Monday, November 28, 2016

The High Desert

Back at the ranch under Lake Isabella, this is half of the church congregation, standing on the front lawn.  I'm not positive of the names, but I'll give it a shot.  On the left is Earl, one of my grandmothers four siblings ... the ones she never told us about.  Next is Aunt Grace, wife of my dad's bother.  Next up my dad and mom, then my dad's mother whom I never met and my dad's father who lived with us his entire life.  He's holding my brother.  I really have no idea who is on the far right.  Could possibly be my mom's mother holding me, but really I have no idea.
Our ranch was located in the high desert, full of snakes and critters that could hurt you, which is one reason we were never allowed to go beyond the fence.  We kept lots of chickens inside the yard as well as out, since they are really good snake detectors.  When we heard one cackling, us kids ran inside while the adults ran towards the chicken ... always with the same results.  Snake for dinner.

I know, it sounds horrible, but really, it tastes like chicken.  No joke!!  So this is me in the next picture on the right, dirty as usual, with my red headed cousin Patty on the left.  There was always a question as to where she came from since she had the reddest hair you ever saw!!  

There were actually two ranches ... one owned by my dad and one by his brother.  Although the houses were not close together, it was one big chunk of land cut in half.  Everyone worked on both ranches.  That's how it was back in the day.

If you look in the background, you can see bales of hay.  In about 1950-51, the two ranches (my Uncle Bill and my dad) bought a hay baler that was pulled behind horses.  It took days to bale hay, which I loved because we always took lunch to the men in the field.  It was the perfect place to crawl over the bales and fall on our heads.  
This is one of the few pictures I have of our lovely house.   We had electricity and a telephone that caused more trouble than it was worth.  It was the old antique hang-on-the-wall type you had to turn the handle to ring someone up.  Everyone in the valley was on the same line, and believe me, everyone listened in on everyone else's conversations.  Our ring was two longs and a short.  If you heard anything else, you were not supposed to pick up the phone, but everyone did with the excuse of "oh, I thought it was my ring".

The phone was the only news source in the Valley.  There was no television and no radio.  Sunday morning gossip consisted of what was overheard (and misinterpreted) on the telephone.  The only way to know who stayed out late or who was dating who, was to listen in.

Here's my brother Dennis and me, dressed in our Easter best.  We never got along, us kids.  He didn't want to be bothered with a kid sister when he had Cousin Billy at the other ranch to play with.  Remember I mentioned all the Bills?  It was rare that we were forced to stand side by side for a kodak moment.  I still have the old Kodak film camera my mother used for these pictures.
In those days men's clothing was found at the local gas station/hardware store.  Girls were out of luck, which is why I mostly wore men's clothing.  Whenever we went to church however, I was put in dresses made by my mom with an ancient sewing machine passed down from her mother.  I'm here to tell you nothing ever fit.  My dresses were either too small or too big.  That's how I became a Levi and Boots girl.  I wore all of my brother's hand-me-down clothes until I was in high school and started making my own.

More on the ranch later ..... GUESS WHAT I FOUND??  How weird is this?  One of my friends posted a picture on Facebook.  I sent the guy a message and asked if he made these and where he was located.  Yes ... he makes them ... about two miles from my house.  Can you believe it?  The cool thing is that everything comes off, so it's convertible to any season or design you wish.  
The bad news is he also makes other items out of horseshoes ... including a "not" inexpensive stand for six pairs of boots.  He's making it as I type.  In the meantime, I'm going to try and find someone to teach me welding.  Hobby number 59 coming up!!


  1. If you Google : Horseshoe Christmas trees when it comes up
    Go to image,, it will give you some other ideas
    If he lives that close.why not befriend him with a pretested Batch of your famous cookies.. You may be able to for-fill hobby number 59 ??

    1. Pretested cookies ..... good idea!! Hahaha

  2. They also make hat racks out of horseshoes.

    1. I'm finding that out Jan ... and I have a couple of ideas of my own. Can't wait to see if I can work with someone, after finishing those 36 quilts in my closet!!

  3. I think if I remember you said something about your family Ancestery coming from the Isle of Man
    Less than 2% of the world's population have red hair. That's approximately 140 million people. Scotland boasts the highest percentage of natural redheads, with 13% (40%might carry the gene there) while Ireland comes in second with 10%.

    Now; if you looks on the map and finds ,, Isle of Man,, you'll notice it's only 220 mi.²sq

    Now, I'm guessing way back in those days there were not many good pubs establishments in Douglas.. (we all know how the britts like to drink) so seeing to the fact that it is a small island and probably the favorite past time is rowing over to Scotland. or Ireland. to find a good friendly pub and get tankard? (See the plot thickens)
    So I'm sure somewhere off island we would find a good pub that serves McGinnis ?
    So somewhere in mac,Irish or O,Scott, The deed to the gene pool (DNA)was changed
    Tar dar > possible redhead<

    Have you personally done a DNA Ancestry trace test on your own DNA ?
    I did. Supposedly being 100% Lithuanian. it Blow most of my ancestry hand me down information right out of the water. = 10% Irish 1% Swedish. 89% Eastern Europe

    1. Now how did you guess all that so correctly? We DO have some Scotsmen in our woodpile ... we're Scotch, English and Irish. Haven't done the DNA testing .... might be fun.

  4. very simple answer to your question. I love to investigate things
    If you enter into Google; largest population of redheads in the world.
    Or; What is the size of Isle of Man?
    or if you decide you're going to Weld horseshoes they come 4 too a set at 8.75$ at tractor supply. ( Do we see a 6 foot horseshoes Christmas tree here has a (spit in the tube)prepaid test kit that they will send you I think it runs about $99 they take about 30 / 40 days to get back to you
    Be cautious of hand me down verbal history ( as was in my case )

  5. Correction in DNA test 69$