Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Day at Apple Hill

Last Sunday we got a phone call from our daughter-in-law. She was heading up to Apple Hill for the day with the Beans, our grandchildren, and wanted to know if we could drive over and met her there. She was already in Folsom.
 We had been picking our own pumpkins and doing some garden chores so we both needed showers. We cleaned up, put the dogs out in the back yard and left.
It was a beautiful Fall day... warm, breezy and a great day to take a drive to Placerville.
Apple Hill is an Association of Ranches that are in the foothills, east of Placerville and west of Pollock Pines, on the north side of Highway 50. It's open all year long but right now it's apple harvest time and all of the farms are opens for business.We met at this farm and they were waiting for us.
We met them in the parking lot. They had been here before. They knew the routine. Mom got a bag for each of the Beans. The rule was that they would carry their own bag to and from the orchard so they were only to fill the bag about half way.

The apple orchard was beautiful. 
The boys went to work finding and picking the apples.

 The trees were filled with apples. This was the Fuji apple section.
 Big Bean got right into his work. He disappeared into the branches.

 and carefully examined each apple to be sure it was "Perfect!"

 "Papa, are you eating one of the apples?
The Prospector was caught red handed. He had no excuse except, "It was laying on the ground."
Little Bean said in a low voice, 
"Papa, you not suppose to eat them yet."
 The Bean just shook his head.
 Then, they went back to some serious apple picking.
 Papa helped reach the perfect apples that were out of reach. The Bean watched Papa to be sure he didn't eat any more apples.
 Little Bean is 5 years old. He loves to clown around. "What big eyes you have, sweetie."
 "Are the bags half full yet? What a minute. Papa is carrying the apples. Did we forget the rule?"
That's a high, and low, five going on there. Someone is making "deals".
"Oh no, this one has a worm in it."

So Papa carried the bags of apples back to the  farm and the Beans went off to play on the tire swing
 under the very tall trees.
 I guess grandparents can change the rules once in a while.

We ate lunch behind this barn and then paid for our apples... plus one, that was missing in action...inside Papa's stomach.
 Little Bean found a pumpkin that was bumpy.
 and different from the others. 
"Look Noni, this one has bumps on it."
 Then we packed up and drove to Abel's Acres.
 This is a big commercial farm that has lots of things to see, do and BUY. The Beans got free balloon hats... and swords... and sword holders Wow! The lady who did this was amazing. She just asked them what they wanted and then twisted and blew these balloons into anything.. Amazing! The Beans were pirates and they had a balloon sword fight that looked pretty authentic and didn't hurt anyone.What fun!
 They ran though a hay maze for a while and wore themselves out.
 Looked for the perfect pumpkin... again.
And, finally, sat down with that glazed look that said, "We're tired. It's time to go home."
We said our goodbye's, gave them the pumpkins we had grown at home with each Bean's name etched into them and drove off in different directions.
It was a really great day spent with our grandchildren and their mom. 
I will be down at their house on Halloween. It's tradition.
Can't wait!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

One more river... and home.

This is the Rio Vista bridge that spans the mighty Sacramento river.
This is highway 12 and a very busy section of this road. It's kind of the hub for the roads in and out of the Delta. If you are coming from the east and you stop at the light before the bridge, you can go south to Antioch, north to Isleton and many of the  islands, sloughs and tributaries of the Sacramento River ,or over the bridge and into Rio Vista.
 Highway 12 runs from San Andreas in the foothills ( in my neck of the woods), through Fairfield, the lower part of Napa Valley, Sonoma and Santa Rosa, and joins highway 1, the Pacific Coast Highway, somewhere near the town of Bodega.  If you travel along this road you will see some of the most beautiful areas of Northern California and its many different kinds of terrain.
This is where the Sacramento river widens, blending with the San Joaquin River and heads down into Suisun Bay... Then into San Pablo Bay and finally, San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

Rio Vista is where a lost whale named Humphrey, swam to in 1985. It's a heart warming story that you might like to read about HERE.
Humphrey spawned a book, tourists and songs for a while. We were living down river in Antioch at the time and this was a big exciting adventure for everyone. We were all invested in this whale's welfare and hoping he would find his way back out into the ocean. He did.

This is the side of a building in the downtown area. Interesting painting... but I was too close as we drove by.
 I think this is the end of Main St.  That's the river on the other side of the wall. You are looking east.
 Same place... only looking northeast toward the bridge.

This was the initial reason for our road trip. This is a house that was for sale and "C" wanted to take a look at it.
It's a small house, downtown, within walking distance of just about everything. But... it was in a state of disrepair and would need a lot of work before anyone could move in. Besides, this was a few hours after she had seen her dream home in Isleton. We checked it out , decided that this was probably more work than she wanted  and we moved on.
This time we stayed on the west side of the river and drove up to the end of the road and the Ryer Island Ferry.
This is what the Delta is all about. Before there were bridges... there were ferries. This was the only way you could get from one island to another... and still, the ferry is the only way to get to some of the islands.
We were the first car to arrive at the terminal and we had to wait for about 15 minutes. It was very hot.
 I took some pictures (What else would I do?). We gave Max some food and more water. He was happy in his back seat digs.
The Real McCoy II arrived.
 We all squeezed in.Then this school bus pulled in next to us. This was too close for comfort and the bus driver almost took each car's rear view mirrors with her as she drove on to the ferry... We had a moment of panic but there really was nothing we could do. We couldn't just back out. We were kind of committed to the trip.
 When we reached the other side of the river, "C" wisely let the bus go first. This was a smart move because it veered toward us and drove off on our side of the road. We were guessing that this might be a "driver in training" but we didn't want to cause trouble, so we gave her some distance and turned the opposite way at the top of the road.
This was an small inlet with a very old fishing boat that didn't look sea worthy anymore but was still afloat, a dredge in the distance and what looked like maybe a house behind the trees. I saw an Italian Cypress tree which wasn't native to this area. A beautiful place that seemed to be deserted. I think there was a "for sale" sign near the water.
 These islands would be a very isolated place to live. Not many people out here and kids have to take a bus to school everyday with a crazy bus driver. But... it would be quiet and peaceful... and I'll bet the fishing is fantastic.
We went around the island and found another ferry. The school bus was nowhere to be seen. And now we know that FED EX goes everywhere.
 This ferry took us to Grand Island.
 It was so beautiful out there.This ride across the water made me want a boat. Think of the access to good fishing holes. The Prospector would be in fish heaven.
It was cooler on the water. I don't think that I would ever be too hot living out here. All one has to do is jump in.
This ferry was different than the first one. It was pulled by a cable from one side of Steamboat Slough to the other side. It was a smaller ferry, but we could see the river better and it felt more like being on a boat.

We stopped at the Grand Island Mansion where our son and daughter-in-law got married... July 28, 2001. Was it really 11 years ago? Oh my, how time goes by. 
 This is the most beautiful place for a wedding there every was.

This gazebo is where they got married... in this garden, with our family and friends all sharing the day with them. Where a butterfly, as if on cue, flew over everyone and stayed through the ceremony.
 It was a beautiful day that we will never forget.
A perfect wedding day.
 It was good to see this lovely place again. It brought back wonderful memories.

"C" and I crossed the river one more time. We saw the school bus ahead of us on Grand Island Rd. We followed her for a while stopping at each farm while she let children off. We kept our distance. Didn't want to get too close to the bus driving diva on those levy roads. Then we took a sharp turn, drove over the river and  headed back to Sacramento on the River road.
We saw a sign and knew we were headed in the right direction.

It was a fine day. A little too warm, but when we got home we collapsed into "C"s lovely, air conditioned apartment and as for Max?...
He went from this...
To this.
And he took a nice long nap before dinner.

I may be driving down to the Delta more often if my friend decides to live "on the river". We'll see what happens. When I got up the next morning she had a big smile on her face and I could hear her humming "Delta Dawn" in the kitchen.
Sometimes you just need to find a special place. A place that speaks your language and makes you happy.
Sometimes you have to listen to that inner voice. The one that says, "Go for it".

"To know what you prefer, instead of humbly saying "Amen" to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to keep your soul alive."  ~Robert Louis Stevenson~

Monday, October 8, 2012

Isleton... another sleepy Delta town.

Too much to do and not enough time to do it... but being busy is good. Right?
I told you, on Saturday, that I would travel on to Isleton, CA. on our road trip... and Rio Vista and beyond. Well ... It didn't happen yesterday because we drove to Apple Hill, in Camino, CA., to meet our daughter in law and "the Beans", (our grandsons). We spent the day picking apples and having lunch at the farms, playing with the Beans and wearing ourselves out. Now I have another post to write about this week, about our fun day with the family.
But first....
Over another bridge... this time we are leaving Walnut Grove, crossing over the river and heading for Ryde where the big pink hotel is almost the only place in town. But it does have another tall old water tower. I love these towers. Every town along the river has one...Then on down the river to Isleton.
This is another sleepy little river town. My friend, "C" fell in love with a house, here, last week. She even went back to see it with a realtor on Sunday. It's a charming house on the river road. Well, not really on the river. It's on Main St. It's a two story white house with a second story porch, a beautiful front yard and a tiny view of the river. I may be visiting her here, instead of just driving through.
 This is the Bing Kong Tong Society Building.
 Here is some interesting history on this society and it's beginnings.
 There are some busy places that seem to bring in the locals, like the Levee Cafe.
and the Bessie Toy Chinn Memorial Garden...
...which I couldn't find too much information on. It says "future site of..." but it already looks like someone has started a garden.
There was some information, online, about an excavation that was done after a fire in 1926. They found coins. One, a Chinese coin, dated back to 1906. It was copper, and had a dragon on the front. How cool is that?

We picked up a flyer on the house that "C" has fallen in love with and I found a site that shows the listing... here. Pretty isn't it? We'll see what happens. It's a great price and well... you just never know what directions your life will take when you are "just looking". Sometimes you come across a house that speaks to you. You never know when your life will take a new turn.
I'm very tired tonight so I'm going to leave you in Isleton and hopefully, tomorrow, I can continue on to Viera's Resort and Rio Vista... and the Ryer Island Ferry.
See you then...