We were on the road early this morning, heading into the Sierra Nevada mountains to Oak Creek Ranch, leaving the Sacramento delta and our hotel behind. There was a smoky haze hanging over the valley as we parked at the Pleasant Valley Grange where they were serving a pancake breakfast. Breakfast was simple but good; perfect pancakes and eggs that were from someone's chickens -- they had that great backyard chicken flavor that I've been missing so much since we left our chickens behind at Aspen Meadows.
The horses were waiting for us, and for their breakfast, when we pulled into the property at 9:00. We fed, mucked the pasture and then I ventured into the barn bathroom. It was a bit scary with cobwebs hanging thickly down over the toilet; bird poop splattered on the walls, on the toilet and thick on the floor. There was a broom and some other stuff in a corner but the dirt was so thick that I couldn't really tell what it all was. The toilet flushed and the sink ran water so I knew there was a real bathroom underneath all that grime.
I made a list of cleaning supplies and then Brett and I climbed back in the car. We drove further up into the Sierras, past Jenkinson Lake and then across the Mormon Emigrant Trail before dropping back down onto the eastern slope where we met our friends, Buffy & George, for lunch. On the way, we passed a group of Mormons participating in a reenactment of the Mormon's crossing over the Sierras on the original emigrant trail. I looked for my friend Audrey, but didn't see her. I know from her FB posts that she has participated in many of these. It looked like a lot of fun and a great way to experience and learn, by living for a few hours (days?), the difficult trail they blazed to come west.
After lunch, Brett and I drove back up the eastern slope and down the western side. We passed through historic gold rush towns before circling back through the Shenedoah valley. We stopped at Turley winery and tried some wines. (Note to my dad: they were pouring Karley wines as well.) We bought a bottle of zinfandel to have with dinner. Further up the road, as we climbed out of the valley and into the pines, we stopped again to taste olive oil. We ended up with a bottle of oil, a couple of flavored vinegars, bread and goat cheese flavored with lavender.
Back at Oak Creek, I got to work on the bathroom while Brett did the evening chores. Six buckets of water and an entire bottle of Mr. Clean later, the bathroom is clean. The tile floor that emerged from underneath the bird poop and dirt is very pretty -- much too pretty for a barn. Not that I'm complaining.
We ended the day on the front porch, drinking our zinfandel from plastic cups and eating the lavender cheese while dipping the fresh bread in olive oil and vinegar (the balsamic fig vinegar is out of this world). We watched the sun go down, the shadows get long and the deer come in the front gate.
Life is good. Escrow should close Monday or Tuesday. Then, life will be even better.
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