Monthly Archives: June 2010

Home!! Finally!

This is going to be a short post, well….maybe not so short.  I’ve got so much to do and only three days to do it all in.

Download a ton of photos from my little digital camera, my iPhone, and a bit of video from the digital camera.  Sort through the stuff and get one of the photo sessions up to YouTube.

We got to spend some time with our California daughter and our Arizona daughter.  It was really great seeing them and spending time with them.  I so enjoyed both girls.  I’m so proud of them.

My Arizona daughter and I played around with paper and glue while I visited with her.  She is making an “Engagement” squash book for a friend of hers.  The story of this engagement is a mix of “My Best Friend’s Wedding” and “Bridget Jone’s Diary”.  While it is still fresh in my head – that is an oxymoron if there ever was one.  I don’t have a mind like a steel trap.  Being over tired was of no help either but I do remember most of what my daughter told me.

If you remember….all this YouTube and blogging stuff came about mainly because of Carissa (my Arizona daughter).  She is getting into paper crafting but lives so far from me that the only way I could “teach” her was by videos instead of being right next to her.  I finally had the chance to do that and it was so much fun.

Okay…here is the story.

Kevin and Kristine (I remember his name but am a bit fuzzy on her’s.  It begins with a “K” anyway).

Kevin and Kristine met in school and became friends.  At the age of 15 they were “best friends”.  Kristine told Kevin everything going on in her life and he did the same with her.  They shared the ups and downs of school, being teens, and trying to figure out what they wanted to do with their lives when they grew up.

Kevin was interested in music and wanted a career in that field, while Kristine found her passion in missions and being of service to others.  He wanted to make and play music, she wanted to travel the world and help out where she could.

Kevin asked Kristine to be his date at the Senior Prom and she went with him.  On that date he pronounced his love for her and wanted them to be exclusive.  Kristine, however, had no such feelings for Kevin other than friendship and told him so.  He was crushed but he figured that having her in his life as a friend was better than not having her at all so they continued the friendship over the next 10 years.  Kristine in far flung places like Africa or China while Kevin stayed in the United States.  They wrote each other, emailed when she could get near a computer, and they talked on the telephone sometimes.  Meeting up with each other and catching up on everything when they were in the same town for an extended period of time kept the friendship on solid ground.

A couple years ago Kristine met a man that she fell in love with.  This man (I don’t know if Carissa told me his name or not) proposed marriage to Kristine and she accepted.  The problem was she had a mission trip scheduled and would be away for almost a year.  This guy said he would wait for her so off she went.  Still talking to Kevin she told him of this new phase of her life and being engaged to marry someone other than Kevin.  Gulp.  What a crusher that must have been.

Kristine did her mission time in Swaziland (I think Carissa told me that – course I could have nodded off then).  Upon her return home after a year and meeting her betrothed she found that he had changed his mind and he didn’t think it would work out between them.  Approximately three months after that he married some other girl.

Kristine turned to the only person that had been there for her and laid out all her hurts and sorrows.  Kevin listened and consoled her best he could and he continued to be a part of her life  – and even more so between the times of being dumped and the wedding of her former fiance.

Kristine then began thinking of Kevin in a different way.  He had grown to be such a part of her life that she felt he needed to be in her life and not just as a friend.  When she broached the matter with Kevin he sweetly declined her offer and told her that his music career was going in a direction that would take a lot of time away from each other.

Kristine was hurt but she, too, wanted to keep the friendship since it had become a major part of her life.

One day Kevin brought a cigar box with stuff in it to Kristine.  He asked her to keep it for him while he was away on tour.  Inside the box was an old fashioned pocket watch among other things.  Kristine agreed to keep it safe for his return.

They continued to speak daily or send emails and he told her of his time on tour and she told him what she was doing in her life.  He told her that when he returned from his tour he wanted to take her somewhere very special.  There are things I’m leaving out because I don’t remember much of this part.  Hopefully I can get Carissa to tell the story since she has been a part of their friendship for a while and knows all that went on.

Anyway, upon Kevin’s return he made reservations at a very nice restaurant with romantic lighting.  He and the server had worked out some details before hand so things would go as he planned them to.  Dinner was served, conversation bloomed, and they both enjoyed themselves very much.

The server came to ask if they would like dessert, both Kevin and Kristine declined.  The server then presented a tray with the cigar box on it and held it out for Kevin to pick up off the tray.  Kristine wanted to know how he had got it from her home without her knowing it.  Kevin glossed over that bit of information and steered her where he wanted things to go.

Kevin said to Kristine “Our relationship has been under your nose for the past 10 years.  This box has been under your nose for the past 4 months.  Have you looked in the box?”  Kristine said she had glanced through it but had not really looked in it.

Kevin took the old pocket watch out of the box and opened it.  Nestled inside was an engagement ring.  The ring had been in the pocket watch and the cigar box all this time.

Well, yes to end this story, Kristine accepted Kevin’s proposal of marriage.  May they be blessed with many years of shared happiness and love.

As an aside, Carissa told me that Kevin was so romantic in his proposal and the party after dinner where he had invited all of their friends to share in this special time with them.  According to Carissa most of the married women friends of Kristine had a bit of something to say to their husbands about wishing they were as romantic as Kevin was.

I’m going to be putting up a video of the  bit of work that Carissa and I did on the engagement squash book.  We began it together, she will finish it on her own.   It is all photographs but I’m hoping that some of the techniques we used will inspire you to create something or used one of the techniques in a project of your own.

I had a great time getting a “Craft Fix” while I was away from home.  Mostly I enjoyed the time I spent with my daughter actually showing her stuff and helping her when she had a question.  Sure wish she lived closer to me…..


Santa Monica Pier

I have a lot of pictures from our few hours spent on Santa Monica Pier while we were in California for some down time.

I’m trying to figure out if I should just put the pictures up with not much commentary or if I should make this an extremely long post and natter on about our time there.  Maybe I’ll find a happy medium and do a bit of both.

Santa Monica Pier

Ferris Wheel

Roller Coaster

Maps for sale

Arcade on the pier

Have $6 to burn?

Watch them fly

Surf, sand, and fun

One of the artist venders

His "Spidey" sense knew I had a camera

Singing for his supper

Poitrait artist

Smoking area

Fishing from the pier

Cutting bait

Joe with his 4 by 5 film camera

Barnacle encrusted pier posts

View from the pier

I-10 the Transcontinental Highway

Our day at Santa Monica Pier was a pleasant one.  Travel there was not pleasant.  It took us almost 3 hours to go 60 miles because of all the traffic and another 3 hours to get back to the hotel room.

Being out in the fresh air and walking in the balmy 68 degree air made me sleepy by the time we got back to the room.  I was ready for a nap before going to bed.

There is so much to see at the pier.  Artists of all kinds:  Oil, chalk, clay, and music are abundant.  Fisher people sit quietly with their poles and wait for their days catch.  We saw a lot of fisher people but not anyone that caught fish.  People were every where.  On the sand below and playing in the water, up on the pier and seeing the sights, others were on the other side of the pier on the Ferris Wheel or the roller coaster.

We stopped many times to help people get pictures of their day at the pier.  Usually we saw a man taking a picture of a woman against the rail with the sea as a back drop.  Joe offered to take their picture together and they handed the cameras over to him each time.  Of course, Joe being Joe, he had to say “I get so many cameras this way”.  The disconcerted half giggle he gets as a response was funny.  One asian man thought Joe was a professional photographer because of the camera he carried around.  He wanted his picture taken with his digital camera and Joe helped him do that.  The man instructed Joe on where he would be standing, how much of himself he wanted in the photo and how much of the ocean horizon he wanted Joe to get.  My Joe obliged the man and took a couple shots.  The man was grateful and quite wordy in his thanks which was nice.

A place like this, with tons of people walking around you or milling around in groups, is so strange.  You are part of a larger mass but you are still separate from the group.  No one tried to run anyone down so it was a pleasant time being in a crowded area.

The attire of the group ranged from shorts and shirts/blouses, to swim wear covered by gauzy fabrics.  One girl had on fishnet stockings, cowboy boots, a short and very expensive spaghetti strap evening dress with a t-shirt beneath and a straw hat on her head.  To each their own I say.  We saw one young man in denim jeans with some kind of long scarves tied to his belt loops on the sides of his pants.  Looked like he had flags flying at his sides.

This is a tourist place and you can get all manner of things to commemorate your visit.  Lots of money changes hands here and I did not see credit card readers at anything other than the food court.

Parking can be a chore.  If you drive around long enough you will find a parking area that is near the beach.  We parked in the main lot.  It cost $8 for the day.  Some parking areas are $7 for two hours.  There were buses people spilled out of in their beach wear for their days excursions then they had to trek back through the parking lot at the very end to get the bus to go back home.  Don’t know where the buses come from or how you get on them or the cost but I’m sure there is some information somewhere about Santa Monica Pier excursions.

Houses in the area are nearly next to each other with very little space between each home.  It reminded me of Miami and Ft. Lauderdale with the beach homes there.  I bet it is pricey living there.

On our way back to the hotel I saw a sign that said I-10 is the Christopher Columbus Transcontinental Highway.  Joe told me that I-10 runs from Jacksonville, Florida all the way across and ends in Santa Monica, California.  He wanted me to put it in perspective for you.  One winter he had a run from Jacksonville, Florida to Laredo, Texas.  By the time he traveled through Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and into Texas he was only half way through his trip.  I can at least claim that over the past nine years I’ve been driving I have now been from one end of I-10 to the other.

We had a good day at the Santa Monica Pier.  Should you think about making a trip to a beach area for a day of fun this would be a good place to do it.  Quite enjoyable it was.

Today, I am dragging my feet and holding up the works.  Joe is trying, unsuccessfully, to get me out of the hotel and back to work.  We have one truck to pick up in Fontana, California – just a few miles from where we are staying.  The other three trucks are in Las Vegas, Nevada and all four of them are bound for Oklahoma City.  Sounds to me like it will be “Hi house, bye house” and then off to other parts of the country.  BUT Thank God that mess in Red Bluff to Pomona is DONE!!!

Everyone have a great weekend.  The 4th of July is coming up and a long weekend ahead for many of you.  At least here in the States it is.  I’ll let you know what is happening here on my end.

Marston’s Restaurant, Pasadena, California

In our travels we kind of “luck” into places that are local favorites and this is one of them.  Joe found this place while he was on his own over the winter.  He had gone to Sammy’s Camera Shop in Pasadena, leaving there he was looking for a place to eat breakfast and found this little jewel and wanted me to experience this little place.

You can check out their website.  Marston’s Restaurant located at 151 East Walnut, Pasadena, California.  The building looks to be an older home converted to a restaurant.  By the signage there is a law firm and a bail bond office nearby.  Parking is on the street or in the very small parking lot adjacent to the building.  This place is busy for breakfast and lunch.

Mayre, our server

This is Mayre (pronounced Mary).  She has worked at this establishment for 25 years and through three changes of owners – that we could surmise – in her tenure.

She knew many of the people that came in for lunch.  Greeted them by name and asked about their families.  Some guests got hugs from her while others spent a bit of time catching her up on the happenings of their families.  A mother and her teen daughter talked to Mayre about the soccer game the daughter was in and the accomplishments of the team.

One man came in to dine alone and he was asked where his companion was.  From some of the conversation I overheard she was not well and would not be coming in for a time.  Mayre commiserated with him for a few minutes then left him to his solitude.  She checked on him frequently and they conversed a bit every now and again.

Cheddar and herb popover rolls

French Onion soup

Beef sandwich with sauted onions and mushrooms on swiss

The local diners had the salads, which looked scrumptious.  Joe and I decided to have the lunch special which consisted of a beef sandwich, much like a Philly Cheese Steak.  Delicious it was.  The soup of the day was French Onion.  Joe loves this type of soup and orders it anywhere he can.  Mostly it is horrid stuff.  Heavy on the Lee & Perrin’s Worchestershire sauce, or loaded with salt.  I had a bit of a taste of this soup and it was wonderful.  By the time I thought to get pictures of our lunch it was almost too late.  The rolls Mayre brought are made from a croissant or pop over dough.  Crisp and crunchy on the outside but an airy pocket in the center.  Cheddar cheese had been baked on the top of the roll and it was crispy.  Some kind of herbs were in the bread dough and it was delightful.  I almost asked for more but I had a sandwich coming so I let it pass.  Our sandwiches were wonderful and way too much to eat.

Oh my goodness.  I forgot to take a picture of the bread pudding we had for dessert!!!  When Mayre brought it to our table I was totally consumed with the smell emanating from the bowl she sat between us.  Custard, honest to goodness egg custard, filled the bowl with pieces of a sweet roll mixed in.  This bread pudding was not like anything I had ever had before.  I was tempted to stop Joe from getting his spoon in the bowl but I contained myself so he could enjoy this wonderful treat.

Between the excellent food and Mayre’s service I have decided this place would be one we return to and I would recommend heartily to anyone interested in a meal from an unexpected spot.

Palm tree

This tree is across the street from Marston’s.

When Joe and I arrived breakfast had just finished and the restaurant was closed from 11:00 a.m to 11:30 a.m.  He put his name on a list for a table for us when they reopened for lunch.

While we waited, along with several other people seated in chairs out on the sidewalk for their comfort, I looked around the area just to see what was there.  When I looked across the street at some apartments that take up an entire block of the neighborhood I spotted this tree and thought it was unusual enough for me to get a picture of it.

Even misshapen and bent this tree had character and beauty of its own.

Pasadena City Hall

When we left Marston’s and were heading to Santa Monica Pier, Joe took a side trip down a couple streets I don’t have a clue where he went and he came to this building.

Again, while he was on his own over the winter on a quiet Sunday he found this City Hall building and took pictures with his film camera.  Beautiful pictures they are also.  He was out in the middle of the street with his monopod getting the best view and angle of this very old and ornate building.

I’ll have photos and commentary of our time at Santa Monica Pier later.  This one I thought deserved a place of its own.

Lost Dr. Seuss Poem

I received this from my Sister a couple weeks ago.  I had sent her an email saying I was being anti-social and wasn’t talking, texting, writing, or blogging to anyone.  I told her not to take it personally I was just in a bad mood and things were not looking to change any time soon.

I got such a laugh out of this that I wanted to share it with you.

The Lost Dr. Seuss Poem “I Love My Job”

I LOVE my job!

I love my job, I love the pay!!

I love it more and more each day.

I love my boss, he is the best!!

I love his boss and all the rest.

I love my office and its location, I hate to have to go on vacation.

I love my furniture, drab and grey, and piles of paper that grow each day!!

I think my job is really swell, there’s nothing else I love so well.

I love to work among my peers, I love their leers, and jeers, and sneers.

I love my computer and its software!

I hug it often though it won’t care.  I love each program and every file.

I’d love them more if they worked a while.

I’m happy to be here, I am.  I am.

I’m the happiest slave of the Firm, I am.

I love this work, I love these chores.

I love the meetings with deadly bores.

I love my job – I’ll say it again – I even love those friendly men.

Those friendly men who’ve come today.

In clean white coats to take me away!!!!

If you don’t send this to five friends right away, there will be five fewer people laughing in the world!

Pati, my Sister, was sitting in a doctor office when she saw this and thought I was in dire need of a pick me up.  It worked.

All those trucks we moved from Walmart Distribution Center in Red Bluff, California to Pomona, California are going to be auctioned off on June 23rd – tomorrow.  You can check out the Truck Center website to see all 30 of the trucks we moved.  The people at Truck Center were scurrying around getting the trucks cleaned up and presentable for the auction.  The last two we delivered yesterday were immediately taken to the wash out area so they could be cleaned up and then made ready for the sale.  We just squeaked in on their time frame.  I’m so glad that job is over!!

After we got those last two trucks delivered yesterday morning we drove to Ontario, California and got checked into a hotel we will be in until check out on Thursday morning.  We unloaded a bunch of stuff out of the pickup so we could get at the laundry spilling out of the bag in the back.  We found a FedEx Kinkos and got our paperwork done and sent off.  That took about an hour and a half to complete.  Make copies of our logs to be sent off the the other companies we drive for so they have records of where and when we have worked.  That is a huge PITB but the DOT requires it.

I try to let my husband know I appreciate him on a daily basis.  I’ve been very lax in that recently and I must amend it now.

I have the most amazing husband and I’m so thankful for him.  When we went to the laundromat he stayed with me and helped load the machines.  He put the soap and Downey in the dispensers of the huge front load machines.  $2.50 per load is not so bad considering the regular size machines at $1.50 I would have needed six of them compared to two of the huge machines.  All of our clothes have grease stains on them so put the whites and light colors in one machine and the darks and work scrubs in another.

Joe calmed me down when I thought the machine was having a problem and not getting the fabric softener in during the rinse cycle.  He kept telling me to close the lid and just wait a minute while it does its own thing.  It did do its own thing in the machines proper time so I could stop worrying about the softener bit.  Crazy lunatic I’ve become.

Joe stayed with me when we moved the clothes from the washer to the dryers.  He helped get them loaded and I put the coins in to begin that cycle.  While they were drying we went out and waited in our pickup.  He played a few games of poker on his iPhone while I got my calendar updated.  I napped for a few minutes.  Just being in his company is awesome.  We can be quiet together and not have to talk to remind each other we are there.

When my timer went off we went back into the laundromat and he helped get the clothes into the laundry bag after I had them folded.  He hefted the big red bag on his shoulder and nearly conked a young woman on the head in the process.  I apologized to her and said “Nothing like coming to the laundromat and being knocked out by a fake Santa Claus”.

We got back to our room and put things away.  He helped with the repacking and the sorting then we both flopped down and caught up on our computer stuff before we left later in the evening for dinner and a couple errands.

Sometime today we are going to get around and get our showers, get dressed, then head for the Santa Monica Pier.  Guess I’d better get my butt in gear so we can get that done.  It is just 8:30 a.m. here in California.  By my watch the day is almost half over at 10:30 a.m.  The two hour time difference has us all messed up.  Oh well, we will be back in our time zone by the end of next week.

I’m not sure but I think we might be leaving on Thursday for Las Vegas, Nevada to get four trucks going to Oklahoma City.  We may be able to spend a night or two at home before we are off again on the highways.  Thats for later.  Right now it is just time to relax, see a few sights, get some seafood for Joe 😦 yuck.  Get near the ocean and take pictures.

I’ve heard people breathe deeply and exclaim “Love that ocean air”.  Stinks like fish to me and I don’t find the smell quite as intoxicating as others do.  I do love the sound the waves make.  That is a wonderful sound to me.

Okay, off to get ready for todays adventures with my husband.  Nothing better in the world.

Casa de Fruta

In Hollister, California on CA-152 is Casa de Fruta.  This little place has been in the same spot since 1908 and has grown much since Joe and I have been coming here over the past 20 years.  This is a family place with things for everyone to do and enjoy.  There is a 24 hour restaurant named Casa de Restaurant, a wine shop named Casa de Wine, a coffee house named Casa de Sweets, and of course the fruit stand named Casa de Fruta.  There is Casa de Choo Choo where you get on a small gauge train that takes you on a 1/2 hour ride, a carousel for the children to ride, a small playground with monkey bars and lots of other climbing structures to gets the kinks worked out of the kids from all the travelling.

We usually come from I-5 and take the CA-152 Los Banos exit.  It is about 25 miles from I-5 going east.  The road is through Pacheco Pass and it is steep and winding.  The grade is 7% downhill one way and uphill the other.  According to Joe, this means that for every 100 feet travelled you go down (or up) 7 feet.  Makes for an exciting ride downhill.  They have improved this road quite a bit since the last time we were through here.  It used to be two lane.  One lane going east and one lane going west.  There was a passing lane each way at the steep parts of the hills for slower traffic.  Our trip yesterday was on 4 lane – 2 lanes each way.  What a difference that was.  A 20 mile length used to take two hours plus and yesterday it was about 30 minutes.

Pacheco Pass

This is now a four lane road.  Used to be only two.  Heavy truck traffic is on this road because Gilroy is near here and they are the Garlic Capitol of California.  Lots of other vegetables and fruits are hauled by trucks over this road.

Loaded down as they often are made this stretch of road really difficult to travel with their slow speeds.

You can’t see it in this picture but this is one of the 7% grade hills we were going down with tons of curves.  White knuckle riding for me that is for sure.

Casa de Fruta

Casa de Restaurant

Casa de Wine

Casa de Sweets

Casa de Choo Choo

The Carousel

Ancient and antique farm equipment

Steel Wheel John Deere

The fruit stand

Bulk dried fruit

Dried fruit baskets

Bulk beans, peas, and lentils

Pan for gold

If you want to try your luck at finding gold Casa de Fruta will help you part with your money.  You go to the fruit stand or Casa de Sweets and purchase a linen bag of dirt take it to the big water wheel and dump your bag of dirt in a screen then let the water run over it at the water wheel and shake your booty and the screen until you find gold.

We used to let the kids do this each time we stopped here with them on our way to Disneyland.  The cost of the dirt was outweighed by the entertainment value we received from our 7 kids.

“She got more than me”, or “Stop shaking it so hard you’re getting me all wet”, and the delightful tune of “Move over you are taking up my space”, then there was the heartfelt “I’m going to find gold before you do so there (tongue stuck out for emphasis)”.  There was a lot of hollering and scolding each other but there was always laughter along with all the other racket.  There was always at least two kids that were not quite ready to go and they were sure they had a dud bag and wanted to try another.

This trip with just Joe and I was not the same.  Echoes of the children were in my ears as we wandered around the grounds.  Long ago memories of them all running from one place to another, playing tag out in the huge parking lot, playing hide and seek behind all the huge trees, asking for bread to feed the ducks, the clammer of voices raised when they all wanted to ride the train.  The plaintive “Please, oh please Daddy” from each of the kids when they wanted something.

This was the very first time we left without buying anything except our dinner at the restaurant.  Not the same at all.  Oh well, it was peaceful and restful as we walked about with no demands on us to be somewhere in a hurry.  A leisurely afternoon.

You can check out the website of Casa de Fruta.  They do mail orders for dried fruits, nuts, beans, lentils, peas, and they even ship produce.  If you are going to be in their vicinity it is worth a stop.  If anyone you know has a fascination with old vehicles and farming equipment this is the place to see it all.  Rusted, dented, and derelict it all is but you can certainly see what they used to use in farming long ago.

The Olive Pit

Corning, California is where the olive trees grow – in abundance.

The grocery stores I’ve frequented have a selection of green or black olives.  Sometimes there will be a Manzanillo name on the bottle but mostly it is just “Green” olives with pimento or black olives in cans.  When I lived in Arizona there are olive trees there and I’ve seen quite a few of the trees.  Did I know there were different varieties?  No, I did not.

If you go to the Olive Pit in Corning, California you will see the varieties growing in huge clay pots with the variety name in the pot.  There are:  Sevillano, Mission, Arbequina, and Manzanillo varieties that grow in the orchards.  They have a website and you can purchase single bottles of olives and/or oil, as well as by the case.

Here are some of the varieties of olives they sell.  This is just a small sample of what is available.


Sundried tomato stuffed

Caper stuffed

Garlic & Jalapeno stuffed

Almond & Pimento stuffed

The olives are stuffed with onions, blue cheese, habenaro peppers, chipotle peppers, and just about anything else that can be stuffed in them.

Gift baskets with an olive assortment are for sale, along with olive oils and stuffed olives in some baskets.  Some baskets are a stainless steel colander with an assortment of olive varieties included.  There are bath soaps and shampoos made from the olive extracts.  There are body washes with crushed olive pits for exfoliating.  Almond candies, local dried fruits, fudge and other chocolates, and peanuts salted and spiced, even roasted and salted soy beans.

There are kitchen gadgets and some cookware available at the store, olive oils that are from Extra Virgin and all the varieties in between.  Many olive oils with herbs marinating in the bottles, and row upon row of the bread dipping olive oils with various herbs and spices that any gourmand would love.

Check out their website.  You can place your order over the phone, online, or fax it in.  Shipping charges are dependent on the amount of your order and not by the weight.  You might find just the right Martini olive here at the Olive Pit, or you might find a new party favorite and have all your guests asking where you got these delicious olives.  Some of the pepper stuffed olives are hot enough to take the top of your head off, or at least make you think it is going to explode.  They will at least make your ears ring, I found one of those when I sampled them.

All the olives are locally grown in the Corning area and processed near the orchards.  As a matter of fact, the processing plant is about 1 mile east of the Olive Pit.  We passed it many times in our journey from Red Bluff to Pomona these past three weeks.

Enjoy…and bon apetit!

Murray Family Farms

Murray Family Farms

Joe has been to this fruit stand before.

Traveling on I-5, north or south, it is at the Copus Road exit – I think it is 208.  At the exit go east about 1-1/2 miles and it is on the right.

My first time at Murray Family Farms was on Memorial weekend.  Busy place.  The parking lot was packed and the small store was crammed with people.  Mostly everyone inside was freely sampling the fruits.  Cherries were seen mostly being tasted by the customers.  Some people were holding crates of strawberries and cherries while the majority had a bag or two in their hands.

There are two public restrooms that are for everyone to use.  They are not marked as Men and Women, they are for anyone to go in when they are free to use.  So ladies, be forewarned.  You may find the seat up when you go into the restroom.

The Resident Baker

On one of our visits, during a less busy day, we had the chance to speak with the people that work here.  I neglected to get their names as I talked with them but I did get some information about Murray Family Farms from this young man.

This young man is the resident baker for this store.  He got his culinary degree in Idaho.  He and his family have lived in this area of California for a long time and used to come to Murray Family Farms for the pumpkin patch in the fall with his children.  Now he is one of them and makes the pies from all the fresh fruit.  The pies are scrumptious.

According to this young man, Murray Family Farms began 13 years ago around 1997.  The Murray family was not from around here and did not grow up on any of the farms.  A vineyard and buildings, long neglected, had been for sale so they purchased it and began tending the grapes.  Through their husbandry the vineyard began to come back and produce.  Enough so the Murray family could purchase more land.

The fall pumpkin patch was a huge success during their growing stages and was a yearly fixture.  As time passed more land was purchased and strawberries and other berries were added to the growing list of produce.  Neglected cherry orchards were next acquired and they began to grow and produce under the Murray’s.  Today there are two locations where their produce is sold and they have a website – .  The website is not yet set up to place orders but I am told that will be coming in the near future.

"U Pick"

One of the features of the Murray Family Farm is “You Pick”.  For $6.00 per person you can walk the rows of berries, or be in the orchards, and pick your own fruits.  If you make preserves and jellies, or you are one that loves the canning season this could be something you might enjoy doing.

I asked if everyone was weighed first before they went to the fields then weighed again once they returned.  I was told “No, silly.  The first pound is free.”  So you can feel free to eat as you pick.

There is a vehicle with some kind of trailer thing with seats and a roof over your head.  This vehicle takes you to the produce of your choice, drops you off at a “rally point” and you are given plastic buckets to fill with your desired fruits.  When you are done you go back to the tented “rally point” and wait for the vehicle to come and get you to take you back to the store.  There you will pay for your days pickings and off you go to be the culinary artist in your home.

I suppose your children may find this fun – for about 10 minutes – as you stroll the rows of strawberries or hunch over the blueberry bushes, work through the prickly bushes for raspberries or black berries, or reach over your head through the cherry orchards.  Once you arrive home with your days work there will be berries in the freezer for later, and the aroma of cooking strawberries or black berries waft through your home as you create your jellies and preserves.

If you have the stamina for it you might find your own niche in processing raw fruits into sumptuous pies and tarts you can sell to local restaurants.  You may be the next Food Network darling with your pies, tarts, and preserves that people clamber after.

Preserves and jellies

If you don’t want to go through all the trouble of being in a hot kitchen you can purchase the jellies and preserves Murray Family Stores has to offer.

Packaged and whole fruits

You can also do what Joe and I did.  Grab a bag of cherries or a couple peaches, maybe a nectarine or two, how about a hand full of apricots and take them with you on your trip.

Some people that have stopped at the store have not got far from the door before they were into the bags of cherries.  Lips and gums red from the delicious fruits, finger tips stained from getting the seeds extracted from their mouths and dumped in the trash can at the sidewalk.  The strawberry eaters toss the leafy part any place and get another one out of the bag or container in preparation for the next bite.  Both types of people do a lot of slurping and wiping the backs of their hands across their mouths to stem the flow of fruit juice before it stains their clothes.  Yum!!!

Flats of fruit

Peaches, nectarines, and strawberries

Now, I’m hungry.  “Hey, Honey….”