Posts Tagged With: Dragon


My son is an excellent builder with vast experience, so it was a natural to have him build my house in Oregon. We got a late start in September with hold-ups from the building department, including mis-filed paperwork, lost paperwork, demands for tests that were not required-not exactly an efficient system. The delays put us in the rainy season.  And, now that the building is in progress, the rain makes things difficult and slows down everything. There are days when I’m hanging on-line or hanging next to the phone. Our roofer, expected to arrive yesterday, had to bail. Hours of phone calls, I got another roofer and it will be finished today, one of two clear days.The plumber comes in on the 20th.

So, I’m still necessarily absent from this blog a lot, but here is a progress report:

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The foundation was set in late September.

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The West end of the building. It is under 1,000 square feet. But the gutters are on, the rooftop is up, papered and ready for shingles.

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The East end of the building. It was necessary to design a small building, long and narrow, in the same shape as the mobile that was destroyed by an inside flood. We learned the cause during the take down. A tenant had hot wired the electrical and when he left, a pipe inside froze, and the well, still hooked up to the electricity, kept pumping water into the place.

My property has a river running though it and it has flooded twice since 2001. Not at the building site which is considered part of the 100 year flood plain. (I learned a lot about flood plains.)  So, my building site was restricted to the same area where the mobile was. Doug has built it as a one man project. The subs are roof, electric and plumbing.

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The north side of the house faces the road. the window openings are covered with plastic to keep out the rain.

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I did a walk through with the plumber and electrician before Thanksgiving. The windows are now in, the showers/tub, arrived on Thursday after a long wait. I’ve designed this efficient little house to be wheelchair accessible with handicapped bathrooms. Now that these special units are inside the framed building, the sliding glass door can be set in.

My Oregon neighbors tell me it looks great with the siding on and the windows in.  Doug didn’t expect to have to stay in a 5th wheel so long without a break to come home, but he is dedicated to the job and will stay until the plumber and electrician are finished. He didn’t make it home for Thanksgiving. But he will make it home for Christmas.

The fifth wheel he has been living in, the bathroom is so small he can’t use it, he has a porta potty on the job. He is unable to shave in the mirror because his arms hit the walls and he can’t get to his face.  Not a good choice on the 5th wheel, but it does give shelter and laughter.

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Now, meet the dragon. When I first began traveling back and forth between Murphys and my place in Oregon, I enjoyed a roadside sculpture of a bull. Not to be outdone, another rancher set up this marvelous dragon to entertain we passersby. He doesn’t fit well in a single photo. He must be 25 feet long.

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The other joy is majestic scenery. Mt. Shasta is visible in the distance, but she was obscured by clouds when I was at the optimum place to take a photo on this trip.

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A handsome devil, wouldn’t you agree?  My next trip up, early January, hopefully, I’m going to attempt to photograph the bull up close. Hmm!  With those eyelashes, he might be a she.

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I’ve never stopped in the little gold-rush town of Soulsbyville until my treatments at SpineForce brought me here. My friend Jan and I decided to kind of meander and poke around town.

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An old sawdust burner caught my eye. They are huge and hard to miss, of course. I didn’t know there were any left. They’ve all been removed or just fallen down. This one is being cared for and preserved. Bully for Soulsbyville.

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Soulsbyville is located above Sonora, CA. on highway 108. And while it was a rip-roaring gold town at one time when the gold petered out, it became a lumbering town. Thus the sawdust burner.

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And here, you can just pull over and enjoy a feast of blackberries along the road. Of course, Jan and I ate the big fat black ones before I remembered to get out my camera.

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Back on 108 headed down hill, I stopped to take a picture of this funky mailbox. A nearby company manufactures that pipe this fellow is made from. Jan wondered why I took a picture of this mailbox.

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This question from a woman who builds pyramids in her yard. Huh?  I like pictures of funky mailboxes. And, in fact, I’m in the process of designing one of my own since my mail box post is rotting and needs replacement.

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I was telling Jan how I missed the old Byrd House since they widened the highway and voila! There it was, not gone after all. I was truly surprised and even though it is crowded by a power pole and practically touching the electric wires, I had to record this strange building. It was once Byrd Realty Office, many years ago. I’m glad it has been preserved. I guess I like Eclectic things.

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We eventually got to the gold-rush town of Columbia. I told her I knew where there was a dragon but it is in someone’s yard and I’ve never gotten a good picture of it. Well…

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Jan pointed out that his snout was blackened and he must snort flames.

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Isn’t he handsome?  We found the pipe and propane tank hiding near his tail. And, no one came out and took a shot at us. People are pretty laid back here.

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As we were leaving the “dragon” road, we spotted this old miner’s cabin. The Motherlode used to be full of little miners cabins. They, too, are falling apart, being removed and are just supposedly useless relics from the past. This miner knew to build on top of a rock to prevent his foundation from rotting away.

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I’m glad this old cabin is still around to remind us of the rudimentary places the miners called home. This one is quite big compared to others I’ve seen, and must have housed a wife and children, too. The brow over the window, or former window, is still holding on.

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From the front, you can see a modern address and electric meter. It is very possible someone still lives here.

Jan wanted to visit Spineforce and if she hadn’t been with me I’d have probably just headed for home instead of seeing things from a tourists eyes. It was fun.





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Margot Schneider is 89 years old. She and her husband Horst came out of Germany after WWII with three kids and 17 cents in his pocket. Margot is nearly deaf and Horst is nearly blind. “Well, between the two of us, we are a whole person.” she jokes. Margot says their philosophy of life is “Do no harm to yourself, to others, or to any living thing.” Margot has a special gift with animals and birds. They seem to recognize immediately she will never hurt them.

Horst, at 92, has magnifying glasses all over the house. He uses a computer program called Dragon made by Nuance. It recognizes his voice and types for him. Then it has a reader to read it back to him to make sure he didn’t get misunderstood and typed in loose for juice, or some such. Horst is currently writing a book, and has approximately 200 poems and small short stories on his web site. (He used to build websites for companies at one time.)
He got his start in America by working as a mail-sorter for an insurance company. Before a year had passed, he was working in their accounting department.

He is a self taught computer programmer and built a program for Margot’s knitting business. They had five knitting machines that he programmed for specific garments that she sold. Now, she knits beautiful sweaters, vests and scarves for her grand kids and great grand kids by hand.  Horst has met and worked with some of the famous programmers from Apple and Microsoft. He has technical articles published that are now out of date because technology changes so quickly.

Last year, Margot fell and broke her neck. So, at 92, he learned to cook. Not hamburgers or hot dogs. He likes gourmet food and prepares boef bourgignon, French onion soup and chicken stroganoff plus German specialties they like. Now that her neck is healed, she says, “Let him cook. Its his turn.” Nothing daunts them.

When he was in his eighties, he and Margot volunteered at a State Park. Their finances took a hit and he was looking for work and had applied at Hotels and places where his ability to speak five languages would be of help. “But, they hired young blondes,” he jokes. He was about to take a job as a dishwasher at $5.15 per hour, when the Park Rangers came to him and said they wanted him to take on a ranger’s position.
“A Ranger,” he protested, “I’m too old for that.”  But, it worked for everyone. He translated all of their literature and brochures into Russian and German versions. He taught rocketry to young kids and park biology to others.
Jim wanted to visit one more time with them before they move to Louisiana. (Their house in on the market.) They inspire everyone who meets them. They are the treasure, because they inspire and challenge us to live fully with verve and dignity.

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