All posts by Marsha Ingrao

Hi, my name is Marsha Ingrao. I write and use my iPhone cameral liberally and my Canon Rebel XTI sporadically. So, of course, I love blogging, and the friends I've met world wide. My husband and I belong proudly to Puppy Girl (age 5 years), Mama Kitty (13+), and Scardy Baby (13), who found us living in their neighborhood, and decided to let us stay.

Weekly Travel Themes: Noise

Vince and I come to Avila Beach in Central California to escape the quiet tranquility of our country home in the hot Central Valley.

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At the Friday night street fair this band attracts a crowd.  Nobody could resist  “Sweet Home Alabama,” no matter what their age.

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People moved out of the way to let this couple dance.

Street fair6They didn’t inhibit others from doing something different.

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Vince noticed the mature gypsy queen.  I tried to get close to her, but people kept crowding in between us as they danced their way across the street.

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First one and then another, and my camera has a bit of a delay.  So I would get her all lined up , snap the picture, someone walked in front of me, and click, the shutter opened.   The results were interesting at times.

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Sometimes they were downright laughable, but it was so noisy that you couldn’t hear yourself laugh.

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I can’t hear her, can you?  I hope you enjoyed the music we heard at the Avila Street Fair last Friday night.  Tomorrow’s Friday.  Want to go?

To see more entries about noise or to see other themes visit Where’s my backpack?

WordPress Photo Challenge: Adventure

You probably heard your grandparents say, “Every day just waking up is an adventure.”  It’s true.  Each day is what we make it, and adventure arrives in ordinary packages.  So think about the adventures that await you as you get out of bed.

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Transportation allows us to seek adventure.  It might by boat, plane, or rail.  We may expect our adventure to start happening once we get where we are going.

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Sometimes just getting to the location is the adventure.  While I was driving in my car on the way to Oakland this weekend for an adventurous CCSS meeting,  I was not 5 minutes from my house when adventure popped up out of no where.   I was driving down a two lane state highway going 60 miles an hour (I know! I know!) when the car in front of me slowed, and moved to the right shoulder.   Staring me in the face, a car going the other direction raced towards me driving at least as fast as I was.  My heart beat faster than normal as I quickly pulled over as far as I could.  My tires skidded in the dirt.  Fortunately the car heading toward us must have finished sending his text, and realized the error of his way.  My adventure ended safely when the wanderer jerked back into his own lane !

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This driver and his horse brave the hazards on the road with little protection but this little red sign on the back of the wagon as they drive the windy back roads and narrow town streets of Pennsylvania.

 

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Sometimes the adventure lies in chance meetings.  Hal and I walked up a rustic street in New Castle, DE admiring the old houses, when out walked this gentleman.  I asked him if he owned the house.  As it turned out he owned half the town, and had lots to tell us.  It was a mini history lesson and a great adventure.

Don't bother me, Mom.  I'm dreaming of my next adventure."
Don’t bother me, Mom. I’m dreaming of my next adventure.”

Adventure is everywhere around you, but mostly it is in your attitude about life, and your ability to relay a sense of excitement.  Get up.  Find your adventure, and tell us about it .  Read about more adventures by clicking the icon below.

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WP Weekly Photo Challenge: Dialogue

Talkative Marsha struggling with dialogue?  In this case what I think the creator of this challenge wanted us to catch is a bit of fashion designing with our pictures rather than strict dialogue – odd things that sort of go together because of color or texture similarities or differences.  They just work.  I like fashion and decorating, so I wanted to pursue that angle.

First, I started with dialogue in a more literal sense.  Puppy Girl dialogued very clearly with Vince.  He worked on the computer, when clearly he could have chosen to pet her tummy.  So she grabs his hand and pulls.

PG and Pie

It’s endearing, but altogether annoying to him when he has an offer to submit.  Generally she wins.

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Next I considered animals dialoguing with each other, and establishing their pecking order.  The queen here stands alone not deigning to even look at her lowly subject.  No worries, the subject, like the jester, simply enjoys the ride, laughs at the queen behind her back, and moves on, untroubled by the queen’s weighty problems.

Mike and statue

When I took this next picture, I looked at the sculpture, then Mike walked up.  Back and forth I looked at one then the other until dizziness made me shout, “Stop Mike!  Is that statue YOU?  Let me photograph the two of you together.”   Mike obliged.   I think it was the cheeks that spoke, but maybe it was the mustache. What do you think?

Then I thought about art work I had seen in which many pictures placed together made a collage that spoke as one picture.  When I see them, I think, that would be easy.  How can you call that art?  But since I can’t draw very well, my pictures kept their mouths closed, uncommunicatively.  Then I remembered the grapes leaves I photographed last fall.  As I moused through them, they started speaking.  All at the same time, “Pick me, pick me. I want to go in the picture.” So I created a collage.

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Then another.

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Finally I remembered the Woodlake Botanical Gardens.  I missed the show this year, but last year I happened to walk around Bravo Lake on the day that all the roses decided to bloom their brightest blooms.  One of them said, “I am the beautiful one, take my picture.”  So I did.  Another  group of roses playing and giggling together attracted me.  The last rose said nothing.  She turned her face to the sun and spoke to God asking nothing more than to be a blessing to others. I thought she was the prettiest of all.

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If you enjoyed these take a gander at how other bloggers interpreted the challenge of dialogue.wordpress-20141

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fray

I’m not a fray kind of person.  Sometimes you need skill to join the fray.  These Mock Trial students had the skills and got heated, there’s no dispute about that.

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Sometimes you just happen onto  a fray.  I remember walking in downtown Portland leaving Portland State University during a war protest.  Wouldn’t you know it the press wanted to talk to me about it?  I wanted to catch the bus home.

In this next picture the fray was a Civil War reenactment.  The Friday before the big weekend at Kearney Park in Fresno, Fresno County Historical Society hosted students from all over Fresno, Kings, Tulare, and Madera Counties to an event called Civil War Time Travelers.  At this event they met the actors who taught them about everything from Civil War medicine to shooting cannons.   Similar to the first battle of the Civil War, the students ate their picnic lunches on the grounds and watched the battle as though it was a show.  Fortunately, no one died during the fray.

 

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Although a fray is usually a conflict or dispute, I sometimes visualize it as activities.  I ambled toward this crowd in Boston as I walked the Freedom Trail remembering a different fray of long ago.  Although it caught my attention, I kept my feet firmly planted on the sidewalk, and my eyes down, so as not to get chosen to dance.  I’ve been know to fall over just standing outside a museum waiting to go in.

Frey2 RSome people joined right in.  It was a lively show.

For more on frays click on the icon below.

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No Girls Treehouse

WP Weekly Photo Challenge: Texture in Edna Valley

Vince and I discovered tons of textures in this gem of a “Farm Stay” called Old Edna, the location of an artistic townsite in beautiful Edna Valley, CA.  They offer their guests fresh ranch eggs compliments of “chicken liver coop.”  The cottage we saw has a beautiful, functional kitchen.

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The texture-laden tree house offered hospitality to some, but not to everyone.

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I wonder if the sign applied to girl spiders.

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The Bluebelly Barn welcomed one and all.  In 1887 this was Tognazzini Dairy Barn.

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We arrived at closing time.   As we walked by this little building, out popped a flap.  The owner, Pattea Torrence, said, “I’m Old Edna.  Would you like a little tour of one of the houses?  I’m getting them ready for guests, but you look like you are having such fun taking pictures.  I hope you don’t mind that the bed isn’t made yet.”

We couldn’t resist such a friendly offer.

The texture of the gate highlights the romantic aura, but hides the textures of the house.
The texture of the gate highlights the romantic aura, but hides the textures of the house.

First, we visited the 1897 DeSolina House, the perfect bridal suite.  Here Pattea displayed amazing uses for garage sale finds.  My favorite was the copper table top headboard and overhead light.   She mixed textures in this display in ways I would never have dreamed if I’d had ten million years to think it over.

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My favorite little place was a Gypsy wagon her dad built for her mother, Pi Pi (pie pie).  Pattea’s father taught her that “the bond of romance can come in the form of structure.”  I fell in love with the structure and its story of the many textures of love which it bore.

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Waning sunlight adds a romantic texture to the cottage, but when Pattea opened the door, we stepped into another world of competing textures.

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See Kalev’s little tail in the bottom? She wanted to add her own texture to this post. :)

The auto-focus setting of my camera couldn’t bring all the varied textures into focus at the same time, but concentrated on the fabric lining the post. I don’t know that I could have chosen either.

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This was such wonderful experience, I know we will go back to Old Edna.

For more texture displays, go back to last week’s challenge.

 

Flower for a Friend

tchistorygal:

Ajaytao always had kind words for everyone. My condolences to his family and friends. Here is his address http://ajaytao2010.wordpress.com/

Originally posted on Friendly Fairy Tales:

Rose of Sharon

Friends are like flowers.
They bloom, and they inspire.
They make the world beautiful.
We never forget.

Copyright 2014 Brenda Davis Harsham

Note: I dedicate this post to the memory of Ajaytao. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. He was a bright light in our world, and his spirit continues to brighten our memories. He was a good friend to me, welcoming me here, and I will miss him. I feel blessed to have shared the world with him. Namaste, Brenda

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Every Day You Learn Something – Sometimes It’s New

“In three words I can sum up what I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”  Robert Frost

I’ve had an amazing week learning about our little town and the surrounding area.  There is only one book in the library about Woodlake, published in 1971.  I have a digitized copy of that book.   This week I had the privilege of thumbing through the original handwritten manuscript of that little book housed in a 1950s-style blue canvas three-ring binder.

Grace Pogue ~ Within The Magic Circle copy-1

I have the original manuscript of her other book, The Swift Seasons, in a little blue canvas binder as well, which I am going to digitize starting today.  I get excited about the little things I’m learning or at least surmising.  Yesterday on one of my interviews Robert took me outside to his back yard.

“Want to see the old Antelope School?” he asked me.  “This is it.  It used to be on Grandma Fudge’s property.  Then it moved to Blair’s property, and then they brought it on skids here.”

Antelope School

Robert and I shared information back and forth for several hours.  “This is so much fun!” he told me.

What I know about Antelope School is that it was first built in 1870.  Woodlake erected a new Antelope School in 1895.  So would this have been the new 1895 school, or the 1870 one?

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The builder didn’t date the school anywhere, least of all the floor boards, but look how wide they are.  Keep in mind that we cut down big trees back in the 1800s.  This picture came from Linda and Bob Hengst.

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When I came back from Linda’s house, Vince said, “What were you doing all that time?  You were over there for three hours!”

In the evening I started the boring work.  It takes 30 seconds to copy each picture, but I have someone to talk to the whole time.  I copied about 45 of Linda and Bob’s pictures, and 75 from Robert. At home it takes about 1 minute to create a TIFF file for each picture, and another minute or so to resize it for my blog so I can see what I’m writing about as I write each caption.  Finally I pick which pictures I know enough about to caption for the day, and that takes at least 20 to 30 minutes to write 50-70 words.  You wouldn’t think it would take so long, but here’s the deal.

  1. I wasn’t there when it happened.  I don’t know the people, usually the place, because they aren’t around any more, or the time.
  2. Usually I just have a name to go by, if that on the picture – that’s about 2 words.
  3. Sometimes I have a little story.  That’s about 20 words, if I’m lucky.
  4. I have tons of books about things like trains and floods in Tulare County, Native Americans, and the general history of Tulare County.  I have an 1892 Atlas of each township in Tulare County with the names of all the property owners at that time.
  5. I have notes from all the people I’ve interviewed, and sometimes audio files.
  6. I have a few newspaper articles that are photocopied, but all the archives from the Woodlake Echo have been destroyed, so all those pictures and original articles are gone.
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What do you think Abe and Carl discussed? I’ll give you a clue. It has to do with college.

So every picture is a bit of a puzzle piece, and I do my best to sort through my evidence, and write the best 70 words possible for each picture.   As of last night I had finished 109 or about 60% of the required 180-200 pictures.  As I talk to more people, I’ll have to narrow it down, and throw some of them out, I’m sure.

A friend asked me what I do all day, and how much time I take writing my book (probably wondering why I hadn’t been calling her much :)).  It seems like I don’t do much, but I don’t seem to have much time to do tons of other things.  I have lots to talk about – as long as you are interested in Woodlake’s history.  Otherwise, I’m kind of dull.  I chose the think I’m focused.  :)

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You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough – Mae West

Weekly Photo Challenge: ZigZag

California mountain road contain numerous “hogbacks” as my friend, Darlene, calls the switchbacks on the way to Sequoia National Park. It turns out that those same kinds of roads exist on the Coastal Redwood Highway as well.  This park called Mystery Trees was about where our truck’s worn out transmission tired of lugging our new trailer. oregon trip 201320130915_0021138We rented a car and enjoyed the “break.”  Not only did the roads and the paths twist and turn, so did the trees, providing beauty and shade. oregon trip 201320130914_1105230R When we did get going again, the fog wanted us to slow down more than the zigzags. SFW Wildflower class20130420_93R These zigzags are closer to home – to anyone’s home.  I never tire of the zigzag shapes of tree branches.  These trees are in an educational property called Circle J Ranch owned by Tulare County Office of Education where I worked.  It is close to a tiny town called Springville, east of Porterville, CA.

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I apologize for the quality of this picture.  I heard that someone zig zagged on their responsibilities to posterity, and put the archives in the trash instead of the scanning machine, so this is the best picture I have.  In this newspaper picture it was the Kaweah (Kuh wee’ uh) River that zagged.

The headwaters for the Kaweah River begin their zig zag course out of the Great Western Divide where mountain summits rise to over 12, 000 feet.   The North Fork, which is just east of us begins at 9,000 feet.  If the river could go down the mountain in a straight line, the Kaweah River would drop in excess of 2 vertical miles in a distance of 30 linear miles.  The Kaweah River loses the same altitude as the Colorado River, but is 97% shorter.  It is the steepest river in the United States. Even with a dam to control flooding, in 1969 the water zig zagged its own way into the Woodlake Valley.  (Tilchen, Mark.  Floods of the Kaweah)

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To see more entries for this Zig Zag challenge, click the icon above.  :)

WP Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin’

Some things never change.  MOST people love being near water in the summer.

As some of you know, it is because of this blog that I have a contract from Arcadia Publishing company to write a pictorial history of Woodlake.  These are some pictures taken around 1911 that Chris Crumly, one of the book’s contributors sent me.

Long Beach summer day

I’m thinking that maybe the little guy wasn’t as crazy about the ocean as his father expected him to be.  Maybe big brother could encourage him.

Long Beach 2

Can’t you just hear this conversation?  Is dad wheedling or demanding?  I think big brother echoes whatever Dad says, pleading in a higher, hopefully more convincing, voice.

Woodlake should be out in January.  I can’t thank the wonderful people who are helping me enough.

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Click logo for more Summer Lovin’ entries.

Travel Theme: Purple

Old ladies and purple go together.  Quilts and old ladies go together. Therefore old lady’s quilts should be purple.

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OK that doesn’t make a lot of sense, but someone picked out these purple fabrics and created a quilting contest around them.  I wonder if she/he was an old lady?  These quilts don’t look like my grandmother’s quilts!

This quilt may have been over blinged.  How many kinds of bling do you see?
Can you find the contest fabric in the two quilts shown so far?

I showed you some of them a year ago, but I’ve just been waiting for the right time to show off some of the other creative efforts.

Enjoy these quilt clues as you figure out which fabrics quilters had to use.

For more travel theme entries click here and visit Where’s my Backpack to enjoy visiting interesting places around the world.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Containers

A container holds something.  A car holds people.  Therefore a car is a container.

Smile, it was supposed to be funny.  :)
Smile, it was supposed to be funny. :)

Actually, the museum building is also a container.  It  contained mock buildings, which contained relics.

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Container is a noun.  Contain is a verb.  Vince and his son could hardly contain their excitement when we went to the California Auto Museum in Sacramento.  Uncontained excitement, like uncontained anything spills out and gets all over.

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Have you ever seen such intensity? I couldn’t contain myself from taking this picture.

Their excitement spilled all over me, and I loved the museum, too.  My pick for today’s visit – a classic Woody.  This container even contains a container in the back.

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If you ever get to Sacramento, don’t miss this well-kept secret.

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When I Get My Hair Dryer Back, I Won’t Have to Sweep Cobwebs.

On the way back from the coast, the bottom panel of the trailer twisted out from the side of the trailer like a leg broken in 10 places from the hip down.  When we got home, my husband ripped it off, and towed the damaged trailer into the repair shop.  They know us on a first name basis there now.  

damaged trailer

When you have a trailer, you sometimes forget what’s in the trailer, and what’s in your cabinet in the house.  It’s not a problem if the trailer is right outside in the door.  

See, there it is across the lawn.  It stores lots of goodies I forget about.
See, there it is across the lawn. It stores lots of goodies I forget about.

When I discovered that my hair dryer wasn’t in my bathroom drawer, I knew it was in the trailer, and the trailer was gone.  I didn’t panic because I figured it would be a simple in and out, and I’d have the dryer back in a couple of days.  It seems I underestimated by about six weeks.  My loss was an opportunity to enjoy going natural in the beautiful sunny mornings.  I go outside with my wet golden locks, and start brushing.

As I sit and brush, I have plenty of time to look around.  Sunlight sparkles illuminating a vast number of spider webs in the eves, under the chairs and table, and in the garage door windows.  They keep calling me until I quit brushing, and pick up my web-buster.  

spider webs

The moral of this story.  Don’t leave your hair dryer in your trailer if you hate dusting cobwebs.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Wood

The rich element of wood surrounded us as we drove north on Interstate Five towards Oregon.  The abundance of evergreens that grows in Oregon starts here in the northern part of California near Mt. Lassen.

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Besides the Sequoia Redwoods that grow a few miles east of Woodlake, the Redwoods offered tree displays that exist nowhere else in the world.

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Once logged, only imagination limits what wood will become.

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Wood protects our heads from Oregon moisture while at the same time moves us to tears.

oregon trip 201320130913_0090116Families build memories at tables made of wood.  Myrtle wood grows only in Southern Oregon and Israel.  We stopped at the North Bend Myrtlewood Factory to see the array of Myrtlewood products.

cees-fun-foto1I hope you enjoyed this post, and it didn’t seem too wooden to you.  :)  Thanks Cee for the inspiration. To see more entries, click the icon above.

 

WordPress Photo Challenge: Relic

In the rustic western town, Woodlake, California, and surrounding countryside, people often decorate with relics.  It takes artistic flair to arrange relics to look more than junky.

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I’m still at the junky level.  My friend Sally Pace has moved beyond that.  She and her husband host weddings and many free events at their rustic ranch.

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Mike pampers his favorite relic.  Not only is it in the barn, but it’s covered.

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The following 1940s picture is a relic even though Sally’s road looks almost the same.

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Sally’s house and all its decorative relics weren’t there yet.

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Woodlake Hardware boasts of nearly 100 years of service, making it somewhat of a relic, yet the building today hasn’t changed much since the 1940s when Morris Bennett started working there.

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Morris decorated the walls with relics from the past.

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Of course, the pair of skates is my favorite relic. Relic3

At 90+ Morris still works most days.

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He’s my hero, but he’s NOT a relic!  :)

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For more examples of relics, click the WP logo.

Lake Theatre

Dreams of Woodlake, CA Past

I have embarked on my newest project, writing a pictorial history of the town in which I taught, and now live.  Since I don’t have many pictures, and none of historic Woodlake, I’ve spent a couple of days in the Annie Mitchell Room of the Tulare County Library in Visalia.  The volunteers and staff there are so helpful.  Woodlake newspaper_0091rcI thought this was interesting.  The city jail arrived from Tulare in Woodlake on August 23, 1940.  I’m pretty sure it’s closed now.  At that time, some of the more mischievous town’s members planned a criminal act to test the new jail.

Lake TheatreI heard that the theatre flooded, and kids swam in the basement.  It’s gone now, too.  Downtown buildings burned, got flooded, or demolished, and businesses changed hands – except Woodlake Hardware.  Very little of Woodlake resembles the town it was 60 years ago.

Blah sky photoshopped into blue.
Blah sky photoshopped into blue.

Laura Spalding, a sweet woman in her 80s from a little community named Ivanhoe, shared an entire photo album  of pictures she took in the 1940s. Dress codes were quite different then.  I photoshopped this one slightly so as not to shock anyone.  I’m not sure what the occasion was.  I remember in the early 50s I played outside and swam in my only my underpants, but I was under five.  :)

 

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Laura informed me that in the 1940s they “wore their dresses short.”  I could have sworn I saw her eyes twinkle a bit.

 

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Contrasts

This picture contrasts not only light and dark, hot and cold, but has good and evil within the same object.

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The steamy waffle mingled  companionably with ice-cold ice cream tickling my palate!  The day I ate it, the waffle named Love, was good.  The next day when I stepped on the scale, it was evil.  Go figure! (That’s exactly what is happening to mine, one waffle at a time!)  :)

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Thanks Mary for introducing me to such a great sin. (There’s a naughty contrast.)

For more delicious waffle treats visit More Than Waffles in Encino, CA.

For more photo challenges click here.

Travel Theme: Twist: Twisted Fourth of July

Setting up for an all city celebration traps workers into all kinds of twists and turns.

Twisted flagsUnfurling flags took hours.

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Some workers didn’t stop until they saw stars!

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Hope you had a memorable 4th!  Tell me about it!  :)

Crazy Women Don’t Blog, But What Do They Do?

Hi everyone,

It’s true, crazy people don’t write blogs.  I’ve been crazy busy these last few days.  We are changing staff people at CCSS, and I have answered emails, and tied up loose ends all week in the interim.

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I got my signed contract for the History of Woodlake book yesterday, and I’ve also been scanning pictures like crazy, and posting them on three different Facebook Woodlake groups.

4th Grade Bike Trip 4_RT

The pictures won’t win any awards, but when I post them on FB, people recognize their tia or tio (aunt or uncle), and other family members, and it’s a lot of fun.  I taught the fourth grade bilingual class in Woodlake in the early 90s.  Aren’t they adorable?

 

 

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The pictures show the last bike trip we took before the helmet law for bicyclists went into effect around 1993 or 1994.

 

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The goal was to get to location that hadn’t been disturbed by settlement, where a tribe of the Wachumna Indians, a sub-tribe of  Yokuts Indians, lived in this area.  The Yokuts, yes the ‘s’ is part of the name, was one of the largest tribes in North America.  Food was plentiful, nutritious and easy to gather or hunt.  However, not even missionaries or Spanish soldiers ventured this far east more than once or twice.  Settlers from South Carolina discovered this area in 1853.

 

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Kids enjoyed walking through a sort-of-cave and looking at the paintings left by the Wachumna.

 

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The owner of this property, who is in his 80s, remembers seeing them down by Cottonwood Creek.  It’s dry most of the year.  It probably was then, too.

 

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Wachumna women harvested the many oak trees in the area. Women of all ages sat around the large grinding rock and ground acorns.  You can tell who sat where by the size of the holes in the rocks.  Grandmas had very deep holes.  You can clearly see the deep hole on the back right.

 

 

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Too soon it was time to bike back to school.

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Drivers followed in trucks or vans to pick up stray bikes and bikers that broke down along the way.

 

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I biked behind them taking pictures and hoping that no one would have problems.  And no one did.  :)