I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Monday, June 20, 2011

A River, a Gold Mine and Lunch at a Friend's

Thursday was  one of those days that California is known for and why so many of us live here. Sunny, dry, and beautiful. The temperature reached, maybe 85 degrees and there was a light wind.
I had a date for lunch at a friend's house in Wallace. It's about an hours drive from our house, if you know where you're going or have been there before.
I went the back way, across the Mokelumne River and over Gwin Mine Rd. into Paloma. It was a lovely drive. Part of my late arrival was wanting to take so many pictures along the way, but I DID GET LOST.... kind of.
The Gwin Mine is for sale if you're interested.  It was a very productive gold mine back in the day and, as they say, "Gold is where you find it." You can read the history here.
I think that these old stone foundations would make a very interesting and unique house.
I drove over to Paloma and then on to Valley Springs. I had directions to my friend's house but I had never driven down this way before so, at some point,  I thought that I wasn't going the right direction. I stopped and asked an electric line man who was very nice and knew the area. He sent me on my way with a new perspective and renewed confidence.
I was only about 15 or 20 minutes late.
I arrived at "M"'s charming home and she was waiting out front with a big smile and a wave. We had ice tea on the porch while a cow grazed nearby....
She had prepared a delicious lunch which we enjoyed while talking our heads off about all kinds of things... and then I got a tour of her farm.
There is a huge storage/ workshop that I would kill for (probably not a person... but maybe a rattlesnake.) and it was organized, as this friend always is. She is a person of perfection and an artist. There is a work "area" for every artistic endeavor, shelving and places to store everything.
This is a very useful space...

AND, a BARN too....
You will never guess who was waiting inside this barn for me.  It was the brother of the Alligator Lizard that had the near death experience with my cat, Annie. (The post before this one.) This one was waiting as we walked inside and it didn't move the whole time we were in the barn. This lizard looked right at me as if to say,
" Hey, lady! Are you the owner of that cat over near Jackson who attacked my bro' and you just kept taking pictures?. I heard about you and THAT cat."
Maybe this lizard just thought he owned the place. I don't know, but it was downright spooky the way he watched me.
The barn is empty now. "M" said her horse died a while back. She showed me the stalls, the tack and the saddle. I didn't ask too many questions. I could tell that "M" didn't want to talk about the horse.
Cows were too much for she and her husband to deal with. They both worked at the time. Not enough fencing and ... just a lot of problems. Now, she only has the black and white one on the porch.
Each of these buildings, the barn and the workshop, are bigger than her house. Now that's what I call getting your priorities straight.
This is eleven acres of flat usable land and I, having lived on the edge of a cliff for fifteen years, really appreciate the fact that ALL the acreage is usable. We own 42 acres but we live on about two acres. The rest is all up and down hill like a roller coaster.
"M" has charming little vignettes on her porch that runs the length of the house and these beautiful Cymbidiums (orchids) blooming and thriving all over the place.
They're awesome.
It was a quiet, peaceful and lovely place.. just across the street from Comanche Reservoir. The closest town is called Wallace, which only has a post office. If you want to spend some money you have to drive to Valley Springs or San Andreas or... my town, Jackson... or drive down into the valley to Stockton.
I spent the afternoon and then headed back to Jackson via ...
Passing the old stone foundation again...
I thought about the history that is so ever-present in this area and how lucky I'm an to be living in such a beautiful historic part of Northern California. I just know that  there is still GOLD around here. I can smell it.
Oh, maybe that's the Broom.

The Broom bushes are thriving with all the late rain. They may grow right over the road soon.

Even the wildflowers were still showing off along the road.
I drove on, over the bridge that crosses the wide Mokelumne and headed north. I know this road well. It's the road home.
Tomorrow.... goats in Wilton and clearing the space for the potting shed.


  1. absolutely enchanting - thank you, thank you

  2. Enjoyed this post. I love reading about the different gold mines in my home state of California because my dad worked in the mines in and around Nevada City, California. The photos are great, and your friends place is very nice. Have a blessed evening. Madeline

  3. Heh! I plan on taking lil'sista girl to some places we have not been before, a few I have, but find charming...I love the gold mine, actually thought about making an offer, but I would have to discover some gems to fund it...

  4. It sounds like a perfect day, weather and a visit with a friend and some nice road time, which I always appreciate. What a fantastic road you were on, lined with broom brush. "There's gold in them thar hills!"

  5. Thank you for sharing your day with us. Beautiful photos. That is about how big our big barn is but ours is filled with junk.
    I love those purty porch flowers...but I can't have those kind...my kttrs cat will eat them.
    Lizard...did you see him when you closed your eyes? spooky!
    xo, Cheryl


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