Sunday, May 06, 2007

Friends & Neighbors

Wow. A week since my last entry. I really have fallen off the face of the planet. But you'll be interested to know that we are starting to socialize a bit here at the ranch. Thanks to others around us!

First, we met two thirds of our easterly neighbor. PG&E had to get an easement from us so that they could move a telephone pole out of our neighbor's front pasture. We had heard about them ("The old man's a kind of a hermit but he got together with this woman who had two children and when the daughter was old enough, he got more interested in her…") and often hear this creepy radio sound coming out of an old abandoned truck in their yard, but the mother and daughter finally came around to our place to explain the telephone pole situation ("We want to build a barn but the pole's in the way…") In doing so, we found out that 1) the old man is now married to the daughter (!) and 2) the mother has been banished to a trailer (!)

Then we met Miguel's family yesterday.

Miguel is a classmate of Horse Girl. His family recently moved into our valley, into a strange building across the street that looks like a giant barn. This is a temporary home for them while they rebuild their home. We had heard from the mother/daughter of Incestuous Family that the owners had built this structure to be a giant barn with living quarters above it, but when they were told by the county that they couldn't build their main home ("The living quarters above the barn have a full kitchen and bath, so that's it.") they moved somewhere else. I'm not sure who owns it now, but in any case, the owners don't live there. Miguel's Very Large Family does.

(At this point, I must tell you that "across the street" is on the other side of the creek and past two big pastures, but in a place like where you are "neighbors" if you live in the same valley, they're almost next door neighbors.)

It was Cinco de Mayo and Horse Girl, her mom, Big Dog and I were invited to their place for a barbeque. We were the only guests but with Mammy and Pappy, two sisters, two brothers, a fiancé, a Very Pregnant Chihuahua, a spotlight chasing Stud Chihuahua and a black and white terrier, we were quite the party! (Miguel also has another brother and sister who weren't there.

While Pappy was grilling the chicken and carne asada and Mammy was roasting some pumpkin seeds (yummm!) Miguel showed us the strange building.

"Wow. It's a giant garage!" Big Dog was impressed. Maybe as impressed with the size as much as with all of Pappy Felix's landscaping tools and vehicles.
"Wow. What a cool place to have something like a rave!" I said.
"Yeah. Wouldn't it be awesome?" Horse Girl agreed.
"And guess what this is?" Miguel asked, pointing to something that looked like a concrete bathroom stall , except with a standard white entry door.
"A toilet?" Big Dog thought of the obvious.
"It's an elevator! It goes upstairs," Miguel told us.
Oh. It would have been much more interesting if the elevator went DOWN into yet another cavernous room.

Already, I was waaaay over my Social Activity Quota. Not only had I been having my "Meet The Neighbors" Week, but our friend, J, from Tokyo/Tennessee/Colorado is staying on our ranch during the winter (when he's not out at all these horse events -- which is to say, maybe a night or two a week) and he and the Glass Blower who lives above him had been over to our house several times during the past 10 days.

So did we stay home today, having a quiet dinner by ourselves? No. Big Dog and I went with J to meet yet more neighbors. I guess you can call them neighbors, even though they are on the other side of the hill and not in our valley.

These people live at the entrance to our No Way Out road and run a horse boarding facility and organic farm. It's where J kept his horses last winter and will do so again, starting this week.

My farming is all play compared to what these folks do. They went at it the old fashioned way -- with a down payment on the land and lots of bank loans to get going -- and have been working hard to make it all happen. Now, they have the horse boarding, a polo field, and ducks, pigs and goats in addition to the organic farm. J's friend showed us her tiny miniature pony, a pretty, blue-eyed princess ("Her name's From Russia With Love. We call her Russia, for short.") and her adorable newborn ducks and we all marveled at how perfect the day was.

They get a lot more wind, being on the Los Osos Valley side, but Sunday was windless, sunny and warm all day and into the rose colored evening. How many times did someone point out that "this is heaven"? At least once during the orange, pink and purple sunset. Again, listening to the frogs…and seeing a shooting star…but most of all when we were scarfing down Jim's divine strawberry pie, made with their fresh organic strawberries.

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