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

Saturday, May 17, 2014

My dad would have loved this...

This morning the Prospector and I went downtown to the Mother Lode Cruise Car Show.
I don't really know a lot about the inner workings of these cars and I don't know a carburetor from an oil filter, but I know what I like on the outside of a car.
It was a beautiful morning. The heat of last week was gone and we were enjoying beautiful spring weather again. The first car that caught my eye was this one.
This is a 1947 Oldsmobile. Now tell me they didn't make awesome cars back then? We had a car very similar to this one around 1950, but I think it was a Pontiac. These cars were built to last... and style?... well look at those wheels, the heavy grills and headlights... and the spokes to let you know when you were too close to the curb. Our Pontiac was this color. It brought my sister home from the hospital in Oakland when she was born in 1952.
My dad was always so proud of his cars. The first thing he (Navy man that he was.) taught me when I was a child, besides making a bed, was how to wash a car. That paint job and all that chrome was shined with a chamois that we used to dry the car with, after we washed it. Do you remember a chamois? Pronounced "Shammy"? It was a piece of thin porous leather that absorbed water quickly and had absolutely no abrasive qualities. My dad always had a clean chamois to dry his car with. I can still see him wringing it out, over and over again, with the accumulated water from the wet car.

So, there were lots of cars that were embellished with stuffed animals like this one...
sitting in the sunny rear window with a view.
And, the bears fixing the engine and then kicking back with a Bud light .
Quite a few of the cars had lunch , from the drive-in diner, delivered. American flags seemed to be flying all over the place.
There were frog mechanics...
dice on the locks... Bet some of you young'ens didn't know what that knob was, did you?
 And, appropriately, road runners and coyote dusters.

Oh, the beautiful interiors...

 and wonderful upholstery.

But it's the cars themselves that make your heart stop.
Here are a few of my favorites...I love RED on older cars. We got a kick out of the sign in the window and the bullet holes in the door.

This early van/wagon was really nice, especially in this color. 

And...  I love this car below. The color is wonderful.
 It's perfect for this model... which is very similar to our 1938 Chevrolet Master Deluxe Sedan. I would have our Chevy painted this color. It's rich and looks good.

And there was the old, rundown truck with the souped up engine, owned by a local business in Pine Grove.

And the Chevy Corvair that was bought at Parker Robb in Walnut Creek in 1964 by a local school teacher.
 I lived very near Walnut Creek, CA. I grew up in Pleasant Hill. I remember Friday nights during High School, driving into Walnut Creek and doing what we called "cruising the creek". We would drive back and forth on N. Main St. and well... it was right out of American Graffiti... music and all. Or, we would go to the local Pleasant Hill Drive- In. Such good memories. My boyfriend's name was Johnny and we would bring food,  that we called "groceries", so we didn't have to pay the big prices for drive-in food. Murph' and his girlfriend would be with us. We had such good times.

This car is beautiful. "Rockin' Robin" was a popular song, originally recorded by Bobby Day in 1958.
He rocks in the tree tops all day long
Hoppin' and a-boppin' and singing his song
All the little birdies on Jaybird Street
Love to hear the robin go tweet tweet tweet

Rockin' robin, tweet tweet tweet
Rockin' robin' tweet tweetly tweet
Blow rockin' robin
'Cause we're really gonna rock tonight.

Oh yes, I can still hear the music
.
This "Rockin' Robin" was signed by Henry Winkler, the "Fonz". 

Then, there was a car like ours. This car was a year newer than our 1948 Chevy but it is very similar.
Only fixed up and really beautiful.
I wonder if we will ever fix up the car I called "the other woman". The Prospector is trying to sell her right now and I don't think his heart is in it. We will see what happens.
I accidentally did a "selfie" on the back of the rear view mirror of this Chevy. Can you see me on the right, holding the camera? Where's Waldo folks? I guess I could have waved, but I didn't even know I was there until I uploaded the photos.
As a photographer, I always watch for things like this. You can get some really interesting images with the reflections from windows, mirrors, water and chrome. But sometimes, when you forget, you get something like this. I needed to move to the right a little and angle the camera higher so only the buildings were in the photo. That guy in the red shirt stand out too much, but it's still an interesting reflection. Also, the guy who owned the car didn't rub out the chrome cleaner and there are are cloudy spots on the chrome. Should I have told him? Am I being a little OCD?
These are the only two cars that I didn't care for. This car's paint job is too distracting for its lines. I like green but, whoo hoo, this is too bright with the yellow. Just my humble opinion...

 This Packard is too chopped and all white with a little blue stripping. I think they should have called it Casper, the ghost.
 Well, we saw some beautiful cars and talked to some great "car people". The Prospector was prepared with photos and was willing to talk price. No one wanted to buy the Chevy, so we may keep it for a while. We have only had a few bites on the ad in the paper and two folks wanted us to give it to them... dirt cheap. We don't have to sell this lady. Maybe we will just keep her and start the slow process of restoration. 
Anyone want a job? It would be minimum wages and no benefits... except maybe some ice tea and cookies on a hot, summer day.
Whenever I go to a car show, I'm reminded of my Dad and his love of cars. I remember going to the Cow Palace, in south San Francisco, with him to see the big car shows. We would have so much fun. 
He could spot any car on the road and tell you what make and model it was. He treated his cars like they were something very special. It was his hobby and his great passion in life, besides his family. I can still see him out there on the driveway, lovingly washing, drying and waxing his car. We should all have something so special in our lives... something that we prize and take care of. It was a lesson learned, among many, from a man that I loved very much.



Friday, May 16, 2014

This is my brave little Bean

After our grandson... and his dad... and his grandpa found a baby rattler under the water container, across the driveway, last Saturday morning... he still wanted to go for a hike with me up the dirt road to the old orchard.
I'm thinking that a very big rattlesnake momma was waiting somewhere and that she might be a bit angry that we took her baby, in a bucket, to the river and dumped it there. So I wasn't very excited about walking to the orchard. But, I didn't want to look like Squeekie, our banty hen, who is always running scared from the big snakes... I mean hens and running away from their bully attitudes... so I sucked up my "Maybe there's another BIG one out there." thoughts and said "OK!" 
Before we left, Little Bean told me that we might want to bring a big stick.
I asked him what the stick was for and he said, "So YOU can pick the snakes up and put them somewhere else. So you can flick them away, Noni."
I thought about this for a while. I'm not afraid of snakes but... the prospector and Bean's daddy were gone and I had just said "OK!" It might have looked like I was reneging on my "OK!" I didn't want Little Bean to think that his Noni wasn't up to braving a walk through snake infested grass.
So I found a stick in the garage that was quite long and had a hook on one end.

He also brought a huge hook (I'm not sure what for... maybe, like a fish hook, only for snakes?) and some binoculars.
Off we went...We were ready for anything.
I put on my distance glasses (yes, I have two pairs now.) and I showed little bean how to hit the wood pile, the car wheels, the panning table and all the places that momma snake ( I mean any snake.) could be hiding. I showed him how to do this out in front, as he walked, so the snakes had a chance to retreat gracefully before we were nose to nose with them.
We got past the hiding places, out onto the dirt path and started up the road to the well, where I use to walk with abandon a month ago before Summer so inconveniently arrived. Now we would not be hiking to the top of the hill (my favorite hike). Now, the grass and snakes would limit access to most of the areas that I love walking thru. We took the lower road.
About six weeks ago the grass was only shoe high (below) and you could see the ground through the grass.
This was before a big rain storm and more sunshine. It was still very cold at night and the days were in the low 70s. I laid, in the grass, and took this photo of a spider's nest.
I would not do this now. The grass is turning brown and, although the road is fairly clear up to a point, the upper road is dry and deep with grass. Perfect snake habitat.
The snakes started coming out a few weeks ago... remember? First the Racer in the garden and then the big Gopher snake near the back porch. And now, the little Rattlesnake... so...
We intrepid hiker's, Bean and I, chose to take the wider, clearer road past the well and down to the old orchard and our septic leach field.
Little Bean said that he wanted to, "Go to the place where the dog was buried."
I said, "You mean where Maggie is?" and he said, "Yes. "
So we did... well kind of. We couldn't walk up to her grave. The grass was too high so we said hi to Maggie from the road, then walked around the septic mound to the area that opens onto a wonderful knoll covered with wild Manzanita. I love this spot but, alas, we couldn't go into it because... yes... the grass was too high. So we returned to the trail and started back.

My youngest grandchild is a child of questions and verbal problem solving. He always asked many questions and then he trouble shoots and comes up with some really good answers, for his age. But mostly he like to talk though his ideas.
This series of photos was a discussion about Poison Oak and how the leaves are similar to the Oak trees leaves, but they're shinier and bigger and then... how Poison Oak doesn't grow into a tree.
I told him that it can climb up into a tree but it's not a tree. It's a shrub and a vine. That it only clings to the tree for support. He thought about it and decided that the poison oak must like the Oak trees because they have similar leaves. He also said, "It's red sometimes." He actually remembered what color it was the last time he stayed with us. "
It's easier to see then isn't it, Noni?"
"Yes, it is, Bean." I said.
"It's prettier too... but not as shiny." He notices these things.
 I asked him what the differences were and he proceeded to give me a really good analysis on this plant during different times of the year... with Noni's help, of course. And all the while, she is taking pictures of all his gestures and facial expressions... and watching for snakes.
He finally asked the last question and just stood there... thinking.
He seemed satisfied that the poison oak issue had been thoroughly studied and analyzed.
I think he is going to be a world renowned Botanist when he grows up... or a politician.

We walked back down the hill to the house, tapping the stick, vigorously, when we walked by the truck wheels and the wood pile.
 He decided that he would dig for gold until his Mom and brother arrived. They came a day later than Little Bean and Daddy because Big Bean had a baseball game.
 I sat down in a chair and watched for snakes and he dug away at the hillside, looking for the elusive gold nuggets in the dirt. 
He worked at this for quite a while. To his dismay, no large pieces of gold appeared. 
He was getting hot and tired. This was a lesson in hard rock mining... hard work for very little return on the investment unless, of course, you dig  300 ft. straight down. There is a mine underneath us that is still down, there, but it's closed up. Some day we will have to open it and show the boys what's inside. It's dark and wet in there. You can't go very far into it anymore because we closed up the air shaft too. The folks that dug the mine were paying expenses with the gold it produced before WW2. The tunnel is still down there, so who knows... a nugget could fall out of the dirt into my grandson's little hands.  I'm not quite sure how they know this, but 80% of the worlds gold is still in the ground... so I figure that there's still some, maybe a lot, underneath us. After all... it is the MOTHER LODE. We are on the Mother Lode.
 If anyone will find that gold... it's my little Bean and his older brother.
Maybe they will be Geologists.

Then, all the activity stopped.  Bean was looking up at the chicken coop. I thought he saw a snake or something, but no... He was just tired.

Little Bean finally said that he was getting tired of digging... so we went inside and cooled our heels.
He sat for quite a while. I thought he might be researching Poison Oak and similar plants but he wasn't. He was cleaning dirt out from under his toes and playing a video game on his... whatever you call it.
He never mentioned the Rattlesnake under the water trough and I didn't mention that they come in much bigger sizes. 
We were safe, now, in our little house. No snakes allowed here. 


Did you know that...
  1. In 1848, while building a saw mill for John Sutter near Sacramento, California, John Marshal discovered flakes of gold. This discovery sparked the California Gold Rush and hastened the settlement of the American West.c
 Yep! That's just north of here. It's not really sitting in the water anymore, but it's out there.,, just waiting for someone to find it.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Beans in a Hot Tub

Our youngest grandson and his daddy arrived Friday night. Mommy and his brother arrived Saturday afternoon because big bro had a baseball game at home... that they won, by the way.
So on Saturday night everyone was tired. To get them both in a sleepy mood, we thought a sit in the hot tub would relax them.
Things were looking good. I got my camera and asked them to smile.
"Say Cheese.", I said.  Mom did. The Beans started with their own version of "smile for the camera"...
And it all went downhill from there.
Finally deteriorating into silliness and crazy faces.
 Why do I even try...
I guess, because these two silly boys are my grandsons... and I love them.