Posts Tagged With: barns


DSC08271 (Copy)A long time friend, Pam Munn came to stay with me for a couple weeks. We’ve been visiting old haunts in Calaveras County where she spent most of her life. We stopped in for a visit with her brother-in-law, Ken Munn and her nephew, John. Ken’s dog is so protective that she couldn’t get close enough to hug him.DSC08275 (Copy)Ken is a character, and at 84 years old, hasn’t lost his sense of humor and likes to “pull your leg.”

DSC08277 (Copy)He likes to get out and water the plants in the morning. We enjoyed a day of balmy, beautiful weather. His place is remote and blessed with starry nights and peace and quiet. I discovered his place can grow olives, lemons, & cherries with no fear of deep frosts. The Elevation is equal with Mokelumne Hill.

DSC08278 (Copy)This is Roady, so named by ranchers who use the road. He hogs the road in the shade to soak up the warmth from the asphalt yet remain out of the sun. He moves slowly from obvious arthritis when you get him to move. Just another character revered by the neighbors.

DSC08279 (Copy)Colorful entrances beckon and guard. Beauty in an area so remote that few people get to see them.

DSC08280 (Copy)A colorful old barn with a stone foundation still in use. Makes me want to get out the paint brush and easel.

DSC08287 (Copy)Two flanking cupids guard the entrance to this ranch.

DSC08290 (Copy)Also repeated in an out building.

DSC08289 (Copy)I love the gnarled old tree giving shade. They belong together like old friends.

DSC08292 (Copy)No need for a locked mailbox in this country.

Ken’s friend Betty stopped to visit and suggested we go to the Peach Festival in Copperopolis. We didn’t see a sign and couldn’t find it, so we drove around Lake Tulloch and made our way back to Murphys. It has been years since I’ve been in “Copper”. I’m stuck at home with six more weeks of therapy, but guests get you out of your rut to places and things you’ve never seen. What a fun day.


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My idea of a great fair, is to eat all the greasy, yummy foods you don’t make at home and don’t eat out. Wow! Grilled turkey drums filled the bill. We arrived early with the idea to walk around during the coolest part of the day outside and do the inside exhibits when it got hotter. We weren’t hungry yet, so we passed them for later.

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A ride called Freak Out where your legs hang free with nothing under you, always freaked me out. I did ride one but it made me uncomfortable enough to never do it again.

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I just KNEW someone was going to fall out of that contraption. But, no one did.

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This ride was a bit milder.

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At least they have a bar across the seat. I had fun watching them. Not interested in riding anymore.

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Kids love the merry-go-round. Me too.

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This little girl doesn’t look to sure of a roaring lion. Maybe mom selected for her.

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She might have been more comfortable on this kitty cat.

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As we walked along, a horse judging event was taking place and we stopped to watch. My youngest daughter had a horse in our local fair and I kind of knew what was taking place. The student shows the horse to its best advantage in a set walk, with set positioning. It shows both the student’s and the horses training and obedience, smooth handling, etc.

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I picked this girl to win. It was a familiar move to watch her get her horse with his back legs spread and into a particular stance.

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We met her later in the barns. And she won that event.

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It helps to have a really great horse, too. And this one has many ribbons including a Grand Champ.

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Hmmm!  Look at all these sausages, and onions, and peppers. It smells really good at the fair. I usually end up eating sausage something. This fair had no beer booths that I could see.

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This guy was just sweating around those grills. He had heaps of fried potatoes and onions to go with those sausages. Oh, my. Not quite hungry enough yet. Good and greasy though.

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Danny Vernon? Not sure I have his name right. He was a cool Elvis Impersonator. I’ve heard a couple Elvis’s but this guy was really good. The moves, the looks, the whole show.

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Then we came to the draft horses. They had clydesdales,  percherons, and possibly another type. They are enormous with enormous heads. Kind of intimidating.

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Didn’t seem intimidating to this young woman nonchalantly reading a mag.

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You have to get up on a bench to dress and brush these giants.

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Didn’t bother this young girl, braiding a giant tail.

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I don’t know how this giant felt about having  a little tutu on her tail.

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This draft horse has a beautiful tail, unlike the percherons. It was being harnassed for a wagon pull at 1:00. We intended to go back and watch it, but by then we were what seemed half a mile way from that arena.

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We walked through the Home Arts building. Tons of needlework. People are often surprised to see that men design and sew quilts. This one is by Dave Ball, and has a masculine flavor.

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Another by Robert Newsome, excellent points and beautiful quilting. I was impressed.

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An interesting crazy quilt done in cotton, with flower prints.

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One block from a farm themed quilt.

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A woman making bobbin lace. I was impressed that she could talk and keep shifting bobbins at the same time. It takes intense concentration.

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She showed me a framed piece she had done.

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You don’t often see real hooked rugs, using wool pieces instead of yarn. I make braided rugs, and hooked rugs. The problem is, I’ve hooked some pieces, but never actually finished a hooked rug. I have two that are half done. I love the darn things. They are heritage quality pieces when finished. Someday…

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We are getting hungry and I love my fair food, but this giant corndog doesn’t appeal to me. I’m posting the picture because this is my youngest daughter’s favorite fair food. Betcha never saw one this big?

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The swine barn was interesting. I’d never seen one of these cradles that prevents the sow from rolling over on her babies and killing them. In the old days, people kept their sows in pens where the babies could nurse through holes in the fence where she didn’t have any space to roll. This is much friendlier for both.

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And, the type of pigs we raised had curly tails. I didn’t realize that some pigs have straight tails.

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I watched this pigs tail as she tried to uncurl it and it would just retract back into a curl when she relaxed. What is really telling about fair animal barns is the lack of any unpleasant odors. Super clean. DSC08656 (Copy)

I keep looking for the perfect junk food.

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One booth was making gyros. I took a picture of this lady’s gyro and I peeked and watched them make it first. Can you even see that one thin slice of lamb?

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I finally settled for this chicken, taco salad. It was not very greasy but very tasty. I had a piece of chicken in just about every bite. I figured to save that turkey drum stick for later in the day.  But, we saw a lot more fair. More tomorrow.


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An early appointment for a therapeutic massage put me on the road to Angels Camp on the Murphys Grade Rd. And this tree popped into my line of sight. It was so bright it appeared to be on fire. I couldn’t believe it, but, the picture doesn’t do it justice. Kind of reminded me of Moses and the burning bush. My daughter Virginia climbed Mt. Sinai and spotted a similar burning bush lit by the rays of the sun. She went to college one year in Egypt.

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Because I was early for my appointment, and the sun was so perfect, I stopped for a couple of barns. I’m sure everyone but me is tired of barn pictures. I don’t know the owner of this one.

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This one belongs to Tom Tryon, a friend I haven’t seen in a three or four years. How does that happen, I ask myself?

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And, this little miners shack, just west of town. I wanted to do some grocery shopping but the stores were packed, so I skipped.

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About 4:00 in the afternoon,  I drove to Tuolumne County for my Elks Club dinner meeting. The reservoir is down so low it is scary.

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You can see remnants of the old road before Spicer Dam flooded the area. I used to love this windy road down to the bottom of the canyon, over the river and then back up to the Tuolumne side. I still like it, even with the changes and the “new” bridge.

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The low sun lit up the hillside across from the Bridge, and I had to stop a minute and admire the scene.

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I left early enough to stop in and see Anne and her caretaker, Tynna. They are now out of quarantine. Tynna showed me the lap robes they are knitting for wheelchair bound people, for Christmas. Their charity. Tynna does most of the knitting and Anne tells her how to do it in a round shape so they don’t catch on the wheel chair mechanics. Years ago, Anne made give away baby quilts and used up tons of what would have been throw-away material.

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Then, on I went to my Elks Club dinner meeting. Because I travel so much, I don’t know everyone. But, I usually get to know one person at a time. I ordered a craft beer at the bar and Dennis Costa told me about his son, who is the brew master for Half Moon Bay’s brewpub. I love Half Moon Bay, so hopefully I’ll get to meet him someday and enjoy a brew.

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Another bright spot. I spoke with this woman and said, “How are you?”  Her answer, “I’m superb!”  I loved it. Apparently she had been ill and was reveling in her wellness. Her husband is the Elks Foundation Leader. I like Elks Charity which supports abused children. The foundation raises funds for the National Office.

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I sat next to Laurel…

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…and Dave Utecht. They are former members of the Escapees, an RVing Club. Jim and I both know members of that club. They were very active for years in the singles Birds of a Feather Buff group within the Escapees, which had about 115 members.  So we had a lot to talk about, mutual friends and wonderful travels. What a surprise.

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With the Elks, I always consider my self their traveling ambassador and I announce what Elks Clubs we visited in our travels.  For 2012 and 2013, this two-year circumnavigation of the U.S. we visited, Kingsville, Texas Elks, Camden, Tennessee, Oakland, New Jersey,  Norwalk, Ohio, Iron Mt. Michigan, Devils Lake, N. Dakota, and Kallispell Montana.  And, All I had to show for it was this Crappie T Shirt. What a nice bunch of people.

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Saturday last, as Jim and I made our way around the Motherlode taking barn pictures, we ran into my old friend, Don Cuneo. I told him we were going to Calaveritas for pictures and though this isn’t an old barn, it is definitely an Icon of the gold rush. Don’s sister, Louise Cuneo Greenlaw owns the gold rush era Costa Store. You can still see the lettering on the front of the building. Her house is partially visible on the right.

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The west side of the Costa Store shows the various layers of history, from the old hand made adobe bricks near the roof, to the modern replacement bricks put in at some time to shore it up.  Mostly gone plaster that at one time covered over the brick evidences another time in history.

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Louise’s house was once a gold rush brick building, too, with some brick and enlarged with a native rock foundation on the left.  It has been modernized with a wood frame house on the old foundation long ago. I have wonderful memories of parties, mostly fundraisers in this lovely old garden hosted by Louise and the barbeques or meals cooked by her brother Don, who was the chef and owner of the Black Bart Inn hotel and restaurant for more years than any of us can remember. Their brother Fred lived just across the creek from the Costa Store. Fred, the oldest Cuneo brother, is gone now. And, another Cuneo brother has a similar building at Jesu Maria. A very public spirted family, Don served a couple of terms as Calaveras County Supervisor, and President of the Historical Society, to name a few of his volunteer projects.

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Across from the Costa Store is a beautiful, well kept barn. I don’t know who owns any of the barns of Calaveritas we photographed.

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On this one, I particularly liked the old vine covering, turning color in the fall. Double click it to enlarge it for a better look.

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An old miner’s shack, also shored up as the adobe brick or rock foundations gave way or caved into a basement. Ratty old siding covers the wood, showing a past attempt to preserve the old house.

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We saw three or four old foundations where the buildings finally gave up, probably torn down for their wood.

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I admire that the new owners try to preserve some of these relics of the past. The back part of this building is holding up.

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But the front and both sides are propped up with lumber. This building is probably not used.

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Many of the old shacks people use as storage buildings, like this one, built on flat ground.

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Calaveritas Livery Stable is still intact.

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We drove along and found several still working ranches using the old barns, like this one.

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And, this one. I find it interesting that California barns have a similarity in style that is different from barns in Pennsylvania Dutch country, for instance.

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This old barn shows the peak and loft with a hay hook. Still in decent shape. Couldn’t see any signs of use. I know the loft was a wonderful place to play when we were kids. (At someone else’s barn.)  The hay was pitch forked down for the cows and horses. Some barns had animal stalls below the loft, others did not keep animals where manure soiled the hay barn, especially in California where weather isn’t harsh. We began anew on Sunday and did more barns. I think the only thing missing from the picture is an artist set up with an easel to paint. Many are worth painting, in my opinion.

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Today is Veterans Day, and no matter what your personal feelings about war are, it is important to remember and honor the men and women who have given of themselves to benefit all of us. Amen!! (I get to kiss a veteran today.)

Saturday, is play day for us. I think Jim just likes to get me out and about so I don’t rant on my blog. Anyway…I went for a haircut first.

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Sue cut my hair after finishing this gent.

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Then we went to the Food Bank, actually, a bus parked at Angels Market accepting donations. I brought Karen’s bag full and our box. And the need is so great, I wrote a check, too. They claim they don’t have the resources to give turkeys to people this year.

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Our plan was to photograph some of the old barns and miner’s cabins we see all over the Motherlode. We call them endangered species since so many of them are literally falling apart. I’ve driven past this building for over 30 yeas and always wondered about it but knew nothing about it.

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The owner explained to us that it was an old gold era inn called Monte’s Inn. It belonged to the Monte Verde family and the owner is a relative of the Monte Verde’s so it is still in the family. It once faced the highway, which has since been rerouted.  Monte’s Inn  had a bar and restaurant inside. They let rooms and during the depression, built a lean-to on the back to shelter homeless wanderers. I was delighted to learn about this building.

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The next barn down the line, headed for San Andreas, is the Spence Ranch Barn. I believe they still run sheep.

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The Airola barn is obviously still used in the family cattle ranch.

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This feed barn brightly painted and advertising antiques is still an old barn. You can tell by the stacked rock foundation. It belongs to what was once the  Schaner Inn across the highway from this barn. They sell antiques. In horse and buggy days, Inns popped up about every ten miles or so to service travelers.

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It was about lunch time when we reached San Andreas and this Mexican Restaurant, under new ownership, I was told has good food.

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The restaurant is located right next to the VFW, so we decided to stop in and say hello, first, since the post was open.

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And, there we met Don Cuneo, a friend of mine I hadn’t seen since 2001. I told him what we were doing, taking pictures of old barns, etc. and he told me he used to go to dances at Monte Verde’s Inn when he was a young man. There was a big dance hall there then.

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For lunch I ordered two tostitas. Jim order chicken in his, I had chili verde in mine. Full of big hunks of meat. We got out of the place for $12.69 for two lunches. No drinks. We had a beer at the VFW.

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After lunch, we traveled to Calaveritas and back to Angels Camp, photographing more barns. But, our goal was to return to Murphys by 2:00 for the unveiling of a remodeled master bedroom and bath. My friend and neighbor Jan, if you remember from an earlier blog, I took to the emergency room because she had fallen and injured her leg.

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Jan lives in a two story house and shared expenses with a gentleman who lived in her Master bedroom upstairs for over two years. Unfortunately, it was pretty much demolished and a bid to repair it was over $7,000.

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Jan decided to do the work herself, but she couldn’t climb the stairs. Her friend Cheryl, pretty much organized the group of friends who volunteered to remodel and refurnish the bedroom under her directions.  Jan was not allowed to know what was going on nor could she peek.

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The graphic on the bathroom wall, tells it all. Jan is such a good friend to everyone, when the chips are down, everyone wants to help. Floor tile,bathroom tile, sink, all new.

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Everyone came to see the unveiling. Becky hugs a tearful Jan.

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We all gaped and oohed and ahhed and had a toast to everyone’s efforts.

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And, her friend Leslie, who will move in to the room and share expenses,  couldn’t wait to try out the new bed, with the new mattress. She loved it.

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Jan asked for one concession to her surprise decorator. Please don’t change my Dawn wall. She and her daughter Dawn painted the East wall, this golden color which faces the East and meets the dawn.  Cheryl promised. So the room was a complete make-over from tile, to carpet to bedding, furniture, lamps, wall decorations etc. Accomplished with $2,000 and a lot of love. And, Cheryl had so much fun, she decided to get a degree in decorating at Columbia Community College and hang out her shingle.

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Earlier, I blogged Dr. Souza and his SpineForce 3D Rehab trainer. But, the building that houses Dr. Souza and his practcie is a huge metal warehouse fittingly stocked with many types of exercise machines and fitness programs under the name of Class 5.

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There is a giant wall to climb  that is straight up and down to replicate a solid granite mountain climb.

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A small one for small fry or folks impaired, like me.

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They have physical therapy, balance, posture, strength conditioning, weight loss and pain management programs and assistance with child care if you need it.

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They also have  the smallest “cafe” I’ve ever seen. People come here to exercise, not eat. And, they come to Dr. Souza for treatments and I must say, I’m getting well in leaps and bounds. I feel a bit like something magical is going on as I’m conditioning and strengthening deep spinal muscles.  When I get home, I’m bone tired, but the next day, I can walk briskly for 15 minutes and do some stairs both up and down without pain. I have two more appointments before I fly. I’m counting heavily on those treatments.DSC07664 (Copy)

As I left Dr. Souza’s, this misshapen tree caught my eye. It is majestic even with its odd trunk. Like us, we don’t all have perfect bodies but we function pretty well anyway.

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I like old barns and I know they will not be around for many more years and it seems appropriate to record them for posterity. When I return in the fall, I plan to do a barn photo trip and catch a bunch of them in Calaveritas and Mokelumne Hill.

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This old miner’s shack in Vallecito is on its last legs. It is hard to imagine anyone calling such a small place home. They are also getting scarce.

Tomorrow and Thursday,  I will visit my sister in Chico. She is recovering from cancer surgery.   I’ll be back on this page after the 25th.

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