Saturday, March 09, 2013

Postcards from Paradise

Had a wonderful day Saturday.  After an early morning meeting on serious water issues in our valley, Marie and I hit the road.

Direction?  Sort of South and sort of East,

Objective?  Whatever crossed our path.

We drove through Hilmar and I remembered that there was a really ratty old wood building that claimed to have antiques.    So we went looking for it and when we stopped in had quite a surprise.  The picture below is of the parking area and I don't know where my mind was  but this is the only picture I took there.

Interesting place. Old, musty and decrepit would be an understatement.  There was a huge collection of old farm equipment and rusted tools, more milk bottles than you could count and walls full of metal signage of long forgotten businesses.

One item that caught my attention was a Santo from China.  It was described as "carved by a Christian" and was supposed to be 100 years old.  Considering its condition, I can believe it.  Sadly, the price tag was well beyond MY reach and IMHO, was also very overpriced.

So, mission accomplished.  The placed was explored.  We were off to find whatever was next.

When you live in farm country, the proverbial crossroad is not so proverbial.  More often than not, the crossroads are just that, crossroads and fields.  But, frequently enough there can be found dairy yards, a farmhouse, the random grain plant (usually associated with a railroad track), a school, a cafe serving up GREAT food and . . . a country store.  We didn't go in but the country store below appears to have the basics include beer, according to the neon.

So we drove along.  Left.  Right.  Dead end surprise and a left that took us back where we started from.  Along the way I spotted this house as we approached and the lines and color reminded me of the work of Edward Hopper, my favorite artist.  Camera up.  Snap.  I got it.  And we continued on.

The final surprise of our rambling was a dead end out at the Merced River.  As we turned around, I noticed the horses through the opening in the trees and jumped out for a photo-op.  It was like peeking into a wonderland.  And then things just got better.

An electric cart made its slow way up the long drive and it turned out to be the owner of the property coming up to check his mail.  We all said "hi", and we expressed our admiration for the property and how peaceful and quiet it was.  Just like that, he invited us down.

It turns out we were making the acquaintance of an old rodeo rider who had been riding and breeding and training cutting horses all his life.  At 74, his son told him it was time to stop riding.  He's now 78. If I were him, I would definitely be taking advantage of the hammock they have strung up.  Interestingly, it's not strung up between two trees.  The hammock stretches from one huge and low hanging branch to hang between the heavy branch extending off of the trunk.  It was actually pretty impressive to see.

Bob is still raising quarter horses and currently has four mares about the foal.  The two pictured below will be foaling in a couple of weeks.  He invited us to come back in about a month and visit the youngsters.

No doubt about it.  We will be visiting in early April.


Amy Burzese said...

Looks like a great and fun day (except for the water issues). Love the rural shots.

Sue in the Wood said...

What a lovely journey. Raf and I often do that very thing! And your photos are wonderful!

Ginny said...

What a totally amazing day this turned out to be!!!!! I do hope you go back.

Annie said...

Definitely will, Ginny. We are already planning the return for early April. I can't wait to see the babies kicking it up in the pasture.

Pam said...

A lovely day - thanks for sharing it.

see you there! said...

You and your friend had a great adventure. How much fun to meet the owner of the beautiful property and to be invited back. Look forward to pics of your next visit.


Betsy Adams said...

Wow---what a great day you all had. The countryside is so beautiful there. Hope you go back after the 'babies' are born.

Jeanie said...

What a fabulous day! How fun to spend time with a friend and enjoy such lovelies! (Or not-lovelies, as the case may be!). I can see the smiles and hear the chatter!

gma said...

I LOVE to meander backroads of our country. Sounds like a perfect day!

Angelikas Photographic Sketchbook said...

Your journey looks very inviting. The photo with the red hammock stood out for me. Nice place to have a reflective snooze...

Jenny Woolf said...

Isn't it always exciting and interesting to set out with an open mind to see what there is? Your trip sounds like a wonderful mix. And the old guy was such a bonus! I hope you enjoy your return trip.