Saturday, July 10, 2010

Elaine drove one of her BMW SUVs and we motored to Arroyo Grande. It was about a four hour drive. Because it was a weekend, the traffic up 101 was not heavy. The weather was beautiful, not too warm and not cloudy.


In Arroyo Grande we turned off 101, and drove through the old town and into the hills. The entrance to Elaine’s and Kathie’s and Tom’s acreage now has a large sign, “Barking Dog Ranch.” Tom probably master-minded the construction of the sign, which stands about 15′ tall. I don’t know who did the letters but they were easy to read.


The road into the ranch is the product of their driving in and out, so it is remarkably smooth.  Yes, there are some rough spots but not hard. Elaine, Stanley, Kathie and Tom drive on that road in passenger cars, not truck chassis.


Summer has set in, so there was a dried brown grass, but not uncomfortably so. I remember that they bought about 100 acres, so when you stand on their fenced in area and look in all directions, probably most of what you see is their land.  The fenced in area levels off but their land goes up a steep hill with two water tanks up the hill. The lower part of the fenced area had a lot of cow manure. Part of the land is rented out to pasture cows.


They have done some significant work. Their living quarters are in a metal structure about 80 feet long and 50 feet wide. One corner has a shower and a toilet area. The rest is loosely partitioned off in sleeping areas or wall-less bedrooms.


The cooking area is outdoors on a huge porch. There are sinks and cooking tubs. So when they are finished with meals, everyone pitches in, cleans all utensils, and puts everything away.


Everyone works well together, so the work is done well and together. Moira and her friend Stella were not expected to do much and they didn’t do much.


They had set up a kit-room about 75 feet down the front hill from the main house. This is a smaller model of the portable pre-fab room, made of stainless steel and glass. They had me sleep in this room/building. I slept very well.


There is no electricity, so all lighting was from lamps and lanterns.


I guess this is pioneering in many ways. Water is piped in. For sewage, they had installed a sump. They had two toilets, one that they built when they first moved here a few years ago and one they built in their large new lodge.


They added some amenities. They have a water pool for comfort, though not large enough to swim in. It’s their spa.


They have been coming to the ranch the past couple of weeks and had some productive projects.  They talked about coming next week but had not talked of a particular project. Tom is fairly skilled doing the basic design and construction. Stanley is good with electrical work and appliances. They do have a portable generator for the need of power.


One concession to modern communication:  cell phones. No TV


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Today the ranch weekend came to an end. Elaine drove and Paula rode with Elaine and me. Stanley drove Moira and Tom drove alone.

We got home (my house) about 7:30. Elaine drove all the way. It was a good weekend. And I was my age–I did no excessive work but did more walking than usual.

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