Sunday, May 31, 2015

Howdy! No Trespassing!

I don't know if the runner and "No Trespassing" sign go together. I sure like the combination.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Southside Road Orchard Nymph

Tell me that walnut tree doesn't look like a nymph. She gave my bicycle and me a bit shade while I took a sip of water.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Looking Up from San Benito Street

This is an interestingly quirky, but pretty, view, don't you think? I'm standing near Wentz Alley, across from the biker mural. If you look at the right hand bottom corner of the photo, you can see a tiny bit of the mural.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The View from Seventh & West Streets

The Gabilan Range stands to the south and west of Hollister. When I'm downtown, I don't think of it being there because of the trees and the buildings being in the way. Then all of a sudden I get a peek of the mountains. Wow!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The View from the 3rd Base Burger Bar Patio

The Husband and I had breakfast at the 3rd Base Burger Bar after watching the Portuguese Festival parade this past Sunday morning. Yup, the beer and burger joint serves breakfast on the weekends.

It was perfect weather for eating out on the patio. As I first looked out at San Benito Street, I was reminded of Union Street in San Francisco. No. I wasn't drinking a beer or Bloody Mary.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

2015 Festa do Espirito Santo Parade

Last Sunday, the Husband and I headed down to Dunne Park to watch the start of the annual Portuguese Festival parade. It's one of the prettiest parades in Hollister.

Every year, the Portuguese American community of Hollister holds the Festa Do Espirito Santo, or Feast of the Holy Spirit, on Pentacost Sunday to celebrate a longtime cultural tradition.

The two-day event honors Queen Isabella of the 14th century who helped the starving poor in the Azores Islands against the wishes of her husband.  She gave her crown to the church so that it could buy food for the people.

The local Portuguese American community held its annual festival this weekend at its S.D.E.S. (Socieda do Divino Espirito Santo) Hall on Seventh Street. Saturday night was the crowning of  the "Big Queen" (high school student) and "Little Queen" (elementary school student) and their royal courts, who will represent the community at Portuguese American festivities throughout the year.

The "Big Queen" and "Little Queen" and their courts lead the traditional parade on Sunday morning. They were joined by royal courts from Portuguese American communities in Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Mountain View, Monterey, and other cities.

The parade started at the S.D.E.S. Hall, and made its way up Seventh Street to San Benito Street Street, where the parade marched to Sixth Street and then down to Sacred Heart Church. After attending a mass, the community went back to the hall to enjoy a traditional meal of Portuguese beef and cabbage soup.

To see more parade photos, check out the album at Take 25 to Hollister Facebook page.

I've linked up to Our World Tuesday. Come check out other participants from around the world with me.

Monday, May 25, 2015

A Day To Remember

Memorial Day
by Helen Leah Reed

        No warrior he, a village lad,
                needing nor words nor other prod
        To point his duty; he was glad
                to tread the path his fathers trod.
        Week days he worked in wood and field;
                with homely joys he decked his life;
        The sword of hate he would not wield,
                nor take a part in cankering strife.
        On Sunday in the little choir
                he sang of Peace and brotherly love,
        And as his thoughts soared higher and higher,
                they reached unmeasured heights above.

        A cry for Freedom rent the Land -
                "Our Country calls, come, come, 'tis War;
        Together let us firmly stand;"
                he answered, though his heart beat sore
        At leaving home, and kin, and one
                in whose fond eyes too late he read
        That life for her had but begun
                with the farewells he sadly said.

        A half a century has passed -
                and more - since all those myriads fell;
        For he was one of those who cast
                sweet life into a Battle's hell.
        The village has become a town,
                brick buildings the old graveyard gird;
        Of him who fought not for renown,
                no one now hears a spoken word,
        But on the Monument his name
                in gold is lettered with the rest.
        Without a sordid thought of fame
                he to his Country gave his best.

        Strew flowers, then, Memorial Day
                for him, for all who for us fought.
        With speech and music honors pay;
                teach what our brave defenders taught.
        And now our sons are setting out;
                the call for Right rings to the sky,
        "Our Country! Freedom!" hear them shout,
                re-echoing their Grandsires' cry.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Hillsides of Santa Ana Valley

Are the hills of Santa Ana Valley, which is part of the Diablo Range, technically hills or mountains? I've often wondered.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Prickly Pear Cactus

Who else can't pass by the prickly pear cacti in the San Juan Bautista State Historic Park without taking photos of one or more of them?

Friday, May 22, 2015

Driving Highway 156

A slow-moving tractor on Highway 156 is an annoyance when you're in a hurry. But, that's no reason to dangerously tailgate the tractor or the car. It's best to decrease speed (both your car and yourself), breathe in deeply, and enjoy the rural surroundings until it's safe to go around the tractor. If you're running late, pull over when you can and call your destination. If you're not late, why get yourself mad or upset?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Branch without a Tree

I like to take photos from the car while the Husband is driving. This one was from Highway 156, heading west, as we were nearing the 101 exit. The naked hills captured my interest. So, I was quite surprised when I opened this image on the computer to see the wind in the dry grass and a branch caught in the wires above the grass. Lucky me!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

San Juan Valley

This is a close up of farm tunnels in San Juan Valley. I took the photo from Mission San Juan Bautista. In the far distance are the Diablo Mountains.

Here's the original photo:

I'm participating in Nature Footstep's Digital Art Meme today. To check out other participants or to take part, please click here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

2015 Hollister Certified Farmers' Market

The farmers' market in Downtown Hollister is open every Wednesday from 3:00 to 7:30 p.m. until September 30. Whooo-hooo! 

The market is on San Benito Street, between Fourth and Seventh Streets. So, from around noon to 8 p.m or so, you'll need to find another way through Downtown Hollister. Truly no big deal for fresh vegetables, fruit, and meats; or for baked goods, prepared food, prepackaged foods, and food cooked on the spot; or for such other items as fresh flowers, plants, clothing, jewelry, and crafts. There are also information booths for products, businesses, and nonprofit groups.

The farmers market again features live music from local talents as well as culinary demonstrations. New this year is the First Wednesday Art Nights, hosted by the San Benito County Arts Council. In the works is wine tasting, also on the first Wednesday of the month. 

For more information about the Hollister Certified Farmers' Market, check out its webpage at the Downtown Hollister Association or the market's Facebook page.

Today is Our World Tuesday, and that's where I'm linking up. Click here to visit other participants from around the world. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

A Cute, Big Honey Bee

The San Benito Gold Honey Bee was holding court at last week's Downtown Hollister Certified Farmers Market.

I'm hooking up with Monday Mellow Yellows today. Check out other participants by clicking here.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Late Afternoon Stroll at the Old Mission

At first glance, it looks like the once-upon-a-time Franciscan monk Junipero Serra is actually taking a late afternoon walk through the rose garden at Mission San Juan Bautista.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

M&M Plant Sales Garden Mart

Are you looking for a local independent nursery that sells drought tolerant plants?

Then, M&M Plant Sales Garden Mart is the place to go.

The nursery has two locations. Its main location is 410 Spring Grove Road, off of Fairview Road. In Downtown Hollister, the nursery is on 190 San San Benito Street, at the foot of Park Hill. If you're driving north on San Benito Street, it's easy to miss the entrance.  No problem. Just turn left at First Street, then left onto the gravel lot to the nursery.

The main site is open from Monday to Friday. The downtown spot is open on weekends. It's also open during the week, but I can't recall which days. Visit the nursery's website or Facebook page for more details.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Sun Coast Organic Farm Bakery

After a yummy lunch with friends at the 19th Hole Booze and Food in Tres Pinos, the Husband and I decided to take a leisurely drive back to Hollister via Southside Road. It had rained a little bit that morning, so life was refreshingly grand. How grand? By the time we reached the bridge by Thomas Road, I wanted some ice cream. But, neither of us felt like driving to San Juan Bautista.

As we crossed over the bridge, I remembered that Sun Coast Organic Farm made gelato. Whoo-hooo! Within a minute or so, we saw Sun Coast's sign and turned into the driveway. The bakery was open. Again, Whooo-hoo! 

We bought a pint each of handcrafted lemon gelato and blueberry gelato, which we ate at home while watching a Netflix movie. (I tell you it was a perfect afternoon). The lemon gelato had the perfect marriage of tart and sweet in each spoon full. Wowza! The blueberry gelato was delicious, too, with what I thought was a hint of cinnamon.

The bakery sells all sorts of handcrafted breads, rolls, cookies, and other sweet and savory treats. Their racks were nearly sold out. They do their own milling of organic grains, by the way. It's worth the drive to purchase the artisanal goodies. They also sell cups of coffee, so you can sit and enjoy some of your treats, as well as the scenery, on their cute patio.

The Sun Coast Organic Farm Bakery is open on Fridays, from noon to 7 p.m., and Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The gorgeous—and humorous—view from the bakery's patio.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Fremont Peak in Clear Sight

I had no idea that Fremont Peak can be seen so clearly from Mission San Juan Bautista. It's no wonder Mexican Commandante General José Castro was infuriated when he looked up there and saw the American flag and makeshift fort that U.S. Army Captain John Fremont and his men put up for three days in March 1845.

Originally known as Gavilan Peak, the landmark became Fremont Peak State Park in 1934. It's open year round for day use from 8 a.m. to half-an-hour after sunset. Overnight camping is available.

The views are gorgeous from up there. You can see over to the Monterey Bay/Santa Cruz coast line.

If you're into seeing the night skies, check out the free public viewings offered by the Fremont Peak Observatory Association on selected Saturdays, usually from Spring through early Fall.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


I took this photo from John Smith Road. That's the Diablo Range in the near distance. I can't recall what steps I did in Photoshop to get this transformed image. I wanted to pop out the dried grass and barbed wire, and as I was doing that the lighting on the mountains became apparent. So, I decided to spotlight that area.

Here's the original image:

Today, I'm participating in Nature Footstep's Digital Art Meme. To check out other participants or to take part, please click here.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

John Smith Road

Back road, country road. Same thing, isn't it?

This one is John Smith Road heading into Santa Ana Valley. I enjoy wandering this road, which starts at Fairview Road and goes past the landfill. Pedaling the bicycle is even better. When you get to the end of the road, you can either turn left to cruise through the small valley or turn right to head towards Quien Sabe Road, which takes you to Tres Pinos.

Today, I'm hanging out at Our World Tuesday. Come join me. Click here to visit other participants from around the globe.

Monday, May 11, 2015

A Mellow Yellow Beep-Beep

Haven't seen an old VW beetle of yore? Go by Second and San Benito Streets. You'll see quite a few bugs, as well as an occasional Carmine Ghia, in different states of repair. The yellow bug looks like it's ready to go. Hey! Who let that old Mustang in there?

It's Monday Mellow Yellows today, and that's where I'm linking up. Come check out other participants with me by clicking here.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Thistles of Santa Ana Valley

Here's another view from my wandering the other day through Santa Ana Valley. Yes, it's a photo that I cropped and enhanced then dipped into the artistic features of Photoshop. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Tasty Meals at Dunneville Corners


From behind the windows at Dunneville Cafe and Market, I watched a repetitive scene going on across the street at Clean Green Recycling. Humongous yellow mechanical jaws mangled, pounded, and chewed away at the huge piles of forsaken wood, which would eventually become wood chips for landscaping. The wood must've tasted pretty good to that machine, just as the broaster chicken and tri-tip meal that we bought at Dunneville tasted to us. Yummmmm.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Morning After Rainfall

Yesterday marked a full day and night of rainfall. One weather caster called it a storm. Perhaps in some areas. To me, it was a delightful, gentle, steady Spring rain that gave joyful reprieve to the parched hillsides.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

From the Archives -- Resting Places

Another post from the archives. Enjoy!

Now We Lay Ourselves Down to Rest
(originally published November 13, 2008)
It was bound to happen. I would take a photograph or two of one of my favorite local haunts as a kid—the Calvary Cemetery.

We moved next to the cemetery when I was a fourth grader. We lived on El Camino Paraiso. The English translation: The Heavenly Road or The Road to Paradise. I always thought whoever named the street had a wonderful sense of humor. Or, he was just perverse.

Since my deceased sisters were buried in the cemetery, my family visited it often. As I got older, I found myself pedaling my bike through the cemetery on my own. Where else could I find peace and quiet to think? Today, the remains of my dad and a few other relatives and friends of the family are also there. So, I continue to pop over now and then. I no longer live next to the cemetery, but it’s still only a few minutes away.

San Benito County has several cemeteries. Not such a big deal until I consider that the population was about 18,000 when I was a teenager, many years ago. Currently the population is around 56,000. Only three cemeteries may actually be in use, but what do I know. If you want to know more about some of the other cemeteries in this county, check out these links. Those interested in genealogy will be happy to know that some of these web sites provide a listing or database of the deceased.
Check out these sites for a list of cemeteries in San Benito County, including some not mentioned above.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

From the Archives -- The Downtown Hollister Parking Garage

Today's archival piece is about the gorgeous downtown parking garage on Fourth Street, which you enter via the parking lot on Fifth Street. FYI: I edited the story just a bit.

An Art Museum? A Vista Point?
It's Both and More!
(originally published September 29, 2008)

We have million-dollar art to check out for free in Hollister. Head over to the Briggs Building, which is near the corner of San Benito Street & Fourth Street. That’s the parking garage.

That’s right, I wrote parking garage. You can't miss it. It’s a four-story structure, the tallest one in town. It was built in the 1990s for about $6 million with RDA funds. At full capacity, it can hold about 140 vehicles, so I’ve read. I know, that’s a lot of taxpayers' pennies.

Few people use the parking garage. Maybe the building is just too beautiful to park in. Seriously, the building itself is a piece of art. If I didn’t know it was a parking lot, I would say it was a school (Gavilan College does hold classes on the first floor). Maybe a government building or a fancy department store. Maybe even an art museum, which brings me back to the topic of seeing some fine art there.

Start your tour by the stairway next to the elevator on the southeast corner of the building. First, admire the aesthetics of the stairway design.

Now, start walking up the stairs. Sure, you can take the elevator but there’s more joy in suddenly coming upon each piece of art as you gaspingly reach the top of a floor.

Pause at the top of each floor for your breath. Also, take note of the beauty of the art piece telling you what floor you’re on.

On the rooftop, I noticed a few more of these art pieces telling me I’m on the fourth floor. So I assume that’s the case on the other floors.

To tell you the truth, I no longer was interested in seeing and viewing man-made art when I came out on the rooftop. I was immediately astounded by the view of Hollister and the mountain ranges that surround it. The almost 360-degree view of Hollister is worth an occasional trip to the top of the roof of Hollister’s multi-million dollar parking garage.

There you have it: an arts museum and a vista point. Plus, you can park there.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

From the Archives -- Smelling of Home

Here's more from the Take 25 to Hollister archives. . . .

Ten Smells of Hollister, California
(originally published March 1, 2009)
I have yet to sniff the Hollister California line of bottled fragrances. But, it intrigues me that some people are willing to buy and apply a smell that would make others (and themselves) think they are living a fabricated Hollister California life.

It also got me thinking about the aromas of my hometown. What could I bottle and sell as Sigh, I’m Feeling Nostalgic for the real Hollister California? These are my top 10 smells (past and present). They are not in any particular odor. Hee-hee, I couldn’t resist the pun.
  1. The wild mustard that bloom in spring
  2. The tons of tomatoes as they are being canned on a hot summer evening
  3. Freshly-mowed grass on a Saturday morning
  4. Morning fog that clings to rows upon rows of tomato plants
  5. The heaps of fresh compost on Highway 25
  6. Manure just laid on newly-prepared vegetable fields
  7. Meat being barbequed on charcoal by next-door neighbors
  8. Gas, oil, and/or burning rubber fumes of a beyond-vintage truck or car passing by
  9. The livestock stalls at the county fair
  10. Approaching rain
What aromas get you thinking of home?



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