May 24-27, 2013

Welcome to The Ranch!
And another picture and there will be more because there are now about 50 peacocks and peahens about, and it's mating season so the males are all in full display mode.
A sweet Shabbat service before dinner.
The Big House with the main kitchen and living rooms.
May 25

Good morning!
On a walk around 'the loop' we find a new welcoming sign waiting for the final licensing to come through so Barbara and Jerry can open some of the buildings as a Bed and Breakfast.
They have a small herd of cows that follow the walkers around 'the loop', staring.
Yup, Up!
Here's the morning yoga program.
I don't remember if this conversation circle was here last year...
...but this garden was here just not so safe from predators. Jerry built the raised beds recently with mesh bottoms and covered by wire in efforts to save the groceries from the rodents, the deer, and the peacocks.
Michael and the just-sheared alpacas. There are just-sheared llamas and sheep too.
Barbara's sister's sculpture...
...and more.
My favorite of the many cut-outs around.
And now the afternoon activity - Dance!
When they're fully open and backlit you can see through the fan.
Sunset over the ridge.
The evening's program included general participation in poetry readings and commercial parodies.
Very fun!
May 26

Lynn and I made an early morning march up to the top of the ridge. We went the shorter steeper way instead of the longer less steep way.
One plan was to come up here for lunch but what with one thing and another...
...we ended up back at the pool. We had all our lunches and dinners here this year.
Great idea! We had a sign-up chart for kitchen duty! Yay!
Another one of the cut-outs this one near the main road.
Sing Bobby, Sing Us a SONG!
May 25-28, 2012

I drove with Ben and Bonnie today up to The Ranch. They decided to take the 5 and save the extra hour from taking the 101. The 101 drive is usually gorgeous and the 5 is usually a stinky blinding dust storm ... but not today! Today the drive up the 5 was beautiful.
We ate lunch at Harris Ranch and from there went west to make our way to the Hollister area, the town nearest The Ranch.
You know you're at The Ranch when you find yourself surrounded by peacocks...
...and olive groves.

They grow the olives commercially and produce organic extra virgin olive oil as well as other products under the brand name Oils of Paicines.
The crowd of about 18 gathered (many more coming tomorrow), and the womenfolk got down to the preparation of dinner. Bonnie led a Shabbat service, and eating and visiting and opinionating went on into the night.
May 26

The 10 of the now 25 visitors at The Ranch who decided to make an outing to Pinnacles National Monument.
We took a totally spectacular hike. I've driven through Pinnacles before and for a small walk by one of the campsites but never this.

Check out the climbers. This was a wonderful walk.
Oh my goodness. There are a couple of cave sites, the larger being closed because of bats and the smaller not in the direction we were walking.
Wow everywhere we looked...
...all the way to the reservoir.
Taking a break.
Yes, more, and don't miss the faces.
Oh look, the natural version of Levitated Mass coming to LACMA in June.
The cabin where I'm staying, and where I took myself a nice two hour nap.
Then the tornado that surrounds dinner.

From the front: chicken and duck from Chinatown in San Francisco, all the delicious succulent salmon you can eat, boiled potatoes in the skin, layered stirfry with baby bok choy on top, broiled tomatoes with Parmesan and herbs, shredded vegetable salad, behind the potatoes are ravioli, then a chopped vegetable salad and a green salad.

Then our program and then dessert. Good thing I took that two hour nap!
The program as directed by Lewis: everyone was to choose a song from times past and perform their selection, no singing required.

Our hosts Barbara and Jerry doing their rendition of I Told the Witch Doctor. which was a particularly fun choice since they are both doctors.
Everyone participated and it was a blast-o-rama.
May 27

Good morning everyone here at the Rever-Ginsburg Farmhouse where Life Is Good.
Early risers off for some long-distance riding.
Peacocks everywhere.
A little Israeli folk dancing for some lively fun.
Henry! As you scroll through these visits to The Ranch you'll see him grow from a baby chick in Barbara's hand in 2009 to this splendid peacock today.
What a guy. This is his first year to fan his tail.
From a walk around the grounds.
Because they are everywhere.
The guys doing their BBQ work...
...for tonight's yet again another feast. I have not recently tried on the outfit that I got for the wedding since it >just< fit when I bought it and now after three days of FEASTING...

Bummer, no picture of the evening's entertainment.
May 28

On our last morning we had the usual breakfast bounty followed by a yoga class then packing up, then lunch and a fond bon voyage.
Many Thanks all around.
May 28-30, 2011

Back at The Ranch last visited by me in Fall 2009, home to 50 or so peacocks and any number of other creatures.
This first morning a small group, 5 of the 20 guests, went on a hike and it was Steep and pretty long...
...but gorgeous.
I fear for your patience with pictures of peacocks. It's just that they are so stunning and there are so many of them. Tomorrow I'll go around for some other animal shots since now, in the late afternoon it has started to rain.
Ladies getting another feast together out in the pool house.
A few of the accommodation buildings each with sitting rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, and bathrooms all fully fitted out and elaborately decorated with treasures from Barbara and Jerry's world travels.
Tennis anyone? There's also a basketball court and games games games of every size and description.
Roses are happy here too, which reminds me of my meditation time with Sandy, Desda, and Lynn. I sat quietly for 30 minutes and for the whole time I didn't once take a picture or check my email.
A good part of the dinner crowd, a good number missing though. I'll never get everyone at once, that seems clear.
Bobby Z, the evening's entertainment. And the crowd went wild!
Sheep shearing, and a selection of the other animals... of the six llamas.
A few horses from the herd of horses.
Chickens of course.
And the incomparable peacocks.
Picnic lunch on top of the mountain. Wow. It was perfect - cool and bright, huge scenic views, delicious food, and delightful company.
There's a circle of comfy chairs to enjoy a visit...
...and here is one of the two picnic tables permanently sited up here.

Yesterday I walked up and walked down. Last night my calves were complaining big time. Then today I rode up but walked down and my caves were saying 'whaaat, you Must be kidding'. It was actually entertaining to find myself with sore muscles, a place where I very rarely go.
It must have been the season - all the peacocks were SO full of themselves.
Click here and you can see the picture of Barbara with this white peacock when he was a baby.
The pet of the peacocks and with many thanks to Barbara and Jerry, a fitting farewell to another great stay at The Ranch.
September 5-7 2009

Nestled in the middle of the far right edge are most of the residences of The Ranch. Ahhh.
The entry drive is lined with these olive trees, part of the groves that contribute to their boutique organic cold-pressed olive oil business, Oils of Paicines.
It IS The Ranch.
Here is the front door of the main house. There are many other houses on the property as well including a home for the caretaker family, a home for the man who runs the horse and cattle operation, a big guest house, a barn converted into an 18 bed dorm and game palace when the kids come, and more more more.
Look what showed up at the door picked this morning directly from the gardens here.

And more came a few hours later!
Lynn at the kitchen in the big house. Usually there are at least five people dancing around in here all working in the measures of some cosmic ballet to produce meal after meal day after day.

There is a kitchen in the pool house, in the guest house, in the houses where all the other people live, and extra storage and refrigeration scattered around in the other buildings. We are talking f.o.o.d.
Sandy was our make-it-from-scratch Dessert Queen, here with a neighbor who stopped by for the good eats. He was an excellent helper too.

In years past, when everyone's kids were younger, there would be dozens of them around so this basically adults only weekend was an unusual and not entirely unwelcome change of pace for the regular guests.
Setting up the luncheon buffet in the pool house.

That watermelon is from the garden as are the tomatoes, onions, herbs, salad greens, and ETC!
And then a nice afternoon loll at the pool.
There is a large flock of peacocks living on The Ranch (too bad this is my best shot) and their feathers make up a lively decor in many a room.
Here is a white peacock that was abandoned by his mother and that Barbara is raising in a cage in the family room.
And llamas. The llamas are all rescue animals and are basically some among Barbara's innumerable pets. Not to forget the donkeys, the chickens, and I never did get a picture of the pet African Pigmy Goat.
There are a couple of dogs that live here this being the newest, a full Border Collie.

I've always wanted to meet one of these guys who top all the smart-dog lists and Ringo here is quite the model, utterly devoted to Barbara yet still willing to play fetch with anyone over and over and over and over and over and...
...and over and over and over and...
John is the man who has a cutting horse operation and is in charge of the cows, buffaloes, horses, and colts.
And speaking of which.

If you've ever been to Yellowstone you know that this is how perfectly healthy buffaloes look, all raggedy and lumbering and deeply unintelligent. John uses them to train his cutting horses because they, unlike their much smarter brethren, The Cow (and that's saying something), never learn.

(Although Ms Google thinks bison are smarter than cows.)
And the cows. John keeps them for a year or two and then trades them back, big and fat, for younger ones.
Bob and Carl communing with the spirit of the river. We had to climb under some barbed wire to get here, and well worth it it was.
I was wandering down the road with Lynn just chatting and looking here and there and Jerry, husband of Barbara, called out, pointing to a clearing high high up on one of the surrounding hills 'Look--a Deer'.

Wow, a full-on buck deer, so I snapped a dozen quick shots sure he'd bolt in a flat second, but no, he just stood there. And stood there. Oh you Jerry, what a card. Then he sent one of the workers up to get the deer and off they went in the truck to find a new Jerry-inspired placement.
Barbara's sister made that sculpture.
The guys out for a walk. Lew-Ben-Carl-Bob. Jerry was off engaged in some one of the innumerable chores around The Ranch or else he was off plotting a new prank.
You can see some of the olive grove in the distance. There are many of these groves scattered around the property.
Barbara and Jerry's son Ian and Ian's friend Johan have been around so Barbara wanted to jump on this chance to get a picture. All the moms know how that goes.
We four, me-Carl-Bob-Jerry, took an early evening outing to the local rodeo for some bull ridin'.

We just sat down here in what turned out to be the best box seats in the house, right behind the announcer. You can see folks in the bleachers silhouetted against the sky where we were supposed to be sitting. By the time we got kicked out we were pretty much done with bull riding anyway.
What a bone crushing sport. Yikes.

They had it all - the horsemen, the handlers, the clowns. You can see here when I went to a rodeo in Honduras. It's down toward the middle of the chapter and wow, the difference in Everything is most evident. Just have a look at what the stands are like there for some third world excitement.
And then at intermission - Cowboy Poker. Four guys are sitting at the table with a loose bull and the clowns egging that bull into action. Last man sitting is the winner. Boys will be...
It's our last morning and we walk up for the view. Lynn-Carl-Bonnie.
Another one of the many vegetable gardens. We all took home a bucket load.
Happy Trails to YOU, 'till we Meet Again!
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