All-Hallows-Eve in a Ghost Town

Photos of Ghostly Town Remenants @ Sweet Little Wood

It is probably the most baffling thing to my high school best friend  that we don’t celebrate Halloween.  It is absolutely his favorite holiday.  And he has been happily peppering Facebook with freaky clown pictures for the last couple of weeks.

Photos of Ghostly Town Remenants @ Sweet Little Wood

We don’t have very strong religious feelings about it other than knowing that it is an incorporated pagan festival but we decided that  we were celebrating it and not to God.  So along with the other pagan festivals that Christianity adopted (Christmas, Easter, Valentines Day etc) we got rid of it.  We don’t really miss it.  We don’t really avoid it. We just don’t do it.

Photos of Ghostly Town Remenants @ Sweet Little Wood

That is not to say that we don’t enjoy a good scare (Six Flags has a really fun Fright Fest this time of year) we just don’t celebrate Halloween with it’s costumes and pumpkins and tricks or treats.  So it is a good thing we are going away this weekend to visit my niece because we live in a genuine ghost town:  on All-Hallows-Eve there will be no door bell ringers, no tricks or treats here… just the empty shells and ghostly remnants of lives past.  Besides our house the town is long gone and only the memory of where it was among a few tumbling remnants exists.

A huge rock that used to sit next to the Post Office:

Photos of Ghostly Town Remenants @ Sweet Little Wood

  The old school house which some history buff has been trying to keep standing is rotting in its corrugated skin :

Photos of Ghostly Town Remenants @ Sweet Little Wood

Driving further up the valley toward the salt and sea, leaving our ghost town behind,  you wonder how many more  towns have died on this twisting stretch of highway.   The fallen barns and ramshackle remains  appear tucked back into the folds of the hills partially obscured by trees.

 The tumbled remains of a home:

Photos of Ghostly Town Remenants @ Sweet Little Wood

Lives passed and forgotten:

Photos of Ghostly Town Remenants @ Sweet Little Wood

Photos of Ghostly Town Remenants @ Sweet Little Wood

 xx Joanna

Weekend Plans: September 12th – 14th

1: My weekend is going to start at the Mendocino County Fair and Apple Show which is our local fair in Boonville.  It is my favorite ever because of the delicious California State Wool and Fiber Festival which is housed in one of the main pavilions.  So many different vendors and displays!  Last year I learned how to use a barrel carding machine and began to seriously mourn my spinning wheel (sold in England before we moved a year and 9 months ago).  As Death would say: I AM SADNESS.  I got so excited last year I forgot to take a single photo of anything in the pavilion!  Seriously if you have never seen the State Wool and Fiber Festival get on up here!!  This year I am committed to be helping out at the 4-H booth on Friday but I shall be scooting over to pet some lovely soft roving and slobber over the hand dyed skeins.

California wool and fiber festival

2: A certain Birthday Girl wanted only one thing for her birthday and that was a trip to Six Flags Great America.  Well, we told her no and then they came out with a spectacular annual membership deal which made the trip worthwhile. This time however we will try out Six Flags Discovery Kingdom which is about an hour closer to us and we’ve never been to that one so… Yee-haw!

3: The CCPRA finals -excuse me- semi-finals are held at the Apple Show on Sunday afternoon.  You better believe I’m gonna be there baby!!

CCPRA Rodeo. Mariposa County Fair 2013

CCPRA Rodeo. Mariposa County Fair 2013

Have a wonderful weekend friends!

xx Jo

The Monday Project: Back Seat Designers

K. E.  and J. in Murfreesboro TN.

K. E. and J. in Murfreesboro TN.

It’s really difficult to keep children entertained for 80 hours of driving.  The road does a certain amount of entertaining but really you have to give it a hand: about hour 12 everyone has had enough of the road!  Our kids are a little old for I-Spy so these were our methods of distraction when people started to get antsy:

1: Books- unfortunately our books were gone within a day… so don’t count on more than 7 hrs solid reading if your kid has a voracious appetite for books.

2: Read aloud together: we read the bible, a digital book and magazine articles.

3: Music- there is almost no event where the soundtrack to Shrek doesn’t cause a sing-along!

4: Stop A LOT for pee breaks and leg stretching.

5: Fashion drawing competitions (admittedly that one may only be good for distracting girls but it worked great for us).

6: Make Simple Travel Scrapbooks.

The back seat fashion design competition.

The back seat fashion design competition.

Our Simple Travel Scrapbooks probably saved our trip from deadly awful boredom!  Well… and taking pictures of funny color hydrants… Oh! AND looking at dinosaurs perched strangely in random places.  How many awful dinosaur figures are there along US interstates anyhow?  They were freaky and endless!  My joy would have been complete if I could have found a funny hydrant NEXT to a freaky dinosaur!!  That would have been awesome!

Fire hydrant: Murfreesboro TN.

Fire hydrant: Murfreesboro TN.

Sorry… distracted.

Anyhow. Scrapbooks.

When we stopped and saw something crazy or cool I would capture the moment with an Instax 210 camera or Instax Mini 8 camera (more on that Wednesday).  Generally I would take three so everyone could have a copy and the rest of the day would be happily spent filling in a page.  K. E. and J. primarily used pictures, words and stickers.  To stick the pictures we used glue dots on a rolling dispenser and paper-tape in various shades and designs.  We all had one sheet of stickers to start off with but the girls bought another sheet en-route as they ran out of the other.  We picked up very few ticket stubs and paper leaflets en-route but when we did they were a great source for cuttings etc.

So come with us now and enjoy the ride- without the junk food, late night tent set ups and yelling at the GPS when it got us stuck in an insane dirt road leading to no where!!

E. had a brilliant use of  paper-tape for her cover.

E.'s Simple travel Scrapbook: cover.

E.’s Simple travel Scrapbook: cover.

K. used a lot of writing throughout her book.

K. : Arizona through Arkansas.

K. : Arizona through Arkansas.

J. wanted to make sure every single state got a mention.

J. : Arizona through Texas.

J. : Arizona through Oklahoma.

K.: roadside oddity.

K.: roadside oddity.

E. and J. had a race at every state line between their stuffed animals (Blue-beary and Ginger Puss- in case you are wondering) to be the first to cross!

E: The race to cross the state.

E: The race to cross the state.

This is absolutely my favorite page EVER.  E. has written a caption under a photo of J. which says

“Jessica- sister, best friend and most annoying person ever.”

Classic.

E.: Memphis and Nashville TN. Rock and Roll and Country.

E.: Memphis and Nashville TN. Rock and Roll and Country.

The girls love babies so my niece’s gorgeous little boy features heavily on at least three pages per book.  He is rather adorable!

J: Tennessee and time with our family- My sweet sister and brother. And thier youngest daughter, her husband and baby.

J: Tennessee and time with our family- My sweet sister and brother. And their youngest daughter, her husband and baby.

E.: Time in TN.

E.: Time in TN.

This is K’s page with 3000 miles left in our trip.

K.: The acetate pages were fun but tricky.

K.: The acetate pages were fun but tricky.

J.: In Wall Drug South Dakota.

J.: In Wall Drug South Dakota.

E: Subtly highlighting the important things in the photos...

E: Subtly highlighting the important things in the photos…

K. has an abiding love for fairy tales so she enjoyed learning the tales associated with native american sites.

K.: Devils Tower.

K.: Devils Tower.

E.: Yellowstone.

E.: Yellowstone.

Here is where we ran out of film- I had one photo each left by the time we got to Nevada and got to visit with my other sister there but we have managed to misplace them.  I hope you enjoyed the ride.  We did.  

xx Joanna

The Travelling Got Ahead of Me

 Hello my darlings!

I apologize for my long absence.  I had so many things I wanted to show you but the road got ahead of me and the internet behind.   We had a marvelous time travelling the USA.  There were so many wonders, so many fascinating objects and places and the loving hugs of so many of my most beloved friends that I couldn’t begin to imagine how I could share it all with you.  I tried to record the fun and write some tutorials; I took millions of photos and tried but failed to get time with wi-fi.  Then I thought… oh well just sit back and enjoy the ride!

M.'s favorite stop.

M.’s favorite stop.

So… I do apologize but I’m not particularly sorry.

I did want to show you what a smashing success the simple travel scrapbooks were!  Periodically from the back seat would come the request for the little polka-dotted blue bag.  On very special days when recording the wonders of the road got so exciting one of the younger girls would burst out with an exclamation “I love my scrapbook! Thank you Mommy!”   I probably don’t need to say what that means to me or what a relief it was to have landed on the one thing that would keep an energetic 10 year old entertained for HOURS on end.

Hard at work.

Hard at work.

By hours on end I really do mean HOURS and HOURS on end.  Our longest day travelling took 15 hours driving time; most every other day took somewhere between 7 and 12 hours of driving.  We drove every single day of the 20 days we were away and the longest we stayed in one place was three nights.  So yes we had a fantastic time but NO it is not ever happening again.

Adventures in Yellowstone.

Adventures in Yellowstone.

 Over the course of the trip we traveled more than 6000 miles, crossed through 18 states and ate at least 30 meals which seemed to be made exclusively from high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated vegetable fat and air.  I have never been more indifferent to food than I was faced with another interstate pit-stop food decision to be made after a week and a half of travelling.  I thought about taking pictures of the menu example and what actually got served to us just to share with you the con that fast food places pull on the hungry masses too rushed to go home and make real food!  M. and I feel that if we ever see another sickly millimeter thin burger bathed in an indefinable sauce in our life it will be too soon.  Yay for fresh vegetables and time to savor!

Camp Cooking.

Camp Cooking.

xx

Jo

Morning, Noon and Night: Saying Goodbye.

Morning: 5 a.m. waiting to load the goats onto a cattle truck.  Final goodbyes.

Morning: 5 a.m. waiting to load the goats onto a cattle truck. Final goodbyes.

Noon: The award ceremony was BORING!

Noon: The award ceremony was BORING!

Night: Opening checks for the sale of their goats.  The generosity of the buyers was phenomenal.

Night: Opening checks for the sale of their goats. The generosity of the buyers was phenomenal.

We have had the most amazing time.  The girls are coping with the separation from the goats remarkably well. Better than I did with my first 4-H animal.  I think being able to load the animals themselves and seeing how calm the animals were helped- the pigs are a different thing but goats are so gentle.  I’m trying very hard not to think about what the rest of the goat’s day was like but the tears come anyhow.

Our fair buyers were so incredibly generous.  The fair had the highest sales ever.  Average goat prices were $15.00 per pound.  It is hard work but like any summer job it helps to be rewarded.

Phew. So glad to be at this point but a little heart-sore with it.

xx

Jo

Morning, Noon and Night: Photo Day

Morning: Goat ripped ribbons.

Morning: Goat ripped ribbons.

Noon: And keep on smiling.

Noon: And keep on smiling.

Night: keep those goats cool all afternoon as the temperatures soar and keep your cool when people are rude.

Night: keep those goats cool all afternoon as the temperatures soar and keep your cool when people are rude.

I have to say something about today: It was quiet for us. All our showing was done- we only had photos to worry about.  K. E. and J.  spent the whole day keeping their goats comfortable in the heat- most of our neighbors were only seen rarely so we know that the care they gave the goats in uncomfortable temperatures was extraordinary.  Well at the end of this long hot day a couple approached E. (who was caring for the goats in their stall) and said “We are here to buy goats.” E. responded with “Oh lovely”  and offering them some little stickers we made up that say “I support 4-H” which the couple took without a thank you.  Esther then said “These goats belong to me and my sisters.”  (poor grammar but polite) to which this couple responded “Yes there very nice now where are the champion goats.”

A couple things keep going round my head…

1: E. has a good sense of humor so was able to laugh at their rude behavior.  Fortunately E. did very well coming third in her class against the two goats that eventually went on to be Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion so she didn’t feel like they were being deliberately disparaging:  BUT what if she hadn’t what if she was a more sensitive child or had been upset by a poor performance?

2: They were talking to a child.  Who treats a child like they were an insignificant speed bump in the grand track of their very important life?

3: Bastards. How very not nice.

Xx

Jo

Morning, Noon and Night: Show Day

Morning: A terrible nights sleep followed by an early start to clean the goats pens.

Morning: A terrible nights sleep followed by an early start to clean the goats pens.

Noon: Waiting to enter the ring tension.

Noon: Waiting to enter the ring tension.

Night: Many hours in 103 degree heat and four ribbons later.

Night: Many hours in 103 degree heat and four ribbons later: K. 4th,  E. 3rd and  J. 3rd in their classes and one 4th for J. in Showmanship if you’re interested.

xx

Jo