day and cooking, I am more than ready to take it easy after 10 days.

Because I already have the trailer out, it makes a nice transition to stop here at Cachuma for a few days.

This morning we drove to Paula’s Pancake House in Solvang for breakfast and had Swedish pancakes and eggs. Swedish pancakes are thin and fluffy and cover the whole plate.

We decided to stay an extra day here as we have intermittent showers today and I didn’t feel like moving the rig in the rain.