Posts Tagged With: Quyle Kilns


Some years, I’m imbued with Christmas Spirit. Other years I have to be dragged to the storage shed that holds the decorations. Why that is, I haven’t a clue. This year I got everything together early, humming and singing carols,  and enjoying the nostalgia of Christmases past. I invited the neighbors in for soup. Unfortunately, considerable wind damage up the hill prevented everyone from coming. The kiosk at Big Trees State Park was destroyed by a tree. Trees were blown onto several homes, others blocked driveways and the highway. Fires erupted and the winds fanned the flames. Power was out for 13 hours in some places and 26 hours in other places. Some still don’t have power. Yikes!

We sipped and nibbled. Karen, knowing I was tired of apples after my trees provided a bountiful harvest, brought me a gift.

The last apple on the tree. As you can see, it isn’t much bigger than a cashew nut.  It was a two-biter and I ate the darn thing while everyone laughed.

The Italian sausage soup was delicious and the decorations cheerful. Though missing several people, we enjoyed our time together.

I like to decorate several small trees that can be stored with their decorations intact. Our main tree is lit with candles on Christmas Eve.

The next day, with power restored,  I brought soup up to Quyles Kiln and we had lunch in the work room. Her showroom was dizzy with customers for about two hours before we got a chance to eat. While waiting, I crossed the driveway to Bryce Station Winery Tasting Room, and chatted with Pam’s sister Dolores, pouring their estate wines.

She, too, was busy, but had a small break.

I poked around the blacksmith shop and noticed two very young apprentices, a  girl and a boy.  Pam and Dolores’ father died several months ago and Eden, his first female blacksmith student, is now running the forge.

This is Eden with a young 12-year-old boy. Smithing is a fading craft, kept alive in little pockets like this one. It is basically a non-profit.

This couple told us stories of their exploits in Japan. They bought five Japanese sushi plates and a chopstick rest. Pam has that quality where her customers become instant friends.

Pam reminded me that I took video of her son’s first steps as a toddler. He is now 21 years old.  It is hard to believe we’ve been friends for so many years. While there, a guy from Copperopolis, Mark Viola, discovered the kiln and the printing presses that reside there. He was blown away that so much activity is close by and he had never seen it.  If you get a chance, Quyles Kilns  it is a great place to visit.


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Last minute chores before leaving made for a hectic day. A Calaveras Community Television Meeting at a local Pizza Parlor, along with the usual preparing the yard and house for someones care while I’m gone. No small task.

John Hofstetter, is a retired school principal and an avid volunteer for local causes, including computer expertise to share; he advocates and volunteers for the Logging Museum, and is a member of the board for Calaveras Community Television.
Paul Moeller on the right, is instantly recognized by everyone for his continual service to the community; gathering and copying historical photos for the public’s use; videotaping every major and minor event in the county for public television. A massive task. He organized CCT and oversaw the volunteer building of a television studio here. This is a major accomplishment called the “Jewel of the Motherlode.”

Pam Quyle, right, hugs Paul’s wife Martha. Pam is a busy businesswoman, (Quyle Kilns) who still manages to take time out to serve on our board and that of the PEG Commission. John and Pam have been longtime residents. Paul and I are the newcomers. I serve on the board but I’ve only been here 33 years. Paul about 43 years. Hey, up here, if you weren’t born here, you are a Johnny come lately. We always have a laugh about that.
When I get on the road with Jim, I miss my garden flowers a lot, as unkempt as the yard  has become of late. This year I got to see my daffodils. And, as I leave, I found two of my hybrid Iris in bloom. I probably have 25 different Iris. They are just fat and beginning to show. But, here are the two beauties I got to smell before we leave this morning.

See you on the road.

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I’ve heard it said that the Vista Outlook named Hells Kitchen on Highway 4 above Dorrington is called that because it is a fire chimney. If fire hits that canyon, so the story goes, it will burn clear into Nevada. The canyon sides are steep and machinery has no access. We escaped the 97* heat by traveling to higher elevations and into Hells Kitchen.
At Bear Valley Lodge, in front of the fireplace, we stopped a moment. The lodge has a museum and many interesting photos, one of Monte Wolf near his cabin, and some of the Blood family that first settled there and had a toll station. Mt. Reba is named for Blood’s daughter, Reba.
The ski runs have an entirely different beauty in summer.
Our destination was the cooling waters of Lake Alpine. The water level was down- the result of another drought, but the pristine waters and beautiful granite rocks did not disappoint. Richard and Bernice, both managed a hike. The ducks were tame so we knew they were used to being fed. Pat is a bird person and, she raises exotic birds, and they seem to sense that she would feed them. She did!

We arrived at the Logging Museum in Arnold/White Pines in time for me to connect with an old friend, John Hoffstetter who gave us a tour of this wonderful facility with many details and insights of the trade. My guests from Michigan with logging in their background could identify with the Michigan California alliance, a company formed by a Michigander named Stephenson and a California counterpart. The old equipment brings back memories for all of us. My dad logged as well.
Our last stop was Quyle Kilns where Delores Quyle-Mast gave us a tour of the clay making process.

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