Thursday, September 29, 2011


We spotted this place on the outskirts of Carson City pretty much right away. I actually shrieked, 'Giant metal chickens!' when I saw them. Unfortunately the place was closed, the guy has a sign that says 'Antiques and Feed' so we'll be going back for sure.

The fact that they are hitched to wagons really sells it. This one is my favorite, I think.

Giant Metal Terror Chickens for Halloween would be so perfect.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Miscellaneous Stuff...

It's the happiest little trailer!

I think it could have it own kid's TV show.

These guys were on front porch tonight, hanging out with the bazillion assorted moths & flying bugs that congregate under the porch light. A very pretty White Lined Sphinx moth, a type of Hummingbird moth--I startled him once and he spread his wings a bit, revealing a red backside, but he wouldn't do it again for the photo:

And a young, slender Praying Mantis. He was using the larger moths for traction, just kinda climbing over them on his way up to the roofline.

The drive home tonight from dinner was a symphony of frogs around the lake and a beautiful, star-filled sky--it was magical.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Today's Message...

...was written on a styrofoam plate in what appeared to be lipstick.

You see some interesting things driving around out in the country. People around here like to post their opinions a LOT.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

It's A Perk!

We stopped by Gargantua (which seems to have become the official name for the giant gray house for now) yesterday to tour the back yard better and discuss the pros and cons of buying it.

While we were walking the yard I saw this...showing the pics we took to my daughter just now I told her, 'It even has a pool!' and brought up this pic:

Cue KidGlare and a muttered, 'That's not funny, mom.'

Yes it damned well was.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


During our house hunt today, I found this painted on the hallway of one of the homes.

I don't know, either.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Not Perfect...But Better!

Well today we made inroads towards happier poultry by creating some temporary nests for them. We got some loose hay at the feed store, and rummaging around in the barn yielded a small red basket, a large wicker basket, an old tin washtub and a wooden pear crate--perfect!

No sooner had I installed them than they were thoroughly inspected. Phoenix looks on while Rambo awkwardly stands half in and half out of a nest, nibbling bits of the hay.

Then he just joins in while Rambo remains in her silly pose. Goofy birds.

Even Bear approves!

No eggs since the move, but I expected them to fall out of lay with such a drastic upheaval. Tomorrow we start creating an outdoor run for them, being in the barn all the time is a definite drag for them.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Touring The Washoe Valley

Today we went for a drive to see what the Washoe Valley area was like since we've seen some property listings we like. We skirted both sides of Washoe Lake. One side is up against the mountains and features lots of towering pines, blue jays and chunks of granite--very 'Lake Tahoe'. The other side is more flat and has more sagebrush, elms, magpies and cottonwoods. Both were pretty and nice homes.

Although sadly, it isn't on the market, this old farmhouse-church building right next to highway 395 sure caught our eye. I would LOVE to live here...

Wow, the Bowers Mansion sure has seen better days.

Just kidding, here is the real mansion:

It's lovely and has a very nice, large, shady park surrounding it. When we stopped by the local sheriff's jailhouse crew was working on the grounds, a happy group of guys in old-fashioned striped jail-issue outfits. I guess if you have to do service like that there are lots of worse places to work!

The old log cabin we didn't have time to stop and check out properly, but we will soon. It was an honest to God log cabin with a well-constructed stone fireplace & chimney--whoever built it knew how to make a log cabin.

We found two of the houses on our short list of possibilities, one was occupied so we just looked at it from the street, the other--a two story clapboard farmhouse with a picket fence was vacant so we were able to walk all around it. The inside of it has been updated and is very nice, but the outside needs paint, landscaping and TLC. The area is very rural but has neighbors close enough so there should be playmates for the kid.

But damn, it was JUST the kind of place I love. Gotta get the realtor to let us in to look it over!

You Poor Bastard!

The last few days have been another blur of unloading a truck, driving back and forth to Gardnerville, getting supplies and other things. One of the things I did was to go through my binder of mountain dulcimer sheet music. While I was sorting West Coast Mixolydian from Aeolean from Ionian, I suddenly ran across this flowchart, which stopped me dead because it had no business being mixed in there:

It gave me just the laugh I needed after the last week or so.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Purgatory Is In My Garage

For three solid days, while the kid stays up north with grandma, DH and I work on emptying out the garage. And work. And WORK. The days start to blur together as we become begrimed with all sorts of nastiness I'd really rather not think about until by the end of each day we are coated with this guck mixed with our sweat. The fact that it's about 100 degrees just adds to the fun.

But progress is being made, I swear it is. It must be, because the trash pile on the patio is growing to monsterous size and the UHaul truck in the driveway is slowly but surely filling up. Meanwhile, at the end of each day we drag ourselves back to the Doubletree again, who once again are graceful enough to ignore our bridge-troll-on-a-bad-day look and provide us with hot food, hot water and a lovely soft bed. And wonderful, wonderful cookies. The fact that every day we get up and realize we have to go BACK and work on the garage again is nearly enough to make strong men weep.

But finally, on the third day, we realize halfway through the day that THIS IS IT, we will finish this TODAY. In the early afternoon, even. It's better than freakin' Disneyland. My husband has found a group of trash hauling guys that appear with a truck and after bartering a bit, we all agree on a price for them to take away all the trash. They get some nifty cardboard and metal for recycling too, so it's a good deal for them.

The chicken run is taken down and broken into it's component chunks to be loaded on the truck to go north.

The garage is interesting, built in 1952 it harbors some odd little things. If you look at this, you figure, 'Meh, garage workbench and wall.'

But if you look closer, you see the hidden slide-up doors!

In between each stud is a slide-up door with a silver handle. When we moved in, I found these about two weeks later by accident. Once I did, I ran around the garage opening them and discovering long-forgotten 50's treasures within. Old tools, tubes of grease...well, OK, the dead dessicated mouse wasn't that hot, but he was the exception rather than the rule.

More fun old stuff...

And fun newer stuff.

Our last night in southern California as official residents, we were treated to a decent sunset. It made a nice farewell.

The next day hubby drove the UHaul while I drove the car, and we were off on our second trip north. This time we hit some summer thunderstorms in the higher passes, the rainstorms were short but furious. Just south of Big Pine I saw this...a small brush fire.

It was right alongside the road. The various fire agencies were turned out in force.

Towards evening it was raining in Bridgeport, where we had to join a group of other cars being escorted by a pilot truck through a construction zone. They took us onto the wrong side of the road because they were redoing the shoulder on the other side, so there was nothing but about a 3 foot ledge there.

Just after dark we finally got home and were able to relax.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Dunmovin? Well, Yes And No...

After 3 glorious days of assorted chores, we leave once again to go back down to southern California to tackle the dreaded garage. This time the kid stays with Grandma, tasked with remembering to feed and care for the animals. Over the last three days we've supervised the unloading of the moving truck into the storage unit--thankfully only two boxes and the carved wood framework for my bedroom dresser mirror suffered any damage, and I didn't hear any sounds of anything broken rattling around. Unfortunately we won't know for sure until we move the stuff again into our new home and unwrap everything. But the guys worked hard to stuff everything into the storage unit, telling us they still had to drive to Sacramento at the end of the day, more than 2 hours away. We also opened our new P. O. box and did some grocery shopping, and unpacked some things into our temporary digs, a small one bedroom cottage in back of my mother's house.

So today found us once again going down highway 395. I love the drive anyway, and never tire of seeing scenes like this unfold ahead of me.

Ya gotta hand it to the engineers and road planners, to create roads that allow views like this to unfold. It's pure poetry. Further along, near Mammoth Mountain, humoressly enough is a California Welcome Center...nowhere near the border, by now you've been driving through the state for hours.

I've always been curious about this place sitting alongside the road near McGee Creek--it's been in this exact same condition ever since I first laid eyes on the thing in the early 1970's.

DH and I stop for a few minutes to check it out and stretch our legs. As for as we can tell, it appears to be some sort of official building, it looks very office-like inside rather than homey. It's now home to an army of rats, apparantly.

The exterior is weathering hard.

Whoever made the sign created it by taking a blowtorch to a chunk of plywood--no measly spray paint here! Creative spelling of the word 'acres' thrown in as a bonus.

A sign next to it is normally turned away during summer, otherwise tourists become easily confused.

Nearby is yet another EVC marker, this one talks about the McGee Mountain ski rope tow that used to be on the site in the '30's.

Some of the old pulleys are part of the marker. There isn't much to see of the rope tow other than some faint trail marks on the mountain.

A bit farther down the road, everyone slows to watch some military helicopters flying north, following the highway.

There were three of them, very impressive-looking. Since this was coming up on the 10th anniversary of 9-11, we watched them a bit apprehensively, hoping nothing was happening that required such a bristling show of force.

Later on we stopped to stretch again at the little ghost town of Dunmovin. We are always very careful to leave it the way we find it so that others can have the fun of discovering it. I've always had the urge to take a place like this and restore it, and live the rest of my life running my own little countryside cafe/store.

The place is in it's usual state of mystery and closely-held secrets., and we wander about wondering who lived here and why everyone left.

A sample of the wallpaper...

The sunlight makes interesting patterns.

An old Los Angeles DWP envelope from 1983.

HAVE A SEAT! Uh, no thanks, I'll wait...

In another building there is a flow of mid-1970's deitrus. See that Avocado Green, kids? Thank your lucky stars you didn't have to dress in an era of this hideous color, PLUS Harvest Gold and Burnt Orange. What they euphemistically referred to as 'Earth Tones'.  Ugh.  It's no bloody wonder that the '80's were a rebellious burst of neon colors.

My husband finds a newspaper covering the 1976 Olympcs. Love the shades, Edwin Moses had style!

Stairway to Heaven, Owens Valley style. Only two steps.

This program brought to you by...

This old fridge was lying on it's face the last time we came through, some enterprising soul had set it upright. The resultant rust left an interesting pattern on the front.

I walked by one of the long-broken windows and spied this sink.

Then I saw this lying in it, so we gently took it out. It's a catalog/almanac for 1955 from the Rawleigh company, who sold all sorts of household foods and products.

The 1955 artwork is awesome.

Another building has some brush practically fending you off.

After we leave we run into one of many summer rainsqualls.

We stop at Coso Junction and as always, toss some bread to the ravens that live there. The ones that see us feeding the others fly over, the adults with their deep croak and the juveniles a high-pitched, silly 'Caw!'. The one on the far left was just landing when I snapped this, so he looks like he's levitating.

This guy was a pure pig, and yes he did managed to pick up that 4th chunk of bread. Afterwards he took it over to the grassy area and cached it all.

We were startled to see a CHP officer pulled off to the side of the road north of Kramer Junction...he was off next to the barbed wire fence with his arms around two big sheep, obviously trying to keep them there and off the road till back-up arrived. Cue a whole bunch of bad puns about 'baaaad sheep' and wondering just how badly the guy was gonna get teased by his buddies. He looked in control of his small flock so we didn't stop.

Near Pearsonville we stop at the site of the old Blue Max mine, home to this Joshua Tree sculpture made of horseshoes.

It's a lonely spot.

The artist thoughtfully included a small metal box at it's base for anything comments or contributions people want to leave--contributions go towards a local charity. As we left our own we saw this in the box:

Awesome, I hope he gets the commission!


Dear GOD in Heaven, what IS this thing?! I suspect it floated to Earth from outer space and is only now forming it's pods. The thing is sporting pods.

We give the pods a wide berth and go up the hill to check out the old mine buildings, part of the exhibit.

Official government language has gotten much less flowery since 1983.

The interior is the usual cast-offs, this one with snazzy 1970's furniture.

Although the old bathroom cabinet with the pastel blue & pink swans was unexpected in such a butch place...

My husband spotted this rather large pink snake resting with it's head down a gopher hole, snoozing away. I suppose it's some kind of rat snake. We let sleeping snakes lie.

This old Kelvinator was still in place.

My husband popped opened the door to find this, and snorted, 'Oh hey look--Owens Valley ice.'

You know, I miss the days when you had to deal with refrigerator baffle-flaps. Whatever the Hell they are.

The outside of one building sports a patch in the proud tradition of Sierras, using anything: 'Good God, PATCH THAT HOLE QUICK TO KEEP THAT ICE-COLD DAMNED EVER-PRESENT WIND OUT.'

And lastly we find an old miner's cap for the place. Cool!

As we pass through Red Mountain again, this time headed south, this seems to sum it all up nicely.